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Our guide to the best

model boat warships


Build some of the 20th Century warships that changed history


H.M.T. Sir Lancelot
1942 minesweeper

Torpedo boat destroyer

Giuseppe Garibaldi
Italys flagship aircraft carrier
and many more...
The history behind
WW1 coastal
motor boats
Take a look inside
H.M.S. Belfast


Royal Navy


Bodega Bay
Stunning standoff scale model
escort carrier

Glynn Guests semiscale working model
based on a WW2
tank landing craft








Model Boats Warships 125

Welcome to this special issue from the publishers of
Glynn Guest
Colin Bishop
Paul Freshney
Design Manager:
Siobhan Nolan
Steve Stoner
Nik Harber
Ben Rayment
Tel: 01689 869851
Julie Miller
Chief Executive:
Owen Davies
Peter Harkness

Tel: 0844 848 8822
From outside UK
+44 (0) 133 261 2894

ny country that has an economy which depends on seaborne trade inevitably

recognises the need for a Navy to protect this vital link. Once you have a Navy
it can also be used to threaten, if not deny the use of the sea by any potential
enemies. Even countries with modest coastlines will feel the need to have some sort of
littoral protection. So it is not difficult to see that warships have, from the earliest days
of oar and sail power to the modern nuclear powered behemoths, featured prominently
in human history. This makes them fascinating subjects for many people so their
popularity as a subject for working models ought to be a surprise to no one.
However, models of warships have always had something of a reputation of being
difficult compared with something like a model based on a tug or lifeboat design.
It is true that having a narrower beam can make a warship model less stable than a
beamier model but, it does not mean that they are going to be unstable. Careful design
and construction, usually by keeping the weight of items above the deck as light as
possible and any internal ballast as low as possible, can avoid such problems. The advent
of economical and reliable Radio Control equipment, along with suitable electric power,
has also gone a long way in making the warship modellers life much easier.
It is possible to buy a suitable warship model in kit form, indeed if cost is no
objection you can now buy highly detailed ready to sail model warships. But many
modellers prefer to build their own which means they can say its all my own work.
There is an intermediate route of buying a commercial ready made hull, usually in Glass
Reinforced Plastic, and then building the decks and superstructure upon it. However
the model is built you still have to first decide on which vessel to base the model on and
then just how much detail to add.
This publication includes a Free plan worth 17.50 for a destroyer model that ought
to be straightforward to build especially if you use the associated woodpack kit. It was
designed to represent the many destroyers built for the Royal Navy during World War
Two rather than be based on a specific vessel. It can be easily altered to match several
different classes of destroyers. It may fall into the category of semi or stand-off scale
but dashing across the water it looks the part of warship moving purposely into action.
Which is just what any working model ought to do!
For more special features, and great subscriber offers go to www.modelboats.co.uk

Glynn Guest 2014

Model Boats Warships is published once a year

by MyTimeMedia Ltd, Hadlow House, 9 High
Street, Green Street Green, Orpington, Kent
MyTimeMedia Ltd. 2014. All rights reserved
ISBN 9781907063688. The Publishers written
consent must be obtained before any part
of this publication may be reproduced in any
form whatsoever, including photocopiers, and
information retrieval systems. All reasonable
care is taken in the preparation of the magazine
contents, but the publishers cannot be held
legally responsible for errors in the contents of
this magazine or for any loss however arising
from such errors, including loss resulting from
negligence of our staff. Reliance placed upon the
contents of this magazine is at readers own risk.

Model Boats Warships 3


HMS Belfast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Coastal boats. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

HMS Belfast is a familiar London

tourist attraction but it is a ship
with a proud maritime heritage.
Colin Bishop reports.

Coastal motor boats performed a

vital role in attackingGerman naval
bases and shipping. IVOR WARNE
takes a look at the survivors

HMS Daring. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
TONY DALTON describes his
semi-scale model of the
Royal Navys new toy

Dazzle ships. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
ship subterfuge

4 www.modelboats.co.uk

Historical postcards. . . . 24
Colin Bishop takes a look at how
the Navy changed between the
wars using a unique collection of

Avispa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
This British torpedo boat
destroyer, Approx scale 1:35,
could be built to 1:30, or 1:40
scale, designed by Glynn Guest
using a Graupner marine
steam plant

HMS Ardent. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
HMS Lagos. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

HMS Penelope. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

GLYNN GUEST provides some

background information about the
re-introduced plan of this sleek
battle class destroyer

GLYNN GUEST built his 1:144

scale model back in 1980. here
he provides some essential
background information about it

JOHN SLATER builds the stunning

APS Models 1:72 scale semi-kit of
this Type 21 Frigate

PT602. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .108
GARETH JONES rebuilds an Elco
80 foot patrol torpedo boat

HMS Temerity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58

Brodega Bay. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78

GLYNN GUEST presents a free

plan for a semi-scale World War
Two Royal Navy destroyer

A stand-off scale model of an

escort carrier built by

LCT6. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
GLYNN GUEST makes a semiscale free plan model based on a
WW2 tank landing craft

Plans. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
Giuseppe Garobaldi. . . . 68

HMT Sir Lancelot. . . . . . . . . . . 92

Italys flagship is a scratch built

1:72 scale remote control model

A Royal Navy patrol service round

table class minesweeper of 1942,
described by ROLAND DUFFETT

Model Boats plans servicel list

Model Boats Warships 5

HMS Belfast

Defender of the
HMS Belfast is a familiar London tourist
attraction but it is a ship with a proud
maritime heritage. Colin Bishop reports.

6 www.modelboats.co.uk


ost regular visitors to central

London will be familiar with the
sight of HMS Belfast moored in the
Pool of London between London and Tower
Bridges. To many it will seem that she has
been there forever and it is true to say that
the ship has spent more time at her present
mooring than she did during her operational
career. This is a ship with a famous and proud

history and she is a worthy representative of

the nations maritime heritage. Yet it could
have been very different had Germany come
just a bit closer to ending her illustrious career
before it had really got underway.

Genesis of a cruiser
At the end of World War One the Royal Navy
reigned supreme. The Grand Fleet with its
supporting cruiser and destroyer squadrons
were unmatched. But the peacetime economy
could not sustain such high levels of naval
might. Moreover, the pace of wartime development meant that many of the dreadnought
battleships were effectively obsolescent, particularly in the face of new designs from the

American and Japanese navies. Indeed, the

end of the war saw a new naval race developing, one which would be unaffordable
to all the participants. The result was a
series of international naval treaties in
the early 1920s. Space precludes detailing
the results of these, but as far as cruisers
were concerned, the upper limit was set
at 10,000 tons and an armament of 8 inch
guns. For the Royal Navy this resulted in
the eleven units of the County Class (and
two for the Royal Australian Navy) of just
under 10,000 tons, each armed with eight
8 inch guns in twin mountings. They were
followed by two smaller ships, HM Ships
York and Exeter with six 8 inch guns.

Statistics of HMS Belfast

Length overall: 613 feet 6 inches
Beam: 66 feet
Draught (deep load): 22 feet
Armour: Main Belt: 3-4 inches, decks 2-3 inches
Armament: Twelve 6 inch, twelve 4 inch HA (High Angle), sixteen 2pdr pom
pom AA guns, eight 0.5 inch machine guns, six 21 inch torpedo tubes and
three Walrus amphibious aircraft
Machinery: Four sets of Parsons geared turbines and four Admiralty three
drum small tube boilers driving four shafts developing 80,000 shp to give a
maximum service speed of 32 knots.

Model Boats Warships 7

HMS Belfast
The Counties were expensive ships and
did not meet the RN need for numbers to
protect the sea lanes of the British Empire.
The end of WW1 saw the introduction into
service of the C and D Class cruisers which
carried a uniform armament of 6 inch guns
in single mountings. Although state of the
art in their day, they were becoming outdated in the 1930s, although many acquitted
themselves well in WW2, especially those
converted to anti-aircraft ships. The response
of the Admiralty was to build the Leander
(5 ships) and Amphion (3 ships) Classes of
around 8,000 tons, armed with eight 6 inch
guns in twin mountings. They were followed
by smaller vessels of the Arethusa (4 ships)
Class intended mainly for commerce protection with just six 6 inch guns.
Meanwhile, international naval thinking
was moving away from 8 inch gun cruisers,
the opinion being that a vessel mounting a
larger number of quick firing 6 inch guns
would overwhelm the heavier gunned ship,
provided that the more lightly armed cruiser
could get close enough. Despite the much
heavier 8 inch shell, 250lbs against the
112lb 6 inch, nominal rates of fire indicated
that the light cruiser could deliver a much
greater weight of fire in a given period. In
practice, when using aimed fire, the disparity

was much less than claimed, but both the

American and Japanese navies embraced the
concept with their Brooklyn and Mogami
Classes mounting no less than fifteen 6 inch
guns. The Royal Navys response was to
develop the somewhat smaller Southampton,
or Town, Class from the Leander design,
armed with twelve 6 inch guns in four triple
turrets. These were well balanced ships with
a handsome profile and proved to be excellent designs under wartime conditions where
they were used extensively in the Mediterranean. The eight ships of the first two batches
were generally similar but with the last two,
Edinburgh and Belfast, the Admiralty wanted
an enlarged, up gunned version with four
quadruple turrets to match foreign rivals. The
secondary armament was also to be upgraded
from eight to twelve 4 inch. However, trials
with a prototype version of the quadruple
turret showed that there were problems with
shells from adjacent guns interfering and colliding with each other. Rectifying this with
wider turrets to increase the spread between
the guns had implications for the arcs over
which the guns would bear. Remedying this
meant lengthening the ship and increasing
the armour weight and so on. In the end it
was decided to stick with the same twelve
gun configuration of the earlier ships, but to

retain the intended improvements in armour

and secondary guns. It was also decided to
move the 4 inch gun magazine forward of
the machinery spaces which necessitated a
110 foot trolley system to move ammunition
to the 4 inch guns along the upper deck
from the hoists on the flight deck this was
nicknamed the Scenic Railway. The reason
for this change is not known although it has
been suggested that it was to minimise the
length of the propeller shafts. It did however
have a major effect on the appearance of the
ship with the fore funnel now stepped well
aft of the bridge and the after funnel behind
the mainmast. Improvements to the turret,
shell handling and magazine arrangements
necessitated mounting the after turrets one
deck higher than in the previous vessels. The
overall effect was to give Edinburgh and Belfast a rather unbalanced and heavier appearance compared with their more elegant half
sisters and the changes made them the only 6
inch cruisers built up to the 10,000 ton treaty
limit (which they actually exceeded) and
they were able to withstand 8 inch gunfire.

Service history
On completion, H.M.S Belfast was commissioned into the Fleet on 5th August 1939 as
war clouds gathered over Europe. Following
Left: Front view of the forward gunnery control
and radar.
below: Looking forward from the forward funnel.
Below: The amidships crane formerly used to
handle the boats a challenging modelling subject
in its own right.
Below left: Belfasts forward guns are reputedly
trained on Scratchwood Motorway Services on the
M1, some 12.5 miles distant!

At the end of
WW1 the Royal Navy
reigned supreme. The
Grand Fleet with its
supporting cruiser &
destroyer squadrons were

8 www.modelboats.co.uk

the outbreak of war, the ship was assigned

to the 18th cruiser squadron operating out
of Scapa Flow as part of the blockade of
Germany. On 9th October she scored her first
success in capturing the German liner Cap
Norte, NW of the Faroe Islands. However,
this was almost to be the sum total of her
career. In November, while serving with
the 2nd Cruiser Squadron operating out of
Rosyth, she set off a magnetic mine while
proceeding to sea on exercises. The effect
was devastating. The middle of the vessel
was pushed up by over four feet and her back
was broken. The whiplash effect shattered
equipment throughout the ship, particularly
iron castings for mounting heavy items like
the turbines and she was totally immobilised.
Temporary patching up enabled the ship to
reach Devonport where the decision was
almost made to scrap her. Due to other
priorities, the extensive repairs required were
protracted and not completed until November
1942. Repairs to the hull included fitting an
anti-torpedo bulge with the armour belt refitted
outboard of it. The opportunity was also taken
to update the ship with the latest radar and
other electronics. When she re-entered service,
Belfast was indeed a formidable ship.
Belfast spent most of 1943 in Arctic waters
escorting or covering Russian convoys. These

above: 6 inch shell room carousel and hoists.

Each shell weighed 112lb.
Above centre: The forward gunnery control and
radar from aft.

arduous duties culminated in what was perhaps the high point of her career the Battle
of North Cape on 26th December in which
the Home Fleet consisting of the battleship
Duke of York, four cruisers and destroyers intercepted and sank the German battlecruiser
Scharnhorst which was bent upon attacking
convoy JW 55B near Bear Island off the North
Cape of Norway. Belfast, together with the
cruisers Sheffield and Norfolk, were the first
to sight Scharnhorst and bring her to action,
Belfast scoring hits with her fourth salvo under radar control. A running battle developed
which brought the battlecruiser within range
of the Duke of York which rapidly scored
damaging hits including one in a boiler room
which reduced her speed, opening the way
for a successful torpedo attack by the destroyers which left the crippled giant on fire
and dead in the water. Belfast and the cruiser
Jamaica were ordered in to administer the
coup de grace and Scharnhorst sank with the
loss of all but 36 of her 1,968 crew. During
the action Belfast fired 316 six inch shells, 77
four inch shells and three torpedoes.
At the end of March 1944, Belfast participated as part of the covering forces in
Operation Tungsten, a Fleet Air Arm attack
on the battleship Tirpitz in Altenfjord, Norway which put her out of action until July.

Belfasts next major task was to act as flagship

of one of the D Day bombardment forces.
Over the course of five weeks she provided
gunfire support to the troops ashore. The ship
then underwent a major refit to prepare her
for service against the Japanese during which
two of the twin 4 inch gun mountings were
removed to allow more close range anti aircraft weapons to be fitted. Her aircraft were
landed, the catapult removed and the hangers
converted to accommodation. Her electronics
were upgraded and the ship was modified to
improve habitability in the tropics. Following
completion of her refit in April 1945 and a
short working up period in Malta, Belfast
sailed for the Far East, but the Japanese had
surrendered before her arrival. The ship then
spent a hectic period dealing with the aftermath of the war and evacuating prisoners of
war from Japanese prison camps. Belfast was
to remain in the Far East until October 1947
before paying off into reserve.
A year later following another refit, Belfast
was off to the Far East again where she participated in the final stages of the well known
incident involving HMS Amethyst. The years
1950 to 1952 saw Belfast engaged almost full
time in the Korean War as part of the United
Nations forces. Much of her time was taken up
with bombardment duties in support of the

Belfast comes alongside USS Bataan

during the Korean War, May 1952.
(Photo - US Naval Historical Centre).

Above far right: Ships of cruiser size carried a

dentist. Just one of the many tableaux depicting
life on board.
Below Some of the engine room instrumentation.

Model Boats Warships 9

HMS Belfast

Rear view of HMS Belfast

Top: Interior of Y Turret gunhouse. The breech of

the centre gun can be seen open with a shell ready
for loading above and to the left.
Above: A view of one of the complex engine
rooms. The turbine casing can be seen centre left,
exposing the rotors.
Right: Port side of the bridge showing the twin
40mm Bofors mountings.

troops ashore where she earned the accolade of

That straight shooting ship from an American
admiral and wore out a complete set of 6 inch
gun barrels. At the end of 1952 she again paid
off into reserve at Devonport.
At this point it might have seemed that
eventual scrapping was on the cards, but in
1956 it was decided to reconfigure the ship
for service in the nuclear age. Over the next
three years Belfast was radically altered,
both internally and externally, to fully
modernise her. The forward superstructure
was remodelled to provide enclosed captains
and admirals bridges. The tripod masts were
replaced with lattice structures to accommodate the new generation of electronics.
Timber decking was removed except for the
quarterdeck. The gunnery control directors
were replaced as were the 4 inch secondary
guns with new mountings. The close range
armament was also replaced and the torpedo
gear removed. The radar and electronics fit
was upgraded and major improvements were
made to the accommodation and dining
facilities. No changes were necessary to the
main armament as the addition of the bulge
following her 1939 mining had given her
additional stability.
The next few years saw Belfast employed
East of Suez and in the Far East from where
she eventually returned via the Pacific, Amer10 www.modelboats.co.uk

ican West Coast and Panama Canal to Portsmouth in June 1962. Her final commissions
were in Home and European waters followed
by a spell of four years as harbour accommodation ship in Portsmouth which brought
to an end 32 years of service. With only the
scrapyard now in prospect the future of the
ship looked bleak. But a devoted team from
the Imperial War Museum had been developing the idea of preserving a complete vessel
as a museum ship for the Nation. Belfast was
selected due to her excellent condition and
the HMS Belfast Trust was born.
In October 1971 HMS Belfast was towed to
her present berth in the pool of London and
opened to the public.

HMS Belfast today

The appearance of the ship today is the sum
total of the many refits and modifications
during her operational life, particularly the
extensive mid-1950s rebuild. Obviously it
would be entirely impractical to restore her
to anything like her wartime condition,
although she has recently been repainted in
the Admiralty disruptive camouflage scheme
that she wore at the battle of North Cape
which is a bit of an anachronism. Personally, I
preferred the previous all grey paint job. The
last time I was aboard was shortly after she
arrived in the Pool of London when public

Above: Captains bridge. The Admirals bridge is

one deck below.

access was limited, but now it is a different

story altogether with large areas of the ship
from the bilges to the gun direction platform
above the bridge opened up to public view.
Most of the upper deck is now fully accessible from stem to stern together with the gunhouses of A and Y turrets. These seem quite
roomy inside until you reflect that it took 27
men to fight each one. You also get a close
up view of the ships secondary and close
range weaponry. The original hangars were
converted to accommodation when her aircraft were removed and one now does duty
as a cafe serving light refreshments, much
needed after climbing up and down all the
ladders on board. Outside, the former catapult and later boat deck is used as a picnic
area, but the boat handling crane remains in
place. Inside the accommodation spaces you
will find many interesting full-size displays
illustrating the day to day life on a major
surface warship and there are also exhibitions, one of which gives a running account
of the North Cape battle complete with
superb models of the participating ships
on loan from the Imperial War Museum
collections. Heading upwards will take you
through the Admirals and Captains bridges,

Far left: A Bofors mounting gets a bit of

ongoing maintenance.
Left: Interior of accommodation. Note the
armoured hatches with central manholes and the
21 inch torpedo.

The appearance
of the ship today is the
sum total of the many
refits and modifications
during her operational

Left: Schematic diagram showing the

engine and driveshaft arrangement for one of
Belfasts four propellers.

the latter still fitted with instrumentation,

until you emerge on to the Gun Direction
Platform which gives a panoramic view over
the bows and decks.
In the other direction, the main attractions
are the machinery spaces and the shell rooms.
The forward boiler and engine rooms are
fully accessible and although they are large
compartments, the amount of machinery
crammed into them is amazing. You really
have to spend some time working out which
are the main components and how they relate
to each other with the help of the handily
placed visual aid screens.
In marked contrast are the main armament
shell rooms with their almost elegant sets of
hoists and circular carousels which delivered
the shells to the gunhouses above. Below
the shell rooms are the magazines where the
cordite charges were stored. These can be
viewed, but not visited. The shell rooms are
surprisingly large open spaces, well protected
behind armour.
One particularly interesting compartment
is the Common Machine Shop which was effectively the ships main workshop with huge
lathes and other engineering tools
in-situ, some of which are still used today by
the ships maintenance staff.
If visiting the ship, allow at least half a day,
preferably longer, as there is so much to see

and the many ladders and catwalks connecting the ships nine decks will give you plenty
of exercise!

Modelling HMS Belfast

Apart from the relative complexity of the
subject, modelling a ship with such a long
service career requires considerable care
when deciding what period the model is
supposed to represent. HMS Belfast at the
end of her career differed very considerably
from her original appearance. Probably the
best reference source is Ross Wattons book,
Anatomy of the Ship The Cruiser Belfast
which is currently in print and contains comprehensive data, drawings and plans.
As far as stand alone plans are concerned,
the National Maritime Museum should be able
to supply them, but this is not a cheap option.
To the best of my knowledge the only plans
presently on sale are those from the Sambrook
range depicting the ship in 1944. These are
available from an American source, Loyalhanna Dockyard, and details can be obtained from
their website: www.loyalhannadockyard.com.
Other plans I have a record of, are a set
drawn up by E.N. Wilson which show the
ship as built and after her 1942 refit. These
are part of the David MacGregor plans range
which I believe are owned by the SS Great
Britain Project and not commercially available

at the present time, except that at the time of

writing Deans Marine still have some in stock.
For those wishing to go down the semi-kit
route, Deans Marine have recently introduced a
1/96th scale GRP hull in their Mouldeans range
together with a comprehensive set of fittings,
details of which can be found on their website
www.deansmarine.co.uk. Good quality fittings
can also be obtained from John Haynes who
built the models of the ship currently displayed
onboard. Website: www.johnrhaynes.com.
(This is an excellent website with a good range of high
quality fittings - Editor). Also, there are the well
known Airfix version at 1:600 scale which is
widely available and for which photo etchings
are available to improve the model and at least
one card kit of HMS Belfast to a scale of 1:400
from JSC.

Visiting the ship

HMS Belfast can be found moored on the
South Bank of the Pool of London between
Tower and London Bridges. Nearest station is
London Bridge. The ship is open daily except
24/25/26 December and opening times and
a host of other information can be found on
the excellent HMS Belfast website:
Telephone: +44 (0)207 940 6300. In 2008 an
adult ticket to the ship costs 15.50 Children
under 16 free
Model Boats Warships 11

Special feature


camouf lage and

ANTHONY ADDAMS explores ship subterfuge
12 www.modelboats.co.uk

Model Boats Warships 13

Special feature

magine that you are a German U-boat

commander and it is 1915. Searching for
an enemy ship, you come to periscope
depth and scan quickly through 360 degrees,
visibility 4 to 6 miles, the sky is overcast and
there is some wave spume. The target ship
is noted briefly, but the sky must also be
scanned for enemy aircraft.
Photo 1 is of such a target ship, but it has
a chaotic paint scheme making it difficult to
identify and if it were moving, hard to
determine its heading. The dazzle paint
scheme of this ship makes focusing much
harder with no clear vertical lines on the
target ship since the cross hairs of the
periscopes lens are vertical and horizontal.
Such was the intention of the dazzle paint
scheme, namely to confuse and of course in
WW1, torpedoes had to be fired by line of
sight, so the submarine had to manoeuvre
into position and this required estimating the
relative speeds and courses of both of them.
There is no clear evidence that dazzle
painting actually worked(!), but belief in
these paint schemes was strong in both the
Royal Navy and in the USA Navy. Apparently
about 4000 ships were painted in this way in
WWI and to a lesser extent in WW2.

A British design concept

If you visit the Historic Dockyard in

14 www.modelboats.co.uk

Chatham, you can see the excellent display of

naval models in the No.1. Smithery building.
Amongst the exhibits in one display case,
there is a collection of miniature ship models
each about nine inches long and typically
these would have been cast metal models
widely sold in shops. The examples had been
repainted in dazzle schemes by Norman
Wilkinson, a naval engineer lieutenant and
marine artist. (Note: Photography is not
allowed in the No. 1 Smithery building so I
cannot show you these historic models)
By 1917, multiple losses of allied ships by
submarine attack were becoming a serious
threat to UK national security and its supplies.
The camouflage then currently applied,
mainly in shades of grey, was not confusing
the enemy submarines. The visibility of a
ship at sea is affected by the colours of the
sky as well as the cloud cover, brightness and
lighting direction, mist, rain, snow and ice,
as well as wave height and blown spume. If
hiding a ship by camouflage did not work,
then an alternative paint scheme might
work better? So, the concept of Dazzle paint
schemes (also known as Jazzle and Razzle)
to be deliberately conspicuous cam to the
fore. The intention being, to use blocks of
colour so as to make it hard to see the size
and course of the ship, all in such a way as
to deceive a potential attacker. This can only

be done by extreme blocks of colour and

shapes which will so distort the vessel as to
its symmetry and bulk. Lt. Wilkinson and his
team of professional artists, model builders
and engineers operated from Burlington
House, and they used the model testing tank
at Leamington Spa to view Dazzle painted
models, often four to six feet long, from a
modified periscope. The models were rotated
as they were viewed with different backdrops
and in various lighting conditions with some
30 personnel employed on this work. Later
in the war, he went to America to assist the
US Navy and their Dazzle camouflage unit
employed a similar number of personnel to
those in the UK. Anyway, in other words, the
schemes used were not just hit and miss, but
some considerable thought and research went
into them.

Rather handily, at the Portsmouth Historic
Dockyard is HMS M33 in dry dock, currently
suitably painted in such a scheme, Photo 2.
I wont bore you with details of her career,
but she is now only one of three surviving
WW1 warships and should not be missed
if you are in Portsmouth. The other two
WW1 warships are HMS President and HMS
Caroline and both of these vessels have been
recently painted in dazzle schemes, as part

There is no clear
evidence that dazzle
painting actually
worked(!), but belief
in these paint schemes
was strong in both the
Royal Navy and in the
USA Navy.

of the celebrations of the centenary of the

start of WW1. HMS President was originally
HMS Saxifrage, a Flower class anti-submarine
Q-ship built in 1918 and mounting 4 inch
and 6pdr guns plus depth charges, but
disguised as a coastal merchant ship. The
idea being that a U-boat would not want to
sacrifice a valuable torpedo on a small coaster,
so would attack her on the surface using guns
to sink the ship. However, the plan was that
HMS Saxifrage would expose her guns at
the critical moment and in turn, attack the
submarine! As HMS President, she is moored
at Blackfriars on the Thames in London. HMS
Caroline was a WW1 C-class light cruiser and
is currently moored in Belfast.

topped main deck, just having a small pilot

house (conning tower) that could be raised
and lowered when needed. Trials soon began
on procedures for aircraft handling and on
arrestor wire systems and here she is shown
in her dazzle paint scheme. In WW2 she
served with distinction, delivering aircraft
to Malta, the Gold Coast, Iceland and Mur-

mansk, as well as being a troop carrier for

soldiers from Australia and New Zealand. A
radio controlled model of HMS Argus would
be distinctive and probably quite unique,
particularly with this paint scheme.

HMS Calpe flies the Spanish flag

Yes, it is true! HMS Calpe, Photo 4, was

HMS Argus
Arguably the first proper aircraft carrier,
HMS Argus was constructed from the hull
of a fast Italian liner on which work ceased
at the start of WWI. HMS Argus, Photo 3,
was commissioned in late-1917 with a flat

Model Boats Warships 15

Special feature
disguised as a Spanish ship with the crew
kept out of sight as she steamed into the
French port of St. Jean de Luz on 4th April
1942. Lowering the Spanish flag and
replacing it with the White Ensign she
opened fire, bombarding the town in order
to take off some Polish soldiers. HMS Calpe
was a Hunt class destroyer, and saw action off
North Africa and in the ill-fated Dieppe raid.

The Coastal Defence Vessel Frunzyaka,
Photo 5, is a splendid example of a dazzle
paint scheme on a Soviet Union Baltic Sea
missile armed vessel. This fine and unusual
model was exhibited by Moira Hawkins at a
Coalville Model Boat Show.

Deans Marine Open Days

This splendid model, Photo 6, was displayed
in 2012, but unfortunately I did not note
the name of the builder. This Rodney class
battleship was not complete but when photographed against the backdrop of a grey canvas
screen and with the hull below the waterline
hidden from view, the models outline does
start to become quite indistinct.

HMS Belfast

Julius Caesar? Well

around 55BC, he ordered
his scouting ships to be
coloured blue with a wax
coating as were their sails
together with the crews
suitably dressed, so they
were not so obvious when
reconnoitering the shores
of Britain.

This is the last surviving WW2 RN warship

and was painted in a deceptive scheme for
2014, Photo 7. Okay, maybe not as dramatic
as some schemes, but deception is the name
of the game. The dazzle scheme is also
markedly different on the starboard side,
Photo 8. Again, I shall not bore you with
a history of this famous vessels career that
stretched from 1939 to 1963, but suffice to
say she had a sister, HMS Edinburgh and they
were both lengthened Town class cruisers,
the latter being lost in combat. Thankfully she
has been preserved with the help of public
fund raising and is now part of the National
Historic Fleet, Core Collection, managed here
by the Imperial War Museum. A visit to the
ship is recommended and includes excellent
audio visual film effects inside Y turret.
Whilst on board I noted the heavy duty
anchor chain and I well remember in 1955
visiting Rosyth Naval Dockyard and seeing
anchor chain being made. Straight out of
Victorian times in the glow of the huge
blacksmiths forge, four men were stripped to
the waist, one holding with giant tongs the
red hot section of bar, whilst the other three

16 www.modelboats.co.uk

used heavy sledge hammers to bend the bar

into shape. Those were the days!

Turning the clock back?

Julius Caesar? Well around 55BC, he ordered

his scouting ships to be coloured blue with a
wax coating as were their sails together with
the crews suitably dressed, so they were not
so obvious when reconnoitering the shores
of Britain. Also, Alexander Cochrane, a commander in the Napoleon Wars and later better
known as Admiral Cochrane, is famous for
his many successful engagements including
one in 1801 with the Spanish frigate El Gamo
of 34 guns and a crew of 319 men. In this
attack against a far superior ship, Cochrane in
HMS Speedy, a sloop of 14 guns and 54 men,
disguised his ship as an American trading
merchant vessel to confuse the enemy for as
long as possible. Painted canvas was spread
over the gun ports, tattered sails were hoisted, rigging was slackened and made untidy,
and the crew disguised and told to act in a
slovenly way. When close to his target whilst
catching the enemy unprepared, he hoisted
the British colours, swiftly brought his ship
under the stern of El Gamo and then raked
her with his guns and captured the Spanish
vessel despite being outnumbered five to one
in manpower. Admiral Cochranes records of
his extraordinary missions and engagements
are said to be the basis of the novels by
Patrick OBrian in which Captain Jack Aubrey
is the hero and the film Master and
Commander and notably, deception tactics
were used in the fictional film.

A deceptive model?.

Dont assume that an official model is always

100% correct. This cut-away model of a
nuclear submarine, Photo 9, includes some
deliberate internal errors to deceive foreign
powers, so I was told when visiting Chatham.
This model was originally displayed in the
Science Museum, but is now in storage at the
Chatham Historic Naval Dockyard.

Deception, and that is what we are really
talking about here, is nothing new with paint
schemes being just one visually obvious
element of it all. Modern warships have all
sorts of electronic and physical deception
aids, not least their physical shapes to reduce
radar cross section, because of course
nowadays radar and sound signatures mean
that modern systems can identify a foe
relatively easily - so they say!
If you Google; Razzle Dazzle Ship Camouflage this will bring up many fascinating
pictures, old and new. To be honest, just looking at some of them makes my head spin, let
alone trying to then paint them, but why not
make such a uniquely painted model?
Model Boats Warships 17

WW1 coastal motor boats

WW1 coastal
motor boats

Coastal motor boats performed a vital role in attackingGerman naval

bases and shipping. IVOR WARNE takes a look at the survivors

Side view of the 55ft CMB at Chatham

Historic Dockyard (Photo courtesy of
Colin Bishop).

18 www.modelboats.co.uk

This was of mahogany plank-on-frame, with a
single step planing round form hull. The 40ft
CMB had an 8ft 6ins beam and displaced five
tons with a draught of 2ft 9ins. The stepped
hydroplane design lessened the wetted area of
the boat in the water and so reduced drag and
allowed a higher speed. The wetted area was
lessened because as the boat increased speed
through the water, it would lift the hull up on
to the step, thus raising a large proportion of
the hull out of the water.

Power was provided by a V12 Thornycroft

petrol engine developing 275bhp through a
single propeller shaft. The engine was adapted
from an aero unit and in the interests of
weight saving there was no reverse gearbox. In
the end, a total of 39 were built and they
carried a variety of armaments, which
18 inch torpedo
Depth charges
Machine guns, e.g. Lewis guns

History of the coastal motor boat

The Coastal Motor Boats (CMBs)
were developed at the suggestion of
young naval officers of the Harwich
destroyer force in 1915. Their
proposal was to use fast racing boats
to skim over German minefields and
then attack the German naval bases
and shipping. The CMB designation
was used to disguise their ultimate
purpose. The Admiralty adopted the
suggestion and put out a
specification for a vessel that would:
Carry an 18 inch torpedo

Have a maximum speed of 30

knots Carry sufficient petrol to give
a wide radius of action
Weigh less than 4.5 tons so that it
could be davit launched from light
The method of deploying from light
cruisers was soon abandoned and
the weight gradually increased with
the addition of performance
improving developments. John I.
Thornycroft of Hampton-on-Thames,
developed a design to meet this

demanding specification. Twelve

were ordered in 1916 and delivered
to the Royal Navy within seven
months. The design stemmed from a
1910 Thornycroft speedboat called
Miranda IV, which was a 25 feet
long, single step hydroplane
powered by a 120hp Thornycroft
petrol engine and that could reach
35 knots. So, this was the basis for
the 40 foot design that was
accepted by the Admiralty.

Model Boats Warships 19

WW1 coastal motor boats

Operational challenges
In order to keep the weight down, the torpedo
could not be fired from a tube. Instead it was
carried in a rear facing trough. To fire the
torpedo, it was pushed backwards out of the
vessel by a cordite firing pistol and a long steel
ram, to enter the water tail first and already
running. The CMB would then swiftly turn
away from the target to give the torpedo a
clear run. There is no record of a CMB being
hit by its own torpedo, but it was definitely a
hairy way to earn a living! In the interests of
further weight saving, the boats were quite
basic and must have been demanding to
operate, crew comfort not being a major
consideration. However, they did get the
luxury of a spray deflection screen in front of
the cockpit.
Without hydraulics or any sort of power
steering to operate the rudder, the only
assistance for the coxswain was provided by his
muscles and a system of levers and linkages. The
choice of petrol engine with a wooden hull is
always a tricky combination for any warship,
no matter how big or small. The CMBs were
particularly vulnerable to aeroplane attack and if
hit they would certainly burn well.

In action
The largest CMB base was on Osea Island in
the River Blackwater, Essex ( near to Maldon).
At Duxford (just off the M11 near Cambridge)
you can see a film clip of the early boats being
operated from this base.
The first group of CMBs were deployed off
the Belgian coast in 1916 operating from a
forward base at Dunkirk. In 1917, Lt W.N.T.
Beckett attacked the German destroyers in
Zeebrugge Harbour and managed to sink one
and damage another. For this he was
mentioned in dispatches and awarded the
Distinguished Service Cross. In 1918 they saw
major action again off Zeebrugge and Ostend
where they laid a smokescreen to cover the
approach of block ships that were going to be
sunk at the harbour entrances.
CMB No. 4, the preserved example at
Duxford, was used in action by The Mystery
VC. His identity was suppressed initially as he
was involved in secret operations instigated by
the British Government to suppress the
Russian Revolution. His identity was later
revealed to be Lieutenant (subsequently
Captain) Augustus Agar. He established a base
at Terrioki on the north shore of Petrograd Bay
in the Baltic. He used two CMBs to land secret
agents near Petrograd to spy on the Bolsheviks.
In 1919 there were nine such operations to
either drop off or pick up agents (James Bond
007 eat your heart out!), seven of which
involved Lieutenant Agar.
He followed up this activity in June 1919
with an attack, using CMB No.4, on the Soviet
Cruiser Oleg, which was besieging dissident
20 www.modelboats.co.uk

rebels at Krasnaya Gorka near the Bolshevik

base of Kronstadt. Despite problems with the
premature ignition of the cordite launching
charge, he slipped past the destroyer screen to
sink the cruiser. For this he was awarded the
Victoria Cross, known as The Mystery VC.
In August 1919, Commander Dobson and
Lieutenant Agar (now in CMB No.7) led seven
of the new larger 55ft CMBs on a night raid
into Kronstadt Harbour. One broke down and
had to be left behind. The group succeeded in
sinking the battleships Andrei Pervozvanni and
Petropavlovsk, plus the submarine depot ship
Pamiat Azova. For the loss of three CMBs, the
battle fleet had effectively been destroyed. Agar
received the Distinguished Service Order for
his part in the action and Cmdr. Dobson and
Sub-Lt. Steel received the Victoria Cross.
The Russians were now well aware of the
CMBs and their potential for surprise attacks.
Despite this, in September 1919, Lt. Agar led
two 55ft CMBs in his CMB No.4 to lay mines
in the approaches to Kronstadt Harbour, but

unfortunately he was spotted and the mines

were safely swept with no damage done.
Nevertheless, the CMBs had punched well
above their weight to achieve spectacular
successes against significant targets.

Above: Samson post at the stern.

Below: Stern view of CMB No.4 showing torpedo trough.

Above: CMB No.4 bow fitting.

Above: Model of a 55ft CMB at Duxford.

Below: The rudder operating mechanism just muscle strength required.

In 1918 they
saw major action again
off Zeebrugge and
Ostend where they laid
a smokescreen to cover
the approach of block
ships that were going to
be sunk at the harbour

Above: The step of the stepped hydroplane hull.

Model Boats Warships 21

WW1 coastal motor boats

Above: Torpedo mounts on torpedo trough of the 40ft CMB.

CMB development
In 1917 Thornycroft produced a larger 55 foot
version, which allowed two torpedoes to be
carried and a possible top speed of 41 knots to
be attained. Propulsion was from twin screws
powered by two 650hp Thornycroft RY12
petrol engines. This type remained in
production for foreign navies right up until
WW2 and 14 were built. In fact four of them
found their way into the Royal Navy at the
outbreak of hostilities in 1939.
At the end of WW1 there was an even larger
70ft boat under construction as a fast
minelayer, but it was not until 1936 that
Vosper started to develop the motor torpedo
boat design with which we are now familiar
that would be widely used in WW2.

German response

Above: The beautiful shape of the hull of the 55ft

CMB is very clear (Photo courtesy of Colin Bishop).

22 www.modelboats.co.uk

The Germans were aware of the CMB, but

were slow to develop an equivalent vessel.
Their first similar boats were not ordered until
the beginning of 1917, the principle problem
being the lack of suitable engines. They
initially used Zeppelin engines, which were
not a total success. They also developed boats
known to the British as DCBs (Distance

Controlled Boats) which were wire guided

with an explosive charge in the bow and were
used to attack British monitors operating off
the Belgian coast (Big Gun Monitors by Ian
Buxton, reviewed in Test Bench, MB July 2007
has further details of these attacks). In some
ways the German development of wire guided
explosive boats was ahead of its time.

Where can I see a CMB?

CMB No.4 as used by Agar is on display at the
Imperial War Museum Duxford in Hangar
Three next to the Jesse Lumb lifeboat. It was
restored by the International Boat Building
Training Centre at Lowestoft in 1982-84
which took a considerable number of hours of
work. The boat was in a fragile state and out of
shape, so this was quite a challenge. The
restoration used as much of the original hull
as possible, but some sections were replaced
by new English Oak and African Mahogany. All
the metal fittings were replaced with copies
made from copper.
As part of the same display there is a nice
model of the 55ft version of the CMB with the
twin torpedo specification.
There is also a 55ft example, CMB No.103,


CMB No. 1. 1916
NMM No. Plan
Profile for centre of gravity
G/A Profile/Deck/Sections
Midship Section



CMBs Nos. 2 to 10. 1916

NMM No. Plan
G/A Profile/Deck/Sections
Midship section



The Germans were aware of

the CMB, but were slow to develop
an equivalent vessel. Their first
similar boats were not ordered until
the beginning of 1917

Above: The original Thornycroft general arrangement drawing No.1656.

built just after World War One and owned by

the Imperial War Museum that is on loan to
Chatham Historic Dockyard and can be seen
under cover in the building sheds.

