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36'' Thames River Police Launch by Robbob
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.
7 months ago by robbob
The well deck floor & sides.
The ‘box’ of the prototype I’m building is made of
, later production models are produced in ply and have the planking lines laser etched on the floor panels, and as balsa doesn’t take stain particularly well I have used separate obeche panels to line the box internally that can be finished with the Teak stain that I’m using.
This does, however, mean that I can apply the deck lines using a black indelible marker pen and incorporate some detail lines around the motor housing.
I started by cutting and shaping two obeche panels that join along the centre line of the deck and fit neatly around the motor mount and prop-shaft, then I used some tracing paper over the panels to make a test pattern for the planking lines.
When I was happy with the layout of the lines I first applied two coat of Teak stain to the panels, and when that was dry I used a .8mm pen to mark the deck lines, the ink takes a while to dry fully and I found it all too easy to smudge some lines 😡 which had to be very quickly taken off with a dampened cotton bud and re-applied.
After 24 hours the ink had fully dried and was impervious to smudging and resistant to removal by any means (except a solvent).
The floor panels were then glued down to the balsa floor with an even spread of aliphatic glue and weighted down over all of the area as there was a tendency for the panels to curl and lift.
Each side panel was made in one piece and then separated into two parts to make the fitting easier, the join will be covered with a vertical detail strip, and they were also stained before being glued and clamped in place. No lining detail was applied to the side panels as I’ll do this with other surface applied pieces later but only in the area outside of the cabin.
All the panels were given a couple of coats of satin lacquer to enhance and protect the finish.
2 months ago by robbob
Basic hull construction completed
This week has been about getting the basic hull construction completed and especially the tricky bow. This was done in three stages; the first group of pictures shows the four balsa blocks being roughly sanded to shape. The instructions were good here as they recommended the required curves be shaped using sandpaper wrapped around an aerosol can....This being achieved, the next stage was to fill all the gaps around the balsa blocks with P38 and sand back to smooth out the curves. The 3rd stage was to fully coat the entire hull with Balsa Lite fine surface filler and sand back to wood so that all the fine grain imperfections are filled. I'm very happy with the results, but now concerned that too much has been sanded off the bow to get those curves...What do you think? 😉
Next stage is to apply a couple of thin coats of sanding sealer and then onto covering with 35gsm lightweight glassfibre fabric and Eze-Kote to give the hull more strength and durability.
3 months ago by StuartE
Hull progressing nicely!
OK, so the last 2 posts on the blog were from work undertaken three weeks ago. I am now up to the present day and have spent the whole week and weekend in getting the bottom and side skins on the skeleton of the hull and putting on the transom. Because the curves of the hull are quite specific on the Huntsman, only one piece of skin can be fitted at a time, and then trimmed into place before the next piece of skin will fit.
In the previous post I mentioned all the laser cut pieces are cut oversize.....fitting the skins was a real challenge!
Following the instructions at this stage went out the window and I fitted the skins in the reverse order, but feel it was the best option. The instructions say built from the bow first and work back to the transom, but impossible to fit the pieces in this order, so I started with the aft and worked forwards.
It also mentions to overlap the side skins with the bottom skins, but all I could manage was to butt the pieces together with a tight fit and fill with P38 afterwards.
The pictures show the completed skins, trimmed, sanded and gaps filled with P38 and then sanded again.
It now takes on a good shape, however the difficult pieces on the bow are still to be completed. These are formed of 4 pieces of solid
that need to be cut and sanded to multiple curves...… next weeks job!
Once this is done then its on to filling again and re-sanding and finishing. Hopefully it would look more like a Huntsman Hull rather than a hammer head shark!
3 months ago by StuartE
Just finished my 1/24 scale "Perkasa".Frankly,I never new I had the patience!
Have started a 54" USS " Crocket" and have reached the balsa bending stage and have never done this before.The Crocket has very tight bends around the bow area,and involves a tight "knuckle".
I spent much time looking at balsa bending,and the use of ammonia as a fibre relaxing medium arose.
By experimenting, I find that a 50/50 solution applied to the area to bend for just a few minutes,then wiped off,renders the wood extremely pliable.
Gloves and eye protection must be worn,with good ventlation-
It does work!!.
Hope this is of use to someone.
3 months ago by drspock
I had from the beginning I had intended to hold all the hatches down with Neodymium magnets however as you work on, these things seem to get forgotten, so now it’s time to do some of the not so exiting tasks. I had bought some 10 x 5x 1.5 magnets so I need to machine the slots into the roof cabin quadrants. These needed to be mirrored by a quadrant that can be epoxied into the corners of each cabin area. Using the trusty Lidl disc sander I produced 12 quadrants and then after making a simple jig to hold them in place I machined the corresponding slot in each one taking note of left and right hand variants. The next job is to glue all the magnets into the roof spaces and then when they are set glue the magnets into the quadrants making sure the orientation is correct. To make sure the magnets are set into the cabin sides at the correct depth I made a temporary
frame around each cabin to rest the quadrants on while they set.
Another small job complete
4 months ago by mturpin013
Sea Trials and mods.
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
. 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.
4 months ago by BOATSHED
Decks & hatches.
Because I need access to the wiring at both ends of the boat I formed the framework of an opening at the bow to make the dummy hatch into a real hatch.
In a similar way a hatch was formed in the rear deck which will give me access to the wiring, rudder servo and the ESC cooling.
