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It’s Just A Hobby

Marco Island

by Richard M Hurd | United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, Marco Island, FSO-Public Affairs

Have you had the opportunity to visit the Marco Island Library?

If you had, you might have observed three replica models of the United States Coast Guard Cutters (USCGCs) painstakingly created by Marco Island’s own, Richard Heinrich.

A passion of Heinrich is his hobby of building USCGCs from scratch. Over four decades, he has meticulously built twenty-two models, each consuming hundreds of hours and as much as 2 years to complete. His most challenging build was the USCGC MUNRO (WHEC-724), completed in 2012. The MUNRO model began in 2010 with design plans from the USCG, which Heinrich converted to scale drawings. Heinrich’s next step was to make a complete paper model of the MUNRO, with each part numbered and taped into place. Heinrich’s MUNRO “files” contains dozens of unrolled paper sections, each connected to his original paper template from 2010. Hundreds of hand constructed model parts individually glued into place begin a process that, for Heinrich, is not complete until six or seven coats of paint are applied.

It's Just a Hobby by Richard M Hurd

In addition to this fascinating hobby, Heinrich volunteers as a docent at the Military History Museum located at the Naples Airport, where his model of the USS Chicago (CA-29) is proudly displayed at the entrance. Heinrich added: “I’m always amazed at the pleasure people get from my models, but to me, it’s just a hobby.”

In the Fall of 2022, Hurricane Ian destroyed much of Heinrich’s first floor workshop, forcing him to take a hiatus from his model building. After nearly four decades of “just a hobby” he finds comfort in a new construction challenge; a mine countermeasure vessel. Today’s modern mine countermeasure ship exhibits complexities unlike any he has encountered, including communications systems, the rigging, the mast, and the hull that only a master craftsman like Heinrich can appreciate.

Although Heinrich takes pride in the history of all twenty-two models he has built over the decades and is still motivated by the ever-increasing complexities of newer ship designs, his ultimate satisfaction comes from the accolades from those who view his “masterpieces”, including this simple remark: “it’s so nice!”

The USCGC MUNRO (WHEC 724) model, constructed by Richard Heinrich in 2012, is exhibited at the Marco Island Library, while the USCGC BLACKTHORN (WLB 391) model, built by him in 2010, is displayed at the USCG Auxiliary Flotilla facility in Marco Island.

2024-04-09T11:45:46-04:00April 16, 2024|Community|

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