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PLAN 100 Packed Pages!

UK £4.95
Winter 2013

Get on board www.modelboats.co.uk


The Steam Tug construction advice
for the novice
workhorse from and expert
down under!



A diamond in the rough!

Build a speed boat using our
complimentary full plan

Ranzow modelLING group

We review Graupner’s 1:32 scale


radio controlled buoy-layer kit

USS MISSOURI (BB-63) Length: 1,352mm Beam: 165mm Over 1,570 Parts
1.13m Hull with separate two-piece Bow section
TM03705 Two SC-1 Seahawk float planes included
Accurately detailed guns
I:200 Two-piece Deck



Upgrade set also available! TM0663I

BB-39 1941
TM03701 I:350

Over 1,000 parts! HMS WARSPITE TM05325

Single-piece hull more than 920mm long
Metal main gun barrels, shaft and screw

Upgrade set also available! TM0662I

Comprehensive signal flags decal sheet
Photo-etch railings & derricks

BISMARCK 1941 Length: 1,265mm Beam: 181mm Over 1,700 Parts

Four Ar196 float planes included
TM03702 Metal prop shaft & anchor chain
Photo-etch handrails, ladders etc
Single piece Deck
NEW L:562mm

Upgrade set also available! TM06627 HMS BELFAST I942 TM05334


Length: 1,239mm
I:200 Total Parts: 1,200+ I:350
MM62001 Kit includes: L:532mm
5 x F4F-4, 5 x SBD 3/4, 8 x TBD-1
Optional Build with “Early” or “Late” Type Radars
8 x Turned Metal Barrels for 5 inch Guns


NEW L:532mm


Length: 738mm
Kit includes:
GM64002 CH-46E, CH-53E, AH-1W,
SH-60B, V-22 Helicopters,
AV-8B Harriers, LCAC, The Pocketbond 2013/14
LCU + Assault Vehicles colour catalogue includes
more than 250
from around the world!
For your free copy send
a £1.40 A4 Large S.A.E

NEW to the address below.

UK residents only.
Allow 28 days for delivery.

Exclusive UK Distributors POCKETBOND LTD (Dept MB/I3II)

P.O.BOX 80, WELWYN, HERTS, AL6 0ND. Trade enquiries only on tel 0I707 39I509, fax 0I707 327466, info@pocketbond.co.uk
Model Boats 2013 Special Edition ‘Improve your modelling skills!’

Published by MyTimeMedia Ltd

Hadlow House, 9 High Street, Green Street
Green, Orpington, Kent BR6 6BG
Phone: 0844 412 2262
From outside UK: +44 (0) 1689 869 840

UK – New, Renewals & Enquiries
UR E !
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Tel: 0844 848 8822
From outside UK: +44 2476 322234
Email: customer.services@myhobbystore.com
Online: www.myhobbystore.co.uk
Editor: Paul Freshney
PO BOX 9890, Brentwood, CM14 9EF
Email: editor@modelboats.co.uk
Design Manager: Siobhan Nolan
Designer: Richard Dyer
Illustrator: Grahame Chambers
Retouching Manager: Brian Vickers
Ad Production: Robin Gray

Senior Advertising Executive
& Online Manager: Ben Rayment WATTLE
Email: ben.rayment@mytimemedia.com John Parker presents his
Tel: 0844 848 5240 new plan, together with full
constructional advice in his
MARKETING & SUBSCRIPTIONS in-depth article that also
Sarah Pradhan & Kate Scott
includes a Photo Gallery of
MANAGEMENT the full-size tug
Head of Design & Production: Julie Miller
Group Advertising Manager: Duncan Armstrong
Chief Executive: Owen Davies
Chairman: Peter Harkness BUT I DON’T
Dave Milbourn, an expert
on the subject, explains
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

© MyTimeMedia Ltd. 2013
All rights reserved ISSN 0140-2910
The Publisher’s 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 reader’s own risk.

MODEL BOATS, ISSN 0140-2910, is published 13 times per year

(twice in August) by MYTIMEMEDIA LTD, c/o USACAN Media Corp.
at 123A Distribution Way Building H-1, Suite 104, Plattsburgh, NY
12901. Periodicals postage paid at Plattsburgh, N.Y. POSTMASTER:
send address changes to MODEL BOATS, c/o Express Mag,
P.O. BOX 2769, Plattsburgh, N.Y., U.S.A. 12901- 0239.

Terry Small builds the Graupner kit
For plans, hulls, binders, books, back
issues and many other products,
please visit www.myhobbystore.co.uk
or call +44 (0)844 848 8822
(phonelines open 9am - 5.30pm GMT) Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013
Glynn Guest presents an easy
to build small fast electric radio
controlled model

Ron Rees shows how you can easily make these useful
tools for a fraction of the cost of a commercial machine


Glynn Guest is a great believer in the use of easy to his Special Issue has 100 pages and includes a
obtain materials such as cardboard and demonstrates
their practicality for working model boats
Free Plan for Scudder, a simple water-jet powered
fast electric radio controlled fun model. In
addition, included on the back of the Free Plan is a
MyHobbyStore plans listing. Many of our readers miss
the old style catalogues that with the advent of the
internet have largely disappeared and as
MyHobbyStore and the Plans Service is an integral
part of Model Boats, as well as other hobby magazines
in the group, we thought this would be appreciated by
those who still prefer to browse a printed version
rather than go online.
This Special Edition of Model Boats also includes a
comprehensive Plan Feature for the Australian Steam Tug
Wattle, which has been supplied by John Parker, as well
as the included Free Plan for Scudder by Glynn Guest,
plus an in depth kit review for Ranzow by Terry Small.
This 100 page issue has as its second thread, the
theme of ‘Improving your Modelling Skills’ and for this
there are articles on the use of Cardboard in our
models by Glynn Guest; Electronics by Dave
Milbourn, a well known master of the subject; Resin
Casting by Dave Wooley; Metals and their uses by
68 Richard Simpson and finally a really nice piece by Ron
RESIN CASTING Rees on how to make simple homemade Hot Wire
Dave Wooley investigates and describes the convenience
of polyurethane castings when numerous examples of the
Cutters. Regular readers of Model Boats will have
same item are required seen his fantastic small scale r/c models built on foam
hulls, so this article makes it even easier for the model
76 boat hobbyist to use and cut this lightweight material,
FULL METAL ANORAK! something that has been common in aeromodelling for
Richard Simpson discusses metals in depth and how they some years now.
can be best used in model boats I hope in this Special 100 Page Special issue that
there is something for everyone who has a passion for
radio control scale model boating and please don’t
forget to visit our website and participate in our active
forum managed by Colin Bishop. In addition, Model
Boats is now also on Twitter and Facebook for those
readers who like to use social media.
Paul Freshney - Editor

The Model Boats December 2013 issue is on sale on the 22nd November 2013
Next issue
USS Monterey

RAFA Aquarius

This Issue includes a Full-Size Complimentary Free Plan for the World War Two Royal Air Force
Auxiliary Ship Aquarius and John Hollis, one of the UK’s top model boat builders, describes in
depth his unique steam powered model of USS Monterey.
See more about what’s in Model Boats magazine month-to-month in forthcoming issues and see some of the articles you may have missed from
past issues and subscription offers on our website: www.modelboats.co.uk

We have a great range of subscription packages that you can choose from, including our new Print + Digital package which give subscribers 13
issues a year with 6 free plans, 13 digital editions to download and keep PLUS access to an Online Archive dating all the way back to January 2007.

Don’t forget! The December issue will be published on 22nd November 2013 price £4.35 – don’t miss it! Order your copy now! Or better still
why not make it your first copy in a year’s subscription to Model Boats magazine? See our subscription offer on Page 32 in this issue…

If you can’t always find a copy Please reserve/deliver my copy of Model Boats
of this magazine, help is at on a regular basis, starting with issue..........................................
hand! Complete this form and Title............... First name.................................................................
hand in at your local store,
they’ll arrange for a copy of
each issue to be
Packed Page
UK £4.9
reserved for you.
Winter 5
2013 your

Get on boa
Some stores may
rd www.mo

even be able to


The Steam HINTS &
workhors Tug TIPS

arrange for it to be
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down unde Compre
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for the nov ice

and expert

delivered to your Telephone number..........................................................................


S home. Just ask!

AN !

A diamond
Build a spe in the rough !
Ranzow ed boa
compliment t using our
ary full plan

If you don’t want to miss an issue

review Gra
radio controll upner’s 1:32
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ING Group
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Contents may be subject to change.

6 www.modelboats.co.uk Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013


17 Tremorvah Barton
H.M.S. Invincible. Battlecruiser 1907 1:250
HMS Sheffield 1:200 full hull
1:96 Scale 20ft Motor boat
1:48 Scale 20ft Motor cutter 130mm
Vertical Refillable Gas Tank (1-1/4"" Dia)
Exhaust Oil Trap (1-1/4”)
Lime Strip 1.5 x 4.0mm x approx 1 metre long
Lime Strip 1.5 x 5mm x approx 1 metre long
HMS Abdiel Light Cruiser 1;200 scale 635mm £28.54 1:48 Scale 25ft Motor cutter 162mm £30.72 Horizontal Boiler Mounting Tray £39.95 Lime Strip 1.5 x 6mm x approx 1 metre long £0.58
Tregolls Road, Truro HMS Repulse. Battleship 1:300 scale 806mm £27.53 1:48 Scale 20ft transom sterned clinker lifeboat £12.23 Refillable Gas Tank Adaptor (Long) £24.99 Lime Strip 1.5 x 7mm x approx 1 metre long £0.61
Iowa 1:400 US Battleship 1942 680mm £26.52 This is just a selection of over 100 boats in various scales Refillable Gas Tank Adaptor (Standard) £21.99 Lime Strip 1.5 x 8mm x approx 1 metre long £0.65
Cornwall, TR1 1NN HMS Dreadnought 1:200 £26.50
R/C Boat Plans Sound Modules Lime Strip 1 x 1mm x approx 1 metre long £0.36
HMS Cambeltown 1;200 scale 470mm £25.95 Lime Strip 1 x 1.5mm x approx 1 metre long £0.36
Mail order Only. Sorry no callers Normandie French Liner 1:400 scale £25.95 Lime Strip 1 x 10mm x approx 1 metre long £0.55
H.M.S Cossack Tribal class destroyer 38" £12.50 Petrol/Diesel Engine with Horn £43.40
Phone line open Mon-Fri 9am- 1pm Yamato. Japanese Battleship 1:400 685mm £23.95 Lorraine: A really elegant 54in. motor yacht £17.50 Machine Gun £35.73 Lime Strip 1 x 2mm x approx 1 metre long £0.37
Grosdeutschland Superbattleship 1:400 £23.44 Vosper R.T.T.L: 1:24 68ft. Vosper Rescue Steam Engine Sound £43.40 Lime Strip 1 x 3mm x approx 1 metre long £0.38
and Target Towing Launch £12.50 Whooper £35.73 Lime Strip 1 x 4mm x approx 1 metre long £0.39
Tel UK: 01872 261755 Hull and Plan Sets Lime Strip 1 x 5mm x approx 1 metre long £0.45
St Louis Belle 1:64 Mississippi stern-wheeler £12.50 Fog Horn £35.73
Tel Int: +44 1872 261755 Victoria Steam Launch 1:12 scale 762mm £40.45 T.B.D Cruiser Leader: 1:144 32in. Scout class £12.50 Ship Klaxon £35.73 Lime Strip 1 x 6mm x approx 1 metre long £0.50
Pilot 40 . Pilot boat 698mm £50.45 200 Series RAF Seaplane Tender: 1:12 950mm £12.50 Sub Sonar Ping £35.73 Lime Strip 1 x 7mm x approx 1 metre long £0.51
www.model-dockyard.com Bluebird Of Chelsea . 1:24 scale 654mm £46.95 Brave Borderer: A 36in Vosper patrol boat £12.50 Sub Dive Alarm £35.73 Lime Strip 1 x 8mm x approx 1 metre long £0.53
Forceful Paddle Tug Hull only. 1:48 1003mm £51.49 H.M.S Ark Royal : 1:192 WW2 aircraft carrier £12.50 Air Horns £35.73 This is just a selection of sizes. Other woods stocks include
U.K Delivery Guardsman Customs launch 1:32 scale 571mm £37.45 MFV Admiralty Trawler 1:40 scale 710mm £12.50 Large Ship Horn £35.73 Walnut, Maple, Tanganykia, Beech, Pear, Balsa, Obechi
Burutu & Bajima Tug 1:50scale 768mm £47.45 Enterprise: Northumbrian Coble 1:12 685mm £12.50 Large Ship Steam Whistle £35.73 Admiralty Paints
Kits and Boat Hulls Add £9.00 Tyne Life Boat 1:12 scale 787mm £46.49 Tyne class Lifeboat 31in. 1:12 scale £12.50 Old Steam Whistle £35.73
Timber orders Add £6.00 Smit Nederland Hull 558mm £42.45 HMS Kite: Ant Class Flatiron Gunboat 1:32 £12.50 Tug Boat Air Horn £35.73 Available in 14ml flip top capped bottles in the following
Other Order value up to £50 Add £5.00 Liverpool Lifeboat l 905mm 1:12 scale £91.50 H.M.S Kent : 1:96 scale early cruiser 58" £17.50 Mtroniks Diesel Canal Boat £59.99 colours. Light Ivory, Red Ensign , Maroon Admiralty,
Other Order value Over £50 Add £9.00 RMAS Moorhen Hull 1:43 scale 740mm £51.45 Miranda Edwardian steam Launch 42in £12.50 Mtroniks Multicylinder Diesel £59.99 Polished Bronze, Antique Bronze, Olive Green,
Over £190 Free Delivery Cervia, Thames Tug 1:48 scale 711mm £71.50 Valerie Anne Thames barge. 1120mm £16.85 Walnut Brown, Matt Flesh, Gold/Brass, Copper, Dull Black,
Brave Borderer 1:32 scale 914mm £86.50 Orca (Jaws) fishing boat featured in the film. £11.23
Motors Matt Black, Dull White, Matt White, Yellow Ochre, Red
Free delivery does not apply to shipments HMS Warspite. Queen Elizabeth class £127.66 Boston Fury 1:48th 1960 East Coast Trawler £16.85 Genesis Hydra50 combo Brushless £109.99 Ochre, French Blue, Flat Matt Varnish, Matt Varnish
weighing over 2 kilos, being sent to the H.M.S. Devonshire. Cruiser 1504mm £96.00 Fairey Huntsman:1:8 scale 1066mm £12.50 Genesis Hydra30 combo Brushless £69.99 Satin Matt Varnish £2.25 per colour
H.M.S. Liverpool. Town class1409mm £96.31 TID Tug The wartime tug 890mm . £11.23 Genesis Hydra15 combo Brushless £59.99
Channel Islands or Northern Ireland, Scottish
H.M.S. Hood. Battlecruiser 2057mm £137.87 Princess of the Lake Cruise Launch £11.23
Admiralty Woodstain
Islands, Scillies, or IOM. Delivery here will be Schottel drive unit 70mm dia prop £95.94
charged at cost. H.M.S. Repulse. Battleship 1879mm £137.06 HMS Inflexible Dreadnought 1890s.1100mm £16.85 Schottel drive unit 50mm dia prop £76.48 Available in 14ml eye dropper bottles in the following colours.
Waverley paddle steamer 1365mm, £16.85 Rudder-propeller drive: £74.42 Mahogany, Oak, Ebony, Walnut & Cherry £3.32 each
Deans Marine Kits Tina Jane A 45ft stern trawler 560mm £11.23 Schottel drive unit 40mm dia prop £62.71
Orders are sent by 1st class post or UPS
25ft Motor Boat 1:12 scale 690mm £175.95 Altair Auxillary gaff rigged schooner 1200mm £33.19 Deans Marine Navy Geared Maxi 6v £44.95
carrier. Large parcel deliveries to Scottish Rhum Islands Class Ferry, 500mm £9.19
Compass Rose. Corvette1:96 673mm £177.65 6v Geared motor 3 rpm £34.83 The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships £40.00
Highland and Islands, the Isle of Man, Isles of H.M.S. Solebay.Destroyer 1945 1210mm £306.33 Robbe Navy geared motor EF 76 - 6v £33.18
Scilly and Northern Ireland will be shipped by John Lambert Plans IMerchant Ship Construction £28.00
Robert E Peary Liberty Ship 1384mm £336.97 Micro geared motor 50:1 £22.18 Thunderer. Building a Model Dreadnought £25.00
3 day UPS carrier . Deliveries to Channel MGB77. 71.6ft BPB 1:24 920mm £243.01 The Royal Navy’s Standard 14 Ft Sailing Dinghy £14.10 Micro geared motor 150:1 £22.18 RMS Titanic. A Modelmaker's Manual £25.00
Islands will be shipped by Euro 48 service 73ft Vosper Type 1 1:24 scale 965mm £252.20 Vosper 72ft 6in MTBs Nos 73-98 £14.10 Micro geared motor 300:1 £22.18 Rigging Period Ship Models £25.00
Bronnington. minesweeper 1:100 465mm £107.18 71 ft 6 Inch British Power Boat. MTB 467 £37.86 EL653/16 low drain motor £21.95 Plank on Frame Models. Volume Two £25.00
MTB 488. B.P.C. 71.6 MTB 1:24 920mm £272.63 The Quadruple 21in QR Mark VIII Torpedo Tubes £14.10 Deans Marine Kestrel 4.8 to 12volts £19.28
We ship Worldwide too RAF Crash Tender 1:24 scale 610mm £113.31 The 16 Ft Admiralty Pattern Trawler Boat £14.10 543/12 low drain motor for large props £18.85
Plank on Frame Models. Volume One l
Ship Modeling Simplified
All prices correct at time of going to press but we Steam Yacht Medea 1904. 1:48 870mm £139.86 The Royal Navy's standard 27 Ft Whaler £37.86 Speed 480 Motor 7.2v £18.75 Rigging Period Fore & Aft Craft £22.50
reserve the right to supply at the prices ruling at the Tradition. Seine net trawler 870mm 1:24 £360.92 Flower Class Corvette. HMS Nasturtium £14.10 Deans Marine Kondor £17.31 Masting & Rigging of Clipper Ship
time of order despatch. E&OE H.M.S. Cossack Destroyer 1938 1200mm £272.63 United States Navy 2Omm Oerlikon. £14.10 Deans Marine Kondor 2 £17.31 and Ocean Carrier £22.00
The Twin 2Omm Oerlikon on Post War Mark 12 £14.10 543-24 low drain motor £15.93 Ship Modeling from Stem to Stern £21.95
Plastic Kits The 3 Pdr Hotchkiss Gun £14.10 Deans Kyte Motor £11.18 The Ship Model Builders Assistant. £20.95
Trumpeter Bismarck 1:200 scale £225.99 EL653/33 low drain motor £10.95 The Built up Ship Model. £12.95
Amati Kits Harold Underhill Plans Mabuchi Low Drain 545 £9.96
Italeri MTB77 72.5ft Vosper 1:35 632mm £99.99 Puffer Ahoy £20.00
Heller Le Soleil Royal 1:100 scale £149.95 Cutty Sark Clipper Ship 698mm £29.54 Mabuchi 540 £7.43 The Ship Model Builders Handbook £19.95
Dutch Royal Yacht in Bottle 1:300 95mm £46.93
Trumpeter USS Arizona 1941 1:200 £163.99 Marie Sophie of Falmouth 1033mm £44.41 Mabuchi 480 motor 4.8 to 8.4v £7.00 Card Modelling £20.95
Egyptian Ship Sahure Dynasty 350mm £77.57
Trumpeter HMS Belfast 1942 1:200 £69.95 Lady of Avenel. Wood. 850mm £33.30 Mabuchi 400 £7.00 Ship Modelling from Scratch £19.95
Greek Bireme 480 BC 560mm £77.57
Trumpeter HMS Dreadnought 1907 1:350 £37.99 74-Gun Two-Decker (Circa 1813 1422mm £77.71 Electronize 365/14 low drain £5.56 Flower Class Corvettes £16.99
Viking Ship Oseberg 1:50 440mm £105.14
Mayflower 1620 1:60 scale 650mm £174.59 Academy Titanic 1:400 Ltd Edition £99.95 Lady Daphne Thames Sailing Barge812mm £29.54 Raboesch Propshafts Advanced Ship Modelling by Brian King: £16.95
Chinese Junk Scale 1:100 400mm £87.78 Revell Titanic 1:400 £51.05 12-Gun Brig-of-War. Lines, 1187mm £55.51 Model Marine Steam £14.95
Xebec.1753 720mm 1:60 £155.95 Revell Flower Class Corvette 1:72 £119.00 Cunard Liner Servia, 1:192 scale 850mm £33.30 Waterproof Prop Shaft M4 290mm £25.29 HMS Victory Owners workshop manual £21.95
New Bedford Whaleboat 1:16 550mm £122.50 Trumpeter HMS Repulse 1941 1:350 £100.06 40-Gun Frigate (Circa 1790 831mm £66.61 Waterproof Propeller Shaft M4 290mm £34.22 Scale Model Tugs £14.95
Riva Aquarama. With Transmission kit £509.57 Heller HMS Victory 1:100 scale £149.99 Valerian. Brixham Trawler 1069mm. £49.23 Waterproof Propeller Shaft M5 290mm £34.32 Historical Sailing Ships: Remote Controlled £14.95
Endeavour J Class. Wood Hull 1:80 480mm £83.69 Trumpeter Queen Elizabeth 1:350 £69.99 Diesel Ring Net Fishing Boat 615mm £29.53 Waterproof Propeller Shaft M4 450mm £39.74 Period Ship Handbook. Vol One. £16.95
Endeavour J Class 1:35 scale 1130mm £259.95 Trumpeter USS Alabama 1:350 £79.99 Three Brothers. Rye Fishing Smack. 797mm £29.54 Waterproof Propeller Shaft M5 450mm £39.74 Period Ship Kit Builders Manual £16.95
Trumpeter HMS Hood (1941) 1:350 £91.89 Prop Shaft &support bracket M2 230mm £23.49 Model Ships Fittings £12.95
Victory Models Kits Lindberg Sea Witch. Clipper 1:96 838mm £149.95
Static Display Kit Plans Prop Shaft &support bracket M3 270mm £25.29 Model Submarine Technology £12.95
Lindberg PT 109 MTB 1:32 scale 749mm £149.95 Chinese Junk, construction plans. £11.24 Prop Shaft &support bracket M4 330mm £30.71 Painting Model Boats £12.95
Lady Nelson Cutter. 1:64 scale 530mm £117.95
LindbergBlue Devil Destroyer 1:125 910mm £99.95 Sovereign of the Seas, plans 1:78 1100mm £27.10 Ship Modelling in Plastic £12.95
Granado. Bomb Ketch 1756 1:64 800mm £261.95
Lindberg Air Force Rescue Boat 1:72 330mm £34.95
Rudder Assemblies Scale Model Steamboats £12.95
HMS Fly. Swan Class Sloop. 1:64 800mm £289.95 HMS Fly Plan set £26.50
Lindberg Tuna Clipper 1:60 scale 368mm £49.95 Lady Nelson Cutter Plan Set £9.80 Rudder assembly 33 long x 22mm wide £3.90 Making Model Boats with Styrene £12.95
HMS Vanguard. 74 gun 3rd rate 1:72 1171mm £684.95
Lindberg Atlantic Fishing Trawler 1:90 457mm £49.95 HMS Bounty, construction plans £21.71 Rudder assembly 60 long x 41mm wide £5.36 Simply Model Submarines £12.95
HMS Pegasus Swan class sloop 1:64 800mm £344.95
Lindberg Coast Guard Tug Boat 1:72 304mm £34.95 French Xebec construction plans £11.24 Rudder assembly with tiller arm 45 x 35mm £4.54 The Model Tug Boat Book: £12.95
Mercury: 20 gun Brig 1820. 1:64 scale 860mm £354.95
Academy HMS Warspite, Premium Edition £79.95 Vikingship, Osjberg, construction plans. £11.24 Rudder assembly with tiller arm 55 x 45mm £4.54 Scale Model Warships £12.95
Mamoli Kits Revell Gato Class Submarine 1:72 £72.36 Titanic Plans set £49.89 Steerable Kort nozzle for props up to 35 mm Ø £18.33 Submarines. Models and their Originals £12.95
Trumpeter Admiral Hipper 1941 1:350 £69.95 Endeavour J Class Plans set £25.28 Becker Rudder 43 x 38mm £20.42 Making Ships in Bottles £11.95
Friesland 80 gun 2 Decker 1:75 775mm £492.14 Trumpeter Prinz Eugen 1945 1:350 £61.23 Scale Model Boats. Building & Operation £9.95
Cutty Sark, construction plans, Scale 1:78. £31.00 Skeg and Rudder Assembly 68mm deep, 56mm £19.75
Mary Royal Yacht 1:54 scale 483mm £179.18 Airfix HMS Illustrious 1:350 £51.05 Radio Control In Model Boats £9.95
La Couronne, construction plans, Scale 1:98. £28.50 Rudder assembly with tiller arm 35 x 26mm £4.54
Golden Hind 1:53 scale 496mm £184.58 Trumpeter Graf Spee 1:350 £51.04 Introduction to Marine Modelling £9.95
Santa Maria, construction plans, Scale 1:50. £14.95 Boat rudder set: 45 mm Height: 40 £6.69
La Gloire 34 gun Frigate 1:90 840mm £287.18 Trumpeter Jeremiah O'Brien Liberty Ship £32.99 Ship Modelling Solutions £9.95
French Xebec, construction plans, Scale 1:49. £14.85 Boat rudder set: 32 mm Height: 25 mm £6.47
Hunter 12 gun Cutter 1797 1:72 440mm £134.76 Trumpeter JohnBrown liberty ship 1:350 £30.62 Scratch Building Marine Models £9.95
Thermopylae, construction plans, Scale 1:124. £14.85 Boat rudder set: 36 mm Height: 50 mm £6.19
Rattlesnake Privateer 1779 1:64 697mm £222.62 Tamiya Yamato 1:350 scale £270.95 The Glassfibre Handbook by R.H Waring. £9.95
Mississippi Stern Wheeler plan 1:50 1050mm £34.95 Boat rudder set: 36 mm Height: 70 mm £7.42
H.M.A.V Bounty 1787 1:64 610mm £215.76 Tamiya HMS King George V 1:350 £49.99 Photoetching For The Plastic Ship Modeler £12.95
Pinta. construction plans 1:50 570mm £14.85 Rudder assembly 45 long x 30mm wide £4.80
CSS Alabama. 1:120 694mm £206.92 Tamiya HMS Prince of Wales 1:350 £49.99 Super-detailing the Cutter Sherbourne £19.00
Friesland (1:75) Drawings & Instructions £47.73 Rudder assembly 53 long x 36mm wide £4.92
Panart Kits Tamiya Bismarck 1:350 717mm £61.99 H.M.S. Victory (1:90) Drawings & Instructions £64.09 Rudder assembly 67 long x 44mm wide £5.36 Modelling Tools
Tamiya Tirptz 1:350 717mm £58.50 Yacht Mary (1:54) Drawings & Instructions £32.73 Double Tiller Arm. Fits 3/16 or 5mm shaft £0.97
H.M.S. Victory Nelson Flagship 1:78 1300mm £395.10 Academy Tirpitz 1:350 £28.00 Golden Hind (1:53) Drawings & Instructions £32.73 Mantua 12v Electric Fret saw 12v £110.00
Between Decks Gun Section 1:23 250mm sq. £99.00 Academy Graf Spee 1:350 £28.00 Rattlesnake (1:64) Drawings & Instructions £46.36
Raboesch Bow Thrusters Mini Compressor £105.00
Open Whaler 1850 1:16 scale 615mm £139.50 Royal Louis (1:90) Drawings & Instructions £62.73 Mantua Spar Lathe. 12V £99.00
HMS Victory bow section1:78 scale £179.95 Plastic Kit Upgrades Bow thruster unit with motor 14mm I/D £33.87
This is just a selection of over 1000 plans available Bow thruster unit with motor 16mm I/D £33.87 Mantua 12v Electric Planer £79.00
San Felipe Spanish 3 Decker 1:75 960mm £670.00 Lionroar HMS Repulse Super detail 1:350 £98.57 Amati heavy duty Building cradle £49.95
R/C Equipment Bow thruster unit with motor 19mm I/D £33.87
Armed Naval Pinnace 1800 Scale 1:16 620mm £139.50 Lionroar Arizona Super detail set 1:350 £74.18 Building Slip £54.95
Bow thruster unit with motor 22mm I/D £38.39
Royal Caroline 1749 Royal Yacht 1:47 830mm £269.95 1:350-1:400 Naval Ship Decals £7.19 Mantua 4 speed mains transformer £48.40
Hitec Optic 6 (2.4 GHz) combo £124.99 Bow thruster unit with motor 25mm I/D £38.39
Caldercraft Display Kits 1:350 Bismarck and Tirpitz detail sheets £45.95 Viper Marine 75 £115.00 Mini Bow thruster unit with motor 10mm I/D £27.10 Deluxe Modellers Tool Chest £38.95
1:350 KG5 & Prince of Wales detail sheets £49.95 Hitec Optic 5 channel (2.4 GHz) combo £89.95 Bow thruster unit with motor 30mm I/D £81.29 Amati Electric Plank Bender £36.71
Diana 38 Heavy Frigate 1794 1:64 1180mm £472.45 1:350 Naval Figures sheet of 100 £4.95 Mtroniks G2 Hydra15 combo £59.99 Rope Walk kit £35.69
Cruiser.1797. 18 Gun Brig 1:67 scale 850mm £206.98 1:350 Various ladders. £6.20 Hi Tech Zebra 4 Channel £56.12
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Snake 1797 18 Gun Sloop 1:67 scale 910mm £206.98 1:350 Quad Bofors and Oerlikon details £8.75 Viper Marine 40 £53.22 Dremel MultiVise £32.73
2A Arial Lettering 2 mm, £4.07
Mary Rose. Tudor warship 1510. 735mm 1:80 £260.98 1:350 Doors, Hatches, & Life rings £6.20 Planet 5 Transmitter and Receiver Set £51.99 Master Cut. £26.50
3A Arial Lettering 3 mm, £4.59
Agamemnon 1781. 64 gun ship 1300mm £661.45 1:350: 5,000 scale feet of U.S. Navy railing £20.55 Hi Tech Ranger 2 Channel £49.95 Bench Vice. £24.46
4A Arial Lettering 4 mm, £4.59
Endeavour. Bark 1768. 1:64 scale 725mm £245.65 1:350: Arizona Details sheets £43.97 FR30HX 30amp speed controller £47.14 Swann-Morton ACM Tool Set £22.61
6A Arial Lettering 6 mm, £4.59
Bounty. 1789. 1:64 scale 660mm £202.45 1:350 WWII Liberty Ship Etched detail £43.99 Viper Marine SUB 10 6-12v £42.99 Planet, special work bench £15.50
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Sherbourne. 8 Gun R.N Cutter 1763. 500mm £75.55 1:350 Hood detail sheets £49.99 Viper Marine SUB 8 4.8-9.6v £42.50 20 piece twist drill set .3 to 1.6mm £13.23
10A Arial Lettering 10 mm, £5.10
HM Yacht Chatham 1741 1:64 scale 530mm £89.96 1:350 Hood extra detail sheet £25.83 Viper SSR 25amp Speed controller £39.99 Amati Pin Pusher De-Luxe £13.23
12A Arial Lettering 12 mm, £6.12
HM Mortar Vessel Convulsion. 1804 1:64 530mm£96.71 1:350: Alabama Details sheets £49.99 15HVR 15amp speed controller £37.69 Pin Pusher £12.99
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Victory 1781. Nelson's flagship 1:72 1385mm £746.98 1:350: USS San Francisco Details sheets £49.99 Viper Marine 25 £34.99 Waterline marking tool £12.97
20A Arial Lettering 20 mm, £8.16
Granado. Bomb Ketch 1756 1:64 scale 785mm £220.48 1:350 Repulse detail sheets £49.99 Viper Marine 25 Mirror £34.20 A3 cutting mat £11.18
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HM Brig Badger 1778 1:64 scale 600mm £177.12 Wooden deck for HMS Hood 1:350 scale £36.50 FR12VR 12amp speed controller BEC £33.86 Pounce Tool with 4 wheels £10.95
5A Arial Lettering 5 mm, £4.59
HM Schooner Pickle 1778 1:64 scale 565mm £130.46 Wooden deck for Graf Spee1:350 scale £32.30 Hi Tech Mega Arm Sail Winch 19.8kg/cm £30.99 Assorted grade Sanding Sticks (5) £10.94
Available in most colours
Caldercraft R/C Kits Wooden deck for HMS Repulse 1:350 scale £34.80 Proportional Drum Sail Winch £30.63 Shroud Making Jig £10.72
Wooden deck for Prinz Eugen 1:350 scale £34.80 Viper Marine 20 £28.99 BECC Flags Zona Fine Kerf Universal Razor Saw 32tpi £9.39
Joffre. 1916 Tyne Tug. £251.95 Wooden deck for Tirpitz 1:350 scale £34.80 Viper Marine 15 £22.99 Zona Medium Kerf Razor Saw 24tpi £9.39
GB02 White Ensign, Size: AAA 10mm £3.05
Imara. Twin Screw Berthing Tug £458.95 Wooden deck for Admiral Hipper 1:350 scale £34.80 Viper Micro Marine 10 £22.99 Zona Fine Kerf Universal Razor Saw 42tpi £9.39
GB02 White Ensign, Size: AA 15mm £3.05
Resolve. Twin Screw Admiralty Tug £508.95 DX Wooden deck & Railing for Bismarck 1:350 £37.99 Viper Marine 15 Plug Play £22.99 Zona Fine Kerf Universal Razor Saw 24tpi £9.39
GB02 White Ensign, Size: A 20mm £3.05
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GB02 White Ensign, Size: B 25mm £3.05
Milford star. Post war East Coast side trawler £228.95 Wooden deck for Tirpitz 1:350 scale £31.50 Waterproof mixing module (w-tail) £17.80 Zona Ultra Thin Kerf Razor Saw 32tpi £8.34
GB02 White Ensign, Size: C 38mm £3.96
Marie Felling single screw steam tug £395.95 Wooden deck for KG5 1:350 scale £33.20 Waterproof mixing module £15.70 8 piece twist drill set .5 to 2.0mm £7.38
GB02 White Ensign, Size: D 50mm £3.96
North Light. Steam Clyde Puffer £251.95 Wooden deck for Price of Wales 1:350 scale £33.20 Mtroniks EP Multi charger £12.14 Rigging Tool £6.79
GB02 White Ensign, Size: E 75mm £4.95
SS Talacre. Single hatch Steam Coaster £251.95 DX Wooden deck & Railing for Warspite 1:350 £53.80 1300ma receiver nicad battery square £5.61 Archimedean Hand Drill £6.74
GB02 White Ensign, Size: F 100mm £5.97
H.M.T Sir Kay Round Table Class Minesweeper £294.95 DX Wooden deck & Railing for Bismarck 1:200 £149.40 1300ma receiver nicad battery flat £5.61 Pin Vice with collets for .01 to 3.0mm drill bits £6.64
GB02 White Ensign, Size: G 125mm £7.91
This is just a selection from Gold Medal, MK1 Design, Switch harness with charging lead £4.70 K&S Tube cutter £6.50
Card Models Master and Eduard.
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Set of 3 G-Clamps with Magnetic Base £5.77
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SD14 general cargo ship 1:70 2133mm. £295.00 Wooden Clamping Pegs (3) £5.75
Quaycraft Boats Miniature Steam National flags from most maritime nations
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USS Missouri. 1:200 scale £61.24
GPM SMS Seydlitz 1:200 scale 1010mm £56.95 1:48 Scale 27ft Royal Navy Clinker Whaler £19.91 Clyde Horiz Ready Assembled Steam Plant £949.95 Timber
Queen Mary 2, 863mm 1:400 scale £53.06 1:48 Scale 16ft Royal Navy 16 Clinker dinghy £8.87 Clyde Vertical Ready Assembled Steam Plant £949.95 THE MODEL DOCKYARD CATALOGUE
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USS Lexington Aircraft carrier 1:200 scale £51.04 1:96 Scale 25ft Motor cutter £7.68 Clyde Vertical Self Assembly Steam Plant £849.95 Our non illustrated catalogue contains a brief description and
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Revenge 1588 600mm 1:96 scale £47.95 1:72 Motor cutter 2 cabins 109mm £19.08 3in Vertical Boiler £575.99 modeller. these include both static and R/C Kits, Plastic kits
Lime Strip 0.6 x 6mm x approx 1 metre long £0.44
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HMS Enterprise 28 gun Frigate 1:96 scale £40.80 1:24 Scale 14ft Clinker Dinghy £16.55 Tyne Vertical Self Assembly Engine £199.50 props, couplings, motors, propshafts etc etc. Whether you
Lime Strip 1.5 x 1.5mm x approx 1 metre long £0.36
Graf Spee. Full hulled model at 1:200 scale £30.60 1:48 Scale 18ft Clinker Lifeboat £11.27 Boiler Feed Pump 3/8"" Assembled" £119.95 interest lies in working radio control, display period ships or
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Lexington. American Brig 1:96 scale £30.59 1:72 Scale 16ft Clinker dinghy, £7.79 Refillable Gas Tank £94.99 static kits, our catalogue has everything you will need,
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HMS Endeavour. Captains Cook's Bark 1:96 £30.59 1:48 Scale 24ft Clinker Ship s Lifeboat £16.32 "ertical Refillable Gas Tank (1-1/2"" Dia) £84.99 Lime Strip 1.5 x 3.0mm x approx 1 metre long £0.45
Santa Maria & Nina £30.59 1:72 27ft Clinker whaler 115mm £17.03 Ceramic Burner: for 3in boiler £74.99 £3.00 plus £3.00 for UK Delivery
plan feature

