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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: 97   Photos: 589   Subscribers: 21   Views: 38850   Responses: 278   |   Most recent posts shown first   (Show oldest first)

Showing page 1 of 10   |   Jump to page: 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10
The next project........... - Posted: 8th Nov 2018
Since completing this model have started work on a new boat and I promised those following my Crash Tender build blog that I would post an update here.

The new model is a ‘Thames River Police Launch’ constructed from a kit by Vintage Model Works.

The new blog is here:

I'll try to update the blog regularly as I have plenty of 'photos detailing the construction since June 2018.

I hope that you will enjoy following this new build and I welcome all comments and suggestions...... and if you like the updates please hit the 'like' button 👍


Attached Photos - Click To View Large
Sea Trials and mods. - Posted: 7th Aug 2018
It’s been a while since the boat had it’s maiden voyage on the lake at St. Albans and I’m pleased to report that it looks really good in the water and goes like stink if you open up the throttle.

Sadly I still don’t have any decent video of the boat yet as I can’t film and drive the thing at the same time, but I do have some static wide shots from my GoPro.

When I do the video I’ll ask a cameraman mate to do the honours, maybe I’ll put the GoPro on the bow and then the stern to get some low action shots…the storyboard is already building in my head!!

These early runs were great as they showed up some minor problems that needed attending to.
I found that it needed ballasting slightly as it was not sitting on the waterline evenly from side to side so I flattened out some old lead water pipe and cut it into small sections so that I could add ballast incrementally.
I did this in the ‘domestic test tank’ and once I was happy the lead pieces were fixed in place inside the hull with some super strong double sided tape.

The ESC needed a little programming adjustment because I had forgotten to set the low battery level point to ‘off’ as I am using NiMh batteries and not LiPo’s , that was the cause of the short initial run time on the first outing…..DOH !!

The batteries are now held in place by Velcro straps on some bearers that I added, otherwise a battery change involved cutting cable ties and replacing them at the lakeside…not very practical.
The volt/amp/watt meter is also now on a proper bracket so that the display is more readable.
I have also changed the charging connection from the nasty Tamiya connector to a nice little panel mount XT 60 connector that HobbyKing sell, it comes with a handy blanking plug that I have drilled for a retaining cord.

I have also finally got around to upgrading the firmware on my Turnigy i6 radio to the 10 channel version so that I can assign the lighting to the switches properly and have the rotation of the searchlight on one of the two rotary knobs.

I can use the old 6 channel RX in the new boat….blog coming soon.

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by robbob on the 7th Aug 2018
Hi Michael.
I know what you mean about distractions, I'm building an Amati 'ship in a bottle' model of the American warship 'Hannah' for my 5 year old granddaughter, also called Hannah.
It's a real challenge on the eyes and fingers...seemed like a good idea at the time...🤓
If you want to see the Crash Tender close-up and have a chat I'll be showing it at the St. Albans model club exhibition in September, details are on the 'events' page.
Response by BOATSHED on the 12th Jan 2019
Wow Robbob, I have just seen the video of your Crash Tender. She is amazing. Looks great on the water. I just love the way these hulls sit on the water. Virtually no roll at all, it's as if they are glued to the waters surface. The Aerokits Crash Tender was my very first boat back int 1959, it was my 9th birthday present and my father and I started to a build. But he wasn't happy about building the original kit straight outright. As our first ever build, he brought home broken down tea chests and orange boxes and he got me to draw round all the parts and he went on to cut each piece out with a nice new fretsaw. So as the first one went together and it seemed to go well then the Aerokits one followed on. He then bought me a ED Hunter 3.46cc Diesel engine for my Christmas present that year. I say he I should say my parents both bought them for me. Sadly I never got to have radio control in it. I was weird as we went on to build another five in all. One was given to my younger brother, his had a Taycol Standard in it, and I had the job of taking the accumulator to the local model shop to have it charged up as we never had a charger for it. I think they used to charge something like a shilling each time it was done. The other five that we built he actually gave away to friends and one even went to the milkman. I still have a 34 and a 46 inch still new in boxes. The 34" is an original that Was Released in 1994 by Aerokits on the 50th Anniversary and the 46" is a VMW kit. I have a 46" to refurbish and have scaled one down and built a 28" in Balsa wood. As well as a 46" PT 109 with a 26cc in her that also sits on the water the same way. Sorry to waffle on it just brings back old memories. I'll leave it there. I just love your Build such detail.
Response by BOATSHED on the 23rd Jan 2019
I have just been watching your video again of your Crash Tender on the water. I do have a couple more questions, first is what motor is in her and second is she going full throttle on the water or not. Sorry to be nosey.
Display stand and transport case. - Posted: 9th Sep 2017
In preparation for the first public showing of my boat I have made a new display stand that looks a bit prettier than the first one I made.
It’s designed to be more in proportion to the boat and to give a better view of the hull and I have included some stickers that are available in the site shop and also some Vintage Model Works logos kindly supplied by Mike Cummings at VMW 👍

