Fisherman Spends Three Years Building ‘World’s Biggest’ Lego Model Of Warship USS Missouri

Fisherman Spends Three Years Building ‘World’s Biggest’ Lego Model Of Warship USS Missouri

When I was a kid, I, like every other kid, loved to play with Legos. One man took that love a bit further and built what he thought was the largest Lego model of a warship in the world. However, he was in for a surprise.


A Lego-mad fisherman spent three years building the world’s biggest model of a US warship – only to find an American rival had beaten him by inches.

Jim McDonough painstakingly built a 24ft scale model of the 890ft USS Missouri with thousands of toy bricks in Redford, near Arbroath in Angus.

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When he embarked on the model in his garage three years ago, his research told him it was going to be the biggest Lego ship in the world.

But it seems his effort was in vain – after he was been pipped at the post by Minneapolis-based enthusiast Dan Siskind, whose creation is 25.5ft long.

Mr Siskind used more than one million Lego bricks to recreate the 1:35 scale of the USS Missouri.

Mr McDonough prides himself on not gluing them together – which he regards as ‘cheating’.

The 51-year-old has a garage crammed with a flotilla of Lego battleships, aircraft carriers, planes, fishing vessels and landing craft.

His 1:40 scale model of the USS Missouri is moored beside the USS Arizona, sunk at Pearl Harbour, and a Japanese carrier with lines of Zero fighters.

He said: ‘I think the biggest in the world is a few inches longer, but when I started building mine three years ago it was probably the biggest.

‘I don’t use glue and everything can be taken apart. If you go to Legoland it’s all glued together, which to me is cheating because anyone can glue stuff together.’

When asked whether his next project, the carrier USS Saratoga, would be built larger in order to compete, he said that would not be in keeping with the scale of his other vessels.

The original warship was the site of the surrender of the Empire of Japan, which ended the Second World War.

His partner Mandy, 51, said the family have supported his passion, even when sections of the Missouri took over the kitchen in winter.

Mr McDonough broke down his first models in order to save space and use bricks on later projects.

But he is running out of garage room since the family begged him to keep them.

‘When Lego was invented I was about four or five and have kept buying it since then,’ he said.

‘But we’re running out of space and need a bigger house and bigger garage to house it all.

‘The last thing you want to do is build that, take a picture and break them down again.’

Mr McDonough works on an Arbroath-based dredger and spends much of his cabin time drawing the world he sees around him.

Largely self-taught, the fisherman has spent years drawing subjects on request from friends and neighbours.

‘I’ve got too many hobbies and not enough time to do them all,’ he said.

Impressed by the size and detail of the recreation – each is built from plans sourced online – the USS Missouri memorial museum in Hawaii has highlighted his model.

Mr Siskind told American TV show Beyond the Brick that he had been working ‘30-hour marathon’ sessions to build his version of the USS Missouri.

He said: ‘As far as i know, it’s the longest ship of any kind built out of Lego in the world. I could be wrong, someone correct me if I am.

‘It’s built in ten different sections, 30 inches long each. It’s built to travel – this is a museum piece.’

It’s too bad that it isn’t a world record, but it’s great that he can feel this level of satisfaction with his hobby. Good for him.


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