Steam Tug Wattle

JOHN PARKER presents
a Plan Feature for this
Australian restored tug

t the height of the Great Depression, on
27th June 1933 a small steam-powered
harbour tug was launched at the
Cockatoo Island Dockyard, Sydney, New
South Wales, Australia. Its name, Codeco,
derived from that of its builders, the
Commonwealth Dockyards and Engineering
Company, was soon changed to Wattle when
the tug was taken over by the Royal
Australian Navy (RAN) in February 1934.
Today in mid- 2013, the same tug towers high
and dry over its South Dock surroundings in
the Melbourne Docklands precinct of
Victoria, whilst a restoration team works
toward returning it to the water in the near

The Steam Tug Wattle at Garden Island just prior to the outbreak of World War Two. In the
background may be seen the RAN cruiser HMAS Australia with another cruiser alongside
whilst the craft in the foreground is a high-speed radio-controlled target boat. Photo © State
of New South Wales through the State Records Authority of NSW.

future. So, what better timing could there be cruisers, destroyers of the Tribal, Battle and
for building a model of the Wattle? Daring classes and Type 12 frigates for the
Cockatoo Island was named after the RAN. Refit work for the Royal Navy’s 4th
sulphur-crested cockatoos that once made Submarine Squadron based in Sydney, and
their home in the island’s red gum trees and later for the RAN’s own Oberon submarine
is the largest island in Sydney Harbour, fleet provided much work for the shipyard in
triangular in shape and covering some 18 the postwar years until the final Oberon refit
hectares. Following European settlement, it was completed in 1991 and without the
was used as a convict prison from 1839 to prospect of further major work, the dockyard
1869, but became an important shipyard was closed. Cockatoo Island is now being
when the Fitzroy Dock, built by convict developed as a tourist destination and was
labour, opened in 1857. During World War proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage site in
Two, Cockatoo Dockyard was the major 2010.
repair and refit base in the South Pacific for The steam tug was built at a cost of £18500
battle damaged warships of the allied fleets as a labour creating project to keep the
and it also converted the liners Queen Mary, apprentices and senior tradesmen employed
Returning to port
with just a few minor Queen Elizabeth, Aquitania and Mauretania and perhaps to show that the dockyard was a
adjustments to make. into troop ships. Ships built there included going concern at a time when it was being

8 www.modelboats.co.uk Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

plan feature

prepared for lease. The yard had built an S.T. Wattle under
earlier tug, Bustler, in 1917 and this formed restoration,
the basis of Wattle’s design. I don’t think by September 2011.
the way that it formed the basis of Vic
Smeed’s semi-scale Bustler plan as it is quite
different in appearance. Although not a large
vessel, Wattle taxed the ability of designers
and builders, being the first Australian oil-
fired steam tug, with an Australian-built
engine and boiler and experimental
electrically-welded bulkheads. Said to be built
to an unusually high standard, she was the
source of some pride upon her completion.

Service history
Wattle entered service with the RAN in 1934
for general duties, attached to the Garden
Island Naval Base, but manned by a civilian
crew. These duties included the towing of
barges, pontoons and lighters and the
collection of buoys and other items from the
various naval establishments around Sydney
for servicing by the dockyard. She was found
to be hard to handle, so a steering engine was
soon fitted immediately aft of the
enginehouse to reduce the effort required at
the helm. Reading just a little between the
lines of contemporary accounts, suggests that
the tug was insufficiently powerful for the
safe docking of larger vessels. Many a time begin the slow voyage home again! passenger vessel running tours and charters
the captain of the vessel being docked would By 1969, the RAN no longer needed the around Port Phillip Bay. Settling into its new
call down to the tug for, ‘a little more power, a tug’s services and the scrapyard loomed role and new environment, the tug became a
little more power, please’, and this being large. A reprieve came with a rescue effort by popular tourist attraction until the
whilst all the time Wattle had its throttle wide a team of marine steam enthusiasts in 1971, deterioration of her hull caused her to fail the
open! During the war, Wattle was involved who managed to keep her working by annual survey in 2003 and once again doubt
with degaussing experiments on warships running public cruises around Sydney was cast over her future.
and ex-crew member Graeme Andrews, Harbour until 1976. Unable to be taken on by This time is was Sorrento Steam, founded
writing in Steamlines, describes the tug being the Sydney Heritage Fleet when repairs in 2007, that came to the rescue. With a vision
used for target towing in postwar years. This became necessary, Wattle was acquired by to recreate the presence of steam in Port
meant a long day for the crew, towing the the newly formed Victorian Steamship Phillip Bay, this group of ten business
wooden target out beyond the heads of Association (VSA) and towed to Melbourne entrepreneurs were able to purchase the tug
Sydney Harbour at some 4.5 knots for six by the tug Edina in 1979. Government for the symbolic cost of 1$Au on the proviso
hours, whereupon a destroyer would appear, funding and a lot of volunteer work made that they fund its restoration, with work to be
pepper the target with gunfire and speed off, possible refurbishment of the deck, bulwarks carried out by the volunteers of the BSMM,
leaving Wattle’s crew to manually wind in the and auxiliary machinery and the ship’s return or contracted out as necessary. This work
towline, vent some suitable comments in the to service in 1986, operated by the Bay continues at the time of writing, with the tug
direction of the departing destroyer, and Steamers Maritime Museum (BSMM) as a having been granted hardstand space at
South Wharf near the Bolte Bridge, whilst
development of Melbourne’s Dock Precinct
Plan for Steam Tug Wattle continues all around it.
The three sheet full size CAD (computer aided design) plan No. MM2086 is available from
MyHobbyStore Ltd and is priced at £17.50 + p/p as of November 2013. MyHobbyStore Principal particulars
plans may be purchased online at www.Myhobbystore.com or please call 0844 848 8822, Wattle is of riveted steel construction with
1000hrs to 1600hrs, Monday to Friday. welded bulkheads and measures 80 feet 8
inches overall length with a beam of 17 feet 6
inches and a displacement of 120 tons. The

WATTLE BY J. PARKER First published
Winter Special
1 OF 3 Model Boats


First published in
PLAN No: MM2086 No. OF SHEETS: 2 OF 3 Model Boats Winter Special 2013

1933 E
3 OF 3 First
Model Boats published in
Winter Special

Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 www.modelboats.co.uk 9

plan feature

tug is powered by an Australian-built two- differed from what was shown on the pieces of litho plate starting to peel at the
cylinder compound steam engine that in trials drawings and it soon became clear that edges from collisions and water pollution, or
provided 287 indicated horsepower at 134 changes had been made at the time of built-up areas of filler breaking away as my
rpm, giving the tug a maximum speed just construction without the drawings being models can have a hard life! If you can
short of 10 knots and an endurance of 36 updated to reflect this. Just one example is: incorporate this detail, your model will be all
hours (360 nautical miles) on four tons of fuel The wheelhouse is considerably wider than the better for it (and my admiration for you all
oil. It is recognised by the National Trust of the National Archive drawings show and the greater), but I’m afraid I did not have a
Australia as: ‘Historically, socially and scaling a 1936 photo supports the belief that it plating expansion drawing and you will only
technologically significant at the national level was originally built to this greater width, not have the photos to go on. As for rivet head
as the only small harbour steam tug surviving replaced or modified later, so this is the width counters, please be warned as there are tens
in Australia and one of only three Australian I have shown on my drawing. On the other of thousands of them!
built steam tugs still in existence and one of hand, some differences such as the location The stern tube used a Raboesch RAB301-08
only eight Australian built steamships of the freeing ports and bulwark supports 290mm M5, incorporates a lip seal at the
surviving on the Australian coast’. were the subject of modifications during the propeller end to prevent water ingress. This is
Further information on the Steam Tug life of the vessel and I have shown these in a good thing in a model with a propshaft well
Wattle and its restoration may be found at: their original locations. One feature I cannot below the waterline, but it means the
https://sites.google.com/site/ confirm is whether or not there ever was a propeller shaft needs to be removed
steamtugwattle/home. central porthole on the port side of the hull. rearwards to prevent its threaded end from
Peering inside the hull, there is no evidence damaging the seal. To enable this, I had to
Research today that there ever was one, unlike the forego the fixed skeg around the propeller
For the first time with any model I have built, others which have simply been plated over. I and provide a removable rudder mounting.
I had access to the real vessel just 30 minutes would have liked photographic evidence to The full size Wattle tug has a propeller shaft
drive away from my home here in Melbourne. support this, but every photo I have seen that is horizontal (i.e. parallel to the
I thought that would be of inestimable value (and the drawings) only shows the starboard waterline), but as this would leave barely any
and it was, but it also brought about a severe side with its three portholes. clearance between its inner end and the keel
case of information overload, with for a motor or gearbox, I have angled it
discrepancies between the builder’s drawings Model design upwards at 2.5 degrees, so it is now parallel
and the real vessel that required further Having plotted Wattle’s outline, I next had to with the keel.
research and much head scratching, develop the frame outlines and constructional As is my usual practice, I have allowed for a
something that would never have happened if details, all simply said and fairly simply done, sound system with the speaker baffle sealing
I only had photos with which to compare the though it was time consuming. I have assumed off the forward part of the hull to form an
drawings. Right from the start, when I my preferred method of construction, that of enclosure that, when fitted with a suitable
explained my project to the restoration team, 3mm (or 1/8 inch) plywood frames with 3mm speaker, will really enhance the quality of the
they made me feel very welcome and gave me balsa planking, fibreglassed inside and out. I sound produced. A perforated wheelhouse
every assistance, yet as each answer lead to used Lite Ply for ease of working, but weight is floor also helps the sound escape from the
further questions, and each inspection of the of course not an issue and standard plywood hull. There is room for a bulky nebuliser type
vessel revealed more and more puzzling would be fine. Vary the construction as of smoke generator (I used an MMB variable
detail not shown on the drawings, I reached required to suit your own methods, such as speed Foggy Mk. 2) for visual effects and I
the point where I simply had to turn a blind thicker frames to support basswood planking, have fitted working lights. You may wish to
eye and make a start. but beware of the flow-on effects of any use thinner planking above the deck level as
My drawing shows Wattle as she was built, changes. I found that the Wattle design threw continuing with the hull planking thickness as
prior to the fitting of the steering engine that up a few challenges and I’d like to highlight I did, leaves the bulwarks looking a little
resides in a wooden housing between the these as you may have better ideas about how shallow under their capping, although it does
enginehouse and aft access hatch. It has been they should be tackled. provide a stronger fixing for the capping rail.
worked up as a CAD (Computer Aided Being a steel ship, the keel consists The drive motor selection will require some
Drafting) tracing of the original Cockatoo essentially of the seam formed by the joining thought. Whilst the original was not noted for
Dockyard drawings that I obtained from the of the flanges of the hull plates on each side. the power of its engine, it did have a large 7ft
National Archives, which matched the As such, it is only some 1.6mm wide to scale 6in four-bladed propeller that scales to no less
photocopied set that the restoration team had and would need to be made from metal to than 95mm at 1:24 scale, and it’s going to take
kindly provided to get me started. Of course have the strength needed for a working some torque to drive that. I am a great fan of
the vessel currently carries all the model. Rather than do this, I used 3.2mm brushless motors, but discounted them in this
modifications made to enable her to perform basswood for the keel and deadwood around case because of the difficulty of finding one of
public cruises, most noticeably a timber the propeller, which is quite stiff enough once sufficiently low KV in a large size, and because
enclosure for the stern deck, and I had to it receives its fibreglass cladding, yet does not unless they are of the ‘sensored type’ they do
ignore these. That was straightforward look too over-scale in thickness. For reasons not provide good low-speed throttle action.
enough, but other details just didn’t seem to of practicality and time constraints, I have not The next natural choice was a geared brushed
work out. included any plating or rivet detail on my motor, although I have a strong aversion to
Various original features of the Wattle model. I had visions of carefully adhered gear noise. I found that a popular affordable

10 www.modelboats.co.uk Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

plan feature

Framework assembled on the building board. Planking commenced around the stern knuckle.

Far left: Overall view

of the hull being

Left: Stern planking.

geared motor had an overall combined (motor With the frame positions and centreline
plus gearbox) efficiency of less than 50%, marked on the building board, for which a
whilst a quality one of higher efficiency was piece of melamine-faced shelving serves well,
very expensive. In the end I settled for a high- the framework can now be dry assembled
torque direct drive brushed motor, the T24 (12 and the frame extensions fixed to the board
to 24 volt) from Mobile Marine Models. As I with short lengths of square section timber.
needed 24 volts anyway for the smoke PVA glues works well here as the extensions
generator, the 24 volt version was the natural can later be tapped off the melamine with a
choice, and four series-connected 6 volt, 4.4 hammer and the shelf reused. I get about
amp-hour sealed lead acid batteries provided eight models, four each side, before the shelf
an energy source that was both cheap and gets too ratty and has to go back in the
convenient to install low in the hull. The bookcase! When all is well, epoxy the keel in
propeller I chose was a V3540 LH 4-blade place on the frames and double check
vintage tug pattern from The PropShop, everything for straightness, squareness and
slightly undersize at about 90mm diameter. location before the glue sets. Once set,
Building the Wattle should pose no carefully fair all the edges of the framework to
particular difficulties for an experienced follow the curvature of the hull, using a balsa
scratch-builder, but a fair degree of ‘stick-to-it- test plank to check for any bumps or hollows.
ivness’ is required to see it through as making Frame edges may be built up with thin strips
Above: Bow planks
the fittings is time consuming. The drawings of wood if necessary. at deck level where there is slight knuckle, meeting the keel at
are on three A0 (1188 x 840mm) sheets and especially at the stern. I found I could twist the bow doublers.
show external and internal (model) Planking the plank just below this knuckle a full 90
arrangements as well as patterns for the Doing this with balsawood and medium degrees to run under the fantail of the stern.
frames and most other major components. The superglue is one of those skills that sneaks up After working a few rows of planks up and
completed model measures some 1028mm by on you, as at first it seems all too difficult, down from this point, alternating sides to
242mm and tips the scales at around 8.5kg. then one day it all comes together, you build even out the stresses, I moved to the keel to
Below: The twist in the
up a rhythm and find that planking a hull is run three or four planks each side of it. The planks is quite evident
Hull construction the pleasant work of a couple of evenings. first of these is probably the hardest of all to here.
For reasons already given, the keel is narrow Inevitably, you will get some superglue on
so use a nice straight piece of 3.2mm x 25mm your fingers, but after a while it forms a
basswood or the like (I used two 3.2 x 12.5mm protective extra skin and prevents you
pieces edge to edge) as its basis, adding the becoming permanently attached to
separate stern deadwood, bow piece and everything you touch! You learn to judge the
doublers. The latter should have their leading amount of bevel to put on the edge of a plank
edges chamfered to the approximate hull and apply it quickly and easily with a sanding
contour before fitting. Cut the frames and test block; you don’t get too hung up about small
that they engage with the keel to the correct gaps as they can be plugged with slivers of
depth. A gimlet-point drill is best used at the balsa, or by the plank being forced a little
corners of the frame cut-outs. Score the deck sideways; you anticipate the general line of
curvature on to the frames from each side. but the planks and taper their widths at each end
do not cut through. A photocopy of the frame to suit. Work where there’s good ventilation
outline can be used to transfer the shape from though, or the superglue fumes will get you
the drawing to the wood, either by using a hot as you’ll be using a lot more glue than usual.
iron on the reverse side, or cutting out the Working with a pile of planks cut from
shape and fixing it with spray adhesive, letting 1200mm long sheets of 3mm balsa using a
it go off a little first so as to ease later removal. long straight edge and a simple jig, I started

Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 www.modelboats.co.uk 11

plan feature

Left: Planks need to

be tapered from this
point to even up the
remaining gap.

Far left: The almost

completed hull
planking prior to

Left: Planking around

the stern using a
temporary former.

Far left: Hull now

fibreglassed inside
and sanded outside.

fit as it needs to twist from vertical at the bow Former O to create their upper edge. area, you can start fibreglassing the outside. I
to horizontal amidships and then back to It is tempting at this point to sand the generally use polyester resin as it’s cheaper
vertical at the stern, with a varying edge outside of the hull, but I find it better to apply and allows me to work quickly, but it has been
bevel required along its complete length. some chopped strand glass mat and resin to tactfully suggested that I have rocks in my
You’re allowed a bit longer to get this one the inside first. This prevents the balsa flexing head for not using epoxy resin! Amongst other
right as subsequent planks will largely follow between the frames when sanding and ensures benefits, its advocates point to a quicker and
its example. the hull has the rigidity needed to carry a few easier final sanding process. Both will produce
At this point the remaining gap in the hull kilos of batteries and ballast. It is quickly and a tough, hard wearing hull that is impervious
planking will vary considerably in width, so easily done be cutting strips of 200 to 250gsm to water, so the choice will come down to your
rather than continue with straight planks, (grams per square metre) chopped strand mat own preferences and experience, local advice
start to even up the gap width by tapering the to suit the frame spaces, laying them in place and availability of materials.
ends of the planks you fit, bringing some to a and stippling on some polyester resin. Knock I used one layer of 185gsm cloth for
point well short of the full hull length. To off any upstanding plank edges first with strength, followed by a layer of fine 85gsm
taper a plank, hold it in place near the centre, coarse sandpaper or you’ll get air trapped cloth to fill the weave pattern and finally a
mark its location with a pencil mark across under the mat. Once hard, you can sand the coat of straight resin as a sanding filler. With
the adjacent plank and mark where the taper outside with medium grade paper (we don’t the cloth pieces cut to generous oversize, the
needs to begin and end. The taper can usually need a really smooth surface), working with first can have its edge pegged to the keel with
be cut as a straight line, with the change of sanding blocks and in different directions to the plastic clamps and the resin stippled
angle smoothed out a little with the sanding remove any waviness and achieve a smooth through. Don’t coat the hull with resin first,
block. Some short tapered pieces, called flowing shape. Some of the stern planks will as the cloth will grab and you won’t be able to
stealers, will probably be needed to complete have to be feathered right back to the keel. drape it around the hull properly. You will
the planking. At the bow, the planks need to Take your time at this stage because it defines need to cut some ‘dart shapes’ in the cloth for
be carefully trimmed for length and their the final shape of the hull. the stern knuckle and possibly where the hull
inner edges sanded back to fit neatly against tapers inward at the bulwarks. Trim it just
the keel. The sharp curves around the stern Fibreglassing past the centreline at the stern fantail. Having
are achieved by using short tapered vertical With the inverted hull supported at a done both sides, I followed up with the fine
planks aft of Frame J, using the temporary comfortable working height in a well-ventilated cloth and final coat of resin. After a short

Fibreglass skinning of the hull’s outside. Hull being fitted out for running gear.

12 www.modelboats.co.uk Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

plan feature

Early on-the-water test with jury-rigged systems and ballasting. Gluing the half-deck in place.

Far left: Further

general progress with
completion of deck
and servo mounting.

Left: The foredeck

planking overlay.

break, the resin had reached the ‘green’ stage section consists of pieces cut from across the temporarily fitted to the tops of the frames, I
and the excess resin/cloth could be trimmed sheet, with the grain vertical. was able to power up the hull on the water
using just a sharp knife drawn along the and confirm that all was well. In particular I
edges of the keel and bulwarks. One final job Test run was glad to see that the motor made fairly
then was to lay a strip along the bottom edge At this point I chose to complete a trial fit of light work of turning the large propeller and
of the keel and similarly coat the rudder. the running gear, fitting a tray for the that a fair amount of ballast (I tossed in
Working on a warm day, this was all in an batteries and a shelf each side of the motor various heavy items I had to hand) was still
afternoon’s work, after which the whole lot for connections and the Electronize speed needed to bring the model down to the
was put aside for a few days to harden. controller. The rudder linkage runs below correct waterline.
deck through slots in Frames H and I and will
Sanding emerge through a semi-circular groove in the Main deck
This is best done wet to control the harmful deck to connect to the top of the rudder tiller. Construction continues with the fitting of the
dust. Have some water and a sponge at hand to The servo is mounted on a shelf just aft of deck from 3mm plywood or Lite Ply. This is
wash off the slurry as it forms and a few drops Frame G where it will be accessible via the best done in two halves, both to accommodate
Below: There’s just a
of detergent in the sanding water will help float enginehouse. With the heavy speaker the compound curvature of the deck’s sheer wisp of smoke with
the debris off the paper. You can probably start mounted forward and the smoke generator and camber and so that the outer edge may the model stationary.
with 180 grit and finish with the 240 or 320
grade to leave some ‘tooth’ for the paint. As
you sand, any low spots will remain shiny
whilst the rest takes on a matt finish. Low
spots that require really heavy sanding may
have to be filled, as otherwise you will start to
sand through the glassfibre cloth. Since I use
two different cloth weaves, I can judge how the
sanding is progressing by watching for any
areas of weave pattern that appear, stopping
before I reach the coarser cloth. When all is
done you should have a smooth matt surface
all over, with no bumps or low areas.

