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Sprowston man creates amazing models of world landmarks out of matchsticks

PUBLISHED: 17:12 16 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:12 16 May 2018

Model maker Victor Catchpole,88, with his latest matchstick model of the Taj Mahal.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Model maker Victor Catchpole,88, with his latest matchstick model of the Taj Mahal. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Strike a light! How about this for thinking outside the box?

Model maker Victor Catchpole's matchstick model of Tower Bridge.
Picture: Nick ButcherModel maker Victor Catchpole's matchstick model of Tower Bridge. Picture: Nick Butcher

A Sprowston man’s remarkable patience and the beautiful detail of some of the world’s greatest buildings have proved to be a match made in heaven.

For Victor Catchpole, 88, has produced a clutch of extraordinary models - all made entirely from matchsticks.

He has been working on his latest masterpiece, the Taj Mahal, since mid-December. Other creations by Mr Catchpole include Big Ben, The White House, and the Eiffel Tower.

Mr Catchpole keeps the models around his house on Falcon Road East in Sprowston.

Victor Catchpole's matchstick model of The White House.
Picture: Nick ButcherVictor Catchpole's matchstick model of The White House. Picture: Nick Butcher

He said: “I’ve been doing it since I retired about 28 years ago, but I’ve always been interested in model work. This is the sort of thing I can do to pass the time.

“My son-in-law said after I lost my wife, ‘why don’t you do the Taj Mahal’, and I thought it’s a lot of work, but he said ‘go on you can do it’ and I started it just before Christmas.”

He said: “Tower Bridge must be about 5ft long, and I have Eddie Stobart trucks and old bus models on it.”

The Taj Mahal model is made out of 7,500 special model-making matchsticks called micro beams, stuck together with extra-pasteurised glue so it would set faster.

Victor Catchpole's matchstick model of Notre Dame cathedral.
Picture: Nick ButcherVictor Catchpole's matchstick model of Notre Dame cathedral. Picture: Nick Butcher

Mr Catchpole said: “I cut the matches into shapes with a Stanley knife and then glue them. Every part of it is cut by hand and stuck together.”

Mr Catchpole makes many of his models out of kits produced by a company called Matchitecture, which he buys from Hobbies in Raveningham.

He said: “I’ve nearly finished all of the available kits now. There’s a country house one I’m going to do next, but I’m having a bit of a rest after the Taj Mahal. I’m going to do some house work.

“The first one I did was Notre Dame. That one took a long time because at the time my wife was an invalid and I had to do the model in between.”

Model maker Victor Catchpole's matchstick model of Tower Bridge.
Picture: Nick ButcherModel maker Victor Catchpole's matchstick model of Tower Bridge. Picture: Nick Butcher

Before his retirement Mr Catchpole worked as a van driver delivering the EDP and Norwich Evening News.

He said: “I do the models because it keeps you occupied, you don’t think of anything else. You just want to get on with it a create these things. I love it. I suppose my models would be an attraction to some people but I haven’t got any way of getting them out.”

Model maker Victor Catchpole's matchstick model of Tower Bridge.
Picture: Nick ButcherModel maker Victor Catchpole's matchstick model of Tower Bridge. Picture: Nick Butcher

Model maker Victor Catchpole,88, with his latest matchstick model of the Taj Mahal.
Picture: Nick ButcherModel maker Victor Catchpole,88, with his latest matchstick model of the Taj Mahal. Picture: Nick Butcher

Model maker Victor Catchpole,88, with his latest matchstick model of the Taj Mahal.
Picture: Nick ButcherModel maker Victor Catchpole,88, with his latest matchstick model of the Taj Mahal. Picture: Nick Butcher

Model maker Victor Catchpole,88, with his latest matchstick model of the Taj Mahal.
Picture: Nick ButcherModel maker Victor Catchpole,88, with his latest matchstick model of the Taj Mahal. Picture: Nick Butcher

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