Mike "stooch’ Ristuccia

Glenwood / Australia

Occupation: Ambulance Officer


I’ve had a fascination with ships, specifically passenger vessels, since I was about fifteen years old. Back then in 1983, my family and I went on a cruise on that famous ship that worked out of Australia – "TSS Fairstar". That two-week trip to the South Pacific got me hooked, and have been obsessed with ships ever since!

Before that happened, I had enjoyed making Airfix or Revell models although they were usually civil aircraft, some of which have survived the wrath of my mother’s feather-duster in her attempt at ‘cleaning’ them! They were safe after I hung them from my bedroom ceiling! Not long after I discovered the beauty of passenger ships, I purchased the Airfix 1/600 Queen Elizabeth II and built it as best as I could at the time. This was followed by the 1/500 Revell Oriana and the ‘compulsory’ Revell 1/570 Titanic. In those days, there wasn’t any Internet or eBay and I had to rely upon my local hobby shop to purchase my models from. Those three ships still survive today – I have recently restored the QE2 and intend to do the same to the others.

Over the years I’ve worked in various fields such as photography, computers and communications. In the mid 90’s I landed a full time job on the Fairstar as one of the ships photographers (there were five of us on board all up). I did a few cruises for them (see photo at right), and had a great time doing so, but there was no rest for the wicked. We would go on a two week cruise, work 16 hour days, every day, return back to Sydney and sail out again the same night. In the end the workload started to take its toll and I began to miss my family and friends and the freedom of having weekends off doing things ‘normal’ people do after work (although mowing the lawn wasn’t missed!). Nowadays I’m currently employed here in Sydney working as an Ambulance Officer which I have been doing since 1994.


I’m gradually trying to get through my ‘pile’ of unbuilt model kits on my days off. Some of my prized possessions include the rare "Empress of Australia", the 1/600 Airfix "France" and "Free Enterprise", and the Revell "Brasil" to name a few. It seems I buy them faster than I can build them!

At the time of writing, I’m embarking on an ambitious project (my first scratch-build attempt) as I make an effort to build a 1/600 scale model of the Fairstar out of Evergreen polystyrene stock. I started it a few months back then it was shelved for a while, but I’m getting back into it again.

One of my more recent projects is developing a Windows based program for modelers called "Quick Scale". This software takes the guess-work out of your calculations. It has various functions such as finding the scale of a model, changing the scale, and calculating the percentage to reduce a drawing on a photocopier to a desired scale. You can find a link to it in the ‘Products’ section of the Debris Field.

In case you’re wondering, my nickname "Stooch" is derived from my surname which is pronounced "Ri-stooch-iya" and I’ve been called that since my school days! Anyway, I plan to be a regular contributor to the Debris Field – both with model kit reviews and photo submissions to the Model Gallery. I’m no expert, but I know that I’m learning a hell of a lot from fellow modelers and the Debris Field web site.


MR ~ 11 / 03