Bulwarks and deck

Work on the hull continues with the
bulwarks, which need to have holes cut in
them for the freeing ports and hawse holes.
The frame extensions that support the
bulwark planking need to be sanded back
and the whole above-deck area filled and
sanded to produce a smooth surface. Hull
belting on Wattle (the restoration crew refer
to it as the sponson) is heavy and consists of
timber baulks fitted between metal flanges
running around the hull at deck level. I
constructed it from strips of 3.2mm thick by
6.4mm wide basswood, laminated to the hull
in three layers, using superglue and with the
joints staggered. There’s no chance of
bending this around the stern, so that

Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 www.modelboats.co.uk 13

plan feature

model and fit in place later once the painting Bulwark supports and
of the bulwarks had been done. The planking fittings
consists of wider margin planks for the edges Pre-filled and primed 1.5mm plywood was
and surrounds for the bollards and skylight, used for these. Most are 42.5mm apart, centre
with narrower 5mm wide planks covering the to centre, so a 41mm wide spacing piece can
remaining area. All planks were cut from be used for setting them out. Note that they
0.8mm basswood sheet with a permanent are all vertical and not necessarily
black marker run along their edges to perpendicular to the deck. At the bow, you will
represent the caulking. On the full size tug, need to paint at least the lower edge of the
these planks are joggled into the margin inside of the bulwarks first and glue the
planks as I have shown on the drawing, but planked foredeck overlay in place before fitting
unless you are confident that you can do a the more closely spaced forward bulwark
really crisp job of this, it might be better to supports. The Sampson posts are from 7mm
forego the joggling (as I did) and concentrate square timber stock, thinned down below
on trying to achieve a good general standard capping level at an angle, to compensate for
of fit throughout. Two coats of satin marine the thicker than scale bulwarks and allow them
varnish were used to finish off the planking. to stand vertical. They have strengthening
Stern grating. surrounds of 1.5mm ply.
be carefully trimmed to fit the hull, leaving Bulwark openings
the straight-line trimming to the centre line Pieces slightly thinner than the overall hull Stern grating
until last. I sealed the underside of my deck thickness are fitted to the freeing port A feature of most tugs, the stern grating
with resin, scraping clean the contact areas apertures to represent the opening doors, provides a safe area to walk on without
and coating generously with slow-setting with a piece of D-section plastic across them getting tangled up in the rudder mechanism.
epoxy before fitting. You’ll likely need to call at mid-height. Build up the inner and outer On Wattle, the grating is divided into three
all your clamps out of retirement for this step. cheeks of the hawse holes with ovals of framed sections running across the ship. I
As I messed up the cutting of the slot for the 0.8mm ply and smooth the inner surfaces of used three grating kits (73 x 73mm with
rudder linkage, I cut the whole area away and the penetrations. 2.3mm holes) to provide the basic material,
fitted a thin disk of ply with the slot cut in it. trimming these into the three pieces, framing
The deck can be doubled up in thickness by Bulwark capping with basswood and joining together to
laminating pieces to the underside along the This was cut from 1.5mm plywood, three produce a one-piece stern grating that sits on
opening at the front of the deck house and pieces for each side. I used a piece of paper, supports glued to the extensions of Frame J
where the ventilators will go. Cut out the top pushed down on to the inner curvature of and at the stern. If you have the patience, an
of Frames C, D, E and F and fit the coaming the bulwark, to pick up the shape required alternative to the grating kits would be to file
for the deck cut-out from 1.5mm plywood. and transferred this to the wood, adding slots half-way through strips of basswood at
The design allows for a total of 1mm 2mm for the inboard overhang and drawing the correct intervals using a jig; the pieces
clearance between the coaming and its the outer line of the capping 8mm away from can then be fitted together with the slots
mating deckhouse (0.5mm each side), which this. This gave me over-width capping pieces forming halving joints.
provides for movement of the timber with the that could be epoxied to the top edge of the
weather. The notched shape at the rear bulwarks with an equal overhang each side. Basic superstructure
corners of the deckhouse is to accommodate Start with the stern pieces, continue with the The various structures built upon the deck of a
the steps leading to the bridge deck. bow pieces and finish with the centre pieces, ship were once known as ‘deck erections’, but
which being only slightly curved, are easily I’ve noticed that this term is no longer in
Deck planking trimmed to fit. All the capping pieces then common use. I therefore refer to it as the
The foredeck of Wattle is planked back to the need to be sanded back in-situ to 6mm wide, superstructure, consisting of the combined
access doors of the main deckhouse, this forming sweeping curves along the length of main deckhouse and boiler room with the
being a design requirement due to the the model. Due to the method of galley and WC at its forward end, the
accommodation spaces below. I found the construction, the bulwark sides are far enginehouse (over the engine) immediately
easiest way to do this was a cut a foredeck thicker than scale on the model as they behind it and the wheelhouse which sits on top
overlay from 0.8mm plywood, plank it off the would be under 0.5mm thick if truly to scale. of the main forward deckhouse. I made the
Right: Bulwark
capping completed
with deckhouses,
foredeck and stern
grating being tested
for fit.

Far right: This view

shows the deck
coaming and separate

Right: A closer
view of the basic

Far right: Stern deck


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plan feature

Right: Main stairway

construction from a
stack of risers and

Far right: Completed


Right: Enginehouse
hatches, bulwark
supports, stairways
and other parts fitted.

Far right: Wheelhouse


engine and main deckhouses removable as

separate units. Operational access is normally
only needed via the enginehouse for the
various switches and recharging sockets as the
smoke generator can be topped up with a
measured amount of water fed through the
funnel via a plastic tube.
The enginehouse is of a simple construction,
I made it from 3.2mm basswood sheet so that
there would be enough material thickness for
the radii along the top and edges. A
companionway is added to the rear of the port
side. The hatches are represented by 2mm
thick spacing pieces overlaid with thin ply
covers fitted with 14mm portholes. Don’t
forget the smaller hatch on the lower section,
which is the emergency exit for the engine
room. To represent the hatch hinges, I used
the tiny aluminium clips that come with
certain brands of sock to hold the pair of
socks together, so as an added bonus I now
have eight spare pairs of new socks in the
drawer! Small holes were drilled in the hatch
covers to receive the bent down end tabs of
the clips.
You may find as I did, that the shiny
appearance of the various brass portholes just naturally, you can darken them chemically. stairways to allow for the mounting of the
Below: Wheelhouse
and bridge deck does not look right on a working ship model. The traditional method uses chemicals that funnel and vents. Note that the access doors
planking. Rather than wait years for them to tarnish today would probably see you arrested on are in slightly different positions each side and
suspicion of terrorist activity, but there is an that the bottom edge of the deckhouse needs to
easy alternative. Household bleach will be stepped up over the foredeck planking. To
darken brass parts progressively if you soak allow more of the sound to escape, I fitted a
them in it. Two or three hours is probably perforated metal floor (actually an old speaker
long enough, as overnight will turn them grille) under the wheelhouse area, planking the
black. Rinse thoroughly after treatment. As remainder of the bridge deck in a similar
the portholes need to retain their bronze manner to the foredeck.
appearance, only fit them after painting the For the two main stairways, I cut 20 pieces
hull and superstructure. of basswood, 20 x 8.5 x 6mm, and 20 pieces of
aluminium, 20 x 10 x 0.5mm. Each piece of
Main deckhouse aluminium was given a 30 degree by 3.5mm
The main deckhouse is a little more bend in the vice, then the parts glued up in an
complicated. I used 3mm Lite Ply for ease of alternating stack. Provided with side cheeks
working with 1.5mm plywood for the curved of 0.8mm basswood, these stairways can be
front and roof. The curvature for these is set by set on to the ramps on the rear corners of the
the appropriate bulkheads (doubled up at the deckhouse.
transition to the bridge deck) and the formers
at the front. Inset ramps need to be provided Wheelhouse
for the separate stairways to be added. I Wattle’s rustic wheelhouse, such an
doubled up the roof thickness between the important feature of the model, deserves

16 www.modelboats.co.uk Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

plan feature

Far left: Foredeck


Left: Foredeck skylight


careful attention to detail. I used basic panels

of 1.5mm plywood (templates are provided on
the drawing), to be joined at the corners with
3mm square basswood posts. Before joining,
the panels are planked with narrow strips of
0.8mm basswood, framing the window cut-
outs down to their correct size and thereby
leaving a neat recess for the window glazing
to be inserted through the slot remaining in
the top of the panel. Having the glazing
separate like this avoids getting glue on the
windows and allows them to be removed for
replacement or cleaning. On the inside, the
whole area could be planked as per the
outside, or you could just frame the cut-outs
as I did. The roof is from two pieces of 0.8mm
plywood, laminated together to hold the
curvature and fitted with roof beams on the
Above: Mast
underside. It needs to be made removable to the cowls may be ordered from Shapeways, tabernacle and cowl
fit the glazing or service the lighting, if fitted. based in Holland, to a design by an American vent construction.
To complete the wheelhouse, I fashioned a modeller whose shop is hosted by the
representative engine telegraph mostly from Shapeways site, please see these websites:
scrap brass, fitted a ship’s wheel mounted on http://matthewsmodelmarine.wordpress.
a pedestal made from plastic sheet, and com/writings/matthews-cowl-vents-for-
installed the captain (an Adrian’s Marine model-ships/ and: http://www.shapeways.
Models figure), a fuse box and a seat. The Method of moulding fibreglass funnel. com/shops/
doors are only planked on their outsides and patmat?url=%2Fusershop&rows=3
their windows permanently fitted. When all wThese are quite the finest, best-shaped and
had received a coat of teak stain and two coats then being upended on a sheet of glass to fully functional cowl vents I have ever come
of satin marine varnish, I attached the doors fully set, after which the flange can be drilled across, but beware that you will need a range
in the open position via lengths of shallow to clear the smoke generator tube and drilled of brass tubing sizes to extend their height. Of
brass channel representing the door tracks. and tapped for three attachment screws. the different finishes and materials available,
Bands of 3.2mm x 0.8mm plywood in two the ‘white detail’ is probably the best, but
Foredeck fittings locations complete the basic funnel expensive. The cheaper ‘white, strong and
The foredeck skylight is a simple basswood construction. flexible’ grade has a rougher finish which
construction with its upper parts stained to For the cowl vents, I turned to 3D printing requires more work filling and priming,
match the wheelhouse, and it sits in a recess as I was not at all impressed with the sample though the end result can be just as good and
formed by the planking. Immediately behind moulded vents I purchased. They were these were in fact what I used. Wattle requires
it, in an extension of the recess, is the mast typically poorly shaped, thick-lipped, solid, four small and two large cowl vents.
tabernacle, constructed from 5/16in (7.9mm) out of round or not available in a large enough They have been designed to imperial
brass tube and three pieces of brass sheet. size. You don’t need your own 3D printer as measurements so I will quote inch sizes. The
Note that there is a forward slope of 3
Left: General
degrees on the mast socket relative to its rear view of the
base, when fitted to the foredeck which at this superstructure.
point slopes upward at 6 degrees. The result
is a mast with the correct 3 degree rearward
slope. A small square access hatch on the rear
deck was made use of on the model to provide
access for lubricating the stern tube via a
flexible extension tube fitted in the hull.

Funnel and vents

The funnel scales to 53mm diameter and you
could probably get away with using 2 inch
(50.8mm) aluminium tubing. I managed to get
a little closer, 51.5mm diameter, by laying up
some fibreglass mat and resin inside a scrap
piece of 2 inch nominal inside diameter plastic
plumbing pipe. I like this method as it means I
can incorporate a thick flange on the inside at
the base of the funnel. I cut a saw slot most of
the way through along the length of the
plastic tube before starting so that the tube
(with its inside waxed) can be easily split and
stripped off the fibreglass once it has set. The
flange is formed from disks of glass matt laid
up at one end to plug the tube, the assembly

Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 www.modelboats.co.uk 17

plan feature

Doors will be fitted as separate items. A general ‘in the raw’ view with temporary mast fitted.

A first glimpse of
the model’s overall

Above: Preparing the

hull for painting. small ones are the 0.375in (3/8in) tube size
and to go with them you need 3/8in brass
tube to extend their height. If you want to
sleeve the extension to accept the cowl vent,
you will also need 11/32in tube to take up the
material thickness and 5/16in tube for the
joining sleeve. Lengths of the 11/32in tube
can also be fitted to the deck so that the cowl
vents can be fitted over them. For the large
vents, you need the 0.625in (5/8in) tube size,
along with these sizes of brass tubing: 5/8in,
19/32in and 9/16in. Alternatively, you could
in each case just get the matching brass tube
size and join the cowl vent to it by other
means, such as a stepped piece of dowel,
though the obstruction will be visible through
the mouth of the cowl.
Note that the large vents have a short fixed
section near the base with the remainder able
to swivel, whereas the small vents swivel from
the base. The large vent stems need to go
right to the rear corners of the upper deck; I
used a sanding drum in a rotary tool to thin
down the inside corner walls of the
deckhouse to facilitate this. You will likely
find that the funnel still prevents the cowl
vents from swivelling to the fully forward
position. If so, congratulate yourself on your
scale accuracy, for the same is true of the
full-size vessel!

Basic painting
At this point I will assume you have the basic
structure of the model completed with all pockets full of colour chips and tinlets of green with some darker green that I had to
surfaces sanded, filled and primed as modeller’s paint, I was able to confidently produce more of chalkboard colour, and took
necessary. I generally make use of an match un-faded areas of its structure to Revell some of the ‘toffeeness’ off the brown by
automotive aerosol combined spray putty and enamels, No. 364 for the deck and No. 85 for mixing in a few drops of a dark brown. It’s a
primer for this purpose, as it readily fills any the enginehouse. I wasn’t feeling so confident personal choice, but I think the model looks
visible wood grain and provides a good base once I’d applied these colours to my model better this way. The colours the ship carried
for further painting. I used general purpose though, as the green looked far too garish in any case had been subject to interpretation
aerosol cans of red oxide primer and satin and bright, and I wasn’t keen on the toffee by previous restoration teams and may change
black for the hull, with satin white for the brown either, so what to do? again before the ship once more takes to the
main deckhouse and white roof areas. From I resolved the dilemma by invoking a water. The other principle colour is the buff of
this point on I had to resort to my airbrush to modeller’s law that states colours too need to the funnel and vents, for which I used Revell
achieve the correct colours. be scaled down on a model if they are not to No. 71. My aversion to the brown also saw me
Climbing over the full size vessel with my look too bright and toy-like. So I mixed the painting the three small aft cowl vents this

18 www.modelboats.co.uk Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

plan feature

Far left: The hull, deck

and interior in their
final colours.

Left: Don’t forget to

glaze the portholes!

Colour starts to put some life into the superstructure. The windlass is set at an angle - it didn’t slip during gluing.

colour instead of the brown they had carried. straight now and these details will breathe life
The worst aspect of the painting was the fact into the model. The largest remaining item to
that the deck and the bulwark supports are construct is the ship’s boat and its davits.
different colours and this led to several rounds I made the boat by carving it from two balsa
of masking, airbrushing and touching up with blocks tack-glued together at the centreline.
a brush. White automotive pin-striping tape, These were then separated and had strips of 4
3mm wide, was used for the colour line x 0.5mm plastic applied with overlaps to
running around the hull just above the belting represent the clinker planking before being
and BECC 10mm white lettering for the name re-joined each side of a central piece of 2mm
on the sides and stern. To protect these and plastic sheet that forms the keel.
bring all paintwork to a consistent level of The structure that supports the davits is
gloss, two coats of satin acrylic spray was fairly complicated, the original being
applied from an aerosol can. constructed mainly of angle iron and looking
rather agricultural in appearance. I
Davits and ship’s boat reproduced it using thin brass angle, 3 x 3mm
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in and 3 x 4mm, made by Ruggi of Germany and
the water, you find you’ve got all the final available from Bob’s Models Limited of the
detailing to do. Never mind, it’s the final UK. The sub-assemblies consist of the main The davit support frame, tow hook and other scratch-built metal parts.

Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 www.modelboats.co.uk 19

plan feature

vertical frame, the two angled side arms that

carry the swivels, and the davits themselves.
Joints within the sub-assemblies were
temporarily held together with miniature
screws whilst being soldered, with tiny M1
screws used to hold the sub-assemblies
together and bolt them to the superstructure.
I used the wider-than-scale 4mm flange of the
angle where this facilitated easier assembly.
The frame components are shown separately
on the drawing to aid construction.
Note that you will need to scallop out the
main horizontal angle member at two points
to clear the large cowl vents, just as they had
to on the full-size tug. The curved arms of the
davits scale to about 4 x 3mm rectangular
section with the short sides curved (like a
slice through the centre of a circle).
Laminating strips of 3 x 0.8mm basswood
around a former of 75mm radius would be
one way of making these, but for strength I
settled for 4mm square brass tube, annealed
and curved to shape. Instead of socketing the
bottom of the davits into the deck, I
supported them on thin brass platforms
extending from the bottom of the stairways
so that the forward superstructure can easily
be removed for access.
The doors to the main deckhouse are
separate items, planked or framed with plastic
strips as appropriate, and fitted with vents,
hinges and handles. Two small sets of steps
lead up to the bridge deck and these were
made from thin ply as left and right units, to
suit the roof curvature. The anchor windlass
is an assembly of edged plastic side frames
with gears and drums from the scrap box and
similar construction was used for the column
that supports the ship’s wheel. Small
strategically placed super magnets were used
to ensure the model does not blow its top
(superstructure) off in windy conditions!
The tow hook detail is best seen before fitting the ship’s boat. Can you spot the mistake?
Mast and lighting
The mast was made from 8mm hardwood funnel. Here I used 1mm brass rod soldered motor position is that I was allowing for a
dowel, necked at its lower end to fit the mast to the brass lamp platform to form both the much longer geared motor at the design stage.
tabernacle and tapered using a hand plane, bracing and pivot for the pulley used to haul The low and wide battery installation provides
shaving first to a square profile, then up the oil lamp. For the navigation lights, for good stability, leaving adequate room above
octagonal and ultimately sixteen-sided, finally shading boards were folded up from for a large nebuliser smoke generator (keep its
finishing with abrasive paper. Its base or aluminium sheet with due allowance for the mounting parallel with the water line so that
tabernacle is formed from three pieces of camber and sheer of the bridge deck to which the water sits level in the tank). Items such as
sheet brass and a length of brass tube which they are fitted. Commercial model ship lamps the speed controller (an Electronize type
may, with a little thought, be made to slot were used at all lighting points, including the chosen for its 24-volt capability), fuses,
together for easier soldering of the assembly. cabin, where two panoramic lamps were fitted switches and sound unit can sit on rearward
Note the angled base to provide the correct under the roof so that the captain would not extensions of the battery tray each side of the
rake to the mast. The lamp attachments be kept in the dark. All lighting points were motor, or on a plate between Frames F and G
consist of short pieces of brass tubing, sized fitted with 12 volt incandescent lamps (they that can lift out for access to the coupling. Two
appropriately for the diameter of the mast at look nicer than LED’s) wired in series-parallel sockets are provided for the 24-volt battery to
their respective heights and fitted with a to suit the 24 volt supply. One light was fitted be recharged as two separate 12 volt batteries,
sheet brass platform, bracing or rigging to the toilet (port side, forward) as a cheaper one at a time, to suit my 12 volt charger. The
system for the oil lamps as required. For the option to buying an extra crew member from receiver and its aerial are best kept high up,
guy ring, thicker tubing was used with four Adrian’s Model Figures. well above the waterline.
attachment eyes, cut from rigging clevises,
fitted to its circumference. Running gear Detailing
One further lamp attachment is required This has largely been covered already. The The remaining work is quite straightforward
for the stern light, fitted to the rear of the reason for the double coupling and forward and the following notes should suffice:
Right: This view of the
wheelhouse shows
the electrical control
box with a photo of
the actual item as
an overlay and the
method of window

Far right: Most of the

running gear can be
seen here, with the
smoke generator
prominent over the
four 6 volt drive

20 www.modelboats.co.uk Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

plan feature

Left: Wattle and Craig


Gooseneck vents on deck: From soft 3/32 keel. I did wonder if it was tempting fate to re-ingested. The model is over-powered at
inch (2.3mm) aluminium rod bent around add items intended to sink to a hull that is high throttle settings, but that’s okay as this
4.8mm drill bit; two plain (front), two fitted intended to float, but let it pass. can be saved for towing a full-size boat or
with brass eyelets (mid-ships); two fitted with The hull had been baptised previously, but when you need to accelerate out of the way of
collars (aft). the difference now was that the weight of the another craft.
Railings: Two hole 35mm brass stanchions superstructure had replaced some of the Due to the higher voltage, current drain is
threaded with 1mm brass rod rails; enlarge ballast originally put in it for testing. The quite low and averages a little over one amp.
the holes in the stanchions so that the rails higher centre of gravity had the effect of On club sailing days, a full battery charge
can run though at an angle and solder. making the model less ‘stiff’, reacting more provides around 3 hours smoke-free run time
Deckhouse handrails: 1mm brass rod slowly in the rolling plane, which made it look or 2.25 to 2.5 hours with smoke, one
threaded through 1 x 15mm brass split pins more realistic on the water. An advantage of intermediate refill of the smoker tank being
and spacer sleeves by Robbe. larger models such as this is that they are required over that time. This makes
Steam vent pipe: From soft 3/16 inch hardly affected by the out-of-scale wind and demonstrations throughout the day at a
(4.8mm) brass tube, bent to shape. waves of a typical sailing pond and their model boat show quite practical. The turning
Steam whistle pipe: From 2mm brass rod, greater inertia makes them respond more circle is adequate rather than tight, probably
bent to shape. realistically to the controls. Despite the size, I due to the narrow-chord rudder, and the
Both pipes fitted to front of funnel using found the model would still fit quite readily in model heels slightly when turning at speed.
two of 40mm brass split pins and sleeves by the boot of my hatchback car and it is about Control astern is marginal like most such
Robbe. the maximum weight for comfortable single propeller craft, but with the large
Whistle: Turned on pillar drill from 3/16i carrying and launching by one able person, propeller the model may be ‘walked’ gently
inch (4.8mm) scrap brass rod, fitted with the overhanging stern providing a convenient sideways when docking if you learn the
1mm brass rod outlet pipe. means of gripping the hull. technique.
Tow hook: Length of 4mm square brass Throttled right back, it is almost possible to Acacia pycnantha, The Golden Wattle, is
tube, one end fitted with hook formed from count the blades of the large propeller turning Australia’s national floral emblem so perhaps
3.2mm brass rod curved and filed to shape, as the model silently glides past. A touch it’s appropriate that a tug named Wattle, be it
other end fitted with 12 x 8mm shackle. more throttle provides the best setting, with a full size or model, should stand emblematic of
Tow hook fitting: swivel rail from 3.2mm bit of a bow wave forming, a nice wake and the shipbuilding skills achieved by Australia
brass rod, curved to shape and fitted between the smoke generator doing a passable eighty years ago.
two lengths of brass angle; support rail from impression of a very clean steam exhaust. Enjoy your hobby - John Parker, Aug. 2013
3.2mm square brass tube curved to shape and The generator produces a constant amount of
fitted between uprights of davit support ‘smoke’ (actually water vapour) that is blown
framework. out with more force by a fan as the throttle is
Guy wires: 0.6mm galvanized steel cable, opened. This can make the exhaust appear
tensioned using M2 x 12mm bottle screws, less dense at higher speeds and it can tumble
M2 spade fittings used as anchor points. down the sides of the funnel at idle if there is
Commercial items included: no wind as the vapour is heavier than air. I
Three of cast twin bollard on base, 32 x 11 x had to fit a foam collar between the inner and
16mm; One of 40mm boxwood ship’s wheel; outer funnel flues to prevent the vapour being
One of 40mm Hall anchor; Two of 30mm
lifebelts; One of 80mm bow fender; Fourteen
of 10 x 14mm flanged portholes; Three of 8 x
12mm flanged portholes; Lamp fittings.

On the water
With a large model of a stable vessel such as
a tug, you need to have made a serious mess
of things for the handling to be anything but
safe and predictable, and this was the case
with the Wattle model, so let me clarify that!
I mean it was the case that the handling
was safe and predictable, not that I had made
a serious mess of things! For the final
ballasting, I had to add 930 grams of lead
between Frames G and H and 300 grams
between Frames F and G. This was in the
form of lead sinkers from the camping and
fishing section of a department store,
trimmed for length and fitted each side of the

Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 21

View of davit support
structure and boat saddles.

The windlass, nick-named


The Steam Tug Wattle moored at Docklands

against the Melbourne skyline in 2005.

Steam Tug
By Alan Flack Wattle
hese walk-around photos of the Steam Tug Wattle were taken by Alan in 2005 and show the
vessel with all the modifications made to suit it to passenger carrying service at that time,
Funnel and main cowl vents detail. before she failed her annual hull survey. the tug is now being restored as described in the
accompanying Plan Feature article by John Parker.

Amidships view showing front skylights over the engine room, tow hook and boat saddles.
Wheelhouse and bridge deck
with doubled-up railings.

Main deckhouse side.

Upper decks with gangway

modification and please
note shape of railings.

Steam pipes and

Davit head detail.

Forward hull and anchor detail.

Rear deck with canopy (when

used as pleasure boat) and
replacement stern grating. Foredeck detail with skylight and mast tabernacle.
special feature

Figure 1 Figure 2

Now read that again, slowly please. It says, negative of the last one. For the purposes of
in other words, that electronics is the this article I will use the terms ‘battery’ and
knowledge of how individual components ‘pack’ as if they mean the same thing.
work and how to assemble them together to Any battery is identified by two very
make a working device, while electrical important properties. Its voltage puts a value on
technology is the knowledge of how to the electrical ‘pressure’ it exerts between the
connect together different devices to turn negative and positive poles, i.e. the higher the
electrical energy into useful stuff like heat, voltage then the more electrical pressure it can
light and motion. When applied to model exert on a load. Increasing the voltage will, for
boats this means that anyone with a basic example, makes a bulb glow brighter or a motor
knowledge of what I call ‘bells, batteries and turn faster. The battery also has a capacity,
switches’ can install the necessary electric which is a measure of how much electrical
circuitry to make the model do what he (or energy it holds and can supply before it becomes
she) wants it to do without having to discharged, or ‘flat’. The rate of flow of electrical
understand how the clever electronic bits in current along the conductor is measured in
that circuit actually work. I’ve been challenged Amps; the more amps which a load draws from
by the Editor of this magazine to write an the battery then the quicker it will discharge.
article to illustrate and explain model boat The value of a battery’s capacity is the
electrics for the non-technical reader, so I arithmetical product of the current and the time
hope what follows is at least halfway towards for which it can be supplied and is quoted in
that goal. There will be a few slightly technical Amp-Hours (AH), or Milliamp-Hours (mAH)
bits here and there but no complicated which are 1000 times smaller. A battery which
mathematics will be used! You can treat this can supply one amp for one hour has a capacity
Tim Fawcett has article as a reference work, that is to say, of one amp-hour. To give a figure more typical of
used ACTion R/C diving into it for the bits of information you a model boat application, a 7.5AH battery will
Electronics products
extensively in his need, or sit down and read through the whole supply a current of 2.5 Amps for 3 hours (2.5 x 3
Tamar lifeboat. thing just so that you know what’s in there for = 7.5). Note that this does not depend upon the
when you might need it later. voltage of the battery which, as I hope you have
The very simplest electrical circuit involves learned, is a different thing altogether, Figure 2.