Model making
CMBs will be a challenge to make either as a
static model or as a scale vessel, because they
are very simple and therefore every single
detail needs to be included and no faking or
omissions can be considered. Deck fittings
are minimal with a bow mooring fitting and
a small samson post at the stern. There are
few opportunities to super detail the model
with deck clutter and all of the simple
features will need to be included to make the
boat look right.
There appear to be no kits currently
available, so it is definitely a scratchbuilding
project. In the past, I believe Darnell offered a
kit and there may have been others. You will
need access to some plans to scratchbuild a
model. I have found two sources of plans for
the 40ft and 55ft CMBs to set you on your
way, but there may be others.
1) The National Maritime Museum (NMM)
This holds the Thornycroft archive and has

copies of the original plans. The original

Thornycroft plan number for the 40ft CMB is
on display at Duxford. This was No. 1656 in
the Thornycroft plans nomenclature.
NMM hold a set of drawings for CMB No.1,
along with a follow-up set that covers CMBs
Nos. 2 to 10. The full details of what they have
are shown in the table below left.
As you can see from the reference numbers,
16569 and 16458 are identical for all ten
boats and in terms of data, there is also no
difference between Nos. 16550 and 16456.
The NMM Historic Photographs and Ship
Plans Section can be found on
tel: +44 (0)20 8312 8600,
fax: +44 (0)20 8317 0263.
Historic photographs website:
hips plans website:
Prices may have changed in recent months.
2) John Lambert Naval Illustrator and Author
A set of plans for the 55ft boat is available
from John Lambert at www.lambert-plans.
com or tel: +44 (0) 1525 864862
Please check for current prices from both
sources prior to ordering.

Above: The rudder and propeller assembly of

CMB No. 4.

Above: An aerial view of the 55ft CMB

(Photo courtesy of Colin Bishop).

Model Boats Warships 23

The RN in old postcards

Above HMS Drake was one of a number of large

armoured cruisers built at the turn of the 20th Century.
She was armed with two 9.2 inch guns mounted fore
and aft and 16x6 inch guns on the broadside in sponsons although the lower ones were unusable in most
sea states. A sister ship HMS Good Hope was lost at
the battle of Coronel in 1914 to Admiral Von Spees
East Asiatic squadron. HMS Drake was torpedoed
and sunk off Northern Ireland in 1917.

Left This impressive view of

HMS Dreadnought captures
the essence of this ground
breaking battleship. (US
Navy Historical Center).
With her 10x12inch guns
she outgunned any vessel
afloat while her revolutionary
turbine propulsion allowed
her to outpace existing

Above This attractive illustration shows Britains first modern aircraft carrier
Ark Royal on exercises. With her double hangar she was designed to operate
72 aircraft although the actual total was somewhat lower. Later carriers traded
aircraft capacity for an armoured deck which was somewhat questionable as
a carriers best means of defence are her aircraft although it did come in useful
in the Pacific against Japanese Kamikaze attacks. Ark Royal had an intensive
career in WW2 including disabling the Bismarck with a hit on her rudders which
led to her loss. In 1941 the ship was hit by a torpedo from U81 east of Gibraltar.
A combination of poor damage control and design faults resulted in her sinking
when the list flooded the uptakes putting the remaining boilers out of action.
The main switchboard had flooded during the initial explosion and the ship was
dependent on turbo generators for electrical power, having no backup diesel
units. These faults were remedied in later ships.

Two Anniversaries
The Royal Navy 1914-1944
Colin Bishop takes a look at how the Navy changed between the
wars using a unique collection of postcards.

his year, 2014, marks two important

anniversaries for the Royal Navy;
the outbreak of the First World War
and the D Day invasion of Normandy which
marked the beginning of the end of the Second. The period between saw many changes
in the composition and operation of the
RN although some of the ships which were
launched and nearing completion in 1914
were still in service in 1943!
There are of course many histories and
books dealing with this period and a large
proportion of the photographs in them
appear over and over again so I thought it
would make a change to adopt a different
approach drawing upon other illustrative

24 www.modelboats.co.uk

My late father Eric Arthur Bishop was
born just after WW1 in 1919 and grew up
during the inter war years to serve in the 8th
Army at El Alamein in WW2. For reasons
unknown to me he developed a close interest
in maritime matters and history in his youth
which is something I have inherited from
him. As a boy he took up stamp collecting
(maritime subjects of course!) and also began
a collection of postcards which he continued
right up to his death in 1984 and to which
I have subsequently added myself. Although
many of the cards were of merchant ships,
his collection contained a fascinating variety
of Royal Navy ships and subjects and in this

article I will be using them to illustrate the

development of the RN between 1914 and
1944, highlighting some lesser known facts
which do not appear in the mainstream publications. The coverage is not comprehensive
so this article is built around the postcards in
his collection rather than being a structured
historical narrative.

The Navy in 1914

The composition of the Fleet in 2014 reflected
both the Anglo German naval rivalry and Admiral Jackie Fishers modernisation reforms
to meet the growing German threat. The
commissioning of HMS Dreadnought in 1906
was a game changer and by 1914 the super

Below You would be

unlikely to see a battleship
Christmas card today! This
is HMS Russell, a typical
late example of a pre
dreadnought in the early
years of the 20th Century.

Below right HMS

Collingwood was
a development of
the Dreadnought
design with similar
armament and 12
inch gun calibre.

Right HMS Minotaur of 1906 was

the final expression of the armoured
cruiser with a heavy armament of
twin 9.2 inch guns fore and aft and
10x7.5 inch guns in single turrets on
the broadsides as can be seen in the
photo. A sister ship HMS Defence was
destroyed at Jutland by the German
High Seas Fleet see text. (US Naval
Historical Center).

Right North Sea conditions could be very rough as

this wartime photo of HMS Tiger and HMS Renown
shows. It was probably taken in 1917 as Renown has
the heightened fore funnel but Tiger still has her mast
forward of her funnels, it was shifted to the derrick
stump in 1918. Although probably the best and most
handsome of the battle cruiser designs, HMS Tiger
had a rather undistinguished wartime career suffering
extensive damage at Jutland without making effective
reply due to poor shooting. For some reason, much of
her crew was comprised of defaulters and bad hats
which did not improve matters.

dreadnoughts of the Queen Elizabeth class

were on the point of entering service. But
the Navy still had a large number of earlier
vessels which were perhaps only half way
through their expected service lives and these
included the more recently built pre dreadnought battleships which, whilst eclipsed
by the later dreadnoughts, still packed a
significant punch and were employed in secondary war theatres such as the Dardanelles
and in protecting the Thames Estuary. A
typical ship was HMS Russell pictured here.
Completed in 1903 she was a good example
of the later pre dreadnought type with a
relatively high designed speed of 19 knots,
4x12 inch guns and a secondary armament of

12x6 inch guns. These ships were designed

for engagement at short ranges when the
powerful secondary armament was expected
to break up the enemy ships superstructure
and control positions with the larger 12 inch
guns administering the coup de grace. Most
of the pre dreadnoughts incorporated a fatal
design flaw however. Their armour protection, supplemented by coal bunkers, was
intended to keep out horizontal fire aimed at
the ship. With this in mind it seemed sensible
to divide off the two engine rooms with a
transverse bulkhead to limit damage caused
by a projectile penetrating the ships side.
This overlooked the increasing danger from
underwater attack from torpedo or mines as

if one engine compartment flooded the ship

would take on an immediate heavy list, lose
stability and rapidly capsize as internal bulkheads collapsed. Several pre dreadnoughts
were lost in this way including HMS Russell
herself when she struck two mines off Malta
in 1916 and sank within 20 minutes with the
loss of 126 lives.
Just as the later Grand Fleet had a scouting
wing in the form of the Battle Cruisers, the
earlier Pre Dreadnought fleets had their own
counterparts in armoured cruisers. Frequently displacing a similar tonnage to their battleship counterparts, they were more lightly
armed and armoured in favour of greater
speed. As well as accompanying the battleX
Model Boats Warships 25

The RN in old postcards

Below The Super Dreadnought Queen Elizabeth class were a major step up from Iron Duke with
their 15 inch armament and 24 knot designed speed. Despite faulty shells they inflicted a great deal
of damage on the German High Seas Fleet at Jutland. Here we see HMS Valiant in April 1931following a major refit which included trunking the twin funnels into one, adding bulges for torpedo
protection and mounting a spotting plane on the stern. She was subsequently reconstructed for
WW2 and saw much action including being severely damaged by Italian frogmen in 1941. She was
again damaged in 1944 when the floating dry dock in which she was refitting collapsed beneath her,
distorting the hull and she saw no further active service despite being repaired.

Above The Mighty Hood was the largest capital ship in any navy
during the interwar period and enjoyed huge prestige. But in reality
she was no more than a Queen Elizabeth class with additional
engine power and similar protection. Too far advanced to cancel
after Jutland, unlike her three projected sisters, it was only possible
to make limited improvements to reflect the lessons of that battle
and her deck protection remained an acknowledged weak point as
was cruelly shown up in her action against Bismarck in WW2. She
was to have been reconstructed along similar lines to Renown but
war intervened.

Right Admiral Jellicoes

flagship HMS Iron Duke was
the final development of the
Dreadnought design. Her
13.5 inch main and 6 inch
secondary armament made
her a much more powerful
and effective antagonist.
Later ships with 15 inch guns
were to be known as super

Above The Revenge class followed the Queen Eliza-

Modelling resources
This period is very well supported by the modelling trade, particularly in respect of Royal
Navy ships. The list below is not exhaustive.
Just about everything is available ranging from
plans, kits, hulls, and fittings and there are
even some Almost Ready to Run models such
as Graupners HMS Hood to 1:150 scale if your
pockets are deep enough!
If you are building from scratch then the
Model Boats Plans Service has an excellent
selection to choose from.
John Lambert Plans, www.feralchicken.
co.uk/lambert-plans offer accurate drawings of
WW2 period ships of destroyer size and below.
Deans Marine www.deansmarine.co.uk/
have excellent coverage with their wide range
of kits and hulls which include ships of the
pre dreadnought era, HMS Dreadnought
herself, hulls for Nelson & Rodney and the King
George V class battleships and examples of
most of the destroyer classes which served
in WW2.

26 www.modelboats.co.uk

Fleetscale www.fleetscale.com/store/ are well

known for their high quality products and offer
a semi kit for the last of the pre Dreadnoughts
Lord Nelson plus hulls for many of the major
warships of the Inter War and WW2 periods.
Models by Design www.modelsbydesign.
co.uk/ offer hulls for HMS Dreadnought and
HMS Warspite.
John Haynes, www.johnrhaynes.com is well
known for his extensive range of fittings for
WW2 period ships and his museum quality
hulls for various warships are now marketed
through Fleetscale.
Nautical Marine Models
www.nauticalmarinemodels.co.uk/ also offer
a range of naval fittings.
White Ensign Models
mwww.whiteensignmodels.com/, although
primarily known for their authentic paints, also
supply naval fittings in the form of photo etch.
For more information check out the supplier
advertisements in Model Boats magazine and
on the Model Boats Website

beths and were generally held to be inferior due to their

lower speed. The armour distribution was different
and the main horizontal protection was carried one
deck higher. Intended to make them more stable gun
platforms, it also ruled out the extensive reconstruction
applied to the earlier class due to stability issues. They
were nevertheless good looking ships, as this photo of
HMS Ramilles shows, and gave useful service in both
world wars.

fleet, they were also intended to act as Ships

of Force on foreign stations, able to match
potential enemies for speed and bring to bear
overwhelming firepower. Here we have two
examples of the type. HMS Drake was one of
a number of broadly similar ships and was
armed with 9.2 inch guns fore and aft with
a broadside battery of no less than 16x6 inch
guns in casemates although those in the lower positions could not be worked in a seaway
due to flooding. A sister ship, HMS Good
Hope was lost at the battle of Coronel when
manned by relatively untrained reservists.
Outranged and in a hopeless tactical position,
she succumbed to Admiral Von Spees more
modern and regular navy manned armoured
cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.
The later armoured cruisers were quite
powerful vessels as the illustration of HMS

Below Nelson and Rodney were a result of the post WW1 Washington Naval conference
aimed at limiting naval expenditure. Although regarded as a slow diminutive of the excellent
G3 battlecruiser design, they nevertheless incorporated innovative and sophisticated
features and were considered to be the most powerful battleships afloat on completion.
In many respects they were a better design than the later Bismarck which was essentially
an enlarged WW1 Baden class. Their perceived weaknesses were the new 16 inch gun
mountings which required 5 years to iron out the teething troubles and the internal inclined
main armour belt which was considered to be too shallow. This would have been addressed in a subsequent refit had not WW2 intervened.

Above HMS Rodney firing a salvo. These were the guns that destroyed the
Bismarck. During firing trials it was found necessary to fire the middle gun in
each turret separately from the other two in order to avoid shell interaction in
flight although full broadsides were fired at point blank range in the closing
stages of the Bismarck action. Although battleship guns of this period could
be loaded at almost any elevation it was found to be quicker to lower the gun
for reloading and then re elevate it as pushing the shell and its charges uphill
required more effort from the loading machinery.

Below This superb shot shows a Hawker Osprey

above HMS Eagle. The Osprey reconnaissance aircraft entered service in 1932. HMS Eagle was an early
aircraft carrier converted from the Chilean battleship
Admiral Cochrane building in the UK and purchased
by the UK Government. She had a very active peacetime and WW2 wartime career and was sunk by 4 torpedoes from U73 during the Pedestal Mediterranean
convoy operation to relieve Malta in 1942.

Above 8 inch gunned cruisers were expensive and by the 1930s the Royal Navy preferred to invest in a larger
number of 6 inch light cruisers. HMS Ajax was one of the Leander class which served extensively during WW2.
Ajaxs greatest moment came at the Battle of the River Plate in 1939 where she and her sister Achilles, together
with HMS Exeter, saw off the German Pocket battleship Graf Spee which scuttled herself. During the course of the
action both Ajaxs aft turrets were disabled by an 11 inch shell from Graf Spee but she continued to fight on. Ajax
also participated in the Normandy D Day landings where she engaged the Longues shore battery. Her shells cut the
barrel of one of the German guns in half and I have seen the two pieces still there in the ruins of the battery!

Minotaur shows and carried a heavy armament of 4x9.2 inch guns in twin turrets fore
and aft plus 10x7.5 inch on the broadside,
all in single turrets. They were still no match
for modern battleships and battlecruisers as
was cruelly exposed at Jutland when HMS
Defence of the class was rashly taken into
range of the High Seas Fleet by Rear Admiral
Arbuthnot and rapidly obliterated. At the time
the ship was thought to have been almost instantaneously blown to pieces but subsequent
discovery of the wreck showed it to be largely
intact. Again there were design vulnerabilities
in that the 7.5 inch guns were served by
connecting ammunition passages and it was
observed that the 7.5 inch turrets exploded
in rapid succession following the detonation
of one of the 9.2 inch magazines as fire and
explosions spread through the ship. The state

of the wreck suggests that the bow and stern

were blown off by the 9.2 inch magazines
exploding leaving the centre section of the
ship on the seabed as discovered. There were
no survivors from over 900 crew.
As something of an aside, there is a lot of
information on the Internet concerning the
Jutland battle wrecks, many of which are
still substantially intact. Just Google Jutland

The Dreadnought era

Dreadnought herself was a one off but she
was followed by a succession of classes of
similar ships with improved armour and
armament layout but still armed with the
successful 12 inch gun. HMS Collingwood
was a typical example. When their German
counterparts moved from the 11 inch to

the 12 inch gun, the British ships went

one better with the 13.5 inch, another very
effective weapon which was also fitted to the
Lion class battlecruisers. Admiral Jellicoes
flagship, Iron Duke, belonged to the last class
of 13.5 inch gun equipped dreadnoughts.
The next class of battleships represented a
quantum step forward. Queen Elizabeth and
her sisters were armed with 15 inch guns
firing a shell of 1,950lbs compared with the
maximum shell weight of 1,400lb of the earlier gun. With just 8 twin turrets, enhanced
armour and a three knot speed increase over
the standard fleet speed from their oil fired
machinery, the QEs were in a class of their
own and are generally considered to have
been among the most successful warship
designs of all time with distinguished service
in both World Wars. At Jutland the class
Model Boats Warships 27

The RN in old postcards

Below This not altogether accurate illustration of HMS Duke of York was
clearly issued prior to the ships completion and credits her with a speed
of over 30 knots although her actual maximum speed was just over 28.
One of the King George V class, she was built to international treaty limits
of 35,000 tons and in order to maintain an acceptable level of armour
protection was armed with 14 inch guns (initially intended to be 12 but
reduced to 10) which resulted in her being rather under armed compared
with foreign contemporaries. The 14 inch mountings also suffered considerable teething troubles, notably during the Bismarck chase before modifications were made. A spare 14 inch gun from the class can still be seen
at the Fort Nelson Naval Museum on Portsdown Hill behind Portsmouth.
Her main claim to fame was on Boxing Day 1943 when she and supporting forces engaged and sank the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst.

Above During the inter war period, the Royal Navys destroyer
strength depended on the A-I classes developed from the WW1
V&W class. These successful vessels were all broadly similar with
4x4.7 inch guns and two banks of torpedo tubes and HMS Fearless
was a typical example. Fearless herself was sunk in the Mediterranean in 1941 by Italian aircraft while screening HMS Ark Royal.

Left A dramatic photo of the

Tribal class destroyer Afridi
firing a torpedo. After just two
years in commission Afridi was
sunk by Stuka dive bombers
with heavy loss of life.

Above right HMS Mashona was a Tribal class destroyer built just prior to WW2. The Tribals were a
response to the large destroyers building for the Italian, French and German navies and carried a heavy
gun armament of 8x4.7 inch but only 4 torpedo tubes, Whilst powerful surface combatants for their
size, the main armament had only a limited anti aircraft capability and as the war progressed, surviving
vessels of the class had X mounting replaced with a twin 4.5 inch high angle mount. Mashona was lost
to German air attack whilst returning from the Bismarck action in 1941.

demonstrated their capacity to absorb heavy

punishment whilst retaining their offensive
capability to deal it out to the High Seas
The class were extensively modified and
updated after WW1 with the trunking of the
two funnels into one being the main visual
indication. Prior to WW2, Warspite, Queen
Elizabeth and Valiant underwent complete
reconstruction along with the battlecruiser
Renown enabling them to serve as front line
units well into the war years despite being
inferior to later battleships.
The Queen Elizabeths were followed by
the Revenge or R class, also armed with
8x15 inch guns but with less power to maintain the standard 21 knot fleet speed. The
design differed from the Queen Elizabeths in
that the horizontal armour was carried one
deck higher and the ships had a higher metacentric height intended to make them steadier gun platforms at the expense of reserve
28 www.modelboats.co.uk

stability. The secondary battery was mounted

further aft where it was less affected by
sea conditions. These improvements did
however mean that the class was unsuitable
for the extensive rebuilding subsequently applied to the Queen Elizabeths and they were
always regarded as inferior to the earlier
class largely because of their lower speed and
the fact that their main armament was not
generally modified to give increased elevation and range. In WW2 they were initially
effectively used for convoy defence; on at
least one occasion the German battlecruisers
Scharnhorst and Gneisenau thought better of
attacking a convoy when the fighting top of
an R class hove into view. WW2 service included acting as a fleet in being after Japans
entry into the war and later for bombardment duties. Most had been withdrawn from
front line service well before the wars end.
Royal Oak was sunk by submarine attack in
Scapa Flow in 1939 while Royal Sovereign

spent her final years loaned to Russia in place

of a surrendered Italian battleship.
The iconic Mighty Hood which served
as a symbol of Britains naval might between
the wars was in fact a fast battleship based
on the Queen Elizabeth design and although
completed post WW1 only incorporated
some of the lessons learned at the battle of
Jutland. In particular, her deck protection
was weak as pre Jutland ships were designed
for relatively short battle ranges with protection against incoming horizontal fire. This
weakness was well known and proved fatal
in her encounter with Bismarck.

Naval policy between the wars

At the end of WW1 the Royal Navy was
unrivalled as a fighting force in terms of materiel and experience but many ships were
effectively worn out from wartime service
or obsolescent while the Country was almost
bankrupt. Meanwhile the USA and Japan

Right One of
the Vosper 70ft
class, MTB 23 was
completed in 1939
and armed with
2x21 inch torpedoes
which can be seen
being fired in this
unusual shot. Three
engines gave the
boat a speed of
around 40 knots and
she was also armed
with depth charges.
MTB 63 was sold to
Romania in 1940.

Above The Kent and her sisters comprised the famous County Class cruisers which were built as a result of the
post WW1 Washington Naval Treaties. Despite their slightly old fashioned appearance they were effective ships
for their displacement and not overgunned like some of their foreign contemporaries. The high freeboard made
them good seaboats but was actually necessary to provide structural strength for the long thin hull box girder. Like
many of their foreign counterparts they were very lightly armoured, even the 8 inch gunhouses had only splinter
protection. The gun mountings themselves were technically over ambitious being designed to give 70 degrees of
elevation for anti aircraft purposes. However there were many teething troubles with the mechanism and the guns
themselves were too large and unwieldy for effective AA fire as well as lacking an adequate control system. The
Counties nevertheless gave valuable service throughout WW2 and HMS Cumberland was later converted as a
weapons trials ship and lasted until 1958.
Right HMS Lightning of 1941.
The L class were a development of the J class with 6x4.7
inch guns in enclosed twin
mountings with 50 degrees
elevation. The after mount was
fitted to face forward with a
blind arc astern. These ships
were not built to retreat! A 4
inch high angle gun was fitted
in place of the after bank of
torpedo tubes. Lightning was
sunk in 1943 by a German

were busily engaged in building up their own

navies with modern ships which included
battleships armed with 16 inch guns. Great
Britain had to respond and designs were
drawn up for battlecruisers armed with 16
inch guns and battleships with 18 inch guns.
All the signs were in place for another totally
unaffordable naval race.
Realising that the strain on national
finances would be too great, the politicians,
at the instigation of America, entered into
discussions to curb naval expenditure and
the resulting Washington Naval Treaty set
out relative strengths for the major navies of
Great Britain, USA, Japan, France and Italy
together with design limitations on major
warship types with battleships being limited
to 35,000 tons and 16 inch guns and Treaty
Cruisers to 10,000 tons and 8 inch guns. As
many of the existing Royal Navy battleships
were effectively obsolescent, Britain was
allowed to build two 16 inch gun battleships

which were diminutives of the excellent G3

battlecruiser design and which were completed as Nelson and Rodney and became the
most powerful battleships in the world until
the USS North Carolina and IJNS Yamato
commissioned in 1941. The naval architects
in all countries experimented with various
methods of getting the mostest for the
leastest and in finding loopholes in the treaty
restrictions such as the Royal Navy using
water armour in Nelson and Rodney. Japan
attempted too much on the displacement of
their cruiser size vessels and below to the
point where they became unstable and had
to be modified which took them well over
the treaty tonnage limits although this was
not admitted at the time. Britain and the USA
generally kept to the terms of the treaties but
Germany, when she began rearming, paid
little attention to the limits although claiming
to do so. The RNs treaty battleships were
the King George V class with their 10x14 inch

guns which sacrificed gunpower in favour of

protection and speed, much the same as the
Germans had done in WW1. Their intended
successors, the Lion class, would have been
armed with 9x16 inch guns but were never
completed although Britains last battleship,
HMS Vanguard, completed post war, was essentially a Lion class but armed with 4x15 inch
twin mountings taken from the WW1 light
battlecruisers Glorious and Courageous before
they were converted to aircraft carriers.
The major navies built up to the treaty limits for cruiser design which limited armament
to 8 inch guns and 10,000 tons displacement
and in the Royal Navy this resulted in the
County Class which were good ships but
rather larger than the RN really needed for
commerce protection. By the early 1930s the
RN had switched to smaller 6 inch gunned
ships commencing with the Leander class
which included Ajax and Achilles of River
Plate fame. Both smaller and larger 6 inch
cruisers were subsequently built, notably the
excellent Southampton class with its final
development in HMS Edinburgh and HMS
Belfast which were designed to resist 8 inch
Destroyers evolved steadily from the superb
V & W classes at the end of WW1 through
the A-I classes of the 1920s and 1930s and
culminating in the Tribal and J-N classes
and war built emergency classes of which
HMS Cavalier is the only remaining example
preserved at Chatham Dockyard.
The RN entered WW2 with a mixture of
new, obsolescent and reconstructed warships,
all of which gave sterling service throughout
the war years and many of which were
scrapped or put into reserve soon afterwards.
Today the Royal Navy, despite new ships
such as the Daring class air defence destroyers
and Astute class submarines is a shadow of its
former self and whether the two new carriers
presently building will effectively enter
service remains in doubt. Meanwhile the
World remains just as potentially dangerous
as it always was and the country remains
dependent upon keeping the sea lanes open
for imports of vital food and materials just as
it always has been but the lessons of history
are frequently conveniently forgotten when
budget restrictions begin to bite.
Model Boats Warships 29

HMS Daring

HMS Daring
describes his
semi-scale model
of the Royal
Navys new toy

n my retirement, like most people

I reverted to gardening and doing
jobs around the house, including
decorating. It did not take me long to get
bored with that, to which end I re-kindled an
interest in my old hobby of model making. I
retrieved the old models from the loft, started
taking Model Boats magazine and joined my
local club, the Luton and District MBC. Thus,
I had found an interest to keep me happy
in my retirement years. Having completed
all the cleaning up of my old models, my

I could ask for in the form of artists impression of the vessel. I then set about drawing
the model that I intended to build from these
artists impressions. The scale chosen was
1:128 which produced a vessel about 1.2
metres long. The following article is not just
a story of building the model of HMS Daring
but also of the problems encountered and its
ensuing development.
During my investigation into HMS Daring
and in particular the methods of propulsion
the BAE website referred to Wartsila and

thoughts moved towards what new projects

I could undertake. I had seen a model of a
frigate (Paladin by Glynn Guest) built by a
fellow club member Peter Carmen, the plans
being published in MB October 2005. Not
being one to copy another members model
I considered what similar models I could
build. At that time a lot of media time was
being given to the new toy the Royal Navy
was getting, namely HMS Daring, for which
I duly searched the internet and found the
BAE Systems website with all the information

30 www.modelboats.co.uk

At that time a lot of media time was being

given to the new toy the Royal Navy was getting,
namely HMS Daring, for which I duly searched the
internet and found the BAE Systems website with
all the information I could ask for in the form of
artists impression of the vessel.

that engine manufacturers website described

a system of propulsion pods under a vessel
with no conventional propeller shafts, thus
my thoughts moved to using a jet drive system. I should mention that the actual vessel
had not been launched and until it was, I did
not discover that it had in fact got conventional shafts and propellers. Unfortunately by
this time I had completed the hull and was
well on to completing the superstructure and
therefore decided to leave the build of the
vessel as it was. So, a jet drive HMS Daring it
was, and a big lesson learnt from incomplete

Plans and basic work

As mentioned earlier I drew up my own
plans for the hull, superstructure and jet drive
propulsion system, an example of which is
Photo 1. The design concept for the jet drives
is in Photo 2. You will notice in this drawing
that there is a hole in each side of the propulsion boxes, which house the rudders. When a
rudder is at its extreme of angle, some of the
water thrust from the jet drive is channelled
through these holes which act as side thrusters thus aiding the steering of the vessel.
Photo 3 is of the prepared jet drive parts.
The assembled hull framework can be
seen in Photo 4 and the two large holes in
the bottom of the hull are for the jet drive
intakes. Photo 5 shows the hull with the
sides ready for bonding into position. At this
stage, the propulsion system, rudders and gun
rotation servo have been installed, which is

Model Boats Warships 31

HMS Daring

much easier before the hull sides are added.

Photo 6 shows the hull in the process of
being painted after the deck had been fitted.
All this was straightforward work. The
model was only intended to be semi-scale,
hence simplified wherever possible, but
maintaining the appearance of a reasonable
Type 45 destroyer representation.

Having now completed the hull, my building
efforts turned to this part of the model. I
wanted the radar antennae to rotate and
the guns to sweep in an arc. The Phalanx
CIWS guns are mounted on platforms that
protrude beyond the main superstructure
and this posed something of a problem in
getting a drive system to them. The way this
was solved was to make the upper deck a
sandwich comprising a centre core of 2.5mm
plywood between two thin sheets of 0.5mm
ABS styrene card forming the outer covering.
Part of the inner core was then cut away to
allow for a belt drive which would rotate
the guns. Some of the pulleys and associated
radar parts can be seen in Photo 7.
32 www.modelboats.co.uk





The superstructure was made from mixture

of plywood and ABS styrene sheet and Photo
8 is of part of the completed, but unpainted
superstructure. Some of the navigation light
wiring can be seen protruding from the
forward part. Photo 9 is of the complete
superstructure unit in place.
The first design of the Sampson radar drive
system comprised a small electric motor
driving the rotating ball via an all plastic
gearbox housed in the upper superstructure,
Photo 10. This in fact proved to be far too
noisy and heavy, its weight making the model
unstable because of its position high above
the waterline.
The solution was to lower the drive system
well below the main deck line on what could
be called a sub-chassis mounted on pillars beneath the deck and also changing the system
to belt drive. These belts came from some old
tape recording systems and are still available
from radio repair and component retailers.
The new completed belt drive system for the
Sampson radar and forward gun is shown in
Photo 11 and Photo 12 is of the after radar
rotation system.

Further detailing
Having built the main parts of the superstructure, I decided more fine detail was
required. For the bridge, Photo 13, I built a
control console with LED lighting installed
to illuminate the instrument panels together
with interior general lighting. Crew members
were also installed on small seats in front of
the consoles.
The construction of the 4.5 inch gun, Photo 14, was more difficult. Initially I tried to
build it by creating a working plan, printing
it all out on card and then cutting and folding
it into shape, but this failed miserably!
So, it was back to a block of balsa wood as
a former, roughly cut and shaped to match
the working drawing. A shaped 0.5mm styrene base was cut and bonded to the bottom
of the balsa block after which the wood was
sanded to the required shape. As each face of
the block was sanded to shape, a new piece
of styrene was cut to size and bonded to the
block, eventually completing the turret. The
base was drilled and a boss inserted to take
a shaft which would protrude down into the
hull and connect to a servo. The barrel was X
Model Boats Warships 33

HMS Daring





The rotational
speed of the radar is not
only controlled by
reduction gearboxes, but
in addition there are two
home built speed controllers to reduce the speed
of the two motors driving
the two radars


34 www.modelboats.co.uk





made from brass tubing and the handrails

added, these being made from a small section
brass ladder cut in half, Photo 14.
The other two types of gun are fitted to the
upper decks and can be seen in Photo 15.
These were constructed using styrene, brass
tube and wooden dowel. As mentioned earlier
the CIWS Phalanx guns traverse, operated by
servos mounted below the deck.
Both the recesses either side of the hangar
have RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats) installed,
Photos 16 and 17. These RIBs were made
from ABS styrene tubing bonded together
using a piece of 0.5mm Plasticard (styrene) for
the hull bottom and blocks of styrene cut to
form the control console and outboard motors.
Lighting is provided using 3mm LEDs
and the series resistors for the LEDs are all
mounted on a central printed board mounted
just below the bridge. Photo 18. Power for
the lights and radar motors is fed from the
control system via a multi-way cable up to
this central printed board. A three stage electronic switch was constructed to sequentially
switch on the lights by radio control: First;
the navigation and bridge console lights; then
the cabin and hangar lights; and finally the
foredeck and helicopter deck lights.
The rotational speed of the radar is not
only controlled by reduction gearboxes, but


in addition there are two home built speed

controllers to reduce the speed of the two
motors driving the two radars.
There is a home built sound system which
produces a ships horn sound and the famous
whoop, whoop destroyer siren all controlled
by r/c. Photo 19 shows the electronics box
with its three way switch, the radar motor
speed controllers and the sound card.
A 1:144 scale Puma helicopter painted in
army desert colours, Photo 20, provided
the airborne interest since a 1:144 scale RN
Lynx is hard too come by. This model was
modified by installing a small motor to rotate
the main rotor blades and very small LEDs

for its lights. Two small pins protrude from

beneath the fuselage and plug into sockets fitted into the flight deck to connect everything

Running gear
The jet drives were powered by Graupner
Speed 400 motors controlled by a single
Mtroniks 20 amp esc driving 30mm four
bladed brass propellers housed within the jet
tubes, Photo 21. Radio control is with Futaba

First sea trials and modifications

Performance turned out to be quite satisfacto-X
Model Boats Warships 35

HMS Daring





ry with the side thrust jet drive system functioning extremely well, Photos 22 and 23.
You may be forgiven into thinking that the
project was now completed, but I am sorry as
you are mistaken. The error about the propulsion system naggingly annoyed me, so after a
time spent thinking about it, I finally decided
to modify the model and fit two conventional
propeller shafts.
The first step was to remove the superstructure plus the small fittings on the main
deck and then to remove the motors and r/c
electronics. The hull was then inverted and
the lower aft section cut away complete with
the old jet drive system as in Photo 24. All
rather drastic, there now being no return!
The next step was to cover the opening in
the hull with plywood and add guide blocks
for the rudders and the propshafts, Photo
25. New rudders and propshafts were then
fitted and bonded into position and the hull
repainted. Photo 26.
Two motors and escs were then installed
and the opportunity also taken to revise
the layout of the electronics system. A new
electronic circuit was added to provide a
slow traverse for the guns, with an option
to automatically traverse every 30 seconds
or control the movement by r/c. The revised
hull internals can be seen in Photo 27.
36 www.modelboats.co.uk




Another problem!
The model was then bath tested, but by
cutting away the box-like bottom rear section
of the hull, the model was now somewhat
unstable. Increasing the ballast helped, but
then the hull was sitting in the water well
below the marked waterline. So that was my
day ruined!
The short term answer was to fit a small
keel under the hull and this did function and
it corrected the instability issue, but I was not
happy and consequently this HMS Daring
model was restricted to non-sailing duties for
a time.
After a delay of another 12 months or so
and giving the design flaws some serious consideration, the only answer was to increase
the depth of the hull by about 20mm thus
allowing an internal increase of ballast. So

yes, yet again, off came everything and the

hull was upturned for more butchery. Using
a micro mill the underside of the hull was
machined away between the bulkheads. Some
extension bulkheads were made and bonded
into position on the hull bottom below
the existing bulkheads, and covered with a
mixture of ply and balsa planking, Photo
28 which was then sealed with a lightweight
cloth and GRP resin.
Yet again the hull was repainted and new
five bladed propellers fitted, Photo 29. As a
result of increasing the hull depth and therefore its overall height, the stand also had to be
modified to allow the vessel to be fitted into
its box. The list went on and on!
Other modifications included making a
lighter Samson radome from a table tennis

ball covered in GRP resin and cloth and the

r/c installation was further lowered in the
hull to improve stability.

The result was finally a nice stable model
with proper conventional pro-typical propulsion, Photo 30. Yes, it is not true scale, but I
am happy with it and have learnt much about
model design and theory along the way.
The moral of this story is do not take
anything for granted when doing research
and when modifying, bear in mind that
any modification, although on the face of it
straightforward, can itself cause more problems. We all live and learn by our mistakes,
but much good has come out of them.
Happy model making........!

Model Boats Warships 37

From the Dreadnought to Scapa

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Shipcraft 6 German S-Boats
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Shipcraft 9 Kongo Class Battlecruisers
Shipcraft 10 Bismarck and Tirpitz
Shipcraft 12 Essex Class Carriers
Shipcraft 13 New Orleans Class Cruisers
Shipcraft 16 Admiral Hipper Class
Shipcraft 17 Iowa Class Battleships
Shipcraft 18 Titanic and her Sisters
Shipcraft 19 County Class Cruisers
Shipcraft 20 Scharnhorst and Gneisnau
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in 3D
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Dioramas. Bringing Your
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Takao, 1937-1946 in 3D.With
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U boat Prey: MerMer
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Battleships 191418 (2)The
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Ship Models from Kits

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WP 10 Indianapolis & Portland
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WP 35 Ticonderoga Class
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Realistic Wood Effects.First

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Avispa torpedo boat destroyer

Avispa torpedo
This British torpedo boat
destroyer, Approx scale 1:35,
could be built to 1:30, or 1:40
scale, designed by Glynn Guest
using a Graupner marine
steam plant

40 www.modelboats.co.uk

boat destroyer

Model Boats Warships 41

Avispa torpedo boat destroyer

History of the
torpedo boat destroyer
The emergence and
development of the destroyer,
up until World War II, was
related to the invention of the
self-propelled torpedo in the
1860s. A navy now had the
potential to destroy a superior
enemy battle fleet using steam
launches to drop torpedoes.
Fast boats armed with
torpedoes were built and
called torpedo boats. By the
1880s, these had evolved into
small ships of 50100 tons,
fast enough to evade enemy
picket boats.
At first, the danger to a
battle fleet was considered
only to exist when at anchor,
but as faster and longer-range
torpedoes were developed,
the threat extended to cruising
at sea. In response to this new
threat, more heavily gunned
picket boats called catchers
were built which were used to
escort the battle fleet at sea.
They needed the same
seaworthiness and endurance,
and as they necessarily
became larger, they became
officially designated torpedo
boat destroyers, and by the
First World War were largely
known as destroyers in

he idea of what to build was uppermost

in my thoughts as I learnt how to
operate my new marine steam plant, a
Graupner LST-L (Part No.1941), described in
the October 2010 issue of Model Boats. So,
something with the character to match a
working stream engine was a must! Many
people opt for the open steam powered launch
type and some wonderful examples can be
seen. However, a different type of model was
preferred, but still appropriate to the busy
chattering sounds and that emotive genuine
smoke and steam.
One of the reasons for purchasing this
particular steam plant was its compact and low
profile form. This would allow it to be fitted
into a model based on a ship and be totally
enclosed without having to exaggerate the
models proportions by hopefully very much.
Something from the era of marine
reciprocating steam engines would be best
and so a trawl through my reference material
was started. Well, I call it reference material,
but my wife has another name for it as she
makes her monthly threat to tidy it all up.
A cross-channel ferry from this period had
potential for a dashing steam powered model
or a tramp steamer was another idea with of
lots of scope for adding character to the
model. In the end an idea contemplated
during my first experiences with model steam
was taken up and this was to build a model
based upon the early torpedo boat destroyers
I had not followed this idea previously as my
first steam engine, a USE single acting single

cylinder engine, did not seem to be a good

match with such a model. That engine has
always been reliable and given me a great deal
of pleasure when sailing, but lacked any form
of throttle control and reversing. I also
suspected that its power, whilst adequate for a
tug or work boat type of model of 20 to 24
inches (50 to 60cm) length, would be
marginal for a TBD model which had to be
longer. The Graupner steam engine, having
twin double acting cylinders, would offer the
greater power needed along with complete

Design decisions
The design process started by getting the
steam engine within the hull and fitting the
deck over it. As the full size vessels were
inevitably flush decked with little in the way
of superstructure, this called for a deep hull.
The width of the boiler demanded a model
beam of something like 4 inches (10cm) and
to keep the length to beam ratio in proportion
this in turn demanded an overall model length
of around 40 inches (100cm). A rough
calculation suggested that the operating
weight of such a model would be about 10
pounds (4.5kg).
The final design drew heavily on two books,
Antony Prestons Destroyers
(ISBN 0-13202-1277) and David Lyons
The First Destroyers (ISBN 1-84067-3648).
Both books illustrated a bewildering variation
of designs, even within vessels of nominally
the same class. The final appearance was thus a
combination of features which were

Copy courtesy of Wikipedia

42 www.modelboats.co.uk

characteristic of these early torpedo boat

destroyers. This flexibility proved very handy
at times, for example with the number and
position of the funnels. One to four funnels
could have been justified on this model, but
two proved ideal to match the exhausts from
the boiler and steam engine. So, this model
falls firmly into the freelance category.
The steam plant has a total weight of 4
pounds (1.8kg) and allowing a further one
pound (0.45kg) for the radio control and
running gear, this leaves 5 pounds (2.2kg) for
the hull and any ballast. The relatively tall and
heavy steam plant made me concerned for the
models stability. Still, this all looked
promising, definitely not in the impossible
zone and more the doable zone, but with a
small question mark just to make it interesting.
This only left the materials and construction to
be decided upon.

