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>> Home > Members > robbob
24th Jan 2016
Last Online
12th Nov 2018

Member Stats
Member No. 3664
Registered 24th Jan 2016
Last Online 12th Nov 2018
City London
Country United Kingdom
Boats in Harbour 2
Sailing Locations 1
Forum Posts 82
Photos Posted 695
Likes Received 927
Likes Given 88
296 Total Posts
Sailing Locations
St. Albans & District Model Engineering Society
Since: 17th Sep 2017
Thames Police Launch
Type: Working Vessel
46" RAF Crash Tender
Type: Fire Boat
Fleet Admiral!
Ranks Points
Fleet Admiral 1000
Admiral 800
Captain 600
Commander 400
Lieutenant 200
Sub-Lieutenant 100
Chief Petty Officer 50
Petty Officer 25
Seaman 10
Apprentice 2
Recruit 0
Top Ranking Member!
Activity Worth Awarded
Boats in Harbour 8 16
Forum Thread 5 55
Forum Post 2 164
Event 8 48
Photo Gallery 10 0
Photos Response 3 0
Video Post 15 0
Video Response 3 0
Build Blog 20 40
Blog Post 5 490
Blog Response 3 336
Sailor 8 8
Guestbook Post 8 0
Liked Posts 1 88
Received Likes 2 1854
3099 Total Points
Good Conduct Medal
This member donated!
United Kingdom
Recent Posts
36" Thames River Police Launch by Robbob by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 12 hours ago
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.

36" Thames River Police Launch by Robbob by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 3 days ago
Hi Peter. It shouldn't need ballasting very much if at all. As I won't be able to adjust the position of any heavy components I'll use small pieces of lead to adjust fore/aft and port/starboard trim. Robbob.

The next project........... by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 4 days ago
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 👍 Robbob.

36" Thames River Police Launch by Robbob by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 4 days ago
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.

Thames Police Launch by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 4 days ago
[Score: 8/10] 36" Thames Police Launch Single Propellor (2 Blade S Type 40mm) Direct Drive to a Turnigy 3548 outrunner (2 Blade S Type) Powered by LiPoly (11.1v) 2Amp/h Batteries Controlled Through Turnigy 30A watercooled ESC - Comments: Constructed from a kit by Vintage Model Works, based on a design by Phil Smith for Veron, started June in progress.

Another show gone! by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 5 days ago
I just found out today that the Bristol model show is to close...😭 There will be no 2019 show but the BSMEE are hopeful it will return in 2020 at a new venue. More information here:

INTERNATIONAL MODEL BOAT SHOW by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 5 days ago
The International Model Boat Show 2018 returns to the Warwickshire Event Centre from Friday 9th to Sunday 11th November 2018. Regarded as one of the UK’s leading marine modelling exhibitions, make sure you put the dates in your diary now!

Search light by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 6 days ago
It's a great shame that Maplins have gone, they were once a good source of electronic components but in later years turned into more of a 'toy shop' than an electronic hobbyists shop. The high power LED is nevertheless available from Hobbyking but the lense will prove more difficult to source now. Midas Components in Norfolk used to be an importer of the 'HJ-HPH2' lens and I also found this after a quick Google: The 'Peter Jones' mentioned could be the chap from the Dragons Den programme? I'm very flattered by Doug's epithet 'King of Crash Tenders' but it is undeserved and should be attributed to the likes of Paul Devlin (pmdevlin) and the late Peter Henshaw (HS93) both from whom I took great inspiration, (and stole lots of ideas from 😜). It is nevertheless very pleasing the the Crash Tenders still appeal to modellers who want to make them and detail them as much as Mike Turpin here.

Search light by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 8 days ago
Hi Mike. Looks very good, some impressive machining work there! I assume that you had to re-shape the lens to fit into the body as I did? Your engineering skills are very evident, but your photographic skills could do with a little 'sharpening' 😉 Keep up the great work. Rob.

1/16th scale Fire Boat decals by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 2 months ago
Hi Martin. BECC do a set in 1:16 scale for your boat. Robbob

Seat Trials and mods. by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 3 months ago
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. Rob.

46Firefloat Mk2 paint by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 3 months ago
Hi All. I found the drawing I mentioned, if you look at the numbered items you'll see that No 72 is the navigation light and No 14 is the mast crutch. There was never a stern light on either boat according to the drawing although one appears on the stern of No 93 in one of the 'photos but not in the other dry dock 'photo....perhaps it was part of a re-fit during it's service life ? Also, the mast light is not numbered or described...but it is there.... I hope I've thrown some light on the subject........I'll get my coat..

Sea Trials and mods. by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 3 months ago
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.

upgrading Turnigy i6 to 10 channels by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 3 months ago
I finally got around to upgrading my Turnigy i6 system from 6 channels to 10 channels today.😁 Happily the firmware update went like a dream and I was able to install a new 10 channel rx in my RAF Crash Tender and then reprogramme the new auxiliary channels to the functions I need. And of course a long press on the exit button saves all the settings we all know now 👍 😁 This has freed-up the previous six channel receiver which I now need for the new boat project which is now well under way. Robbob.

46Firefloat Mk2 paint by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 3 months ago
There is 360 degree nav light at the top of the mast, in the photo I have it appears to be enclosed in a clear dome, there is also a forward facing nav light positioned between the legs of the mast support. I may have a bit of a drawing that could confirm that, but I'll need to look on my 'pooter to find it. Rob.

