By the time James was a young teen he had built a large fleet of fully ballasted ship models. At the age of fifteen he used a small scale Revel model of USS Arizona to initiate his project of building a four-foot model of USS Pennsylvania. It was far from perfect as he knew what changes had to be made but did not have the precise measurements. ..
James dreamt a long time of the ship and finally, in 1984, his circumstances were stable enough for him to apply himself to the great project of scratch building a 5 foot model of the beautiful British battle cruiser, HMS Repulse. When she was newly built, James entered her into a Eastern Airline Employee’s art show where she won first prize and landed him a job in the art department.