EMPRESS OF FRANCE IS A 1:48 SCALE BUILDER'S MODEL OF THE SHIP BEARING THE SAME NAME. IN 2010, SHIP MODEL ENGINEER, LUCIAN PLOIAS WAS COMMISSIONED TO RESTORE THE EMPRESS OF FRANCE MODEL TO HER FORMER GLORY. AS A RESULT OF OVER 100 YEARS OF NEGLECT, THE MODEL HAD BEEN BADLY DAMAGED.
The restoration process took more than 3,500 hours of intense labour over a four-year period. Time was spent taking apart every component, stripping down the old paint, repairing any damage through various wood conservation treatments then finished with new paint or varnish. For areas with missing or damaged parts, new pieces had to be fabricated and all of the 20,000 parts had to be reassembled. In the end, something that was created from one person’s passion, was, in turn, restored by another’s. Following the journey from derelict to beauty as each photograph details the intricate steps in rebuilding an Empress.
This unique project was made a reality by the support of the Lakeland Interpretative Society of Lac La Biche, Alberta. This small county, 300km north of Edmonton, became the proud owners of this model after Padre Pere McGranne donated to the local Legion. After his death for unknown reasons, the model was removed from its case and left exposed for more than 30 years. Consequently, the condition of the model deteriorated to such an extent that there was a desire to dispose of it. Thankfully, it was preserved by an enthusiast and stored in its garage for an other 20 years when finally a decision was made to save it.