But I don’t
a power supply, conductive wiring, a load and There is an arithmetical relationship
a switch. The circuit is dead until the switch is between voltage and current in a circuit and
moved, at which stage a current of electricity it’s called Ohm’s Law and states that the

understand flows through the wiring of the circuit and

energises the load. The load does whatever it
voltage across a load divided by the current
flowing through it is called its resistance, or

does for as long as the power is supplied and R=V/I, where I is the usual symbol for
can be anything which consumes electrical current. For most practical purposes you
energy such as a bulb, a sound unit or a won’t really need Ohm’s Law but it’s useful to
motor. When the switch is returned to its be aware that it exists, if only to know what
DAVE MILBOURN explains it all original position the circuit becomes dead ‘resistance’ means. For model use there are
again and the load stops whatever it was two types of battery:

irst, a couple of definitions: According to doing. Simple enough so far? Good, then
my dictionary, electronics is the please see Figure 1. So let’s now deal with Dr y batteries, which are not rechargeable
technology of electrical circuits which the elements of this circuit, one at a time. and useful really only for low-current
involve active electrical components such as applications such as the transmitter.
transistors, diodes and integrated circuits. It Battery
is distinct from electrical technology which This is the power source and is essentially a Rechargeable batteries, which we tend to
deals with the generation, distribution, store of electrical energy. It has two poles, or use for everything else. Rechargeable batteries
switching and conversion of electrical energy terminals, which are termed negative and come in various different guises and to describe
into other forms (e.g. light and motion) using positive. The battery has chemicals inside it each fully would take a lot of space and probably
wires, motors, generators, batteries, switches, which react to produce little particles of bore you rigid. The main types used are Sealed
relays, transformers, resistors and other electrical charge called ‘free electrons’ and Lead-Acid (SLA), Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH)
passive components. shove them all up at the negative pole. This is and Lithium Polymer (LiPo). Their names refer
insulated internally from the positive pole, to the chemicals inside them (electrolytes)
which has a deficiency of electrons and whose which react to generate the electrical energy,
1 sole function in life is to grab them from the and each type has its use in model boats.
other end of the battery. If a metallic Nickel-Cadmium types (NiCad’s or NiCd’s)
conductor is connected between the two poles were popular at one time but have been
then the electrons will flow along it from removed from the market because of the
negative to positive. The conductor is usually adverse effect on the environment of discarded
in the form of a thin metallic rod called a wire, heavy-metals such as cadmium.
or a bundle of very thin rods called a cable.
The flow of electrons is called a current**. SLA batteries are heavy, the ‘L’ stands for
Strictly speaking, a battery consists only of lead after all, and cannot generate very high
one cell, which has just one pair of positive currents, so are used where slower motors
and negative poles. For most uses this is are appropriate, and where they can
impractical as the voltage of a single cell is contribute usefully to the total weight of
only between 1.2v and 3.7v, depending on the ballast required to get the model down to its
type of battery, so most model batteries are scale waterline, e.g. in tugs. The usual sizes
actually packs of cells which are either for SLA batteries are 6v and 12v, both in many
welded/soldered together in a chain or different capacities, although there are also
manufactured together inside the same case. some 2v cells around these days, Photo 1.
A pack will therefore contain several
individual cells, but only one overall pair of Nickel Metal-Hydride (NiMH) batteries
positive and negative terminals, i.e. the are generally made up in packs of joined-up
positive of the first cell in the chain and the cells, each cell having a nominal voltage of 1.2

26 www.modelboats.co.uk Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

special feature

volts and the cells coming in different case connect up a polarity-sensitive device the
sizes. The smaller case sizes have the smallest wrong way round, even for a split second, 2
capacity; typically around 850mAH for an AAA then you will probably damage it and often
pack, while the largest cells, ‘F’ size, go up to fatally. Those of us who have suffered this fate
10000 mAH (or 10AH). Packs of these cells often then refer to ‘The Magic Grey
are much lighter than their equivalent capacity Smoke’……………!
SLA types and thus suitable for faster models
where low weight is more important. NiMH Conductors
cells can supply a lot more current than SLA For our purposes, this means wiring and
batteries and can also be fast-charged at the usually of the insulated flexible variety, so that
lakeside from a portable charger. The term complicated circuits can be accommodated
‘nominal voltage’ is used to indicate the inside complicated hull shapes with lots of
voltage at which the pack will discharge for bulkheads and electronic gizmos to negotiate.
the majority of its discharge cycle. When fully A wire, or cable, is made up of a central
charged, a NiMH cell can have as much as conductive core, usually multiple strands of
1.55 volts across the poles. This will quickly thin copper wire, and an insulating outer
settle down to about 1.2v and stay at that level sleeve. The sleeve is typically either PVC or a
until it is almost fully discharged. At that time silicone-based compound, which is more
the voltage starts to drop quickly and should flexible and resistant to heat. The most
not be allowed to go below 1v per cell or crucial factor as far as wiring is concerned is
damage will occur. to use the right thickness/diameter. Too high
a current passing through a cable will
Finally, Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries increase its temperature to the point where
are the newest kids on the block and are the insulation breaks down and melts and the 3
lighter and more powerful even than NiMH conductor inside can short out against other
cells. Their nominal voltage is 3.7v per cell, ‘live’ components. Fires have been caused by
BUT they do have to be carefully handled and burning insulation, too. Model boat circuits
monitored. Careless handling or come basically in two types; those which
overcharging/discharging can in the extreme include motors and those which don’t. The
case, cause them to catch fire and even former will be subject to high currents while
destroy your model. For this reason it’s always the latter will only carry a few amps at most.
advisable to use a speed controller which will My own preference is to use thick multi-strand
monitor the battery voltage and cut off the silicone-coated cable for power wiring, and
power to the motor before it reaches a thinner multi-strand PVC ‘hook-up’ wire for
critically low value, e.g. the Mtroniks Tio such items as sound units and lighting. The
range. You can also obtain a stand-alone gauge of the silicone stuff is usually quoted in
device to do this, or a simple monitor which AWG (American Wire Gauge) and the
just sounds an alarm when the value is following table will be useful when working
reached. That said, LiPo batteries are in use out what gauge of wire you need:
all over the world and instances of such
accidents are becoming rare. As regards AWG Conductor Max current
charging, if you purchase the correct type of dia.(mm) (Amps)
balancing charger and follow the instructions, 10 2.59 55 4
then you will have no problems. LiPo packs 12 2.05 41
come in multiples of 3.7v and are quoted in the 14 1.63 32
form ‘XS’ where X is the number of cells. Thus 16 1.29 22
a ‘3S’ pack is 3 x 3.7 = 11.1 volts. The capacity 18 1.02 16
is quoted in the usual way i.e. mAH, and the 20 0.81 11
maximum current which can safely be 22 0.66 7
delivered is given in the form ‘YC’, where Y is
the value of the capacity (confusingly in For other wiring I find that PVC insulated
Amp-Hours). As an example, a 1700 mAH LiPo hook-up wire of 7 strands of 0.2mm dia.
pack has a corresponding ‘C’ value of 1.7 and Conductor, usually termed 7/0.2, is okay up to
so a pack rated at 20C can supply a maximum 2 Amps while 10/0.1 is good for low-current
of 20 x 1.7 Amps = 34 Amps, Photo 2. lighting circuits. If you need very thin cable
The only other thing which I should then I suggest buying multi-core alarm cable
emphasise about any type of rechargeable which contains 4, 6 or 8 different coloured
battery is to use the correct type of charger insulated multi-stranded cables inside one
and always follow the charging instructions. outer sheath. Others have used telephone
**Please note that unfortunately for some wire or enamelled copper wire, but you have 5
reason the ‘conventional current’ flow in circuit to scrape off the enamel insulation on the
diagrams is always labelled as being from latter type in order to make a decent joint.
positive to negative, but it’s not important as
long as you remember to connect the terminal Connectors
or wire of any load which is marked with a + There are literally dozens of different types
sign to the positive terminal of the battery etc. of electrical connectors, many of which you
will find on model boat equipment. The
Polarity pictures show the main types in use, with
As described just now, there is a flow of the exception of the familiar domestic
electric current when a load is connected electrical multiple screw terminal blocks,
between the two poles of a battery. also known as ‘choc blocks’. These are fine
Unfortunately some loads are sensitive to for their original application, i.e. domestic
which way around they are connected wiring with single-core copper wire, but if
(polarised) while others aren’t. Examples of even slightly over-tightened, the screws
non-polarised loads are conventional bulbs, may secure only a few of the wires of a
relay and switch terminals and fuses. stranded conductor cable or even cut right
Practically any unit which includes through them. Avoid using these if at all
semiconductors (transistors, PIC chips etc.) possible. The golden rule is that if a
will be polarised, so make sure that you manufacturer has fitted a particular type of
connect items such as speed controllers, connector to the wiring on his unit then
sound units and receivers the right way you can assume it’s safe to use it, so fit the
around. They are usually marked with + appropriate mate to the connecting cable
(positive) and – (negative) signs/labels or at and all should be well. Where no connector
least the instructions will tell you how to has been supplied, then you need to decide
connect them. Yes, it DOES matter! If you what type to use, Photos 3,4 & 5.

Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 www.modelboats.co.uk 27

special feature

Figure 3

This is the single most terrifying aspect to
For general circuits of less than about 15A fitting out model boats with electrics, if my
(15 Amps), the Tamiya types are very correspondence is anything to judge by. You
popular. For higher currents then consider wouldn’t believe the lengths to which some
the Deans type, or the gold-plated bullet folk will go to avoid soldering, yet it’s very
connectors for very high currents. Do make easy if you follow the rules and use the right Figure 4
sure that you fit insulation (usually heat- tools and materials.
shrink tubing) over any soldered joints. Also For general soldering use a 15 to 25 Watt
make sure that you fit the shrouded sockets mains voltage electric iron. Fancy little gas-
to the battery as this is to avoid un-insulated powered torches are barely useful for any
plug connections accidentally shorting electrical soldering except field repairs, but
together and blowing up the battery pack! they are excellent for browning crème brûlée!
If your electronic units have screw I don’t use one for anything electrical myself.
terminals then you will need to prepare the For heavy-duty cable, i.e. anything thicker
ends of the cable to suit. NEVER just twist the than 18AWG, a 40 to 80 Watt iron is better,
strands of cable together and stuff them into especially if it has a decent-sized flat tip fitted Switches
the terminal. You will inevitably discover one (4.2mm or wider). I have used a soldering These are devices which are operated either
day that there is a loose strand (or ‘whisker’) gun which heats up very quickly, but is too manually or via remote control and are used to
of wire which finds its way across to a hot and cumbersome to use for most turn electrical circuits on and off. In its simplest
neighbouring terminal, causes a short-circuit electrical work. Solder wire comes in two form, a switch has a lever which moves a
and melts or blows up something. At the very sizes; 18SWG and 22SWG. I prefer to use the conducting piece of metal into a position where
least you should strip, twist and tin the thinner type for all joints, as you can feed it it makes contact with another fixed conductor,
strands with solder, then crop them to length, into a heated joint without the risk of flooding thus bridging the two and allowing an electrical
Photo 6. Ideally plain cable ends should be the joint with excess solder. Choose solder current to flow between them. Each of these is
terminated with a crimped bootlace ferrule; with a lead content, as it’s easier to use than called a terminal (or pole) and is connected to
the blue and red colour-coded ones are the lead-free, and a resin flux core. NEVER use the wires within the circuit, thus controlling the
most useful sizes for models, Photo 7. an acidic flux for electrical soldering. The current in that circuit, Figure 3.
other major rules are: Manual switches are used in model boats to
turn on and off the power from the batteries to
1) Always make sure that the work is totally the various loads. Usually these switches have
Figure 5 clean and degreased before you try to solder it. an extra terminal, so that the moving contact is
touching one or the other of two fixed terminals
2) Wherever possible, hold the two pieces to at any time. This can be used to divert the flow
be joined together with non-ferrous clamps or of current from one circuit into another and is
similar before applying the iron. called a changeover (or double-throw) switch,
Figure 4. A simple switch which only has one
3) Never carry solder to the joint on the iron tip. set of terminals is called a single-pole switch,
while a switch which can operate two
4) Wipe away excess solder from the tip of independent circuits with just one toggle is
the iron with a damp sponge regularly – never called a double-pole switch, Figure 5. You will
take a file to the tip of a soldering iron or find switches referred to by their abbreviations
you’ll destroy any special coating it may have. SPDT and DPDT, which are respectively Single
Pole Double Throw and Double Pole Double
5) Always scrub off any excess flux from the Throw. The centre contact of a set of three is
joint afterwards. Methylated Spirits or always the common contact.
Isopropyl Alcohol are OK, but a proprietary The choice of switch depends upon what you
aerosol circuit board cleaner such as want it to do and also what current it will be
Warton’s Total Clean 200 is best. conducting, as switches are rated for voltage and
current. I recommend a 16A toggle switch for
6) A good solder joint should be clean and motor circuits and either a 2A or 5A toggle
shiny-bright. If it looks grey and dull then the switch for lower current circuits, Photo 8. Note
chances are it’s what we call a ‘dry joint’ and that these ratings are for the ‘switching’ current
will neither conduct electricity properly nor at a mains voltage, i.e. the current which will
physically hold together for very long. If in flow instantly as soon as the switch is thrown. In
any doubt remake the joint. practice they are capable of conducting a higher

28 Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

9 10 special feature

current once they are ‘on’. In nearly all cases in a

model boat we are dealing with much lower
voltages and there will be very little current Figure 7
flowing initially until you actually move a
transmitter stick and energise something like a
motor. I don’t personally use slide switches, but
they are still fitted by radio manufacturers in the
wiring harnesses which they supply to connect
receivers to battery packs, Photo 9.
Switches being what they are, the toggle or
slide needs to be accessible from outside the
model. This means either leaving it standing
proud but in a less visible place (e.g. inside an
open cockpit); hiding it under a removable
hatch, or modifying a deck feature so that it Figure 8
moves and operates the switch. For
submarines none of these options are
practical, so you might want to fit a magnetic Loads connected ‘in series’ are connected
switch. This is based on a magnetic reed one after the other along the same cable i.e.
switch and is mounted on the inside of the like a series of programmes on TV. The
model, right up against the outer skin. To voltages across each load will add up to the
operate it, you simply ‘wipe’ a permanent total voltage across the circuit, Figure 7.
magnet along the outside of the skin from As I said earlier, a load can be anything
front to back of the switch area. This which consumes electrical energy but
energises the thin reed switch, trips a typically will be a motor of some sort, or
latching relay and makes the circuit. lights or a sound effect unit. You can fit such
Alexander Engel KG sell two different types; loads in series into a circuit where their total
one for models with a BEC (Battery operating voltage equals that of the whole
Eliminator Circuit) speed controller and one circuit. As an example; two 3 volt bulbs wired
for those without, each in either 6v or 12v in series will require a total of 6 volts across
versions They are however, as the Editor the pair to operate them. This is a good way
says, not exactly cheap, Photo 10. to combine bulbs of a different voltage, e.g.
Remotely-controlled switches do essentially two 3 volt bulbs and a 6 volt bulb all in series
the same job as manual ones, except that adds up nicely to 12 volts. If you wire two 3v Figure 9
instead of moving the slider or toggle of the bulbs in parallel however, they will require
switch with your finger (or a magnet), you only a 3v battery across the circuit as each
operate a control on the transmitter of your will receive 3 volts. You can combine loads in
radio which sends a signal to a special sort of circuits which involve both series and parallel
switch inside the model to turn on and off the wiring if you like. Please see the illustration of
particular load e.g. lights and more about a typical lighting circuit in a modern tug
these later. model, Figure 8. Here the supply voltage is
12v and it’s supplying both a series circuit
Series versus Parallel comprising of 2 x 3v bulbs and a parallel
Connection and Loads circuit of 2 x 6v bulbs. Note that if one of the
At this point I will have to explain those bulbs in a series circuit fails then the whole
confusing terms parallel and series. There circuit becomes dead, whereas a failed bulb in
are two very simple rules here. a parallel circuit has no effect on the other
Loads connected ‘in parallel’ go alongside bulbs. You’ve quite likely already discovered
each other in side-by-side (parallel) cables this when hanging Christmas tree lights?
which are then connected at each end, like The terms ‘series’ and ‘parallel’ are also
two sidings along a single railway track. The applied to connecting batteries, but beware!
voltage across each load will equal the total While you can connect two batteries with
voltage across the circuit, Figure 6. different voltages and capacities in series, you
must NEVER connect two batteries of a different
voltage in parallel or one will discharge into the
other, with potentially serious damage to both
batteries and possibly the model. As before, the
total voltage of a series pair will be the total of the
two battery voltages, Figure 9, while the voltage
of a parallel pair will be the same as the two
individual batteries, Figure 10. The capacity of a
parallel pair will be twice that of the individual
batteries. In practice you should always make
sure that the two batteries in the pair are the
same type (e.g. SLA or NiMH) and the same
capacity (e.g. 7AH), irrespective of whether you
are wiring them in series or parallel.
Ideally you should disconnect pairs of
batteries from each other when charging and
charge them separately as there’s always the
risk that one will charge at a different rate
Figure 6 and be the weaker of the two if you charge Figure 10
them together as a pair. If you can’t, or don’t

Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 www.modelboats.co.uk 29

special feature

Figure 13

want to remove them from the model, then specified, e.g. a 12v motor, 3v bulbs etc., while
you can use a double-pole changeover switch the current is seldom mentioned. You can
to connect them to charging sockets in the measure the current drawn by any load by
model. The connections for series and parallel connecting it to a battery of the correct
connections are shown in the diagrams voltage and connecting an ammeter in series
Figures 11 & 12 respectively. Note that the with it, please see Figure 13. You need then
switch in the parallel set-up acts also as the to switch on the circuit and read off the
On/Off switch for the whole circuit, while in current. For a motor you will need to simulate
the series circuit you need a separate On/Off the load it will be working, so a main drive
switch (in the positive wire) to do that job. motor should be fitted into the model and
running with its propeller in the water when
Figure 11 Planning you measure the current. Most digital
Before you can plan an installation you need multimeters have a scale which will read up to
to know the operating voltage and the 10 Amps, while I came across an analogue
approximate current drawn by each of the panel ammeter on the Internet which
loads. The operating voltage is usually measures 0 to 15A and cost less than £5,
Photo 11. I have found that a cheap digital
multimeter like the 318A from Rapid
12 Electronics suits all of my requirements and
there’s no need to spend more than around
£20 while you can get a very basic type for
less than £5, Photo 12. Alternatively you can
obtain a special Wattmeter for higher
currents. This clever device will also indicate
maximum current, voltage and thus power
consumed (volts x amps). They can even be
fitted into the model if you wish, and cost
around £15 to £40 from specialist model
suppliers. Examples are the JP EnErG Power
Battery Analyser, Photo 13, and the PP-
Wattmeter Budget, Photo 14, but other
types are available.
Once you know the voltages and currents you
can go ahead and plan the installation. For a
simple single-motor model with just a speed
controller and a steering servo that’s an easy
task, especially if your speed controller has BEC
(Battery Elimination Circuit). This is a little
circuit built into the speed controller which
reduces the voltage from the main motor battery
and passes it down the 3-wire connection from


Figure 12



30 www.modelboats.co.uk Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

special feature


Figure 14

the speed controller to supply power to the to use a separate battery to supply that circuit
receiver, Figure 14. When a speed controller rather than mess around with resistors etc.
doesn’t have a BEC then you can either fit a If you really do have problems with
remote one or power the receiver from a planning circuits then you could take a look at
separate 4-cell NiMH pack. the ACTion website, which includes over 170
For more complicated installations you might full-colour wiring diagrams for all sorts of
well consider using a power distribution board model boats from simple launches to multiple 16
such as the ACTion P92, Photo 15. This takes screw warships. See www.action-electronics.
the power from the main battery and directs it co.uk. It is naturally biased towards ACTion’s
through fuses to five pairs of terminals, all at the own products. but the principles of installation
same voltage as the supply battery. It also has a apply equally to most electronic gizmos.
reduced-voltage fly-lead with a plug to power the
receiver i.e. the BEC device is fitted onto the Fuses
power board and not inside the speed controller, My friend and mentor, the late Craig Talbot,
Figure 15. A similar fused power board, albeit wouldn’t hear of fitting fuses into a model
with switches and without the BEC output, is boat as: ‘They don’t prevent anything from
available from Hunter Systems while there is a being destroyed by a determined idiot’! I
very sophisticated version from Harbor Models admit that I followed this until I witnessed a
of San Diego which includes voltage reduction fire in a model which could so easily have
for the outputs as well. With this you can use just been prevented had a fuse been fitted.
one 12v battery to power two 12v circuits, two 6v The purpose of a fuse is primarily safety. A
circuits, two 3v circuits and the 4.8v receiver! It fuse probably won’t stop a stalled motor from
does however come with a hefty price tag and blowing the output FET’s in a speed obtainable, and are not expensive. You can
because of its size is really not suitable for small controller, but it will blow fast enough to stop even buy a fuse holder for these with an
models. Note that where you have fitted a BEC cables and contacts from overheating and indicator diode which glows either red or
speed controller you must NOT also use a catching fire. Choose a value which is just a green depending on which way the current is
separate power supply to the receiver such as a little above that at which you get nuisance flowing, which is very useful for setting
battery pack or the flylead on the ACTion P92. blowing of the fuse, e.g. try a 5A fuse in motors up, Photo 16. Finally, don’t fit fuses
Further, if your model has two or more BEC- circuit with a 10A ESC (electronic speed or fused boards inside a box or have them
equipped speed controllers then you must controller) and if it continually blows when way down deep in the hull as you’ll need to be
disable the positive wire to the receiver on all but the motor is at full load, replace it with a 7.5A able to get to them easily for checking and
one of them, Figure 16. one or even higher rating if required, but replacing them.
Where multiple voltages are required, a don’t exceed the maximum rating of the ESC
little bit of planning can often resolve the with the fuse value. For those who want to
matter down to using one battery. For know whether to fit a fuse between the
Figure 16
example, if your main power supply is 12 volts battery and ESC or between the ESC and the
but you want to run a 6v lighting circuit from motor, there’s no harm in doing both, but you
it as well, then simply have two 6v bulbs in must ALWAYS fit one in the positive line
series as one circuit (total supply voltage = between the battery and the ESC somewhere.
12v). You could incorporate a resistor instead This is also the place for the main On/Off
of one of the bulbs, but it will usually need to power switch.
be of a very low resistance and high power For fuse values of less than about 2A you
capacity in order to ‘absorb’ the unwanted can use those clear glass cartridge fuses
power. It will, of course, also get pretty hot in fitted to an in-line, spring–loaded holder.
operation. In such circumstances it’s easiest to These aren’t very useful for higher currents,
hide the second bulb internally if you can’t as the contact area at each end of the fuse is
make use of it elsewhere on the model. If you very small which can produce excess heat
do find yourself needing a different voltage for and melt the holder. I favour the automotive
just one circuit then it’s often the best advice ‘blade fuses’ which go up to 30A, are widely

Figure 15

Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 www.modelboats.co.uk 31

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special feature

Figure 17

Figure 18

Brushed motors Just to muddy the waters a little further, there

In what we call a ‘brushed’ motor, the coils of are two types of brushless motor. Those where
wire are wound around the poles of the the outer casing of the motor is fixed to the
armature which is caused to rotate inside a mount and the shaft rotates within the casing are
permanent magnet or magnets. These magnets called ‘Inrunners’, while those which have a
are fixed around the inside of the motor case. shaft fixed to the rotating outer case are
The almost-universal way of conducting the ‘Outrunners’. The latter type is more useful for
Motors electrical current to the coils of wire around the model boats as they generally have higher
17 Electrically-powered model boats armature is via fixed carbon ‘brushes’, which torque and lower RPM than the former. In
exclusively use Direct Current (DC) rub tightly against brass contacts on the model boats the water-cooling of brushless
motors, although there are armature as it spins around. These contacts motors is sometimes necessary; more
thousands of different types and sizes. form what is called the commutator of the motor. frequently with the higher-revving Inrunners but
Essentially they all involve using the power The rubbing action creates quite a lot of friction occasionally where the load on an outrunner is
supply to energise a coil or coils of wire inside and heat; it can also create electrical sparks relatively high. This is achieved by using the
the motor. These coils form the armature of the which in turn put out a very messy radio signal. propeller to force cold water from the pond
motor. The electrical energy creates a magnetic This unwanted radio frequency (called RF) can through a scoop just behind the propeller blades
field in the coils which in turn rotates the interfere with the signals received by the radio into a flexible tube. The water passes through
armature inside the motor. The armature shaft in your model and cause servos to twitch this tube into a specially-made motor mount and
extends beyond the end bearings in the motor uncontrollably. This effect is known as Radio conducts the excess heat away through a small
case and the propeller shaft is connected to it via Frequency Interference or RFI for short. You exit outlet in the side of the hull. In many cases
a coupling. There are very many websites which can, and should, fit small suppressor this cooling water also needs to pass through the
show their construction and operation, with both components called capacitors to the motor as speed controller, which will have tubes already
coloured diagrams and animated graphics. shown in the diagram, Figure 17, to eliminate fitted for the purpose, Photos 18 and 19.
the effects of RFI, Photo 17. At the moment the general practice seems to
Motor suppression is not as necessary if be to use brushless motors where speed is the
you are using a microwave-frequency radio main criteria for performance, with brushed
18 (2.4GHz), but if you are sailing with others motors still being by far the most popular for
who aren’t, then the RFI created by your model workboats, warships and submarines, but
motor might just be ‘loud’ enough to interfere like the man says, you pay your money and you
with their radios. Further measures may be take your choice! Just remember that you
needed if the RF still causes twitching servos cannot run a brushless motor using a brushed-
in your model. These can include earthing motor speed controller and vice versa.
the case of the motor(s) to the propeller tube;
twisting the two wires from the speed Speed controllers
controller to the motor together and/or If you want to know how an electronic speed
passing these wires through and around controller works then I’d refer you to the
ferrite rings. A full treatise on suppressing article on the ACTion website as it’s far too
motors can be found on the Internet at: long to reproduce here. Please see: http://
http://www.modelsoundsinc.com/articles/ www.action-electronics.co.uk/pdfs/ESCs.pdf
DavidsOriginalArticles/RFIArticleMarch2006.pdf In the bad old days we used to use
mechanical variable-resistance speed
Brushless motors controllers, operated by a standard servo,
Over recent years there has been a major which controlled the speed of the motor by
revolution in model motor technology with the ‘bleeding off’ unwanted power. A contact on
advent of brushless motors. As the name the end of a wiper arm moved across a coil of
suggests, these don’t rely on fixed brushes to resistive wire like a rheostat, or a miniature
transmit the power to the central armature. electric fire. This was very wasteful in terms
Rather they are made ‘inside out’ with the wire of battery power and the advent of the
coils fixed around the inside of the motor casing Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) has made
and a permanent magnet rotating the shaft these almost extinct. Okay, users of ‘Bob’s
inside them. The power to energise the coils is Boards’ will object to that statement, but
transmitted by some very clever, fast-switching matching the correct resistive board to the
electronics outside the motor case. Because motor was always critical to operating the
there are no brushes, these motors are much things and few users seemed to manage to do
more efficient than their brushed cousins, so a that successfully. The contacts also could
small and light brushless motor will do the same work loose in operation, would only handle
job as a bigger, heavier brushed one. There are relatively small currents, and required
no brushes to replace and so the motors are regular maintenance.
virtually maintenance-free. They are, however, The modern electronic speed controller comes
very hungry for power and so heavy-duty cable in two distinct types, depending upon the motor,
19 and batteries which can supply high currents that’s brushless and brushed. We’ll concentrate
are required (usually NiMH or LiPo types). on the latter here, as most of what applies to
They also have a couple of other limitations in brushed types also applies to brushless.
that low-speed control is not yet as good as with There are two distinct parts to the inside of
the brushed types and there are only a few an ESC; the logic circuitry and the power
speed controllers available which will allow circuitry, Figure 18. The logic components
remote selection of forward and reverse. are the ones which are connected to the
Because they have no commutator to create RF receiver via the 3-wire lead with a plug on the
interference, brushless motors don’t require end. Its operating voltage is dictated by the
suppressor capacitors, which should please the receiver and is generally of the order of 4.8v,
‘solder-phobes’! but you don’t need to make a conscious

Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

special feature

decision about that as the receiver will take a small slide-switch on a pair of thin wire
care of it. The purpose of the logic circuitry is leads. This usually controls the onward power
to detect and decode the signal coming from from the internal BEC voltage regulator to
the receiver and to switch the high-speed, the rest of the radio system and therefore
high-current semiconductors in the power serves as a radio ON/OFF switch. It does not
circuit which control the speed and direction control the power supply from the battery to
of the motor. The ESC manufacturer will state the ESC, so I would recommend also fitting
in the technical information the range of main an addition high-current switch in the positive
motor battery voltages with which the ESC lead from the main battery to the ESC unless
will cope, along with what should be a value you are in the habit of disconnecting the Figure 19
for the maximum motor current (in Amps) battery physically each time you remove the
which the ESC will handle under model from the water. If you do disable the
continuous operation. You should be BEC for any reason, then leave the little
guided by those two values when choosing switch in its ON position or you may find that throttle and steering outputs of the receiver
your ESC, after first ascertaining the working the ESC doesn’t work; again, this should be and automatically slows down or reverses the
voltage of the motor and its current covered in the ESC Instructions. inner motor in a turn as you apply a steering
consumption under load as described earlier. Modellers have complained about the high- command. There are several different types
I’ve emphasised the words ‘under pitched whine that some speed controllers on the market (e.g. Mtroniks, ACTion,
continuous operation’, because the current appear to emit at low motor speeds. In fact it’s Hunter) and also a combined twin speed
rating often causes confusion and I suspect, the motor which is making the noise and it’s controller and mixer, the ACTion P94. I’d
involves a little skullduggery on the part of caused by the very high frequency at which suggest you have a look at the article:
some sellers. When you switch on an ESC the motor is switched on and off. This is http://www.action-electronics.co.uk/pdfs/
and bang open the throttle there will be a usually only audible at very low speeds. If it Twins%20Ver2.pdf, which explains and
sudden inrush of current from the battery to annoys you, then the only solution is to illustrates further how these units work.
the motor to get it spinning. This will always change to a speed controller which operates
be a larger value than that consumed when at a lower frequency, whereupon that whine Radio Control Switches
the motor is running at full speed, i.e. becomes a low-frequency buzz. Some ESC’s You can’t just connect a load like a bulb to the
continuously. Modern switching are switchable between high and low output pins of a receiver and expect it to
semiconductors therefore have two current frequency, but that is more because high operate when you move the transmitter stick,
rating values; one for continuous and one for frequency ESC’s are more effective at low because the receiver is not itself a switch. It
‘inrush’ or pulsed currents. The value we speed control. puts out a signal voltage pulse through one
should be concerned with is the continuous Whichever type of ESC you buy, read the wire of each channel’s connectors. The length
current rating. Because it is a much more instruction manual before you do anything of these pulses is varied by movement of the
impressive figure, I have long suspected that with it. Of those units which were returned to stick or switch on the transmitter and ranges
certain oriental ESCs are rated with their us ‘for repair’, at least 50% had nothing wrong typically between 1 and 2 thousandths of a
inrush current instead. Indeed, we have with them; it was usually a case of the user second (1-2mS) as you move the stick. The
handled supposedly 50A ESC’s from such thinking he knew more about how the ESC other two wires of the channel’s output are at
sources which failed consistently at 15A. So, should work than the guy who wrote the 0v and +5v all of the time. In order to make
the moral is clear; buy a known unit from a instructions. If ever you hear an electronics sense of this variable signal pulse, the device
reliable source with a good reputation and a engineer muttering about ‘Hardware-User which is plugged into the receiver needs a
clearly stated service/warranty policy. Interface Conflict’ then you’ll now know circuit to detect it, decode it and change it to
Popular UK-manufactured ESC’s are by exactly what it means! drive an output which can be used by the
ACTion, Electronize and Mtroniks, while load. In a servo this output drives the servo
other popular and reliable imports carry the Motor Mixers motor. In a radio-controlled switch it operates
Graupner or Robbe labels. Make sure also Twin electric motors can be operated by either an electromechanical relay or a
that the ESC has both forward and reverse if various means. You can run two motors in semiconductor, which in turn, switches an
you are fitting out a workboat like a tug. parallel from one ESC or you can operate two external circuit, e.g. lights, winch motor,
Many of the cheaper ones are forward-only or separate ESC’s from one receiver channel. In sound unit.
have limited reversing capability. Incidentally both of these cases the motors will run at the The original remote switch for model boats
it’s quite okay to run a low-current motor on same speed and in the same direction was a sensitive mechanical type called a
an ESC which has a much higher rating, but together. If you wish to do what the full-size microswitch, mounted on top of a standard
not the other way around. boats do however, you can split the two servo. The button of the microswitch, or a
The power circuit connections of an ESC will motors between two separate channels and lever connected to it, was depressed by the
always comprise a pair of thick battery cables. use a transmitter stick to control each one rotating arm or disc of the servo, so making
These are usually made in red and black, for independently. This is called ‘tank steering’ as the electrical circuit connected to the switch.
positive and negative connections respectively. it’s the way a tank driver controls his vehicle. Figure 19. The contacts are the same as a
There will also be a pair of cables to connect with It allows much better low-speed control for conventional single-pole changeover switch,
the motor terminals, often in blue and yellow, but manoeuvring into a dock, and it can also Figure 20. Some modellers still cling to this
be careful and check your instruction leaflet first. greatly improve the turning ability of a model. method, largely I think because they don’t
Brushless motor ESC’s have three motor wires. However you’ll have spotted that it required understand the workings of a servo-less
It doesn’t matter which way round you connect two channels for the throttles and it’s also switch. A simple single-relay switch has
the motor wires to the motor, BUT the battery quite a complicated skill to learn. exactly the same contacts as a microswitch
connections should NEVER be reversed. If you You can alternatively fit an on-board device and is physically much smaller than the servo
wish to reverse the direction in which the motor called a motor mixer, which is coupled to the + switch assembly. It plugs into the receiver
is rotating then just swap over the two wires from
the ESC to the motor. For brushless motors swap
over any two of the three motor wires.
Setting up the ESC to operate from the radio
can either be a real pain or none at all,
depending on the type chosen. Some require
you to move the transmitter stick to its neutral
and extreme positions while you push a small
button on the ESC in response to flashing
coloured LED’s. Others have rotary trimmers
and slide switches which can adjust the
working frequency and the neutral and peak
motor speeds. Others, you just switch on, and
they ‘Autoset’ themselves! Brushless ESC’s are
a law unto themselves and frequently require a
separate programming card.
The only other variable is whether or not
the ESC contains a battery eliminator circuit
(BEC – see earlier). If it does, then you must Figure 20
NOT connect an additional power supply to
the receiver. Some BEC-equipped ESC’s have

Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 www.modelboats.co.uk 35

special feature

Figure 21

exactly as a servo does, and requires no

further setting up such as bending levers or
repositioning the servo arm to make/break
contact at the appropriate point, Figure 21.
Radio control switches can behave like a
bell-push, where the circuit is live only for
as long as you hold the transmitter stick or
switch in the ON position, Figure 22. The
alternative is that they operate like an
Anglepoise lamp switch, where you have to
push and let go of the switch to turn it on,
and then repeat that action to turn it off,
Figure 23. The latter is called a latching
switch while the former is, unsurprisingly,
a non-latching switch. Each has its place
within a model; for example you would use
a latching switch for any load which you
want to keep on for a while, such as lights,
whilst a non-latching switch would be more
suitable for a horn or whistle.
Some r/c switches can operate up to eight
separate circuits from just one channel but
beware! Those simple 2-way switched
Figure 22 channels on multi-channel radios which are
often marked with legends like ‘Retracts’ or
‘Flap’ are capable only of operating a single
function switch (i.e. On or Off). Practically
this limits them to one lighting circuit, a
single sound card or a continually-rotating
motor like a radar sweep arm. For two or
more circuits per channel, then you need a
spare radio channel which is operated either
by a stick, a rotary knob or a 3-way switch
(Centre = Off).
The main selection criteria for a switch is
the current which the load to be switched
will draw. Typically one Grain of Wheat
bulb will draw 60 to 80mA; an LED will
draw 20mA; a 12v smoke unit will draw 1 to
2A and a geared 12v winch motor between
1A and 5A depending on the motor size.
Calculate the total current for each circuit
and then buy the appropriate switch. With
relay switches, the voltage doesn’t seem to
matter as long as it doesn’t exceed about
30v whereas switches without relays can be
limited to well below that value. Again, do
some research before you decide. Popular
makes of r/c switches include Electronize,
Hunter Systems, Technobots, ACTion and

Engine sound units

If you wish to add realism to your model,
then pretty much the obvious choice would
be an engine sound, ideally one which
increases in pitch as you open the throttle.
Take care that this is a realistic choice
however as I doubt ver y much if you would
have heard the engines of HMS Hood or
the Titanic unless you pressed your ear to
the hull and the ver y popular KD Perkasa
was powered by three gas turbine engines,
not petrol or diesel!
Such sound units are available in two basic
types; those which simply simulate the
sound of an engine by generating and
modifying electronic noises, and those which
replay digital samples of real engine
Figure 23 recordings. In order for the pitch to be
varied there is a connection either to the

36 www.modelboats.co.uk Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

special feature

brushes of the motor itself or to the receiver

throttle channel output, Figure 24. In the
former case it’s important to know the
voltage of the main batter y, because the
sound card runs directly from it. In the
latter case the sound card takes its signal
and power from the receiver so the main
motor batter y voltage isn’t relevant. Sound
simulators are generally adjustable for
volume, pitch, idle and top speed and some
sort of character or tone, e.g. number of
cylinders in a diesel engine, while the
digital replay types are usually only
adjustable for volume.
In nearly all cases, engine sound cards will
have an amplifier chip built into their
circuitry, so the only other item to fit will be
a suitable speaker. Make sure you use the
correct impedance, which is usually 4Ω or
8Ω, but check the instructions. The
exception is the ACTion P100 Noisy Thing,
which requires an external amplifier to
work. Most sound cards will benefit from the
addition of an external amplifier to increase
their volume, as few seem to be suitable for
all but fairly small lakes. Model Sound Inc’s
Shockwave digital system has a very
powerful on-board Class-D amplifier which
Figure 24
makes it suitable for large model aircraft and
helicopters, but a high supply voltage and
large speakers are required to obtain the
optimum performance from this unit.
Note that a straightforward engine sound
card doesn’t require a separate radio channel
to operate, as it simply uses the throttle
channel to vary its pitch. Some units,
however, may require a second channel e.g.
the Mtroniks unit needs one to start up the
engine sound while the P100 carries up to
eight other sound effects (horns, bells etc.)
which can be activated by a second channel
and selector switch.
Engine sound simulators are made by
Technobots, ACTion, Harbor Models, Robbe,
and JoTiKa while the more expensive digital
types are from Mtroniks, Benedini, ACTion,
Model Sounds Inc. (Canada) and Graupner.
Model Sounds Ltd (UK) make a fixed-pitch
sound unit called Master Blaster which is
switched on manually and allowed to run for
the whole sailing session. This is useful for a
heavy marine-diesel sound, which varies very
little with throttle anyway and other types are
available. Note that the digital types can all be
programmed with different engine sounds,
some by the user and others at the time of Figure 25
purchase. Once again, check out the
manufacturer’s website for all the details.

Other sounds and speakers

Most of the manufacturers just mentioned, quite a distance, so real hi-fi quality would be awkward positions, e.g. at the top of a tall thin
also supply sound units for other ship’s wasted. Mylar or polypropylene cones are mast. This will require good planning and thin
noises, e.g. fog horns, air horns, bells, better for model boats because they are cable, and if lights are going to be inaccessible
whistles, telegraph, sirens, destroyer ‘whoops’ waterproof (or rather, splash-proof), in that after fitting then you are best advised to
etc. These tend to be the synthesised kind they probably wouldn’t survive being include them in a parallel circuit. That way if
that is adjustable by the user as required. submerged while turned on. Speakers do have one does fail then the others will continue to
Some will be supplied with their own speaker polarised connections, i.e. there is a +ve and a work. One common way of reducing the
and perhaps a microswitch so that they can –ve marked on the solder terminals. If your number of wires needed in a mast installation
be activated by a servo; others will need a sound unit or amplifier is also marked with the is to make the mast of brass tube and use it as
separate speaker and some sort of r/c switch polarity of the speaker outputs then do connect a common negative connection for every light.
to operate them. You will need a spare radio them up, like for like. However, it isn’t vital that That way you need only a separate positive
channel for these sounds. You can operate they should be connected like that; you won’t wire for each bulb or LED.
more than one sound unit at a time, but if you damage anything if they aren’t. You need to plan how many separate circuits
are using just one speaker then you must fit a Figure 25 shows a siren unit connected you want, because you will need a separate
separate audio amplifier/mixer (e.g. ACTion to an r/c switch with a flashing light unit switch for each one. For example, you might
P97 or P101), or fit a separate speaker for wired in parallel. This is popular for fire want the navigation lights and mast lights on
each unit. Two sound cards wired directly to and rescue models and shows how several one circuit, while the bridge and interior
the same speaker is almost the quickest way of the different items in this article can be lighting is on another. This is where twin or
to a blown unit that I can think of and nearly operated together. In this case the siren multiple switches (e.g. ACTion P44 or P62) are
as quick as connecting the power supply the will sound and the light will flash when the handy, in as much as you can operate two or
wrong way around! switch is operated. more circuits from one channel.
The question of speakers arises. The sound The question then arises whether to use
quality from a paper cone is without doubt Lights LED’s or conventional bulbs. LED’s have the
better than any other type, BUT don’t forget Fitting working lights to a model boat is often advantage of a much longer operating life
you are only going to hear the sound from not the easiest of tasks. Many are placed in and lower current consumption (about a

Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 www.modelboats.co.uk 37

special feature 20

element to produce the smoke. This exits the

funnel, either with or without help from a fan,
as per the Foggy system. Hunter Systems’ unit
works on 12v, but has no fan assist, while the
daddy of them all has to be the Harbor Models
unit. This 12v ‘squirrel cage’ blower-assisted
unit is expensive, but mightily impressive and
there is a video on their website.
The other pros and cons I have heard, are that
the water-based units are ineffective in hot or
humid countries, while the oil burners can leave
a sooty residue all over the model. Oh, and you
won’t get black smoke from either type, at least
not safely, Photos 20 & 21!

Other functions
The variety of working functions which can be
incorporated in a model boat is largely down
to the imagination and ingenuity of the
builder and the budget available. There are no
fixed rules about how these things can be
operated, but here are a few suggestions:

Bow thrusters: Often incorporated in

models of workboats such as tugs and
ferries, these are small electric brushed
third of that needed for a Grain of Wheat visible exhaust, while other vessels have motors fitted inside a tube which runs from
bulb), but they usually require a series exhausts situated below the waterline. side to side at the bow of the model, below
resistor to make them compatible with the Smoke or steam simulators work on two waterline level. Water is drawn into one side
supply voltage and they are only bright when different principles. The first type e.g. Marks and expelled from the other, applying a
viewed from quite a narrow angle, like in a Model Bits’ ‘Foggy’ has an internal nebuliser turning force to the bow (or stern) of the
spotlight. Component Shop’s catalogue has a and runs on water. The nebuliser creates a mist model. Typically the motor will run from
very informative article on using LED’s as of water vapour which is then forced up a short 7.2v and needs a speed controller which will
well as a calculator for working out the value plastic funnel by a small computer fan. This is give equal power in both directions. Connect
of series resistors. Internet tools are also quite a bulky unit and requires a 24v power it to the channel which is operated by a
available e.g.: http://www.muzique.com/ supply to run (or a 12v/24v voltage converter). sideways-movement of the transmitter stick
schem/led.htm Another option, especially A more sophisticated version is available which and this is usually the opposite stick to the
for very small lights, would be to fit a has a small speed controller to increase the main steering one.
powerful bulb or LED inside the model and speed of the fan and thus the volume of smoke
run optical fibres from it to the sites of the as the throttle is increased. The newer Steam Working winches: These use a geared
lighting points. Master unit does essentially the same thing, but motor run either by a speed controller or a
works on any supply from 6v to 20v. It’s also 2-way relay-based switch, with or without limit
Smoke smaller, but produces greater volumes of steam; microswitches to prevent over-running.
For some modellers there is no option but to has four different, programmable smoke outputs MFA/Como Drills have a very large range of
have a funnel belching smoke as the model and is nearly twice as expensive. geared motors and also a selection of plastic
steams away from the side of the lake. If you The other type of smoke unit actually does gears, chains, racks, pinions etc. to make up a
are considering fitting such an effect then produce real smoke, usually from a drive train.
make sure, as with an engine sound, that this commercially-available hydrocarbon-based
is appropriate for the type of model, e.g. distillate. This oil is retained in a metal Doors, ramps, deck lifts, retractable
modern large diesels will give a cloud of dirty reservoir which also has a wick inside it. This antenna: Either use a geared motor as above,
smoke on start-up, but then run without any soaks up oil and is ignited by a heating or a suitable servo. ACTion’s P96


special feature

ServoMorph is a handy device which can

var y the total amount, direction and speed
of rotation of a standard ser vo. Model
aircraft retracting-undercarriage ser vos
will turn slowly, have high torque output
and will rotate 180 degrees with a normal
transmitter signal. Sail winch ser vos will
rotate several times from one extreme of
signal to the other. Both types can be
adapted for these sorts of function.

Gun turrets: Again, use either a geared

motor and 2-way switch or a servo.
Technobots have a dedicated Servo Position
Controller which can be made to move a Figure 26
servo and stop the rotation at any point by
returning the stick to centre without the
servo following it. This clever little unit can
also increase the degree of rotation as well as
Suppliers’ website details:
adjust its speed. It is only available as a kit to www.action-electronics.co.uk Speed controllers, RC switches, power distribution board, fuse boards,
build on stripboard, however. Multiple turret motor mixers, sound units, ServoMorph, Wiring Diagrams*
servos can be made to rotate together by
interconnecting them using Y-leads. Servo www.benedini.de Engine sound systems
rotation can be reversed by either a controller
such as the P96 ServoMorph or a simple and www.component-shop.co.uk Batteries, connectors, leads, cable, chargers, LEDs, ACTion R/C Electronics units*
cheap reversing lead (available from
www.electronize.co.uk Speed controllers, RC switches, motors
Component Shop and others).
www.engel-modellbau.eu Magnetic switches
Fire monitors, bilge pumps: Use a geared
water-pump suitable for the voltage available www.graupner.de/en Speed controllers, sound units, pumps
(Robbe and Graupner market several) and
switched by a high-current r/c switch, e.g. www.harbormodels.com Smoke unit, sound units, power distribution board
ACTion P91. Note that the motors in these
pumps are not often rated for running http://shop.huntersystems.co.uk Smoke unit, power distribution board
continuously for more than about 30 seconds
at a time. Ignore such warnings at your peril! www.jotika-ltd.com Sound modules

And finally: www.marksmodelbits.com Foggy smoke/steam generator*

Which channel is which?
All multi-channel receivers have labels to www.mfacomodrills.com Motors, gearboxes, gears, chain, sprockets, pinions, pulleys etc.
inform you which numbered channel you are
connecting your device into, but very few www.mtroniks.net Speed controllers, mixers, motors
have the corresponding labels on the
www.modelsolutions.ca Engine sound systems
transmitter sticks. I am frequently asked:
‘How do I know which set of pins to use’? The www.modelsounds.co.uk Sound modules
answer is to experiment, or try it and see.
Plug a servo into Channel 1 of the receiver, www.jperkinsdistribution.co.uk Power analyser*
switch on the transmitter and receiver and
wiggle the sticks until you find which www.rapidonline.com Test equipment*
movement of which stick moves the servo.
Now draw a diagram of the transmitter in the www.robbe.de Speed controllers, sound units, RC switchers, pumps
notes section of the radio’s manual and label
it. Switch off the Rx, move the servo www.steammasterunit.co.uk Steam/smoke generator*
connection on to Channel 2 and repeat. Do
this for every channel and you’ll end up with www.technobotsonline.com Servo Position Controller, engine sound simulators
an accurate picture of your Tx showing the
correct stick/switch for each Rx output. www.4-max.co.uk PP-Budget Wattmeter
Simple, innit - please see Figure 26! l
*The author wishes to acknowledge these suppliers for the use of their photographic images included in this article.
Other photographs by the author, Paul Freshney, Nick Keur and Tim Fawcett.
Please also note that all ACTion R/C Electronics products are now only retailed by Component Shop.

TS Model Boats Magazine is now only a
ONLINE ! click away! You can find us online at...

Website content includes: l A Features area that has sections for:
Build Features, Kit and Product Reviews, Hints,
l A Gallery which features photo albums of models, Tips and Technical, Show and Regatta Reports and
including some under construction by Model Boats General Interest Articles on Model Boating.
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Beginners, General, R/C and Accessories, Static, Kits, books and kits. These can all be purchased online.
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Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 www.modelboats.co.uk 39

The Yacht Utrecht, 1746
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the Yacht Utretcht Utretcht
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kit review

TERRY SMALL reviews the Graupner kit these are at the model builder’s discretion. CNC cut plywood is supplied, ready to glue
The deck-mounted crane is included in the kit together, although for added strength as a

anzow is a multi-purpose ship designed and can be made to work in a scale fashion personal choice, I used the parts as templates
for operation in shallow and confined using the separately purchased Expansion and made another from thicker plywood,
waters. She can cope with many tasks, Crane Set, Part No.2023, in conjunction with leaving the original for display purposes only.
including transport of personnel, equipment three mini motors Part No.1753, but this is all To strengthen the hull, an internal framework
and materials, the maintenance of navigation at the builder’s choice. Parts which are has to be separated from the excellent laser
buoys, ice-breaking missions and other difficult to make, including the hull, deck cut plywood sheets, Photo 1, on which the
maritime related tasks. The vessel is fitted parts, bulwark, superstructure and bridge, parts are number stamped, indicating their
with a remote controlled hydraulic crane for are injection-moulded, so reducing the correct position as shown on the plan and
work on deck. The mast can be folded down building time considerably. However, the stated in the instructions.
and the searchlight on the bridge swung model is not intended for the beginner, so For all wood-to-wood joints, a waterproof
forward and down, enabling the ship to pass some modelling experience and assembly resin wood glue was used and for wood to
under low bridges. Twin Becker rudders with skills will be required. Current UK price is plastic, five minute epoxy glue did the job very
a bow thruster provide excellent manoeuvring around £240 for the basic kit without the well. The hull’s internal framework was glued
capability, while electronic equipment allows optional extras. It should also be mentioned in position making sure nothing moved as the
the crew to operate and monitor all the ship’s that Graupner at the end of 2012, underwent a adhesive was setting to avoid any twisting,
systems from two control stations. change of ownership and it would appear that Photo 2. The plywood motor mount was next
only now, in the second half of 2013, are to be assembled, unless different type of
The kit supplies into the retail market starting to get motors are to be fitted, as then you would be
Ranzow has been developed from documents back to normal for their product range. on your own as they say! I used two 545 low
supplied by the Fassmer Dockyard and is to a drain high torque motors from Howes Models
scale of 1:32, making for a model 100cm long Hull and running gear instead of those recommended (which were
and weighing approx. 7.4kg. Graupner The hull is a superbly trimmed ABS rather expensive) and they fitted without any
recommended accessories are two electric moulding, requiring just a light sanding on its modifications to the supplied motor mount. To
motors, Speed 500E No.1788, and the bow outside for painting and a semi-coarse sand achieve correct alignment of the propshafts
thruster No.1785. Of course other radio inside to create a keyed surface for gluing in and motors, it’s best to dry-fit everything first
control and power items will be required, but place the running gear etc. A boat stand from before going into action with the glue. The

1 2

3 4 kit review

propshafts each have skegs and some offered into position on top of the hull internal
adjustment may be needed to get everything framework and just inside the lip of the hull. 5
ship-shape, Photos 3 and 4. Only some very slight trimming was
The other key point is to make sure that required. It was subsequently glued in
both Becker rudders, when in position, are position with slow-setting epoxy adhesive,
upright and at the same angle to each other tape helping to hold everything in position.
when looking side to side and directly from Humbrol Model Filler was later applied to
the stern. All this sounds a lot to do, but is make good any small gaps between the wood
very important for future smooth running of and plastic hull.
the model. It is a good idea to file a flat The aft crane house vac-formed coaming
section to each drive motor output shaft and was then glued from underside as are the
the propshafts where the couplings attach, for plywood strip coamings for the stern hatch
a much improved securing point. The bow including the two rear stairwells either side,
thruster unit, if fitted, is to be located and Photo 8. Care must be taken not to scratch
glued in place at the correct angle centrally in or sand the printed planked areas at any time.
the pre-cut hole as in Photo 5. A bow Later, these will require masking and the rest
thruster is not essential, but you might as well of the deck painted with Humbrol No. 88
include it if you are able to. Once the glue was Deck Green. A low-tack masking tape, such
set, the excess tube outer ends were cut back as that from Tamiya, which comes in different
and sanded to match the hull’s outside widths, is probably the best for our purposes.
curvature. If not fitting a bow thruster unit, The bow bulwark upright and stern
then the holes will require internal blocking vac-formings required the minimum of
off using scrap plastic, with filler to smooth trimming, if any, before gluing. Square
the exterior to match the hull, or as an plastic is used for the bulwark uprights, cut
alternative, a dummy tube could be inserted. and glued in position. The main deck has a 6
As they say, the choice is yours! number of tie-down or anchoring points,
One other thing: The position of the rudder which resemble the tops of cross head
servo mounting was as in the plan, but does screws, printed onto it. Rather, than drill
result in very little clearance between it and the holes and make up something that would
linkages underneath the deck, so be careful and ‘do’, the centre cross section of each
you might want to change its location. marking was carefully coloured in, using a
black fine tip permanent marker pen, then
The deck the outside round area was filled by using a
A one-piece printed planked plywood deck is green fine tipped permanent marker pen.
supplied, Photo 6, on which eventually some Once the whole of the main deck was
areas will need to be painted up to the painted (much later) and detailed, a coat of
‘planked lines’ once it is glued in position. The Ronseal satin varnish thinned 50:50 was
first task is to carefully separate it from the applied to seal everything.
carrier frame by gently cutting through each
of the very small securing pieces with a sharp Main superstructure,
knife, Photo 7. Next, the underside of the bridge and its roof
deck (i.e. the side with no printing) was Supplied as clean well manufactured ABS
sanded using semi-coarse sandpaper, so as to vac-formings with all window and door
create a good glue keying surface. It was openings already accurately CNC cut, all that

7 8

Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 www.modelboats.co.uk 43

kit review

9 10

is required is the removal of any smooth equally all the way around the cut
11 remaining excess material. Photo 9 edge using a sheet of fine grade abrasive
shows the wheelhouse windows in the paper stuck to a flat surface.
foreground untouched, but those on the
other side have had the surplus inner Fittings
par ts already removed. A selection of aluminium, injection
A supplied internal plywood frame is moulded ABS, brass and CNC plastic
glued in place at the required position to components make up the fittings set.
make the bridge ‘block’ more rigid, Bottle screws, lights, bollards, portholes,
Photo 10. The lower superstructure anchors, lenses, stanchions, deck lights,
section bottom edges have also to be spot lights, wipers, horn, radar, chain,
trimmed to follow the deck camber. This is liferaft canisters, steps, ladders and even
best done a little at a time, as you cannot netting to be glued to flat plastic to
easily add material if you have taken of f simulate grill vents, are included.
too much! Inside this section, another Photo 13 is the start of the searchlight/radar
plywood framework is glued in place, also platform and Photo 14 is of it well on the
making this unit stronger. The bridge unit way to completion. There are loads of fittings,
then needs to be glued to the top of this as Photo 15 reveals and they all need to be
lower main section - in the correct place painted. Some of the fittings supplied I have
of course! yet to find a home for, so a bit of a bonus for
At this point, consideration was given to later use on another project.
adding internal detail inside the bridge,
because it will all look ver y empty if there Main mast
12 is is nothing to see, From scrap styrene, a Aluminium tube forms the main uprights of
map desk with a lamp and other par ts this, with the plastic CNC cut platforms just
were made. The front and back control sliding over (with a friction fit) into their
desks are also from styrene of f cuts, correct positions and fixed with superglue.
Photo 11. The map is the bottom half of The various aerials are cut to size from thin
the UK coastline cut out from a printed brass rod, with CNC plastic parts for their
adver tisement for maps. bases, the lights boxes etc. The hinged
The roof vac-forming, Photo 12, was base, that the mast is hinged on, is built
cut on the line (here shown marked with a from the CNC slot and glue plastic pieces.
pencil), trimmed to size and finally sanded I decided to make it fold backwards as per




44 Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

16 kit review


18 19

the plan and instructions, thus reducing

the model’s height for transport and 20
stowage, Photo 16. This was achieved by
using a retractable pin on the rear side of
the pivot point - just a length of brass rod
removed by hand and I suppose for those
so inclined, it could even be lowered using
radio control perhaps? Working lights can
also be installed, although no
recommendations for these and their
wiring is made by Graupner.

Not everyone’s cup of tea to construct, but
they have got to be made at some point in the
construction process, Brass wire is supplied
and you would naturally think brass
stanchions would follow. Well you’re wrong,
as they are plastic! The last time I used these
was when building the Graupner Tito Neri
tug model and to be truthful, the combination
of plastic uprights with brass rails does work
extremely well, a small drop of superglue at
the joints being all that is required.
The first task is to mark all the required each stanchion - a neat touch as more pro-typical assembly for which the rod bending is rather
mounting positions of the stanchions, taking than passing through an eye cast into the top more tricky, but this hobby isn’t meant to be
the measurements from the plan and using a of each stanchion. In my experience, it is all ‘plain sailing’ is it?
ruler and dividers to transfer these to the always best assemble the railings in position
model. The brass rod for the rails was on the model, but allow for complete sections Crane
thoroughly cleaned before use with fine grade of it to be removed for painting off from the This is a key feature of the model and you have
wet and dry sandpaper, but it was still a very model. Where up and down sections are to decide before construction whether to have
tight fit in the pre-drilled stanchion holes. So required having no stanchions, the brass wire it working or not, and the decision? Well, it was
these were opened out using a drill 0.1mm joints were soldered using a simple ‘hold and to be working! An expansion kit is available to
less than the rail diameter, so the brass rod space’ jig and/or clips, plus suitable heat do just that; Part No. 2023,
became a tight sliding fit, Photo 17. Note shrinks, Photos 18 and 19. It is worth Photo 20, but the three micro-geared motors,
that the top rail just clips in place at the top of mentioning that the crane has a small railing Part No 1753, are another (and not

Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 www.modelboats.co.uk 45

kit review 21



inexpensive) extra, so you may think twice

about it. So, here we have a model within a
model, and some cross-referencing with the
main model kit instructions and plan will be
required for assembly. If broken down into unit
sections though, all will become very clear.
The arm (or jib), Photo 21, is in part a
vac-forming, with CNC pre-cut flat styrene
parts glued where indicated. The lower part
of the crane itself includes a number of small
structures as in Photo 22, and eventually it
will all look like Photo 23 where the bottom
part fits inside the top unit. This all then sits
on top of a box-like vac-forming requiring
slight trimming at deck level to follow the
deck camber and with external detail parts
added. Photo 24 is of the inside of this with
its connecting wires.