As a finishing touch I have ordered an engraved brass plate giving some details of the original craft.
I also found a wheeled flight case on eBay that the boat fits into perfectly without any adjustment to the existing foamed interior but I will have to re-make the mast to allow it to fold down for safety, not bad for £50 😁

The new stand fits into the base of the flight case but the boat also sits on some foam blocks for added support.

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by hmsnostalgia on the 4th Nov 2017
Well Robbob, congratulations on whetting your baby's head, sorry, it's perfect botty 👍. I LOVE Your attention to detail & quest for perfection, and I can't wait to see it in person!!. What's next Rob?. 👍
Response by robbob on the 5th Nov 2017
Hi Hmsnostalgia and welcome to the website.
Glad you are enjoying my blog and thanks for your complementary remarks.
What next?, well I'll be starting a new boat quite soon and posting a build blog once I have enough verbiage and pictures to post this space 😜.
I may be going to the Warwickshire show next weekend, might see you there👍.
Response by Mariner85 on the 1st Dec 2018
Beautiful craft. Like the detail!
Secure the hatches and raise the flags ! - Posted: 9th Jul 2017
Having spent so much time adding fittings and detail to the removable cabin roofs and hatches the last thing I want is for them to be dislodged and see them sink without trace 😱!
Having used some amazingly strong neodymium magnets to hold the foam tanks securely in the rear well I was confident that they would be more than powerful enough to hold the various roofs and hatches in place so I scoured eBay for some suitable sizes and shapes.
I settled on two sizes, 25x6x3mm and 12x6x3mm and ordered 10 of each, more than I need but so useful to have in the bits box.
A word of caution with these magnets, always slide them apart and avoid letting them crash together as the impact can easily break them into pieces, as I discovered. Thankfully I have some spares !
For the engine roof magnets I made a couple of small plywood brackets into which the larger magnets are fixed with epoxy and these were in turn epoxied onto the inside faces of the engine room walls.
The mating magnets were let into the underside of the roof frame and firmly glued in place after double checking the mating polarity and orientation.
An identical method was used for the forward cabin roof but using the smaller magnets.
For the removable panel in the centre section over the motor I used a single pair of small magnets on the rear edge only as the front of this panel is held under the cabin door in a rebated part of the floor that forms the threshold of the door.
I had to fit a small brass handle in the rear of this panel so that I could pull the panel up and away as there is no other means of doing so without, I made a ‘hook tool’ from some brass wire for this purpose.
The floor panel in the rear cockpit is secured on it’s rear edge by a pair of the larger magnets, the forward edge being held down by the towing hook bracing stays.
The removable hatch in the rear cockpit floor was also fitted with two pairs of the smaller magnets let into the underside of the hatch and the hatch framing of the floor. One of the brass handles that I that had previously set into the hatch was bent up slightly so that I could use my brass ‘hook tool’ to release it from the magnets hold.
So now all the roofs and hatches are firmly secured by the concealed magnets and are easily removable without any fiddly catches or fixings and now there’s now very little chance of them coming adrift and disappearing!
The final finishing detail are the two RAF ensigns, one on the mast and one on the stern flagstaff.
The ensigns were made by Mike Allsop Scale Flags & Ensigns who was very helpful and advised me on the most suitable sizes for the 1:12 scale of my boat.
His flags are extremely well made, excellent value for money and look very realistic when flying and fluttering !!