Construction choices
My previous steam powered models had
ad all
been built with balsa hulls. This might surprise
some, but with adequate ventilation and
d using
a heat barrier of thin aluminium sheet
(kitchen cooking foil) I have so far avoided
emulating a Viking funeral. Balsa would
d have
allowed me to build a light hull and almost
certainly would require sufficient internal
ballast to ensure the model was stable.
There was however a concern that at the
models projected weight it might be too
much for a simple
p balsa structure. The length
of the steam
m engine plus the need for ggood
access would
d require the whole deck to
o be

removable in the central part of the hull

making this region highly stressed. Whilst
balsa might have coped with sailing stresses, I
could see problems, along with damage,
especially during launch and recovery
operations. This led me to consider the use of
stronger timber and plywood from my local
DIY store.
Using the wood sizes available, several hull
structures were drafted. One recurring
problem was ensuring that the boiler, which
is the widest part of the steam engine, must fit
easily into the hull. The final design was to
build the hull on a sheet of pine (96 x 12mm)
which would form the bottom and use
plywood (3mm thick) for the hull sides. The
bottom/side junction would be reinforced
with strips of 12mm square wood, which also
allowed for a reasonable bilge curve to be
formed. The top edges of the hull sides were
to be reinforced with 15 x 6mm strips. These
would be set below the edge so as to allow the
removable deck pieces to fit within the hull
sides. It looked to be robust enough whilst
still allowing for adequate access. With my
doubts allayed, at least temporarily,
construction was begun.

It has to be made
clear that this model was
designed around the
Graupner LST-L steam
engine. Whilst fitting an
electric motor into this
model should not result
in any problems

It has to be made clear that this model
w designed around the Graupner
LST-L steam engine. Whilst fitting an
electric motor into this model should
not result in anyy problems,
might be diffi
culties if alternative
steam engines and boilers were

Model Boats Warships 43

Avispa torpedo boat destroyer

to be used. It is up to the builder to check that
different steam plants will fit inside this hull
and still produce a practical model.
The models design is simple enough to
allow for modifications if required. Altering
the length, beam or draught should be easy
enough provided you make sure that all the
parts are modified so they still fit together. The
other proviso is to ensure that the final model
stability is not impaired.

A 2.4 metre (8 foot) length of 96 x 12mm
planned timber was bought for this model.
Some time is worth spending to select straight,
square and knot free wood. Lengths of 12mm
square, 15 x 6mm and 12 x 6mm wood strip
are needed. I would suggest buying the same
lengths as the timber; it might be more than
you need, but allows for any mistakes.
A sheet of 3mm thick plywood is required
for the hull sides. I was lucky and found a
suitable piece in the garage, but if you have to
buy some just make sure that it is long enough
for the job.
Balsa was used to keep the top weight of the
model down. It formed the turtleback in the
bows, the decks and rounded stern. The decks
needed a length of 5 x 100mm (3/16 x 4

inches) balsa, but scrap pieces were used for

the other items. All the wood-wood joints
were made with PVA white woodworking
glue. It allows sufficient time to adjust the
position of the items to be joined before they
must be held together and allowed to dry. This
normally takes 24 hours although more rapid
setting types are available, but I still like to
leave things for as long as possible before
handling any glued structure. The final glue
strength, absence of smell and ease of wiping
away any excess, make the use of PVA sensible.
It is not rated as waterproof, although waterresistant types are available. This has never
been a problem for me since my models do
not remain permanently afloat and are always
allowed to dry out after sailing.
Working with timber and plywood ought
not to demand anything beyond the usual
domestic tools. The prototype was built with
the aid of an electric drill and jigsaw, but hand
tools would suffice. In fact I chose to cut out
the plywood hull sides using a heavy duty
knife for accuracy and also producing a neater
edge than the jigsaw usually produces. A plane
made forming the bilge curve on the hull an
easy task. For quick rough shaping of things
like balsa blocks, I usually use a sanding disk
in the electric drill which is one of those jobs

that need to be done with care, and outdoors!

Double check
Even though all the calculations appeared okay,
I still took the precaution of laying the whole
steam plant connected with a coupling to the
propeller shaft, onto the timber that was to
form the bottom of the hull, Photo 1. Adding
the square strips that the hull sides would fit
against, and it was clear that everything ought
to fit into the hull. The boiler was a snug fit,
but had just enough clearance for everything
to be acceptable.
Using this method of hull construction I
usually find it best to cut the hull sides out
first. The dimensions are given on the plan and
to ensure two identical sides, the first one can
be used as a template for the second. With the
positions of the two bulkheads marked on the
sides, they can be used to check the location
and accuracy of parts during construction.

Hull base
The method of hull construction centres on
making a stout hull base upon which the hull
structure is built. Provided the wood used is
straight and square, along with adequate
accuracy in the parts you cut out (which
should be easy as only straight cuts are

44 www.modelboats.co.uk

needed) then a strong and streamlined hull

shape ought to be assured. This method also
avoids any awkward jigging to keep parts in
place nor is anything left hanging in mid-air
whilst the glue sets!
The hull base is made by gluing the square
reinforcing strips to it. These strips must be 27
3/4 inches (705mm) long so as to match the
length of the hull sides from the bows to
Bulkhead 2 and a check against your hull side
pieces is a good idea.
To create the bow shape, these strips feature
a diagonal cut just ahead of Bulkhead 1. The
strips are then rotated through 180 degrees
before gluing to the hull base. A further
diagonal cut is made at the bows so the strips
can create a point for the bows.
You could cut the strips to shape before
gluing to the base, but heres how I usually do
it to ensure accuracy. The hull bottom sheet is
cut to length and the positions of the two
bulkheads marked. Note! The second bulkhead
extends beyond the base by half its width. This
is to form a step on which the rear bottom
piece can be later glued. An accurate centreline
is drawn down the length of the bottom sheet.
Two lines, representing the outer edges of
the reinforcing strips are drawn from the edge
of the sheet where Bulkhead 1 is to fit and

meet on the centreline. Note! These lines must

the same length as the hull sides from the
bows to Bulkhead 1 otherwise the hull sides
will not meet properly at the bows. As the
excess material outside these lines was going
to be cut away, it seemed easier to cut the bulk
off now with the trusty jigsaw.
The strips were first glued to the hull
bottom sheet between the two bulkhead
positions and firmly held in place with
clamps, Photo 2. Only when the glue had
fully set, the clamps were removed and the
diagonal cuts ahead of Bulkhead 1 were made
using the lines previously drawn as guides.
These cuts must be vertical but any minor
errors can be corrected by light sanding. With
one of the cut off pieces of strip placed on the
base in its final position, the shape of the
triangular wedge to be removed at the bows
was marked out using the centreline as a
guide. This part must again be cut vertically to
ensure a good final fit. The process is then
repeated for the second length of strip. When
happy with the fit of these two strips, they can
be glued in place and clamped until dry,



of the hull parts was rechecked. The two

bulkheads slid into place snugly and the hull
side could be held against them and the base
to check accuracy, Photo 4.
Note! The bulkheads should stop about
3/16 inch (5mm) below the top edges of the
sides to allow the removable deck section to fit
within the hull sides.
The part of Bulkhead 2 that extends beyond
the hull base should be chamfered to match
the hull sides. This creates the gluing area
when the rear bottom sheet is fixed to the hull
The steam plant and propeller shaft were
rechecked on the hull base with the bulkheads
in place, Photo 5. A useful tip is to make the
hole in Bulkhead 2 a shade larger than is
needed for the tube. This will facilitate any
minor adjustments when the tube is fixed into
place later.
All this rechecking might seem a little
paranoid, but it is much better than finding
you cannot get things to fit later. Few
modellers, even if they are reluctant to admit
it, will not have encountered such problems!

Photo 3.

Adding the sides

Double checking again!
Before doing anything too permanent, the fit

The first step in fitting the hull sides was to

glue them to the bulkheads and the hull base,



I must admit that

no matter what the
adhesive claims, my hulls
are usually left for a
couple of days to ensure
that the glued joints
achieve their full

Model Boats Warships 45

Avispa torpedo boat destroyer

The danger now

becomes that you might
have turned your model
into a potential bomb.
True, not a very powerful
bomb, but enough to
spoil your day if it all
goes horribly

or perhaps more correctly, the corner

reinforcing strips. I could not resist using a
few small nails to hold the sides to the
bulkheads. There is something quite worrying
about the satisfaction that I get from striking a
model with a hammer!
The two deck edge reinforcing strips were
added during this operation, being glued into
the slots in the bulkheads and the hull sides
between them. Numerous clamps held these
strips and the sides together whilst the glue
dried, Photo 6. Note, the strips were not
glued to the sides aft of Bulkhead 2 at this
stage. This was to ease the bending required
when forming the rear hull shape. Also, the
strips extend a little way ahead of Bulkhead 1
to form a support for a small section of fixed
Only after the glue had fully set could the
next step be performed. The forward hull
shape was formed by pulling the sides in and
gluing them to the hull base and together at
the bows. Some clamps proved ideal for this
task as shown in Photo 7. The glued joint at
the bows between the two side pieces was
internally reinforced with a patch of glue
soaked gauze. I have been doing this for years
and have yet to have the bows spring open
even when the concrete landing stage
accidentally rams a model!
The rear part of the hull was made by
pulling the hull sides together with elastic
bands and gluing the transom piece in place.
The reinforcing strips were glued to the sides
and held with clamps, Photo 8.
Note! These strips must be placed so that
their top surface is the correct depth below the
top of the hull sides.
The bottom edge of the rear hull sides also
46 www.modelboats.co.uk





needs reinforcing with some strip wood

before adding the rear bottom piece. Rather
than using the same square strip as used on
the hull base which would have been hard to
bend, I used two laminations of the thinner
6mm strip on each side. These were cut to the
right length, with the ends shaped to match
the bulkhead and transom before gluing and
clamping into place, Photo 9.
The rear bottom piece, cut from the same
timber as the hull base, could then be glued in
place, Photo 10. A little chamfering of the end
that butts up against the hull base was needed
to produce a neat glued joint.

to blend into the hull shape. This strip is a very

useful piece of protection when sailing, as any
impacts usually produce only limited and
reparable damage.
The rounded stern was made by gluing
scrap pieces of balsawood together until the
desired volume was made. After the glue had
set, the balsa was roughly sawn to shape,
Photo 13, before finally sanding to blend into
the desired shape.

Shaping up!
I must admit that no matter what the adhesive
claims, my hulls are usually left for a couple of
days to ensure that the glued joints achieve
their full strength. Shaping the hull subjects
the structure to significant forces and I really
do not want to experience the pleasure of
building it again!
As stated earlier, the bulk of the excess wood
had been removed from the bow part of the
hull base. If you did not do this, then be
careful now with the saw to avoid cutting into
the hull sides. I planed the hull base/bottom
sheet back to be flush with the hull sides then
took a triangular section from both sides,
Photo 11. This was then blended into a curved
section to match the hull cross section shown
on the plans. Do not be too enthusiastic and
remove too much material thus weakening the
Where the edges of the two side pieces meet
at the bows, this was sanded flat before a strip
of hardwood was glued into position, Photo
12. When dry, the strip was planed and sanded

Tube installations
A slot was cut through the bottom of the hull
for the propeller shaft taking care to make it
exactly on the centreline, but unless you are
very skilled or lucky, some adjustments will be
needed to get the engine and propeller shaft in
line, and failure to do this will create excess
power loss which is bad in any model. Small
wedges of wood forced between the tube and
edges of the two holes were used to keep it in
the correct place whilst slow setting epoxy
was used to secure it all. This epoxy was used
to ensure a good bond between the brass tube
and wood and it ought to go without saying
that the tube surfaces must be clean, grease
free and preferably lightly abraded for
maximum strength of the adhesive.
Only after the required 24 hour setting time
for the glue were the holes for the securing
screws through the steam plant base made in
the hull bottom sheet. A final check was made
for alignment before moving on to figuring
out how to hold the gas tank and burner in

Steam plant accessories

The Graupner unit, like many model steam
engines, uses liquid gas in a pressurised




Rudder and servo mountings

two coats of 50:50 thinned dope, this being

achieved with cellulose thinners. This readily
penetrates into the wood grain and makes a
secure base for subsequent coats. A light
sanding between each coat removes the
surface roughness. A couple of coats of
sanding sealer were then applied. I make my
own, this being no more than talcum powder
added to neat dope with a dash of thinners to
restore fluidity.
To give the hull a plated appearance, some
card strips were stuck along the length of the
hull, Photo 17. This plating stopped at the
waterline but you could carry on below if
desired. Some thin card from old folders was
used for the plates, but on reflection a slightly
thicker card would have been better.
You will note in this last picture that some
balsa strips were used between the bows and
Bulkhead 1 to push the hull sides outwards a
little. When forming the bows, the top edges
of the sides had proven to be a shade more
flexible than I expected, probably because the
outer layers of the plywood sheet were vertical
rather than longitudinal.
A further couple of coats of neat dope sealed
the card strips and bonded them to the hull
surfaces. One great appeal of using cellulose
dope is that each layer partially dissolves into
the previously applied layer to make a
homogeneous final coat. Add the penetration
of the first coats into the wood structure and
you can produce a surprisingly strong surface.
Dope also dries rapidly allowing the sealing/
sanding process to be carried out without
frustrating delays. The downside of using dope
is the fumes making it a job for a well
ventilated space, if not outdoors.
The hull was painted all black, which


container to fuel a ceramic burner. It is refilled

from a commercially available can of gas,
using a special adapter. No matter how careful
you try to be, some gas inevitably leaks during
the refilling process. If you attempt to refill the
tank whilst it is still in the model, then the
leaked gas, being denser than air, can collect in
the bottom of the hull. The danger now
becomes that you might have turned your
model into a potential bomb. True, not a very
powerful bomb, but enough to spoil your day
if it all goes horribly wrong.
The answer to this explosive problem is to
make the gas tank easily removable from the
model so it can be refilled in the open air.
Any escaping gas is thus immediately
diluted to become a non-explosive mixture.
The challenge is making it easy to remove,
yet with no risk of the burner moving
whilst sailing and thus perhaps producing a
spectacular Viking funeral end to your
The Graupner gas tank had four securing
holes in its base plate. Simply screwing the
tank to the hull bottom sheet would have been
the easiest means of holding it in place but
hardly allows for easy removal. However, the
Graupner burner slotted into a close fitting
tube at one end and I found that just two steel
pegs, fitted into the hull bottom sheet to
match the forward two holes in the tank base,
would keep it in place. Removing the gas tank
was then just a matter of lifting the tank clear
of these pegs and sliding the tank and burner
forwards, then lifting it out of the model.
Okay, Ill come clean and admit that my steel
pegs were actually a couple of panel pins
shortened so that they would stand about 1/8
inch (3mm) above the bottom sheet.

The rudder was made at this time, it being no

more than an aluminium blade epoxied to a
steel shaft, Photo 14. By cutting close fitting
slots in the blade and shaft, the epoxy just acts
to reinforce what ought to be a quite strong
mechanical joint. The rudder shaft was
supported by a close fitting brass tube which
was epoxied into the hull, Photo 15. and due
to the thickness of the hull bottom sheet I did
not feel that any extra internal reinforcement
was needed. Incidentally I fixed the tube
perpendicular to the hull bottom. Some
modellers insist on fitting this tube vertical,
but this is not essential on many models.
Anyway, perpendicular kept the gap between
the top of the rudder blade and hull bottom
constant and prevented it fouling the hull.
It seemed sensible to install the servo
mounts at this time. I used two transverse
pieces of balsa strip, one glued across the rear
of Bulkhead 2, Photo 16. The strips were
positioned so that the throttle servo arm
would be in-line with the hole drilled though
Bulkhead 2 for the wire link to the steam
engines throttle.

Quick flotation test

With the nagging doubt over this models
stability still lurking in the back of my mind, a
quick check was needed, but waterproofing
the hull was required first. The external
surfaces of the hull were checked for defects.
Small cracks could be sealed with glue, or if
too large, then a sliver of glue coated wood
forced into the crack. A tube of ready mixed
domestic filler was used to smooth out any
dents or similar defects.
For speed of application, I gave the model

Model Boats Warships 47

Avispa torpedo boat destroyer

appears to be the favoured colour of late
Victorian ships of this type. If you want
something else, then grey is still a possibility
or white if based at a tropical station. In that
case the hull beneath the waterline ought to
be painted a different colour. Black would be
suitable as it also hides the models underwater
hull when sailing and looks more realistic. If
you have to use an anti-fouling red, then a
dark shade is recommended.
With the steam plant and r/c gear reinstalled, the model was tested on the garden
pond and a fair amount of ballast was needed
in the bow and stern compartments to bring
the model to the designed waterline. Stability
appeared to be okay as the model rolled back
upright when heeled over. Some weights were
then placed at deck level to gauge the effect of
adding the decks and fittings. It became
rapidly clear that the margin of stability was
diminishing, even with modest amounts of
top weight.
Indeed as I had previously suspected, the
nice shiny copper funnel that Graupner
supplied was far too heavy for this model as it
seriously affected its stability, so replacement
with a much lighter, possibly aluminium, tube
was essential.

placed hammer blows, malleability being

another handy property of lead.
Back to the garden pond and the hulls
transverse stability was greatly increased. The
weights placed at deck level, before stability
was lost, were now much heavier than the
expected weight for the deck and fittings. A
small price was paid in that the models final
weight was likely to go up a shade, but this
did not seem to be any major problem. One of
the great joys of having an all black hull is that
the actual waterline can be easily moved
without it being noticed!

Encouraged by the stability tests, it was

however still important to remember to keep
extra added weight to a minimum. Therefore,
sheet balsa was chosen for the models deck
rather than plywood. This was to be stuck to
wood frames that plugged into the deck
openings and so achieving maximum hull
The wood frames were built insides the
deck openings between Bulkheads 1 and 2
and from Bulkhead 2 to the transom. The
edging pieces were held in place with clamps,

length and placed 3 to 4 inches (75 to

100mm) apart, taking care that they did not
foul the steam engine or r/c items.
When the glue had fully set, the two frames
were carefully lifted out of the hull. It is
advisable to mark the top of the frames as they
will more than likely only fit into the hull one
way around. The two frames were then glued
to 3/16 x 4 inch (5 x 100mm) balsa sheets
making sure that the tops of the frames were
properly glued to the balsa deck. The frames
should be centrally placed on the balsa sheets
with sufficient excess at the ends. It might be a
good idea to weight the frames down on a flat
surface whilst the glue dries.
The frames are then offered to the hull
openings and should slide part way in before
the deck sheet contacts the edges of the hull
sides. This excess sheet has to be trimmed
away so that the decks will fit nicely between
the hull sides. This might sound tricky, but
marking where the excess needs removing,
then cutting away the bulk and finishing off
with a sanding block is not that difficult. The
aim should be for the decks to slide smoothly
into openings and produce a snug but

Restoring stability



The worrying floatation tests called for a pause

whilst the problem was mulled over with a
drink or two. The ballast used in these tests
was a collection of odd shaped pieces of scrap
metal. It seemed that dense ballast, shaped to
fit as low as possible into the hull might
improve matters.
Luckily, pieces of lead are picked up
whenever I come across them. When renewing
the floor of our local church we found pieces
of lead pipe left from the old gas lighting
system, so I kindly offered to dispose of them!
Checking the weights used to get the model
down to the waterline revealed that if the
triangular space in the bow compartment
were filled with lead it ought to be just right,

Balsa decks


Photo 18.

Now I will admit that I cast a block of lead

to the desired shape so that odd scrap pieces
es of
lead could be used up. Being qualified in the
field of metallurgy, I knew how to do this
safely. Unless you also know (do not confuse
this with think or someone else knowing))
then do not mess with molten metal! Luckily,
an alternative is available in the form of the
previously mentioned lead flashing. These thin
sheets of lead can be easily cut to the desired
triangular shape and several laminated
together would make a suitable piece of
Some suitable lead blocks were also placed
low in the hull either side of Bulkhead 2,
Photo 19. To fit below the servos, a couple of
blocks required reshaping with a few well
48 www.modelboats.co.uk


Photo 20. The transverse pieces were cut to

sufficiently water resistant fit. Light sanding of

the frame edges might also be needed if they
are a tight fit.
Holes for the funnels need to be made
through the deck sheet. Two circular holes,
matching the empty aerosol cans (female
hairspray) that I intended to use for funnels
were cut. The aft funnel was positioned to take
the exhaust from the boiler and the forward
funnel was over the gas burner. You will need
to place the funnels to suit your individual
installation. It was also found that the steam
dome on top of the boiler would just foul the
underside of the deck and a square hole had to
be cut for clearance. Luckily this would be
covered by later additions, Photo 21.
One hole I forgot to make was over the
boilers safety valve. Early bench testing of the
Graupner steam engine had shown that the
powerful gas burner could easily raise the
boiler pressure to the level where the safety
valve operated to produce an impressive
amount of steam. It seemed like a good idea to
allow this steam a direct way out of the model,
so a suitable circular hole was cut over the
valve, but after completing the model. A small
area of fixed deck was needed just ahead of

Bulkhead 1. A piece of balsa sheet was

trimmed to fit between the hull sides before
gluing into place, Photo 22.
Sealing the external surfaces of the decks
was with cellulose dope again. After two coats
of thinned dope, sanding after each, pieces of
light tissue, the type used to cover small model
aircraft, were cut to cover the decks. The tissue
was laid over them and neat dope brushed
onto the tissue starting in the centre and
working outwards. The dope ought to stick the
tissue firmly to the decks and if wrinkles or
creases appear then the tissue can be peeled
back and re-laid with more dope. After the
dope has dried, the excess tissue was cut and
sanded away, the deck lightly sanded and a
final coat of dope applied. This method has
always produced a tough smooth finish on
balsa for me.

I had opted for twin funnels on this model,
the fore funnel being for ventilation and the
steam exhaust, the aft for the boiler gases.
Looking back, three slimmer funnels, the
middle one being placed over the boilers
safety valve, might have been a better idea.




The mast was

made from a bamboo
skewer, also bought in
the store where the
measuring spoons came
from. This was very
lightweight and with the
addition of a few extra
bits, it looked the

Anyway, the funnels were made from

aluminium cans for lightness, but still with
adequate strength and heat resistance. The cans
were cut to length so as to have the fore funnel
slightly taller, which when combined with a
rearwards rake, seem to add a little dash to the
models appearance. The amidships gun
platform as glued into just ahead of the aft
funnel and conveniently covered the hole cut
for the boilers steam dome, Photo 23.
To make a neat hole in the base of the can,
which was now the top of a funnel, I drilled a
pilot hole in the centre then used a hole
cutting blade in my electric drill. Part of the
cans base flanges were left in place to ensure
the funnels would remain in shape. The
funnels were glued into the deck such that
they extended below the deck but did not foul
the steam engines operation in any way, Photo
24. I used clear silicone sealant to fix the
funnels to the deck knowing that it would
produce a good bond and resist the heat.
Alternatively epoxy or hot glue could be used.

The bows of these early destroyers often
featured a turtleback to rapidly shed any water
coming over the bows. This was clearly an
acknowledgment that they would be wet boats
when running at high speed and in rough seas.
My original plan was to build a series of
semicircular frames, increasing in size from
the stem back to the fixed deck, then plank
this with balsa strips. Sanding ought to achieve
the desired half cone shape. It then dawned on
me that making it up from triangular pieces of
balsa sheet laminated together, then sanded to
shape, would probably be no heavier and a
darn sight quicker. It would also find a use for
many of those odd shaped pieces of balsa that
I can never bring myself to discard.
Semicircular and triangular formers were
glued to the hull, Photo 25. To either side,
suitable pieces of scrap balsa were glued,
Photo 26. After drying, the turtleback was
shaped, first with a razor plane then sanding
blocks, Photo 27.
A shield was fitted to the rear of the
turtleback. This was made by the cut and try
method, first getting a thin card strip that
would overlap the edges of the turtleback and
hull sides by about 1/4 inch (6mm). This
would create an adequate area to glue the strip
into place. The rear of this strip needed to be
curved and I just reached for a paint tin of the
right size and drew around it before cutting.
One beauty of using card for such items is that
it is cheap enough (free if you are into
recycling) so that any mistakes can be
discarded before trying again. Ill admit to
having a couple of goes until I got just the
right shape to stick to the model, Photo 28. A
few coats of dope sealed the balsa and card
Model Boats Warships 49

Avispa torpedo boat destroyer





Detailing the model

All the remaining detail parts were not fixed to
the model until they and the decks had been
painted. The conning tower and forward gun
platform were made from a card tube and
disc, Photo 29.
To keep the top weight down, most of the
details were made from card (torpedo tubes),
plastic sheet and tubing (guns), Photo 30. The
prominent cowl vents were made to be
functional and allow air into the hull. Rather
than spend hours searching for them on the
internet or, as sometimes happens, ask
someone else to find them for me, I made my
own. A couple of sets of kitchen measuring
spoons were bought in one of those large
stores that seem to sell just about everything
for the home.
These spoons had a perfect dish shape to
make the cowl. After cutting away the handle,
a hole was drilled for a tube for which I used
some suitable aluminium tubing from the
scrap box. The tube was shaped to blend in
with the cowl and then stuck into the hole. A
little filler to tidy up the joint and you have
made your own cowl vent.
The mast was made from a bamboo skewer,
also bought in the store where the measuring
50 www.modelboats.co.uk

spoons came from. This was very lightweight

and with the addition of a few extra bits, it
looked the part.
After placing these fittings onto the model,
it still looked a little bare. Lockers, made from
balsa, were added along with card hatches,
Photo 31.

Heavy metal
I have to admit to breaking my obsession with
lightweight fittings when it came to three
items. The bollards around the deck edge were
made from small nails cut to a suitable length
then glued into holes. The extra weight was
negligible and they have the right appearance.
The second item was a railing around the
forward gun platform. The model just looked
wrong with this item. The only way I could
see to make the railing and its supports robust
enough for a working model, yet not to be
heavy looking, was to use copper wire. I use
the wire found in domestic cables. It is easy to
straighten with a good pull, bends to shape
with little spring back and soldering produces
strong joints.
The railing was bent into a circle around a
suitable former (paint can) then the ends
soldered together. The stanchions were cut to

length then soldered to the railing taking care

to keep them square. Notches were cut in the
edges of the card gun platform to match the
stanchion positions. The bottom 1/4 inch
(6mm) of each stanchion was bent at right
angles to point inwards, this making a
stronger joint when the stanchions were
secured to the underside of the platform with
a dab of epoxy.
The third bit of heavy metal was a jackstaff
at the stern. I planned to sail this model with
one of my old, but reliable, 27MHz r/c outfits.
Now that everyone else seems to have
migrated to 2.4GHz, I usually have this whole
frequency band to myself. I planned to follow
my usual method of sailing with a fine vertical
whip aerial, to give the receiver a strong
signal, but which needs to detachable. This is
partly to improve the models static appearance
but also eases storage and transport.
Using a brass tube as a jackstaff enabled the
wire aerial extension to slide into it. The lower
end of the tube projected inside the hull and
allowed a flexible flying lead to be soldered to
it. The receivers aerial connects with this lead
via a small plug and socket. I try to keep the
total length of the new aerial system, (wire/
tube/leads), about the same as the receivers

Some experiments were undertaken to get

the steam exhaust to come out of both funnels. This
proved a failure as the steam always took the path of
least resistance and most would escape via the aft
funnel which was closest to the engine.
original. I must confess that aerial length does
not appear to be critical in most of our model
boats, provided some part of it is well above
the water surface and in the vertical plane.

were fitted to the gun platforms in a radial

pattern. These were to prevent the gun crew
feet slipping when in action. It is a small detail
but helps to bring a little more life into what
is quite a simple and basic model.

Final painting
The decks, without any of the fittings, were
sprayed with red oxide primer. The two
removable deck sections were sprayed off the
model, but some careful masking was needed
to spray the fixed deck section. A couple of
coats of the primer are usually enough on a
well prepared balsa surface.
The turtleback on many of these early TBD
appears to have been painted grey. To lighten
the model a little I used a Pale Grey (Humbrol
No. 40) which seems to work well. The rest of
the model was black, save for the insides of
the cowl vents which were painted Bright Red
(Humbrol No. 19).
Two light coats of clear satin varnish were
used on all the external surfaces. This avoids
the model looking too shiny when sailing. To
be honest I thought that the model might look
rather drab in this colour scheme, but in fact it
managed to create an image that was smart yet
somewhat sinister at the same time.
As a final touch, some bare wood strips

Pre-sailing preparation
Before refitting the steam plant, the hull bottom
and sides were lined with a heat shield of
aluminium kitchen foil. It is something I have
done in all my steam powered models so far
and is a neat way to keep not only heat at bay,
but also all the water and oil that steam engines
delight in throwing around, Photo 32.
Some experiments were undertaken to get
the steam exhaust to come out of both
funnels. This proved a failure as the steam
always took the path of least resistance and
most would escape via the aft funnel which
was closest to the engine. At best, a watery
dribble was the only thing that would emerge
at the forward funnel.
The final solution was to run the steam
exhaust, via a silicone tube, forward to a
length of copper tube. The copper tube being
bent and secured to the gas burner body, with
copper wire, so that the exhaust steam vented
up the fore funnel. The boilers waste gases

were directed up the aft funnel by a further

short aluminium funnel. Not having a suitable
tube to hand, one was rolled out of some thin
aluminium sheet and has worked well so far.
The r/c gear was refitted with the receiver
and battery pack fitted aft of the servos and
held in place with some foam plastic, Photo
33. Some care was needed to get the servo
linkages correctly aligned. I used a spring
centred stick for the throttle control function.
This way you know that the throttle is closed
when your thumb is off the stick, which
seems a safer way to operate a model.
A final trim check was carried out on the
model and it delighted me by requiring no
extra ballast. Even more delightful was the
stability which looked more than adequate.
The model, like all slim ones based on
warships, would roll under that action of a
disturbing force, but would then promptly roll
back upright.
The final operating weight came out at some
11 pounds (5kg) which was a little over my
original estimate.

The operation of the steam plant, now encased
inside the model, was run through a couple of
Model Boats Warships 51

Avispa torpedo boat destroyer

times at home. No real differences were
encountered compared to when the steam
plant was fully exposed, save having to remove
the gas tank from the model for refilling.
The first runs were undertaken on a local
canal. It was autumn and the turning basin I
usually use, was full of leaves. Not wanting to
risk getting the propeller fouled up I moved to
the lower basin in which the canal boats can
moor. At this time of year there were no canal
boats, so I had the whole area to myself.
Steam was quickly raised and the model
launched, but without the middle section of
deck in place. Being ever cautious, I wanted to
see that everything worked properly, and it
did. Push the throttle stick forward and the
model accelerated away. Release the stick, the
model slowed down and come to rest. Pull the
stick back and the model started to move
astern. Wiggle the other stick about and the
model manoeuvred. Everything was just like
an electrically powered r/c model boat,
I know some people go to great lengths, and
probably expense, to add smoke and sound
effects to their electric models, but there is
something almost magical about a model
powered by real steam. It is probably the
combination of sound, sight and smell, that
seems to convince your senses that the model is
alive. I have always been worried when people
start to anthropomorphise inanimate objects
(remember Basil Fawlty giving his car a good
thrashing when it let him down?) but this is
one model that I have found myself really
taking to!
Sailing runs with the deck fitted failed to
detect any problems, other than that sometimes
steam from the engine could build up inside
the hull. This was never a problem, but as a
precaution four extra ventilation holes were
made in the deck above the engine.
The rudder response was immediate and
smooth with turning circle diameters down to
10 to 12 feet (3 to 3.6 metres). Probably due
to the models mass as much as anything, it

52 www.modelboats.co.uk


manages to hold any heading with little need

of correction, thus making for relaxing sailing.
Steering astern is good, at least once the
model is moving and water flows around the
As for top speed, Im still experimenting
with propellers. The model was designed to
take propellers up to 2 inches (50mm) in
diameter. To be honest I keep going out with
the intention of carrying out speed trials with
different propellers but quickly find myself
just enjoying sailing around. A speed of
around 2ft/sec (60cm/s) is very relaxing,
pleasurable and yet stimulating when you can
hear and see the steam plant working in the
model. Before you know it the 25 minutes
burning time for a full gas tank is up and no
speed measurements have been taken.

Steamy conclusion
This model has been so satisfying on several
different levels. Firstly, it has greatly expanded
my modelling experience. I am by no means
an expert with model steam engines and their
operation, but a feel has developed and
confidence grown.
The actual design process was a challenge

and the knowledge gained must come in

useful for other models. It never ceases to
amaze me how problems in the design of one
model can often be solved by using
experiences from quite different types of
Whilst the steam plant was a commercial
item, most of the materials used in making
this model came from outside of the
modelling world. With the loss of so many
small local hobby shops, this is a useful, if not
also a little sad, approach to our hobby.
There is however, one drawback to sailing a
model such as Avispa. Spectators, who
probably would show little interest in another
r/c tug, lifeboat or warship, feel obliged to
stop and ask you questions. This can eat into
your limited (25 minutes gas time remember)
sailing time. Luckily Avispa is so reliable to sail
that you can relax a little and answer their
questions. Mind you, relax only so much as
Avispa might not give you any problems, but
other modellers creations might!

Find this model at

Product code:

Great Books for Ship Modelers and Ship Lovers

Order by phone or online.

SeaWatchBooks, llc#3!'+!#+.1#-!#2#63!'



PHONE: 541-997-4439
FAX: 541-997-1282
FAX: 541-997-1282



HMS Lagos

HMS Lagos
GLYNN GUEST provides some background
information about the re-introduced plan of
this sleek battle class destroyer

54 www.modelboats.co.uk

Model Boats Warships 55

HMS Lagos

Prior to building
HMS Lagos, the techniques
of building hulls had been
developed and refined
through several earlier

f I have to name a favourite model, then

this must be it, based on the Royal Navys
Battle class destroyers,. The model was
built in 1972 and was my first attempt to
build an accurate warship model. The word
accurate must be used with caution as it was
designed to be a practical working r/c model
and featured a single screw and an overly large
rudder. Hence, any personal delusions of
accuracy had to be limited to the above
waterline parts of this model.
The model was published as a free plan in
the July/Aug 1986 issue of the long gone RC
Boat Modeller. It is a plan that somehow
disappeared from the system, something now
Prior to building HMS Lagos, the techniques
of building hulls had been developed and
refined through several earlier models. With
HMS Lagos everything seemed to come
together and work perfectly. Even the 1:144
scale which was forced on to me in order to
keep the models size within standard balsa
sheet sizes, proved to be an unforeseen bonus.

56 www.modelboats.co.uk

I later found that this scale allowed me to

build a range of warship types without them
becoming too small, yet be practical working
models that are not too large for comfortable
storage and transport. Also, this scale enables
just enough detail to be added without it
becoming too delicate for a working model,
whilst not looking bare and empty.
The first r/c gear installed was a Macgregor
single channel outfit with just rudder control
via a Fred Rising clockwork escapement. This
latter item was an electromechanical device that
gave you sequential rudder control, which was;
centre-full left-centre-full right, and so on.
You needed to keep your wits about you as
pushing the transmitter button could make the
model turn the wrong way and there was no
astern motion to get you out of trouble.
However, the original motor, a low power type
salvaged from a portable tape recorder and the
use of four dry cells kept the performance
down to an acceptable modest walking pace.
It performed with this gear for a few years
and then I seemed to become a shade more

affluent and proportional r/c gear could be

afforded. This, and a change to a slightly more
powerful motor on three rechargeable cells,
greatly opened up the models sailing
performance whilst still being very
comfortable to sail. In fact it is probably my
favourite model to take around a steering
course as it goes where you want it to go, and
it does what you want.
The model still exists (now with its fifth set
of r/c gear) and is currently in reserve, which
means that given a charged battery pack and a
spot of oil, it could be sailing in a few
minutes. I give it the occasional sail, partly to
show that such balsa model boats can last a
long time, but mainly for the pure satisfaction
it never fails to give me.

Find this model at

Product code:

Two 1/16 scale LCM3

& LCM6 Landing craft.
We have been making the LCM3 for a couple of years now and have
been asked many times (mostly by ex-US troops) if we could make
the LCM6 too. Well, we have. They are now both available.
The two were the basically the same, the LCM6 being 6ft longer than the LCM3
to provided the additional buoyancy needed to carry the heavier Sherman tanks
of the war in the Pacific.
A perfect partner to Tamiyas 1/16 radio controlled Sherman and the halftracks
currently available. The kit was designed with this tough use in mind.
The hulls are hand-laid GRP and feature the buckled panels from the welding
process, for that starved dog look. They are a super mouldings, very strong and
light with lots of nice touches.
All the bulkheads, inner walls, floors and wheelhouse are made from
laser-cut ABS. This makes for easy assembly because everything fits perfectly
and ABS is very tough and easy to glue.
Smaller, detailing parts are made from white acrylic sheet ensuring they are cut very cleanly.

The decks are covered in authentic scale checker-plate, laser cut to shape.
All castings are resin and include the two 0.5 Browning machine guns, the
engine room ventilators, rope fenders and truck tyres, steering wheel, throttle
levers, fire extinguisher and bollards.
The weld seams on the wheelhouse are made from etched brass to give
a very authentic look.
A substantial etched brass fabrication carries the motors, the rudder servo
and the door opening mechanism, all accessible by lifting off the rear deck
and wheelhouse.
Brass prop-shaft tubes, fitted with bronze bearings and stainless steel
shafts carry the two scale cast brass propellers.
The two drive couplings are included.
Heavy gauge etched brass is used to make many fabricated parts including the keels, gun
mounts and shields, brackets for the door lifting mechanism, railing bosses and instrument
panel among others.
Vinyl lettering set is supplied for both US and British versions as are the optional parts
required for the British version.

The motors and sail winch are both available from Speedline.
The 540 motors are 13 each, the sail winch is 35
The specially commissioned set of three figures is available at 36
plus 3 postage (if ordered separately).
LCM3 is 395 and the LCM6 is 415.

See our website (www.speedlinemodels.com) for more information details TEL: 01455 637658

HMS Temerity

58 www.modelboats.co.uk



GLYNN GUEST presents a
free plan for a semi-scale
World War Two Royal
Navy destroyer

his is a freelance model based on the

Royal Navy destroyers built during
World War Two. By altering the armament and superstructure, it can be made to
represent different classes of vessels.
The simple balsa hull construction enables
the hull to be built quickly without sacrificing
strength. The hull will easily accommodate radio control equipment and can be
propelled by single or twin electric motors
powered from a rechargeable battery pack.
The models length is 35 inches (89cm) and
it has an operating weight of approx . 5lbs
8oz (2.25kg). This makes it convenient for
storage, transport and operation. With the
suggested motor and battery combination, the
model sails in a realistic destroyer fashion as
it cuts through the water at full speed. With
correct ballasting and not adding too much
top weight, the model will be perfectly stable
the sailing conditions usually encountered at
the ponds.
First things first! These notes assume that
you have bought the wood pack that goes
with the plan, but it is possible to build this
model without the wood pack from standard
of-the-shelf balsa sheets. If you go down this
route then it might be best to make a few
changes. The slots and tabs featured in the
wood pack make for accurate and speedy construction, but would be a pain to cut by hand.
Id be inclined to leave them off in those
circumstances, but do make sure that all the
mating surfaces are square and true before
applying any glue. It might also be better to
use a single piece of 3/8 inch (10mm) balsa
to replace the laminations of balsa sheet that
are used in the wood pack to make the two
hull bottom pieces

Glues and tools

The glued joints between the balsa parts
can be made with any suitable glue and I
usually use one of the white woodworking
types. They are economical and easy to use
with no smell and any spills can be wiped
away with a damp cloth, features than can
maintain domestic peace! Admittedly they are
not totally waterproof and usually carry the
Model Boats Warships 59

HMS Temerity
warning not suitable for continuous water
immersion, but this should not be a problem
for any properly built, painted and sensibly
operated and maintained model boat. After
all, you are not likely to leave the model
permanently afloat or in a waterlogged state
between sailing sessions, are you?
Some card was used on the original model
and I have found that a contact adhesive, such
as Evo-Stik can make a strong bond between
card and balsawood. One tip is not to allow
the adhesive to dry before pressing the parts
together for an instant bond. I inevitably find
that the parts are not properly aligned and the
bond is too instant to allow any adjustment.
By pressing the parts together before the adhesive dries, gives you a little shuffling time
before the solvent fully evaporates through
the porous card and wood. A little epoxy
adhesive is needed for securing a few metal
items in this model. The usual precautions of
ensuring the parts are clean and grease free
are essential. Id also suggest avoiding the
types that set too rapidly, getting things accurately placed is much easier when you do not
have to rush. Also, the slower setting types
have more time to penetrate into surface
irregularities and pores to create a stronger
Even though the purchase of a wood pack
will save you a lot of balsa cutting, a knife
will still be required. There are quite a few
on the market for the hobbyist and a good
one will feature a strong handle that allows a
firm, but controlled, grip to be maintained.
Easily replaceable blades are essential, as a
worn blade will prevent clean cuts being
made and risks damage to both the model
and your fingers! Whilst on the subject of
finger safety, a metal rule is vital to guide the
blade when cutting as wood or plastic ones
will not last long and can allow the blade to
wander in dangerous directions.

