A look at the label on the package provides the following information; South Farm, Snitton, Ludlow, Shropshire. South Farm, Snitton sounds like the very soul of a quaint English country estate. It sounds as if one of the protagonists from a novel by Jane Austin should live at that address. If you believe that, you are deceived. It is the address of the corporate headquarters of that monolith of modeling known as White Ensign Models.

Most people only know the names of the golden people, the celebrities of WEM. Dave Carter is the publisher, master of instructions and maintainer of the WEM website. John Snyder is the salesman extrordinaire folk rocker and colorist supreme. If you are looking for it, he will let you know and if there is a need for a warship color, he will have it produced. Peter Hall, also known as Mad Pete, Boy Genius, Idiot Savant, is always on hyper-drive designing new brass frets at an incredible pace or packing on amazing amounts of detail on the masters for the model warships being developed for WEM. Mad Pete frequently needs to be reeled in from the "Deep End" when he goes too far in his incessant quest for detail. And of course there is Caroline Snyder, CEO and boss who pulls the strings and places this ship of industry on its course.

What you don’t see is the under-ground industrial plant of White Ensign Models, located underneath the unassuming South Farm address. Built in World War Two as an alternate command post for the Imperial General Staff and production factory for Hawker Aviation, the plant now hums with machines. From the vast resin casting vats, to the blast furnaces for pouring molten brass, to the fleet of fork-lifts moving new products into the cavernous WEM warehouse, this miniature city never sleeps. The legion of fanatical WEM workers and staff ensure that the corporate empire runs at peak efficiency. What follows is a peek into a typical workday at White Ensign Models.

The Morning Shift
White Ensign Models did not reach the pinnacle of the industry without a long period of hard work. To stay at the top requires extraordinary effort every day. The day begins long before the start of the official workday. Talented WEM chefs fire up the galley before dawn to provide a sumptuous English breakfast for all WEM personnel. The start of the workday is rung in promptly at 0800 in the best Royal Navy tradition. Immediately some of the staff conduct rigorous maintenance drills to keep the plant humming. Its hard work and workers quickly become dehydrated. To provide for their comfort and safety WEM has a mid-morning refreshment break. Come to think of it... there are a liberal number of refreshment breaks in which liberal quantities of refreshment are consumed. By late morning Mad Pete is fine tuning his latest brass creation. Concurrently, the staff has to keep a closer eye on Pete, as the pace of his creativity increases at a geometric rate. They are there to throw him a rescue line in case he goes off the "Deep End".


Morning Shift
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WEM5260shipshape.JPG (96988 bytes) WEM5255mmRef.JPG (110920 bytes) WEM5275finetune.JPG (68694 bytes)

The Afternoon Shift
The afternoon starts with another refreshment break as the staff has become parched with the strenuous activity since the morning break. While John goes about tweeking the complex WEM machinery, the blast furnaces and metal working shops start turning out the latest brass photo-etch fret. Almost every day by 1400 a convoy of trucks, or lorries as they are called there, arrives bearing the latest products and goods from other companies, that are moved to the WEM warehouse by the eager staff. By late afternoon, Mad Pete usually goes off the Deep End. Whether it is designing individual shoe laces and pocket protectors for a 1:700 crewmen fret or including a fully equipped and functional crew’s head on the latest 1:700 scale WEM warship, Pete arrives at a point where he has to be reeled back to the realm of reality by the staff.


Afternoon Shift
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WEM5276delivery.JPG (181677 bytes) WEM5289anmain.JPG (76378 bytes) WEM5257phreel.JPG (55153 bytes)

The Evening Shift
When other businesses close down, White Ensign Models continues to steam onward. At 1700 there is scheduled staff meetings and briefings. Oftentimes some members of the staff have to be reminded of the staff meeting because they were too engrossed in their afternoon activities. Meanwhile the galley is fired up again to provide the Epicurean delights of dinner. However, the workday continues well past dinner. Dave has to post the latest information on the WEM web site. John has to announce new products on message boards and answer questions about the latest shades in the Colourcoat range. Of course by this time Mad Pete needs to be sedated and stabilized by his treatment regimen. After a restful two hour nap, they are ready to start a new day.


Evening Shift
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WEM5265dinner.JPG (67457 bytes) WEM5293web.JPG (78532 bytes) WEM5254announcement.JPG (172552 bytes) WEM5286madpete.JPG (60123 bytes)

Disclaimer: This article would have better been posted on 1 April 2004 but the editor of this web site makes no claims that the content therein is based on any scintilla of reality. Indeed it was strictly inspired by the headlines in the periodicals at the check out line of the local supermarket…or was it by the double pepperoni pizza that I ate last night.

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