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>> Home > Boat Building Blogs > 36" Thames River Police Launch
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mdlbt.com/47891
36" Thames River Police Launch Print Booklet
Author: robbob   Posts: 17   Photos: 137   Subscribers: 6   Views: 3197   Responses: 84   |   Most recent posts shown first   (Show oldest first)

Showing page 2 of 2   |   Jump to page: 1   2  

mdlbt.com/48999
Internal wiring & bottom skins - Posted: 21st Dec 2018
Because I am keen to conceal as much of the wiring as possible I have decided to place the battery at the bow and the operational equipment at the stern, the engine on the original boat was central and covered with a soundproof box and this is convenient as the motor can be positioned and concealed in the same way.

This means that some of the wires will have to run the full length of the boat and the easiest way to conceal them is to run them beneath the ‘box’ around which the hull is formed, and this needs to be done before the bottom skins are fitted.
Holes were bored through the bulkhead formers under the port side of the hull and battery cables were run to the stern where the ESC will be and three motor wires from the ESC run to the centre, emerging near the motor position.

For good measure I put in a servo cable and a separate draw wire just in case I needed to put more cabling in for any additional features, perhaps working navigation lights?
Satisfied that I had all the cabling in place I was able to fit the bottom skins starting with the starboard side first.

Before doing so I put a very slight 'hollow' in former F1 which should help blend the shape of the the hull where the ply skins meet the balsa blocks that will to be carved and shaped to form the bow.
This can be seen in the last picture.

The process of forming and fixing the skins is the same as for the side skins but in addition to the pins holding the skins in place I used some brown polythene ‘packing tape’ to pull the skins tightly against the bulkhead formers and strakes.
The packing tape has a very high tensile strength and is ideal for this, and of course cheap and easy to remove.

Once the aliphatic glue had set thoroughly overnight I removed the excess from the skins with a small block plane and finished them with my sanding plate.

Before I fit the skin at the stern I will have to arrange the water cooling for the ESC, with the pickup just behind the prop and the outlet on the stern.

I’ll cover that aspect in the next update.

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by mturpin013 on the 22nd Dec 2018
Hi Rob, I'm really pleased to see construction detail, I suppose in preference to a finished boat, you may ask why? well looking at your pictures, the last two in particular they show the precision of your woodworking skills with a distinct absence of any filler, really nice. Looking at the first picture (top view) is there any reason why the battery and ECS can't go in front and behind the motor addressing the issue of short wiring runs (not that I have a clue about wiring and electronics)
PS. however it looks like its too late as some wiring is already installed and by now the skins are probably on now
Keep up the good work
Response by robbob on the 22nd Dec 2018
Hi Mike.
All the wiring is in place, it's not too late to alter it and the placements but it just creates more problems than it solves, I respect Alan's opinion and words of caution but I hope that his concerns are unfounded.
I'll take the risk.😉
Rob.
Response by mturpin013 on the 23rd Dec 2018
Rob, if all is OK maybe you have proved different to the current thinking, I hope so, because as you know electrics is complicated enough without having to consider the length of the wire, I'm happy if the bulb lights up, that's an achievement!!

mdlbt.com/48925
Fitting the side skins. - Posted: 18th Dec 2018
The side skins are made from 1.5mm ply and require a slight curve towards the bow and I found that this is best achieved by gently warming with a heat gun, which seems to relax the glue between the laminations, so that when bent to a gentle curve and allowed to cool will set the shape very easily.

The skins are supplied are slightly oversize and when the skins have been bent they can be roughly clamped to the hull and then marked for trimming, also while the skin is clamped in place the positions of the bulkhead formers can be marked on the skin.

Back on the bench the skins were trimmed with a craft knife (with a fresh blade) and then drilled with a 1mm bit to allow pinning through into the formers and strakes.

Aliphatic glue was applied to the hull formers and strakes and the skin positioned so that the drilled holes were in correct alignment with the formers and then clamped and pinned in place.
Because the skin was pre-formed to the hull shape the clamps and pins are not under much tension and the hull was set aside while the glue set.