It’s going to be quite tight to get all that into the cavity under the rear deck but I’ve done a test fit and it will all go in but will involve some ‘keyhole surgery’ through the rear hatch opening when I get to the stage of installing all of the running gear…🤓.
Both of these decks were glued and pinned in place and some packing tape used to pull the decks firmly onto the frames.
The side decks were also trimmed for best fit and secured in the same way and when all was dry and set a small hand plane was used to trim them flush to the hull sides.
The next stage will be to fit the balsawood blocks at the bow and shape them to the hull…..it’s the tricky bit I’ve not been looking forward to…😟
5 months ago by robbob
Ahoy Maties! it's been a long time since my last posting. Happy 2019! I just completed my new scratch-built boat "Electric Barbarella". I tried to recreate (with some liberties) one of my favorite boats of all time, the 30-footer Chris Craft Sportsman built during the 1970s. it measures 24 X 8.5 inches. it is powered with a 9.6 NiMH 4200 mAh battery "nunchuck" pack (like the one used for paintball guns), brushless motor attached to a 30A Mtroniks Hydra controller and a 30mm M4 3-bladed brass propeller. The hull (my own on-the-go design) was made out of
which later I fiberglassed. For the superstructure I utilized 2mm ABS plastic sheet material. To my surprise the boat turned to be a very stable and forgiving platform. I really feel a very close connection to this vessel as it is my first own hull design.😁
5 months ago by Krampus
The cabin has now been finished off with a well deck, the well deck is made of balsa mostly, and the floor is oly, the well deck floor is lined as planks ( urghh ), firstly scored with a blunt Stanley type knife blade the the plank lines infilled with pencil, the floorboard nail marks are just scored with a sharp pin with a little cyno rubbed in the hole to colour the pin prick, decided to make this as an all in one removal unit, it still has to be glazed and fittings plus furniture, as in windscreen , door's consul etc: .. The deck and all other woodwork has been varnished and the cabin roof painted white, awaiting suitable weather to paint the hull, as this is done outdoors.. Muddy....
6 months ago by muddy
Constructing 'The Box'
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!
6 months ago by robbob
Have you tried soaking balsa in boiling water and pre forming it to shape ? (bend around pegs on a board) works well for hard wood as well. Shape, allow to dry, check and repeat as necessary. Be gentle with it and if the curve is tight, do it in stages.
8 months ago by jbkiwi
Has any one used Sadolin wood preserver/stain on
Thinking of staining deck of speed boat in Sadolin Mahogany...
8 months ago by Gardener
Don't know the Sadolin stuff, I use Billing Boats stains meself, BUT whatever you use, esp on balsa, apply a coupla coats of sealer first. Then at least one or two coats of clear satin varnish; e.g. from Lord Nelson range from Holland. THEN AND ONLY then, apply your stain til you get the depth of colour you want.
After that seal with matt, satin or gloss varnish / lacquer according to taste😉 That's the way I did my Sea Scout 'Jessica' renovation, see blog on this site for results!!! Coupla sample pics attached. The whole process is described in the Blog.
Otherwise the balsa will soak up all your stain and still not look right 🤔
A 'preserver' as such is not normally necessary if the wood is properly treated inside and out; sealer, stain, varnish etc! Or just EzeKote resin inside. Stain no needed inside of course.
Good luck and above all have fun with your endeavours. 👍
Keep us 'up to date' ('on the running' as my German friends would say; 'auf den Laufenden'!) 😁
Cheers, Doug 😎
PS I like Danish Blue meself 😁😁
On the other hand; I wouldn't have used balsa for speedboat deck in the first place. I use a close grained marine ply 0,8 or 1.0mm. Takes the stain better and looks more realistic. Balsa is too coarse grained for stain and varnish on scale speedboats. Thick coat of paint ... OK. On the cabin roof and after deck (which I had to renew) I used 1.5mm mahogany veneer.
If I had to do it again I would use a close grained 0.8mm marine ply (birch or pear) and cherry stain (also Billing) as I used on 'Jessica's deck.
8 months ago by RNinMunich
So, having had a few days off during the week when "The Boss" has been at work has given me enough hours to finish The Waveney off!
Its been a hard week of making the small bits n bobs from scratch using a combination of balsa, carbon rod, brass rod, plastic tube, plastic sheet etc to make the radar array, antenna mast, extra cockpit details ect. The deck winch was made from large Servo output discs! The RNLI flag printed off Google! This has been followed by alot of detail painting and laquering.
Anyway, I think I have just about exhausted as much detail as can be had at this scale and and happy to call completion! Only job to do now is get it in the Hot Tub and add the 2 Kg of ballast to get her on the waterline. On water photos and video to follow in the last update on this thread!
as for next projects? I have the Aeronaut Pilot boat sat in the pile and the Fairy huntress 23 plan and wood pack on route from Sarik Hobbies!
9 months ago by Skydive130
Hello from Australia
I built it years ago and converted it to a Skidoo. Went like the clappers. Build it out of Balsa not plywood as the plywood makes it a bit heavy and you need a gutsy motor to push it along.
10 months ago by sidley70
Vosper Rescue -target towing launch
I'm starting to build a Veron kit of the Vosper Rescue-target towing launch, which I bought on Ebay. This boat seems quite rare - well to me anyway - although Belair sell one currently which is similar but slightly larger (34in long - mine is 28in). The kit is obviously old and if anyone knows when these were sold then please let me know.