46 www.modelboats.co.uk Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

25 kit review


To control the crane’s mechanics, Robbe overall in red oxide primer, highlighting any
duo-switches as in Photo 25 were used. surface problems which could be rectified
These switch modules control each micro-motor before applying the top colour coats of the
direction in response to a specific transmitter hull’s exterior upperworks. Aerosol Red
stick movement and are installed under the main Oxide primer is in my experience as good as
deck just above the main drive battery. Power any for the below waterline anti-fouling.
for the ‘official’ crane motors is 6 volts, so However, it must be remembered that the
therefore comes from a separate battery pack in first coat of any primer when applied to any
the hull of the model, as initially the main drive part of any model, is usually redundant as it
motors were on 12 volts. From the inside of the merely highlights the faults beneath it, which
hull leading up into the crane’s base unit is a will then need filling and sanding as
multi-pin plug (from Maplins - a UK electronics appropriate. I use far more aerosol cans of
store chain) that matches the half-socket primer than the topcoats that follow these
hanging down to connect everything to the undercoat/filling paints.
crane’s power controls, Photo 26. To be Once satisfied with the basic primer finish,
honest to explain all the intricacies would be which here doubles as the underwater colour,
an article on its own, so suffice to say, make the waterline was marked in pencil as per
the crane work if you wish, but non- plan. There are various ways of doing this, my
functioning will be a lot less demanding on preferred method being to ‘chock up’ the hull
your time and pocket! on a large flat surface such as the dining
I have to say as a final comment that the room table, get the actual waterline mark the
Graupner catalogue illustrations were in same at the bow and stern and then with a
many ways more useful than the instructions pencil securely clamped in a depth gauge set
and drawings - so the choice is yours. Maybe to the same height, run the pencil around the 27
conventional printed catalogues are going out hull, thus hopefully giving a straight
of favour in this digital online age, but there is waterline. As a further tip, if you actually
still a lot to said positively for them. mark the line one or two millimetres within
the area to be next painted and then mask the
Figures hull parallel to that, no pencil marks will
A brief word about these now. Ranzow is to remain visible on the hull as the newly applied
1:32 scale, so figures are not too hard to obtain paint will cover them.
from a number of sources including Model In the case of Ranzow, additional masking
Slipway, Adrian Clutterbuck (ex-GT Models), will be required to protect the wood and in
Preiser and Caldercraft, but Graupner have particular, its planked deck areas. The hull
five to suit this model, Part Nos. 375.40 to was sprayed satin black above the waterline
375.44, painted and ready to arrange. Here in with the red rubbing strake sections picked
Photo 27 is one of them, No. 375.43, together out later, once the aerosol spray paint had
with three from an old Britain’s Road Working thoroughly dried, Photo 29. To be honest, if
Crew picked up from a car boot sale. So, the the model still smells of paint, then the
lesson is that you don’t need to spend a fortune solvents have not totally evaporated, so the
‘figuring’ your models if you hunt around and a paint is not really dry, although it may appear
visit to the occasional car boot sale can turn up so to the touch.
all sorts of things at bargain prices. The superstructure is white - no surprise
there, so once again white primer first,
Painting followed by a topcoat of Appliance White.
As usual, Halfords acrylic car sprays were This last colour is rather nice as it mimics
used whenever possible, basically for ‘white goods’ such as washing machines etc.
convenience, speed of application and the It is white, but not those weird ‘snow or artic 29
overall excellent finish. Fittings requiring the whites’ that some cars are painted in
same colour were mounted on pieces of scrap nowadays. In other words, it is a nice
wood and sprayed in batches. wholesome white!
The hull initially had the areas that were The crane was painted in Vauxhall
not to be colour painted at all carefully Mustard Yellow which again is not as bright
masked, Photo 28. It was then sprayed as pure yellow.


kit review



All the other detail was usually picked out Buoys

by hand, using Humbrol paints, applied using These come in all shapes and sizes in real
various size brushes. These were: Light Matt life, but those supplied with the Ranzow kit
Grey No.64; Matt Black No.33; Silver No.11; are quite basic, each being assembled from
Satin Signal Red No.174 for the rubbing two half vac-formings that need to be cut
strakes and rim of the superstructure roof. out, trimmed and sanded flat at the join
This last colour is okay, but does seem to need mark until the two halves come together
a fair few coats when being applied by brush. perfectly before being glued together and
32 A self-adhesive decal sheet is supplied that pretty much is all there is to it,
requiring each item cutting out, either as a Photo 33. Model Slipway do some rather
shape, but still showing the clear carrier film, nice and better detailed buoys, so sourcing
or you can go into action with a scalpel and from them might be a good idea as an
cut out each letter separately, particularly in alternative to the kit versions.
the case of the ship’s name. Tinted clear
styrene is supplied for window glazing and Radio control
injection moulded wiper blades for the bridge I went to town a bit with this model, using a
windows. Graupner do not supply a template seven channel r/c system for:
for cutting out each window, which is a bit of a
nuisance and something one not normally Individual port and starboard
expect bearing in mind that so many other motor speed control
parts are CNC cut or injection moulded. So, Bow thruster
why not the windows? All the glazing was Rudder operation
glued in place using Evo-Stik contact Crane rotation
adhesive, Photo 30. Crane arm lift and lower
Crane hook up and down
33 Other fittings
Workboat and davit Main power supply initially came from a
These make for quite nice ‘models within a 12v 7Ah lead acid batter y purchased from
model’ and the basic workboat hull is Component Shop and it was to the same
assembled from two vac-formings that require size and specification as the suggested
cutting and trimming, then gluing together Graupner item, Part No. 259, but rather
with a plastic solvent glue such as Plastic cheaper. So, as good a reason as any to go
Weld. The small outboard motor, follows the and buy from this UK based supplier. This
same process, although getting its two halves batter y was located in the centre of the hull
to match each other required some sliding into (and along) a tray made from
imagination, Photo 31. The davit is an plywood (not supplied in the kit) with the
injection moulded kit of parts and there is main batter y wires running under the radio
nothing complicated with this, Photo 32. It is tray for ward and aft, so ever ything is
not designed to work, but could be made so hidden from view. Three Mtroniks Marine
with a small motor concealed to pull or let go 15 electronic speed controllers were
the lifting cord and with a small servo installed for the port and starboard motors,
mounted under the deck connected to the plus the bow thruster, Photo 34. As
davit’s base, it could easily be made to turn. mentioned earlier, a Robbe Duo-Switch
Module and a Two Duo Switch Module
‘Memor y’ were used to control the crane.
Power for the crane motors, which are
35 rated at 6 volts, came from a separate
batter y pack, although as you will see later,
once the main drive batter y had been
reduced to 6 volts, power could be taken
from that instead. These switch modules
control each crane motor’s direction in
response to a transmitter stick movement.

Completed model
Ranzow makes up into a nice sized and
practical model, Photo 35. Yes, perhaps
the detail is not to the same degree as
some of the kits now in the marketplace,
but there again it is not that expensive,
unless you go for the optional working
extras and it cer tainly is not a
‘back-breaker’ when launching, which as
the year’s progress for me becomes more
of a consideration.

Winter Special Edition 2013

36 kit review

On the water
Ballast will most likely be needed to bring
the model down to its correct waterline and
this is best done at home in a calm
environment, perhaps in the domestic bath,
a garden pond, the child’s paddling pond, a
plasterers mixing bath or a neighbours
swimming pool, Photo 36. Having the main
drive battery centrally placed, but moveable
forward or aft, will take care of most of the
ballast required and some lead shot
contained within small self-sealing bags with
the weight of each clearly marked, is a
simple and convenient way of doing this. If
you then draw a plan as to where these bags
go, they can later be removed and used in
another model.
Power was more than enough from both
motors and propellers and perhaps too much,
but you don’t have to go full speed all the
time. The Becker rudders, Photo 37, are a
key feature of this model, enabling tight turns
with or without the bow thruster and going
astern was equally satisfactory. The choice of described as an ‘easy build’ taking into
motors and speed controllers proved quite consideration all the vac-formings and CNC 37
compatible, giving excellent high and low parts supplied, but it is not a beginner’s
speed performance, although the model is model in my opinion. The working features
overpowered so thoughts then turned to can be as basic or advanced is the builder
trying 6 volt battery packs of a similar desires and the crane jib is quite big and
physical size. Later with these, everything dominates the model, so having it all function
proved to be just perfect. is a distinct positive feature.
This kit came from A Model World and
Conclusion current UK price is around £240. l
When choosing a subject to build I always
look for at least one key feature from; detail,
functionality and building enjoyment. This
model actually matched all three with the
added bonus that additional detail can be
added in due course. Being a flat bottom
model with a small draught, I was concerned
about weight and handling, which I am glad
to say presented no problems at the revised 6
volt operation, as scale speed and control was
then perfect. The quality of the parts,
instructions and plan are first rate. The kit is

Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 www.modelboats.co.uk 49

free plan


looked uncomfortable and potentially weak,
so I did what has often been done in this
situation, put the Mini Jet Unit to one side
and built something else!
The idea was still lurking in the back of my
mind though. When designing the Triune
model (Model Boats June 2012) it was
tempting to install the unit, but two things
GLYNN GUEST presents an ultra-simple Searching through magazines and the stopped me from doing this. First, the slim
internet showed that the Graupner Mini Jet and deep central hull would have made both
model using the Graupner Mini Jet unit Unit, Part No. 2349, was the most promising installation and then maintenance, quite
item available. The price, just under £30, tricky. Second, being a high speed trimaran

he full-sized world appears to be seemed to be reasonable, especially as I could and something I’d never tried before, adding
making increasing use of ‘jet’ power see myself spending much more than that the water-jet would make it two big
for high speed vessels. The term ‘jet’ trying to scratch build an equivalent and then experiments in one model which is never a
in this case referring to a marine propeller with no guarantee of success! The order went wise thing to do as one big new idea at a time
which is encased in an internal duct. It off to Cornwall Models and the unit was soon is a much safer way to go.
propels the vessel with a high speed jet of in my hands.
water emerging from a suitable nozzle in Inspiration?
the transom which is clear of the water Initial hiccup? The idea of using the Mini Jet unit would not
when at speed. I was impressed with the design of this item go away and then out of the proverbial
I have read with interest about other as it was both compact but durable looking. nowhere, inspiration struck. If a flat bottomed
modeller’s experiences with such water-jet Steering was by means of a movable section area of the hull was needed to mount the unit
power and was tempted to give it a try. A little, aft of the nozzle and even a reversing flap was on, why not make the whole bottom flat? This
actually very little, thought convinced me that included. Just reversing the direction of the appears to go against the idea of a stable
making my own jet unit was not the way to go. enclosed propeller would not normally be planning hull which usually requires a Vee
The hydrodynamics of the tube, plus correctly effective, but lowering this flap into the bottom section, but such a flat bottom had
matching it with a motor, propeller and nozzle water-jet should get a model moving astern. been used successfully before. The Skimmer
are quite complex. It would be easy to make However, a separate servo is needed to raise design was published in the September 2007
something that would get a model moving, but and lower the reversing flap. issue of this magazine and this model was a
much more difficult to achieve any respectable Sketches for a suitable water-jet powered small airboat, no doubt inspired by watching
performance. Rather than spending a lot of model were drafted and a problem too many TV programmes about the Florida
time and money in a reinvention of the wheel immediately became apparent. The Graupner Everglades. It featured a simple flat bottomed
exercise, starting with a commercial item was unit had obviously been designed to be hull powered by a Graupner Speed 400 type
the obvious way to go. installed in a moulded plastic hull. This of motor proved to be both fast and stable.
required thin hull bottom material and a flat One doubt still remained: The Skimmer
Basic requirements surface on which to fit the unit. This would being an airboat, did not loose thrust if the
Electric power is so convenient and reliable not readily match traditional wooden hull hull left the water, but I could see the Mini Jet
that it was a ‘no brainer’ to use it. Likewise, construction methods. unit powered model having problems if the
sticking with the popular and economical A period of sketching different ideas flat hull allowed any air to be sucked into the
500/600 type of motor and a six cell battery followed, but nothing really seemed to work. intake hole. Visions of the model sort of
pack was a pretty obvious choice. A couple of ideas almost made it, but they ‘hiccupping’ across the water came to mind!
A working draft of the model’s construction
showed it would be quick and cheap to build,
so on this basis it seemed worth a try. The
original plan was to build a model about 24
inches (600mm) long by 8 inches (200mm)
beam. It was then realised that this would

50 www.modelboats.co.uk Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

free plan

have so little draught that the propeller would

be well above the waterline. I could see the 1
propeller spinning madly whilst failing to
self-prime and the model slowly drifting
downwind, so the final design was smaller,
the hull being just over 18 inches long with its
bow strengthening block, but not including
the protruding water-jet nozzle and with
hopefully enough draught to allow the
propeller to find some grip when first

Building materials
Hull: Plywood 24 x 6 x 1/16 inches
(600 x 150 x 1.5mm)
Balsawood 36 x 4 x 1/4 inches
(912 x 100 x 6.5 mm)
Liteply 6 x 2 1/4 x 3/32 inches
(150 x 56 x 2.5mm)
Hatch: Built from scrap/spare balsa to suit
personal taste.
These can be regarded as guidelines only.
It would be possible to use different materials
provided strength was not sacrificed nor
excessive weight added.
White wood glue (PVA) was used for all the
wood to wood joints. The Graupner Mini Jet
unit was secured to the hull bottom with slow
setting epoxy adhesive.

Hull construction
A numerical construction sequence seems the 2
best way to describe how to build this model
and like most things in life, the key to success
is to do things in the right order!

1) The hull parts were cut out from balsa,

plywood and Liteply, Photo 1. The edges
needed to be cut squarely to enable strong glued
joints to be made. It is also worth checking the
fit of the parts, anything oversize can be easily
cut down at this stage, if undersize or misshapen
then discard and replace.

2) The slot in the plywood bottom sheet was

cut so the water-jet unit fitted snugly into it.

3) The hole in the transom for the jet nozzle

must be positioned to allow the unit to fit
correctly in the bottom slot when the hull is
assembled, Photo 2.

4) The two deck parts were glued together.

To ensure they remained flat whilst the glue
dried, they were sandwiched between thin
plastic sheets and pressed down on a flat
surface with suitable weights, Photo 3.

5) The balsa hull parts were glued to the

underside of the deck and pinned together to
prevent any movement, Photo 4.

3 4

Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 www.modelboats.co.uk 51

free plan

6) The transom was glued to the end of the this model made this task easy but if any
5 hull along with some corner reinforcement creases or wrinkles appear then peel back the
strips, Photo 5. tissue and brush it back down again.
The excess tissue was trimmed away using
7) The bottom edges of the sides and a sharp blade. No attempt was made to wrap
bulkhead were sanded with a flat sanding the tissue around the corners of the hull as
block that would reach from side to side. This this would have rounded them off, something
was to make sure that plywood bottom piece I did not want. The deck had been covered
would have a perfectly flat surface to be glued with a single piece of tissue so the material
to. For the same reason, the bottom edge of over the access opening was cut away.
the bow piece needed shaping to match the Likewise, tissue covering the slot for the jet
curve of the hull sides. unit on the hull bottom was cut away.
The hull was lightly sanded then given a coat
8) The Mini Jet unit was refitted to the of neat dope. This process was repeated two to
transom for any final adjustments before three times and finally produced a smooth
gluing the hull bottom in place, Photo 6. surface for painting, but, before that the coaming
strips around the deck access opening had to be
9) The bottom was glued in two stages. First, glued into place. I used some plywood left over
the flat section between the front bulkhead after cutting out the hull bottom, but other
and transom, Photo 7. NOTE: Even though materials could be used. It is important that this
the propulsion unit was in place, it was not yet coaming is perpendicular to the deck as this will
glued to the hull bottom! ensure that the detachable hatch is held firmly
in place when sailing. A couple of coats of dope
10) The second stage was undertaken only were used to seal the external surfaces of the
when the first had fully dried. Glue was applied coaming strips.
to the hull sides and bow piece and the
plywood bent to shape. Several small clamps Hatch
held it in place until the glue set, Photo 8. This could be a purely functional item
intended to just keep the water out of the
11) The Mini Jet unit was removed from the model. However, I wanted to give the model a
hull structure to avoid any damage during little character rather than just have a plain
subsequent work. box shape. The result was a wedge shaped
hatch to which a driver’s helmet could be
12) A strip of balsa (laminations of thinner added and hopefully create the impression of
sheets could be used) was glued across the a small racing craft.
bows, Photo 9. When dry this was shaped to This hatch was made from some balsa found
blend into the hull. in the scrap box, but any material would do
provided it weighs very little. To ensure a good
Surface preparation fit, it was built over the deck coaming, but take
The external surfaces were sanded smooth great care not to stick it to the model!
using sanding blocks. Care was taken to keep After sanding smooth, the hatch was sealed
the edges between the hull bottom and the with three or four coats of dope. The edges and
7 sides and transom as square as possible. Any inner surfaces of the hatch up about one inch
significant radius at these corners will (25mm) from the edges were also sealed with
encourage water to run up the hull sides rather dope. Some water is bound to reach the bottom of
than break away cleanly when sailing at speed. the hatch and capillary forces will pull this water
The hull was examined for flaws such as to the gap between hatch and coaming, hence a
cracks or gaps at joints. Small cracks can be little waterproofing in this area is sensible.
sealed by forcing glue into them. Larger gaps
are better filled with a sliver of glue covered Painting
balsa. If any are found then the hull must be A tough and smooth skin can be created on
sanded again. wood models by using Hammerite paint. Being
The external surfaces need waterproofing. cellulose based it bonds strongly with the dope
You may have a favoured method for wooden used previously. It is quite thick and viscous,
hulls and there is no one perfect way to do it. which combined with its rapid drying nature can
You ought to avoid adding too much weight make it tricky to apply, but the resulting smooth
and remember those edges must be square, and shiny finish which can make people think
not rounded. the model has a plastic rather than wooden hull,
I used cellulose dope and model aircraft is well worth the extra effort.
tissue. These ought to be readily available The hull was painted bright yellow and for
from hobby shops or the usual internet contrast, orange was chosen for the hatch. To
vendors. A couple of coats of thinned dope give the orange a good base, the hatch was
8 (about 50:50 mixture dope and cellulose sprayed with white primer. I was using a well
thinners) were applied to the outer surfaces known hobby brand of paint and two colour
with a light sanding after each. coats usually produce a nice solid colour.
Panels of tissue were cut slightly larger However, this particular tin of paint proved to be
than the area to be covered. A spot of neat most disappointing with the first coat producing
dope was placed in the centre of the area to a very thin patchy effect. A second coat made
be covered and then the tissue laid in place. hardly any improvement and in the end four
Using a well loaded brush, dope was applied coats were applied before the tin was emptied.
from this spot forcing it through the tissue The final colour is far from perfect, but hopefully
and working outwards. The flat surfaces of is not be too noticeable when sailing.

free plan

Re-installing the
Graupner Mini Jet unit 10 11
You could install this into the hull prior to
painting, but it seemed easier to do this
afterwards. The unit was cleaned and lightly
abraded where the epoxy was going to be
applied to secure it in the hull. Slow setting
epoxy was used for this job as it would make
a better bond with the wood and plastic. It
also avoided having to rush this job and risk
doing a poor job.
A downside to using slow epoxy is that it
has time to flow away from the joint and
possibly end up just where it is not needed.
This can be minimised by just using sufficient
adhesive to do the job. I tend to apply a
generous amount to the joint surfaces and
then wipe away any surplus after the parts are
pressed together.
The nozzle was fitted to the jet outlet then
screwed in place on the transom. I could not
resist a quick test on the garden pond at this
stage, so the motor and battery were installed.
This showed three important things. First, the
unit worked and produced an impressive jet of
water; second, when holding the model you
should not point the nozzle at yourself and
third, some water was being sprayed sideways
from the nozzle/transom joint.
After drying myself, the nozzle was
removed from the transom and a thin bead of
clear silicone sealant was applied to the face
that fits against the transom. Fixing the
nozzle back onto the hull, the excess sealant The six cell battery pack could be installed
squeezed out from the joint could be wiped behind the first bulkhead, which left space for
away. Retesting on the pond, but this time the receiver and esc behind it, Photo 12.
with the nozzle pointing away from me, The battery was secured with two blocks of
showed that the sealant had done the trick! expanded polystyrene slid under the decks
between the battery and the second
Steering nozzle bulkhead. The receiver and esc being secured
The steering nozzle fitted onto two pins into cutouts made in a piece of foam plastic.
moulded in the fixed nozzle on the transom. Another block of expanded polystyrene was
Graupner’s instructions describe gluing a placed inside the hull between the second
steering arm to this nozzle. I was not too bulkhead and transom on the opposite side to
happy with this idea as the steering nozzle is the servo. I hoped that these blocks
the only vulnerable external item on this combined with the sealed bow area would
model, and sooner or later it’s going to get a provide enough buoyancy in the event of any
substantial knock. emergencies. So far, thankfully, this has not sheet of self-adhesive plastic film and stuck to
After some thought, I drilled a small hole in been tested. Ready to run, the model weighed the deck and sides in a diagonal
the nozzle to match up with one of the unused in at a shade over 33 ounces (0.95kg). checkerboard pattern. Working from
holes in the steering arm. A small self-tapping forwards from the stern, the squares were
screw was then driven through the arm and Final decoration added to the model until I had gone about
into the nozzle. A thin coat of epoxy over the Even after adding the driver’s helmet, made halfway along the deck. This seemed to be a
screw, nozzle and arm area then held from a polystyrene ball, the model looked too good place to stop and the effect, at least in
everything firmly in place, Photo 10. plain. Some red squares were cut from a my eyes, looks reasonable.
This photograph also shows the ser vo
linkage being made by a stiff wire secured
into one of those small adjustable screw 12
connectors fitted on the steering arm. The
wire link was run through a plastic tube
glued in the transom. By using the longest
tube possible and applying some grease, it
makes the model if not watertight, at least
resistant to splashes.
You may wonder what the two pieces of
self adhesive tape are doing on the transom
either side of the nozzle. Well, they are
covering two holes. The electric motor is
held to the jet unit by two bolts screwed
into the threaded holes in the motor case.
This is a neat and secure method but also a
devil of a job if you tr y to change a motor
after fitting the unit inside a model. Two
holes in the transom and a long
screwdriver avoid a lot of frustration and
probably many rude words.

Fitting out
A standard servo was used for the rudder and
the only place for it was to one side of the
motor. Two balsa blocks, one glued to the
bulkhead the other to the hull bottom, were
used to secure it. This allowed a simple
straight wire link between the servo and
steering nozzle arms, Photo 11.

Model Boats Winter Special 53

free plan

Adding some racing numbers and some As the esc installed in the model was me, less satisfying than sliding through wider
Model Boats stickers, that came free in an capable of reversing the motor’s rotation, I high speed turns, so off came the strakes.
issue some years ago, and the model looked gave it a try. A certain amount of gurgling was Further testing on a larger water confirmed
about as good as I thought it ever would. It produced, but no significant astern motion these first impressions. At full speed the
will never be a thing of beauty, but at least it occurred. I guess these water-jet units really model would run level with surprisingly little
now had a little character. are for just ahead sailing only. This is no disturbance to the water, none of this
problem provided you avoid sailing into throwing spray about and creating massive
On the water situations that only astern can get you out of. waves! It would also hold its course
The model was given a trial run as soon as At the end of the first sailing trials I was surprisingly well for a model with no keel or
possible. The hull was painted, but with no pleased with the model. It had no bad vices rudder. Not a ‘straight runner’ by any stretch
hatch constructed yet the deck opening was and ran surprisingly straight, although I was of the imagination, but you do not have to
optimistically covered with a plastic bag. The sailing on a relatively calm day. I did notice work hard to maintain a heading.
motor fitted was a 545 type which on a six cell what appeared to be an occasional aeration Turns were best carried out in a wide
battery would have a no-load speed of about effect; that is sucking air into the jet intake. sweeping fashion which maintained the
16000rpm. The battery was initially placed just This was only a transient thing that caused no speed. The absence of any keel area means
ahead of the second bulkhead to ensure that obvious problems. that to keep the model in a circular path, the
the Mini Jet unit was sufficiently submerged. A second set of trials was undertaken but model’s bow has to point into the circle, thus
It was noted that after applying power to with a faster turning motor. Searching allowing the jet thrust to create the desired
the motor there was a short interval as the jet through my stock of spare motors I found an centripetal force. This would seem to be
unit primed itself and the model began to MG540. This was bought sometime ago and much the same as high speed cars, both
move. This was found to be a characteristic of hence is probably no longer available. On a model and full-size which can be made to drift
the system and now passes unnoticed when six cell battery pack it could run at over 20000 through corners.
sailing the model. rpm, a significant increase on the 545 motor Slightly choppy water did not seem to affect
The jet of water emerging from the nozzle used in the first trials. the model in any serious fashion.
looked impressive, but the actual speed was With this motor installed, the model’s Occasionally there could be the sound of
disappointing and the boat ran in a stern-low characteristics were unchanged, a short momentary loss of drive, presumably through
and bow-high attitude. The battery was hesitation before the jet gripped the water and aeration, but no noticeable momentum was
moved forward to a position between the began sliding safely through turns, but the ever lost. Rougher water conditions would
bulkheads. This improved the operating trim, model was noticeably faster and still ran probably be more troublesome, but a flat
but it was still not quite right, so the battery straight with no nozzle deflection. The jet planning hull really needs calm conditions to
was placed as far forwards as possible, i.e. spray out of the back was impressive and I perform well.
just behind the first bulkhead. This was much really began to enjoy sailing this model. Alas,
better with the model running flatter and this probably resulted in a momentary lapse Last thoughts
skimming across rather than pushing its way of attention as I took one turn a shade too The model in its final form works far better
through the water. The speed was improved, wide and slid the model into the vegetation than its simple appearance would suggest.
but still appeared to be modest. along the far side of my sailing water. Now I The large jet spray and wide sweeping turns
Handling was investigated next and the began to wish that there was an astern option! are a mixed blessing. On the one hand they
model proved to be safe and reliable. The However, vigorous nozzle movements and full make an impressive sight that never fails to
absence of a conventional rudder and any power extracted the model, but the lesson attract interest and excitement. On the other
keel area means that the model slides around was learnt, look where you are going at all hand, it makes the model unsuitable for small
turns. In fact this handing is very similar to times with this model! and crowded waters, plus those modellers
operation of a model airboat or hovercraft. In an attempt to tighten the model’s turning lacking in both anticipation and quick
There is no banging in full rudder to get you circle, two longitudinal strakes were fixed to reactions. In this respect it is similar to its
out of trouble as you have to anticipate where the underside of the hull about two inches cousin, the Skimmer airboat design.
the model is likely to be a few seconds in the (50mm) in from the sides. No obvious effect A thought is that several such models,
future. Despite the sharp corners of the hull, on the straight-line speed was noted, but as racing around an oval course, could form part
the model never showed any tendency to ‘dig soon as a turn was initiated, the model of a club’s public display. They would certainly
in’ when turning. slowed. It may have tightened the turn, but attract attention from the general public and
the model then had to accelerate back up to who knows, perhaps a few new members? In
speed on its new heading. This was, at least to addition, from a safety aspect, having the
propeller hidden inside the water-jet unit
makes it a safe model when inquisitive fingers
are around.
No doubt some will be tempted to install a
brushless motor and LiPo cells to achieve
much higher rpm. This could be interesting,
but it might exceed the limits of the Graupner
unit and this simple hull’s stability. As for me,
I will just enjoy scudding about whilst waiting
for inspiration for the next model to strike.
The final word must go to my dear wife,
who tolerates this hobby and might even
welcome it when it keeps me out of her way.
She does however have a knack of sometimes
coming up with a witty but painfully accurate
description of my creations. In this case, the
Scudder was described as: ‘That model that
looks like a butter dish’. So, alas, the image of
such a dish will not leave whenever I now sail
the Scudder! l

54 www.modelboats.co.uk Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

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card modelling

US harbour tug with

its deck coaming,
funnel, bulwarks and
bulk of superstructure
from card.