When the port skin had fully set overnight, the pins and clamps were removed and the skin was finished with a plane to remove the excess down to the strakes and the F1 former at the bow and the sanding ‘plate’ used to finish it all off.

Where the side skins meet at the prow there needs to be a wide flat area for the external keel to butt to and so the trimming and sanding there will be done at a later stage before the bow blocks are fitted and carved.

The process was repeated for the starboard side skin and while the glue was setting I gave some thought to a means of concealing some of the wiring that needs to run the length of the hull 🤔.

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by Joe727 on the 30th Dec 2018
Robbob,
Looking back again on some of your earlier posts, I see the plywood skinning that you did. I will be doing this on a future build as I am not the best at planking a hull. Your reference to HEATING THE PLYWOOD is a great tip, I have never tried that. Thanks,
Joe

mdlbt.com/48848
Stern & keel formers - Posted: 15th Dec 2018
Various small pieces, S8 & S9, are added to bulkhead former F7 that create the curvature of the stern which in turn support the outer skin, in addition there are some pieces that are fixed either side of the keel as laminations to add strength and to support the bottom skins where they meet the keel.

The prop shaft has yet to be delivered so I used a length of 8mm plastic rod temporarily in its place so that I could fit the keel laminations K5 around the shaft.

I chose to fit additional pieces on either side of the keel between the bulkhead formers to support the bottom skins and some extra pieces of balsa were fitted at the stern to support the outer skin, and in a similar fashion some extra pieces fitted either side of the keel formers at the prow.

Once all these pieces were firmly set they need to sanded to the profile of the hull, and this is best done with abrasive paper around a sanding block. I made a sanding ‘plate’ from some 6mm MDF with a sheet of 120 grit aluminium oxide abrasive paper glued to it to form a perfectly flat sanding surface and this was used to chamfer and flatten the bulkhead, keel and chine formers so that the outer skins would lay as flat as possible across them.

I also fitted some pieces of ply under the centre section of the box around the keel to reinforce the area under where the motor mount will be as I don’t think the balsa base of the ‘box’ will take screws firmly.

The next step will be to fit the side skins and then the hull will really take shape.

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by mturpin013 on the 15th Dec 2018
I have found as you have that gluing your abrasive paper to a wooden block is far better than wrapping and making sure all the bulkheads and other skin supports are at the correct angle can make a real difference to the line of the hull, only noticeable when looking down the length of the hull when painted and that's too late to change things. I also make a number of different shaped sanding blocks/sticks down to using the coffee sticks with abrasives stuck to then for getting into difficult areas.
Response by RNinMunich on the 15th Dec 2018
Good stuff Both, excellent tips n tricks 👍👍👍
Response by rolfman2000 on the 15th Dec 2018
As Doug has said, thanks for some excellent tips and tricks. The hull is coming along nicely now, and I will assume that skinning is not far away now. Keeping my fingers crossed for one last update before Christmas. Thanks very much Robbob. Looking forward to the next chapter. Best wishes, Dave W 😊

mdlbt.com/48715
Upper & Lower Chines - Posted: 9th Dec 2018
The next stage is to assemble and fit the upper and lower chines to the bulkhead formers.
Each chine is made from three parts that are step jointed together, the instructions recommend using the plan to ensure correct alignment with a protective transparent paper between, however the cutting accuracy of the parts is such that having checked the alignment over the plan I was confident that assembling and glueing them together on the cutting mat would be OK. The upper chines were assembled first and when set were glued and pinned to the tops of the bulkhead formers with the fronts butting against the K1 keel former at the prow.
The lower chines were assembled in the same fashion and when dry are glued and set into the slots in the bulkhead formers.
Finally the stern former F7 is added and the whole assembly set aside to dry.
The hull is quickly taking shape now and even at this stage is very rigid and yet remarkably light.