Mike can be contacted at: or by telephone on 01476 573331

They are hand made from a fine and flexible silk cloth that behaves like a real flag even in a slight breeze and are easy to fix with diluted PVA glue. The smaller flag was fitted to the lanyard on the mast as described in the supplied instruction sheet.
The ensign on the stern flagstaff was very carefully formed and glued so that the flag was not fixed in one place and could rotate around the shaft of the flagstaff as this piece screws into a brass fitting on the rear deck and this will ensure that it will always find it’s own position.
A small brass ring was formed and glued to the flagstaff below the ensign so it would always stay at the top and not slip down.

So, all hatches battened down, flags raised and ready for action.

That’s just about everything finished now barring any trimming and ballasting required and is ready for it’s maiden voyage.

I hope that all of you that have been following my blog have had as much enjoyment reading about my build as I have had in the building and finishing process 😁

And a big thank you to all that have contributed so much with encouraging comments, suggestions and advice 👏 😍

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by RNinMunich on the 21st Jul 2017
Jarvo is right, look here

cheers Doug 😎
Response by robbob on the 21st Jul 2017
Hi Colin.

Welcome to the forum and congratulations on your good choice of model 👍.

I bought all of the brass pins I used from a UK based eBay seller

I can't imagine that something similar would not be available in Oz, try a good joinery or cabinet makers supply outlet.

I mostly used the 15mm size and used, quite surprisingly, a total of around 500 😱.
These pins have a tapered head rather than a flat one so that they can be punched flush, or just below the surface of the wood very easily.
This is important when pinning the side and bottom skins so that the pin hole can be filled and sanded to give a very smooth surface for finishing.
Also, when pinning the thin wood strips always pre-drill the wood to stop the wood from splitting.
I'm not sure if CMB supply this type but Javro, who replied earlier, may be able to confirm this.

Good luck with the build and please do think about posting a build blog on this site and ask as many questions as you need to.

As I discovered, the help and advice you will get will be invaluable.

Response by molly on the 6th Jul 2018
many thanks i will try them and again thanks for all your advice, colin
The electrics, drive & radio - Posted: 3rd Jul 2017
The switch panel and wiring loom was made, tested and dry fitted a while ago and so it only needs securing to the bulkhead with four fixing screws, the two NiMh batteries were strapped down to the bearers with cable ties as close to the chines as possible and the XT60 connectors mated.
I have read that placing the heavy batteries as far away from the keel as possible improves the handling, all other heavy items are centered along the keel for symmetry and should help the boat to sit evenly in the water. I’m not sure if I will need to do any ballasting, hopefully the maiden voyages should give me an indication.
The prop shaft was greased and fitted, and with the prop, thrust washers and lock nuts in place, the clearance was adjusted and locked with some Loctite so the motor could then be installed.
The initial motor alignment was made with a solid coupler which was then replaced with the universal joint, I took the precaution to grind a flat on the motor shaft so that the locking grub screw has better grip on the shaft.
The grease tube was then fitted to the shaft clamp and secured to the side of the switch panel.
The ESC was fixed to the back of the bulkhead with another couple of cable ties and the input cables, again XT60 types, and the three pole XT60 motor connectors mated.
I have also fitted a Turnigy in-line volt, amp and watt meter in the circuit before the ESC so that I can log readings in case of spurious fuse blowing issues or unexpected battery life problems.
The water cooling tubes were then run from the water pickup, through the ESC and then back to the transom ‘exhaust’ outlet, all water connections are fitted with spring clips to ensure water tight connections. I have used quite a large bore silicone tubing to ensure maximum water flow and made sure that all bends are kink and compression free.
The R/C receiver is fixed to the rear cabin wall with some Velcro pads for easy removal, the two aerials were fitted in some plastic tubing at 90 degrees to each other as recommended for 2.4 gig systems and as high above the waterline as possible.
The receiver is connected to a separate 4.8 volt NiMh battery via a changeover switch that also has a charging connection and LED power indicator, and I have also fitted a battery voltage indicator, just because they are cheap and convenient although the R/C system that I have has telemetry that reports RX voltage as standard.
The battery charger I have chosen can handle the 16 cell series configuration of the drive batteries and so they can be charged in-situ when the main power switch is toggled over to the charge position.
The RX and lighting batteries are charged separately.
All of the servo and lighting switch cables are routed through the hull to the receiver through pre drilled holes in the bulkheads at high level for neatness and to retain the integrity of each compartment just in case 😲!!.
The servo and cables and the water cooling tubes are strapped to a supporting bar between the bulkheads for neatness and security.
With the TX switched on first, the RX is then powered up and the main power switch toggled to the ‘operate’ position, the ESC then gives a reassuring series of bleeps that confirm that all is well.
The ESC was set up using a Turnigy programming card specifically for that model of controller and if required I can tweak the settings once the boat has had a few sailings.
The last things to do now are to fit some strong magnets to hold the hatches and roofs down securely and then finally raise the RAF ensigns 😁