Good glued joints

in wood usually require
the parts to be held in
place to prevent any
movement and allow
the adhesive to penetrate
into the wood before

The final item to make cutting less arduous

is a good surface to work on. Some hobbies
have been called table top modelling, but
if you have ever tried to cut parts out on the
kitchen worktops, or worse still the highly
polished dining table, then you will quickly
realise just what an enormous misnomer
this represents. Something firm to support
the part being cut, yet soft enough to avoid
rapidly blunting of the blade tip, but not
weak enough to allow the blade to penetrate
all the way through, are our demanding
requirements. I used to use the soft side of
single surfaced hardboard as my cutting base
and with no wood grain to deflect a blade it
was almost perfect, the only drawbacks being
an accumulation of damage to the hardboard
and wear on the tip of the blade. These
problems were overcome with the purchase

of a plastic self-healing cutting mat that offers

firm support and little wear to the blade, and
best of all, any cuts soon disappear. Photo 1
is of what you will basically need.

Holding things together

Good glued joints in wood usually require
the parts to be held in place to prevent any
movement and allow the adhesive to penetrate into the wood before setting. Pins can
be a convenient way to achieve this and I use
both the dress making type and the shorter
ones with plastic heads.
A tip when removing a pin from a glued
joint is to first give the head a twist which
will break any glue that has stuck to the pin,
then pull it out. Sometimes you can actually
hear the faint crack as the pin/glue bond
breaks when twisted. This will avoid damage
caused by the pin removing any wood stuck
to it when it is pulled out of the joint. Gluing
pieces together can often be best done by
holding them down on a flat surface with
suitable weights. One danger is that you can
accidentally glue them to the flat surface,
so I always place a piece of thin plastic
sheet underneath the parts. Another
problem can be that the parts move
slightly whilst the glue sets. A couple of
pins can prevent this from happening.

Rounding and smoothing off

Working with wood inevitably means that
some use of sandpaper will be called for. You
could just try to hold the paper in your fingers, but this will usually result in an uneven
surface and painful finger tips!
Sanding blocks are a simple solution
to both problems. Mine are just pieces of
scrap timber around which the sandpaper
60 www.modelboats.co.uk


is wrapped and held in place with a couple

of drawing pins. They allow you to apply
the desired force in a controlled fashion
and make achieving a smooth surface much

The parts
The MyHobbyStore Wood Kit for H.M.S. Temerity includes balsawood sheets in which the
parts have been cut with a laser,
Photo 2. These parts are not completely cut
from the sheets and you will need to free them
by cutting the short retaining tabs. The hull
parts are shown laid out in Photo 3. The more
eagle-eyed amongst you might have spotted
that three of the bulkheads do not feature the
holes that your wood pack does! During the
construction of the prototype model I realised
whilst cutting holes for the internal wiring, it
would have been much easier to let the laser
cutter do this job. That is why we engineers
build prototypes rather than assuming that the
design, even if it was done on a computer, is
perfect at the drawing stage.
The laser cut balsawood edges have a burnt
appearance. Although these edges looked
sound I still gave them a light rub with a
fine grade of sandpaper. This ensured that
no loose particles were present which might
impede a perfect glued joint. To be honest,
it probably wasnt necessary, but I felt better
for doing it. It is important that you save the
two rectangular pieces that are cut out of the
decks as these are used later in the models

Hull bottom pieces

These are made from two laminations of balsa rather than single thick pieces. This allows
slots to be made in the inner pieces for the

stem, bulkheads and transom tabs without

having to penetrate all the way through the
bottom and create a source of potential leaks.
The bottom pieces need to be glued
together so that the slot for the Stem piece is
correctly aligned at the bows, Photo 4. At the
same time slots and a tab should be made at
the rear end of the Bottom piece, Photo 5.
Glue was applied to the Inner Bottom piece
and the two parts pressed together with a
couple of pins used to prevent any movement
and then held down on a flat surface with
convenient weights, Photo 6. It also looked
like a good time to glue Bulkhead 2 into place
on the hulls bottom, taking care to get its tab
fully in the slot and keeping it square.
The Rear Bottom pieces are the same shape
but with slots in the Inner piece, Photo 7.
After checking alignment, these two parts
were glued and pinned together, again using
weights to press them both down onto a flat
surface to keep them flat.

Hull framework
Only when the glue has fully dried can
this next stage be tackled. The remaining
Bulkheads and the Stem piece are glued to the
hulls bottom using the tabs and slots to locate them. The decks are then glued in place,
again using the tabs and slots for alignment,
Photo 8. Again, some weights can be used to
keep the parts together whilst the glue sets.
The final part of this stage is adding the
Transom and Rear Bottom piece to the hull.
The tab that extends beyond Bulkhead 4
should locate into the slot on the Rear Bottom
piece, Photo 9. Because of the angle at this
joint a little light chamfering of the tab and
Bottom piece will be needed to make a better
joint. This need not be a perfect fit, as any gap

between the Bottom pieces can be filled with

a wedge of glue coated balsa, Photo 10.

Motor selection?
A full size destroyer would have had twin
propellers which could be duplicated in this
model with two separate motors, or a single
motor connected to the propshafts via gears
or pulleys and a belt, but to be honest this
model is being made for sailing, rather than
scale accuracy. A single motor and propeller
will be simpler to install, maintain and done
properly, it will produce a reliable performance that matches what people expect of a
destroyer model.
Choosing the right motor for any model
boat can be a problem. Warships can be
especially tricky as their slim hulls usually
need little power to glide through the water.
This means that too much power can produce
speeds that look ridiculous and make the
model unpleasant to sail, for both its owner
and often anyone else sailing at the same
It was tempting to use an RE 385 motor
which should give realistic performance, but I
installed a larger RE 540 type of motor. Now
these motors and the related Graupner SPEED
500/600 types can be powerful, screaming
monsters at times, so a mild version is
needed. The standard 27 turn (the number
of windings on each pole of the armature)
is more than adequate when matched to
something like a fine pitched propeller of 35
to 40mm in diameter.

Rather than being too prescriptive, Ill
describe in general terms how to install the
driveline, which ought to allow you to
Model Boats Warships 61

HMS Temerity
make any changes needed if you want to use
alternative items.
I used a 6 inch (150mm) long commercial
tube and matching shaft. This length is not
critical, but if too short it will be at a steep
angle and can waste power, plus possibly
produce some weird handling characteristics.
Too long can be a problem also, as you might
end up with no space inside the hull for the
motor. The chosen propshaft had an M4
thread at one end which would match commercial model propellers.
Before making any holes, a centreline was
drawn down the Rear Bottom piece to ensure
that the propeller and rudder tubes would be
placed correctly. The positions of the slot in
the Bottom and hole through Bulkhead 4 are
shown on the plans. If you use different items
then some adjustments may well be needed,
and this is the reason that the wood pack
parts do not feature the aforementioned slot
and hole.
The slot in the Hull Bottom was cut just
wide enough for the tube to slide into. I used
a small drill to make a pilot hole in Bulkhead
4 (a bradawl is an alternative), before opening it up with a round file, Photo 11.
The motor mounting was made before
gluing the propshaft tube into the hull.
Although a flexible coupling was to be used
to connect the motor and propeller shafts, it
is always better to get them accurately lined
up first. The motor was secured to a plastic
mounting bracket which could be screwed on
to a wedge made up from scrap balsawood,
Photo 12. Some adjustments to the shape of
this wedge, the hole in Bulkhead 4 and the
slot in the Hull Bottom, were needed before
the motor and propshaft were nicely in line.
The propshaft tube was then be secured in

the hull with epoxy adhesive and the motor

mounting balsawood wedge glued to the
Hull Bottom, again taking care to keep things
aligned during the setting process.

Rudder assembly
A commercial r/c rudder assembly (Radio
Active Item No. RMA 3065) was installed in
the prototype. The rudder blade was perhaps
a shade larger than needed, but it ought to
ensure positive steering control was my
thought. The rudder shaft and its tube were
too long to fit inside the hull and had to be
cut down, the aim being to ensure that the
tiller arm on top of the shaft had adequate
clearance under the deck.
A hole was made through the hulls bottom
on the centreline so that the blade was in-line
with the propeller. An extra piece of scrap
balsa can be used to double the Bottom sheet
thickness around the hole. Rudders can be
subjected to the occasional knocks when sailing and this is a sensible addition. In addition
to the securing nut on the threaded tube,
a little epoxy was used to fix the tube into
the hull and ensure it would be watertight,

You will note that the rudder shaft was

fitted square to the rear hull bottom section
which results in it being angled forwards in
respect of the deck and main bottom pieces.
As the servo was to be mounted at the same
angle, this ensured that the linkage between
them would operate smoothly. The fact that
the rudder shaft does not always have to
be exactly vertical is sometimes missed by

Photo 13.

If you prefer to make your own rudder

then it is not too difficult. The blade can be
cut from sheet metal, brass or aluminium,
all being suitable. The shaft must be a good
fit inside the tube that supports it where it
passes through the hull bottom. Steel and/
or brass usually have the right combination
of strength and toughness for these parts.
The tiller needs to be capable of some degree
of adjustment, yet must be capable of being
securely fixed to the rudder shaft. Ingenious
modellers sometimes convert the terminal
pins in domestic electric plugs for this item.

Rudder servo
To keep the linkage between the servo and
tiller arms short and straight, the servo was
mounted to the rear of Bulkhead 4. A suitable
block of balsa into which the servo securing
screws would fit was glued to the rear of the
bulkhead. This block did not extend down
to the bottom of the hull since clearance for
the wires emerging from the servo case was
needed. A second larger block of balsa was
glued to the hull bottom to secure the servo,
Photo 14.

When the glue had set, the servo was

62 www.modelboats.co.uk


held firmly in place with screws through

its mounting lugs and into the balsa blocks.
The aim should be for the servo to be held
firmly between the blocks, the screws being
just tight enough to prevent any vertical
movement of the servo. It is worth also
checking that the servo can be removed from
the blocks and out through the deck opening.
I found that the block glued to Bulkhead 4
needed a little chamfering on one corner to
clear the servo wires.
Fitting the wire link between the servo and
tiller arms is very easy to do at this stage. The
link needs to be stiff enough to avoid flexing
and something about 1 to1.5mm in diameter
is usually okay if you use steel or brass wire.
A Z-bend was used to connect into the tiller
arm and provide a smooth, but very secure,
linkage. A small connector was fitted through
the servo arm through which the wire could
be slid before securing with a small grub
screw. This method made the task of getting
the rudder throw even (by having the link
wire perpendicular to both the servo and

If you prefer to
make your own rudder
then it is not too difficult.
The blade can be cut
from sheet metal, brass
or aluminium, all being

tiller arms) and even (by adjusting the holes

used on the tiller arm to give about 35 to 40
degrees of movement either side of neutral)
very easy, Photo 15.

Radio installation
The internal r/c installation could be planned
at this stage. The space between Bulkheads
2 and 3 was intended to accommodate the
drive battery which could be accessed via


the deck opening. I planned to use a 3 x 2

pack of six rechargeable cells for which there
was more than enough space. To allow easy
installation and removal of this pack, a couple
of strips of balsa were glued between the two
bulkheads between which the battery pack
would smoothly slide, Photo 16.
The receiver and ESC (Electronic Speed
Controller) were to be fitted into the compartment between Bulkheads 1 and 2. This
resulted in wiring having to pass between
these compartments and I had the task of
making holes in the prototype bulkheads. The
laser-cut parts & plan have been amended to
include those holes!
The wiring needs to be neat with the servo
leads kept way from the motor and battery
wiring and an extension lead was found to
be needed when connecting to the receiver.
Likewise extra insulated wire had to be used
to connect the battery pack to the ESC and the
ESC to the motor. This was all much simpler
to do with the hull sides absent!
Adding a drop of oil on to the propeller
tube and motor bearings allowed me to give
the r/c installation a trial run. Everything
worked, so all the internal items could now
be removed before finishing off the hull
construction. Well, I say all the items, but I
left the rudder assembly and the linkage wire
in place. It was going to be hard to refit the
tiller with the hull sides in place so I figured
that if it could be safely worked around, then
the rudder was best left in place.
If you decide to remove the rudder than it
might need an access opening cut in the deck
above the rudder position, for when reinstalling it. Done with care, and before final
painting, this need not be noticeable.

The hull sides


The sides of the hulls basic framework need

sanding to create a smooth surface upon
which the side sheeting can be securely
glued. A sanding bock is ideal for this task as
it can bridge the gap between the decks and
bottom pieces to allow you to sand them at
the same time, Photo 17.
Model Boats Warships 63

HMS Temerity

Finishing off the

model can be done to
any standard you fancy. I
settled for suggesting the
shapes of various items.
The thing to watch is
that everything above
deck level must be light
to avoid problems with

This sanding is very important at the bow

section since it features a small amount of
flare, that is the hull sides lean outwards as
you travel upwards. Likewise, the Stem piece
needs blending into the shape of the hull
frame to accommodate the side sheeting.
I added the side sheets with the wood grain
running vertical which has always seemed to
be best for strength and toughness. This also
allows you to work with small pieces and
encourages sound glued joints to be made.
My method is to start in the middle of the
hull; the stem in the hull sides is a good place
in this model, and work towards both ends
of the hull and alternate between the sides.
Pieces of 1/8 inch (3mm) balsawood sheet
were cut to be slightly oversize then glued
to the hull using pins to keep them in place,
Photo 18. Care was taken to ensure that the
butt-joint between adjacent pieces had an adequate application of glue before being pressed
Making a neat job with the side sheeting
at the bows can be done by first gluing an
oversize piece to one side. When full dry,
the excess is removed by knife then sanding
to match the Stem piece after which another
oversize piece can be glued to the other
side of the hull, Photo 19. This can also be
trimmed back to match the hull shape after
the glue dries.

Shaping the hull

The excess sheeting that extends beyond the
deck and bottom needs trimming back. I
usually cut the bulk away and then sand flush
with a sanding block. The junction between
the sides and bottom has to be rounded off;
the plans show what section to aim for without weakening the hull.
64 www.modelboats.co.uk





The bows were reinforced by sanding a flat

surface to which a strip of hardwood could
be glued. When set, this strip was carved and
sanded to blend into the hull shape,
Photo 20. This is a worthwhile addition
as it can localise any accidental damage and
make repairs a simple task.
Examination of the hulls external surfaces
should be made. Any small gaps can be sealed
by forcing glue into them. Larger gaps can be
filled with slivers of glue coated balsa which
can be sanded flush when dry. I also find a
tube of ready mixed domestic filler handy for
dealing with the inevitable dents and dings
that may occur during building.
The whole external surface was sanded
smooth using medium then fine grades of
sandpaper. No matter how careful you are,
some steps will appear between adjacent
pieces of the side sheets. A sanding block is
the only way to remove them without pro-

ducing an uneven surface.

Transom decision time

The earlier classes of destroyers had a rounded stern. If you want to duplicate this then
scrap pieces of balsa must be glued to the
transom, then carved and sanded to blend
into the hull. Later classes had the square cutoff transom which is shown on the plans.

Sealing the hull

The hulls external surfaces require sealing, to
both waterproof the balsawood and create a
good base for the paints. This can be done in
many ways producing good results. Standard
paint primer and undercoats will work, provided several thin coats are applied, sanding
back between each to achieve a smooth final
surface. Sanding sealers are popular and their
instructions ought to be followed to ensure








I tend to use cellulose dope on balsa surfaces. Three or four coats, sanding between
each and then covering the balsa with an
aeromodelling type of tissue doped into
place, followed by two or three more coats of
dope as in Photo 21 works well for me. This
produces a smooth surface and strengthens
the balsa against impact damage. Be warned
though, cellulose dope is very smelly and it
is definitely for outdoor use. Water based and
non-smelly alternatives are available; an internet search of modeller supplier sites should
locate them.
To give the hull a little more realism, thin
card strips were glued down the sides above
the waterline. Contact adhesive was used
followed by a couple of coats of dope which
waterproofed the card and firmly bonded it
to the hull. These strips create the illusion of
the plated steel hulls of full-size vessels.

removable deck sections. By building the

boxes so that they extended slightly beyond
the edges of the deck sections, made for a
neat and secure fit into the hull openings,

can usually be seen on warships of this period, and strips of balsa were cut and covered
in thin card to suggest these items.
The davits for the ships boats were bent
from copper wire into a figure 2 sort of
shape, Photo 25, the ends of each davit being
bent down so that they could be glued into
holes through the deck with epoxy. These
items are perhaps best left off the model until
its painting is complete. In fact most of the
smaller detail fittings ought to be painted
whilst off the model before being glued in

Superstructure decision time

If you want to base the model on a specific
vessel, then the superstructure will certainly
need modifying from that shown on the plan.
You may have suitable reference material to
hand already, but if not, two books might be
British Destroyers & Frigates - the Second
World War and after by Norman Friedman,
ISBN 9781848320154
Destroyers of World War Two by M. J.
Whitley, ISBN 1854095218
Both contain numerous photographs and
drawings and can be ordered through the
public library borrowing system.
The superstructure units were created
around simple balsawood boxes glued to the

Photo 22.

Card was used for the superstructure upper

decks. It is cheap and produces a good base
material for paint when sealed, Photo 23. The
vertical surfaces of the superstructure were
covered with the same thin card as used on
the hull sides, Photo 24. Why green? Well,
that was what I had, as simple as that. This
gives the model a better finish and also hides
any balsa joints that are less than perfect. A
few details such as hatches and vents were
added to the superstructures before these
were sealed with a couple of coats of dope.

Remaining bits and pieces

Finishing off the model can be done to any
standard you fancy. I settled for suggesting
the shapes of various items. The thing to
watch is that everything above deck level
must be light to avoid problems with stability,
so no lumps of metal please!
The mast on the prototype was of a tripod
type made from brass tube and wire. I
soldered the parts together, ensuring that the
masts rearwards rake matched the funnel.
You could use alternatives such as bamboo
skewers or plastic tubes glued together, but
remember that the mast on a working model
is often the first thing to get damaged.
With the addition of heavy radar systems to
destroyers, lattice masts were added to many
vessels. These are more complex and perhaps
best made by making two sides then joining
these together, in the fashion of stick and
tissue model aircraft fuselages.
Numerous ammunition and storage boxes

Warships can feature elaborate camouflage
schemes which can look very attractive on
working models. They also can be very effective and it is possible to lose sight of a model
when sailing over significant distances, you
have been warned!
The prototype used a simple scheme of a
grey hull, upperworks and fittings. I used one
of the grey primers supplied in car touch-up
aerosol spray cans. Provided you follow the
instructions, shake the can well, avoid cold
damp conditions and apply several light coats,
then success is easily achieved.
The hull below the waterline was painted
with gloss black enamel. This is not scale,
but looks better when sailing. The decks used
a mixture of matt black, green, grey and
After gluing all the fittings in place, the
model was given a couple of lightly sprayed
dust coats of clear satin varnish. This protects
the paintwork and gives the model a subtle
sheen which adds to its realism whilst sailing.
Photo 26 is of the model basically complete
and apart from ballasting, now ready to go.
Model Boats Warships 65

HMS Temerity




Ballast trials

More lead was placed in the pockets formed

between the hull sides and battery supports
in the next compartment. The final trim was
achieved using a couple of pieces of lead in
the last two compartments. The model in the
end weighed some 5.5 pounds (2.5kg). Once
happy with the position of the ballast it was
secured into the hull with dabs of silicone
sealant, but latex adhesive will also do the
job. This is important as the ballast must not
move when sailing or you will at best have a
silly looking model, and at worst you have no
model if it capsizes and sinks!
The final test for stability, but only when
the ballast adhesive has set, is to roll the model by pushing down on one edge of the deck
until it is at the waters level. If the finger is
removed, then the model should smartly roll
back upright. It will tend to overshoot and
oscillate a few times before coming to rest,
but that is quite normal.
If your model passes this test, then you

can start sailing with confidence. If anything

rattles inside the model whilst it rolls then
find out what it is and secure the offending
item and retest.

With all the internal items refitted and

checked, the model was ready to be placed
in the water where it floated way higher than
the desired waterline. The key to ensuring
that the model never has any doubts about
which way up it should float (!), is to use
dense ballast secured as low inside the hull as
possible. Lead, being very dense and easy to
shape, is one of the best materials to use, but
scrap steel and brass pieces will also work.
You need calm water to carry out ballasting
and it is not something you can do easily at
your regular sailing water. The bath is an
ideal place for this job, provided it does not
incur domestic wrath of course! Mind you,
investing in a cheap childs paddling pool or
a plasterers mixing bath may also be a long
term solution as a means of ballasting new
models at home.
Lead sheet was definitely needed in the
compartment between Bulkheads 1 and 2.

With all the

internal items refitted and
checked, the model was
ready to be placed in the
water where it floated way
higher than the desired

66 www.modelboats.co.uk

Sailing (at last!)

A calm day is best for this as you learn little if
the model is being tossed about by wind and
waves. Assuming the battery is fully charged
and everything works okay on dry land,
the model can be placed in the water for its
maiden voyage.
With the bows pointing away from the
edge of the water, the throttle can be advanced, but gently. The model should start to
move away from you, but if it moves in the
opposite direction stop the motor immediately. You have to reverse the electrical supply
to the motor by either using the servo reverse
switch on the transmitter or swopping over
the motor connections. DO NOT reverse the
battery connections unless you want to expe-




rience a bang, cloud of smoke and the bill for

a new ESC!
With H.M.S. Temerity moving slowly away
from you, try the rudder. If the model turns
in the wrong direction then the servo reverse
switch has to be used or the linkage placed on
the other side of the servo output arm.
With everything working properly, it is
just a case of getting the feel of the model
at progressively higher speeds, Photo 27.
If the model does run too fast for comfort
then either employ some throttle restraint,


or if your transmitter features it, reduce the

throttle end-point. You could also try fitting
a smaller diameter and lower pitch propeller.
Using the maximum rudder deflection
suggested (35 to 40 degrees). then the model
can safely make 180 degree turns in 7 to 8
feet (2 to 2.25m) in diameter. The model will
roll outwards when turning very tightly, but
then so do real destroyers and the model is
perfectly safe if properly ballasted.
Propellers are less effective when going
astern, something worth remembering if you
find yourself heading for an accident at high
speed, but the prototype does sail astern at a
modest speed and can be steered.

Aprs sail
The people you regularly see at the pond
side desperately trying to get their model
to work are likely to be those who fail to
carry out post-sailing maintenance, which
means checking out any minor problems that

occurred. There is always a reason for the

odd glitch and it is better to locate the cause
before it becomes a total failure.
Checking for any water that entered the
hull during sailing ought to be second nature.
If a significant amount has entered then its
source must be located and closed. Even if no
water is found inside the hull, its not a bad
idea to leave it opened-up for a day or two.
Any dampness in a confined space can play
havoc with electrical items.

Worth it?
The result of all this effort is a model which,
whilst it might not be as highly detailed or
accurate as others, sails like a destroyer ought
to and can cope with conditions that masterpieces might shy away from. It is a model
that you can relax and enjoy sailing, without
the worry about stability and damage, plus
its nice to be able to say that its all my own

Model Boats Warships 67

Giuseppe Garibaldi

Giuseppe Garibaldi
C551 Specifications as at
1995 (year modelled)
Date Deployed: 1985.
Launched: 04 June 1983.
Commissioned: 30 September 1985.
Function: Light aircraft carrier /
cruiser. Italian Navys Flagship.
Expected service life: To be retired in
2016. Conte di Cavour, launched in
2005 (ex - Andrea Doria) is scheduled
to take over as flag ship.
Displacement: tons 10100 standard,
13850 full load.
Length: 180.2 m.
Beam: 33.40 m.
Draft: 6.70 m.
Speed: 30 knots maximum,
20 knots typical.
Range: (nautical miles) 7,000 at
20 knots.
Complement: 550 + 230 air group +
45 flag staff .
Propulsion: 4 x GE/Fiat LM-2500 gas
turbines (80.000 hp ), 2 shafts.
Radio call sign: IAIQ.
SAM: 2 Albatros Octuple (48 Aspide
CIWS: 3 twin 40 mm Breda.
SSM: 8 Otomat SSMs.
Torpedoes: 2 triple 324 mm torpedo
tubes (Honeywell Mk 46 torp /
A290 torp.).
Aircraft: 16 Harriers AV/8B plus II / or
18 SH-3D Sea Kings, 10 Harriers usual.
Radar (Air search): Hughes SPS-52C,
3D, E/F bands, range 440 km; Selenia
SPS-768 (RAN 3L),D band, range 220
km; SMA SPN-728, I band, range 73 km.
Radar (Air/surface search): Selenia
SPS-774 (RAN 10S), E/F bands;
Radar (Surface search/target
indication): SMA SPS-702 UPX;
Radar (Navigation): SMA SPN749(V)2; I band;
Radar (Fire control): 3 x Selenia SPG75 (RTN 30X), I/J bands, range 15 km
(for Albatros); 3 x Selenia SPG-74 (RTN
20X), I/J bands, range 13 km (for
Dardo); IFF: Mk XII; Tacan: SRN-15A.
Sonar: Raytheon DE 1160 LF,
bow-mounted, active search,
medium frequency.
Countermeasures Decoys: SLQ-25
Nixie; 2 x Breda SCLAR 105mm
launchers (chaff and illuminates);
ESM/ECM: Elettronica Nettuno

Italys flagship is a scratch built 1:72 scale

remote control model by JOHN SLATER



The finished model launched on 26th November

2005 at the Task Force 72 10th Annual Regatta.

68 www.modelboats.co.uk

ith an interest in carrier-based

aviation, I have always liked the
idea of a remote controlled aircraft
carrier. As a member of Task Force 72,
Australias constant scale model ship
association, - now expanding elsewhere in the
world too, my interests focussed on
engineering this venture in 1:72 scale. (Task
Force 72 is made up of a fleet of 1:72 scale
models hence the 72 in the name). My early
exploits towards such an endeavour focused
on a giant, namely USS Constellation in 1:72
scale. 4.43m long (14.5 ft)! Plug, mould, and
hull construction started in 1999 with the
assistance of David Rowlands, a fellow Task
Force 72 member, and naval architect.
The USS Constellation proved too much for
me on my own to finish, and the uncompleted

model was sold in 2004 to a Royal Australian

Air Force, Air League leader, who with a
number of team members will complete the
project. The biggest problem I faced working
on my own was that the 90 plus kilograms of
fibreglass hull kept aggravating a lower back
injury. So sadly she had to go.
My wife, who first got me into the
hobby, had mixed emotions seeing such
work leave unfinished, and encouraged
me to build something else, although that
was not hard. Specifically, I have always
loved Harriers, and I started researching
the history and deployment of these
aircraft at sea.
The British modern light carriers are well
represented in Task Force 72, and I was aiming
my research at something different. I started

looking at Giuseppe Garibaldi and was

impressed at the look of the ship, her
armament, and her air wing. I decided to
build her as she was in the year 1995.

Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi C551 is the Italian Navys
flagship. She was built in Italy in by
Italcantieri, launched in 1983 and
commissioned in 1985, and has an expected
service life to 2016. At 180.2 meters long
(591.2 ft) she is the worlds smallest aircraft
carrier to operate fixed wing jet aircraft. She is
also armed to the teeth and this light carrier
has been sometimes referred to as an aircraft
carrying cruiser. Indeed the designation C in
her pennant C551 I have been told refers to
her cruiser like status.
Model Boats Warships 69

Giuseppe Garibaldi
and is therefore limited for servicing aircraft.
Garibaldis design was built in order to
satisfy requirements of having a ship equipped
with fleet command and control
characteristics, and for the optimal use of
aircraft, anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile
weapon systems. In later years she has served
as an amphibious command ship launching
landing craft. The ships four gas turbines
propulsion system provides a maximum speed
of 30 knots and at an economical speed of 20
knots her range is over 7000 nautical miles.
The ships flight deck is 174 metres in
length and 30.5 metres in width, and the
forward 15 metres of the flight deck rise up a
gentle ramp of six degrees. The ramp angle is
problematic whereby the AV/8Bs face
difficulties deploying full combat loads of fuel
and ordinance. The Invincible class ski-jumps
at 12.5 degrees should have been a good
lesson for the Italians to note. The newly
launched Italian Conte di Cavour light
carrier features a ski jump of 12.5 degrees and
a much larger more efficient hanger space.

Planning the model

Top left: Inner hull joints showing triangular
bracing to keel.
Top right: Early bow construction.
Above left: Hull nearing completion prior to
Above right: Stern half of hull inverted with
running gear installed and fibreglassing complete.

My decision to
build Giuseppe Garibaldi
in 1:72 scale came from
my want to keep my fleet
in the one scale and thus
aligning her in the ranks
of excellent company at
Task Force 72.

70 www.modelboats.co.uk

Giuseppe Garibaldi has three twin barrelled

Breda director controlled guns for close-in
weapon defence and multiple batteries of
chaff launchers. The Bredas are 40mm rapidfire guns with the manufacturer claiming that
the twin barrelled version fitted to Garibaldi
fires at 900 rounds per minute and can kill an
incoming supersonic missile flying in a
straight line at ranges as great as 3 kms. The
Breda automatically switches from the lighter
high explosive round to the heavier depleted
uranium round when the missile reaches a
range of 1 km.
Garibaldi also carries the Honeywell Mk 46
Torpedo and A290 torpedo that can be fired
from two triple 324mm launchers for antisubmarine warfare (ASW). Packing a big
punch are surface-to-surface (SSM) Ottomat
missile launchers, and two octuple Albatross
pack launchers for Aspide surface-to-air (SAM)
missiles. The SSM capability and volume /
variety of weaponry is unusual for light carrier
status, and hence the cruiser designation may
be reflecting this. In 1994 I understand that
the SSMs numbered eight Ottomat launchers,
and by about 1996 these were cut back to
four. All of them have since been removed.
The ships air wing primarily carried 18 Sea
King SH-3D helicopters, but these are being
replaced by Merlins. The ship can carry 16
AV/8B Plus II Harriers, the first of which
arrived in 1994. Carrying all 16 would not
leave room for helicopters so usually a mix of
Harriers (10 is usual) and helicopters is carried.
The hangar does not extended through the
ships maximum width or run its entire length

Obtaining plans did involve a little digging,

but after an enquiry to www.modelwarships.
com forum page, an Italian modeller in Rome
kindly pointed me in the direction of ANB,
(Associazione Navimodellisti Bolognesi),
which is the Bologna Maritime Model
Association. ANB is an excellent source of ship
plans, and are the largest single repository of
ship plans that I have come across. They hold
over 1,600 sets of plans, from ancient days to
the present, and the range includes, merchant
vessels, cruise ships, warships, tugs, and many
more categories. Subjects, as you would
appreciate are mainly Italian, but there are
scores of non Italian ships plans too.
Worthwhile checking out is their website at
www.anb-online.org. Whilst in Venice on
holiday in 2004, I picked up a hardcopy of
their catalogue of plans for 45 euros. This
catalogue is known as Tecnica Estoria
Attraverso I Piani Costruttivi Navali which
essentially means the Technical story and plans
of maritime construction. See www.anbonline.org/page_info php?cPath=2015
&products_id=3840 for further details.
Most of the plans held by ANB are in fact the
original shipyards plans.
In addition to purchasing the plans, I was
able to download a plethora of photos from
the Internet. (Of course you need to be aware
of local and all applicable international
copyright laws when doing this.) Caution
needs to be applied in obtaining lots of photos
as such an approach invariably gets you photos
from different time periods and I have found
quite a bit of differences in structures and
fittings over the life of the ship thus far. Indeed
the latest version of Janes Fighting Ships

2004/05 at my public library shows the ship

with superstructure now extended on the
starboard side to be almost flush with the
extremity of the flight deck. I found that my
local public library was by far the cheapest
place to print off photos that I had in
electronic form.
My decision to build Giuseppe Garibaldi in
1:72 scale came from my want to keep my
fleet in the one scale and thus aligning her in
the ranks of excellent company at Task Force
72. The availability of aircraft models in 1:72
scale supported that decision. In 1:72 scale,
Garibaldi is 2.5m long (8.2 ft) and a lot more
manageable for myself to build on my own
than the USS Constellation in that scale. Right
from the start I planned the model to have a
hull that could be split into two watertight
halves for transporting and re-joined via two
watertight bulkheads.

Hull construction
Within two weeks of my enquiry to ANB,
Giuseppe Garibaldis plans arrived in a package
the size of a small telephone directory. The 84
Euros were worth it. The plans were to 1:100
scale and were clear and crisp in terms of their
readability and fine detail. The plans were an
exact copy of the builders plans.
First order of business was to increase the
size of the plans to 1:72 scale. I made multiple
copies of the frames for the number of frames
of the ship. Cutting out these, I glued these to
6mm marine ply sheeting.
Using a jigsaw, the marine ply frames were
cut out. The frames when cut out were done
so with allowances for planking the hull,
fibreglass, and gel coat. This was done so that
the hulls extreme widths would be accurate in
scale. The cut out frames were positioned
vertically and upside down on a building base
at the correct spacing apart. The frames were
held in place by pressure holds of timber
pieces forward and aft of each frame. Each
frame had a pre-cut groove in its base to
accept a dove tailed fit of a 20mm piece of
Tasmania Oak (hardwood), which served as
the keel.
Thin (2.6 mm) marine ply planking 12mm
wide was then used to plank the hull with

waterproof Selleys Aquahere (wood glue) and

pin nails.
The bow and stern were formed up with a
combination of horizontal and vertical cross
sectional frames, marine ply planking and
surfboard foam. Surfboard foam areas were
covered with a thin layer of waterproof car
After sanding and ensuring the hull was
true, I sent the hull off to Allan Pew of APS
Models. I commissioned Allan to laminate the
hulls exterior with fibreglass and gel coat and
supply the running gear, two shafts, A frames,
stuffing tubes, and brass propellers. The inner
hull was coated with an oil-based enamel.
During the hull construction, I installed two
solid frames side by side at a point close to the
midpoint of the hulls length. Two hacksaw
blades spaced a thin 1.2 mm gap between
these two frames. This was done, as it was my
intention to cut the hull in half at this point so
as to allow ease of transport of this 2.5 metre
model. The hull would be reconnected
together with six stainless steel bolts, spring
washers, and wing nuts. These were installed
prior to cutting so as to ensure a perfect rejoin
after. The two frames had triangular pieces of
marine ply extending from the flight deck
level to the keel and adjoining the frames. This
was done so as to transfer any load stress from
the joined frames to the whole of the
hardwood keel fore and aft in both hull
sections. The gap, pre-spaced by the hacksaw
blades allowed Allan after fibreglassing to
make a uniform cut through the hull.
The construction time of the hull took 34
hours, with another 12 spent on tidying it up,
sanding, etc., prior to fibreglassing. To keep my
costs down, I only commissioned Allan to do
the fibreglassing and gel coat so I spent
another 12 hours post his fibreglassing,
smoothing / sanding the brushed gelcoat
finish. I was very happy with how well and
fast this came together, although quick
construction speed was not sought out, it just
happened that way. I certainly did not want to
rush this at all. I am sure my experiences
learned working with David Rowlands on USS
Constellation coupled with a great set of plans
from ANB, helped me on this project.

Above: Sea trials at Task Force 72 Regatta in

November 2004.

I am sure my
experiences learned
working with David
Rowlands on USS
Constellation coupled
with a great set of plans
from ANB, helped me on
this project.

Running gear
I got this from Allan Pew of APS. The 5-blade
props are brass, and are 70mm in diameter. By
the way I should mention that Allan Pews APS
Models is the premier 72nd scale supplier here
in Australia, and I would probably guess that
he is the largest 72nd scale supplier of ship
kits and fittings internationally. Allan has no
less than 100 semi kits in 72nd scale on offer,
and hundreds of accompanying 72nd scale
moulded fittings. Indeed, I cannot think how
Task Force 72 could exist to the degree it does
without Allans commitment, dedication and
skill over the years.

Where APS didnt have the one that I wanted,
I made masters of parts and Allan obliged by
moulding them and reproducing them in
great number. Allan even made the master for
the Otomat SSM launchers.
Model Boats Warships 71

Giuseppe Garibaldi
Elevator / lifts

Above: The finished model in 2005 two weeks prior to launch.

One thing I learnt

very early on was that
plastic kit manufacturers
have local releases of
products aligned with
the countries that they
are released in and often
if you are not in one of
these countries those
products will not be
available to you.

Flight deck
The flight deck is made from 3mm styrene
sheet. A few people have said that they thought
that this would not be good to have a large
plastic expanse in the hot Australian sun, but
sea trials conducted in November 2004 (last
month of our Spring), indicated no problems
with the deck heating up at that time. The
deck was unpainted at that stage and the white
styrene would have been efficient at reflecting
heat. The ship was launched with the deck
72 www.modelboats.co.uk

painted and the opposite (attracting heat) did

occur. Unfortunately the deck under the heat
did buckle in a few places and a repair to this
flaw is underway. The deck is made up of six
removable sections. So the whole deck can be
removed section-by-section if needed. Only
two sections need be removed to access the
batteries. The deck is held in position by 3mm
stainless steel round head countersunk bolts
that mate with nuts installed in the top outer
sections of the hull. An electric screwdriver
can replace or remove all the bolts in under
two minutes.

Radio gear / speed controls

I purchased from R2 Model Marine here in
Australia, two of the latest Electronize FR15
type microprocessor speed controls and a
Robbe-Futaba F14 Navy Twin Stick Radio. The
twin sticks are used for independent port and
starboard motors. Garibaldi has a single large
rudder that makes the model quite
manoeuvrable. The twin sticks for independent
throttles allow the model able to turn in its
own axis, via going ahead one side, and astern
the other.

Motors and power

I bought two Buhler motors from Task Force
72 Treasurer Michael Brown. Michael was kind
enough to conduct tests on these motors with
the brass propellers made by Allan. The motors
are coupled straight to the shafts (direct
drive). These have a good turn of speed with
the model measuring about four knots flat out
(33.94 knots scale speed) over a measured
distance. An in water test of full speed ahead
for both motors with the model tethered
showed a max amp reading of 10.9 amps
using a 12 volt sealed lead acid battery. I use
two 12 volt 18 amp hour batteries so this
maximum current drain is acceptable given
the 36 amp hour capacity. Most of the time I
drive at around all ahead two-thirds speed so
the drain is somewhat less.

A single large hydraulic piston drives each of

Garibaldis two aircraft lifts. I chose to go with
a scissor mechanism, as I had earlier failures
with the single piston system. The Task Force
72 Brisbane membership had past experience
with aircraft carrier lifts on 1:72 scale
Invincible class carriers, and 1:72 scale Hornet
and Yorktown carriers. After my early failures,
and not wanting to re-invent the wheel, I
commissioned Jim Russell (TF72 Brisbane)
and co-owner of Model Submarine Systems
Australia (MSSA) to construct two lift
mechanisms. Jim went to work on this and I
ended up with a brilliant mechanism that
includes a shock-absorbing damper that
eliminates any vibration to aircraft on the lift.
After a few hours of modifying Jims
mechanism to get the right height and fall of
the lift, I was able to fit both lifts into the hull
to mate with the openings cut in the flight
deck. The lifts are controlled by servos linked
to independent switches on the F14 RobbeFutaba Radio. Servo slows are employed to
control the speed of ascent or descent.
Eventually I plan to link these mechanisms to
independent servo controlled timers so the
lifts will work automatically and independent
of the radio control.

