Pink Floyd – ‘Relics’ iconic model ship

Pink Floyd’s album, ‘Relics’ was released in 1971, and is a timeless classic that showcases some of the band’s most iconic tracks from their early years. The album’s distinctive cover art began as a simple pen and ink sketch by drummer Nick Mason, who was inspired by his time studying architecture.

Nick Mason’s original drawing for the ‘Relics’ album cover started as a concept sketch and was intended to encapsulate the eclectic and mysterious nature of the album, which featured a compilation of Pink Floyd’s songs from their psychedelic era. The original pen and ink sketch depicted a strange and surreal landscape that perfectly mirrored the album’s eclectic musical journey and mysterious, dreamlike quality.

In 1996 the album was remastered and released on CD format and the iconic sketch had undergone a fascinating transformation, evolving into a stunning 3D model that was then photographed for the CD cover art. Graphic designer, Storm Thorgerson had the concept to remaster the drawing design to accompany the remastered music.

Our co-founder Robert Danton Rees, who worked for Model Solutions at the time, was part of the core team that worked alongside Thorgerson to bring Mason’s vision to life in a three-dimensional form.

The team used pure carpentry skills, meticulously recreating each element of Mason’s original sketch using an array of materials such as wood, brass, copper, and Perspex. Being as faithful as possible to both the original intent and the actual shape, proportions, texture, and fittings, they set about building a wooden model in the manner of a large, incredibly detailed, model ship. No CNC machines or laser cutting techniques were involved and each intricate piece was made by hand using only the original sketch, with approximate measurements and the guidance from Thorgerson – who had the overall concept but left the Model Solutions team to physically produce it.

The depth and detail of the model brought a new level of appreciation to the album cover art, allowing fans to explore its intricacies and immerse themselves in the surreal world that Nick Mason had envisioned decades before.

Following the photo shoot for the CD cover, the model was stored in Mason’s office and was then eventually moved to a safe storage unit. Fast forward 20 plus years and the infamous model was rediscovered in a state of disrepair by Holly Mason, Nick’s daughter.

Holly desperately wanted to restore the iconic model ship sculpture and after stumbling on a couple of signatures on the base, she decided to track down the original model makers in the hope it could be brought back to life.

One of those signatures happened to be our very own Robert Danton Rees, so Holly tracked him down and got in touch. To our delight, this eventually led to the iconic 3D model being delivered to our workshop and Robert setting eyes on it again some 27 years later! Our team painstakingly dismantled and cleaned every element, meticulously restoring the historic three-dimensional form that has stamped its place in musical history.

So, what began as a simple sketch over fifty years ago has evolved into an iconic classic album art cover and 3D sculpture, captivating audiences worldwide to this day. Hopefully music fans will continue to explore the depths of this surreal landscape and the timeless magic of Pink Floyd’s music and artistic expression.

For us, it was an honour to work on the model ship sculpture again, which was originally filed on our system as project no. 42 and the recent repair filed as project no. 10,617.