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by canabus on the 8th Jul 2017
Hi Robbob
I see you have a Turnigy motor is your boat with what type of prop?
At present I have a 3648-1450kv with a 40 mm 2 blade prop.
I have not ran the boat as so, but I think it will work.
I received my planned motor is week a Turnigy L5055c-700kv-1600watts and a 52mm 2 blade prop.
I have two 4S 5800mah batteries ready for my boat.
The other motor as of today is moving into a Precedent Huntsman 34 which I won on line.
Response by robbob on the 8th Jul 2017
Hi Canabus.
The prop is a 50mm 2 blade X type, I have yet to run the boat but I'll be happy with a scale speed rather than speed performance.😁
Response by canabus on the 8th Jul 2017
HI Robbob
Depends on the motor power, kv and size batteries.
My club mate runs a Spearfish on a 3639-1100kv 800watts with a 2 blade X50 and we GPS it at high 30s(KPH).
A bit smaller boat, but, it's quick.
As it is winter in Tasmania 4-5 hours in the shed in the middle of the day is cool and we have not been hit with bad weather so far!!!
With the repaint of my Sea Hornet and painting of my new runabout, the tender is still going to be in the water next summer(finished or not).
Also I have a Huntsman arriving tomorrow that requires a lot of TLC !!!!
The suction hoses – part 4. - Posted: 21st Jun 2017
After test fitting the hose ends to establish the correct lengths the hoses were trimmed to size and the fittings were then glued into the hose ends with some epoxy.
On the real boat the hoses are arranged to lay on the tops of the foam tanks and they are supported on the stern coaming by a bronze hook.
I formed this hook from some brass sheet so that it holds the hoses firmly one above the other, this was primed and finished in gunmetal grey and fixed to the coaming with a couple of brass rivets and a spot of epoxy.
For a bit of extra security I cut some large diameter heat shrink to form some bands around the hoses to hold them together.
So now the hoses are all finished and I think they look really good, I’ll probably re-polish the brass fittings and apply a light coat of lacquer to keep them nice and shiny at a later stage 😎