Air wing
One thing I learnt very early on was that
plastic kit manufacturers have local releases of
products aligned with the countries that they
are released in and often if you are not in one
of these countries those products will not be
available to you. For example, its not
surprising to find a string of FA/18 Hornet
kits released here in Australia with Australian
decals, as these are the primary Royal
Australian Air Force fighter, yet these kits with
the Australian decals are harder to find abroad.
Similarly, the Hasegawa AV/8B Plus II 1:72
Italian Navy version was not available in
Australia. I could only find them on European
websites, and in abundance in Italy naturally.
So I imported the kits to Australia. I bought six
of these. The really great thing about the
Hasegawa kits is the individual aircraft
numbers of Garibaldis aircraft embarked were
supplied, which I believe adds to the realism.
Soon after I had purchased these kits, Airfix
released the trainer version (TAV/8B) with
multiple decals, including the Italian Navy. I
picked up one of these, as I understand from
Janes Fighting Ships and from photos from
the net that Garibaldi typically deploys with at
least one TAV/8B on board.
A good friend is a former Grumman test
pilot and self-confessed plane nut
(Commander David Hound Karonidis US
Navy ret). The Commander kindly constructed
all fixed wing aircraft except for the trainer He
has done a fantastic job on these and I am

truly grateful. He built each of the aircraft

with different ordinance, and in different
settings, such as flaps at different angles,
canopies closed or open, aviator on board or
without. This greatly improves the realism of
the flight deck.
One AV/8B Harrier is set up with the
thrust nozzles down, flaps down, with aviator
on board and the canopy closed. This Harrier
actually flies. Well it appears to fly by being
linked to a clear retractable nylon rod, linked
to a nylon cord pulleys and a servo. This is
linked to a proportional slider channel, so the
scene depicted can show a vertical take off,
hover, steer, hover, and vertical land. Whilst
the vertical takeoff is not really operationally
correct on the carrier as the Harrier utilises a
short roll take off over the ski-ramp, the
aircraft sometimes do this manoeuvre,
especially if the forward deck is crowded or
the aircraft is on a training sortie. Having said
that, the realism is in the landing. To make
this realistic, I sail out away from close sight,
I get the Harrier airborne, and then sail back
towards prying eyes and commence the

The superstructure was constructed from
1mm, 1.5mm and 2mm styrene sheets, as
well as a variety of Evergreen plastics. This was
a relatively easy build, compared to previous
works I had undertaken on other models. I
made sure to combine the plans, which were
the original builders plans circa 1984, with
the photographs I had of her around 1994.
Typically a lot of change occurs following sea
trials and there will always be some noticeable
differences, as refits / upgrades, etc., over a
ships life result in inevitable change. Changes
made on or around 1997 included a port side
extension of the rear superstructure as after
three years of operating Harriers changes were
made which enabled better views of the flight
deck when landing. This structure might be
similar to what the US Navy might call a pry
fly area. Further changes, and probably the
most noticeable change to the superstructure,
occurred around or after 1999, when two
large whaler type lifeboats / general-purpose
boats, their derricks and equipment, were
removed from the starboard side of the
superstructure. I am glad I modelled her in a
year with these features still on board. I
understand these were removed as they were
almost completely under-utilised with two
motor launches in the port and starboard side
boat pockets being used extensively. Moreover,
should a disaster befall the ship, life raft packs
capacity on board more than exceed all
travelling personnel.
The superstructure is bolted down to the
flight deck utilising removable panels of the
Aspide missile magazines for and aft.

Transporting the model is done in two large
marine ply boxes for each hull half, another
box for the superstructure, and another for the
aircraft with foam packing around each aircraft.

Despite scratch building a hull prior to this
project with the help of David Rowlands, most
of my other projects have been semi kits and
therefore scratch building for myself has been
limited to building superstructures and
fittings. This project is a first for me in that its
the first time I have started with literally
nothing but an idea, and with some subcontracting of features along the way, ended
up with a complete radio controlled scale
model packed with features.
The total build time was 1,705 hours but I
estimate this would have been around 300
more if I had not purchased the fibreglassing
of the outer hull, running gear, lift
mechanisms, and some of the fittings.
I think anyone out there who has some
semi-kit scale modelling building experience
and who has a project that they really want to
do that is not available in a semi kit, should
consider giving scratch building a go. I guess
you need to balance the decision of not just
the materials cost but also your time, as
obviously it does take longer to complete than
a semi-kit. Having a supporting spouse is a
must, not to mention the support of skilled
others in your local model ship / boat club or

Above: Stern showing Breda Twin 40mm close

in weapons system. The sponsons left and right
extremes are the positions for the surface to
surface (Otomat) missiles.

I would like to provide my sincere thanks to

the following individuals, who either provided
advice, supplied goods and services, offered
encouragement, or over the years gave up their
time to show me how to do things.
So thanks to: my wife Pauline, Allan Pew,
CMD David Hound Karonidis (US Navy Ret),
Jim Russell, David Rowlands, Geoff Eastwood,
Russ French, Peter Cole, Michael Brown, Karl
Maurer, Chris Bailey, Jonathan Evans.
If you would like more details about Task
Force 72, check out their webpage at

Model Boats Warships 73

HMS Penelope

GLYNN GUEST built his

1:144 scale model back in
1980. here he provides
some essential background
information about it


74 www.modelboats.co.uk

Model Boats Warships 75

HMS Penelope

My model
of HMS Penelope
was built in 1980,
being the nineteenth
model boat that I had

n article on this model was published

in the March 1985 issue of MB and the
plan entered into the Plans Service.
Over the years, ownership of this magazine
group has changed hands a number of times
and this plan, together with a few others,
appears to have disappeared along the way.
This is a pity as there is some demand for
these lost plans and MyHobbyStore is to be
commended for attempting to recover them.
My model of HMS Penelope was built in
1980, being the nineteenth model boat that I
had designed. It was a logical model to follow
HMS Dido which had been built a few years
earlier. The HMS Dido plan was published in
August 1980 and interestingly enough, has so
far failed to disappear from the Plans Service
listings. I had found that to be a very satisfying
model to build and sail and it also confounded
others when it refused to roll over in the rough
water that many were reluctant to sail on.
Whilst building HMS Dido I discovered that
this class of light cruiser had used a hull
design developed from the earlier Arethusa
class. A little research found that these vessels
had in turn been reduced editions of the
previous Amphion class with two twin turrets
forward and only a single turret aft. This
armament layout and their upright funnels
and masts were a marked contrast to the
aggressive appearance of the Dido class with
three twin turrets forward, two turrets aft and

76 www.modelboats.co.uk

the rearward rake of funnels and mast.

Knowing the excellent sailing qualities of
this hull, it was very tempting to build a
model based on the Arethusa class. What
probably committed me to this project were
the aircraft, catapult and crane that these
cruisers featured. They were something I had,
at that time, never done and thus created a
challenge that is usually irresistible.
The Arethusa class consisted of four vessels
and the first thing to do was to select which
one to build. On reflection it was not too hard
as the service history of one vessel plus the
availability of a drawing by N. A. Ough made
HMS. Penelope an obvious choice.
By this time I had firmly settled on building
warships in 1/144 scale. It allowed a wide
range of different types to be built in a
common scale without some becoming either
embarrassingly small or too large for comfort.
The construction method had also settled
down to a well tested balsa box hull. With
this, the hull sides are made from balsa sheets
glued to a thicker balsa sheet base with balsa
strips reinforcing the corners and the bow and
stern shapes are formed by bending the side
sheets inwards. This hull constriction can be
traced back to my starting out in this hobby
by building model aircraft as these hulls look
remarkably like fuselages. Anyone who has
witnessed the stresses placed on my model
aircraft, usually during unplanned landings,

will realise that I had to quickly learn how to

design and built light but strong structures, or
find another hobby!
The model is approx. 42 inches (107cm)
long and weighs in at some six pounds (2.7kg).
This is a convenient size for storage and
transport without becoming too cramped for
internal space. The prototype was powered by
one of those excellent, but expensive,
Monoperm electric motors. These are no longer
readily available but something like an RE385
type with direct drive to a P30 type of propeller
ought to be suitable. Using a 7.2 volt battery
pack, the aim should be to let the hull slice
smoothly through the water, definitely not
being overpowered and if lucky, just looking
plain silly, but then if unlucky, sinking!
It is a model that can be very pleasing to sail, it
looks smart and sails very smoothly.
I have the recollection of always returning home
after sailing HMS Penelope with a broad grin
across my face, then having to explain this to my
wife! There, Ive just convinced myself that the
model must be taken out of storage, modern r/c
gear and battery dropped in again, so I can
indulge in a bout of pure nostalgia!

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U.S.S. Bodega Bay

USS. Bodega
A stand-off scale model of an
escort carrier by GLYNN GUEST

he second plan I ever submitted to

Model Boats was based on an Escort
Carrier and appeared in the
December 1977 issue as a free plan. I
understand that it still lurks within the
Nexus plans service as H.M.S. Sultan, plan
code MM 1243. This model proved to be an
enjoyable one to sail and, as aircraft carrier
models have never been exactly
commonplace, it always attracted some
degree of attention.
After a couple of years of regular use, the
Sultan model was retired. I had every
intention of building another carrier model
and casually mentioned this to a friend who
lived in California. At this time I was
unaware of the typical generosity of
Americans and a steady stream of Aircraft
Carrier items soon began to flow across the
Atlantic. Several photos, magazine articles
and booklets provided inspiration for a
model but I was overwhelmed by the

78 www.modelboats.co.uk

number of plastic aircraft kits that arrived in

the post.
The Sultan article contained a reference
that the aircraft, essential for realism, could
be a problem. My warship models tend to be
built around 1:144 scale and at that time
only a few suitable plastic kits appeared to be
available in the UK. I was lucky enough to
get three Grumman Wildcat kits made by
Revell but the two Fairy Swordfish had to be
made by drastically modifying Airfix kits of a
totally different aircraft. My American friend
clearly took this problem to heart and ended
up sending enough 1:144 aircraft kits to
outfit three to four carrier models. Luckily
plastic kits at this scale are much more
readily available in todays model shops.

Best laid plans

My intentions were to build a second model
based on a carrier some time in the early
1980s but a rather drastic career change

accompanied with moving home put paid

to that idea. A few ideas had been roughed
out but work, family and, to be perfectly
honest, the temptation of other modelling
activities always seemed to deflect my
efforts. As the 1990s were drawing to a
close I realised that this long delayed carrier
project was beginning to irritate even my
relaxed (or is it shameless?) approach to
this hobby.
The plastic kits in my possession ensured
that the new model would be built to a
scale of around 1:144, or 1 inch = 1 feet
for the die-hard Imperial modellers. I first
started using this scale because it would
produce practical balsa hulled destroyer
models 30-36 inches (76-91 cm) in length.
It soon became clear that 1:144 scale also
allowed you to build models of larger
vessels, such as cruisers, without producing
something which was too large for
convenient handling and transport. One


drawback with this scale is that many

commercial fittings tend to be produced for
1:96 scale work. However, using a Stand Off
Scale approach makes it reasonably easy and
economical to scratch build details for
1:144 scale.
If you are tempted to scale up these plans
to suit 1:96 scale then I must warn you that
it is going to be big and heavy. It would be
an impressive looking model but for your
mental and physical welfare do make sure
that you can safely cope with it.

What carrier?
Sorting through the aircraft kits revealed
that they ranged from propeller driven
WWII types to modern supersonic jets. This
encouraged me to consider a wide range of
potential carrier models. A modern attack
carrier (CVA) looked interesting until I
worked out the size of the 1:144 scale
model. A length of over 6 feet (2m) and

weight of around 90 pounds (40kg) were

too ambitious for me.
Staying with the modern theme and the
smaller carriers designed for Sea Harriers and
helicopters seemed more promising. One
idea that got as far as a draft plan was for a
model based on a Vosper Thornycroft design
for a small (8000 tonnes) Harrier Carrier.
Although this design was finalised in the
1970s and never actually built, it would have
been like most designs from this ship
builder, a striking and handsome vessel.
In the end another escort carrier of the
Second World War era became the favoured
vessel. It gave a handy size of model in
1:144 scale with a length of 40-45 inches
(100-115 cm) and weight of 10-15 pounds
(4.5-7 kg). Checking through the aircraft
kits showed that I had enough to produce a
busy and interesting flight deck.
Selecting which class of carrier to base the
model on was the next problem. Two books

proved invaluable at this point, Allied

Escort Carriers of WW 2 by Kenneth
Poolman (ISBN 0-7137-1221-X) and
Aircraft Carriers of the World by Roger
Chesneau (ISBN 0-85368-636-X). I think
both are out of print but, no doubt, your
local lending library could obtain copies.
With the aid of these books the U.S. Navy
Casablanca class won the day.

Full size history

The idea of building small aircraft carriers
for trade protection duties had been raised
prior to the start of the Second World War.
However, with only limited funds available,
the larger fleet units took precedence.
Bearing in mind the time needed to
complete these complex vessels, this
probably was the best course of action.
As soon as hostilities began, the need for
small convoy escort carriers was obvious to
the Royal Navy. The quickest way to get
Model Boats Warships 79

USS Bodega Bay

extra aircraft at sea was to convert merchant
ships. These conversions included the simple
expedient of fitting a ramp to the bows of a
suitable ship so that a fighter could be
launched. With no means of recovering the
aircraft, this was very much of a one shot
weapon which was used to drive off enemy
reconnaissance aircraft which would
otherwise direct submarines to the convoy.
After completing the mission the pilot had
the option of, flying back to land if it were
within range or bailing out and hoping for
recovery by one of the convoy ships. This
was clearly a wasteful and inefficient system
and only the desperate situation could
justify its use. I did build a model based on
one of these CAM (Catapult Aircraft
Merchant) ships which was published in the

80 www.modelboats.co.uk

February 1986 issue of Model Boats and is still

available as plan MM 1384.
Some form of flight deck for the recovery
and hence reuse of aircraft was needed. The
first solution was to remove the
superstructure of existing merchant ships
and fit a simple wooden flight deck. Some
tankers and grain ships were also converted
without loss of their cargo carrying ability.
These became MAC (Merchant Aircraft
Carrier) ships.
The immediate success of these ships
created the demand for more escort carriers.
But, the wholesale conversion of existing
merchant vessels would have created an
unwelcome loss of transport capacity.
Fortunately the US Navy had been following
the Royal Navys experience and had their

own escort carrier program underway. With

a more secure and greater production
capacity, America became the major source
for most of these vessels. Merchant ship
hulls again formed the basis of these vessels
but rather than conversions they were built
from the start as escort carriers.
Whilst originally intended for convoy
protection duties, these small carriers soon
found use supporting and supplementing
the larger fleet carriers. With demand for
carriers soon outstripping supply there was
an obvious opening for mass production on
a grand scale. At this point the name Henry
J. Kaiser enters the escort carrier story.
Kaiser had shown that his flair for
completing civil engineering projects under
cost and time estimates could be applied to

ship building. His shipyards, something of

an understatement as Kaiser built not only
the shipyards but also the steel mills, engine
plant and even the town to house the
workers, were already mass producing the
famous Liberty Ships. I have to now admit
to designing a model based on these Liberty
ships, published in RC Boat Modeller March
1989 as plan BM1431.
Upon learning of the dire need for escort
carriers, Kaiser proposed a new class of
ships based on a merchant ship hull he was
already building. Now the story can diverge
at this point, either Kaisers plans were
gratefully taken up by the US Navy or
initially rejected only to be overruled by
President Roosevelt. The truth probably
contains elements of both, but Kaiser got

the order for 50 vessels. All the carriers were

built in one shipyard and delivered within
the space of a year, the last being
commissioned on 8/7/1944.
This class of carriers was named after the
first vessel to be commissioned, the
Casablanca. In design they followed the
general layout of the preceding Bogue and
Prince William classes. The most obvious
differences were the lack of sheer, greatly
improving operations in the hangar, and a
transom stern. Less obvious was the use of
twin screws and reciprocating steam
engines. This latter feature was caused by all
suitable diesel and steam turbines being
allocated to other builders. Kaiser found the
Skinner Uniflow engine which had been
developed in 1912 and was by then
considered to be an inefficient and difficult
to operate engine. It was no surprise that
Kaisers engineers modified the Skinner
design to produce an acceptable powerplant.
I will leave it up to you if you want to read
about the history of these Escort carriers.
Kenneth Poolmans book, mentioned earlier,
is excellent and shows that they served with
distinction whether escorting Arctic convoys,
hunting U-Boats in the Atlantic or supporting
the Pacific Island Hopping campaign. I still
find it amazing that all the 50 Casablanca
carriers could be placed in service within the
space of a single year.

Design headaches
Some models almost seem to design
themselves, the structure and layout probably
being a straightforward extrapolation from
previous experience. When tackling a new
type of model things can become more
demanding and a little more creativity or
cunning is called for. Having built one escort
carrier, the new models design was started
with misplaced confidence.
Even though this model was going to be
firmly in the Stand-Off Scale camp, it still
needed to produce a realistic appearance
whilst sailing. The Casablanca hulls at first
appeared to be simple angular shapes. In
fact they featured a curvaceous bow shape
and pronounced flare in the area of the
transom stern.
Initial attempts to capture this shape with
simple balsa box construction, as used in
the earlier model, failed to produce a
practical design. Thin liteply was tried next
as it can often be persuaded to take up
complex shapes. This looked more
promising but still would not achieve the
right effect. Inspiration came when I
realised that these carriers were basically a
simple rectangular hangar and flight deck
built on top of the more shapely hull.
Examination of plans and photographs
showed how the slab sided hangar had been

grafted onto the hull. This junction appeared

to be the ideal location for the for the
assembly joint between the hull and a
detachable hangar/flight deck. Thus, the
hull could be made in one piece with the
hangar built to fit over a deck coaming.
This appeared to make the model easy to
build with none of the balsa parts being
longer than the standard sheet sizes. A
detachable flight deck and hangar gave the
bonus of having to remove all the delicate
details before you could start to work on
any internal items. I long ago discovered
that most damage to my models occurred
not when sailing but when trying to install,
remove or adjust anything inside the hull!

Power problems
Selecting the motor to use in a new model
can be based on experience or calculation.
Experience is fine if the new model is a
close match with one you have already built.
With an estimated weight of 12 pounds
(5.5 kg) this carrier was significantly larger
than the previous model, so a direct
comparison was not possible.
The full size vessels had a top speed of 19
knots. To produce the same wave form at
1:144 scale would require a model speed of
2.7 ft/sec (0.8 m/S). The fuller hull form
was quite different from the sleeker
warships I tend to build so the power for
this speed was guessed to be between 8 and
12 watts. This lead me to consider a scale
type installation using two 385 type motors
with a single rudder. This was rejected for
three reasons, firstly the rudder being
between the propellers would have
produced less steering response than I felt
acceptable. Having spent time building a
model it is nice to know that you can extract
it from any dangerous situations that you or
other modellers place it in. Independent

When tackling
a new type of model
things can become
more demanding
and a little more
creativity or cunning
is called for.

Model Boats Warships 81

USS Bodega Bay

control of the motors was possible and

would give any model excellent
manoeuvrability. I have successfully used
this system and find it perfect for things like
docking but rather taxing for general sailing.
The last reason being that a power/weight
ratio of less than 1 watt/pound (0.45
watts/kg) has always produced a model I
would class as sluggish.
Doubling the power to something like 24
watts would produce a better reaction to the
rudder and motor commands. Such power
would give the proposed model a greater
top speed, something like 3.5 feet/sec (1.1
m/s). This would be too high for realism at
this scale but you can always sail around on
part throttle and save full power for
From past experience, a 545 type motor
was selected for the new model. Now you
have to be careful as some 545 motors are
high speed monsters more suited to racing
models. Even the mild version I planed to
use can deliver a potent power output if
connected to a large propeller. Using
something like a 30 mm diameter two blade
propeller, such as the Graupner 451/1, will
usually produce adequate performance in
this type of model.

A little extra?
Before any plan can be submitted to the
Editor, the model must be thoroughly
tested. With high performance models there
is obviously a lot that can go wrong. One
fast electric hydroplane shot across the lake
like the proverbial scalded cat on its first
outing. Great I thought, until the rudder
was applied and just slewed the model a
little but failed to change the direction it
was going! After several experiments this
82 www.modelboats.co.uk

models handling had improved but you had

to slow down before attempting all but the
gentlest of turns.
Scale models might seem safer with little,
if anything to go wrong. This opinion
appears to be supported by kit reviews
which often end with almost perfunctory
comments on how the completed model
sails. Even should the maiden voyage of a
new design be totally successful, it still
needs more severe testing to ensure
consistent performance without any
handling oddities. For this reason I try to
sail new models through several scale
steering courses. Such obstacles will
quickly expose any flaws in a models
handling. Even if these prove to be
something you have to live with, the plan
article can be honest and warn you about
these characteristics.
With an estimated weight of 12 pounds
(5.5 kg) the new carrier model was going
to be the heaviest I had yet designed. Add to
this the large side area of the hull plus the
overhanging flightdeck, both increasing the
effect of crosswinds, and this model might
prove to be difficult to handle in confined
spaces. Some extra assistance seemed
sensible and I fell back on the idea of a bow
Now this item is very out of character for
an escort carrier of this period. However,
my method is discreet, in fact many people
fail to notice the two small holes through
the hull sides. These holes allow an
automotive windscreen washer pump to
drive water from one side to the other. In
three previous models this has produced a
gentle turning effect, just enough to cope
with the tight obstacles that steering course
designers seem to like.

Doing your own thing

Before detailing how to build the model it is
worth commenting that there is no reason
why you cannot alter the plans to suit your
own taste or needs. The size can be altered,
the easiest way is to use a local copy shop. If
reduced in size just make sure that
everything will fit inside, as for scaling up
just make sure you can transport the
monster safely!
Changing the construction materials is
perfectly in order. I used balsa for
convenience and it proved more than strong
enough, but hardwood and plywood could
be used especially if you enlarge the plans.
Likewise fitting twin screws ought to cause
no problems as the motor compartment is
quite large.
One note of caution, the Casablanca class
only served with the US Navy. So, if you
cover the flight deck with Spitfires and
Hurricanes someone will point out your
mistake for sure! Jets are definitely out, but
some did operate helicopters in the early
post war years.

Building items
Having never designed a model boat as
heavy as this carrier before, I was still
confident in using balsa for its structure. The
use of sensible thicknesses of sheet, sound
construction and prudent reinforcement
ought to ensure a durable model. The one
thing to avoid is any balsa that is too soft,
brittle or variable in grain pattern. A few
minutes picking out square sheets of
uniform medium density balsa will go a
long way to making this models
construction a pleasure rather than a pain.
Good tools are vital if you want to prevent
frustration, damage and possible injury. A

sharp blade, steel rule and set square will

take care of all the straight cuts. The curves
in the bows and stern must be symmetrical
unless you want a bent model. I usually
make a simple card template and carefully
cut around it. One of those self-healing
cutting mats can make for safer working and
prolong the useful life of the blades.
As for adhesive, every one has their own
favourite. This model has some long and
large glue areas and I stayed with a white
woodworking (PVA) glue. It does not set
too quickly and produces an excellent bond
with balsa and plywood. The standard glue
is not waterproof but a water resistant type
is available. Provided you build a sound hull,
seal the external surfaces properly and
check/repair any damage, then PVA glue is
hard to beat.
One final thing, you are going to need lots
of elastic bands and pins to hold things
together whilst the glue sets. Just make sure
you have enough before starting to build!

Hull structure
All the balsa parts were designed to be cut
out of standard sheets of balsa. The width of
the model means that the hull base/bottom
and deck pieces have to joined along their
centre-lines. This needs a smooth flat
surface, I use my desk top after protecting it
with a sheet of thin plastic. Suitable weights
and pins will keep things flat and together
whilst the glue sets.
The bulkheads and stempiece are stuck to
the hull bottom, Photo 1. It is vital that they
are square to the base and centre-line before
pinning securely. Only when full set can the
next stage be attempted.
The bow deck is glued to the stempiece
and first two bulkheads, Photo 2. Do check

that this deck will sit correctly on these

parts before applying any glue. You may find
that a little sanding or packing with balsa
strips is needed to keep this deck flat.
The main deck support pieces need gluing
to the rear of bulkhead 2 after which the
main deck can be glued in place, Photo 3.
Again, check the fit of the deck before
applying any glue.
The hull structure is completed by fitting
the transom and stern bottom pieces, Photo 4.
Some edges will need chamfering to ensure
a good glued joint. The two lifting strips
can be glued across the tops of B2 and B4.
The hull ought to be left for 24 hours, or
whatever is recommended for the glue.
During this time you can examine all the
joints and fill any cracks or gaps that might
be found, Photo 5.

Having never
designed a model
boat as heavy as this
carrier before, I was
still confident in using
balsa for its structure.
The use of sensible
thicknesses of sheet,
sound construction and
prudent reinforcement
ought to ensure a
durable model.

Hull side sheeting

The vertical edges of the hull structure
need to be shaped so that the side sheeting
will fit flush and produce a strong glued
joint. A sanding block long enough to
reach between the deck and bottom pieces
will probably be the best way to do this.
The hull sides are parallel between the
second and fourth bulkheads but the flare
in the bow and stern sections means that
the edges of the deck and bottom pieces
must angled to match.
It always seems best to start the sheeting
in the middle of the hull and work
towards the bow and stern. To reduce the
risk of distorting the hull, the side
sheeting ought to be applied to each side
in turn, Photo 6.
As the sheeting approaches the bows,
more pins and elastic bands are required to
accommodate the flare, Photo 7. It made

Model Boats Warships 83

USS Bodega Bay

things easier to use narrower balsa sheets in
the bows. A triangular insert of balsa, to
make the wood grain match the rake of the
bows, also helped. The curves were less
pronounced at the stern but pins still
needed supplementing with elastic bands,
Photo 8.
When all the glue has fully set the excess
sheeting can be trimmed away. The upper
edge is simply sanded flush to the decks, the
lower edge is radiused to produce the bilge
curve, see hull section on plan.
The sheets at the stem must be sanded to
produce a flat upon which the hardwood
reinforcement strip can be glued. When
dry, this strip is sanded to blend in with
the hull shape. The whole external surface
of the hull is then sanded smooth, any
defects being rectified.

Surface sealing
I decided to seal the external surfaces of the
hull before constructing the hangar and
flight deck. This would allow me to test sail
the hull before committing myself to the
remaining work.
Everyone probably has their own favourite
method of preparing a wood surface ready
for painting. It is sensible to stick to what
you know and feel confident with. Save
experiments for smaller simpler models
where the problems, if not failure, would
not be too painful.
My model was covered with heavyweight
model aircraft tissue and cellulose dope.
This is a very traditional method and can
noticeably toughen a balsa hull against
damage. It is not impervious to scrapes and
impacts but the damage tends to be


3. Add bow deck pieces to

stempiece, b1 & b2


Bow deck






Hull base

4. Glue main deck

support pieces to
rear of b2

1. Glue hull base pieces together

2. Add stempiece & bulkheads

Main deck


6. Add transom then

stern bottom pieces
5. Fix main deck



7. Glue lifting strips across

top of b2 & b4

8. Cover sides with

balsa sheet, grain vertical

9. Trim away excess sheet

11. Round-off lower

edges of hull - see sections

10. Add hardwood reinforcement to

bows then trim/sand to blend with
the hull shape

12. Glue coaming around inside of deck openings

localised and hence easily reparable.

Working with dope can be messy and there
is a strong solvent smell, so its a job for old
clothes and outdoors.
The hulls external surfaces were given
two coats of thinned dope (50/50 dope/
thinner mix). Rubbing down with fine
sandpaper after each coat removes the
surface fuzz that balsa has. The hull was
covered with convenient sizes of tissue
panels. After laying the tissue over the hull,
dope was first brushed through the centre
and gradually worked out to the edges of
the panel. This method minimised the risk
of creases or airpockets, if they appear then
peel the tissue back and relay.
I started at the transom and laid tissue
along the bottom of the hull, then covered
each side. A reasonable overlap between
adjacent panels will avoid the edges lifting.
A few judicious slits might be needed for
any compound curves. The bulk of the deck
would be covered by the hangar and so I
just sealed it with dope. The exposed decks
at the bow and stern were however covered
with tissue.
After the dope had dried, which can be a
matter of minutes in warm conditions, the
surfaces were lightly rubbed with fine
sandpaper. The tissue surface will probably
appear to have a slight roughness or texture,
this should disappear with the application of
three to four coats of dope and lightly
sanding between each.
A tip is to use coloured tissue. It makes it
much easier to spot any defects and avoids
missing any sections of the model.

Prop and Rudder Tubes

The joint between the two bottom pieces
makes a perfect centre-line for these two





84 www.modelboats.co.uk

tubes. If you plan to use a different size of

motor and coupling than that shown on the
plans then another length of propeller tube
might be called for. The plans suggest that
you make a hole through bulkhead 4 before
building the model; this just leaves you to
make the hole in the hull bottom.
I usually cut or drill an undersized hole at
approximately the centre of where the tube
exits the hull. This is then opened out and
angled to the required shape with a suitable
round file. It is a case of checking the fit and
adjusting until the tube is at the correct
angle. Do always check that your propeller
will not foul the bottom of the hull. If the
hole becomes oversize then it can be packed
with scraps of balsa.
When happy with the tube position, it can
be secured with epoxy applied to both sides
of the bottom sheet and bulkhead 4. The
tube ought to have been cleaned and
roughened slightly to give the epoxy a
better grip, Photo 9.
The rudder assembly was a commercial
item found in my scrap box. It had a
threaded tube and was to be secured with
an internal nut. The base of the tube was
coated with glue (balsa cement) before
fitting into the hull to make the joint
watertight, Photo 10.
At this point the rudder blade did not
look to be large enough for this model. This
was easily corrected by folding a sheet of
thin aluminium around the blade and
securing with epoxy, Photo 11.

Deck coaming
The openings in the deck had worried me at
first, they did represent a significant
weakening of the hull. Even when a model
is strong enough for the rigours of sailing,

it is possible to accidentally induce large

stresses during launch and recovery
operations. Some modellers minimise this
with a launching cradle or slings. However,
the overhanging flight deck, catwalk and
associated details appeared vulnerable to
damage if I were to use such methods. The
answer was to fit a substantial liteply
coaming around the deck opening. This
would greatly stiffen and strengthen the
hull, Photo 12.
As for launching, it made sense to place the
hull in the water first, then add the hanger/
flight deck. The two Lifting Strips glued
across bulkheads 2 and 4 were installed to
create a convenient purchase for lifting the
hull. Recovery being the reverse by removing
the hangar, then lifting the hull.

Motor installation
Even with a good coupling it is still vital to
get the motor and propeller shafts aligned. A
simple balsa wedge was carved to act as a
base for the motor mount, Photo 13. A tip
for checking motor alignment is to remove
the propeller shaft and look up the tube. The
motor is in the correct position if you can
see its shaft square to and centred on the
After sticking the wedge in place, the
motor can be secured by suitable screws.
With balsa I have found that small selftapping types are the best type of screw to
use. Do check that the screws are not too
long and so risk protruding through the
hull bottom sheet. Whatever type of screw
you use, make sure that it is brass or plated
steel, bare steel screws will eventually rust!
Another tip is to make sure that the coupling
is free and moves easily in all directions. I have
purchased the odd coupling that has been so


Funnel 2 each side

Flight deck

Catwalk spacer

Catwalk along
edge of flight

Hanger sides
Spacer sized to
make hanger
sides lie flush
with hull sides
Hull side

Main deck


Balsa sponson

Hull base
Round corners


I usually try to
sail the bare hull as
soon as possible on the
local canal. This allows
a check to be made
on the R/C functions,
suitability of the drive
line and handling of
the model.

stiff that it might well have been a rigid block.

A simple test is to hold one end of the
coupling horizontally and the free end should
fall downwards under its own weight as you
rotate it. If it seems to too stiff then you could
try dismantling the coupling and slightly
opening up the holes. I have done this several
times and in each case improving the motors
performance at all speeds.
A final thing is to make sure that the
motor is properly suppressed. It is still not
unknown to find modellers sailing with
unsuppressed motors and wondering why
they have interference/range problems.

Rudder servo
The rudder servo was installed by the
simplest of methods. Two blocks of scrap
balsa were cut to fit snugly under the servo
mounting lugs, a cut-out was needed in one
to accommodate the servo lead. The blocks
were then glued to the hull bottom between
the propeller tube and rudder, checking that
the space was just wide enough for the
servo to fit. When dry the servo was screwed
to the blocks to produce a secure but easy to
remove installation, Photo 14.
A simple single wire link was used to
connect the tiller and servo arms. The use of
a DU-BRO E/Z Connector on an adjustable
servo arm made it very easy to get the
rudder and servo correctly aligned.

Bow thruster tubes

If you intend to fit a bow thruster then now
is the time to install the tubes through the
hull sides. Some brass tube was found that
would be a tight fit on the rubber tubing I
was going to use for connecting with the
washer pump.
Two lengths of tube, about 1 inch (25
mm), were fitted through holes made just
aft of the first bulkhead. A little extra
internal reinforcement with some balsa
seemed prudent. Epoxy was used to secure
the tubes taking care to keep their outer
ends flush with the external surface of the
hull and make a watertight seal.

Trial float
I usually try to sail the bare hull as soon as
possible on the local canal. This allows a
check to be made on the R/C functions,
suitability of the drive line and handling of
the model. Should any problems appear then
it is far easier to sort them out at this stage
and avoids the risk of having to undo a lot of
work. Unfortunately the model reached this
stage in a period of very bad weather and
limited any sailing trials to the bathroom.
The R/C gear was loosely fitted in the rear
compartment and a sealed lead-acid battery
placed between bulkheads 2 and 3.
I decided to leave installing the bow
Model Boats Warships 85

USS Bodega Bay







for the other three pieces.

The inner sides require lightly pinning to
the coaming. The 1/4 inch (6 mm) balsa
spacers are fitted over the hull decks. The
width of these spacers may need adjusting
until the outer side pieces fit exactly flush with
the hull sides. The spacers are then glued to
the inner hanger sides taking care not to get
any glue on the coaming or hull decks.
Vertical spacers are glued in place at the
ends of the hangar, the step in the hull plus
every 4-6 inches (100-150 cm). Again these
spacers must keep the outer hangar sides
flush with the hull. The two outer hangar
sides can be glued to the spacers, taking care
no glue gets on the hull. The final part is to
glue 1/8 inch (3 mm) balsa across the front
and rear of the hangar block, thus joining
the two sides, Photo 15. There should be no
attempt to remove this structure from the
hull until the glue has fully set.
The hangar ought to lift cleanly off the
hull coaming, Photo 16. I found mine to be
rather tight which made it difficult to refit it
back over the coaming. Gently radiusing the
top of the coaming and inside edge of the
hangar si des with the sanding block cured
this problem.

The fore and aft extensions to the hangar

block were added using 1/8 inch (3 mm)
balsa sheet. These need to be sized so that they
fit flush on the hull decks without preventing
the hangar fitting correctly over the coaming,
Photo 18. The hangar sides and flight deck
were then sealed with dope and tissue.

thruster until later and so just connected the

inner ends of the brass tubes together with
the rubber tubing.
The hull initially sat high in the water and
needed a fair amount of ballast to bring it
down to the waterline. The ballast was
temporarily wedged into the hull as final
trimming could only be done on the
completed model. The hull was reassuringly
stable at this point.
The drive line was checked by holding the
model before operating the transmitter stick.
The Astec HFR15 speed controller proved a
perfect match with the 545 motor allowing a
smooth increase from dead slow to full speed
in both directions. Exercising restraint and
some slow speed manoeuvring was tried in
the bath with encouraging results.
Whilst these bath trials were limited in
scope, a very important thing was
discovered. Two small leaks could be seen
around the rudder and thruster tubes. At
this stage it was easy to seal these leaks and
proved the value of early water trials.

Hangar sides
The hangar sides have a double walled
construction. The inner wall fits over the
deck coaming whilst the outer one should
be flush with the hull sides. Internal spacers
being used in between the inner and outer
side pieces.
The hangar sides are cut from 1/8 inch (3
mm) sheet balsa. It is a good idea to cut one
out first and check its fit with the hull.
Minor variations in shape can occur and it is
important that these sides fit well with the
deck. A large or irregular gap down the side
of the hull will spoil the appearance of this
model. When happy with the shape of the
first side piece, it can be used as a template
86 www.modelboats.co.uk

Flight deck
The flight deck was cut from a sheet of 1/8
inch (3 mm) liteply. If this is unavailable then
standard plywood could be used but would
add significantly to the models top weight.
Perhaps a better alternative would be to make
the flight deck from balsa sheet.
With the hangar fitted over the coaming,
the flight deck was glued in place. After
checking it was correctly positioned, a few
weights were used to hold the deck flat
whilst the glue set, Photo 17.

Some of the photographs of the full size
vessels showed a complex structure beneath
the flight deck and in the catwalk along
each side. I figured that these details would
be barely visible in a working model at this
scale and it was going to be a Stand Off
Scale model anyway. Thus, this area was
simplified but still, hopefully creates the
correct illusion.
Balsa strip was glued across the front and
rear edges of the flight deck. This was then
sanded to required curved section and
blended into the deck. Spacers, from 1/2 x
1/4 inch (12 x 6 mm) balsa strip, were
then fixed along the edges of the flight
deck, Photo 19. These spacers allowed the
catwalks to fit below and slightly recessed
with the deck edge. The spacers did need
chamfering to accommodate the taper in the
forward part of the flight deck, Photo 20. It
seemed prudent to seal the vertical surfaces
of the spacer strips whilst there was still
easy access. Again I used dope and tissue.
The catwalks were made from 1/8 inch (3
mm) liteply. Due to minor variations in
building, it appeared best to make the
catwalks by a trim and fit method. The aim
should be to produce a consistent width of
catwalk of between 1/2 - 5/8 inch (12-15
mm) when fitted onto the spacer, Photo 21.
The catwalk will need notching to match
the forward corner of the hangar, Photo 22.







Bow bulwark

thin card was then added and sealed with

dope, Photo 25.

This was made by wrapping some card

sheet around the bows and drawing the
deck line on the card. Using this as a guide,
the bulwark strip was cut from the card
with the aim of producing the correct and
even height above deck level and having
about 1/4 inch (6 mm) to glue to the hull
sides. I will confess that it took me a couple
of attempts before the right shape was
After gluing to the hull the card was
stiffened by gluing a narrow strip of plastic
along the inside of the upper edge then
applying a thin coat of dope, Photo 23. The
bulwark created a small but noticeable step
where it joined the hull sides. This was
removed by the used of a domestic filler and
careful sanding. A couple more coats of thin
dope sealed the card and filler surfaces.

Deck details
A few details were added to the decks at this
point. Card was used to make the bases of
the bollards. Pins and nails, fitted through
holes drilled on these bases, formed the
bollards. The hawsepipes were just tubes and
washers stuck to the deck and hull sides.
The anchor winch was made up from
scraps of plastic sheet and tube. I had no
clear details of this item and so had to use
some imagination. Luckily this winch is
hidden under the forward end of the flight
deck, Photo 24.
The aft deck area also required several
bollards and these were made by the same
method. A circular platform overhanging the
transom stern was needed for the 5 inch
gun. A disc of liteply was cut and stuck to
the deck after which its upper surface was
sealed with dope and tissue. A bulwark from


Note: Partial Section (LHS) Shown

Four walkways were needed on both sides
of the model and were cut from liteply. The
larger walkways on the hull sides required
sponsons making from triangular sections
of balsa, Photo 26. The pair on either side of
the hangar were just simple rectangles.
I was worried about the vulnerability of
these walkways to damage, such as might
occur when attempting a docking
manoeuvre. I decided to secure them to the
model with epoxy and pins. This required
some fine holes drilling through the liteply
before the pins could be pushed through.