The structure is balsa - not my favourite wood - and ply for the exterior. Balsa does not hold temporary or permanent pins well, and holding things in position while the glue dries is made more difficult.
The balsa has been pre-cut to shape and several of the curved pieces are weak in places where the grain is inevitably across the length of the piece. I broke several parts and needed ply backing to repair. Glue used is 5 min epoxy.
The keel is made up of several pieces and to get the right shape I photocopied part of the plan and laid the parts on that to set while gluing.
11 months ago by Lauriem
Hi Doug, I have used the floating periscope on my other submarine too. On that one there are two sets of two. if the periscope tubes slide easily and the float is big enough then it will work. I have used aluminium tubes on the HMS Triumph.
The U boat scopes are both aluminium. They are loose so I can put one or both in before sailing. The floats are
and painted for sealing.
11 months ago by reilly4
My crew were made by Shapeways. Somewhat expensive, but I needed an unusual scale. I asked a question and the designer got back to me. I was able to select from a few different groups and he also did a few pose mods. The crew is available as U-181. I think they can be scaled down to any scale, although the Revell U-boat crew are also available and a lot cheaper. Some of them now sail on my 1/72 Z39 destroyer.
So far I have put 9 crew members onto the U-boat and I have 3 remaining. They are for the front 105mm gun. My periscope has a very simple working method. A balsawood cylinder at the bottom of the periscope. Sub dives and the periscope comes up. Sub surfaces and the periscope goes down.
11 months ago by reilly4
Gina 2: A Messy Business - Hull Restoration
First five pics show 'square one'. 😲
Dave_M reckoned she'd been plastered not painted.😁
Before attempting to strip the hull I figured I had better stabilise it so it wouldn't fall apart when I removed about 1mm of ancient paint.
So I applied a couple of layers of resin and FG tissue inside. Pic 6. Not so easy between those somewhat rustically built bulkheads! They weren't even shaped so that the planking fitted properly!
Sanding was obviously out of the question so out came the heat gun.
On medium heat (ca 300°C) about four layers of paint started to bubble up and fly off, gently persuaded with a not too sharp 3/4" wood chisel.
Pics 7 to 10 show the results; almost more filler than wood and Horrors! Upper Stern / gunwhale made from a chunk of thick cardboard cut from a 3M sticky tape reel 😡 This was promptly replaced with a carved chunk of hard balsa. Pic 11. I will later add a mahogany step deck on top of the block, and a mahogany cap rail to finish off the hull.
Last two pics show current status after filling, sanding and applying a coat of EzeKote to the outside. Shame the woodwork was so bad, she might have looked quite nice with the wood cleaned up and varnished 🤔
In between these jobs I also stripped and EzeKoted and primer/filled the hull of the PTB I'm renovating as well. Saves getting the same tools and materials out twice😉 But that's another B....log!
As Bamber Gascoigne (What a moniker😁) used to say
"I've started - so I'll finish"!!
Oops! Forgot the last pics🤔 Last three are today's status 😁
11 months ago by RNinMunich
Balsa/Ply suppliers Peterborough
Eric, you can go to good old Jeff Stubbs in Oundle who is mainly aeroplanes, but will have balsa, I'm sure. Failing that there are model shops in P'borough (or were). There's one in an industrial unit on the outskirts. My son took me there once. if you fancy a nice ride out, go to SLEC at Watton They have absolutely everything including hard woods and exotics. They are basically a huge modelshop who import their own balsa and other woods which you can kill an hour just looking round, easy.
1 year ago by Westquay
(Working Vessel) RAF Air Sea Rescue Launch
This is another article for MB magazine. The model plan had to fit across 2 pages (A3) Hence its length. This one is built using the old Keil Kraft Eezibilt methods of the late 1950's. Made using mainly
and covered in nylon tights and dope. it is fully detailed mainly using odds and ends . The plexiglass gun turrets are made using 21mm Carp fishing 'Ball' floats. Masters in plastic were fitted to the model after mouldings were made for the Oerlikon 20mm and all the Lewis guns as well as shrapnel padding and most fittings.
2 sheets of highly detailed plans will be free in the Winter Special hopefully with a full photo and build write up.
It goes like a rocket. Great little model and all for under £25.00!. (Inc ESC, Motor and battery!) (Motor: Turnigy 2211 x 1400kv) (ESC: HK 10 Car For/Rev.) (10/10)
1 year ago by ronrees
Hi dennisw - I use both Titebond 3 (green label) and the Aliphatic Sandable Wood Glue which I get from Cornwall Model Boats (not the first plug I have given them but no connection, just a very satisfied customer). it is described as "quick grab, excellent sanding, shock & weather resistant, bonds porous materials, ply, balsa and hardwoods, non-toxic and non-fuming". So far it has not let me down. Best of luck with your build.
1 year ago by Smiffy
Help Needed new Builder Billings St Canute
.In this case, I do believe you are meant to complete the hullconstruction first then drill out the holes for the rudder stock and the propellor shaft. Alternatively lay the profile of the stern flat, draw an outline of the shape. Cut out the channels, leaving two halves. Secure the two halves flat over the profile and glue pieces of
across the channels either side, thus joining them together again preserving the profile now with a clear channel which you can now use in the hull construction. Do have another careful look at the instructions though as I am surprised the answer isn’t there.
