WITH its magnificent triumphal arch, Jim Dowzall’s model of the Menin Gate has perfectly captured the real thing.

Jim, who lives in Idle, spent 70 hours recreating Reginald Blomfield's 1921 design for the entry to the barrel-vaulted passage through the mausoleum that honours those who died in the First World War but have no known graves.

He made the model from plastic sheets and tubes from Frizinghall Models & Railways in Baildon.

“The scale I aimed for is 2mm to 1ft although it may not be fully accurate,” he says, adding that converting the measurements is not an easy task.

The lion on top of the arch is made from plaster of Paris. The patient beast is the lion of Britain and also of Flanders.

“I shaped the plaster into animal form, which is something I had never done before,” he says.

The realistic texture of the wreaths on the structure have been made from finely-cut plastic tubing woven with thread.

Retired chartered accountant Jim, 82, has been a member of The Royal British Legion for 30 years. He became involved when the Bingley group asked him to take on the role of treasurer, and has organised many remembrance parades and services in Myrtle Park.

He has been interested in modelling since he was a boy, making up Airfix kits.

Jim, who uses photographs and drawings as references, has also made a model of the Cenotaph, the Whitehall setting of which he has adapted to include trees and a small cemetery.

“It looked a bit lonely on its own,” he says, adding that the gravestones were the most tricky part, having to be individually cut and placed in position. “I had to form a grid to make sure that both sides were lined up,” he says.

The trees are plaster, covered with vegetation sourced from the model shop.

The model, entitled Remembrance, is on display in City Hall. “It is in the display case in the central corridor,” says Jim.

Jim can spend hours modelling. “It is a hobby and I enjoy it, so it is worth it. When I look back at all the hours it does not seem so long - the time goes so quickly.”

His wife Brenda keeps him supplied with refreshments. “Every so often she will hear some strong language when I’ve cut off the wrong piece or done something else that I should not have done,” he says.

He is now debating as to what to model next. “I would like to do the Taj Mahal, but know the onion-shaped dome will be difficult, and another possibility is the Tyne Cot memorial in Belgium.

Having never been to the Menin Gate, Jim is not ruling out a visit in the future.