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by rolfman2000 on the 9th Dec 2018
Oh how this brings memories flooding back from 50 years ago, seeing the same construction as my original Veron Police launch (that's sat in the garage), going together. I bet the fit is a darned sight better than it was all those years ago, what with cad laser cut pieces and cad designs as well. I'm following this with even more interest, as I have permission of SWMBO to get the new bigger kit when it becomes available. Fingers crossed, not long now. Keep the installments coming Robbob. Best wishes, Dave W 😊
Response by robbob on the 10th Dec 2018
Hi Doug.
All credit due to Phil Smith and his original design for that actually...

Hi rolfman2000
I hope SWMBO is good to her word as I happen to know that the kit is now available to buy from Vintage Model Works 😊👍

I'm told the price is £185.00 + P&P and there's also an optional stand/carrying box which is CNC cut to the hull profile for an additional £10.00
That sounds a bit of a bargain too.

Contact Mike Cummings at VMW for more information:
http://www.vintagemodelworks.co.uk/

I'm hoping to have the boat in an advanced state of completion in time for the London Model Engineering Exhibition at 'Ally Pally' in January 2019.
It will be on the St.Albans & District Model Engineering Society club stand alongside my RAF Crash Tender.
Rob.
Response by mturpin013 on the 10th Dec 2018
Hi Robbob, thanks for the heads up on London Model Engineering Exhibition at 'Ally Pally' in January 2019. I am hoping to be there, Just to see your masterpiece !

mdlbt.com/48485
Assembling the keel & adding bulkhead formers. - Posted: 29th Nov 2018
With the box assembled and the glue fully cured the next stage is to glue the inner keel parts together and fix it to the underside of the box.
The keel consists of four pieces that need to be jointed whilst on a flat surface, the instructions suggest that the parts are best assembled whilst laid over the plan with a transparent protective sheet between to ensure accurate alignment.
A gap is left in the keel for the prop shaft and this gap is laminated over by some additional keel pieces on either side.
I chose to deviate from the instructions here and fit these pieces after the prop shaft was in place to ensure a snug fit, I have it on order from Model Boat Bits along with the prop and rudder.
The assembled keel is glued in place along the centre line of the inverted box and when dry the bulkhead formers can be added.
The positions of all the formers are clearly marked on the box and the underside formers are added first followed by the side formers and lastly the bow formers, and the assembly set aside to dry.
I’d almost forgotten how easy it is to work with balsa, it takes glue and pins readily and assembling this model is a joy, however, shaping the solid balsa bow blocks to the correct profiles will be an interesting challenge.
But I don’t need to do that for a while yet.

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by mturpin013 on the 30th Nov 2018
Looking good although I had not seen the method of building round a box before, it takes some time before the shape of the craft can be seen.
Response by robbob on the 1st Dec 2018
Hi Mike.
The majority of Phil Smith's Veron designs were around this principle, just as the Aerokits/KeilKraft designs were based on the 'egg crate' method.
Both methods are very successful and popular over the years as many modellers will attest, and the hull can be completed really quite quickly.
'Plank on frame' is probably as common if not more and a great deal more time consuming but far better able to reproduce complex hull shapes.
Never tried the latter..perhaps one day.
Response by mturpin013 on the 1st Dec 2018
Now Plank on frame really sets my imagination going, I have to say that i am a builder rather than a sailor and get immense pleasure from problem solving and just creating structures.
I will be looking for a suitable subject after the Crash Tender which at the moment is taking some time with fiddly bits that don't seem to advance the the overall vision of the project so apologies for the lack of "blog"
Any suggestions?

mdlbt.com/48189
Constructing 'The Box' - Posted: 21st Nov 2018
Phil Smith, the original designer of the Thames River Police Launch, based the construction on a rigid box structure around which bulkhead formers are fixed to give the hull it’s shape, a design feature of many of the Veron kits.

In the Vintage Model Works kit all the components of this box are laser cut and require no additional trimming before assembly, I have used Titebond 2 aliphatic glue throughout the construction as it bonds wood very firmly and dries quickly too.

I started by joining the edges of the two sheets of balsa that form the base of the box, these were held firmly together with some scrap wood and weighted down on the cutting mat and left to dry.