One characteristic of escort carriers was
their small bridge structure. On the model it
is just a balsa box shape built up from the
catwalk into the side of the flight deck,
Photo 27. The bridge deck, from liteply,
overhangs this balsa box structure.
Because the bridge now blocks the
catwalk, a walkway around the bridge is
needed. This was just a piece of liteply stuck
to the underside of the catwalk.

Fit inner
hanger sides
against coaming

Deck caoming

Main deck

Hull side

1/4"(6mm) vertical spacers

every 4"-6"(100-150mm)

1/4"(6mm) balsa
sheet glued to
hanger sides

Glue hanger outer

side to spacers

Add flight deck

Gun positions
The plans show the shapes and locations of
the many gun positions fitted along the
catwalks. Note that there are differences
between each side. I cut these gun positions
out of liteply and included a tongue that
could be glued to the underside of the
catwalk, Photo 28. The exposed surfaces of
the catwalk, gun positions and bridge were
sealed with dope and tissue.
Bulwarks were needed around the gun

Check flush with hull sides


Model Boats Warships 87

USS Bodega Bay

positions and along the catwalk. I glued card
strip, 3/8 inch (10 mm) wide, around each
gun position, Photo 29. This card strip was
cut slightly longer than needed to form a
small flange with the catwalk. This provided
a gluing point for the card strip stuck to the
catwalk between the gun positions, Photo
30. The card was then sealed with dope.
The same size of card bulwark was glued
around the bridge deck. After this the
bridgehouse was added. Having looked long
and hard at numerous photographs, this
area needed some extra details and pieces of
plastic strip were added to make bulwark
stiffeners, pipes, vents, etc., Photo 31.

With most scale models you have to strike a

balance between when to stop adding details
and when to start painting. There can be no
hard and fast rules about this but it is usually
best to paint the hull and superstructure
before adding the small details which are
probably easier to paint separately.

I tend to brush paint my models as, using

good paint and brushes, it is not hard to
achieve an acceptable finish. Painting can
also be a relaxing and enjoyable activity,
therapeutic in fact! However, looking at the
carrier model revealed lots of tricky places
to paint in the catwalk area. A compromise
was selected, brush paint the hull below the
waterline and the decks, but spray the rest.
Now for something to upset the spraying
cognoscente, I was going to use cans of
spray paint! I do possess a simple airbrush
and find it ideal for small tricky jobs that a
brush could never cope with but, have never
been able to justify the expense of
sprayguns, compressors, etc.
My first thoughts were to use cans of grey
automotive primer but on searching
through a local model shops stock, some
spraycans of Humbrol matt Light Grey (No
64) were found. This looked like a good
match with the grey used on many US Navy
warships. Two 100 ml cans proved to be
enough for this model.
The hull and hangar/flight deck were
sprayed separately with the openings covered
with masking tape and paper. Luckily I
remembered to spray the inside of the lowered
lift, Photo 33. The trick with these spray cans
is to give the model numerous light coats. If
you are unsure of your spraying technique,
then practice on some scrap material first. It is
worth using an extra can to avoid a poor finish
on your model.
The hull below the waterline was to be
painted black with Humbrol No 21 gloss
paint. This is not scale but it can improve a
models appearance afloat when you do not
usually expect to see the colour of the antifouling paint used on the hull bottom. An
accurate waterline was needed as a painting

guide. With the model level on its stand, I

used a black waterproof marker pen secured
to a suitable thickness of books and drew
around the hull, Photo 34. This made
painting the hull a very easy task.
When starting this model I knew that the
colour of the flight deck was going to be a
problem. These escort carriers had wooden
flight decks which can, especially after
exposure to the elements, take on many
different shades. After searching through
many different books, it appeared that a
medium brown was the best bet.
Consulting a Humbrol colour chart and No
118, US Tan, looked to be a good choice. A
couple of coats, remembering to paint the
lowered lift, produced an effect that was
suitably dull.
On many photographs you could see the
transverse tie down strips across the flight
deck. The strips were perforated metal onto
which the aircraft could be lashed, very
handy in rough weather. These were drawn
onto the flight deck with a soft pencil to
give lines that were visible but only just. The
success of these lines prompted me to draw
the planks, catapult and forward hangar
outline onto the deck.
Flight deck markings appeared to vary
between ships. I settled on a simple scheme
of dashed white lines, one down the centre
and two along each edge. Careful
application of masking tape was needed to
produce parallel and even lines, Photo 35.
The catwalk decks were painted a slightly
darker shade of grey than the hull colour
using Humbrol No 92 Iron Grey. This trick
has been used a few times to add a little
more depth to a model. The other decks
and walkways were painted Deck Green,
Humbrol No 88, Photo 36.







Up or down?
There is a decision to take at this stage in the
models construction, should the hangar
lifts be up or down? I opted to have the aft
lift partially down which, with a suitable
arrangement of aircraft on the deck, could
suggest that the carrier was about to fly off
a strike.
This was achieved by cutting the lift outline
through the flight deck then fitting a false floor
beneath the opening, Photo 32. The internal
surfaces of this opening were sealed before
fitting the deck cut-out piece to represent the
lowered lift. Things looked a little bare so 1
added some plastic strip and tubes to suggest
details on the inner hangar walls.

Basic painting

88 www.modelboats.co.uk








introduces the conflicting demands of a

robust yet still delicate looking structure. I
opted to solder up the mast and aerial from
brass wire using simple jigs from scrap balsa
and pins, Photo 38. This might sound tricky
but by cutting the wire to just the right
lengths, keeping everything clean and using
a 40 watt iron, it can be easier than you
think. Plastic sheet was used for the two
mast platforms and the whole assembly
fitted onto a small deckhouse, Photo 39. For
ease of transport, the deckhouse was
secured to the bridge with small pegs.
Between the gun positions, life rafts were
fitted to the catwalk. The simple shape of an
oval tube can be troublesome to make
consistently. Having struggled (and usually
failed!) to bend tubing in earlier projects, I
now use solder. A suitable size of solder is
wound around an oval former after which
individual rings are cut off. These are then
stuck to plastic card with Superglue. The life
rafts are cut from the plastic and the excess
trimmed away. Any gaps can be filled and, as
a precaution, a bead of contact adhesive is
run around the inside of the solder/plastic
joint, Photo 40.
All these detail items are probably better
painted before adding to the model. One of
the. best ways I have found is to stick them
onto some scrap wood strips with double
sided tape or Blu-Tack. This will hold the
item securely enough for spray or brush
painting yet allows its easy removal for
fitting to the model.

available. A problem could be that the

average shop is likely to have only one or
two examples of the same type of kit in
stock. It might be a good idea to start
collecting kits as soon as you decide to build
this model, by the time it is finished you
might have the 10-12 kits needed to fill the
flight deck.
Only US Navy aircraft can be realistically
used on these Casablanca escort carriers. As
for fighters both the Grumman Wildcat (F4F)
and Hellcat (F6F) could be used. Another
Grumman product, the Avenger (TBF), was
widely used for torpedo and bombing strikes.
The Douglas Dauntless (SBD) dive bomber
also served on these carriers.
Sorting through my aircraft kits showed
that four Hellcats and four Avengers could
be built for this model. A few extra aircraft
were still needed to avoid an empty
appearance. A couple of Vought Corsairs
were in stock but I do not think the US
Navy used them on escort carriers although
the Royal Navy did. Three kits of the Curtiss
Helldiver (SB2C) were to hand but I was
unsure if they ever operated from these
small carriers. Then, totally by chance, a
book on the Helldiver was found and
included a picture of one landing on a
Casablanca class carrier. Hence these three
kits were added to the other eight.
The kits were built up as per the
instructions except for a couple of changes.
Fitting the models to the flight deck
required a secure but not too permanent
method. During the assembly of the
fuselages a length of stiff plastic coated wire
was added. This was long enough to extend
below the aircraft and fit into a hole made
through the deck. When painted black this
wire was hard to spot, Photo 41.

At this point you are faced with a seemingly

endless number of items to make. It is not
surprising that many modellers will just fit
the basic details then start sailing their
models, adding the missing items over a
period of time. The only reason I did not go
down this route was the weather, far too
bad to think about sailing anything.
The four funnels were made from some
oval section plastic pipe. Alternatives would
be card tubes or carving from balsa. These
exit horizontally through the hangar sides
just below the catwalk, then turn upwards
through 90 degrees.
The bow area was finished off by adding
the anchors and chains, Photo 37. A suitable
number was needed on both sides of the
bow. As the model was not based on a
specific vessel, hence the fictitious name
Bodega Bay, an equally fictitious number
was needed. The US Navys escort carrier
numbers stopped around 130 so I could use
144, which also reflects the models scale.
These numbers were cut from some selfadhesive plastic film. I am sure film buffs
will have latched on to the origin of this
models name by now.
Numerous light guns are needed and
some degree of mass production is called
for. At this scale it is enough to suggest these
items using wire, pins, tubing and plastic
card. A useful tip is to start by making more
than you need, any mistakes can be
discarded along the way. The single 5 inch
gun mounted on the stern is almost a relief
after the smaller weapons. Again plastic card
plus tubing can make a realistic item.
A short lattice mast supporting the radar
aerial was a distinctive feature of these
vessels. At 1:144 scale making this item

A recent check in a couple of local model
shops revealed that suitable 1:144 scale
aircraft kits, whilst not as common as more
popular scales like 1:72, ought to be

Model Boats Warships 89

USS Bodega Bay

The other change was to build the
Helldivers with folded wings, thus allowing
one to be fitted on the hangar lift. This
involved cutting the wings along the fold
lines and gluing them at the correct angle. A
simple jig was made from balsa and pins to
ensure that nothing moved, Photo 42. If you
decide to do this then take care to fold them
the correct way. The Helldivers wings folded
upwards whilst Grumman aircraft folded
back alongside the fuselage.
When completed the aircraft were
arranged on the flight deck with the fighters
to fly off first, followed by the Avengers then
the Helldivers. Small holes were then made

through the deck for the securing wires. A

spot of contact adhesive on the underside of
the deck fixed the wire and hence the
aircraft in place.



Satin spray
At this stage the model was a mixture of
matt and gloss paints. For better realism and
durability, the whole model was given
several light dustings with a clear satin
varnish. Spray cans of PlastiKote
Polyurethane varnish, from a local hardware
store, have always worked well. There is only
one possible problem in that a heavy coat of
varnish could soften and damage the paint

finish. Several light coats, with drying time

between, should avoid this problem.

R/C installation
The motor and rudder servo had been left
in the model from the initial bath trails, so
it was just a case producing a tidy internal
layout. The receiver and speed controller
were fitted into the rear compartment. I
used a block of foam plastic with two cutouts to hold them secure, Photo 43.
The drive battery, a 6 volt 10 Ah sealed
lead-acid type, fitted into the compartment
between bulkheads 2 and 3. Two lengths of
foam plastic, placed either side of the
battery, prevented it from moving whilst
sailing but allowed for easy removal.
The auto windscreen washer pump was
connected to the bow thruster tubes in the
first compartment. Again, two lengths of foam
plastic were used to prevent movement. This
left a convenient space for the pump switcher
unit, Photo 44. 1 was using a servo mounted
microswitch system which would give the
pump forwards-stop-reverse control. Past
experience had shown that it was perfectly
adequate for this type of bow thruster.




The model was returned to the bath to carry

out the permanent fitting of the ballast. I say
permanent but ballast is glued in place with
either a latex adhesive or bath sealant, both
hold it securely but allow for removal at any
later time. This is desirable should you ever
want to change things.
This time a little extra care was needed to
ensure that the model floated on the
waterline and was level. The R/C system
checked out OK and stability looked good.
It was just a case of waiting for decent
weather to carry out the sailing trials.

Sailing trials
The first good day to sail was a bright if a little
windy day. This made the club lake slightly
choppy, not perfect conditions for testing a
new model but I was tired of waiting.
The R/C functions, including a range
check, proved OK so the model was placed
in the lake. I was very glad of the two
lifting strips as they allowed me to launch


Grumman F6F Hellcat

Grumman TBF Avenger



90 www.modelboats.co.uk

the hull then add the hangar/flight deck

with out any damage or discomfort. Another
check of the R/C functions and the model
was moved away at slow speed.
The first thing noted was that the rudder
was more effective than I expected. The
Bodega Bay made smooth turns in both
directions down to about 7-8 feet (2.1-2.5 m)
in diameter. On centring the rudder it would
return to a straight course and hold it as well
as could be expected in the windy conditions.
Astern was tried next and the expected
pull to starboard occurred. It was however
easily corrected with the rudder and the
model will steer when going astern.
Knowing the astern behaviour of a model is
often the one thing that separates success
from failure in steering events.
Gradually pushing the speed up and
retesting the model failed to highlight any
handling problems. In fact so trouble free
were these trials that model was running at
a top speed of about 4 ft/sec (1.2 m/s)
before I realised it. Now this speed produces
a wave pattern corresponding to a full size
speed of 28 knots which is much too fast
for realism. Sailing at a little over half this
speed looks much better.

The bow thruster was tried next and took

around 30 seconds to turn the model
through 180 degrees. Not fast but ideal as a
gentle manoeuvring aid for docking tasks.
The bow thruster had little obvious effect
when the model is moving at any
significant speed.
Now the model has been sailed several
times I am completely at home with its
handling. It is easy to forget that this is the
heaviest model Ive ever designed, the
smooth and immediate response to rudder
and throttle commands make it a pleasure to
sail. To a large extent this is due to the use of
a 545 motor and an excellent speed
controller, in my model this is the Astec
HFR15. Such a combination allows you to
sail in a realistic fashion yet still retain
enough power to cope with any situations
that are likely to occur.
As expected, the large side area and
overhanging flight deck make this model
susceptible to the effects of crosswinds.
Luckily, such movements tend to happen
slowly due to the inertia of the model. This
allows the rudder, motor and bow thruster
to compensate, thus making docking
accidents my fault entirely!

What next?
It took me a long time to get around to
building a second carrier model. This was
probably no bad thing as the resulting
model has turned out better than it could
easily have done. The Bodega Bay was a
pleasure to build and is a joy to sail. It will
be no surprise that another carrier model
has entered my future projects file, I just
hope that it does not take another twenty
odd years to get around to it!

The first good day to sail was a

bright if a little windy day. This made
the club lake slightly choppy, not perfect
conditions for testing a new model but I
was tired of waiting.

Model Boats Warships 91

HMT Sir Lancelot


This Royal Navy patrol service round table
class minesweeper of 1942, described by
ROLAND DUFFETT makes an unusual
addition to any naval model collection

92 www.modelboats.co.uk

Model Boats Warships 93

HMT Sir Lancelot

ight minesweepers (armed trawlers)

were built to this class between 1942 to
43, all being named after Knights of the
Round Table, Sir Agravine, Sir Galahad, Sir
Gareth, Sir Geraint, Sir Kay, Sir Lamorack,
Sir Lancelot and Sir Tristan. They operated in
home waters and survived the war. Their role
was to act as convoy escorts, rescue vessels,
minesweepers, for anti-submarine duties and
also general harbour and channel protection.
Occasionally they were involved in special
duties with the other armed services. Later in
WWII some of the class including Sir Lancelot
were converted to Dan Layers, laying marker
buoys (Dans) to indicate swept channels prior
to the Normandy invasion.


Left: Stores and coal apparent on deck, yet to be

cleared away. The model lends itself to fine detail
which improves the overall effect of the model.

The ships of
the RNPS consisted of
numerous requisitioned
trawlers (a few built for
the role like Sir Lancelot),
whalers, drifters, paddle
steamers and yachts.

Below: Soldiers on the ship have volunteered for special duties and stores on deck are seen being
checked. The ships dog called Sailor (appropriately named by the grandchildren) puts in an appearance.

94 www.modelboats.co.uk

The Royal Naval Patrol Service was a Navy

within the Navy and did not readily take to
formal naval discipline. The term Harry Tates
Navy, a jargon for anything amateurish, was
frequently used to describe them (also
referred to as the Silver Badge Navy). The
term Harry Tate originated from a music hall
entertainer from the First World War who
would play the clumsy comic with various
contraptions. His act included a car that
gradually fell apart around him. The officers
and ratings of the RNPS were far from
amateurish, but had to make do with whatever
equipment was available to them, which was
often out of date weaponry dating back to
WWI. Somehow they made their antiquated
and outdated equipment work to the very best
to their advantage under the most horrendous
conditions occurring in those times.
Their headquarters was HMS Europa,
situated in the Sparrows Nest Gardens,
Lowestoft, Suffolk in East Anglia. Because of its
location, it was close to the Axis military
machine and was formally known as
Pembroke X, a detachment from HMS
Chatham. H.M.S. Europa became the
administrative HQ for more than 70,000 men
and 1637 small ships of many different types.
Most of these ships on commissioning would
attend a rigorous and extremely demanding
course, usually at HMS Western Isles situated at
Tobermory in Scotland. Much more could be
written about this significant part of naval
history as it contributed so much at the time,
but was never outwardly seen or subsequently
recorded in any great detail.
At first the crews had no uniform, as none
was available to them, so they wore what they
could find and just simply got on and did a
very dangerous and demanding job, often
looking more like pirates than RN seaman.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill recognising
the stalwart and critical role the RNPS
performed, insisted that officers and ratings
alike should have their own distinctive badge
of service symbolising the work of both

minesweeping and anti-submarine personnel.

In the early stages of the war, the RNPS
personnel were unable to wear uniform
(nothing available), so Winston Churchill
hoped that the badge made out of silver
would prevent the crews if caught by the
Germans being shot as spies. This became the
only badge worn on a naval uniform
throughout WWII other than the Dolphin of
the Submarine Service worn on Royal Naval
uniform. If discovered by chance at some car
boot sale today, the badge would probably be
worth a lot of money. The silver RNPS badge is
about the size of an old shilling for those that
can remember it - like myself!
The ships of the RNPS consisted of numerous
requisitioned trawlers ( a few built for the role
like Sir Lancelot), whalers, drifters, paddle
steamers and yachts - all generalised as minor
war vessels, as the Admiralty termed them.
Sadly, 2385 members of the Royal Naval
Patrol Service lost their lives in action in WWII.
Dedicated in 1952, a RNPS Memorial to them
was erected in their memory within the
Sparrows Nest Gardens, Lowestoft. Admiral of
the Fleet, Lord Louis Mountbatten of Burma
insisted that he personally dedicate the
memorial and during his speech he openly
acknowledged the outstanding and significant
role that the RNPS contributed to the war effort.
Some of the original RNPS buildings still exist,
together with a RNPS museum at the Sparrows
Nest Gardens and it is well worth a visit.

HMT Sir Lancelot

The Round Table class of minesweeper were
137ft long, steam driven with a coal fired
boiler powering a reciprocating engine
(600HP) on a single shaft. Maximum speed
was 11kts with range of 3000 miles. Normal
crew was 35 men, all attached to the Royal
Naval Patrol Service (RNPS) and they were
usually recruited fishermen. The officer in
command of the trawler in the early stages
of the war was usually a lieutenant and being
termed Skipper. The armament consisted of
one 12pdr HA/LA gun, one 20mm AA
Oerlikon gun and two twin mounted Lewis
guns. Some vessels also carried depth charges
for anti-submarine activities together with
asdic equipment. Ships of the class were
mainly used for minesweeping. Sir Lancelot
and Sir Galahad were equipped for moored
mine clearance, the other six being influence
sweepers. The latter using percussion noise
and various other techniques to destroy mines
- a very hazardous role. On the stern, the
model has depth charges being made ready
for use. However, research and some photos
taken in the 1940s indicate that a large winch
for minesweeping (or mine trawling) was
fitted to Sir Lancelot and not depth charges.
Well I think we call it modellers licence and
Im certain that many a marine modeller is

Above: The ships boat, carly float and life rings were the only means of survival if a vessel sank,
which often occurred after hitting a mine during minesweeping.

guilty of this, but it is never to be admitted!

Sir Lancelot was constructed in 1941 by
John Lewis and Co. of Aberdeen. Initially
completed in March 1942 as a minesweeper,
in 1944 she was converted to a Dan Layer. She
took part in Operation Neptune, the D-Day
landings. In 1946 Sir Lancelot was sold to the
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, being
used on fishery protection duties. It is believed
that the vessel was later sold in 1962 and
converted for fish trawling. Recorded as still in
service in 1981, this was a credit to her design
and to the shipyard that constructed her.

The model
This was purchased through the For Sale
section of Model Boats and is slightly modified
from the original Mount Fleet kit. A very good
job of assembly had been made when I took
over the model. Then I did my own thing with
it as regards to the final detailing and radio
control installation. The model is 56ins long
and 10ins beam, weighs 52lbs and is to a scale
of 1:32. You need to be careful when handling
a model of this weight, so I usually get my
wife to help me with lifting it and hopefully
she will not read this! Drive is provided by a
seven pole motor powered by a 6v 12ah
battery which provides a full mornings sailing
at full speed. Radio control is Futaba with six
channels. Included are working navigation and
cabin lights, fog horn, ships telegraph bell,
asdic, morse and aldis effects, all by ACTion
R/C Electronics using an additional 12v 1.3ah
battery. She looks good on the water and has
been at sea in some rough and very windy
conditions at my local lake in Stevenage,
performing very well with no problems or
difficulties whatsoever. Mount Fleet really do
produce an excellent range of ship model kits
and the time and effort involved in putting
them together and adding the detail is
satisfying in all respects.

Information sources
Most of the information in this article has
been obtained from the numerous pages
written on the Royal Naval Patrol Service

available on various websites. Just type Royal

Naval Patrol Service into your search engine.
If you do not have access to a computer,
then a visit to your local reference library
may be well worthwhile. I found that ours
had several books on the RNPS and they then
got in further books from other libraries for
me to read. There are several novels written
about minesweeping and anti-submarine
activities of the RNPS. I bought myself a copy
of Proud Waters written by Ewart Brookes,
but there are many others that have been
published. They all make very interesting
reading and there is a complete list available
on the RNPS website.
Should any factual errors unintentionally
become apparent, please do not blame the
Editor. If something has been recorded
incorrectly on the websites or in the text
books that I have read, then unknowingly
I have repeated the same in this article.
Mr John Dunn, Secretary of the Royal Naval
Patrol Service Association was able to provide
me with some really most useful information
regarding the history of HMT Sir Lancelot and
I am taking this opportunity to thank him for
his help.
If you would like to visit the RNPS Museum
at Sparrows Nest Gardens, Lowestoft, then it is
suggested that you make arrangements in
advance. Telephone: 01502 586250 (Monday,
Wednesday, Friday mornings) or email:
www.rnps.lowestoft.org.uk/museum.htm or
you can email the RNPS Association on their
site: sparrows@nest.fsnt.co.uk.
Finally, Craig Talbot of ACTion R/C
Electronics gave me a lot of help in fitting out
my model with his sound and lighting
effects. He lived quite close to me and I
would often show up at his house and he
would within minutes resolve all my
electronic problems and glitches that I had
with my various models. Sadly he died in
2007 and us marine model engineers will
now miss Craig from our fraternity. His
friend and colleague Dave Milbourn has now
taken over and you can reach him on www.
Model Boats Warships 95

HMS Ardent



JOHN SLATER builds the stunning APS Models

1:72 scale semi-kit of this Type 21 Frigate

96 www.modelboats.co.uk

Model Boats Warships 97

HMS Ardent

his is not a step by step description of

the building of this fine model, but
more of a general description of the
challenges faced and overcome. The model
is based on a 1:72 scale semi-kit
manufactured by Alan Pew of APS Models in
Australia Editor.

Why the Type 21?

After many months of scratch building a 1/72
scale aircraft carrier and realising the need for
a more portable project and not wanting not
to build a hull again anytime soon, I decided
to scan the APS catalogue for a new challenge,
but what to build?
98 www.modelboats.co.uk

The answer came to me through my

fathers attendance at the 2005 Task Force 72
Regatta in Australia. He was amazed at the
models and having no excuses, being retired
and after some prodding, we decided that
we should build something together. My
father took a great liking to those vessels
that seem to handle the conditions very well
and to use his words; handle like a sports
car. With the words sports car, the RN
Type 21 sprung to mind and after dad saw a
few photographs, the semi-kit was ordered
from Alan Pew at APS. In fact two were
ordered, the original intention being that
we would each have one.

On the subject of good handling, I was

warned by quite a few Task Force 72 members
that the Type 21 would prove a challenging
build, as those built thus far had top weight
problems, a bit like the real ships. Ian Howard,
a fellow member of Task Force 72, stated that
his model of HMS Avenger was extremely
touchy, thus confirming this general view.
However, he informed me that he had used
timber decks and 1mm styrene for the
superstructure and confessed that he just built
the model a bit on the heavy side.
I like a challenge and to be forewarned is to
be forearmed. My father and I really liked the
lines of the Type 21 and so we were happy

We liked the
concept of a vessel
equipped with a Lynx
helicopter, Exocet missiles
and to a fair degree the
colour contrast of green
decks and the colourful
Cheverton launch

nonetheless with our decision. Our decision

was reinforced when researching the class,
which involved the purchase of the excellent
book: Modern Combat Ships 5, Type 21 by
Captain John Lippiett RN. I have high praise for
Navy Books (www.navybooks.com), the Royal
Mail and Australia Postal Service that had the
book delivered to me in Australia by ordinary
air mail just three days after it was ordered and
this was four days before Christmas!
John Lippietts book is extremely
informative of these ships, and I believe to be
a most definitive source of information which
it certainly was for us. That said, there are
some areas of interest to the modeller that are

lacking, such as specific paint colours applied

in different areas and the timescale when the
ships received particular upgrades, if any. The
bottom line though is that it is an excellent
book, written from a balanced positive
personal perspective that clearly identifies
some of their deficiencies as well.
In contrast, I soon found on the internet a
plethora of scathing criticism of the ships,
naming stability problems, aluminium
superstructures that burnt very well, lack of
room and topweight too excessive for mid-life
upgrades. Much of this criticism failed to
factor in the views of those who crewed these
ships risking their lives and who came back
time and again to serve on them. Their
popularity amongst the crews for their
generous living quarters, general working
conditions and their effectiveness, seemed
absent. So too was the fact that HM Ships
Antelope and Ardent absorbed a tremendous
amount of damage in the Falklands War of
1982 prior to their loss. Yes, the aluminium
superstructures caught fire, but what might
have happened if a contemporary ship were
attacked in the same way?
The book assisted with actual ship choice
for the model, as we liked the concept of a

vessel equipped with a Lynx helicopter,

Exocet missiles and to a fair degree the
colour contrast of green decks and the
colourful Cheverton launch. With those
colours alone, we were looking at a late
1970s to just pre-Falklands era ship. The
book revealed that HMS Ardent had Exocet
missiles and a Lynx before the Falklands War.
HMS Amazon had a Lynx for trials earlier and
indeed HMS Arrow was actually the first to
be assigned a Lynx.
So we decided on HMS Ardent and
furthermore as Task Force 72 operational Type
21s thus far consisted of HM Ships Active and
Avenger, we would now be adding to this Type
21 flotilla. I should point out again that we
initially intended to build two Type 21s, the
second being HMS Arrow and both scheduled
for basic construction by me with this second
model then being detailed, fitted out and
finished by my father. He (my father)
unfortunately then fell head over heels for
model yacht racing, so HMS Arrow was paid
off prior to her completion to another Task
Force 72 member. This article therefore
focuses on my HMS Ardent.
Ian Howard very kindly gave me his plans
for HMS Avenger, a similar ship of the class.
Model Boats Warships 99

HMS Ardent
One perplexing issue that we had to resolve
was what masts and mast equipment were on
HMS Ardent circa late 1970s. The mainmast,
just in front of the funnel had gone through
some noticeable changes and the foremast just
behind the bridge had electronic
countermeasure sensors (ECM) additions that
were quite noticeable features. I am very
grateful to Michael Brown of Task Force 72 for
supplying me with a good number of date
assigned photographs for all the ships of this
class, which with the many photographs in
the book made recognition of relevant features
for the year of build of my model much more
accurate. Michael also provided some great on
board shots of HMS Amazon and of a model
of HMS Active that he photographed on one of
his frequent UK visits to Portsmouth Historic
Dockyard. Michael is our local RN painting
expert and was also very quick in giving me
exact colour formulas for the decks and hull.

The APS semi-kit

Allan Pew of APS Models does great work in all
the various 1/72 scale kits and semi-kits he
supplies. What you get is all of very high quality
and at a reasonable price.
The kit came with:
GRP hull
4 x Exocet missile canisters
4.5in Mk 8 gun
4 x 20mm Oerlikon machine guns and
2 x Triple STWS torpedo tubes
1 Seacat mount
2 x ECM aerials
2 x Chaff launchers
2 x Sonar decoys
2 x SM6 Sea Rider inflatable boats
2 x 912 Radar directors (tracker radar)
1 Abbey Hill radar
4 x Witches Hat antennae
25 x watertight doors
2 x electric winches
30 x bulkhead light fittings
10 x liferaft canisters
1 x Cheverton launch
1 x 27ft Motor Whaler hull
10 x bollards
12 x fairleads
2 x signal lamps
10 x fire hose racks
1 x stern hoist
3 x anchor windlasses
2 x anchors
Also included were stainless steel propshafts,
A-frames, stuffing boxes and rudders.
What I needed to buy were:
Propellers (optional extra from APS)
Speed controllers, batteries and r/c
Building materials, styrene and wood, brass
rod etc.
100 www.modelboats.co.uk

What I needed to build were:

The funnel, superstructure, deck and masts
plus other small detail parts as well as
installing the shafts and motors etc.
Now, the current semi-kit includes a few
extra detail parts to that which I received. A
most useful addition is that you now receive
the funnel, which is of lightweight GRP, the
master of which I made and it includes the
mast base just ahead of it. In addition I made
moulds for various ventilator exit grills and
Type 992 radar director tracker bases. All of
these are now standard features of the semi-kit.

Starting construction
The very first job upon receiving the package
is to check that all the parts are included, then
to give the hull a good wash down with some
warm soapy water and give the outer hull a
light rub down with fine wet and dry
sandpaper. The next task, save for building a
secure boat stand, is to affix lightweight
timber strips along the entire length of the
hull edges, suitably positioned to support the
decks. These stringers help maintain the hulls
shape. These longitudinal deck edge stringers
allow cross sectional beams to be inserted into
the hull, maintaining the correct profile. If you
fix cross section beams to the hull without
reinforcing the deck edge, the sides will tend
to bulge around those beams.
The lightweight stringers and cross sectional
supports were glued in place using 24hr
epoxy. A word of caution here, is that some
five minute or fast setting epoxy glues are
actually not fully waterproof when cured.

Sonar dome
The next stage in the construction was to fit
this to the hull. To heed the warnings of
those who have built the kit previously, we
sought to keep weight as low as possible. In
this respect my father, a keen r/c yachtsman
hit upon a great idea. He suggested we make
the dome out of solid lead. To do so would
provide a lead like keel in a position very low
down, actually lower than the bottom of the
hull and the ballast could then be disguised
as the sonar dome. My father built a ceramic
mould and cast the dome. Two stainless steel
bolts inserted into the lead secured the dome
to the hull.
The relatively rough outer skin of the lead
sonar dome was then filled with fibreglass filler
and sanded to shape. This outer skin was then
also coated with a layer of gel coat with a
special drying agent added (gel coat remains
tacky unless air is excluded or a special additive
is included the catalysed mixture). Inside the
hull a stainless steel plate was inserted over and
around the bolts to spread the load and a layer
of chopped strand mat and fibreglass resin
secured everything permanently.

Far left: The forward section of the superstructure

under construction.
Left: The bracing inside the after part of the
superstructure is clearly visible. This enables thin
styrene to be used for the outer skin.

Top view of hull section with longitudinal stringers and cross beams
Hull sides

Longitudinal stringers

Cross beams
Below left: The main switch panel is located
under where the RIB will be mounted between the
two main parts of the superstructure
Below: The HMS Ardent floats!

Without stringer bracing along the hull sides - deviations

(exaggerated in the illustration below) can occur along the
hull at points where cross beams are installed
Top view of hull section with no longitudinal stringers
Pressure points that cause distortions (exaggerated in diagram)

Cross beams

Hull sides

Sonar dome (lead) installation

Stainless steel nuts and plate covered in car bog and overlaid with
fibregalss and gelcoat
Stainless steel nuts
Stainless steel plate inside hull
Inside hull
Sonar dome - solid lead
Stainless steel bolts inside lead sonar dome

Running gear and tank testing

Attention could now be given to installing the
running gear and rudders. APS supplied an
excellent set of brass propellers, A frames,
stainless steel shafts, stuffing tubes, connecting
collars and universal joints for the drive train
as well as the rudders. Once these were all
installed, preliminary flotation tests were
carried out. The model seemed to sit slightly
above the waterline, temporarily indicated
with a marker pen and electrical tape. Two
10Ah 6v SLA batteries were laid flat and low
along the bottom of the hull as I planned to
run the model off a 12v system by wiring the
batteries in series with independent motor
speed controls. The initial floatation tests were
good, with the model being very stable and
quick to right herself when healed her over
deliberately at an extreme angle. I marked up
where the batteries lay in the hull and fixed in
place a set of battery holders that I made from
aluminium right angled rod.
With all the running gear and batteries in
place I turned now to the motors. The Type 21
was no slouch on speed and I was determined
to get this right for this model. Michael Brown

at Task Force 72 kindly evaluated some motor

and propeller combinations and the Mabuchi
555 on 12 volts was the motor that showed
the most promise. With the radio gear loosely
installed in the model, I ventured out for a test
run on Manly Dam which is my local
freshwater waterway. The results were very
good, producing a great turn of speed and
positive response from the motors.
Taking the model back to the test tank we
tethered the model against the sides of the
tank and ran her at full speed for 30 minutes.
Five amps was drawn for both motors
combined (i.e. just 2.5 amps each). However,
the motors were extremely hot to touch at the
end of the test.
What was required was a cooling source, so
I fitted to each motor, two r/c car motor heat
sinks and a cooling fan in front of them. In
addition, I fitted a single 12v 90mm computer
cooling fan over them. Repeating the test
again, with the motors running flat out for 30
minutes, resulted in a maximum of 2.3 amps
drawn by each motor, but more important
that were only mildly warm as against being
painfully hot to the touch previously.

Above: The motors with additional heat sinks

and the fan in front to keep the motors cool. The
substantial deck edge stringers and deck beams
are also visible.

Model Boats Warships 101

HMS Ardent

Above: Full power trials in the test tank. The blocks of expanded foam hold the model firmly,
without damaging it.

Superstructure and decks

The key to keeping the weight down and
improving stability, apart from ensuring all
machinery and batteries were kept as low as
possible, was that the upper parts had to be as
light as possible. However, I still wanted to
build maximum strength into the
superstructure and include all the scale detail. I
also needed the best possible access into the
hull for the batteries and any maintenance
required. The entire superstructure, save for a
few detail parts, is constructed from styrene
card. Most parts of the superstructure are just
0.5mm thick and so I employed a space frame
type of construction method to include
maximum strength and by so doing this
allowed me to keeping the bulk of the weight,
which is the outer skin of the superstructure,
very thin. The space frame concept is simply a
series of supporting styrene beams that are
fixed in both a longitudinal and cross sectional
fashion so as to support the whole structure
and its outer skin. The result is a dramatic
saving in top weight compared to using
heavier and thicker styrene and at the same
time the structure, thanks to the space frame,
is also very strong. The flight deck area was
fitted with micro-LEDs during its
102 www.modelboats.co.uk

The construction of the foremast was similar

to that of the entire superstructure. That is to
say it is also a styrene space frame with a thin
0.5mm thick styrene outer skin. Great care
must be taken when drilling this outer skin so
as to allow the various pieces of brass rod,
LEDs, tiny light globes and fittings to be
positioned. This thin skin can easily puncture
if too much pressure is applied, so great care
needed to be taken with this rather delicate
and intricate work.
The superstructure was built in two sections
so that when completely removed it allowed
almost complete access to the entire inner
hull. Even the floor of the hangar was
designed to be removable, which on hot days
allows an even greater airflow over the cooling
fans for maximum ventilation. This is probably
a strange concept to readers in the UK, but in
Australia it is not uncommon to have a sailing
day when the air temperature is well above 30
degrees C, which is hot!
The entire superstructure sits on the deck
located by coamings made from styrene strip.
These strips, a minimum of 6mm high, run
around the entire hull opening section and
locate the superstructure positively. They also
provide a barrier against water ingress, should
the ship take greenies on my local lake when

the wind speed rises above 15 knots.

A somewhat problematic decision very early
on in the construction, was that I would build
the entire main deck out of styrene. On all the
other models I have built, except my
scratchbuilt 1:72 scale Italian aircraft carrier
Giuseppe Garibaldi, the main decks have been
of lightweight plywood, laminated with a thin
coating of fibreglass resin. The choice with HMS
Ardent to go the styrene route was primarily to
save weight, but also as I needed a proper
cement weld between the numerous styrene
deck treads that were to be glued to it. The use
of styrene for the main decks joined to a GRP
hull is not without problems, as it has a much
higher rate of expansion and contraction than
the hull when experiencing extreme
temperature variations. In a model with an ABS
hull this is less of a problem, as the hull has a
similar rate of expansion and contraction to
styrene. This too is the case for styrene decks
and superstructure, the whole structure having
exactly the same rate of expansion and
contraction. So, provided a superstructure just
sits and is not glued down onto a deck of
another material, there is no problem.
When a main deck of styrene is glued onto
a GRP hull, the difference in the behaviour of
these materials is quite noticeable. The
differing rate of expansion of the styrene to
GRP can compromise the glued joint between
the two materials and can result in the deck
warping or cracking of the joint. There really
is no perfect method of getting around the
physical limitation of joining such unlike
materials and then exposing them to such hot
conditions as the Australian summer sun. This
may not be an issue for people in cooler
climates, but it is a very real factor for us
model boaters here in Australia. What I did on
the Type 21 to minimise the chance of
warping or cracking of the decks, was to
employ significant styrene underbracing both
in longitudinal and cross sectional positions
below the decks. These decks were then glued
into position using 24 hour epoxy resin
ensuring the decks were firmly fixed to the
hulls longitudinal and cross-sectional timbers
and braces.
Running the ship painted (which attracts
more heat than unpainted white styrene
which reflects heat) in the Australian sun, has
resulted thus far in no visual warping. I do
expect over time to have the odd crack appear
at the deck edge joint between the GRP hull
and the fixed deck areas. However, I must
stress that in hindsight I will not be doing this
again and will on my future projects use
lightweight ply laminated with fibreglass resin
for the main decks on a GRP hull. I think the
reason why I have got away with using styrene
main decks on this project was that in addition
to the under deck bracing, the actual surface
area under direct sunlight is not that large.

I had the idea of

employing a centrally
located shaft that would
feed from a single
modified servo in the
main superstructure
body up to a gearbox
contained within the
radar platform.