1 year ago by Gascoigne
(Naval Ship) MTB741 Fairmile D
1/24 Scale. Scratchbuilt from John Lambert Drgs & photos. it took 3.5 years.
Plywood bulkheads, pine stringers & balsawood planking, then fibreglassed. Superstructure balsawood.
Guns scratchbuilt from tinplate and brass. There are 2 motors and drive trains powered by 2 x 9cell NiMH D cells x 9Ah.
6 pdr guns rotate. 20mm oerlikon rotates and elevates. Radio is Futaba 2.4 GHz (Motor: Graupner 700BB 12V) (ESC: MTroniks 30A Tio x 2) (9/10)
1 year ago by reilly4
raf 93 and 94as mentioned earlier boat 93 was purchased from internet built in the late fifties by
Both great looking models. Where did you get your little men for the boat ? For my ninth birthday (1959) my parents bought me a 34" Crash Tender and my father (RIP) and I built it over several months and for Christmas that year they bought me an ED HUnter 3.46cc engine. As you said R/C back then was too expensive. We used to go out with it to the nearest pond it was about a mile and a half walk and use it there. Blackheath pond south London. it was either do a straight line to each other and then round in circles until it run out of fuel and the wait until it drifted back in with the breeze. When we built it my dad used to bring home old tea chests broken down in pieces and would use a fret saw to out out more pieces to build a second one at the same time. He said this was so that we didn't do anything incorrectly to the original one. That other one was given to my younger brother and they bought a Taycol Standard and put that in it for him. They were great fun in all we built seven of them 6 were out of tea chests and old orange boxes. He gave them away, I know one of them went to our milkman one to a work mate if his can't remember where the others went. When I left home when I was 20 I left mine there and I never found out where that one went. I have a 46" from the Vintage Model Workshop people and a 34" that I purchased in 1994 on the 50th anniversary when they made a limited run 50 of them, in my shed still in the boxes unmade. I drew round all the parts onto paper and on the Epson printer/scanner I reduced the parts and have built a smaller one I think she is 28 inches long. it is virtually all
the only parts that are not are the side stringers they are Obeeche strips and the two bottom skins where I done a second skin of 1/64th ply to strengthen it in case of any mishaps on the pond edges. I have not finished that one yet. She did have a trial run on water but due to a too larger 4 bladed prop and too big rudder and maybe the wrong motor she was a bit of a disaster I lost heart for a while after that. I had a bit of a mental brake down due to a serious work problem and gave up on her. That was about 6 years ago now and she is sitting on top of a cupboard in the living room . I will get round to finishing her one day, now I'm retired and back to good mental health.
1 year ago by BOATSHED
Cabin aft is now completed!
I had to use a bit of Bondo (P38).
To tidy up the seam that was left.
From joining the two pieces of
made it very easy to shape the cabin aft!
The Port lights are optional in this kit. They give two more Port light, if you want to port them on.
I used the measurements given then.
I drew a circle with my compass. About 1/2" or so. I didn't have a 1/2" drill. So I improvised. I use a 1/32" drill. went around the circle. Then cut the
with my exacto! Then routed the hole with my Dremel!
Next is the moulding that goes around the bottom of the cabin!
1 year ago by figtree7nts
Fairmile D 1/24 Scale Build
I have scratch-built a Fairmile D in 1/24 scale. if you look through my posts/videos you will see it. I used the Lambert-Ross Allied Coastal Forces book for the plan that I scaled up. Perhaps I should enter it in my boat harbour. Anatomy of a Ship is also a good source of information. I built mine from Balsawood/Pine and fibreglassed it. Attached are a few photos. Watch the videos. They may inspire you. I have previously posted these links under videos.
1 year ago by reilly4
The Smoke Stack
Mornin' Ed! Glad it helped 👍
Dumas was more 'respectable' than I was when I first built my HMS Hotspur destroyer. I used squashed 'bog roll' tubes for the funnels😲
I guess that's probably 'hygiene paper' and 'smoke stacks' to you guys over there.
In my defence: I was 15 and used whatever was in my 'line of sight' 😉
30 odd years later I replaced them with 1/32" balsa wrapped around several 1/4" formers, and lots of wood sealer! We live and learn 😉
BTW: 2nd coat of lacquer on the Sea Scout deck, see pic, some might be happy with this surface finish but after the success with the cabin roof I want to push my limits!! Could be a long night 😁 Will post details of the technique in my Sea Scout blog, main ingredient is PATIENCE!
Cheers Doug 😎
PS: just opened a bottle of French 'elbow grease'; Rosé de Loire!!!
1 year ago by RNinMunich
Main Cabin Aft!
The back of the main cabin is completed using.
1/2" thick slabs of
which is extremely easy to work with.
You may want to seal. The aft part of the main cabin!
I elected not to seal mine. Hope it don't bite me in the long run!
1 year ago by figtree7nts
(Tug Boat) VALIANT
This tug was built by a modeler in Bristol during the early 1960's it was given to me at the Abergavenny Steam and vintage show in 2016 by the makers grandson who told me it had been on display in his mums house from 1970 when his grandad died till 1987 when she died then put in his parents attic till it was given to me. it had a couple of holes in the hull and the upper works had been broken so required fixing. not having any pictures I used all the original bits that came with it so I hope it looks as it should. it's made mostly from balsa with some wooden bits and replacement planking from coffee stirrers otherwise all original. it requires 2 x 12v 7ah lead acid batteries and about 5 kilograms of ballast. (Silver Sand in 500grm packs).