Meanwhile the box sides were similarly glued together taking care that the two pieces that form each box side are in perfect alignment using the laser etched vertical lines that mark the bulkhead former positions, these were also wedged together and weighted while the glue set.

Once the bottom and sides are dry the ends can be added to complete the box construction, a try-square was used to check the box for accuracy and everything was held together with some ‘push pins’ while the glue set.

As this box forms the foundation of the hull it’s essential that there’s no twist or anything out of square.

This was all done in one evening, clearly the assembly of this kit could be completed quite rapidly if you really wanted too!

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by mturpin013 on the 21st Nov 2018
Keep it coming! its looking good
Response by rolfman2000 on the 21st Nov 2018
Looking forward to more Robbob. Cheers, Dave W 😊

mdlbt.com/47892
36" Thames River Police Launch - Posted: 8th Nov 2018
After the successful build of the ‘Vintage Model Works’ RAF Crash Rescue Tender I was asked by Mike Cummings of VMW if I would undertake to build a prototype of their new model with the aim of checking the construction method and the assembly instructions for accuracy before the kit is put into production.

The model is a ‘Thames River Police Launch’ and is based on the original design by Phil Smith for the Veron company, this was a very popular model kit in the late 50’s and 60’s and sold for the princely sum of 43 shillings and tuppence, approximately £2.15 in today’s money but an equivalent cost of £48.50 in 1960.

This design has been updated to accommodate electric propulsion and radio control by Colin Smith, the son of the original designer and it has been re-scaled to be 36” in length where the original was 24” which gives much more scope for detailing and provides more ‘hiding room’ for the drive, control systems and all the associated wiring.

The kit produced by VMW uses the same construction techniques as the original and the materials are a combination of balsa and plywood both of which a laser and CNC cut for precision.

The ply and balsa materials supplied are of very high quality as one would expect from VMW and all the stripwood for the chines, rubbing strakes and deck detailing is included, even the dowel required for the mast is in the box, very comprehensive!
The kit also includes white metal fittings such as the fairleads and stanchions, and the searchlight and horns. The glazing for the windows comes in the kit too.

The instruction sheet supplied is in need of revision as it is largely taken directly from the original as written by Phil Smith and some of the terminology needs updating, for instance the ply bottom and side skins are referred to as ‘strakes’ but I understand that a re-write of the instructions is in hand along with an updated plan showing the best positioning for the motor, prop-shaft, battery, ESC, receiver, rudder and servo.

During construction I have added a few additional pieces of ply or balsa as reinforcement or supports and substituted some balsa parts for ply where I thought a stronger material would be better. I also added some hatches to give access to the wiring at the bow and the rudder & servo at the stern but largely I have not gone ‘off plan’ to any extent.

The pictures show the model in it’s present state (Nov 2018) and is ready for painting and finishing.

Attached Photos - Click To View Large

Response by Rookysailor on the 11th Nov 2018
Hi Rob, Is there a date when the kit will be available? and have you an idea of what the price will be.....😲

cheers, Peter
Response by rolfman2000 on the 12th Nov 2018
The original Veron kit of the Thames police launch was the first kit I ever made, and as I was only 12 at the time, my Uncle Cyril was called in to carve the balsa blocks on the bow (and a right mess he made of them too). So I had to do a bit of filling. But the boat is still sat in our garage some 53 years later, and is still available. I often thought of bringing it up to date with a new one, so maybe the time has arrived. I'll keep a watch on this build, and bide my time. Thanks Robbob. Next wishes, Dave W 😊
Response by robbob on the 12th Nov 2018
Rookeysailor.
The kit is, I understand, due for release by Vintage Model Works any time now. I think that they are awaiting some of the white metal fittings from the manufacturer that are included in the kit.
RE: price, probably best to contact Mike Cummings at VMW to confirm the above and the pricing.

rolfman2000.
I'm afraid you'll still need to carve the bow, but I bet you can get a better result than uncle Cyril now!
I hope you enjoy my blog.

Robbob.

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