St.Albans Model Show by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 4 months ago
This is the annual exhibition by the St.Albans & District Model Engineering Society. It gets bigger and better every year and it's a great family day out with lots to see and do for children (and grown ups too !) Lots of local clubs exhibiting too so there's a great variety of all types of models for serious model makers to see. We hope to see you there 😁

The Anchor. by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 4 months ago
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. Robbob.

Crash Tender davit info... by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 5 months ago
Martin. The textured spray I used came from Halfords and was applied in very thin layers to build up the required texture, bear in mind that the finishing colour will 'fill' the texture to some degree. I also applied a satin lacquer to seal the final surface. Sprinkling pixie dust (or crushed chinchillas 😱) onto wet paint sounds a bit hit & miss to me 😁. Whatever you do is acceptable as 'modellers license', and why not be individual with a two-tone grey scheme👍👍. Doug. I think I saw these books and others on Amazon UK when I doing my initial research but concluded that they probably wouldn't have any specific info or 'photos on the flying boat crash rescue tenders which are the subject of the discussion here and I didn't want to shell out on the off-chance that they would, but certainly very useful for the other RAF boats. RAF Hendon museum is very close to me, I could walk there in 20 minutes if I was feeling energetic, and it could be worth asking to see what 'photos and documents they have there. Robbob.

Crash Tender davit info... by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 5 months ago
Martin. The 'Deck Anti-Slip Finish' bit is on page 4 near the top. Re: Colours. As there seem to be no colour photographs or film of the boats the question of colours for the decks, cabins and roofs is open to speculation but you are quite correct to point out that the plans do not specify white for anything other than the hull markings. The cabin roofs I believe would indeed have a textured coating as the crew were required to stand on them to operate the monitors etc. but I decided not to replicate the texture as is would just look like a bad paint job! I did carefully consider the colour options when painting my boat and decided to texture the deck and paint it in the colour specified ‘BS631 RAF Light Grey’ but to leave the cabin roofs untextured and painted white as that seems to be the consensus, and to my eye it does look 'right'. It is also a great shame, as you say, that one of the most popular RAF boats were so few in numbers and not well documented or photographed during their service life. I have a suspicion that a book of drawings and specifications does exist somewhere as I have seen a few pages that appear to have 'Ministry of Supply' indexes and page references. The 'Plans & Docs' section of this site has some useful information and some 'photos and drawings but they are of very poor quality and resolution. Wouldn't it be nice if whoever has that resource were to make it generally available, I believe it's out there somewhere. We can only hope. Robbob.

Crash Tender davit info... by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 5 months ago
Hi Martin. I have a drawing that shows the davit but not in very much detail 🤔. It is designed to be swapped between attachment points on both port or starboard sides ( hence 'portable' davit) and when not required it is stowed in the centre deck with the ends locating in some sort of retaining points on the deck and then (presumably) secured to the wall of the cabin. I added some detail to the white metal casting that came with my Vintage Model Works kit and also modified it to swivel on a removable fixing bracket. See my build blog for more detail on how I made mine. Good luck with the restoration. Robbob.

what have I got? by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 5 months ago
Hi Bryan. I think what you have is an RAF Seaplane Tender, it could be an Aerokits or Veron kit. A very nice restoration project ! Rob.

Rubbing stakes by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 6 months ago
Impressive..... Nicely engineered and looks quite substantial 👍👍, hopefully you can blend it into the rubbing strakes to be virtually invisible. Well worth the effort to incorporate at this stage, I just wish I had done so myself 😭. I'm glad that you can benefit from my bad experience. That's what this forum is all about 😁. Great work as always. Rob

Fibreglass the hull by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 6 months ago
Hi Michael. I was also a bit nervous when glassing the hull, I did a few trial pieces first to test the application method and the curing time but I actually found the process very straightforward and gave excellent results. Next time I'll use the faster curing hardener now I have the technique and confidence. I do regret not glassing the deck and superstructure as they would have benefited from a stronger surface. If it's not too late you might want to consider insetting a piece of steel or brass on the tip of the prow on the upper strake to protect from any accidental knocks. I managed to do that while carrying the boat through a doorway😡. It was quite easy to repair but a bit late for me to add a reinforcing plate around the nose. Keep up the great work. Robbob.

Cabin windows again by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 7 months ago
Interesting solution ! What you are actually describing is otherwise known as 'secondary double glazing'...😜 Keep up the great work. Robbob.

bad day at blackrock by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 8 months ago
Good luck and get well soon. Robbob.

Sealing a hull up by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 8 months ago
Hi there. I buy sanding sealer from this eBay trader: Robbob.

Cabin roof mechanism by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 8 months ago
That's a very clever design and we'll executed. Two concerns, the finished roof might be a little fragile and easily knocked, trust me, it happens 😱, particularly with the mast in place and the 'pantagraph' motion knocked out of alignment. Also, if you are doing working lighting for the mast, front and side nav lights and searchlight, how will you articulate the wiring to them neatly? Perhaps a self locating, on closure, multi pin connector? I'm sure you have already considered these points so I'll be interested to see how you engineer them. Keep up the great work 👍. Robbob.

Cabin detail Pt 2 by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 8 months ago
This build just keeps getting better !! Here's a drawing of part of the control panel that shows a little more detail and a still from the Pathe video that shows a bit more. I hope they are helpful. Robbob.

Cabin detail Pt 1 by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 8 months ago
Hi Michael. Looking forward to part 2 of this instalment, lovin' the detail 👍. Robbob.

Propshaft and oiler fitting by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 8 months ago
Hi Colin. The propshaft, oiler and support are available from this UK supplier. hxttp:// Good luck with the build. Robbob.