On the only test run I've managed to tow a 16 foot fishing boat with three men on my local fishing lake. (Motor: 540) (ESC: MTroniks Viper marine) (8/10)
1 year ago by Colin H
So here’s my partly completed Riva Aquarama, to be named Ciao Bambina, a scratch build from plans, with laser cut marine ply as the base structure. I started her in April 2016 and got to the stage of
stringers as per the plans and got into a real pickle, breaking pretty much every strip and gave up after six days of struggle. I then focused on Plan B, which was Project 2, a smaller Riva Aquarama, and again a scratch build, for an event planned with friends at the end of April 2016. I’ll come back to Ciao Bambina once I have completed my Sea Commander and the smaller Riva I think. The stringers will be made with laminated 3mm strips Okichi or similar, which is the way the Sea Commander has been done, so I have learned something from the experience. Balsa doesn’t really work on a big stringer! I will update as I progress the project.
1 year ago by Penfold63
(Pleasure Craft) Ciao bambina
This is Project 1, a scratch build Riva Aquarama from Plans, with laser cut marine ply as the basis for the bulkheads etc. Started on 5 April 2016 and in the space of 6 days got to stringers, which is where it all seemed to go wrong. Try as I might I couldn’t get them to bend around, using
and various techniques. I left it to one side to concentrate on Project 2, and haven’t picked it up since, hence the poor rating I have given it. it will be finished at some stage, probably after I have completed my Sea Commander and the other Riva boat. I will update with more pics as I go along. (1/10)
1 year ago by Penfold63
Clamps and such
I forgot you build small models in balsa. My choice would be elastic bands 1/4" wide as used to hold the wings on model planes or similar.
Protect the open bottom with a solid plank and wrap the bands all round every few inches. Get some scrap balsa and put between the band and hull planks, add just enough to hold the joint. Leave to dry then remove and get a box to keep your bands etc for next time.
On larger models I have used luggage straps tied to length and packed with scrap wood.
Very good for holding planks etc on hulls as the bands/straps can be made with the packing to give pressure in more than one direction at the same time.
1 year ago by Dave M
Scratchbuilt WW2 1/24 Scale Vosper 73' Type 1 MTB. Built in 2016, in company with a friend's 1/24 scale BPB MGB.
The Vosper hull is built from balsawood and fibreglass. The upper deck and superstructure is from balsawood. The weapons and fittings are from brass, aluminium and plastic. The 20mm and gunner can rotate.
1 year ago by reilly4
(Other) 80' Elco PT Boat
A scratch-built stand-off model based on Model Boats free plan (design by GG). Material mainly
(hull) and plastic (styrene) on superstructure. Propulsion unit differs from the original design. This is a second set up, not really tested yet. Original set up was Speed 700 Turbo, 12 V NiMh battery pack 4100 mAh, it was 500 g overweight.
The only "special feature" are working position lights. it was a pleasure to built and it is pleasure to sail her. (Motor: Turnigy Typhoon 500 Heli) (ESC: Turnigy Marine 60 Amp) (7/10)
2 years ago by Zdenek
DUMAS 1:14 USCG 40' UTB. REPRESENTING US COAST GUARD UTILITY BOAT CG-40564, WHICH CAPSIZED DURING A RESCUE ATTEMPT ON THE COLUMBIA RIVER BAR ON 17 JAN 1961. HER CREW WAS FORTUNATELY RESCUED. SHE WAS ASSISTING CG-52301, A 52' TYPE F WOODEN MLB, WHICH FOUNDERED WITH THE LOSS OF ALL HANDS.
IT REMAINS THE WORST SMALL BOAT RESCUE DISASTER IN COAST GUARD HiSTORY.
THIS IS AN UNUSUAL SCALE BALSA PLANK-ON, COVERED BY 2 OZ FIBERGLASS. I USED MINWAX POLYURETHANE FOR AN ALTERNATE TO RESIN, WHICH TURNED OUT WELL, AND CAN BE DONE WITH MINIMAL VENTILATION. WITH BIRCH PLY DECK & CABINS, 1/8" SCRIBED SHEATHING COVERS THE DECK BOW TO STERN AND MAHOGANY TRIM LEFTOVER FROM ANOTHER DUMAS KIT IN MY SCALE SHIPYARD. STOCK D/C FITTINGS WITH SOME SUPPLEMENTAL PREMADE AND HANDMADE ITEMS. SHE FEATURES TWIN RABOESCH 4-BLADE WIDE FLUKE WHEELS AND MATCHING RUDDERS; WORKING HATCHES WITH STOWAGE AREA FOR ANCHOR & TOWLINE, LIGHTHOUSE 9V LED NAV LIGHTS AND FLASHING LED LAW ENFORCEMENT BLUE LIGHT (RC CONTROLLED). I'M ADDING A MOUNT FOR A SCALE BROWNING M2 50 CAL THAT I WAS ABLE TO PRODUCE ON MY 3D PRINTER. THAT'S AN ADVENTURE IN ITSELF. THIS WAS MY FIRST REAL PLANK ON BULKHEAD, AND BALSAWOOD CAN BE A LIL TRICKY, BUT WILL ALWAYS BE THE STANDARD OF WHICH I COMPARE ALL MY SUBSEQUENT BUILDS. MY FATHER BUILT RC AIRCRAFT, AND ALWAYS PREACHED THAT YOU SHOULD OVERBUILD IN ORDER TO SURVIVE A CRACK-UP AND FLY ANOTHER DAY!
