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29 October 2014

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You are in: Stoke & Staffordshire > Features > Metal guru

Ian's model of a road roller

Metal guru

For the most of his life Ian Hughes had little or no engineering skills. But joining a model club changed all that. He now painstakingly turns scraps of metal into stunning scale models of engineering classics.

Retirement dreams come in many shapes and sizes. There are those who want a new life in the sun, others who plan to take up an adventure sport for a new buzz and there are those who just want to sit back and relax.

Ian Hughes from Eccleshall always knew he wanted to make something and he knew exactly what he wanted to make. It was a 1/4 scale model of a 1938 Aveling Barford road roller of course!

Now, five years later it is finished and every one of the thousands of pieces of scrap iron or steel used to make it has been crafted by Ian's hands with the help of a lathe or two.


Ian had no engineering skills when he was made redundant from G.E.C. in Stafford, but he decided to set about teaching himself and, with help from friends at a model engineering club in south Cheshire and some night classes at Burslem School of Art, there are now few jobs he cannot tackle.

Close-up of road roller

"The challenge for me, because I had no previous engineering skills, was how to make the pieces and how they were eventually going to go together," says Ian.

And, despite the thousands of hours spent in his garage painstakingly creating another nut or bolt, he says he always knew he would finish it:

"It took me a year just to make the gearbox and I was a bit tired of that by the end of it , but I've never not wanted to finish it."

Now Ian is proudly displaying his creation at modelling shows and already has the recognisable beginnings of a model steam train on the bench of his workshop.

If you want to see Ian's road roller then have a look at the gallery (see link above)... just give him a few years to finish off that train!

Stuart Fear

last updated: 15/10/07

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