Working radars

On all my model ships that I have built over

the past 13 years, rotating radars are a nice
function to include. In the case of the Type 21
this presented a unique challenge. On top of
the foremast, there is a Type 992 radar and IFF
(Identification Friend or Foe) radar. The Type
992 radar has air and surface searching or
warning capabilities, and also serves as a target
indicator. Both the radars rotate clockwise.
Soon into the build I realised that the
method I normally use to drive a radar for
scale speed rotation, is to strip a servo or
micro-servo of its pot, add suppression to the
motor and use the gears as a speed reduction
device. However, this would not be possible
on my model of HMS Ardent. There is not be
enough space to model the radars accurately
with the motors installed within, even with a
couple of modified micro-servos. Moreover, I
wanted the Type 992 radar to a have a selfbalancing function just like the real ship.
So, I thought long and hard about a solution
and finally had the idea of employing a
centrally located shaft that would feed from a
single modified servo in the main
superstructure body up to a gearbox contained
within the radar platform. This was quite a
difficult engineering conundrum as amongst
other things, with the very lightweight
construction of the forward mast, it was
essential to ensure that the bearings were in
perfect alignment. Early on I had a slight
misalignment that given the considerable
torque generated by the servo motor, caused
the whole foremast platform to twist. This
resulted in it being necessary to completely
rebuild the mast and re-align the bearings. In
fact, it turned out that not only was the
alignment of the central driving shaft crucial,
but also the precise alignment of the servo
motor unit connected to it. To facilitate this, the
sides of the superstructure below the mast were
initially modelled in clear styrene, so I could
check the alignment by looking inside

Type 21 Forward Mast Radar Rotation Machinery

992 Radar

IFF Radar

Axle to large drive

gear within top platform

Gears to radar axles

Forward mast cutaway not to scale

Axle from servo

to mast top

Modified Servo. This has had

the pot and circuit board
removed. The motor has been
suppressed with capacitors.
The gearbox remains. Running
on 1.5 volts provides a very
slow turning scale speed of
the radars above.

This particular layout allowed both radars

to turn in the same direction and allowed an
independent linkage to the Type 992 radar so
as to allow a drive train to link to the selflevelling or gyro balance of the actual
scanner. Running from two NiMH cells (2.4v
total) both radars turn clockwise together.
The smaller IFF turns at a slightly faster rate
than the larger 992 self-balancing radar (just
like on the real ship). The different speed is
possible through the final drive to the selfbalancing system of the Type 992 scanner.

Even though the gear ratio to both radars

from the single shaft is identical, the final
drive via a pulley system using a small dental
elastic band creates a slightly different
rotational speed. Again, the key to this rather
complicated arrangement was to ensure all
the various bearings were installed correctly
with no misalignment to cause shaft binding.
Complicating the functionality of the upper
platforms are the navigational lights, yardarms
and antennae arrays that were constructed
from sections soldered from brass rod.
Model Boats Warships 103

HMS Ardent

992 Radar- self balancing machinery

Tiny gap either side of
axle and T-drive fitting
Lead shot either
end of radar
Dental band around
Pulleys connected
to radar axles

Support platform and

bearing for final axle

Axle connected to
drive gear running
through radar shaft

The model uses a 12 volt power system for the

main drive motors and the JCC Electronics gas
turbine sound generator. Sadly the latter is no
longer on sale, but good alternatives are
starting to appear in the market place. The
model is fitted throughout with navigational
lights (both miniature bulbs and LEDs). The
LEDs require 2.4 volts, but the bulbs only
need 1.2 volts.
A centrally located switch box is positioned
amidships just aft of the foremast and on the
starboard side below the RIB stand. The switch
panel is therefore hidden underneath the boat
and its stand.

Transporting the model

Top radar platform

Drive gear for radar

The funnel
One of the facts that I found odd about the
Type 21 semi-kit, was that when I ordered it,
no funnel was available. So as I wrote earlier, I
set about making no less that eight prototypes
before I finally achieved something that was
about on the mark. I sent this to Allan Pew
who put the original master I had made
through a series of additional processes to
produce the detailed, lightweight GRP version
that is now a standard feature in the package.

Left: The stabilised Type 992 surface, air warning

and target radar
Below: A general view of the foremast and the
aerial arrays. All the navigation lights illuminate.

104 www.modelboats.co.uk

One thing with which I am becoming more

streetwise, is to plan construction around
transport logistics. HMS Ardent is transported
in a Thule Atlantis 900 car roof box secured to
a roof rack. The use of roof boxes in my
opinion provides a great deal of flexibility,
particularly with the modern lockable types,
such as my Thule, it being simply switched
from one vehicle to another in a few minutes
and the only pre-requisite is that the vehicle
has a standard type of roof rack. This means
whatever future vehicle you have and as long
as you have a roof rack, you will have the
means to transport your models. The current
roof box that I have is extremely large, holding
a 2.17m long model cruise ship that I now

have under construction. Needless to say, it

could accommodate a number of models like
HMS Ardent.
The height of the model means that the
foremast section cannot remain on the model
when it is stored in the roof box. The foremast
itself could not be a single removable item,
given the electronics and drive system for the
radars, so I ended up having the two
removable superstructure sections as described
earlier. The forward part consists of the
foremast and bridge area, and the second part
is all the rest. This arrangement means the
forward superstructure can be carried in a
small padded box in the car and the after part
can remain on the model within the roof box.
The Type 21 frigate has a large number of
intricate and delicate antennae, as do many
warships. All of these I designed to be
removable together with the mainmast. This
means there is less chance of breaking these
features when working on the model. Mostly
they either plug into their bases or swivel as
indeed they would on the real ship.
The substantial electrical requirements of
the features within the foremast and forward
superstructure means using a bungee snap
connector which is a bit like a Tamiya plug,
but in this case with nine pins rather than just
two. This is used to connect the electrical
devices on the foremast and wheelhouse with
the On/Off switches and power supply in the
lower hull.
Above: The loudspeaker is positioned under the
after part of the superstructure.
Left: The separation of the after and forward
parts of the superstructure occurs at a natural
break point and is not visible when the model is
completely assembled.
Below: The substantial coamings around the
access openings prevent water entering the
hull, should the model take a greenie and also
positively locate the superstructure.

Model Boats Warships 105

HMS Ardent

In summary, the APS Type 21 semi-kit is a really
gem. The scale of 1:72 allows many scale
features to be included on the model and the
quality of the fittings is fantastic. You will still
need a fair amount of scratch building skill to
build the key features like the fore and main
masts plus the lattice assemblies of yardarms
and antennae, but having said that the model
was exceptionally enjoyable to build and after
all that is what our hobby is about.
HMS Ardent is powered by two Mabuchi
555 motors with cooling heat sinks as well as
fans for cooling. It has two Electronize FR15
type speed controls for independent throttle
control and I use a Robbe F14 Navy twin stick
radio, that has proved to be eminently suitable
for this model.
The motors drive the model at an exciting
scale speed, creating a nice impressive bow
wave that is generated even at moderate speeds
and the wake looks mightily impressive as well.
The 1:72 scale Type 21 is 1630mm
(64.2ins) long by 170mm (6.5ins) beam.
APS models does not have a website, but Allan
Pew can be contacted by e-mail at: apsmods@

The author
John Slater works as an economist. He is a
member of Task Force 72 (the Australian 1:72
scale model warship association) and has been
building and operating radio controlled ships
and submarines, both kits and scratchbuilt
since 1996. He is currently the Editor of
Course 0720, the official members magazine
of Task Force 72 (www.taskforce72.org) and
all his models are built exclusively to 1:72
scale and indeed some are now in the hands of
private collectors and museums Editor.
106 www.modelboats.co.uk

The motors drive

the model at an exciting
scale speed, creating a
nice impressive bow wave
that is generated even
at moderate speeds and
the wake looks mightily
impressive as well.
A bove: An overhead view of the Sea Cat launcher

PT 602 torpedo boat

torpedo boat
GARETH JONES rebuilds an Elco
80 foot patrol torpedo boat

108 www.modelboats.co.uk

have always enjoyed practical hobbies

and one day I said to my wife; I fancy
building a model boat! This was just a
passing thought, but in the back of my mind
was the idea of building a large scale radio
controlled tug with lots of detail and possibly
some working features. The following Christmas after several hints, I did not get a large
cardboard box with a kit of parts but instead
I opened my presents and found a copy of the
Tug Boat Book and a 1:24 scale plan of a TID
tug. Progress was very slow as I was restricted
to building on the kitchen table but after a
few years my prayers were answered and
this time my wife really came up with the
goods as she bought me a shed! Construction
progressed more quickly, albeit with some
diversions into radio controlled aircraft and
cars, but by early 2008 the tug was completed
and successfully sailed in the local canal lock.
The TID took pride of place in our dining
room and one day a friend of my wife was
admiring it and said; We have a big grey
model boat in our loft. Our next door neighbour gave it to us about 20 years ago and the
kids are too old to play with it now, so do
you want it? Not knowing what to expect I
said yes, largely out of curiosity, rather than
thinking it might form the basis of my next
boat building project.
A few days later the boat arrived,
Photo 1. The basic hull and superstructure
were originally quite well made but looked
rather simplistic. It was 40 inches long, had
four torpedoes, a couple of machine gun turrets but was pretty battered and the rest of the
armament was missing or damaged. It had a
single, rather odd looking electric motor but
no sign of any radio control,
Photo 2. Judging by the internal construction
and remaining wiring it had probably been
powered by a couple of bell batteries and
older readers may remember these rectangular dry cell batteries with brass screw terminals. The internal bulkheads were identified
with printed numbers so I guessed it had
originally been a kit rather than scratch built
and I subsequently saw a similar model at the
International Model Boat Show at Warwick
with a label identifying it as a KeilKraft kit.
Searching the internet reveals that there
are some pretty impressive models of Elco PT
boats. An excellent example is the 1:16 scale
model of PT 588 made by Alan J. Zulberti
which is described in detail at:
In addition to the propulsion, lights and sound
systems it has working roll off racks and torpedoes, a smoke screen generator, a working
37 mm deck gun which fires 3mm rounds, an
onboard video camera and deployable life raft.
Definitely something to aim for!
While I did not plan to surpass Mr. Zulberti, I resolved to carry out an upgrade to the
Model Boats Warships 109

PT 602 torpedo boat

History of the
Elco PT boat
The distinctive forward raked
machine gun turrets made
it easy to identify on the
internet and it quickly
became apparent that I
had been given a 1:24 scale
Elco 80ft patrol torpedo boat.
There is a wealth of information
available about these craft and
it is clear that there is a large
following of enthusiasts for them
even today. In July 1941 the US
Government held a competition
to decide who would receive a
contract to supply fast, heavily
armed patrol boats to the US
Navy. A number of manufacturers competed in the evaluation
which started from the New York
harbour area and included a 190
mile full throttle run out at sea
which became known as the
plywood derby! Elco won the
lions share of the business, with
smaller orders going to Huckins
and Higgins.
Around 400 Elco PT boats were
built between 1941 and 1945.
They had an 80 foot long wooden
hull with two diagonal layers of
one inch thick mahogany planks
with a glue impregnated canvas
core sandwiched between them
over conventional framing. Powered by three 1500hp Packard
petrol engines they had a top
speed of over 40 knots. PT boats
carried a variety of weapons
including torpedoes, guns, rocket
launchers and depth charges,
making them pound for pound the
most heavily armed vessels of the
US Navy in World War Two. They
had an illustrious operational
career, particularly in operations
against the Japanese in the Pacific and several films and TV series
have featured them. The most
famous vessel is probably PT
109, which was commanded by
John F. Kennedy who went on to
become the President of the USA.
Copy courtesy of Wekipedia

110 www.modelboats.co.uk

The most famous

vessel is probably PT 109,
which was commanded
by John F. Kennedy

model I had been given by fitting radio control, three powered propellers and rudders,
engineer some of the guns to rotate and fit
working lights. After some further research I
decided to base the model on one of the later
production variants which could be fitted
with a rotating radar scanner and the widest
variety of weapons. The project therefore
would have four major aspects, refurbishing
the hull, a complete new superstructure, new
propulsion system and the weapons.

Refurbishing the hull

While researching Elco PT boats, I discovered
that John Haynes produced a detailed 1:24
scale model kit similar to the type of boat
that I wished to build. I wrote and asked
if he would be prepared to sell me just the
drawing for his kit and some of the weapons
and fittings. I awaited a response with some
trepidation as it seemed a bit cheeky and I
have heard that some kit suppliers are very
much of an all or nothing mind set. In fact,
John was very helpful and after an exchange
of emails and the associated funds, I quickly
received the drawing and a very high quality
set of white metal and resin parts to make the
Before removing the existing, rather
strange looking electric motor, I decided to
test it to see if it still worked. It was connected
to the propshaft by a rather battered universal
joint and had two wires which ran to a hole
in the deck where I guess there had originally
been a switch. I connected up a receiver,
electronic speed controller, and 7.2v NiCd
battery pack to the motor with no switch or
fuse to save time. I turned on the transmitter
and speed controller and gingerly advanced

the throttle forward. The motor sprang into

life and while it was very noisy, primarily because of the sloppy universal joint, it worked,
so my next step was to try reverse.
At this point my enthusiasm to see what
happened overcame my lifetime of systems
engineer training. At work I had always impressed upon my younger colleagues; Make
sure you understand exactly how something
works before you start b*******g about with
it and unfortunately I didnt! Pulling back
the throttle lever meant nothing happened.
By the time the throttle was at full reverse
my nose told me something was wrong.
The speed controller was melting before my
eyes and giving off acrid smoke, which after
disconnecting the battery forced a hasty evacuation of the shed. In disgust, largely at my
own lack of common sense, I dispatched the
motor and speed controller into the round
filing cabinet on the floor. Subsequently, in
a recent edition of Model Boats magazine I
realised when reading one of David Wiggins
articles, that I had probably binned a very
collectible vintage Taycol motor. Well, I still
have the picture anyway!
The basic hull was reasonably sound and
had a long open section in the deck where
the two piece superstructure fitted. I decided
that the forward part of this opening, about
6 inches in length, should be permanently
covered as this would give me a clean tidy
deck finish with no unsightly joint lines. Before fitting a ply plate, blocks of polystyrene
were fitted into the compartment to provide
buoyancy. This left me with an 18 inch long
compartment for the propulsion system in
the centre of the boat and 6 inches at the
aft end for the rudder controls, r/c and any

I added spray strips to the hull sides using
3/32 inch square spruce. The towing eye and
support plate, Photo 3, were made from a
steel spring washer and a piece of brass sheet
bonded to the hull with epoxy resin adhesive.
The two sets of three engine exhausts fitted
to the transom were a notable feature of Elco
PT boats, Photo 4. Each had a mechanically
operated two-way valve which at high power
allowed the exhaust to vent directly aft for
minimum power loss but with the penalty
of high noise levels. At low power, the valves
directed the flow down through silencers
and the exhaust gases exited underwater. The
additional back pressure reduced available
engine power but also significantly reduced
noise to allow stealthy operation. The exhaust
valves were made from short lengths of 6mm
brass tubing with brass wire bent to simulate
the operating linkage. The silencer boxes
were each made from two pieces of 6mm
aluminium tubing glued together and filled
with Milliput modelling putty to form the
correct shape.

The new superstructure

Construction of the superstructure was
relatively straightforward. The lower framework is essentially a ladder built up from
5mm x 25mm section pine. The lower half
of this ladder engages in the main cut out

in the hull covering the motor and battery

compartment. The superstructure is built
up on the upper half of the ladder using ply
and strip timber to form the required shapes,
Photo 5. Internal and navigation lights were
fitted and the wiring run to a connector at
the aft end. The windows were made from
2mm Perspex sheet. I have never mastered
the art of gluing windows into the structure
as I always end up with glue on the windows
themselves. Instead I cut the correct sized
holes squarely through the superstructure and
if required make up a frame of thin card. The
window itself is then cut slightly oversize and
then trimmed to size using a power file to
chamfer the edges so that they form a slight
taper. By trial fitting them it is possible to
achieve a neat tight fit without the need for
adhesive. The superstructure can be painted
without needing to mask the transparency
and the windows are just pressed in tightly
The handrails along the cabin roof and gun
turrets were made from brass rod supported
in suitable sized split pins which locate in
holes drilled through the structure. The
instrument panel detail was found on an excellent website: www.pt-boat.com, which has
a wealth of useful information. For a while I
tried without success, to find a suitable ships
boat to fit on top of the cabin and in the end
made my own from thin sheet ply. Since no
internal details are visible this was quite easy
and the end result is quite realistic, Photo 6.
The radar mast was built up to the required
size from thin strips of ply, Photo 7. The
fixed radome was made from a bock of balsa

which was drilled to allow a short length of

dowel to be glued into it. This dowel was
then held in a pillar drill chuck and the balsa
was sanded to the correct profile. When
finished, the protruding length of dowel
was cut off. The rotating radar antenna was
made up from brass wire soldered together
flat for ease of assembly and then gently bent
around a cylindrical former (a glass jam jar),
to produce the correct curved shape. The
drive motor is a small electric motor with a
500:1 gearbox mounted inside the cabin. The
connection between motor and antenna is a
thin brass rod, linked at each end by a short
length of push fit plastic tubing. Although
the original radar mast could be folded back
onto a support frame to allow the boat to pass
under low bridges, this is not possible on the
model because of the drive shaft.
The other parts of the superstructure including the engine air intake and Bofors gun
ammunition rack were built up from sheet
ply. The fabric cover over the ammunition
rack, Photo 8 was made from a piece of an
ancient handkerchief which had naturally
reached a scale like flexibility and even before
painting was pretty close to the required grey

The propulsion system

The nearest scale propeller size was 30mm
and based on my earlier experience with
the TID tug I decided to use three MFA 457RE540/1 motors. These would have a direct
drive to the propellers rather than 6:1 gearing
to a 70 mm propeller as in the tug. At this
stage my inexperience was starting to show as
I did not really know if this would be a good
match of battery voltage, motor and prop
size. However, I did know that it would fit
the space available. I decided to conduct a few
tests in the bath in order to try and work out
the optimum layout and weight distribution
and eventually decided on two 6v4Ah, lead
acid batteries connected in series to give 12v,
with one battery at each end of the centre
compartment. The original internal layout of
the propulsion system was not photographed
Model Boats Warships 111

PT 602 torpedo boat

at the time but to illustrate this article a mock

up was created by adapting the current standard, Photo 9.

Radio control
Initially I was planning to drive all three
motors from a single speed controller but I
had in mind the possibility of using a mixer
unit at some stage in the future so I decided
to fit three electronic speed controllers. These
were connected to the receiver by a pair of
Y leads, daisy chained together. The battery
eliminator circuit of one speed controller,
the uppermost one in Photo 10, was used to
supply the receiver with power. The positive
wires from the remaining two controllers
were disconnected, as per the manufacturers
recommendation. The detail of this set up
is difficult to photograph in the boat so for
the purpose of this article it was simulated
externally as in the picture.

At this point things seemed to be going
well, but when it came to the first test of
the completed propulsion system it became
clear there was a major problem. When run
forwards at high power the motors would
hesitate at random. This did not seem to be
a simple power interruption but was a very
rapid snatch down, accompanied by some
large blue sparks in the motor concerned. If
the motors were run in reverse everything
was fine. All three motors had been suppressed with capacitors across the two
terminals and to the motor case, Photo 11, as
is standard practice.
As a first attempt at fixing the problem I
tried an alternative motor which I had in my
spares box. By comparison with the motors
fitted it was a higher power buggy motor
and it ran perfectly. After discussions with
the motor and speed controller suppliers I
was no nearer finding a solution and decided
anyway to take the hull for a trial in the local
pond. Testing showed that with all three
motors running, the partially complete PT
boat was disappointingly slow. Disconnecting
the centre motor and running on just the two
outer ones seemed to give a similar mediocre
performance and the motors still snatched
down at frequent intervals.
There followed a whole series of trials on
the bench to try and eliminate the snatching
fault. I suspected it was a motor control issue
with perhaps some sort of interaction through
the signal lines from the receiver to the speed
controllers. One test was to try running the
receiver from a separate battery and not using
the speed controller BEC supply. Another was
wrapping the signal lines in aluminium foil
to screen them and using a
W tail mixer to signal the three speed con112 www.modelboats.co.uk



At this point things

seemed to be going well,
but when it came to the
first test of the completed
propulsion system it
became clear there was a
major problem

gave a much better performance, the boat

was about 1kg lighter and noticeably faster,
but the motors got too hot to touch after a
period of high power operation.
The next logical step was to fit larger and
more powerful motors, better matched to the
battery voltage and propeller size. The chosen
combination now was pair of Graupner Speed
600E 7.2v motors, each supplied from its own
speed controller and 7.2v battery. This combination worked well, the speed was good, the
snatching eliminated and the final solution
in sight.

trollers. An alternative set of motors, in this

case Graupner Speed 500E 12 V motors were
tested but none of these changes made much

Final modifications?

More changes
This was getting pretty frustrating, not to
mention expensive, so a different approach
was trialled. Testing on the pond had showed
that the boat was too slow and too heavy, so
the two 6v lead acid batteries were swopped
for a pair of 7.2v NiCd packs. These were connected in series to give 14.4v and power just
two of the Graupner Speed 500E motors. This

The remaining changes made to the propulsion system were relatively simple. With
just the two outer propellers driven and
the W tail mixer in circuit, handling at low
speed was excellent. In this configuration
rudder and throttle lines from the receiver
both go into the mixer. With pure throttle
movements forward and reverse, both motors
operate together. If rudder is applied with
some throttle, the rudder servo works as
normal but the motor on the outside of the
turn increases in speed and that on the inside
decreases. With the throttle neutral and just



three motors and two 6v lead acid batteries

the boat weighed 6.5kg and the power into
each of the motors, with the propellers in the
water was approximately 50 watts giving 150
watts in total. In the final configuration the
boat weight had been reduced to 5.5 kg and
the power into each of the two motors had
been increased to approximately 135 watts
giving 270 watts in total and transforming
the performance.

Weapons - torpedoes




I re-used the bodies of the original torpedoes

which came with the model from our family
friend. However they were rubbed down and
repainted and fitted with a pair of correctly
shaped contra-rotating propellers from John
Haynes. The roll-off racks were made from
scratch with the operating linkage simulated
by brass rod, Photo 14. I am not too fussy
that a model is historically correct in every
detail but I do like it to look as though it
would actually work in practice. For a while I
toyed with the idea of making up a working
roll-off rack mechanism but eventually decided this could perhaps be an option in future.
Several of the large PT boat models which
have been built have had servo operated rolloff racks and torpedoes but it is not easy to do
at 1:24 scale.


rudder applied, the boat would turn almost

in its own length with one motor going forwards, the other backwards.

Problems again
However there were two disadvantages with
the system, one major and one minor. Firstly
if a turn was initiated at high speed the boat
slowed down markedly, which was irritating
and just looked plain wrong, particularly
as the boat speeded up again after the turn.
The propeller on the inside of the turn was
being told to slow down by the mixer and
to maintain the speed, but the propeller on
the outside was being told to speed up, but it
could not go any faster because it was already
at full throttle and so overall, the boat slowed
down. The second disadvantage was that if
rudder trim was applied on the transmitter, it
also affected the throttle and with the throttle
lever neutral the two motors could be operating slowly in opposite directions. Directional
trim therefore had to be applied by setting
the rudder trim to neutral and then adjusting
the rudder linkage in stages by trial and error,
Photo 12.

In practice with three rudders the boat

steering was good enough and I eventually


relegated the W tail mixer to the spares box

to await a more suitable application.
So, the final main battery configuration
was a pair of 7.2v 4.3Ah NiMh batteries, one
for each motor, Photo 13. However after
about 20 minutes of sailing including quite a
lot of high speed running, the battery voltage
would drop to the point where the receiver
failed to operate and the speed controllers
began to behave erratically. A dedicated 4.8v
receiver battery eliminated the problem and
a battery voltage indicator (which can be just
seen in Photo 12) was fitted to give a quick
confidence check.
Development of the propulsion system
was interesting and challenging but also
frustrating and expensive. The cause of the
motor snatching was never discovered but
is now a thing of the past. Some overall performance measurements make an interesting
comparison. In its original configuration with

The forward mounted 37 mm cannon, the

20 mm Oerlikon cannon and 5 inch rocket
launchers were built from kits supplied by
John Haynes, Photo 15. All the items that
he supplied were of excellent quality, fitted
together well and really looked good. In
addition, the quality of service was high with
quick responses to emails and questions,
short delivery times and overall a very helpful
attitude. The two forward raked machine gun
turrets are a major feature of the Elco PT boat
and it was resolved to try and make the twin
machine guns rotate in their turrets. The
main part of the turret was made from 50mm
OD plastic drain piping with a micro servo
mounted inside on a ply disc, Photo 16.
The top of the gun turret and part of the ammunition feed belt had been supplied as a resin casting and was intended to be glued to the
lower part of the turret in the John Haynes
kit. This was carefully sawn off and attached
to a short length of plastic tube from another
plumbing component which just fitted inside
the main turret, Photo 17. A ply ring and servo disc were attached to this inner tube, and
the top and bottom parts of the turret pressed
together so that the servo splines engaged the
disc. The top bearing ring of the turret was
built up from thin ply, Photo 18.
This design was not very successful as the
rotating part of the turret tended to work
Model Boats Warships 113

PT 602 torpedo boat



loose after a few operations. The design was

modified slightly by first screwing the servo
disc to the servo drive shaft using the normal
centre screw and then attaching the rotating
part of the turret to the disc with two small
screws, a bit fiddly to centralise and locate
everything, but it was possible. Both machine
guns turrets rotate from one of the transmitter channels but occasionally still tend to
stick. Overall if I were to start again I would
do this differently. The micro servos are
really too fast, too high geared and have too
small an operating arc. It would be better to
mount a bigger and slower servo with more
torque inside the main cabin, rather than try
to make the turrets and drives self-contained
items. However, the final result looks quite
good, Photo 19, but is still lacking suitably
attired gunners to sit in the turrets.
The 40 mm Bofors gun was again constructed from a John Haynes kit of parts and
was mounted on a ply panel which covers the
rear section of the deck, Photo 20. This panel
provides access to the radio gear, rudder linkage, switches and connectors. It is not secured


other than being a close fit in the hull and

can be lifted by pulling up on the rear hatch
which is raised off the deck just enough to get
a couple of fingernails underneath it to grip.
Again this gun is driven by a servo but in this
case there was much more room and a sail
winch servo was mounted below the gun,
Photo 21. A servo drive disc was attached to
the lower part of the gun mounting and this
just pushes on to the servo splines, Photo 22.
This arrangement works much better than the
machine gun turrets with plenty of torque
and smooth operation over approximately
270 degrees of travel.

supplied was PT602 which was named Sngg,

which is Norwegian for fast. Elizabeth
thought this would be a particularly good
name, since given the combination of armament the boat carried, it was bound to be the
kiss of death for anything it met in combat!
I have tried to find details of the actual boat
as supplied to the Norwegian Navy but so far
without any luck.

On the pond

At the end of the

war, PT boat production
was still in full swing
in the USA and many of
the final batches of boats
were sold or lend
leased to other

Choice of colour and painting

Originally the model was to be sailed by my
wife Elizabeth and she liked the original grey
colour scheme better than the more common
olive green found on most US Navy PT boats.
At the end of the war, PT boat production
was still in full swing in the USA and many
of the final batches of boats were sold or lend
leased to other nations. In 1951 ten Elco PT
boats were supplied to the Norwegian Navy.
It was therefore a joint decision that the model would be finished in Humbrol Sea Grey
and carry a Norwegian flag. The first boat
114 www.modelboats.co.uk


The finished boat looks good on the water,

is very manoeuvrable and at high throttle
settings achieves a scale planing speed,
There is plenty of detail to add interest and
when the boat has been displayed at club exhibitions and regattas it attracts the attention
of the small boys who want to know what
all the guns are for and whether any of them
I learned a lot about electric motor drives
in the process of the boats development and
fortunately most of the discarded items are
now finding their way into other models. If I
were to start all over again I would mechanise
the machine gun turrets differently, but apart
from that I am pleased with the end result,
which is a pleasure to look at and sail and goes
to show that you dont need the latest most
super detailed kit to gain pleasure from our

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GLYNN GUEST makes a semi-scale

free plan model based on a WW2
tank landing craft

have long harboured a suspicion that

magazine editors are appointed for their
skill at placing subliminal ideas in the
heads of contributors. This seemed to be
confirmed, when travelling home after
acting as a supervisor on a course at Oxford
University, I took the opportunity to visit the
Howes model shop in nearby Kidlington.
Whilst in the shop I just had to buy a small
r/c tank, my thoughts being: Perfect for a
working Land Craft Tank (LCT) model. On
walking out of the shop it suddenly dawned
on me that our Editor had put this idea into
my head some time previously.

The radio controlled tank

Every time I look at this small working model,
it seems to become more impressive. The tank
is based on the American Sherman M4 3A
116 www.modelboats.co.uk

tank design of WW2 and is quoted to be 1/30

scale. It looked to be very accurate, perhaps
not up to the standard of the more expensive
military assembly kits, but a lot better than the
ones I remember building in my youth. The
tank came with a transmitter, small four cell
rechargeable battery pack and a matching
charging unit.
The instructions were just a double sided
sheet of A4 paper. The text was half Chinese
and half English, but thankfully was well
illustrated with line drawings. After charging
the battery pack, the model was tried out on
the drive. The transmitter had two buttons on
either side to control the tracks. Push the left
button up and the tank moves forwards,
pushing the button down gives reverse. The
other button moves to the right or left and
turns the model by stopping the track on the

inside of the desired turn. Blipping this

button allowed you to control the radius of
the turn. If you have never used this method
of steering before then have no fears as it is
quite logical and ought to become second
nature in a very short time, but then I started
out with single channel r/c gear where
blipping had to used.
The transmitter had two buttons on the top
of its case. One caused the turret to rotate left,
the other to the right. There was also a small
push button on the front of the case which
caused the gun barrel to run through an up/
down cycle. A small red bulb at the end of the
barrel lights whilst doing this. Sorry, I almost
forgot, two small headlights also operated
when the tank was switched on.
Trials both inside the house when my wife
was not looking, as well as outside, showed that

the tanks drive mechanism was quite powerful.

The range was modest, ten metres at the most,
but this seemed be enough for me to beach the
LCT nearby, drive the tank off and start my
assault. The transmitter had a 27MHz sticker on
the rear of the case for the yellow frequency.
This was shown to be correct when checked
against my AM frequency monitor. The plan was
to sail the LCT model on 40MHz so I hoped
that claiming both 40MHz and yellow 27Mhz
pegs would avoid any radio problems.

Deepest design despair!

This is perhaps an over statement, although
the problems inevitable when designing a new
model can be annoying and frustrating, I have
yet to let them seriously effect my well being.
To borrow from a well known TV
advertisement: Calm down, its only a hobby.
To be honest, the challenge of getting a
design just right is very rewarding. This is not
just on the performance side, the practicalities
of running and maintaining the model needed
to be addressed. It was also nice when the
design allowed the model to be built not only
easily, but also accurately. I have never found
assembling a model boat from a kit to be as
satisfying. If building from a kit becomes a
challenge then its usually for the wrong
The first thing to decide was just what type
of vessel the model was to be based upon. A
popular subject is something like the LCM 3
landing craft which could transport a single
tank such as the Sherman. Its modest size,
whilst making for a handy model, might have
limited what I wanted the model to be capable

of, but in my eyes at least, this design was not

very attractive with all the visual appeal of a
shoebox. Looking through reference books
and I found the LCT 6 design. This was a
modified version of the LCT 5 type which
could carry up to five tanks and would make a
much more interesting project.
With this model the first problem was to be
its size. The scale of the tank was 1/30, not a
common scale in the model world and it
would have been nice to have used 1/32 scale
and so match my PT boats for combined
operations. There was also the possibility of
using some of the wide range of military kits in
1/35 scale.
Scaling the LCT 6 down to 1/32 scale
produced a model with a length and beam of
some 45 x 12 inches (114 x 30cm) and weight
of about 20lbs (9kg). This is not an impossible
model size and able to fit across the rear seat of
our car, but a shade too big to be comfortable
during the long walk from the car park to the
local sailing water. Reducing the scale to 1/35
shaved a little off the models size but not
enough to make a real difference. At 1/48 scale
the model became a more attractive 30 inches
(75cm) long. Well, the LCT model might be
attractive at 1/48 scale, but it would look silly
carrying a 1/30 scale tank.
With no obvious solution to this scale and
size dilemma I adopted my usual response of
indulging in a displacement activity. In this
case, I built another model. It must have
worked as from out of nowhere a sketch of a
suitable freelance model appeared. It contained
all the features that attracted me to the LCT 6
design in the first place, looked like it could
carry the r/c tank (maybe even two or three)
but was a more modest size. A little more
sketching and pondering failed to uncover any
serious problems with this idea, so my next
project was decided.

Detail design
Looking around the material stored in the
garage, or junk shed as my wife fondly calls
it, and some suitable plywood and timber was
found. This seemed like the best way to build a
model that was expected to run aground
before unloading the tank.
Now I usually get my desired hull forms by
bending material to shape. Even though the
LCT hull was a simple shape I did not relish
the thought of struggling to bend stiff pieces
of plywood. I also worried about how the hull
would handle when moving ahead at speed.
The blunt bows looked like they would raise a
mound of water which might then pour
around the bow ramp onto the tank deck and
swamp the model.
The answer to both problems was to use a
hull shape previously employed on two steam
powered models, Sabina and Dusty Miller,
which were published in the December 2003
Model Boats Warships 117


Card might
be vulnerable to damage,
but the substantial
frame it was glued to
would not flinch during

and February 2008 issues of MB. To avoid

excessive power losses with the small steam
engines used in these models, the hull bottom
was angled upwards towards the bows. This
allowed the steam engine and propeller shaft
to be in perfect alignment. The pronounced
angle between the front and rear parts of the
hull bottom did not appear to produce any
obvious problems and the models handled
By using such an upwards angle on the
bottom of the LCT model, I was hoping that
this would lift the bows when moving ahead.
This ought to avoid water building up and
leaking around the bow ramp. Another
thought was that it might make beaching and
perhaps more importantly unbeaching (if
there is such a word) a shade easier.
For maximum manoeuvrability, the model
was to have twin screws with independent
operation. To ensure adequate power I planned
to use two 500 or 600 type motors which
might appear to be a case of gross
overpowering. However, by using two small
fine pitch propellers I was aiming for thrust at
118 www.modelboats.co.uk

low speeds rather than high model speeds,

well that was the idea.

The pile of wood at the back of my garage
supplied some lengths of pine, 9 x 71mm in
cross section. The plywood, 14 and 18 inch (6
and 3mm) thick came from the same place, so
the model cost me very little to build. As the
model was somewhat over built to ensure
toughness you might be able to substitute
alternative materials. But, if planning to beach it
and off load a tank, then do make sure it is still
strong enough to hit and scrape over things.
If you have to buy the basic construction
material, then heres the list:
Pine: 9 x 71mm x 2.4m (planed 12 x 3 x 8ft)
Plywood: 6 x 200mm x 1.5m (14 x 8 x 5ft)
3 x 85 x 150mm (18 x 3 14 x 6ins).
This should be enough to build the hull.
The remaining superstructure and details are
not material critical and you can use thin
plywood, card, styrene or whatever comes to
hand or takes your fancy. It is worth pointing
out that the design is flexible enough to
accommodate changes in size or form. So, if
you want to carry more or bigger tanks then
scale the plans up, a simple task as it is almost
wholly straight lines. Check however that your
new design can carry the additional weight.

Propulsion and radio

My model was designed to use two electric
motors in the 500 to 600 size range. By using
two separate speed control units and a mixer
in the transmitter, it was possible to both drive
and steer the model. If you prefer to use
conventional rudder control, possibly with a
single motor then its up to you to figure out
how to do it. My only advice would be to

ensure that the rudder is protected should you

try to beach the model.
If you want the ramp to be able to rise and
fall via radio control, then a third
independent servo channel is needed. I cannot
see how it would be possible to safely and
reliably operate this feature with a two
channel r/c outfit. The only option might be
to have the bow ramp held closed by a spring
mechanism which can be overcome by
driving the tank over it, but of course such a
system would prevent the tank from being
driven back onto the LCT.

The model could have been built entirely with
hand tools, but I took the easier route of using
power tools wherever possible. A good
variable speed hand drill and jigsaw proved
idea for most tasks. If you lack these items or
need replacements then you could always use
this model as an excuse for dropping hints
about birthday and/or Christmas presents.
A hand plane was used for some shaping of
the timber parts, but a sanding disc on the
hand drill was a quick and surprisingly neat
way of rounding off corners on the hull.
Perhaps the most enjoyable tool to use was the
hammer. All the wood joints were glued with
PVA woodworking adhesive, but many were
reinforced with the odd nail or two. Thinking
about it now theres something rather
worrying about the satisfaction that striking
the model with a hammer created, so maybe
its time for a new hobby?

Building the hull

The first task is to cut out the three pieces of
plywood that make up the hull deck and
bottom parts. They are simple rectangles, but




care is needed to cut the sides square. The

more cautious might want to cut them slightly
oversize as any excess can be easily trimmed
away later.
The deck requires a cut-out making for
access to the insides of the completed model.
Four holes were drilled at the corners of the
cut-out, Photo 1. A jigsaw was then used to
cut between the holes, Photo 2. I left the cutout corners radiused, a throwback to my
training where I learned to avoid sharp
corners and their associated stress raising
effects, but hardly needed on this model!
The timber hull parts were also cut out with
the jigsaw, Photo 3. Again, squareness is
important and making the parts that should be
identical as alike as possible is important. This
meant checking the parts against each other
and some planing and sanding if required.
Assembling the hull parts is perhaps best
started by gluing the timber parts to the
underside of the deck. I held the sides,
bulkheads and transom to the deck with a few
strategically placed nails whilst the glue set.
There seemed little point in removing these
nails. My old woodwork teacher is probably
turning in his grave, so I just made sure their
heads were driven flush with the surface. The
bow pieces which are needed to obtain the
curves in this area, were glued in place, using
clamps to hold them, Photo 4. No nails were
used here because of the shaping to be carried
out later.
After checking the fit, the bottom pieces
were glued in place. Again, clamps and small
nails were used to keep the parts together,
Photo 5.

When all the glued joints had full set, the

curved bow sections were made. The jigsaw
cut away the bulk of the surplus material, the

final shape was produced with a sanding disc

fitted into the electric drill, Photo 6. The
sanding disc was also used to radius the lower
corners of the hull, the upper corners being
left square as per the full size vessels.
Then it was just a case of examining the
external surfaces and correcting any defects.
Cracks and gaps were filled with glue and
slivers of wood. Other defects were hidden
using a tube of domestic filler.


Drive lines
The model was designed for two 500 or 600
type motors. These are normally regarded as
unsuitable for most scale models being very
powerful and high revving. However, it must
be said, that does not stop them being sold to
the unsuspecting for this purpose. In this
model these motors will do perfectly as they
turn small fine pitched propellers rather being
than being directly connected to some
monstrous brass item. So, used sensibly, these
motors are cheap and potentially long lasting.
My plan was to mount the motors against the
hull sides and bottom. The two propeller tube
holes in the second bulkhead were previously
prepared to achieve this. The slots in the bottom
sheet were started by drilling a hole where the
tube was expected to exit and then opening up
into a slot. Some adjustments, a polite way of
saying vigorous work with a round file plus a
few rude words, were needed to the slots and
holes until the motor and propeller shafts were
in line. A little packing with wood strips and
then slow setting epoxy was used to secure the
tubes to the bulkhead and hull bottom. To
ensure a good bond, the tubes had been
previously degreased and lightly abraded with a
coarse file.
After the epoxy had fully set, the motors

were installed into the hull. Before doing this

it is important to suppress the motors and fit
overlong power leads to the terminals. If you
forget to do this then you will have quite a
challenge of wielding a soldering iron inside
the confines of this hull. The motors were
secured into the hull using silicone bath
sealant using short lengths of rigid tubing to
ensure that the motor and propeller shafts
remained aligned. These tubes were cut to a
length that would allow for the coupling
between the shafts, Photo 7.
After everything had set, the hull was tidied
up where my hole adjustment had been a little
too vigorous, Photo 8. Although I fitted them
later, now might be the best time to install the
two wire propeller guards. If you plan to beach
the LCT model then these items ought to
reduce the chances of damage to the propellers.
I bent some stiff wire to shape, then drilled
holes into the hull bottom sheet, the rear holes
going up into the transom piece. Epoxy was
used to secure the wire guards along with some
solder where the wire touched the propeller
tubes. If you do not fancy soldering then using
epoxy, perhaps reinforced with some fine wire
wrapped around the joint, ought to be
adequate,Photo 9.
Model Boats Warships 119

Above the deck
Some degree of personal taste can be used in
this part of the models construction as after
all the design has no pretence at being an
accurate scale model. Likewise the sizes and
shapes are for guidance rather than to be
slavishly copied. The hull sides at the bows had
to be substantial in view of the potential
impact that could occur when beaching the
craft. I cut most of the parts out of leftover
pieces of timber and plywood, Photo 10. Care
was taken to place these parts square to the
deck and ensure that the front edges were in
line; otherwise the bow ramp could have a
worrying gap when closed. Thin ply was
going to be used for the curved outer surfaces,
but no suitable pieces could be found in my
scrap box. Being impatient, I covered them
with some 116 inch (1.5mm) thick card,
Photo 11. My reasoning being that the card
might be vulnerable to damage, but the
substantial frame it was glued to would not
flinch during impact. So far Ive not regretted
using card.
The bulwarks alongside the tank deck were
set in from the hull edges and so this card was
used again, Photo 12. The top edges of these
bulwarks were reinforced with strips of card
glued to both sides. Note, that with visions of
water pouring into the model, I used a full
depth transverse card piece to seal off the
forward tank deck. A little later it dawned
upon me that with the freeing ports cut into
the side bulwarks, any water flowing on to the
tank deck would never get that deep. So, to
improve the appearance of the model, but to
keep a precautionary barrier between the tank
deck and hull access opening, this transverse
piece was cut down to 34 inch (20mm) high.
The two deckhouses were made from card,
the corners being strengthened with some
small strips of wood. My future plans required
access to the insides of these deckhouses, so
their top edges were reinforced with wood
strips and this is shown on the plan cross
sections. Card bulwarks aft of the deckhouses
were then fitted, again with their top edges
reinforced with card strips, Photo 13.