THAT'S MY CREED WITH BOATS. OVERBUILD!!! THANK YOU DAD!
BTW-FYI-MR. ARNOLD PALMER WAS A US COAST GUARDSMAN (YM3) 1950-53 (Motor: 775 JOHNSON-TYPE 6-12V) (ESC: HOBBYWING) (9/10)
2 years ago by circle43nautical
Totnes Castle 1894
Cut off most of the excess foam with a knife. Then into the garden standing up wind, removed the rest with a blacksmith's rasp. Took about 5 minuets. Started on the deck will be making my own ply, consisting of 1/16" balsa with hard wood veneer on the bottom & deck planks on top.
2 years ago by hammer
Sounds kinda expensive to me over here in Munich!
Here there is an online shop called Balsabar
They supply in 100mm by 1000mm lengths.
Just put together a bundle equivalent to yours (with 1000mm length) and came to € 37.25 = £ 34.10 BUT x 0.45 to get the same volume of wood gives £ 15.35 !! Almost half the price!
Is this indicative of material prices in general in UK these days? 🤔
Cheers Doug 😎
2 years ago by RNinMunich
Balsa Boat 1970's made to Model Boat plans.
Old boat of my fathers built from scratch in
, and fibre glassed inside. Use to run a small diesel engine, I took over it and initially put an Orbit 805 motor in then later a better spec model car motor 545/550 water cooled. Finally I swapped it for a 1.25cc glow engine and this video demonstrates the speed with the glow engine. Was almost too fast for the hull, tight turns caused it to nose dive, and plane/wobble badly on its side. Great fun and cheap to run.
2 years ago by Novagsi0
Richards 48'' Swordsman
Hi, another month on and things are still progressing. I have finished planking the deck and have started on the rubbing strake.
I am using 3x5mm balsa for the strake and I will be staining it teak. I have bent the strip for the bow and stern, I soaked balsa in hot water for about half an hour. Whilst the strip was soaking i cut strips of masking tape and evanly spaced them around the bow and stern sections ready for the soggy balsa. Then working evenly side to side from the center point, I bent the strip and secured it in place using the pre-installed masking tape. Note work evenly from the center my first effort i worked from the center and concentrated on one side, when i went back to the otherside the strip snapped in the middle (the point of most stress) probably because the wood had Dryed and cooled by the time I went back to it. The strakes are currently relaxing to shape for a few days before I remove the tape.
2 years ago by rmwall107
(Pleasure Craft) Dolphin 16 (19)
This is the Meccano Magazine January 1967 issue plan, built in balsa. I didn't do a build blog as the construction is well covered on the net. Started with an A4 plan and used Excel to enlarge it onto 9 A4 sheets. I chose something simple as I haven't built a boat for thirty years. Really enjoyed the build and re-learning how to overcome the problems that always arise. She is oversized being 19" long and having a 7.5" beam. She sits nicely on the water and begins to plane. Will upgrade the the battery sometime. The decking is worktop edge strip pre-glued but in future will use the unglued strips. The cabin was adapted to extend over the whole boat as there was little space for modern electrics. I will add in and out air vents as the motor will need to breathe. Also, the true model should have an upper deck and windscreen and this will be easy to add sometime in the future. Really surprised and pleased with results from aliphatic wood glue. The finish, which I am not completely happy with, due mostly to my own impatience, was achieved with Ronseal multi purpose wood filler, lightweight fibreglass laminate with Eze-Kote. Paint is Acrylics and Marine varnish. The electrics are: Acoms AR 201 Reciever, Servo Acoms AS 12, Cheap Chinese ,supposedly, 320 amp ESC and 7.2v Nimh battery pack. The Graupner Speed 600 8.4v, bought it cheaply some months ago, was already in one of my boxes and you can see the adaptation required to fit it into the boat. All the Acoms controls I picked up at a boot sale including an Acoms Techniplus Alpha Transmitter on 27mhz. inside I used Hammerite Smooth Gold as I couldn't buy silver. Modern Hammerite is thin and squeamish and took 3 coats to provide reasonable coverage. One final rant I do like the new silicon wires but they are a nightmare to solder to a motor. I think I will use soldered connectors in future. So there we are, first model in 30 years and now so many models to build and so little time. Lessons learned...... don't be impatient. (Motor: Graupner Speed 600 8.4v) (ESC: Chinese 320amp) (7/10)
2 years ago by AllenA
Building a model ship often means actually building several models because most ships have boats. Constellation had six.
My method for building boats is nearly the same as for building larger hulls and real boats - planks over forms.
I have a 1:12th scale drawing of Constellation's boats in particular, from the National Archives. They not only printed me a paper copy, but gave me a .tif image which I could easily re-scale to 1:36.
I reproduced the lines as forms extended to a baseline so the boat could be built upside down. I drew each boat's patterns and arranged each to fit on a sheet of copy paper. I printed this on full sheet label paper so I can rough cut them, stick them on the form material, and then cut the forms.
