Everything started so harmlessly.
As a boy of 9 years I was quite excited when I discovered the Wiking models in my parent's toystore, apparently I had inherited the interest for ships and seafaring. So I started collecting and I eagerly looked forward to every new model. Not in my keenest dreams could I imagine how this hobby would ever develop. Neither the toystore nor my collection survived the war, only by chance 12 ships were saved.

After 1945 old customers, who wanted to buy again „at Wiedling's", urged my father to make a new start. Therefore, a room of our flat was converted to a „store" and a school-mate of mine, Gerald Schweizer, who later produced the Mercator ships,built a small showcase for us to call the attenion to the first-floor shop. As a witness of the past this showcase is now in my showroom.

End of 1949 the toystore was moved to a new location in Munich's Theatinerstrasse. Slowly some other makers came on the market with 1:1250 ships and from England the popular Eagle kits were available. A clever customer and collector, Mr.Rudi Kraus, used these to build ships that were never available before, ships of the old Imperial Navy etc. Fortunately, he could be persuaded to make them for sale: the „NAVIS Era" had begun. Also I could help other makers like TRIDENT, SEXTANT or HL to have a good start.

Many former collectors were happy that models were available again to add to their collections. The constant display in the store attracted many new customers and a good part of the sales were mail-orders. During his school-days Mr.Schütt was also working in our store and today he produces his perfect Risawoleska models, together with his wife whom he also met over the store.

In 1952 I had a chance to go to Hamburg for half a year to work in an export company to learn more about this intersting business. However, the best about Hamburg was that there I met my wife and from that time I have her invaluable support.

The assortment grew and grew but, unfortunately, the space in the shop did not. This was the reason why in 1968 a separate company was established for the mail order business under my wife's name Lieselotte. Assisted by our Spanish daughter-in-law we ship worldwide to over 25 countries today and the internet allows a fast information.

In the course of the years many new ship-series appeared on the market, helping to keep the hobby interesting and with many makers as well as customers I stay in friendy contact over decades. Naturally, modern techniques are used now to produce pilot models using the CAD-process as mentioned in the foreword already.

In 1968 I printed my first LOTSE (PILOT) a catalogue listing the various makers with their line of models, which was replaced by a digital version in 2013. Another project I started was my „Schiffsmodell Register", a summary of all models that have ever been made commercially. From a humble beginning with a small booklet it has grown to almost 800 pages now.

In more than 60 years collecting and selling ship models in 1:1250 scale was always a great pleasure and it is good to see how many collectors – young and old – share this quiet hobby with a lot of enthusiasm.

Peter Wiedling, Grünwald, April 2014

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