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>> Home > Boat Building Blogs > Vintage Model Works 46" RAF Crash Tender
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Vintage Model Works 46" RAF Crash Tender Print Booklet
Author: robbob   Posts: 95   Photos: 577   Subscribers: 20   Views: 30760   Responses: 270   |   Most recent posts shown first   (Show oldest first)

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The lighting circuits. - Posted: 29th May 2017
I had previously made and tested the lighting pcb but I subsequently decided to modify it to take some 2 pin Molex connectors, they have the same hole spacing as the Veroboard PCB and are polarised and will make the final wiring a little easier and a lot neater too 👍
All the lighting wires were formed into colour coded twisted pairs and tacked in place within the wheelhouse with some epoxy and then overpainted black where they were conspicuous.
The PCB is fixed to the bulkhead on PCB spacers and all the wiring retained by a cable tie on a self-adhesive base. The two Turnigy R/C controlled switches were mounted on a plasticard plate with double sided foam tape and then this plate secured to the bulkhead with a self tapping screw. The battery connections and common negative connection to the R/C receiver battery are on Molex connectors as well. The battery was fitted with XT60 connectors and secured to the keel with cable ties through some screwed eyelets.
The port, starboard, forward blue and mast lights are on one switched circuit and the searchlight on a separate switched circuit. The searchlight also rotates on it's own servo channel.

The result is a nice tidy installation which can easily be removed for servicing and modification if required 😎

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by sandkb on the 8th Jun 2017
Very tidy work.
The window glazing & frames. - Posted: 28th May 2017
A full set of laser cut perspex windows is supplied in the VMW kit along with corresponding frames for all and they are all a pretty good fit in the window apertures of the engine room, forward cabin and wheel house rear walls, only requiring a light easing with a file for a secure fit.
I left the protective film on the screens whilst gluing them in place with a very small amount of canopy glue applied to the window edges with a dressmaking pin and pressed into place so that they were flush with the outside of the cabin walls.
The wheelhouse windows were a bit trickier as they are glued to the inside face of the panels and I had to remove the protective film around the edges of the outer face of the windows by running a fine sharp blade around the window aperture with the perspex held in place by hand. Canopy glue was then used very sparingly on the face of the perspex and the windows clamped in place. The central screen of the wheelhouse has the Kent Clearview in it and this needed to be carefully centred before fixing in place.
When all had dried and set the protective films were peeled off to reveal nice clear ‘panes’ without any unsightly glue smudges.

The CNC cut window frames are made from a flexible plastic material with accurate and well defined edges. They were all given a light sanding with abrasive paper as a key for the paint and were then laid out on a large piece of card paying particular attention to getting them the correct side up, in particular the wheelhouse frames which are ‘handed’ for either port or starboard. They were all held to the board with small pads of double sided foam tape and sprayed with two coats of Halfords metallic silver paint followed by two light coats of Halfords gloss lacquer.
After a couple of days to dry they were removed from the board and fixed in place with canopy glue applied with a pin as very small dots around the inside face, aligned with masking tape ‘guides’ and a straight edge and then held in place with small tabs of masking tape.
The installation of the glazing in the wheelhouse was made a lot easier because I had previously cut away some of the bulkhead and rear wall to give better access to the wheelhouse interior for detailing. This is not mentioned in the building instructions but is well worth doing for all the above reasons 😁

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by robbob on the 29th May 2017
Hi Boatshed.
I have been using a product called 'Procan', I don't recall offhand where I bought it but it's clearly a very similar to the Deluxe product, please excuse the pun 😜
Response by Inkoust on the 29th May 2017
Luxurious work, I have not seen a man so muddy for a long time. Hats off. Zdeněk
Response by robbob on the 29th May 2017
??....not sure I understand you comment but thanks anyway 👍
The Kent Clearview screen - Posted: 17th May 2017
There is a white metal ‘ring’ supplied in the kit for the Kent Clearview screen but it is too large and doesn’t look particularly ‘scale’. So after some research on the web and some help from other forum members I found enough information to make one from scratch.
The outer ring was made from a narrow section of pvc pipe that I had to hand and this was cut to length in a mitre block and then sanded down to the right thickness on some abrasive paper and then sprayed matt black.
I didn’t use the perspex screen supplied in the kit as the hole was too large but the small circular cut-out piece was the right diameter to fit into the ring that I made, the new screen was cut from a new piece of perspex sheet and a hole drilled through the centre to locate the rotating part of the screen.
The parts were assembled onto the new screen using canopy glue applied very sparingly with a dressmaking pin. The motor drive assembly on the inside of the screen and the black triangular part that sits on the outside of the screen were made from some black plasticard and these parts were also fixed in place with canopy glue.
I used a brass panel pin with the head filed down and painted black for the central bearing of the screen but when I applied a very small amount of canopy glue to fix it capillary action unexpectedly drew the glue between the two ‘panes’ of perspex 😡 Not what I wanted to happen but I decided to leave it to dry to it’s clear state and then assess the situation. Fortunately the glue is not too conspicuous to be much of a concern but it is nevertheless an unwanted blemish that I will have to accept 😭