I had a few sheets of 1/8" balsa that I cut the forms from. A pine plank was used for the building-board, and marked where each station would go, then the forms were glued on making sure each was 90° to the base and square to the center-line. A note on the build-board, it doesn't have to be as wide as the boat, and should, in fact, be narrower. Then you can access inside the sheer and planking, and later, removing the boat from the forms will be much easier. A small plank of 3/4" stock will let you get rubber bands completely around the model, and it will also fit in a vice which is very convenient.
The edges of the forms are shaped so the planks will lie flat on the surface, and not teeter on the edges. Using balsa makes this easy work, though you have to be careful not to snap them off the build board. I sanded them nearly to shape before mounting them on the build board, then fine tuned them with a plank laid on the forms as a guide.
The first boat I started with was the ship's 1st cutter, which is a lap-strake, or clinker-built boat. (Only the launch is carvel planked) it's frames are 1/16" thick bass strips 3/32" wide. Each frame is dipped in ammonia and bent over it's form. I put a dab of glue at the ends that would eventually be cut off to hold it to the form, but for the frames on the wine-glass and hollow forms at the ends I used rubber bands to pull them into shape. Once the ammonia dries, they will hold this shape. Part of the reasoning behind using balsa for the forms is if anything gets glued that shouldn't, it's the form and not the model that will give-way. So far, the forms used on both boats came through the process in usable condition, which is encouraging as I need to make two quarter boats just alike and will need to reuse the forms then.
The stem, stern-post, and keel are 1/16" bass, assembled together while flat. First the top corners of the keel were planed off to make a sort of rabbet. The transom is also bass as it stays in the boat. The transom is cut taller to reach the build-board, and partially cut at what will be it's top to make it easier when it's time to detach the boat. it's glued to the stern post and the build-board, the keel is glued to each frame, and the stem is glued to the build-board. This pretty much forms the rigid skeleton of the boat.
There's two ways to represent lapstrake planking on so small a model. One way is to sand each plank so it's half as thick at it's top edge as its bottom edge. The planks are butted on the boat, carvel style, thick against thin, giving the impression of overlapped planks. I chose to actually overlap the planks because the inside of the boat is open to view, and it's actually easier when dealing with wood only 1/32" thick.
Since each plank of a lapstrake boat overlaps the one below it, each plank has to be spieled, or shaped to fit, and the boat must be planked from the keel to the sheer. I divide the length of the widest frame from the keel to the sheer into the number of planks I want, then divide the lengths of the stem and the stern by this number. You'll find the planks will get narrow forward, and flare wider back aft. You may have to experiment a bit with the number of planks to maintain at least 2 scale inches forward and not more than 5 scale inches aft, or the planking will look nonsensical and out-of-scale.
I planked the cutter in 1/32" thick bass. The first planks are the garboards, next to the keel. For the next plank I placed a strip of card along side and used a piece of plank against the edge of the wood plank to mark the card. The marks are actually the bottom edge of the plank. Each plank is shaped on it's bottom edge to the plank before, and it's top edge is straight. Then I dip it in ammonia and clamp it in place, where the "clamps" are rubber bands, blocks of wood, pins, clothes pins, whatever works. Again, a narrow build-board allows the rubber bands to pull in as you reach the sheer rather than pulling them away from the boat.
Once your brain gets wrapped around spieling, the planking will move along. But don't try to do too much too fast or you'll just get frustrated and ruin everything. Take lots of breaks.
The planks need to be sanded thinner at their ends, almost to nothing, depending how much of a rabet was cut into the stem. At the stern they run right off the transom and are cut flush. You can notch the transom into steps for each plank to fit into, of fill the little gaps where they overlap with putty later. Since they're getting painted, I used putty.
When the planking is done up to the sheer, it's best to add rub rails and strakes while the boat's still on the forms.
I then finished the cut in the transom, cut off the stem near the build-board, and nipped off each frame where it was glued to the form. Then carefully lifted the boat off the forms. Some form may have come off with it, and some spots may need to be reglued.
I installed frames in between each of the ones the boat was built on, putting a frame about every scale foot. Seat clamps, floor boards, seats, oar notches, lifting eyes, mast steps, etc, are all added bit-by-bit, before you know it, you've got another model boat.
I'll get into the launch next.
2 years ago by Jerry Todd
Building a deck
I began laying the deck on April 5th. it had snowed as recently as the week before, but it finally warmed up enough to use glue.
The strips were cut to 6-5/8" length, about 20' in 1:36 scale. I used a black marker on two opposite sides to represent the pitch in the seams. The deck was laid in a 5-plank pattern to mix up the butt-joints as much as I could. My research on her decking found she's had various styles and plank widths over her life. The earliest photo showing her deck that I could find, showed it straight planked with 7 or 8" wide boards based on the number of planks between her waterway and the main hatch coaming. Her waterway logs seem to be placed ON the decking, as there's no margin planks or joggling - even today.
The planking was set with gel CA. Gorilla sells it in a nice bottle with a metal pin in the cap to keep the spout open. it would up taking 3 of these bottles to complete the deck. The planks are cut at a 45 on the ends along the fore and aft access hatches, to try and hide this seam as much as possible.
Once the deck was down, I scraped it. The glue is more resistant than the basswood is, so sanding would have scalloped the wood between seams. Scraping makes everything level. Some lite sanding, more to polish than remove anything, was done last.