Surface sealing
With the basic structure of the model
completed, but before adding any small
details, it seemed like a good time to seal
the external wood and card surfaces. The wood
surfaces had been previously sanded smooth
and any defects corrected. With rough usage in
mind it was tempting to go down the route of
a very tough external finish, something like
epoxy resin and glass cloth. In the end, I
reasoned that no matter the finish, this model
was going to receive bumps and scrapes
whenever it was sailed. As the strength and
durability of the model was created by the
tough materials used and its design, a simple
120 www.modelboats.co.uk

surface finish would be adequate. True, I

would have to check the model after each
sailing session and repair any damage, but this
is something you ought to do to every sailing
model, isnt it?
Something quick and easy was needed and I
used cellulose dope. With the fine grain of the
timber and plywood used in this model, only
three coats (rubbing down between each)
were needed. Dope is also ideal for card as it
penetrates into the card before drying to
produce a noticeable stiffening effect.

Working from a small photograph of the real
LCT 6, I tried to add features that should be
obvious on a model of this size. The bulwarks
were clearly supported by bracing pieces
running from the top to the edge of the deck.
These were suggested with wire cut and bent
to shape, then epoxied into holes made in the
bulwarks and decks (see the plans for details).
Wire was also used to make the rear anchor
frame, the parts being soldered together after
epoxying them into the hull.
Hatches and covers were suggested on the
deckhouses with card. The tank decks
appeared to be covered with transverse strips,
presumably to ensure the tank tracks had
adequate grip. These were added by gluing
wood strips to the deck, including the thin
plywood piece that was used to cover the deck
opening access between the deckhouses. Ill
confess that these strips were made from the
wooden stirrers supplied when you buy a
coffee in many establishments. My wife did
not seem to notice that whilst building this
model I was very keen to have coffee
whenever we went out!
The bare card and wood surfaces added to
the model were sealed with dope. Another
good point about dope is that subsequent
coats manage to soften and dissolve into
previous coats to make a strong and
waterproof seal.
After this other details could be added. Some
plastic cleats were found in my spares box.
Bollards were made from cut down nails
epoxied into holes drilled into the deck. I
figured there ought to be some quick way
from the deck to the top of the deckhouses


and so added a couple of ladders, again from

the spares box. Two engine exhausts were
made from plastic tubing and fitted behind
the shorter deckhouse, Photo 14.

First paint coats

The only colour I have ever seen on WW2
landing craft is grey. The black and white photos
of the full sized LCT6 used when designing this
model also showed a camouflage pattern. I
guessed that it was basically grey with a darker
colour added over it. Thus, the whole model
above the waterline was sprayed with grey
primer, obtained from the local hardware store.
Two, at the most three, coats give a good solid
finish which usually has excellent adhesion to
doped surfaces.
A waterline was drawn around the hull
using a black waterproof marker pen. The
underside of the hull was then painted with
gloss black up to this line. Gloss paint was
used as it is generally tougher than matt paint.
Two coats ought to produce a good surface.
Gloss is clearly not true scale on this type of
model, but being underwater when sailing, it
does not affect its appearance.

Quick sailing test

At this stage, the model without the r/c gear,
batteries and tank, felt rather heavy and I did
worry about it being able to float correctly.
This encouraged me to have a quick test in the
garden pond.
My original plan was to fit a six volt gel type
battery between the two motors. I figured that
its 7Ah ought to give the model a sailing
duration of at least an hour. Alas, as soon as
the model entered the water it was clear that it
would be bow heavy. Moving the battery aft of
the bulkhead gave the model a more
acceptable trim but with less freeboard than I
felt happy with. Clearly the model was
overweight and the only item that could be
changed was the battery.
Using a lighter six cell rechargeable pack
looked like the only option. When used with
500 and 600 type motors, these packs usually

offer high performance, but of relatively short

duration. Using a pack to power two such
motors looked very unpromising at first, but
in fact three things made them very suitable
for this model.
First, the two motors were lightly loaded
and should draw nothing like the current
demanded in a fast electric model. The second
point was that the LCT model would spend
most of its time cruising at modest speeds
rather than charging about at full speed. Last,
the capacity of NiMH cells has increased
dramatically over the past few years, whilst the
prices have fallen.
A 3300mAh pack was fitted into the rear of
the hull up against the inner face of the
transom. With the two speed controllers and
the receiver between it and the bulkhead, the
model had perfect trim without the need for
any ballast. Holding the model back and
applying full power revealed plenty of urge
from the drive lines that must have disturbed
whatever lives at the bottom of our pond. Thus
encouraged, I was able to proceed to complete
the model.

Deckhouse tops
The two deckhouses were covered with
detachable roofs made from thin plywood.
The frameworks which plug into the
deckhouse openings were made inside these
openings before gluing to the underside of
the detachable roofs. This ensures a good and
secure fit into the openings. Note that the
port roof extends rearwards to the stern
anchor frame.
The protected steering position on the
starboard roof was just made from a simple
cardboard box. The vision slits on the full size
vessels appeared to be made through some
external reinforcement strips which was
suggested by card strips on the model. A card
access hatch was added to the read of the
steering position.
Both deckhouses feature a circular gun
positions. I looked in one of the scrap boxes
and found an empty cotton bud container
which was perfect for the job. The addition of
a couple of card reinforcing bands and they
looked just the part.
The catwalk between the two roofs over the
tank deck was a problem. Rather than have it
as a separate item, which might be prone to
damage, I glued one end securely to the port
roof. The other end was to fit under the
starboard deckhouse roof edge, Photo 15.
This is much safer, as long as I remember to
lift the starboard roof off before the port one!
All the external surfaces were then sealed with
a couple of coats of dope.
Railings are an item on any model that I
willingly confess to hate making. Luckily for
me this model only required railings around
the edges of the deckhouse roofs and the


catwalk. Soft copper wire, removed from spare

lengths of domestic cabling, is my preferred
material for railings. It is easy to straighten;
you just clamp one end in the bench vice and
pull the other with pliers until it gives
(extending beyond the yield point for the
more technically minded), but do remember
to wear eye protection in case something
breaks. It is easy to bend, as pure copper has
little spring back meaning you do not have to
bend it past the final angle you require. If a
mistake is made it can be straightened again
by using the above process. Strong railings can
be quickly made by soldering the copper parts
together. Finally, one son-in-law is an
electrician, so I am never going to be short of
this material!
The railing uprights were made from L
shaped pieces of copper wire. These were
secured with epoxy into notches cut around
the edges of the roofs and holes in the
frameworks on the roof undersides. The
uprights on the catwalk were U shaped, again
fitting into notches and secured with epoxy.
After the epoxy had set, the rails were soldered
to the uprights, Photo 16. Once I could stop
hopping around due to burnt fingertips (I
always forget how good a conductor of heat
copper is when trying to hold parts together)
these items were sprayed with the grey primer
to match the rest of the model.


Once I could
stop hopping around
due to burnt fingertips
(I always forget how
good a conductor of
heat copper is when
trying to hold parts
together) these items
were sprayed with the
grey primer.

Figure 1.
Lever arm
Fixed end
of cord


The ramp
This was a novel feature for me. The actual
ramp was just going to be a piece of 18 inch
(3mm) thick plywood, hinged at the bottom
to be level with the tank deck. I was hoping
that, being angled forwards from the hinge,
the ramp would fall down under its own
weight. Lifting it back up was going to be the
The first idea was to use something like a
motor with a gear reduction attached. I had an
old r/c yacht sailwinch somewhere in a drawer.
This certainly had more than enough power,
too much so I felt after a moments thought.
This gave me images of the ramp becoming

Movement of free
end of cord

Movement of arm

Figure 2.
Cord secured to ramp

Plastic tube




Hole for cord

Model Boats Warships 121

jammed and the sailwinch continuing to pull
until something broke, probably accompanied
by expensive noises. Another problem was that
such an item would have had to be installed
inside the hull which was getting crowded and
could do without adding a complex linkage
between winch and ramp.
A standard servo ought to have more than
enough power to raise the ramp. It could be
installed inside one of the deckhouses and
have a simple direct link to the ramp. My
response of problem solved proved to be
premature when it was realised that a normal
servo arm would not have enough travel to
raise the ramp unless it was attached closer to
the hinge than I felt desirable. The obvious
solution of extending a servo arm was limited
by the internal width of the deckhouse. The
equally obvious idea of turning a servo onto
its side was also a non-starter due to the width
of the deckhouses.
My radio control yachting experience came to
the rescue as the total movement of the sheets,
which control the position of the sails, could be
increased by doubling the cord back through a
hole in the servo arm to a fixed point, Figure 1.
A few experiments showed that this method
produced the right amount of movement to raise
the ramp. The final method used is shown in
Figure 2. The spring was included to allow some
give in the system and ensure that the cord
in tension when the ramp was closed without
stalling the servo. The servo arm was extended by
using a safety pin, cut and bent to fit into the
servo disc holes then secured with a small screw.
A stainless steel safety pin has the necessary
strength and having a smooth hard surface,
allows the cord to slide with little friction.
The ramp servo was secured to two balsa
crosspieces glued between the deckhouse sides.
A cup-hook was secured into a wood block
glued inside the deckhouse. The cord exits the
deckhouse via a hole, passes along the side of
the bulwark, then through a plastic tube fitted
through the bow pieces. Your aim should be to
keep the path of this cord as straight as possible,
so it is a case of eyeballing and rechecking
before drilling any holes.

Hinge hiccup
I was going to use a couple of brass hinges to
secure the ramp to the hull. Searching
through the box in which I drop all my
hinges and I found two possible candidates. I
then tried to figure out just how to fit the
hinges and came to the conclusion that it was
going to be very difficult to avoid having a
gap between the bows and ramp, which was
just not what was needed. It also became
clear that unless the two hinges were
perfectly aligned, the ramp was unlikely to
fall open under its own weight.
Inspiration often seems to come from out of
122 www.modelboats.co.uk

nowhere, but in this case I knew the origin. As

I pondered the hinge problem, my eyes fell on
a roll of duct tape. Immediately my memory
of building a small remote controlled vessel
for a Royal Navy and Young Engineers
competition sprang into life. This vessel had
used such tape to make a simple hinged ramp
essential for the oil skimming task it was
designed carry out. A strip of tape was cut and
pressed onto the inner face of the ramp and
tank deck and a free moving but watertight
hinge was made.
Now knowing that the method would work,
the ramp was then removed and sealed with
three coats of dope. Transverse strips, as added
to the tank deck, were glued across the ramp
taking care not to fix them where the tape was
to be applied. The ramp was sprayed with grey
primmer to match the model before sticking it
back in place with a fresh piece of duct tape.
By the way, I used some silver tape which
much to my surprise blended remarkably well
with the primer, Photo 17.
A 116 inch (1.5mm) diameter hole was
drilled through the ramp to match where the
cord came out of the tube in the bows. The
cord was threaded through this hole and a
loose knot made. There then followed a bout
of adjustments to the knot position until the
servo was able to raise and lower the ramp
properly. In the end the ramp, due to the
spring, would close with a reassuring snap.

Final finishing
The photographs I was using as reference
material shows the full size LCT6 displaying a
camouflage pattern. I decided to reproduce
this with patches of matt green paint, the
edges being mottled to merge into the grey.
Most landing craft appeared to have some
identifying number on their bows. I found
some suitable self-adhesive numbers, but hand
painted numbers might have been a shade
more realistic for these wartime vessels. Vision
slots in the enclosed conning position could
be painted or even drawn on with a
waterproof pen.
The final finishing act was to spray the
whole model with a couple of coats of clear
satin varnish. I use a spray can and lightly dust
over the model with the varnish to avoid any
excessive build up and possible reaction with
the previously applied paints.

Final details
Landing craft carried a large anchor at the stern
which could be dropped before beaching the
vessel. This allowed the LCT to be kedged off
using the onboard winch. It was hard to figure
out the actual shape of these kedge anchors, but
a reasonable looking anchor and winch were
made from plastic and wire.
The two gun positions each required a
20mm gun. Again I just made up something


that looked appropriate from plastic sheet and

tubing. A couple of ammunition boxes were
made from scrap wood and sealed with dope.
The paint finish for these items was just the
same as for the model, grey and satin varnish
sprays and it is easier to do this before sticking
them onto the model. I usually fix them onto
one end of a strip of wood with some Blu-tack
or something similar. This allows you to hold
the other end whilst spraying, very handy for
getting the paint into all the corners.
I could see liferafts on the full size LCTs, so
a couple were made for the model. Nothing
elaborate, just balsa strip to make the outline
and the edges given a small radius. After
sealing with dope, a mesh from plastic strip
was glued to the bottom. As for the colour of
the life rafts, bright yellow or orange seemed
out of place on a camouflaged military vessel.
A dull tan colour, further dulled with matt
black streaks, was eventually used. The rafts
were then glued to the bulwark supports,
taking care to avoid fouling the ramp cord.
A simple pole mast could be seen on the
roof of the steering position of the LCT6
design. This was made from brass tubing
which extended down to the underside of the
detachable hatch. The mast was doing to be
part of the receiver aerial wire.

Still empty
Even with the tank on board, the model still
looked empty and lifeless. Clearly a crew was
needed and something to fill the empty space
behind the tank. This lead me towards the plastic
military kit section of a local hobby store.
The range and quality of these kits was very
impressive to someone who remembers
buying one of the first Airfix kits from
Woolworths, but and there is usually a but
lurking somewhere in my modelling activities,
some of the vehicle kits were more expensive
than the r/c tank that started me building this
model in the first place. Im going to suggest

The jeep and associated figures

were glued to the detachable cover over
the hull access opening. As this area
still looked a little bare, some cargo in
the form of oil drums and ammunition
boxes were added.



that if you plan to build a landing craft model

which carries more than one tank, then you
might consider buying extra r/c tanks. Not
only might this be cheaper, just think of the
sight of the LCT beaching and two or three
tanks being driven ashore!
After searching through what seemed like
hundreds of plastic kits, I settled on the Italeri
Jeep and trailer kit (No. 314). It included three
figures, but clearly more crew were needed for
this model. Numerous figure sets were
available in 1/35 scale, but they usually
seemed to have only two or three figures in
them. A quick bit of mental arithmetic showed
that this was going to make it expensive to
produce a busy looking model. Then my eyes
fell upon the Tamiya US Infantry set (item no.
35048**900). This contained eight figures
and their equipment, all of which looked
suitable for the LCT model and even better
was the price of less than 3.
Armed with these two kits, a couple of days
were spent in the workshop planning,
building and painting. After some
experimentation, the jeep was built with its
hood open with a group of soldiers working
on some mechanical problem. This allowed
me to use one figure who was supposed to be
laying on his stomach and ready to fire his
rifle. He was rotated through 180 degrees to
become the poor chap laying on his back and
working under the jeep whilst others looked
on. Other figures were positioned to suggest
working on the two guns and getting the
anchor winch and cable prepared. All of this
required some swapping and adjustments of
their limbs. The one that worked especially

well was a soldier caught walking, somewhat

apprehensively, across the catwalk.
The jeep and associated figures were glued
to the detachable cover over the hull access
opening. As this area still looked a little bare,
some cargo in the form of oil drums and
ammunition boxes was added, Photo 18.
These items were glued in place, save for one
oil drum which I secured with a screw from
under the deck. This gave me a secure and
convenient way to lift the deck off the model
without damaging anything. As a final touch a
figure was seated nonchalantly on the boxes of

Re-installing the r/c gear

A proper tidy installation was needed rather
than the quick lash-up that was used in the
earlier pond test. Over the years Ive found
that using a block of foam plastic with cutouts to match receivers and speed
controllers to be very convenient. Using
slightly undersize cut-outs, items are held
securely when sailing, but it still allows for
their easy removal.
I used the layout shown on the plans, Photo
19. Holes had to be drilled through the deck
inside both deckhouses. One hole was for the
ramp servo lead, the other for the receiver
aerial wire. Whilst you could easily hide a
flexible aerial wire on the tank deck, I always
like to use a vertical whip whenever possible.
This keeps the aerial away from sources of
internal interference, usually electric motors,
and exposes it to a stronger signal from the
transmitter. It also avoids any directional
effects when sailing.

In the LCT model, the aerial was connected

to the bottom of the brass tube mast with a
small plug and matching socket. A length of
fine wire, about 12 inches (300mm) long is
plugged into the top of the brass tube
whenever sailing. This fine wire is usually
invisible but must have a safety loop bent at its
top end. The total length of the new aerial
system ought to be as close to the original
flexible aerial wire as possible. This requires
the original aerial to be shortened before
soldering to the plug and socket.
Its a good idea to make the electrical wiring
inside this or for that matter any model, as
tidy as possible. This makes it less likely to foul
any moving parts like motor couplings. It also
makes trouble shooting much easier when and
if problems occur!

Sailing properly
I usually make out a gripe sheet during the
sailing trials of any new model. This is a list of
problems, peculiarities, idiosyncrasies or
whatever that needs to be sorted before the next
sailing session. By writing it down I do not
forget things on the journey home. More likely
is that I remember that the model displayed a
list, but I then forget which side was low.
I can honestly say that this models gripe list
was blank, with nothing needing to be
corrected. It might be nice to think that this
was due to innate genius on my part, but
reality suggests that Ive just learnt from all my
past mistakes. No doubt the next model will
contain some new mistakes for me to make.
After carefully checking the controls were
correctly orientated, the model was moved
Model Boats Warships 123


into a clear area of water to get a feel for its

responsiveness to my commands. Using the
mixer meant that it could be sailed in
conventional style using the rudder stick for
steering and throttle stick for speed. A few
minutes at modest speeds and no problems
occurred. With the throttle stick at the
neutral position, the rudder stick was
moved. Using a mixer, in this case it was in
the transmitter rather than a separate unit in
the model, the motors started to turn in
opposite directions. The further the stick is
moved the faster the motors turn, but still in
opposite directions.
It is not hard to see that with one propeller
pushing on one side of the model whilst the
other pulls on the other side, then the model
will try to rotate. I had taken care when
adjusting the controls to have the motors start
and stop at the same time. Also, have them
running at the same speed even though they
would be turning in opposite directions. This
should have ideally resulted in the model just
rotating on the spot when only the rudder stick
was moved, but in fact the model would try to
creep in the ahead direction whilst rotating.
I have encountered this effect on other
models that used independent screws for both
steering and propulsion. Most water screws are
designed to have best efficiency when operating
in the ahead mode. This is why their blades
have a curved section so as to better accelerate
the water rearwards. When operating astern the
blades are working less effectively and at any
given speed will produce less thrust. So, in the
LCT model with the motors turning at the same
speeds but in opposite directions, the model
was subjected to more ahead thrust than astern.
Thus, explaining the tendency to creep ahead
whilst rotating.
To achieve pure rotation is quite easy; just
add a little astern on the throttle stick. This will
124 www.modelboats.co.uk

speed up the astern motor and slow the ahead

one. With balanced forces from the two
propellers, the model will just rotate. It might
sound complex, but this correction quickly
becomes a natural reflex, like riding a bicycle
where you learn to balance automatically
without conscious effort.

Staying dry
One of my great worries with this model was
water building up at the bows and leaking past
the ramp to flood the deck. This never
happened at modest speeds as hardly any
water built up in this area. At full power the
bows lifted clear of the water as the model
thought it was a speed boat and tried to plane,
but still a dry deck!
It was possible to run the model at an
intermediate speed when water did build up
somewhat, but water still did not get onto the
deck. In a moment of madness I partially
opened the ramp and sailed the model around
at increasing speeds until it was running flat
out. Much to my amazement there was still no
water on the deck.
Now it might seem like my precautions of
freeing ports through the bulwarks and a low
barrier behind the tank, were all wasted
efforts. I dont think so as sailing in rougher
conditions is bound to splash water around
and some must be expected to come onboard.
There is also the not unknown situation of
being caught out by a sudden downpour
when sailing and it would be nice to think the
rainwater could run off the tank deck as fast as
it fell onto it.

Raison dtra
The crunch came when I tried to beach the
model and drive a tank ashore. The first thing I
learnt was it might look spectacular to drive at
full speed onto landing beach, which the

models tough structure can absorb, but it will

get well and truly stuck there. You might be
able to land the tank, but the LCT will not be
able to refloat itself, at least not without a push
from your foot.
The best method that I found, was to
approach the shore at a modest speed and try
to remain square to the chosen beaching area.
As soon as the hull runs aground, back off the
power. I like to keep just enough power on so
that the model will not try to move under the
action of the wind and waves. This might be
more of a problem when the tank is driven
ashore due to the LCT then becoming lighter.
Dropping the ramp and the tank is simply
driven straight off the LCT onto the beach. I
say beach, but in my case it has always been
a muddy piece of the shoreline around the
lake. This has never been a problem for the
tank as it seems to be able to cope with
most terrain.
The LCT can then be backed off the beach
after raising the ramp, leaving the tank to
rampage on shore. I usually just back off
enough to allow the model to be spun around
and head back into the lake. Even more
impressive is to drive the tank back onboard
the LCT, raise the ramp and back off the beach.
Alas, my attempts at this have been rather hit
and miss, with the latter predominating. The
lack of speed control on the tank, power being
either off or full on, makes manoeuvring
rather tricky. It might start out perfectly lined
up with the ramp as it crosses the beach but a
small stone or pebble always seems to deflect
it. If I do manage to get the tank back onboard
then Im sure a real LCT crew would have a
few choice words for the tank driver. Still,
practice makes perfect and I have yet to drive
the tank into the water.

Last words
This model was fun to build, being very much
in the cheap and cheerful mould. Good
building techniques such as accuracy and
alignment are needed more than anything else.
Although not a scale model by any means, it
still manages to look the part. Even if the ramp
and tank were not functional it still attracts
attention. The figures and details from plastic
kits do add that extra something to the model
and they were part of the fun build too. As a
final point, spectators can at least recognise the
model as a landing craft rather than calling it
the Titanic!
The ability to land a small RC tank greatly
increases the pleasure you get when using the
model. It is tempting to think about adding
suitable sound and smoke effects, but that would
probably need a larger model. However, as I
wrote earlier, this design is mainly of straight
lines, so scaling it up ought to be no problem.
I hope you enjoy building and operating this
model because I certainly have.

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Model Boats Plans service list

To find any of these plans go to: www.myhobbystore.co.uk/modelboatplans

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Brenda Fishery Protection Cruiser

Boston Lincoln
Wooden Steam
Boston Arrow
St Finbarr
Veracious II
Boston Sea
Kingston Peridot
Launch Out
Frederick Spashett
St Elmo
Taku Maru
Boston Blenheim
Shirley Ann
My Susanne
Ocean Reward
Steam Trawler
Star VI
Peadar Elaine
45 Admiralty Pl MFV
Shemarah II
Storm Petrel
Boston Lincoln
Bill Bailey Freelance Trawler
Norwegian Trawler
Bill Bailey
Aerokits Portugese Fishing Boat Dory
MFV Admiralty
Proprider 7.5
A2 & A3 Hydroes
15Cc Prop-Rider
A2 Hydroe
Alter Ego
Traband Special
Trident 20-40
Miss Circus Circus
Phantom II
Sweet Sixteen
Carvelle Major
Carvelle Minor
Water Bug
Chris Craft Coander
Fairey Marine
Silver Mist
Sting Ray
Fairey Huntsman
Tod Boat
Holiday Lady
Neptune 36
Deglet Nour
Bluebird Of Chelsea
Steam Yacht Greta
Huntsman 31
Sea Falcon
Fairacre II
Motor Yacht Mermaid


Fishing Boat
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Parker Bell Fourteen Six

Huntsman 31
1920s Racing Runabout
Diana Fairey Huntress
Miller Fifer
River Cruiser Dubarry
Liverpool Lifeboat
Theodor Heuss
Inshore Inflatable
Rother Class Lifeboat
RNLB Plymouth
Tyne Lifeboat
Puffin & Petrel
Clochlight Clyde
Maria SS
New Fawn
Cumbrae SS
Island Scene
Victoria TSS Steam Passenger Ferry
Queen Mary II
St Columba 1:150 Scale Steam Passenger Ferry
St Columba 1:100 Scale
Monas Queen
Uganda SS
Duchess Of Hamilton
St Ninian
King George V
Africa Star
Kyle Rhea SS
Shenking SS
Adrian M
Kinabalu SS
Maria Smits
Port Chalmers
Channel Queen SS
Clyde Puffer
TSMV Princess Of Vancouver
TSMV Lochiel
St Sunniva
Emily May
Sabina Steam Passenger Ferry
MV Pioneer
MV Sandpiper
M V Yorkshire Belle
SS Kyle Rhea
Royal Daffodil
M.S. Scottish Coast
Queen Mary
M.V Bardic FerrySteam Passenger Ferry
S. S. Balboa
MS Velarde
SS Noggsund
Empire Campden WW2 Tanker
S S Mathura
HDMS Agdlek
Miniature Group 18
Miniature Group 23
Miniature Group 14
Miniature Group 8
Miniature Group 3
Miniature Group 4
Miniature Group 9
Miniature Group 11
Miniature Group 12
Miniature Group 20
Lochinvar Clyde Puffer Paddle Ship
Hiawatha Paddle Ship
Bournemouth Queen Paddle Ship
Zulu Paddle Ship
Iona Paddle Tug
Cleopatra Paddle Ship
Prunella Paddle Ship
Waverley Paddle Ship
Caledonia Paddle Ship
St Louis Belle Paddle Ship
Britannia Paddle Ship
Marchioness Of Lorne Paddle Ship
Totnes Castle Paddle Ship
Talisman Paddle Ship
Royal Falcon Paddle Ship
Thames Penny Paddle Steamer
Waverley Paddle Ship
Caledonia Paddle Ship
Jeanie Deans Paddle Ship
Talisman Paddle Ship


Leisure Craft
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Life Boat
Life Boat
Life Boat
Life Boat
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Paddle Ship
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Paddle Ship
Paddle Ship
Paddle Ship
Paddle Ship
Paddle Ship
Paddle Ship
Paddle Ship

126 www.modelboats.co.uk


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Phantom Paddle Ship

Thames Penny Steamer
The Bug
Blue Streak Mk II
Sea Sled
Top 20
Suzie Q
Buoy Cat
Force Three
Sea Hawk Static Sail
Mayflower Static Sail
Stuart Yacht Static Sail
Alabama CSS Static Sail
HMS Bounty Static Sail
Enterprise Static Sail
Dutch Yacht Static Sail
Kotia Static Sail
Boom Safar Static Sail
Mashwa Static Sail
Elizabeth Regina Static Sail
Banoosh Static Sail
Lug Sailing Dinghy Static Sail
Ranger Static Sail
Sloop 1776 Static Sail
Dinghy Static Sail
Revive Static Sail
Early Sixth Rate Static Sail
50 Gun Ship Static Sail
Myrmidon Static Sail
Golden Hind Static Sail
Ariel Static Sail
Sailing Galleon Static Sail
Mary Dear Static Sail
Pearling Lugger Static Sail
Barge Yacht Static Sail
Cutter Rig Static Sail
Cutty Sark Static Sail
HMS Victory Static Sail
Giralda Static Sail
Mediterranean Static Sail
Kathleen Static Sail
Brig Static Sail
Brigantine Static Sail
Topsail Schooner Static Sail
Fore & Aft Schooner Static Sail
Ketch Rig Static Sail
Simple ked Hull
22 Foot Launch Static Sail
Flat Bottom Boat Static Sail
Elizabeth Regina
Nina Steam Launch
Swift Steam Launch
Victoria Oscillating Engine
Victoria Steam Launch
Celia May Steam Launch
Puffing Muffin Steam Launch
Mabel Steam Launch
Miranda Steam Launch
River Queen
Sprat Submarine
HMS Tabbard Submarine
Molch & Hecht Submarine
Submersible Submarine
Type Ix U Boat Submarine
Sardine Submarine
USS Nautilus Submarine
Charlie Class Submarine
HMS Tabard Submarine
Submarines F & B1 Submarine
Nautilus Submarine
Resolution class & Type XXIC U-boat Subs
Hollandi Submarine
Mini Sub Submarine
Star Polaris Tug
Brigadier Tug
Burutu & Bajima
Sun XXI Tug
Winch Tug
Forceful Tug
Forceful Paddle working drawings
Titan Tug
Al Khubar Tug


Paddle Ship
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Static Sail
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Static Sail
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Static Sail
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Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Static Sail
Steam Launches
Steam Launches
Steam Launches
Steam Launches
Steam Launches
Steam Launches
Steam Launches
Steam Launches
Steam Launches


Chieftain Tug
Finland Tug
Halcyon Tug
Hibernia Thames Tug
Gondia Tug
Cruiser Tug
Ngan Chau Tug
Saint Class Rescue Tug
Bustler Tug
Tid Class Tug
Moorcock 1-48Th Tug
Flying Duck Tug
Knight Of St Patrick Tug
Metinda III Tug
Cervia Tug
Keenoma Tug
Joffre Tug
Chieftain Paddles Tug
Heide Moran Tug
Moorcock 1-24Th Tug
HS Type Tug
Ionia Tug
Smit Nederland Tug
Smit Nederland Tug
Egret Tug
Ikwerre Tug
Conakry Tug
Havendienst Iv Tug
Cullamix Tug
Yarra Tug
River Tug
Blazer Tug
Burutu & Bajima Tug
American Tug
Tiddler Tug
Turmoil Tug
Tipstaff Tug
Thomas Tug
F C Sturrock Tug
Tug Boat Craig
Dusty Miller
Flying Dolphin
1933 Steam Tug Wattle
Diligent Tug
SRN 1 Hovercraft
Lilo Hovercraft
Huing Bird
Bell Sk5
Retrieval Boat
Mr Robotham
Foil Boat
Sail Foil
Wet Jet
Sand Fairy Ann
Retrieval Boat
Armoured Troop Carrier
Survey Vehicle Amphibian
RAF 36Ft Pinnace
Thornycroft 67Ft
40Ft RAF Seae
RAF Sea e Tender
38Ft Walton Raf
British Powerboat
63Ft Motor Anti
BPB Hants & Dorset
Armoured Target
RAF Rescue Launch
Vosper RAF 73Ft Rescue Launch
RAF Service
Canadian Power Boat
Miami 63Ft Asrl
Landing Craft
BPB 70Ft Motor Gunboat
Brave Borderer
Harbour Defence Motor Launch (HDML)
Vosper Mtb
Landing Craft
Tank Landing Craft
British Power Boat
Loyal Moderator
Black Marauder
Dark Class Motor
M.A.S. 555
Fairmile Type C Ml
Torpedo Boat 85
Tank Landing Craft
Vosper Pl4
Harbour Defence
Denny Gun Boat
Range Safety Launch
E Boat
Thorneycroft Mtb
Vosper Rttl
Steam Pinnace
Fast Patrol Boat


Warships & Military
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Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
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Warships & Military
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Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
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Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
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Warships & Military
Warships & Military

Model Boats Warships 127

Model Boats Plans service list

To find any of these plans go to: www.myhobbystore.co.uk/modelboatplans

Product name


Product type

MM 2073

Admirals Barge
Rmas Moorhen
Britannia HMS
Britannia Royal
Britannia Royal
Admiralty Mfv
Strath Class
HMS Amethyst
Hunt Class Destroyer
HMS Iveston
Arturo Volante
HMS Manxman
HMS Dreadnought
Cossack HMS
Bittern HMS
Bude HMS
Harlech Castle HMS
HMS King George V
Prinz Eugen
D D Harriman
HMS Mohawk
HMS Quickstep Warship
Ark Royal HMS
Newport News Uss
Iranian Frigate
HMS Wolverton
HMS Rodney
HMS Hood
Graf Zeppelin
HMS Victorious
HMS Quickstep
HMS Kent
Admiral Graf Spee
HMS Inflexible
HMS Instant
Torpedo Boat Destroyer
Diamond HMS
Exeter HMS
USS Aitchison Warship
HMS Invincible
Aitchison USS
Ashanti HMS
Diamond HMS
HMS Midge
Dido HMS
Tbd Cruiser Leader
Javelin Class Destroyer
Empire Jubilee
HMS Vallhalla
HMS Sultan
Devonshire HMS
Round Table
HMS Kite
HMS Marshall Soult
USS Hanford
Miami Crashboat
USS Bodega Bay
HMS Matador
USS Hibbard
USS Hanley
US Monitor
HMS Blazer
Higgins PT
Vosper A.S.R.L.
HMS Rowley
Rocket Class Frigate
HMS Invincible
Vosper ASRL
British Power Boat
Walton Thames
Thornycraft ASRL
MAGM2041 RAF Seae Tender
Walton 38ft RAF Seae Tender
USS Ripley
Vosper Royal Barge
USS Ripley Warship
HMS Embling
HMS Penelope
HMS Lagos Warship
Halvorsen Seae Tender
HMS Goliath
HMS Tean
RAFA Aquarius
Ranchi Ss 1930
Winchester Castle
Gloucester Castle
Comoru Ss
Duchess Of Bedford
Irisbank Ms 1930
Carbia Ms
Rangitiki Ms
Shropshire Ms


Warships & Military

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Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
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Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
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Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military
Warships & Military

128 www.modelboats.co.uk


Product name


Product type

Asama Maru
Ss Glenfield
Kaiser Wilhelm
Royal George
Arabia 1897
Magnolia Ss 1923
Scottish Borderer
City Of Nagpur
Northern Prince
Conte Biancamano
Monte Sarmiento
Campania Ss 1893
Empress Of India
Majestic 1920
Stagpool Ss 1900
Victoria Ms 1931
Exeter Ss 1931
Delplata & Barranca
Clan Macdonald
Glaucus Ss 1921
SS Amerika Waterline
Reina Del Pacfic
Virginian Ss 1905
Empress Of Britain
Doric, Regina
Aquitania 1914 Waterline
Breman Ss 1930
Orontes 1929
Olympic Ss 1911
Ivernia Ss 1900
Athenia Ss 1923
Orbita & Orduna
Sandown Castle
Balmoral Castle
Port Townsville
Granada & Dashwood
California Ss
Romanby & Kent
SS Almeda Star Waterline
MV Valoeran
Araguaya 1905-08
Vulcania 1928
Esperance Bay
Paris 1918
SS Cavina
Andre Lebon
SS Conte Biancamano
SS Tenyo Maru
MS Monte Sarmiento
SS America 1884
SS Alsatian
SS Mongolia
SS Miltiades
SS Ceramic
SS Orizaba
MS Aramis
SS Jamaique
Dunottar Castle
SS Euripides 1940
MS Caribia
SS Tairea
SS Gloucester Castle
SS Lady Nelson
SS Royal George
Royal George
Gloucester Castle
Lady Nelson SS
Arabia 1897
Esperence Bay 1921
Euripides SS 1914
Pilot 20
Vigia Thv
Pilot 40
Thornycroft Pilot
Grampian Pride
Star Perseus
Seaforth Conqueror
Cable Ship Mercury
Fireboat 39
Esk Harbour
Seaforth Clansman
John Biscoe
T.H.V Pathfinder
Seaforth Clansman
Vosper MTB
HMS Vulcan
Cruiser 1:32 Tug
Karla Warship
HMS Warrior
HMS Jersey


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Product name


Product type


Product name


Product type

MM 267
MM 520
MM 487
MM 645
MM 784
MM 718
MM 1222
MM 1460
MM 1236
MM 765
MM 616
MM 1388

Britannic 1930
Fordsdale Ss 1924
Maid Of Ashton
Flying Fish
HMS Jersey
Pilot II
Sting Ray
SS Brighton
Hot Foot
Arabia 1897
SS Otway
Tairea SS
Andrea VI
Carbia MS
NW Miller
Hector SS
Lowlander Palan
Dik Dik
Razor Bill
Pilot II
SS Otway
Fury HMS
My Mermaid
Matiff Set
Paris 1918
Lady Betty
QE 2
Round Table Class Minesweeping Trawlers
Top Hat
Harry Trabands
Albion Paddle Ship
Mona Tyne Ferry
Will Everard Static Sail
SY17 Gun Ship of 1733
An Early Sixth Rate
MT Iona
Rotterdam Buoy
Harbour Launch
PS Duchess of Fife
PS Duchess of Kent
PS Albion
Tyne Ferry Mona
Ellipse 2B
Sniper Mk II
Andrea II


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RM 258

Taroo Ushtey
Nerka 36-600
Semi Submerged Platform
Plutonian Plate
Buzzin Bee
Harry Trabands 5cc Hydroe
Mulbera 1922
SS Amarapoora
Amarapoora SS
Fitting 36R
Duches Of Kent
Comet Catamaran
Fivon Marblehead
Clutha No. 11
Two Four Seven
Semi Submerged
Tarroo Ushtey
Ellipse 2B
Classic 10 Rater
Duchess of Fife
Orange Vehicle
Viceroy of India
Vital Spark
Harry Trabands
Scale Rules Measure
G. M. Firebird
Mulbera 1922
Scenic BG C
Berganger MS 1932
Hand Winch
Trygve Braarud
Julia May
Sir Winston
Marie Celeste
Eowyn Of Rohan
Thames Sailing
Dutch Auxiliary
Freeward Marine
Celia Jane
Norfolk Wherry
Topsail Schooner
Grand Banks Schooner
Snow Goose
China Boy
Three Times A Lady
Swing Rig For Rms
Playaway 36
e Jane
Sea Mew
Birkenhead Catamaran
Square One
T.S. Astrid
Smack/Yacht Kingfisher
Moth-Single Sheet
Lassel Vane Gear
Dare Devil
Racing Yacht Lancet
Star Class Sloop
Simple Vane Gear
Rigging And Fittings For Marblehead Yachts
Moving Carriage Vane Gear
Coquette III
Breakback Vane Gear
Star C
Water Baby A


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Yachts/Sailing Craft
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Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
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Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
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Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
Yachts/Sailing Craft
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Model Boats Warships 129


This special battlefield guide is filled with information behind Operation

Overlord, the allied operations and beach invasions. The military defences,
bunkers and fortifications which still remain today.
Including photography then and now this is a must-have guide for any visitor or
historical enthusiast.
There is so much to enable any visitor to explore this historic region.

On sale NOW! Or order your copy online today

from the publishers of

Model Boats Warships 53


A50162 1:72

57 D
ir A


A50009 D-Day B


These D-Day gift sets will be available

in June to mark the 70th anniversary of
D-Day. These four sets illustrate different
stages during Operation Overlord and
all of these come with vac-form bases
to create the perfect diorama.




All the models included in each of

these sets are also available to
purchase individually.

Ofcial Product


2 www.modelboats.co.uk


Join the Ofcial Airx Club

For schools and all

youth organisations