A Ukrainian model maker from the war-torn country is creating an intricate model of Shackleton’s famous ship for a Cornish museum’s latest exhibition.

Charlestown’s Shipwreck Treasure Museum has commissioned Vitaliy Vrubel from the city of Dnipro to build a scale replica of Endurance, Shackleton’s ship famously crushed in ice during his bid to cross Antarctica more than a century ago.

The retired engineer, who spent his early life as a rocket scientist living behind the iron curtain of the former Soviet Union, lives in daily fear with his wife, Tatiyana as war rages nearby on three sides of Dnipro.

Meanwhile, Vitaliy has begun the intricate task of building the Endurance model in his workshop in the loft space of his fourth-floor apartment.

Vitaliy said: "We live with the understanding that we can die at any moment.

"Missile strikes are carried out regularly and air raid sirens wail day and night.

"We don't hide in a bomb shelter because there isn't one.

"We just go to the hall where there are no windows."

The project was instigated by chance after the museum’s managing director, Ramon Van De Velde, saw a post on the business social media network LinkedIn by Vitaliy’s daughter, Nataliia.

Ramon said: "Nataliia was appealing for somewhere for her father to safely store his prized models during the conflict.

Falmouth Packet: Vitaliy Vrubel in his loft workshop at home in Dnipro, Ukraine Vitaliy Vrubel in his loft workshop at home in Dnipro, Ukraine


"A model of Endurance is the finishing touch for our brilliant Shackleton exhibition and Vitaliy needed something positive to focus on during this incredibly difficult time.

"Like so many people we were keen to see how we can help the people in Ukraine.

"At both Heligan and the Shipwreck Treasure Museum, we tell stories through ordinary people.

"So, this is an opportunity to tell the story of ordinary Ukrainians, through Vitaliy, whose lives have been upturned through no fault of their own."

Vitaliy’s grandfather was an avid book collector which led him to develop a love for reading.

Rafael Sabatini’s novel Captain Blood: His Odyssey inspired his first model ship when he recreated the fictional sailing vessel, Arabella, from the story.

Despite his advancing years, Vitaliy embraces the latest technology in his quest to recreate ships in striking detail, including 3D modelling.

Vitaliy added: "The desire to create accurate historical copies of ships requires careful study of the material, the historical features of the era and the specifics of the vessel.

"It takes a lot of time, but it is very interesting.

"The captain had to know everything about the ship, even down to the smallest detail.

"So, in the same way, the modeller must know everything about the ship they are building.

"The process is exciting!"

A plinth will be placed within the Shipwreck Treasure Museum’s exhibition about the polar explorer that will eventually house Vitaliy’s model once it’s completed and somehow finds its way from Ukraine to Cornwall.

"It’s all part of the challenge, no doubt Shackleton would approve," Ramon concludes.