The finished piece was then glued into the wheelhouse with a few dots of canopy glue and looks quite good as long as you don’t look too closely 😎

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by sandkb on the 8th Jun 2017
I admire your attention to the detailing. A true craftsman. Well done !!
The mast & rigging. - Posted: 5th May 2017
I had previously adapted the mast with lighting and fixing studs and so it’s ready to be fitted to the wheelhouse roof, but I decided to add some rigging detail in the process.
Along with some other items, I had previously bought some threaded brass ’eyes’ and wooden rigging blocks by mail order from RB models in Poland. Very good prices and remarkably quick delivery from overseas.
I drilled the horizontal bar of the mast to take a couple of small brass eyes, and bent the lower part of the exposed thread back at an angle, onto these I fitted some wooden rigging blocks with brass sheaves which I had previously stained mahogany and lacquered.
Another slightly larger eye was fitted to the centre of the mast and another to the wheelhouse roof for the forward stay rope, I used some thin white elasticated thread that I found in my local Hobbycraft store for all the rigging. The stay rope end were finished with small brass hooks formed from some thin brass wire and secured with some small diameter heat shrink tubing, I think this makes for a much neater look than just tied knots. The top rigging ropes were made in the same way.
The completed mast was then bolted down through the wheelhouse roof on the threaded studs and the two lighting wires passed through separate holes in the roof.
This should allow me to detach the mast and fold it down for transport if necessary.
The lower end of the ropes from the rigging blocks were formed into a loop with a spot of superglue to fix them and then some small white heat shrink tube used to cover the joints. The loops fit neatly over the cleats on the cabin roof so that they can easily be released.
I’m hoping that being elasticated all the rigging will stay taut and remain presentable 😁
I must remember to order some ensigns flags from 'Mike Alsop Scale Flags' for a finishing feature as recommended by pmdevlin in an earlier blog post 👍

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by figtree7nts on the 6th May 2017
I must ask where did you find "white" heat shrink tubing?
Response by robbob on the 6th May 2017
I had already made the upper rigging ropes and forward stay rope using black heat shrink but I thought that the lower ropes might look better with white so I did a search on eBay and found a few suppliers of white (and many other colours) in the very small size I needed.
I suppose I could also re-make the other ropes using the white but that's not a priority at the moment. I'm making the Kent Clearview screen at the moment and that is giving me a few headaches 😡, I think I might be obsessing a bit on minor detail but I think the challenges are what makes scale modelling what it is. And they keep the mind and the fingers nimble 😁
Response by BOATSHED on the 6th May 2017
Your attention to detail on this is so amazing, I wish I had the patience that you have. But that has been all the way through everything you have done on this build. You must be nearing the end soon. I cannot wait to see a video of her running on the water.
The boat hooks. - Posted: 30th Apr 2017
I stumbled on the boat hooks whilst scouring eBay for some other bits and bobs, they came as a set of three but the poles were too short to be scale accurate but I bought a set anyway and replaced the supplied poles with some 3mm mahogany dowel of the right scale length.
The hooks themselves are made of white metal and are quite delicate so some care was needed in cleaning them up for painting.
I etch primed them first and then brush painted them with some silver metallic acrylic before epoxy fixing them to the poles which I had sprayed with a satin finish lacquer.
The retaining brackets were made from some 22 gauge brass cut into a 3mm strip and formed into a lipped retainer.
These brackets were pierced to take a 1mm brass dome head pin which was soft soldered in place and then etch primed and brush painted with ‘gun metal’ grey acrylic.
A 1mm hole was drilled into the cabin sides in the correct positions according to the drawings and the brackets glued in place.
The brackets retain the poles quite firmly and I think they give the boat some interesting detail 😁

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by justintime2001 on the 3rd May 2017
It’s an absolute pleasure watching and reading the progress of your build Rob. The detail and intricacy that has gone into the build is exceptional. Very impressive work sir, thank you for allowing us to follow.
Response by robbob on the 3rd May 2017
I'm very flattered by your kind remarks, it's been quite an enjoyable process and I've learnt a lot about model boat building and quite a few new skills too.
The boat is getting quite near to completion now, just a few more things on the list to do:
The windows and frames, Kent clearview screen, anchor & mounting, mast & rigging, suction hoses, interior & exterior lighting and installing the propulsion and radio kit.

