Unlike traditional Pilot Cutters, this plan calls for the model to be fitted with a fin and weighted lead keel.
I left this part of the build to the end for two reasons. I needed to know the weight of the model before the keel could be cast, and I didn't like the idea of messing about with 4+kgs of molten lead😮.
The plans give a target weight for the completed model of 8.2kgs (18lbs) including a keel weighing 4.5kgs. With all the extra details I've added to the hull it has turned out heavier than the design weight (No surprise there then 😉) so to keep the total weight of the model on target, the keel weight needed to be reduced to 4kgs. To compensate for the lighter keel, I decided to extend the fin length by 50mm.
The fin is made from 3mm aluminium sheet. This was cut out using a jigsaw fitted with a metal cutting blade. The large hole at the top of the fin reduces the weight a little, and provides a convenient hand hold. The three holes at the bottom are to provide a key for the lead keel.
A wooden mold was made from scrap timber and the fin clamped in place. 4.5kgs of lead was melted and poured in - very carefully! Once cooled, the mold was removed and the keel was then shaped using a 'surform' tool bringing the completed weight of the keel down to 4ks.
Thin balsa sheet was glued to both sides of the fin with contact adhesive and then sanded to give a streamlined cross section to the fin. The completed fin slides into the keel box below the hull and is held in place with two steel cross pins fitted through one of the deck hatches.
The completed assembly was finished with two part epoxy, glass cloth, and several coats of navy blue paint from a rattle can.