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by Missouri on the 24th Jun 2017
The hoses, along with every other aspect of the build are really good. The boat is a credit to model making. It's wonderful that the asylum has these facilities, and modelling is such good therapy 😉. You must show the boat in action now. Well done bro.😊
Response by robbob on the 24th Jun 2017
Thanks you for your generous words kind sir. Model making is indeed a good therapy and I'm so grateful that the staff here allow me to use sharp implements unsupervised but I still have to wear the special jacket which is rather limiting 😜 Must go now...have to take my meds.....
PS. who is bro?
Response by BOATSHED on the 25th Jun 2017
?? Asylum ?? So which one are you in. You must find it hard in that canvus jacket doing all those fiddly bit's. I find it hard to do move about in mine. But then Alice Cooper found he could do things in his. 😊.
The suction hoses – part 3. - Posted: 20th Jun 2017
The remaining hose fittings are the male & female connectors and fortunately require nothing more than drilling to take the four short brass ‘turning handles’ which were soft soldered in place and then filed to length.
The suction hoses themselves proved far more difficult to make to a satisfactory standard and after several experiments with different gauges of copper, steel and stainless steel wire I found a 1.25mm galvanised ‘garden wire’ that proved malleable enough to be formed into a long coil spring that when covered with some black heat shrink tube looked OK.
I used a length of 8mm diameter aluminium tube as a former and hand wound the galvanised wire tightly around the tube to form a spring. This was a painful process, quite literally, and caused blisters on my thumb and forefingers despite wearing protective gloves 😭
The springs were then stretched out on the rod to space the coils evenly and then drawn through the heat shrink tube, and then a heat gun used to shrink down the tube onto the springs.
While the newly formed hoses were still warm and pliable I put them on a former with the correct curvature and applied a little more heat and then left them to cool and set.
The hoses were made over length so that, when finished, I could trim them to the correct lengths to fit into the rear well of the boat with the fittings attached.
See part 4 for the final assembly...coming soon.

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by colinstevens on the 21st Jun 2017
outstanding work sir
Response by Dave M on the 21st Jun 2017
Very impressive looking hoses.
Next time you should ask your lathe helper to make the spring for you an his lathe, it will be a lot less painful.
Response by mbarker on the 8th Jul 2017
Nice way to make hoses ! , very good !. 😁
The suction hoses – part 2. - Posted: 11th Jun 2017
The next piece I tackled was the bulkhead connector to which the assembled hose is connected.
This is not a particularly complex piece but I had to engineer it’s attachment to the bulkhead to allow for easy removal.
As with the suction pickup I added four short pieces of brass as turning handles to the ‘cover cap’ for the want of a better description, this cap would be undone to reveal the male connector of the pump intake and the cap would have a retaining chain. This chain would presumably be attached to the bulkhead in some way but I needed it to attach to the base of the fitting.
I drilled a hole through the spigot on the cover cap and formed a loop from some brass wire for the chain attachment. Similarly I drilled the base and made another wire loop for the chain attachment there. I didn’t have any suitable chain so I thought I would have a go at making some by winding about 20 turns of brass wire around a piece of thin brass rod which I then cut through lengthwise with a hacksaw to produce some brass loops. These loops were then flattened, linked and closed to form the chain and a short length of the finished chain attached to the fitting. Very fiddly work and a test of the eyesight 🤓

As mentioned, I needed to make the fitting easily removable without using screws or a threaded stud as it needs to be removed without tools to allow the cockpit floor to be lifted out.
To achieve this I put a 3mm thread into the rear of the fitting and then threaded a piece of 3mm brass rod to go into that.
I made a retainer to go into the bulkhead that would provide a friction fit for the hose connector.
This was made from a short length of 3mm I/D brass tube set into another short supporting piece of 4mm I/D tube and a piece of 14 swg brass plate, all the parts were silver soldered together with the 3mm tube protruding the plate by the thickness of the bulkhead. The 3mm tube was cut crossways to form some ‘fingers’ that will grip the 3mm shaft of the fitting. To provide extra grip I used a piece of rubber sleeve and a small pipe clip over the ‘fingers’.
This piece was glued into a 4mm hole in the bulkhead with the end of the tube flush with the bulkhead.
The hose connecter is then pushed into this retainer with a firm friction grip but is easily removed without any tools.

Definitely getting the hang of working with brass now 😁
Still not inclined to by a lathe though 😜
The remaining fittings should be a lot easier...I hope.

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by robbob on the 11th Jun 2017
Hi Boatshed.
Possibly two more on the hoses and then a few more on remaining bits & bobs.

Maiden voyage very soon.

Already thinking about what to build next... suggestions ?

