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Resident and Model Ship Builder Visits Monarch Landing’s Extensive Woodshop Daily

His wife calls it his ‘mistress,’ with whom he spends many happy hours and for which he has great passion. Greg Zimmerman, a resident of Monarch Landing in Naperville, takes tremendous pleasure in building model ships. To date, he has completed 12 beautiful and extremely detailed 1/72 scaled replicas of historically significant ships. For a year and a month during the height of COVID, he spent at least three hours each day working on his model of San Felipe, the flagship of the Spanish Armada, launched in 1690. As he left his apartment to go to the senior living community’s extensive woodshop each day, Greg’s wife Jane called out, “say ‘hello’ to your mistress!”

Building model ships, Zimmerman said, is a great hobby that fills a variety of needs for him. “When I’m working on it, everything else takes a back seat, so it has a calming effect. It’s almost meditative, but you’re not thinking inward; you’re working on something that removes any kind of concerns.”

He said his hobby started when he received a kit of the Flying Fish as a Christmas gift. “I wouldn’t have bought it, but it got me interested,” he said. He’s building advanced and highly detailed models ever since.

Zimmerman’s ‘fleet’ includes the USS Constitution, the Mayflower, the Charles W. Morgan, HMS Bellona, and more.

While he loves history in general, Zimmerman said that he is particularly fascinated with the maritime-related past. He carefully researches and educates himself and has almost encyclopedic recall about the ships he builds.

Zimmerman said that Monarch Landing’s woodshop is a true marvel. “Sometimes people, especially men, don’t want to move out of their homes because they feel like they need to give up their hobbies. That’s not the case. We have so much space, equipment and supplies that not only can people keep doing what they love, but they can also find and pursue new hobbies,” he said.


 See Zimmerman’s extensive feature by Daily Herald.