Once all the heavy stuff is on board I will be able to get the all-up weight and put it in the test tank (bath) to see if she actually floats 😲!!. I'm hoping that it sits somewhere close to the waterline on the hull, might need some ballasting ?, won't really know until the maiden voyage.
I hope you have been successful in finding a buyer for all your kit, I was really looking forward to seeing your build blog.
Best wishes and get well soon.
Response by John on the 3rd May 2017
I am impressed!
The scramble nets. - Posted: 29th Apr 2017
The scramble nets were a particular challenge that I wasn't looking forward to making and at first I looked for something ready-made and I found a manufacturer of sports and bird netting. They make a net for golf driving ranges that looked to have almost the right dimensions and construction so I called them and requested a sample, which they very obligingly supplied.
However, when it arrived the ‘rope’ looked far too thin for a realistic scale and the squares slightly too large and furthermore it could only be bought by the square metre with a minimum order of 4 metres so it would have been very expensive for the small amount I actually needed 😱.
And so as I couldn’t find anything else remotely similar or suitable I resigned myself to making the nets from scratch.
After some research and scale calculations I decided I needed a 2mm diameter twisted black polypropylene cord for the nets and I found some on good old eBay for a few pounds for a 30 metre length.
The next hurdle was forming the netting squares and I initially tried to produce a net by tying ‘square’ knots which are used to make real ‘cargo’ and ‘climbing nets’. I found a helpful YouTube video demonstrating how to tie the knots, at which I had some success, but with such a small diameter cord and big fingers I soon gave up on that idea 😡.
The successful method involved marking out a square grid on a piece of ply and nailing brass pins on the edges from which a net of cord was formed, and where the cords crossed I used a hollow needle, which I made from some brass tube and rod ground to a sharp needle point, to form the joint.
The needle was used to pierce the twist of the vertical cord and draw the horizontal cord through the twist, this was repeated to form a neat and accurate net structure.
After adjusting the cords to form accurate squares I applied a small drop of superglue to each joint to lock the cords together.
The completed net was trimmed at the sides and the hot tip of my small soldering iron used to melt the polypropylene cord ends to neaten them up.
The net was secured to the rails on the cabin roof by passing the cords through a short piece of black heat shrink tube and then passed under the rail and back through the heat shrink tube.
I used the clean tip of a small soldering iron to shrink the tubing down around the cords as using my heat gun for the job would also easily remove the paint from the roof 😱.
I made a bar for the bottom of the net from some 4mm dowel drilled with 2.5mm holes at the same spacing as the net, this was stained mahogany and given a few coats of lacquer as a finish.
The cords were passed through the dowel and secured in a similar fashion as the top fixing with heat shrink.
The end result of this process is a scramble net of more or less the correct scale as the real thing that, when rolled up on the cabin roof, looks pretty good… least to my eye 😎.
A lot of effort and thought went into making the first one… all I’ve got to do is make another one for the other side 😓.