I had planned to stain the deck a very light grayish tint, but an active naval vessel gets holy-stoned regularly and wouldn't be gray as the ships that sit at a dock today are.
In all it took 455 pieces to complete the deck and there wasn't any scrap longer than 1 inch left over. in all I have 3/4" deck beams, 1/4" plywood, a layer of 4oz cloth and resin, and a 3/16" basswood deck - I don't recall why I designed it so heavy, but it certainly doesn't hurt the model at all, and I think the 3/16" square strip will prove to have been easier to set than the 1/16" x 1/4" planks Pride and Macedonian will get.
The deck go a coat of water-based satin poly, and I stared working on hatch coamings, cap log, and waterways. The cabin skylight and two hatched forward of it, including the capstan, and all combined into one hatch where the battery is accessed, and which hides the aft ballast rod and main power switch.
The cap logs Are 1/2" wide x 1/4" tall basswood that was tren'led, glued, and copper nailed, onto the deck, flush with the outside of the hull covering this seam completely. The the angled wood waterways were installed around the inside of the cap log, and the deck got a coat of oil-based satin poly. This actually leeched in and made the marker seams bleed a little. in hind sight, I think I'll go with paint over marker for seams in the future.
The coamings got painted black. I'm not sure why the Navy painted deck fittings black. it was even common to paint to top surfaces of tops black. I wonder how many injuries and losses this cost the navy that white paint would have prevented. Anyway...
Constellation didn't have "solid" bulwarks, but rather she had hammock irons bolted to her cap log. These were removed when Baltimore tried to pass her off as a frigate and tossed in the bilge. When the ship was restored as a sloop of war, they found all but one. These irons are designed to have wooden rails at their tops, inboard and out, and have holes so several lines can be run through them. The Navy in it's wisdom though, decided to wainscot them to appear as solid bulwarks, despite the additional splinter hazard that would be in battle.
I wasn't making all those metal stanchions just to hide them under wood and tarps, so I made wood blocks sheathed in sheet bass, scribed to look like vertical wainscotting.
It was the end of April by now, and the Baltimore Port Expo was in two weeks. I wanted to have hammocks in the bulwarks, as she appears in the portrait, but there was no time to figure this out, so I layered on some balsa and shaped it so it looked like tarps were laid over the hammocks. When I figure out how I'll represent the stowed hammocks, I can pull the balsa off easily enough.
The bulwarks on, I made some fittings for the spencer masts; installed the eye bolts at the base of the masts; made some bollards (or whatever name they gave those posts), made and installed the catheads, which are laminated 1/16" basswood.
I then started setting up a jury rig and her controls so she could sail at the Port Expo. I set her t'gallants and all three heads'ls this time around. By the night before the Expo, she was ready to go.
2 years ago by Jerry Todd
after trawling through the plans section my grandson and I have decided the next build will be a eezebilt 50+RAF fire tender maybe try it in ply rather than balsa ,the wee mans 7 and seems really interested so I will let him do as much as possible he will probably be less messy than me so wood hunting at the weekend ,I will have a look through the scrap bins at the work and salvage as much as I can first
2 years ago by marky
That's a fair comment but you could say the same about buying a pre-moulded hull or a kit. But, take it to its logical conclusion, do you fabricate your own plywood? Cultivate, and harvest your own
Be a purist if that's what you want but is it right to sneer at others who find their own path to tread?
2 years ago by Delboy
80 quid! 🤔 Tell the other half it was dirt cheap on E-Bay 😉😉
My little Sea Scout is the same price
Both were 35/- way back then, pic is from KeiKraft catalogue.
Here is a tour round the KeilKraft factory
"This is cine film transferred to VHS in 2003 of the Keil Kraft model factory shot in the 1960s. Keil produced
model aircraft kits some of which were gliders, some were powered by model diesel engines and other powered by rubber bands. They were also agents for the Superquick cardboard model buildings for use with model railways."
Health & Safety? Wassat?? 😉
Cheers Doug 😎
2 years ago by RNinMunich
Steaming ply- good idea or not?
So glad they worked for you, have been back to PB site and added link to all folders on OneDrive as well as google+, just to cover all the bases. Thanks for the idea 😁. Most of her cargo LCAs and LCMs and launch ramps, I did in mainly plastic card, bar the Keel of the LCAs were constructed in balsa, for ease. One or two of the LCAs had plywood sides & deck, but which even I couldn't say 😋
2 years ago by Peter47
(Naval Ship) SHERSCHEN PT 209
Russian submarine fighter deployed on the Baltic. Ship full of balsa construction, plywood skeleton. 2 pcs engine series 600, 2 pcs NiCd battery 3300mA. Super driving characteristics, good maneuverability and stability. (Motor: MIG 600 Turbo) (ESC: DSYS 36 A) (9/10)
2 years ago by Inkoust
(Pleasure Craft) Tarpon
Tarpon, Built from Model Boat Plans, Plywood Keel with Obechie planks 6 x 3 mm, upperworks/cabin balsa frame and .8mm plywood sides.
All decks are planked, approx 6mm x 3mm a white wood, with .5mm Mahogony "Cauking"..
Open planks and wood were varnished , paint is Wilko Enamel spray Gloss with spray undercoat.
Happy sailing. Muddy.... (Motor: 777) (ESC: Electronize) (8/10)