In 1906, Cornelis Dubbelman was given a choice between keeping his seat on Ridderkerk’s city council in the western Netherlands or retaining his job as model maker manager and maker of cast models at Smit Electro, since his boss was also on the council. Dubbelman’s decision was to found his own model making company, Dubbelman Ridderkerk, in a small three by three metre shed in Ridderkerk. “The company started in 1906 making wooden cast moulds for the iron and brass casting industry and it later made teak steering wheels for ships,” says Dubbleman’s Eric Bisschops. “The first yacht model Dubbelman made was a model of a steam tug boat named Marseillaise in 1912 and now models of boats and architectural moderls is all we do. We have been making ship models for 102 years now.”
With a team of three highly skilled model makers, Dubbelman Ridderkerk create pieces for shipyards, architects, designers and owners. “Among our customers are well known shipyards and designers,” says Bisschops. “We produce several shipmodels a year and these models end up all over the world. They are displayed at exhibitions, at companies and in museums. Some shipowners have their models at home or in their office.”
It takes several years to become a skilled model maker and significant levels of patience. The team works from CAD files, photographs and often the real thing. “We can make a model using just the cad files and drawings but for the finer details of a yacht, we use photographs and ideally visit the real thing.” Each model uses materials such as polyurethane, epoxy, Perspex, wood and brass to create the scale model; windows can be made of stickers or proper cut while furniture can be exact miniatures or extremely simple.
“Our most challenging model to date was the Royal concept model for Feadship in 2013,” he says. “The hull is 3D milled out of polyurethane, the decks and pillars are 3D milled out of aluminium, the stair is 3D printed, windows are from perspex which is bended in shape and the decks are from wood and are lasercut.”