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by BOATSHED on the 30th Apr 2017
Many thanks Rob for the information and also to rolfman 2000 as I have 2 x 48" ans ! 34.5" RAF Crash Tenders. as well as a 28" that I scaled down. On that I have used an old fishing landing net that I have cut up. It is of the holes tied together type,knotted , as they are now illegal to use.
Regards Tom.
Response by robbob on the 30th Apr 2017
Hi Boatshed.
I have given you some duff information, the cord spacing I have used is actually 1 inch (25mm).
I wrote my response from memory but as I'm now making the second net I realised my error.
Response by rolfman2000 on the 30th Apr 2017
Hi Rob. That's not really a problem. It just means that the 34" model scramble nets will be 18.75mm spacing. No hassles mate. Thanks for letting us know. Best wishes, Dave
The foam tanks. - Posted: 24th Apr 2017
I need to make the foam tanks as two separately removable items to allow the deck to be removed for access to the rudder servo etc.
The most intricate part of the foam tanks is undoubtedly the gratings that go over the top of them, fortunately there is a ready-made grating available that makes their construction unnecessary 👍👍.
I bought this from, the grating ’WG7’ that they supply is dimensionally perfect for the job and can be easily assembled into the shape required.
The casing for the foam tanks was made from a combination of materials, the base is 4mm ply, the back is 2mm ply, the front and sides are 2mm plasticard and the top is 1.5mm plasticard.
The grating panel was assembled to the correct length and width for the scale and bordered with some 3mm x 4mm mahogany strip, the grating does not run the full length of the foam tanks and there is a plain section to the rear which will be a plasticard infill.
The wood and plastic panels were all cut by knife and only needed the edges trued up with a small plane.
All the joints were fixed with superglue with a reinforcing piece on the inside of the joint for strength. At all stages the assembly was checked for square and size and dry fitted in the deck well to check for fit.
The grating panel was sanded to a smooth finish and a light mahogany stain applied to just the outer mahogany frame as I quite liked the contrast between the light and the dark woods, they were then sprayed with several coats of satin lacquer and set aside to dry.
Before glueing the tank tops in place some short bracing pieces were fitted for rigidity.
The tanks were given a rub down with fine abrasive paper as a key and sprayed with two light coats of grey primer and then a final paint finish of BS631 RAF Light Grey, the same as the rest of the superstructure.
The two infill panels were painted the same and then epoxied into the grating panels.
Before fixing the gratings to the top of the tanks some mahogany trim was applied to the tank sides.
I need to devise a method of holding the tanks in place on the deck, probably with some of those small but tenacious little magnets that can be let into the bases of the tanks and concealed on the underside of the deck panel.
I’ll need to make the suction hoses soon and that will involve a bit a brass turning by ’you know who’ so I’d better get busy with some engineering drawing for the man with the lathe 😉

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by rolfman2000 on the 24th Apr 2017
I've watched this blog from the start, and will see it to the end. I am still enthralled with the build as I have loved Fireboats since I was knee high to a grasshopper 😊 Thanks for many handy tips and insights into the build. Also the introduction of, which I am sure will be a well used source from now on. 😀 Best wishes, Dave
Response by robbob on the 24th Apr 2017
Hi Dave.
Glad you're enjoying the blog.
Modellingtimbers is operated by a very nice chap called Keith Jewell who was extremely helpful to me in choosing the correct scale grating, a real 'diamond' of a chap.

PS. If you really like fireboats and my build has inspired you, check out the very comprehensive kit of parts that justintime2001 is selling, it's an incredible bargain for the asking price, and you can use my build blog as the set of instructions (far better that the ones supplied with the kit 😜). Rob.
The cockpit steps. - Posted: 21st Apr 2017
A little bit more cockpit detailing....there's quite a lot to do in there and I want it to look as good as some of the inspiring examples that I have seen on other boats...sorry if I have stolen your ideas 😜
The cockpit steps were made from some 12mm x 3mm mahogany strip that I made up from some 10mm strip glued together and then cut down to the required width.
The supplied drawing was to the correct scale so I was able to use this as a template, but one of the legs of each ladder needs to be slightly longer on one side because of the curvature of the tow-hook deck onto which the ladders are fixed. The treads were cut to the correct width and length and the forward edge rounded slightly. After marking the correct height of the treads on the sides I drilled some small holes through the sides into the treads for some 1mm brass rod to reinforce the glued joint. The steps were assembled using superglue and the brass rod helped to keep the piece square and true as the glue set.
The protruding brass rod was then cut and filled flush with the sides. After a light sanding a mahogany stain was applied to enhance the colour and then few coats of satin lacquer sprayed to give the final finish.
The steps will be fixed through the deck with some hex head wood screws from the underside so that they meet the bulkhead at the upper end without any fixing.

I think they have come out quite well 😁.

I'm making the foam tanks just at the moment....and I thought the steps were fiddly !! 😲

Attached Photos - Click To View Large
The servo mount. - Posted: 17th Apr 2017
I had originally made a platform and a servo mount out of ply to go in the stern compartment but I found that there was very little clearance left between the top of the servo and the underside of the cockpit deck and the arm and push-rod could foul on something, so I decided to scrap what I had made and invest in something a bit better engineered.
I found quite a neat CNC machined aluminium mount on eBay that looked ideal and so I ordered one at a cost of just under £5 including delivery from China.
I have not previously bought anything directly from a Chinese seller as I’d heard bad things about long delivery times and getting clobbered for import duty and such but I thought I’d risk it anyway.
Surprisingly it arrived about 10 days later without extra costs and is quite well engineered.
I decided to fix the servo mount to the bulkhead on some 15mm nylon PCB spacers with an internal 3mm tapped thread that I had in my electronics bits box.
This was to allow the servo arm to move unrestricted over it’s travel arc.
I used a servo tester to check the operation and it works a treat and looks a million times better that my original mount.
I’ll probably replace the clevis attachments for a ball & socket type at a later stage.

