Wanted: Toy Container Ships That Are Impossibly Cool

Papa Foxtrot renders three of the world’s largest transport ships in brilliant, modern detail.

The search for a wooden toy that engages the attention of a kid past the age of 3 often ends with plunking down $150 for a Wii. (Hey, at least it’s fun for the whole family.) That money might be better spent on a gorgeous collection of collectable boats, designed by the London firm Postlerferguson to portray three of the largest transport ships in the world–that is, three of the mega-vessels that form the backbone of the modern economy.


Made of birch and maple with metal details, the ships are not only beautiful objects but lessons in global transport. The Emma Maersk, for instance, is the longest container ship in the world and carries more than 11,000 containers from China to Europe every seven weeks, with stops in Africa and the Middle East. The Arctic Princess, meanwhile, holds enough liquefied natural gas to power 45,000 homes a year. The TI Asia is an oil supertanker that has been retired to the sunny coasts of Qatar, where’s she’ll spend the rest of her days as a stationary oil storage vessel.

Can a wooden model compete with an Xbox for a ten-year-old’s attention? Maybe not, but it’s worth a shot. At any rate, they’re supercool for geeky parents with an appreciation of systems thinking and a high tolerance for eye rolls.

The ships are manufactured by Papa Foxtrot, which is currently developing new series for energy and space infrastructures (think power plants and satellites). They come in two colorways: blue and gray, warmed-up versions of traditional marine-transport colors. They’ll be available in the U.S. in the coming month through VICI Enterprises, (212) 972-2975.

About the author

Belinda Lanks is the editorial director of Co.Design. Before joining, she was the managing editor of Metropolis.