A DENTAL technician who combined his skills in making artificial teeth with his passion for maritime history has created a spectacular collection of 75 model ships.

Some of Lachie Stewart’s meticulous work, which is held in many private collections, will be on display to the public in a new exhibition being held in Dumbarton this month.

Chariots of Steam features ships built on the Clyde by some of the river’s famous companies, such as William Denny and Brothers and Ferguson Brothers.

Lachie, who is from Glasgow, has created a range of models over the last 60 years, from elegant paddle steamers to the lifeline Clyde puffers, and from simple half-hull design models to magnificent display models.

Most are radio-controlled for sailing.

Models on display in the exhibition, which opens at the Scottish Maritime Museum on May 26, include PS Caledonia which was built in 1934 by William Denny and Brothers on the site where the museum now stands.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter: NV Pole StarNV Pole Star (Image: Scottish Maritime Museum)

Although many steamers had come from the same shipyard, PS Caledonia was the first Denny paddle steamer to serve on the River Clyde since the 1890 Duchess of Hamilton.

After being commissioned as a minesweeper, patrol vessel and anti-aircraft ’flack ship’ during WW2, it was extended to carry 1700 passengers and returned to service on the Clyde.

The exhibition also features models of NLV Pole Star and Flying Phantom which were built by Ferguson Brothers in Port Glasgow.

The lighthouse and buoy tender NLV Pole Star was built for the Northern Lighthouse Board in 2000 and incorporated the latest propulsion, navigational, and buoy handling technologies.

The Flying Phantom (1981) was built for the Clyde Shipping Company and based in Greenock. After the tug sank in 2008, with three crew members tragically lost, Lachie’s model was used to aid the salvage team.

The other vessels are PS Maid of the Loch, Volcano, the Kathleen M Stewart, and Sealight Greenock.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter: Sealight GreenockSealight Greenock (Image: Scottish Maritime Museum)

PS Maid of the Loch was built by A&J Inglis at their Clyde Pointhouse Yard in 1953.

It is now under the care of the Loch Lomond Steamship Company which hopes to return the vessel to cruising service.

Volcano (1900) serves as an example of the Paddle Tug, a style of vessel built in large numbers for hauling barges, especially on long continental rivers, or for harbour work manoeuvring larger sea-going vessels.

The Kathleen M Stewart is the 79-year-old's homage to the Steam Drifters built from the late nineteenth century.

These vessels, which featured a deck close to the water to make pulling fishing nets onboard easier, were often named after the owner’s family or friends. Lachie’s model is named after his daughter.

Built by George Brown and Co, Greenock, in 1930, Sealight Greenock, was a typical puffer, built to fit the locks on the Forth & Clyde Canal.

Puffers were named after the distinctive ‘puff, puff’ of steam from the funnel and were flat-bottomed so they could be beached on sandy shores to unload cargo.

Eva Bukowska, exhibitions and events assistant at the museum said: “We are delighted to celebrate Lachie Stewart’s exceptional collection of model ships with our latest exhibition Chariots of Steam.

“We’ve chosen a selection of models which will give visitors the broadest insight into Lachie’s works and the rich variety of vessels built by some of our most famous shipyards.

“Lachie’s skills and his appreciation of shipbuilding on the Clyde shine through each of the models and we’re sure this is going to be a hugely popular exhibition for our visitors.”

The Scottish Maritime Museum, on Castle Street, Dumbarton, stands on the site of the famous William Denny Shipyard and features the world’s oldest working model experiment tank.

The National Transport Trust recently recognised the 1882 Denny Ship Model Experiment Tank with a Red Wheel, commemorating it as one of the UK’s most significant transport heritage sites.

Chariots of Steam: An Exhibition of Model Ships by Lachie Stewart opens on May 26.