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by Dave M on the 17th Apr 2017
If there is a height difference then a ball on the servo arm is possibly the best option.
My 34" Crash Tender uses a max of 30deg but at speed I cannot use more than about 5-10 deg. I use a Futaba 6Ex and have two settings controlled by a switch to reduce the servo travel.
Paul (PMDevlin) would be the best person to advise you on your model as he has one and its stable and goes fast!
Response by pmdevlin on the 17th Apr 2017
Hi Rob, personally I would keep the clevises, it will make fine tuning much easier than the ball and socket. As Dave said its about 35 degrees, but you radio can play a big part here. I use a spectrum dx6i. So I have dual rates and exponential settings, and use these when at speed, and then going slow. I wont bore you with this as you may know what I am talking about, if not let me know Ill explain, but I need to know if your radio accommodates this, virtually all digital transmitters will have this.
Response by robbob on the 17th Apr 2017
Hi Paul.
I have ordered some ball joints from CMB so I'll try one out on the servo arm anyway and leave the clevis and adjuster on the tiller to see if it does the job.
My radio is a Turnigy TGY-i6 from Hobbyking.
I think it has the features you mention but I'm definitely a newbie to digital radio systems so this is all new territory for me.
The tow hook stays. - Posted: 16th Apr 2017
The tow hook stays brace the tow hook by tying the tow hook deck to the keel to transfer the load when the boat is towing a seaplane and is a simple structure on the full size boat but as scale feature is quite tricky to reproduce.
It also has to be made to allow the rear well deck to be removed for access to the rudder servo etc. so this took a bit of thinking about how to make it easily removable.🤔
As my brass working skills seem to be improving I decided to make this in brass for strength and durability.
Mike Cummings at Vintage Model Works had previously very generously supplied me with a set of drawings which included the tow hook detail and these were of great help in the making process.👍😊
First I marked out the fixing plate on some 22 gauge brass and cut and filed it to the correct shape and then two pieces of 6mm brass tube cut to the correct angle where they meets the plate.
After some measurement and geometric juggling the cockpit deck was marked with the positions of the holes that the bracing stays pass through and I used my brass ‘cookie cutter’ to make two neat holes through the decking planks for the flanges that the stays pass through but in this case the tubes will finish just below deck level to allow it to be removed.
These flanges were made from some 14swg brass plate, filed to a circular shape and with the centre hole pierced and filed to an angle for the tube to pass through with a small clearance gap to allow them to hinge on the two brass pins that I drilled and inserted into the flanges. This hinging feature allows the towing stay assembly to hinge back slightly to aid removal.
I drilled the upper ends of the tubes where they meet the fixing plate to take two brass pins that will hold the parts securely in place while soldering and two temporary brass bracing pieces were then soft soldered to the tubes to hold them at the correct angles and separation.
All the parts were thoroughly cleaned and assembled and silver soldered together and then the soft soldered braces were removed and the whole assembly cleaned up with abrasive and wire wool.
Two false bolt heads were soft soldered to the plate to add a finishing detail, the centre fixing is a cap head threaded screw that fixes the assembly to the cockpit bulkhead.
I sprayed two light coats of etch primed and when dry brush painted the whole piece with two coats of ‘gun metal’ grey.
Happily the part sits perfectly in place on the deck and hinges back easily as intended so that removal and re-fitting is simple…unlike the process involved in conceiving and making the part 🤓

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by pmdevlin on the 16th Apr 2017
nice job with that Rob, I fail miserably at silver soldering, never seem to be able to get things hot enough
Response by robbob on the 16th Apr 2017
Thanks Paul.
I bought myself a new butane torch, as seen in one if the pix, as the 'pencil' type I used previously just couldn't deliver the required heat and my regular plumbing blowtorch was too large and unwieldy.
My problem with silver soldering is putting too much solder into the joint and spending too much time filing away the surplus, 'less is more' as they say.

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