When the Queen Mary in Long Beach opens its new Ship Model Gallery on Thursday, look for a miniature Winston Churchill.
The tiny former British prime minister appears with a top hat strolling on the deck of a 20-foot-long shipbuilder's model of the Queen Mary. During World War II, Churchill crossed the Atlantic Ocean three times on the ship.
The gallery will be dedicated at 11 a.m. during the ship's 80th-year celebrations and will open to the public at 12:30 p.m. It coincides with a splashy maiden visit by the Queen Elizabeth earlier in the day.
The new model gallery is part of a much more ambitious plan for the landmark hotel aboard the ship, which has been in Long Beach since 1967. The plan is to create a 65,000-square-foot maritime museum and learning center aboard the ship.
General manager John Jenkins rolled out the idea in New York City last month at a celebration of the Queen Mary -- the real one and the shipbuilder's model.
Master model makers Bassett-Lowke made it in 1/45th scale, with rigging, lifeboat, hoists, masts and hull details of the ship. It's on loan from the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City.
By all accounts, it was challenging to truck the massive mini-me ship made from a single white mahogany log from New York to its new home in Long Beach.
The Queen Mary will join other great model ships -- the Titanic, Lusitania, Britannia, Oregon and more -- that will be on display.