Response by BOATSHED on the 12th Jun 2017
Looking forward to seeing the fully finished Crash Tender and video of her on the water.
What about a Vosper MTB with motorized torpedo's.
Not exploding though.
Response by robbob on the 12th Jun 2017
Interesting suggestion...perhaps not the functional torpedo's, a bit anti social perhaps.
There was an Aerokits Patrol Torpedo Boat on eBay very recently that I was tempted by, but the bids went too high.
I'm thinking something more sedate but not sure what.
Maybe a cabin cruiser ?
The suction hoses – part 1. - Posted: 10th Jun 2017
One of the distinctive features of the RAF fire boats are the suction hoses in the rear well of the boat, and they were something that I was keen to reproduce with some accuracy. They have been very successfully modelled by others and there are some fine examples of their construction on this site and consequently a wealth of tips and ideas on how to make them and I have shamelessly taken the best of them to make my own.
The key elements are, of course, the fitting at the hose ends which probably would have been originally made of cast bronze or brass and machined and jointed to couple together to form the complete hose.
To replicate this in anything other than brass would not be doing justice to the model, and as you may be aware, I have a brother who is also a skilled model maker, and he has a lathe and has previously made some excellent brass fitting for me.
I started by studying the few photographs of the boat and some drawings supplied to me by Mike Cumming at Vintage Model Works and I made up some engineering drawings, one for each fitting, and emailed them off to my brother. I also ordered some 15mm brass bar to be delivered to him for the fittings and once he had approved my drawings, set about machining the parts.
A while later the parts duly arrived in the post and they were excellently made exactly as my drawings and so I then set about adding some more detail to them.
I only have one set of these fittings so I can’t afford to make any mistakes and ruin them 😱
The most challenging fitting to be tackled was the suction pickup into which I wanted to inset some stainless steel filter mesh, so I carefully measured and marked off the areas of metal that needed to be removed.
With the piece in the drill vice I cut a series of holes which were gradually enlarged, and then the remaining metal removed with files to form the square apertures.
The collar of the fitting was then drilled to take some short brass rod ‘handles’ which were soft soldered in place and then filed to length.
The stainless steel mesh was cut to fit inside the fitting with the join concealed behind part of the brass. The circular end cap was made by pressing the mesh into a piece of brass tube the same diameter as the inside of the fitting using a piece of brass bar as a mandrel.
After thoroughly cleaning the fitting with some wire wool the mesh filter pieces were finally epoxied in place.
That’s the most difficult piece out of the way, much to my relief.
One down, four to go 😁

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by robbob on the 10th Jun 2017
Hi Paul.
I thought I might try lamp black and a steel scribe but couldn't find a candle to make a dirty flame. Masking tape and pencil worked just as well.😁
Response by BOATSHED on the 11th Jun 2017
I know you said you have a wizard behind the scene's, ( your brother I believe ) but you have drawn up the plans and sent him.
Then finished the job how you wanted it. So the idea's have come from you. just fantastic.
Response by colinstevens on the 12th Jun 2017
They look the business. Well Done.👍
The Anchor. - Posted: 6th Jun 2017
I had previously assembled and primed the anchor, having added a little additional detail to the white metal castings, as described in a previous blog update.
I subsequently added some plasticard pieces to the arm of the anchor to thicken it slightly so that I could fit a small brass shackle as a finishing detail.
The final paint finish is Tamiya gunmetal metallic to match some other deck fittings.
The anchor is held in place on the foredeck by a small double sided adhesive foam pad beneath the anchor base and the mounting pad it sits on.
The base and arm is also retained on two other mounting pads buy couple of ‘staples’ that were formed by heating and bending some thin Plasticard rod into shape and they are just a push fit into some holes drilled into the mounting pads.
The fixings are quite secure but as with many other items of deck furniture it can be easily removed for maintenance or repair.

Sorry this is not a particularly exciting or interesting post but the next will be the suction hoses and fittings which were quite a challenge and will hopefully be a great deal less boring 😜

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by mbarker on the 9th Jul 2017
I like the anchor , such detail !👍
Response by molly on the 5th Jul 2018
hi may i ask what size planking you used on the floors and how did you get the black effect between planks, many thanks colin👍
Response by robbob on the 5th Jul 2018
Hi Molly.
The planking is 7mm x 1.5mm Maple and the caulking is 0.7mm black plasticard.
Have a look at the 'Planking' sections in this blog to see how it was done.

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