A few years later, a copy of G. H. Deason’s
book ‘Cardboard Engineering’ was seen and
promptly purchased. Although it now might

of a Cardholic
seem very dated as it was published in 1958,
it contained a wealth of information on how to
use card when making all sorts of models.
Since that time I have often made use of

card in my model boats, but unlike Mr.
Deason, I’ve never been brave enough to
make all of a model from card, preferring to
use wood for most structural parts. However,
card has been widely and successfully used
for detail parts and surface finishing.
By GLYNN GUEST My personal approach to the selection of
What is card?
any material is that it should do the job
without being excessively demanding in This is not the place to go deeply into the

hen fellow modellers find out that I terms of construction time, effort and cost. different types of card products and their
often make extensive use of This ‘cost’ word including both the initial manufacturing processes, however a little
cardboard in my radio control model price and maintenance factors, when the basic knowledge can go a long way towards
boats, their initial reactions can take two quite latter can sometimes be forgotten until you understanding how to use card successfully.
different forms, but both are based on the are faced with a model that is in a permanent Most cards are made from an organic base,
perception that this material is cheap. Some state of repair. On this basis, cardboard looks wood being the common one. Wood is broken
say that it’s a pity that I cannot afford to use decidedly unpromising for a model boat as down into fibres by a chemical or mechanical
proper materials with which to build my after all when it gets wet, cardboard turns into means to produce wood pulp. At this stage it can
creations, card being so obviously cheap and a soft mushy state, doesn’t it? be mixed with recycled pulp and additives to
inferior, but others react with a comment that produce the desired properties. Pressing and
it’s a good idea since card works and is very First steps drying then follows to give the final product.
cheap, perhaps being even free? Fortunately, as a young and inexperienced Thus ‘card’ has a structure based on interlocking
schoolboy in the 1960’s, I was ignorant of all fibres, the density of which can vary from being
this. A friend passed to to me a few copies of an open flexible structure (think blotting
the magazine Model Maker, the forerunner of paper!), to a highly compressed and much stiffer
this publication and included was the form. Also, dependent upon how it was made,
December 1963 issue which included the plan the preferred orientation of the fibre can give
and construction details for Philip Connolly’s card the equivalent to a wood grain structure
HMS Diamond. This was enough to expand with different properties in different directions.
my modelling activities from building (and To be honest, this effect is not something that
inevitably crashing!) aircraft into attempting a has ever given me any problems to date.
model boat.
The first model was something of a Card life
mongrel, combining features of the Daring One of the supposed weaknesses of card is
and Battle class destroyers. Although that it will not last as long as proper model
construction and scale differed from the building materials. It is true that card, like
Philip Connolly model, I did copy one idea of most paper products, will deteriorate when
his and that was to ‘plate’ the hull’s exterior exposed to the elements and a common effect
with thin overlapping pieces of card stuck to is ‘yellowing’ when left in strong sunlight.
the actual wooden hull, using contact Water is readily absorbed into card
adhesive. resulting in both its weakening and
This plating effect probably did little to subsequent swelling, but some card types can
improve my first nautical attempt, but it be treated to have a water repellent surface.
revealed that this card surface did toughen a This sounds ideal for our models, but is likely
balsawood hull, which was a very useful to give you problems when trying to glue
discovery! It was also realised that covering such a card into place and may also make
the curved underwater hull surfaces with painting difficult. Luckily, we modellers have
card was a tedious, if not a painful experience. got into the habit of waterproofing and
As this section of a model boat cannot be seen painting our creations, so assuming that you
whilst sailing, it’s something that has usually exercise reasonable care in building and
Assorted bits of card, mostly free! been omitted in subsequent models. maintaining a working model boat, any items

56 www.modelboats.co.uk Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

The Noggsund Free Plan
model used card for its
hull plating, superstructure
card modelling
and decks.

made from card ought to last. I have a

destroyer which incorporated quite a bit of
card in its construction when built 40 years
ago, and it’s still in good working order! All of
this neatly leads into the subject of storing
card prior to use.
Clearly it ought to be kept in a dry place to
avoid absorbing water. It is also a good idea
to keep sheets of card flat as unsupported
sheets can sag under their own weight.
Flattening them out by placing under suitable
weights or even some judicious bending in
the opposite direction can be later applied,
but it seems more sensible to avoid the
problem in the first place.

Card stock: Coverstock

(or Pasteboard)
This is the type of card that I have found
most useful for covering a wood structure. It
could be to suggest the steel plates on a hull,
panels on the superstructure or even if I’m
totally honest, to hide my poor construction and
assembly mistakes! It is thicker than paper and
is widely used for things like business cards,
anniversary cards and postcards. The thickness
of card can be quoted in different ways:
The good old Imperial measure is the
weight in pounds of 500 sheets of size 20 by
26 inches. A tad more logical is the
grammage value, which is the weight of the
card in grams per square metre.
Card stock usually falls in the ranges 50 to
110 pounds or 135 to 300 gm./m2.
Our American cousins may well measure
card thickness in ‘points’ (pt.) or ‘mils’, which
is the actual card thickness measured in
thousandths’ of an inch.
Thus, 10 point card = 0.01 inch (0.254 mm)
thickness or about 250 gm./m2
This is all very interesting, but if we are not
using card for structural purposes, is A small destroyer with
somewhat irrelevant. It might be helpful if lots of card used in its
you have to buy your card supplies, but you construction.

quickly develop a sense of what type of card

is useful for our hobby.
types, but they have the stiffness to make up Looking at my stock and I
Sources of card decks and superstructure blocks on smaller can see pieces of greeting
Well, you could march into an art shop and models. Another idea is to ask anyone who cards, calendars, etc. Just keep
ask for Bristol Board, a type favoured by mounts pictures what they do with the offcuts your eyes open and you ought to
artists and illustrators. It is excellent quality of mounting board. I had an uncle who was a be able to amass quite a pile of card
and with a grammage of 220 to 250 gm./m2, keen photographer and I’m still working suitable for building our models with.
ideal for our hobby, but it might prove through a pile of such board that he passed to
expensive although this could appeal to those me some years ago! Tools for card
modellers who like to equate the cost of a Some card surfaces feature a textured effect. Geoffrey Deason’s book that I previously
model with its superiority! This can be useful when you want to represent a mentioned, was entitled ‘Cardboard
Suitable card can be bought quite less than smooth surface on your model. I used Engineering with Scissors and Paste’ but
economically from high street stationery card with a fabric effect on one model to suggest then went on to explain that scissors were far
chains. Another source can be the craft and a well worn steel hull. Another use could be to from the ideal way to cut card!
hobby stores that cater for things such as create the non-slip surfaces found on some Scissors achieve their cutting effect by
knitting, sewing and a whole range of decks, but clearly your sealing and painting shearing, which involves one blade
domestic and leisure activities that I was techniques need to be appropriate to avoid supporting the card whilst the other literally
unaware of, until my wife dragged me into loosing sight of these effects. tears the card away. Using a correctly set up
one when searching for more wool! They Cardboard of the packaging variety, might pair of scissor blades this can produce a neat
usually have an art section and suitable card not seem to be very useful. The internal cut, but, as you might well expect from the
can often be found there. fluted structure, whilst giving it toughness term ‘tears’, it can be a somewhat vicious
To be honest again though, most of the card and strength, could be a problem in a model process. The result is that an edge cut with
I use is free. It seems like very little these days boat. It would be very difficult to waterproof scissors can be stressed and deformed, even
can be sold without including some form of these internal surfaces and should any water to the point of it no longer being straight, so
card packaging. It matters not whether it is a enter them, perhaps though an accidental cutting card with a sharp blade on a suitable
shirt or a box of chocolates, any card that scrape or impact, then getting the water out surface is to be preferred. However, a good
comes into the house is usually examined and before things turn ‘mushy’ will not be easy. pair of scissors is still worth having as it can
if suitable, saved for potential model use. Well sealed and well above the waterline and be handy for cutting card to convenient
Places of work can also be a source of you could get away with using such shapes prior to final trimming with a blade.
card, but I’m not suggesting you raid the cardboard, although regular checking for any So far, the best way to cut card that I have
office supply cupboard. Things like card sign of swelling would be essential. found is to use a sharp blade, steel rule and
folders which might get thrown away can So, having been rather negative about one of those plastic self-healing cutting mats.
be recycled into our models. So what, if it this type of cardboard, I have to admit that A small craft knife with replaceable blades,
has ‘ACCOUNTS OVERDUE’ written I still save it. It may not get built into my plus the willingness to replace them as soon
across it, as by the time we have stuck it to models, but it makes cheap and perfectly as they fail to cut easily, should cope with
the model, sealed and painted over it, acceptable templates for marking out parts most of the card thicknesses you are likely
nothing will be visible! to be cut from wood. With care you can to use. Any heavier card might be best cut
The sheets of stiff card at the back of even use it as a guide for cutting around, with a larger knife and one of those with a
writing pads are worth saving. They may not although do not expect it last for more than snap-off blade to refresh the cutting edge is
have the perfectly smooth finish of other card one or two models! more than suitable.

Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 www.modelboats.co.uk 57

card modelling

A light fleet carrier, its hull sides are

If circles have to be cut from card then a planned, was actually realistic for a welded
plated with card and gun sponsons circle cutter is hard to beat. You can buy steel hull, but this was pure luck and should
covered with card. expensive cutters, but a modest plastic one is not be relied upon in future I decided.
usually adequate. I’ll confess that until I The woodworking (PVA) adhesives do have
bought such a cutter, card circles were cut a lot of good points, so I do use them with
using a suitable round object and an ordinary working with thicker card, about 1/16 inch
knife. This was as you can probably imagine, (1.5 mm), at card to card and card to wood
fraught with difficulties, first finding joints. The trick is to make good close fitting
something of the correct diameter to cut joints, apply only just enough glue, and after
around and then making a neat job without pressing the parts together, wipe any excess
cutting myself, so a circle cutter is well worth away. Keeping them pressed together for at
the price! least the minimum recommended time is
essential. When dry, my instinct is to apply a
Cutting techniques bead of glue along the joint and produce a
Thin card can be cut with one pass of smooth fillet with a fingertip which ensures
the knife, but only with the proviso of a that there are no open gaps at the joint which
sharp blade and suitable cutting would weaken the structure.
surface. Thicker card might need to be Contact adhesives such as Evo-Stik, can
cut using a few light passes. This will make excellent glued joints with card and
minimise the risk of the blade wandering off such glues are my favoured way of sticking
course and maybe into your fingers? card plating on to hull sides and
Using a circle cutter successfully will superstructures. However, one drawback can
probably need a little experimentation to find be the instant bond created which requires
The light fleet carrier the best technique. The plastic cutters can that card is placed perfectly the first time the
superstructure island is
built-up from balsa and ply, flex if excessive force is applied and result in parts are pressed together. To allow a little
later covered with card. the blade missing the original starting point ‘shuffling time’, I usually ignore the
when completing a rotation. For this reason I recommendation to apply the adhesive to
have found that circles are best cut out both surfaces, then let it dry and press
using several light cuts. In some together. The glue is usually applied to just
situations the cutter has been held one surface, spreading it evenly and then
stationary whilst the card itself was quickly pressed into place which gives me a
rotated under the blade. few seconds to make any adjustments before
Fortunately card is cheap, so it is the solvent evaporates and the glue starts to
not too painful financially if it takes a set. Solvent free contact adhesives are
few attempts before you discover the available, but I prefer to use the smelly ones
best way to use a circle cutter. which I know will give me a lasting strong
bond. As a result this is a job for a well
Gluing card ventilated space if not actually outdoors.
Card, being a porous material into which glue Balsa cement can be used with card
can penetrate before setting, should produce successfully, although it might be harder to
strong glued joints. One characteristic of obtain and it does have a strong solvent smell.
good card joints is that when overstressed, This glue will produce a very strong bond
The light fleet carrier
superstructure island now the card around the joint will fail before the with card as it readily penetrates before
has some of the card parts added. actual glued joint does. setting hard. It does offer some ‘shuffling
Many commercial adhesives can make time’ before it sets, but does usually become
successful joints with card, but there are a few completely hard in minutes which is handy.
points worth considering. Since water can There is however a serious problem in that
make card swell, any water based adhesives, balsa cement tends to contract when it dries
such the white woodworking types, need to and can therefore distort thin card sections.
be used with care. I did once plate the hull The trick here is to use the minimum of balsa
sides of a model with thin card using such a cement to make the glued joint. Then a
glue. Halfway through the job it was noticed second, but still thin coat to avoid distortion,
that the cards were trying to expand and can be applied to strengthen the initial joints,
producing a wrinkled surface rather than the its solvent softening the previously applied
smooth steel plate effect I was hoping for. balsa cement to create an excellent bond.
Luckily as the glue dried out the cards shrank It is possible that you might need to attach
back to almost their original size. In fact the a metal item to or through a piece of card. In
final slightly rippled surface, although not this case I would be inclined to use a slow

Above: The light fleet

carrier superstructure
island now ready
for painting.

Right: The light

fleet carrier
island finished.

card modelling

setting epoxy so as to give it the best chance

to penetrate into the card’s structure before
setting. Naturally, the usual precautions of
having clean and oil/grease free surfaces are A US Navy tug
still needed for the strongest final epoxy with its deck
adhesive strength. coaming, funnel,
bulwarks and bulk
of superstructure
Shaping card from card.
Thin card, being flexible, might seem to be
willing to take up any shape you might desire,
but in fact it is reluctant to change from a flat
shape into anything else except a cylinder,
Figure 1. Luckily this still offers us a range
of shapes that can be used in our models as it
will also form pointed and truncated cones
which can often be very handy, Figure 2.
Burnishing card by rubbing it over a
suitable curved surface can make card take
up a more complex shape as what you are
doing is gradually moving the fibre strands
relative to each other, but this takes time and
requires continual checking until the desired
shape is achieved. For us modellers, this
technique is probably only suitable for the
thinner grades of card as the stiffer thicker
grades would require larger forces and likely
produce unwanted creases.
Card will also accept being twisted with little
resistance as in Figure 3. This is helpful when
plating the sides of a hull with card where you
often encounter compound curves that a large
piece of card could not accommodate. If the can often be found in the home, but it might
card plates are glued to the hull in the form of be best to ask first before covering them with
individual strips, then they can usually be damp pieces of card!
persuaded to twist to fit the hull shape. Tricky
areas, usually in the bows and around the 3) Leave the card to totally dry out either on,
stern, might call for cutting the card plates or in, the mould. Removing it too soon might
with curved edges rather that using simple not result in it collapsing, but it could still
rectangles, but at least you can afford to change shape before becoming totally dry.
experiment with this cheap material.
Flat card can actually be drastically 4) Be prepared to experiment and learn
reshaped if required by using the fact that its from mistakes.
structure is one of fibre strands which are
simply compacted and mechanically held So, by one means or another, card can be
together. If the strands can be ‘loosened encouraged to change from its original flat
apart’ by dampening a little, then the card can shape into something appropriate for our FIGURE 2
be deformed into the desired shape. As creations. The first method you try might not
mentioned previously, water will cause the work well, but the next could be perfect and
card to swell and will, if not controlled, loosen at least card is cheap, so you can afford to
the fibres to the point where the card loses all experiment.
its rigidity. The trick then, is clearly to
dampen the card just enough to allow it to Card corners
deform into the desired shape, then be Rather than applying separate pieces of card
allowed to dry and shrink back to recover its to each side of a structure, it can be more
stiffness, but now in the revised form. convenient and probably neater to wrap one
I’ll confess to limited experience at strip around it, Figure 4. This obviously
moulding damp card to shape and can only requires the strip to be the right height to
offer the following guidance: match the structure and long enough to wrap
around it. Perhaps not so obvious is the need
1) If you over-wet the card so that it falls to for the card to be bent so as to match the
pieces when you try to use it, just leave it to structure’s corners before it is glued into
dry out a little then try again. place. The best way to bend such corners I
have found is to fold the card over, using the
2) Pressing the damp card over or into a hard straight edge of a steel rule. Once a
suitable mould is the only way to achieve right angle bend has been created in the card, FIGURE 3
consistent results. Suitable forming shapes the rule is removed and the card folded flat,


card modelling
Card is so easy to use around
superstructure upper platforms.


Figure 5. This will ensure that the final card Bulwarks

covered item has the sharp well defined It is a simple task to produce a bulwark
corners that you expect to see. around a superstructure block by extending
A word of warning here as this technique of the card facing strips above the deck level,
bending corners in card works well with thin Figure 8. The same method can be used to
card but thicker card may be troublesome. make bulwarks around the edge of the decks
The inner side of the card is subjected to a with the card hull plating.
compressive force and as a result will tend to Many vessels have platforms, around which
buckle, which can lead to the card bulwarks are fitted, gun and searchlight
delaminating at the corner, Figure 6. If you platforms on warships being common
need to make a corner using thick card, then examples. Again, card can be used to create
FIGURE 6 a glued butt joint together with a piece of the desired effect. The card strip can be
internal reinforcing strip is a better way to do pre-bent, as described
it as in Figure 7. previously, so that one

Above: Card has been extensively used for the
deckhouses and to plate hull sides on this turret ship.

HMS Mandate, a small destroyer

model with a significant amount
of card in its construction.


card modelling


Card plates have been stuck to the

hull sides above the waterline on
this model destroyer.

length of card can be fitted to make the card. This can be done freehand so to speak,
bulwark in one go as in Figure 9. This method but it is far too easy to crease the card and
is usually much easier than using separate produce a misshapen item. A better idea is to
panels and can save a lot of aggravation. make the thin card tube around a suitable
Circular platforms are even easier as no former. This could be a length of dowel, metal
pre-bending is required, only make sure that pipe or plastic tube, but of course care must
the card is long enough to do the job and has be taken not to glue the funnel to the former!
an overlap for gluing the ends together. Many funnels are oval or even ‘teardrop’ in
Quite often the upper edge of a vessel’s section. It may be possible to carefully squeeze
bulwarks feature some reinforcement. This a round cardboard tube into an oval shape, but
can be suggested by simply gluing card strips squeezing into a teardrop section is asking for
along both sides of the top edge of the card as trouble. I have found that wrapping thin card
in Figure 10. Likewise, any rubbing strips around two suitably shaped pieces of balsa
along the hull sides can be made from card sheet gives good results, Figure 11. Making a
strips. If the rubbing strips need to be thick, crease in the card to locate the rear of the
then building them up by gluing laminations formers helps, and it also creates a neat gluing
together will avoid any problems of bending surface when joining the ends of the strip. FIGURE 10
the card. Using a slightly longer strip makes for an
easier life and the excess can be trimmed away
Funnels after the glue sets.
These items can be ideal for forming out of The lower former should be at the bottom of
card. A purely circular section funnel could be the funnel to provide a large gluing area for
made using a cardboard tube around which fixing it to the model. This former can also be
some, usually a domestic product, had been angled if the funnel is to be raked aft as in
wrapped. Toilet roll and kitchen towel inners Figure 12. I tend to recess the upper former a
spring to mind here. Assuming that a tube of little as this avoids the final funnel having an
the required diameter and length can be unrealistic solid appearance. Full-size funnels
found, it will however need some work before often have bands around them and these can be
it can be placed on a model. suggested with thin card strips, using sufficient
These cardboard tubes are often made laminations to create the desired thickness.
using card strip in a spiral wound fashion.
Inevitably this spiral is visible and would Deck coamings
remain so after sealing and painting the tube. A neat way to secure a detachable hatch or
For this reason it has always seemed a good superstructure block over a deck opening is
idea to glue a single piece of thin card around to use a deck coaming, Figure 13. This is no
the tube. more than a vertical strip stuck around the FIGURE 11
If no suitable cardboard tubes can be opening over which the detachable piece can
found, then one could be rolled from thin fit. By making it a snug fit, which means


Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 www.modelboats.co.uk 61

card modelling

Plating hull sides

With some models this is best done by gluing
individual card plates to the hull. An original
drawing (plating expansion plan) may show
the plate sizes and their shapes as used on the
original vessel. If not, then some idea of the
typical plate sizes and their layout can often be
found from reference books or the Internet.
To ensure that plates are secure, a degree of
overlap between adjacent plates is needed.
Using contact adhesives I have found that an
overlap of 1/8 inch (3 mm) is usually adequate.
It is important that no gaps appear between
plates so the glue must be applied carefully
and the joints firmly pressed together.
The card plates can be applied in a
bricklaying fashion with their vertical joints
being staggered. Some hulls were built with a
distinct ‘in and out’ run of plates in which case
single longitudinal strips of card running from
bows to stern might be more appropriate. The
external armoured belt that older warships
might feature is easily suggested by using a
thicker piece of card. It is worth looking at
full-size vessels and thinking about which
method will create the desired impression.
Even modern all-welded hulls can show
obvious lines along the hull sides which a strip
of card can realistically suggest.
Above: WW2 CAM-ship. The hull above the waterline is plated with thin card. Rivets can be simulated on a plated hull
quite effectively. You could use something
like the heads of suitable pins to add each
rivet individually. A less tedious method can
be to use spots of glue, but this will have to be
done after sealing the card surfaces to avoid
sanding the rivets away. It is possible to
emboss rivets onto card plates by pressing
into the rear face of the card with a suitable
tool. If lots of rivets are required, then
something akin to a gearwheel could be used
to run along the inner surface of the card and
emboss a line of rivets.
One tip that I have been eternally grateful
for, is to always start plating a hull from the
stern and work forwards. This ensures that
any overlapping joints face to the rear of the
model. Thus, when the model is moving
ahead, which they normally do most of the
time, water flowing along the hull sides does
not tend to peel the joints apart.

Sealing card
The porous nature of card might, at first
glance, seem to be a serious drawback in this
hobby. In fact, it can be used to our advantage
as any sealant applied prior to painting will be
able to penetrate into the card. This ought to
produce an excellent bond and usually a
noticeable strengthening and stiffening effect.
I have successfully sealed card surfaces
using domestic primmer/undercoat although

Above: Building the ‘secure without being overly tight’, such a

card superstructure
over the card deck
coaming will be both secure and reasonably
coaming. water resistant. Unless the detachable piece is
very heavy or subject to large forces, I have
Right: The completed
found that stiff card can make excellent
fireboat model has card
bulwarks and rubbing coaming strips, the flexibility of the material
strips around hull. being very handy when the openings have
curved edges.
Successful coamings do however require
that the strips are fixed perpendicular to the
deck surface with no gaps at the joint through
which water can enter the hull. The
detachable piece is often best made over the
coaming to ensure that it is a good fit and it
ought to go without saying that care is needed
to avoid gluing this piece to the coaming or
the deck!

card modelling

Now almost 40 years

old, but HMS Lagos is
still serviceable with
its card parts and
Indeed, it has probably
lasted longer than the
full-size vessel.

my favourite is cellulose dope. I favour this The total number of sealing coats is up to you.
due to its quick-drying nature and the fact If the surface was sound to start with and only
that each coat seems to soften and dissolve very light sanding was needed, then 3 to 4 coats
into the previous one to produce a solid might be enough. I stop when the surface has a
rather than a laminated effect. smooth sheen and it reflects light.
Dope does have a couple of potential It might be worth adding that before
drawbacks which can fortunately be ‘plating’ a wooden hull with card, I usually
overcome. Cellulose dope, or more correctly commence the sealing process. The
the solvent in it, can soften contact adhesives external surfaces of a hull are treated
which use similar solvents. Having once had with thinned dope and sanded
an elaborate length of card bulwark around a between each coat, working up to a
gun platform decide to become un-glued, I couple of coats of neat dope as
now glue such items using a small amount of described before. This provides a
balsa cement which can better resist the good base to which to glue the
solvent. As cellulose dope can also shrink card using a contact adhesive. It
when drying, it is possible to warp thin also means that in the event of any
unsupported pieces of card when using it, but light damage to the card whilst where we all Above: Papier-mâché,
starting to lay glue
the trick in this case is to start off by applying sailing, this will not allow water to struggled to
soaked paper strips
only very thin coats of dope. soak into the wood. make something inside an unused plastic
There are other sealants available which I have read about card being sealed and out of a very hull mould.
would probably work just as well. It might, strengthened by allowing superglue to soak messy mixture of glue
Below: Virtually
however, be best to try them out on a scrap into it. This is something I have never tried, (usually wallpaper paste) everything above the
piece of card before working on your model. but it would seem to be an expensive way to and paper strips. This method is not strictly deck level is made
My technique is to lightly apply thinned coats treat large areas and if you are sensitive to within the area of cardboard modelling, but from card on this LCM
featured in MB a few
of the sealant to the card surfaces, which allows the fumes, it is likely to be highly unpleasant. has some potential uses that are hard to ignore years ago.
it to penetrate into the card and also dry and after all, where paper stops and card
reasonably quickly. Between each coat a light Papier-mâché begins is somewhat nebulous anyway.
‘rub-down’ is applied using fine sandpaper. This Whilst working on this article I came across For those readers who have never enjoyed
removes the, for want of a better word, surface this subject. Papier-mâché which is French for working with papier-mâché, it simply involves
‘fuzz’ that the sealant has now made rigid. ‘chewed paper’, is sometimes written as ‘Paper
After a couple of coats of thinned sealer, the Mache’ in English, but I am sticking (pun
neat stuff can then be applied, but again in there!) to the French spelling. It raised
light coats and sanding between each coat. memories of long past art sessions in school
Also, after each coat, it is worth checking for
any gaps or defects and correcting them
before applying the next coat.

Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 www.modelboats.co.uk 63

card modelling

any bubbles between the layers. Fortunately my

workbench has a non-porous surface so when
dry, the coupons could be lifted off. They had
thicknesses of around 2 mm and proved to be
remarkably stiff, so thus encouraged, I started
to make a paper hull.
The plastic mould would produce a hull
about 30 inches (75 cm) long with a beam of
4.5 inches (12 cm). The bow section had
quite a fine entry and looked like it would
make a good test for this material. I decided
to go with the wallpaper paste as a glue on
the grounds of economy. Another couple of
free car sales magazines were picked up from
the supermarket and construction of a very
messy and ‘hands on’ type of hull was started.
As this work was being undertaken in an
unheated workspace during the winter
months, I found that only a couple of layers of
paper could be added every day or two. This
gave the paper time to dry somewhat before
the next layers were added. Eventually a hull
thickness of around 2 mm was produced and
was left to dry out thoroughly.
Prising the papier-mâché creation from the
mould produced a surprisingly accurate
model boat hull, but it did seem rather more
flexible than you might care for. Gluing some
Above: Adding balsa stiffening pieces to the dry soaking paper, usually in the balsa strips inside what would be the top
paper-mâché hull.
form of strips, in a glue then edge and then trimming, greatly stiffened it
Below: As first removed from mould forming them into or over a all. Checking the outer hull surface revealed
and looking ‘orrible! suitable mould. Layers of a few places where the paper had not been
paper can be applied until the pressed firmly to the mould, but no serious
desired thickness is created flaws could be seen.
then left to dry. Done carefully, this The inner and outer surfaces were then
can produce an accurately shaped treated with some yacht varnish left over
article, which by reusing the mould, can be from a domestic painting job. The first few
reproduced as many times coats just disappeared into the porous hull,
as required. but eventually the varnish began to build
In this respect it upon the surface. Sanding revealed
is similar to numerous irregularities, but luckily the
techniques such as application of domestic ready mixed filler,
casting in resin, but then more sanding and varnishing, produced
using readily a smooth and apparently quite tough surface.
available and cheap (if I’m going to have to give the use of
not free?) materials along papier-mâché in our hobby more work and
with the resulting lightweight consideration, but it clearly does have
end product, might make it more some potential. With the decline of the
tempting in some situations. I had never traditional local model shop, some people
actually tried to make any part for a model might find this technique to be a handy
boat by this method until now, so a suitable way to continue with their hobby?
use was needed. The answer came in the form
of an old plastic hull moulding that had been Card conclusions
purchased with a view to building a model If you did not already make use of card, I
from it. Alas, it had spent maybe three decades hope that this article has opened your eyes to
wedged in the garage rafters before I now got its possibilities. It may require more effort
Above: Now the papier-mâché
hull looks more ‘hull-like’ having
around to using it, not as the basis of new than modern materials such as plastics and
been strengthened on its top edge model but as a mould for a papier-mâché hull. the like, but it is cheap, if not free. Yes, I keep
and trimmed. It seemed wise to have a trial run and make a repeating this, but ‘free’ is the one price that
couple of ‘test coupons’ using paper (from a free doesn’t rise with inflation!
car sales magazine picked up at a supermarket) Finally, if you still doubt the potential for
with either wallpaper paste or wood glue as the card use in our hobby, just look at a few of the
adhesive. These were made by soaking the card modelling sites on the internet. Some of
paper sheets in the glue then pressing the creations are amazing and you could
Right: Not looking too bad now
and serviceable as a model them firmly together on the easily doubt that they started out as flat pieces
boat hull. Cost? Well virtually nil! workbench to avoid of card. If you have saved the May 2006 copy
of the Model Boats magazine then also look at
Below right: The papier-mâché
hull needed some filling, sealing, the card model of HMS Sheffield that Michael
sanding and then a bit more filling. Tunnicliffe made from a Polish card kit.
Good luck! l

64 Winter Special Edition 2013



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special feature

Some of the
fittings the author
has produced
using the casting
techniques which
he describes in 5
this article.

manufacture such components, rather than

making moulds and going down the casting
route. In fact, thinking about it, the jigs

referred to in the HMS Daring project
described in Range Finder in the regular
issue of MB are great for preparing and
cutting raw material, but perhaps are not

always the best solution for replicating
numerous finished items, so that is why I am
writing this. Masters (or patterns)
Whilst in conversation with Paul Beckley (sadly
Where to start? now demised) some years ago when he was the
Generally most practical tutorials on the proprietor of Sirmar, I often remarked on the
DAVE WOOLEY investigates subject deal with the process of making the quality of his resin castings, many being quite
mould and then making castings from it, so complex in form. On one occasion I asked what

he Editor suggested that for this Special okay, you may ask what more is there to makes for good fittings and his answer was quite
Edition I discuss the process of making a know? Well, here I am going to go back to the straightforward, namely ‘a good pattern’
master, then a mould and from it a resin very start of it all, in other words producing a (master). This may seem obvious, but basically
(urethane) casting. This is something that is fitting that is suited for resin casting rather the quality of the original will determine the
increasingly popular, because it enables the than use an existing item, thus all the trials quality of the fitting cast from it. Paul was well
model builder to replicate an item easily, and tribulations of the process will be more suited to the task of producing fittings for model
rather than perhaps scratch building 20 clear. In this article we will see how well tried warships as his background was from pattern
identical ammunition containers individually. I methods were used for producing two single making and his material of choice was often
was enthusiastic about this, as I have always moulds and a two piece version, then gravity Jelutong, a well known fine grained timber, or he
wanted to have a crack at developing this casting from them. I am not covering the use would use metal in its various forms as these
skill, but there was one problem and to be of a vacuum casting tank, because the vast usually have good surfaces from which to create
honest it was that this would be a steep majority of readers will not want to invest in a good mould.
learning curve for me as I tend to scratch one of these machines which for example For the purposes of this project, I decided
build everything nowadays, even multiple enable the complicated fully detailed one piece to combine Jelutong and litho plate, both
identical items. model tank bodies to be produced such as materials with which I am well acquainted.
So, as you will no doubt have appreciated those by Accurate Armour and Kit Form Resin For those unfamiliar with litho plate, it is an
from Range Finder in the regular issue of Vehicles, website: www.kitformservices.com. aluminium type of thin sheeting used in the
Model Boats, I enjoy developing methods to There is of course a huge amount of offset-litho printing process. Use sheets can
create repeat fittings without recourse to information in books and on the internet, so what often be obtained as scrap and can be easily
casting and as such during the course of my is written here is my own personal experience of cleaned back to the clean base material by
model construction projects have used jigs to this subject and is in no way definitive. domestic solvents. I would also use styrene
sheet and strip, to ascertain the results when
developing a two-part mould.
For the one-piece mould, the fittings are
1 2 those on the 1:72 scale HMS Daring as in
Photos 1 and 2. Like so much on HMS
Daring, the fittings such as the various
lockers, differ from those used on previous
warships. Both the selected fittings have
sloping sides and the core of each was formed
from Jelutong, Photo 3.
For those unfamiliar with this timber, it is
perfect for producing patterns as it has a
close grain, can be easily cut and shaped, but
more important, it will create and retain sharp
edges. The next step was to clad the outer
surfaces with 0.5mm litho plate. This material
is almost as workable as styrene and does
have a true metal surface, ideal for being
reproduced from rubber moulds, Photo 4.
Referring back to the very first picture, the
second litho plate clad pattern is formed
using two separate Jelutong timber parts,
each of these providing the former for the
litho plate cladding, Photo 5.

68 www.modelboats.co.uk Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

special feature


Litho plate glues well with cyanoacrylate

(superglue) metal adhesive and will fix well to
the surface of Jelutong. Cladding the wooden
former takes only a few minutes, but care must
be taken when using superglue, as there is
very little time in which to make any
adjustments. With the cladding in place, any
additional features such as access hatches,
ribs, catches or clips can then be added. 8
Depending on the scale and the dexterity of
the modeller, patterns (masters) such as these
can be made quite complex. However, for this
project, both fittings are reasonably
straightforward with the clips just represented
with narrow strips of litho plate, but even so The mould rubber and casting resins have a
the results were quite satisfying, Photo 6. ‘shelf-life’, particularly once a can is opened,
so I would suggest initially purchasing a
The mould Sylmasta Starter Kit, to see how you get on,
Basically a mould box can be constructed or the smallest can sizes of rubber and resin
from any material that retains the rubber from Alec Tiranti. Photo 10 is of what I
whilst it cures around the pattern (master). It initially purchased from Alec Tiranti in
is worth mentioning that the rubber being ‘rubber’ terms, namely a 1kg of T20 rubber,
used here is ‘cold-curing’ and the setting time its catalyst, a spray release agent that is
can be more than 24 hours depending on the required when making a two-part mould and
ambient temperatures. Manufacturers making some mixing implements. Sylmasta sell very
masses of components may well use much the same types of rubber etc. in a range
vulcanized moulds which require heat to cure of can sizes, shore ratings and at similar
the rubber and this is not covered here, as prices. Shore rating relates to the point at
once again the vast majority of model makers which rubber will split if being pulled apart.
will not have access to, or want the expense Higher shore rated rubbers tend to be harder
of, the necessary equipment for that process. and better suited to white metal casting for
For this project, I chose to make a simple example. For resin casting with subjects that
mould box from discarded pieces of 2.5mm have undercuts, you need a flexible (but still
styrene sheet, all temporarily fitted to a plywood firm to the touch) rubber and this T20 ticks
base. For this, modelling clay was used to secure the right boxes.
the sides and allow for easy dismantling, once Measurement of the weight/volume of the
the rubber had cured. The clay is readily silicone rubber and catalyst is critical. It is no
available from W.H Smith (a UK high street good adding excessive amounts of catalyst to
newstrade retailer) and costs around £3, more the rubber (or guessing it) to speed up the
than enough for the task in hand. The great curing process, as the reverse may occur, so
advantage of this material is that it remains the instructions have to be followed precisely
pliable and does not harden, Photo 7. An and this should be undertaken with care to
alternative is to use Lego bricks in all their ensure the correct results. So, accurate
various shapes and sizes to create the box, but kitchen scales will be required to measure the
once broken down, it cannot usually be exactly weight of the rubber being used and to make
replicated and a dedicated box will often be sure the right amount of catalyst is added, a
handy to retain the moulds’ outside shape, the syringe or small graduated measuring
rubber being quite soft. The process is simple, beaker/pipette is ideal and these are available
but every gap has to be sealed so no rubber can from the suppliers and are included in the
escape and this involves ‘thumbing’ the clay Sylmasta Starter Kit. Disposable gloves are
around all the base and side joints. This not only also not a bad idea and spatulas (mixing
seals them, but also holds the sides of the box
firmly as in Photo 8.
The final task before pouring the rubber
into the box, is to place the two patterns
(masters) into the bottom of the box. I found
it is useful to fix these on a piece of flat
styrene sheet, which ensures that they are
held in place and will be easy to remove
whilst providing a good flat surface on the
underside of the mould, Photo 9. These
masters (patterns) are, as I said earlier,
relatively simple having no significant
undercuts, so removing them from the mould
(and the subsequent castings) should not
present any problem.

Mixing the rubber and

creating the mould
There are a number of excellent suppliers in
the marketplace and for this article I used
products from Sylmasta and Alec Tiranti, who
both offer a range of rubbers and urethane
casting resins. I must make it clear that these
rubbers and resins are all cold-cure, that is to
say no heat is required, although the
urethane resin can become hot as it cures,
usually within a few minutes of mixing
depending on the ambient temperature.

Model Boats Winter Special

special feature


12 13

14 15

sticks) for stirring are handy. Wooden stirrers worry as what happens is that because the box, Photo 13, and the master item should
from Starbucks will do….. curing process for the rubber can be 24 hours be intact, with the mould being a perfect
The first task is to pour the rubber from or more, the bubbles inevitably rise to the top representation, Photo 14, and here lies the
the can into a disposable container (clear surface in that period after the rubber is first rub as it will be a perfect copy, so any faults on
plastic drink party glasses from Poundland poured into the mould box. the master(s) will also be perfectly
are as good as any) whilst noting the weight Anyway, having thoroughly mixed the reproduced, so getting this right before
of the volume you have decanted. From that it rubber and catalyst, which should take a few making a mould is essential. In this last
is easy to determine the volume of catalyst minutes, pour the rubber into the mould box picture, you can see a small circular air
required which will need to be stirred into the over the object to be moulded, Photo 12. If pocket in the rubber. This is not a disaster, as
rubber and the whole lot then thoroughly the item has undercuts, then initially all it means is that when using this mould,
mixed, Photo 11. Now clearly you don’t want brushing the rubber into those areas will there may be an extra small ‘blob’ on the final
to have more catalysed rubber than ensure no trapped air pockets, thus possibly resin cast item, which in practice can usually
necessary to fill the mould box, so a bit of comprising the mould. There isn’t much one be easily sanded away.
guesstimation is needed, but usually the can do now, except leave it in a warm dry
amount required will be more than you place and wait! Casting in urethane resin
expect! The stirring/mixing process will So now a day, or even later, the rubber The urethane resin Biresin G26 used came
create air bubbles in the rubber, but don’t mould can be extracted from the temporary from Alec Tiranti, Sylmasta also selling an

70 www.modelboats.co.uk Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

special feature

16 17

18 19

identical product, Photo 15. This is very

easy to use, the two parts simply being mixed 20
in equal volumes. Once again, clear plastic
beakers are ideal for this as one can confirm
by eye that the two volumes are identical in
the beakers. Mixing should be done in a way
so as to avoid creating air bubbles and the
resultant mixture poured into the mould. Pot
life is usually no more than four minutes or
so, so speed is of the essence when gravity
casting, which is what we are doing here,
Photo 16. There are substances one can buy
from the suppliers that will help retard the
curing process.
There is a distinctive change in the resin’s
colour as it cures, Photo 17. This stage can
be rapidly reached in a few minutes, but DO
NOT remove the items from the mould just
yet as one should wait at least 30 minutes (an
hour is better) for the resin to set properly
hard, Photo 18.
Here in Photo 19 are three castings
from the mould and in fact, as my skill
improved, so did the castings with no bits
missing from the most recent ones,
because of my earlier haste when pouring
in the resin and not making sure it was
into ever y nook and cranny.

Another example?
Photo 20 is of two small stowage lockers for
personal survival suits on HMS Daring.

Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 www.modelboats.co.uk 71

special feature 22

Two part moulds

21 A two part mould is used for items that would
prove difficult to remove from a one piece
mould. For example, items with deep
undercuts, round or complex shapes and
delicate parts with extensions, and I soon
found out that there is no real substitute for
experience. I should mention again here that
commercial manufacturers will usually use
vacuum casting chambers for these complex
shapes. With these machines, the resin filled
rubber mould is put in the chamber and the
air is drawn out. This forces the urethane
resin into every nook and cranny of the
mould, thus totally filling it and all the
complex surface shapes within. An example
of these are the complex vehicle bodies
commercially, because it cures with a dry moulded by Kit Form Services, mentioned
clean surface that needs no preparation (apart earlier and on their website you can see the
from washing perhaps) before painting. complex shapes successfully moulded, but
Beware of cheap alternatives, since these can this is not what we are doing here as we are
be ‘seconds’ and perhaps not cure as well. As relying just on gravity.
before, thorough mixing is essential to ensure The whole process is actually similar to that
a good mix, which as it so happens is easy to for a one piece mould, but it will be in two
determine because the mixture will have a halves and the easiest way to do this is to
uniform colour when it is ready to pour into half-embed the item to be moulded into soft
the mould. Anyway, Photo 25 is of the end clay (or plasticine) in the lower half of the
result of some stowage lockers for HMS Daring. mould, pour rubber over it all, allow to cure,

Jelutong blocks, Photo 21, sheathed with 23

litho plate rapidly became the masters,
Photo 22, and a rubber mould was made in
the same way as earlier.
Photo 23 is of them in the mould box,
which is probably bigger than is really needed.
For this mini-project I used the Sylmasta
Starter Pack which includes everything you
need, which is a good way ‘to test the rubber’
as it were. Making best use of the volume of a
rubber mould is essential to avoid waste, and
here you can see another couple of items in
the rubber mould, Photo 24.

This followed exactly the same sequence as
with the Tiranti Biresin G26 urethane resin. It
is worth mentioning that there are different
types of urethane resin which have different
hardness and curing features and also
different colours, so it is worth checking our
the websites. However this G26 type would
seem to be that which is widely used



72 www.modelboats.co.uk Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

special feature

26 27

28 29

30 31

remove, and with the master still in place, inside can escape! Also, please note that the Photo 29. On the left is a little tubular
invert and make a mould of the other half. air escape tube and the filler hole are both on device, that will have to be glued to the
Okay, not quite as simple as that, but that’s the same side, because clearly we don’t want main body of the decoy dispenser that is
the plan! the resin to simply pour straight through the being moulded at the same time. The inlet
The clay will need to be laid as flat as mould and out the bottom when filling it! cavity and venting tract need to be refilled
possible in the bottom of the mould and the Photo 27 is of the first volume of rubber with clay for making the second half of the
item to eventually cast is part embedded in it, being poured into the mould box. Note that mould. The box was reassembled around
Photo 26. For the purposes of this moulding there is an indentation (repeated on each the half mould section as in Photo 30.
exercise, I made one of the large decoy corner) in the clay. This will create a positive Now, you cannot simply pour the rubber in
dispensers which are basically a tube location later for the second half of the rubber again, because it will stick to the existing
mounted on a U section support at each end. mould. As before, the rubber needs to be left half mould, so a spray release agent is
What you will notice about this picture are the for at least 24 hours to properly cure. required and this was (is) R5 available from
plasticine ‘tails’ which are there in the mould Photo 28 is of the rubber and clay Alec Tiranti or under a different name from
so that when the two moulded rubber halves removed from the mould box prior to Sylmasta, Photo 31.
are put together, the urethane resin can be separation, and after carefully splitting, we Following the same procedure as
easily poured in and equally important, the air are left with a rubber half-mould as in previously, catalysed rubber can be poured

Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 www.modelboats.co.uk 73

special feature

32 33

34 35

into the mould, Photo 32. Once again, leave any air that remains within the mould cavity, a
for at least 24 hours, after which the outer few taps of it will assist in freeing trapped air so as References
mould retaining box can be removed and the to avoid air cavities within the casting - hopefully! Sylmasta Ltd
two halves split apart, Photo 33. This may all It took a number of attempts before I was able to Halland House, Dales Yard
look rather grotty, but in fact is a decent get it right, Photo 35, and this picture is of a Lewes Road
enough two part mould of this component poorly moulded first example. Anyway, things got Scaynes Hill
and its accessory fitting. better with practice and Photo 36 is of a West Sussex
completed unpainted example that ‘will do’ as RH17 7PG
Two part mould they say. United Kingdom
resin casting Tel: +44 (0)1444 831459
Conclusion Email: websales@sylmasta.com
The mould is now ready for use, so the two
Website: www.sylmasta.com
halves can be put together, and the locating There is no doubt that practice makes perfect. Sylmasta Starter Moulding Kit is around
‘pimples’ should ensure they are a perfect match. Once one appreciates the limitations of gravity £36 at time of writing.
Elastic bands are as good as any way of holding it casting, then actually quite complex items can
all together with strips of styrene on the sides be successfully cast and if you need ten of Alec Tiranti - mail order,
helping prevent the rubber, which is relatively something, then resin casting is as good a way showroom & technical enquiries
soft, from distorting, Photo 34. Following the as any. So in summary, for those of us who 3 Pipers Court
same procedures as earlier, the resin was mixed need multiple identical parts from a scratch Berkshire Drive
in a 1:1 ratio and carefully poured into the filler built master, resin casting is a practical way of Thatcham
opening. Although there is provision for venting achieving this. On a final note, urethane resin Berkshire
cast fittings are quite light and size for size RG19 4ER
much less in weight than an equivalent cast in +44 (0)845 123 2100
GRP resin. For me, this has been a useful Email: enquiries@tiranti.co.uk
36 Website: www.tiranti.co.uk
extra skill learnt and it clearly has numerous
applications in my future model ship building. Biresin G26 Urethane Resin is £38 for
two litres at time of writing. This
Mind you, whilst writing this I have read the
quantity will be more than enough to
article on 3D printing in MB August 2013,
cast all the fittings for an average size of
Page 56, and recently there have been several scale model.
programmes on TV about this, so as that
technology develops perhaps that is Alec Tiranti - London Shop
something that will become more common in 27 Warren Street
our hobby, but for the moment mould making London
and resin casting requires nothing more than W1T 5NB
a well-made pattern, rather than in-depth Check website for opening times.
computer skills. l

74 www.modelboats.co.uk Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

Email: saleswestbourne@btconnect.com Tel 01202 763480
Amati Static
Model Slipway R/c We are one of the largest stockiest of model boat Shops in
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modelling techniques

Full Metal Anorak!

RICHARD SIMPSON looks Steel to Stainless Steel and all the huge
at metals and how to work variety of different alloys in between. Ferrous 2
metal has one main disadvantage to the
with them in our model marine engineer or model boat builder, and
boats that is the fact that it readily returns to its
oxide state, i.e. rusts under the influence of

ast year in the MB Winter Special moisture. Even stainless steel is only in reality
Edition we had a look at what metals we stain resistant, with this resistance depending
might find available to us as modellers; on the quantity of chrome alloyed with the
what their individual properties are and how steel, so this whole family of metals finds
we can work with each type. This time I limited use for the model boat builder.
thought it might be an idea to build on that Interestingly enough of course, steel as a
and look a bit closer at why different metal result of its ready availability and relative low
types lend themselves to the various uses we cost is widely used in the construction of
want to put them in our model boats and ships, but to prevent the corrosion process Aluminium can be worked into the most
steam installations, and look a bit more we have to apply costly paint systems and intricate shapes and designs, however it
remains a very difficult metal to work with
closely at some of the metalworking even impressed current cathodic protection for the average modeller. This shows just
techniques that are available to us. Let’s start (ICCP) systems to maintain the quality of the what can be achieved with a huge amount
then with a very brief overview of the main structure. of patience, experience and a lifetime of
spare time!
groups of metals we discussed in 2012 and Consequently, although this family of
identify their basic properties. metals is relatively cheap and easy to obtain,
we will probably only come across stainless equipment. The difficulty of machining and
Ferrous metals steel in our model steam plants and boats, hot working though does tend to limit the
Ferrous relates to the group of metal alloys usually in the form of stainless steel versatility of the material and restricts its use
which use a base of Iron, so it includes all the fastenings and fittings. Stainless steel does as a model making material, Photo 2.
family of metals from Cast Iron through Mild have a high strength and abrasion resistance,
so this combined with a nice bright finish Brass
when polished, makes it ideal for screw The family of Brass Alloys is also a wide
1 fastenings, boiler bandings and the internal ranging and extensive group of metals with
components of various valves and fittings, the basic Zinc and Copper base metals being
although possibly the most common added to with a whole range of additional
application is for propeller and motor shafts, metals. Brass is however a very versatile
Photo 1. metal and does a wide range of jobs very
effectively. It can be easily machined; can be
Aluminium hot worked in a variety of ways; is strong and
The big advantage of Aluminium is the fact resilient enough to be threaded and even has
that it is light in weight, however difficulties very good thermal and electrically conductive
with machining and ‘hot working’ tend to limit properties. It is very corrosion resistant and
its use. Even drilling presents challenges with can be polished to a beautiful shine. This all
the swarf building up on the cutting edge, so makes brass a very useful material in model
working aluminium is certainly not boating as well as model engineering and of
straightforward. It is of course very light, so course it is used extensively in steam plants,
makes a good material for manufacturing both for boiler fittings and engine
frames for stiffening structures and its good manufacture, Photo 3.
heat transfer properties enable it to be used
as heat sinks. Aluminium does cast very well Copper
and is now also being used as a material for The reason we add Zinc to Copper is to
A typical steam engine crankshaft using stainless steel for its
manufacture. Note also stainless steel used for the fastenings, 3D printing, so quite complex parts are being produce the metal Brass with its
whereas all the bearing surfaces are brass. manufactured as parts of more complex aforementioned wide range of very useful

76 www.modelboats.co.uk Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

modelling techniques

Far left: The

Graham Industries
3 4 TVR1A engine uses
aluminium, stainless
steel and brass in
its construction. The
brass is not only
functional, but also
polishes up very well
and is very attractive
when combined with
gloss paintwork.

Copper, as well as
being a perfect metal
for boiler shells, looks
superb when used
in conjunction with
polished woodwork as
this home built steam
plant clearly shows.

properties. Copper itself however actually also very ductile, which can be useful when
does a few things significantly better than you want to shape a piece of lead sheet to fit 5
Brass, so it is also a useful metal in its own the bottom of your hull, but which can also be
right. It tends to be a bit more focused a bit of a challenge when the white metal
however and has a few extremely useful fittings on the model get knocked out of
properties rather than a wide range of not so shape! It is also a point worth remembering
positive attributes. Two of the main positive that bent white metal fittings might be easier
properties are its ductility (softness) and to rectify than a split piece of decking or
therefore its flexibility, which combined with structure, so the ductility of lead fittings can
excellent electrical conductivity, make it a also be an advantage, Photo 5.
perfect metal for electrical cables. In fact the
electrical conductivity properties make it a Metal working
very useful metal in all sorts of applications There are many ways in which we can ‘work’
and you will find it in many conductors, metal, some more practicable than others, but
contacts, switches and printed circuit boards. with a bit of creative thought it is surprising
The ductility and thermal conductivity just what we can do with our normal everyday
attributes also make it an excellent material modelling tools and equipment. Not only will
for boiler shells with the heat transfer this help us with modifying and assembling a
through the shell being very effective and the steam plant, but incorporating metals in
ductility allowing the shell to flex as a result general into our model construction can
of the effects of heat and pressure without significantly improve their looks and their life. White metal fittings are often supplied with kits nowadays. This winch
adversely affecting its strength. This very Knowing a bit more about their unit is a kit in its own right and consists of a number of cast white
metal parts as well as rod and tube. Epoxy glue was used to assemble
softness however means it is not a good characteristics (as discussed last year), also this winch.
material to thread fittings to, so we have to helps us to understand which processes are
attach brass bosses to mount the fittings with more appropriate to each type, so we can start
a much more resilient thread cut into them. to get a better feel for why we use certain however we do need to take a bit more care
The ductility also makes it a very useful metals in certain situations, Photo 6. The over the type of glue we use. As a rule of
material for pipework as it can be bent fairly following therefore are descriptions of the thumb, you should always be looking for an
easily into complex shapes, as long as it is most common and available means of adhesive that is stronger than your material
regularly stress relieved by heating to remove working with metal without going into the when it has set. Most water based adhesives,
the effects of work hardening. The softness of depths of lathe work or milling techniques, such as PVA glues, are designed to soak into
the metal however again makes it unsuitable but are the sort of methods that modellers the surface of the materials being joined to
for the pipe connections so we have to attach with very modest tool and workshop set-ups form an incredibly strong key to the material,
brass fittings to enable the pipes to be can consider. so generally water-based glues are not strong
connected together. Of course, copper enough for metal adhesion as they cannot
polishes beautifully, so also makes for a very Adhesives soak into the surface, so tend to be of very
attractive installation in conjunction with Never underestimate the power of a tube of limited value for this purpose. The only glues
some varnished wood and brass fittings, glue! When we are considering it for metals of any practical real value are cyanoacrylate
Photo 4.

White Metal and Lead 6

It is probably worth clarifying first just what
we mean by White Metal, as this does seem
to get a bit confusing at times, particularly as
it can be similar in properties to pure Lead,
especially as we see it in the model boat
world. White Metal is a term that
unfortunately seems to be used nowadays for
alloys of both Lead and Tin, which end up
with quite different properties. The alloys of
Tin are often used as the base metal for silver-
plated table ware and are obviously fairly
hard. The alloys using Lead as a base tend to
be quite similar in their properties to Lead
itself and are extensively used as bearing
surfaces, fusible plugs, cast figures and
fittings. We obviously come across the Lead
based White Metals in modelling as it is used
very commonly to produce the white metal
detailed parts and figures offered by a
number of model manufacturers. Both lead
and lead based white metal are dense metals
The hull and superstructure of this scratch built tug by Keith Hayes of the Kirklees Model
so are actually very useful for ballast, as for a
Boat Club is actually clad in printers litho plate. This enables a very realistic riveted plate
set required weight, you have more room left effect to be achieved but care has to be taken to ensure the plate is suitably bonded to the
in the model for other things. Both metals are wooden hull.

Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013 www.modelboats.co.uk 77

modelling techniques

Epoxy glues and cyanoacrylate adhesive work well with metals and This model was built by a traditional engineer who used a large number of metal
even epoxy filler can be used in some circumstances. components in its construction. Even the window frames are brass extrusions, which makes
for a very realistic look.

the adhesive starts to set. It also generates machined. Epoxy resins bond to most
9 heat as it does so, which increases the speed metals, but will soon come loose from lead
of the reaction. An interesting tip with or copper due to the ductility of the metal
cyanoacrylate glues is that if you are and movement as a result of temperature
working in a very dry atmosphere and the changes combined with the extreme
parts you are trying to glue are very dry, try hardness and inflexibility of the adhesive. It
breathing on the parts before joining them. is always worth thinking of how you can
The moisture in your breath will act as the actually capture a metal fastener such as a
hardening agent and start the process off, screw or a nut to form an extremely effective
making for a stronger bond. This is also why bond with a parent material, which can then
it can be such a challenge if you get it on be used to attach other metallic components.
your skin as the moisture in the skin starts Embedding nuts into a drilled surface or
the reaction off very quickly. Sticking your holding a screw head between two beams
finger (the affected part perhaps?) into water achieves this very effectively and then gives
to relieve the pain, only makes it worse. This you a wooden surface to bond into your boat
is also why you simply MUST NOT get it with normal wood glues. It should also be
into your eyes. These glues work well with remembered that cyanoacrylate and rapid
most metals, but have limited grip on metals epoxy adhesives may deteriorate with
that flex a lot, such as lead and copper. They prolonged contact with water (depending on
also work better with smooth, polished the type), so a suitable protective coating
surfaces rather than the more normal may be required in these situations. Also,
roughened-up texture, but contrary to although the rapid type is far more
popular belief they do not actually fuse with convenient for the progression of a project,
A typical multimedia assembly using white metal kit parts modified with the surface of the metal. Photo 8 is of a usually the slower setting types are actually
wood components. A slow setting epoxy was used here to enable all model where superglue has been used harder and so form a stronger joint. They
the items to be perfectly aligned while the glue set. extensively to hold metal fittings together, also of course give you plenty of time to set
including the stanchions and railings. up the joint with clamps to get perfect
types (superglue) and epoxy adhesives, Epoxy resin adhesives actually give you positioning while the adhesive sets, Photo 9.
Photo 7. the two parts of the reaction in two tubes
The former can be purchased in thin, and are usually intended to be mixed in a Soft soldering
medium and thick consistencies and they one-to-one ratio. Mixing the base resin and This is often only thought of as a means of
form an incredibly strong bond between two the hardener starts off the chain reaction connecting electrical cables, but soft
materials. Cyanoacrylate is actually an which can be completed in around 5 to 10 soldering is also a very useful means of
acrylic resin, which you would normally minutes in the case of the rapid types or a joining brass and copper in a wide range of
expect to find as a two part adhesive with a number of hours in the case of the slow- uses. It can also be used to join tin and
base and a hardener and this is surprisingly setting versions. Epoxy resins are a lot ferrous metals, but as we rarely use these in
still the case, as the hardening agent is thicker than cyanoacrylate and can even be our modelling we will leave them out of this
water. When the glue is placed on the made into a paste by the mixing in of a discussion. Soft soldering brass tube and rod
material, moisture from the atmosphere powder called ‘micro balloons’, which is then to make mast arrangements and handrails
immediately starts the chemical reaction and extremely hard when set and can even be will produce neat and robust structures

10 11

These handrails on Stan Reffin’s model were joined with soft solder, Any soldering, soft or silver, requires the metal to be cleaned back to
assembled on the model, then subsequently removed for painting. A bare. If you don’t, the oxide coating on the surface will prevent the
fast means of attaining the required temperature was needed, so a solder from spreading over the joint and it will remain a blob of liquid
small hand held flame burner was used. metal sat on the surface, no matter what the temperature.

78 www.modelboats.co.uk Model Boats Winter Special Edition 2013

modelling techniques

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Although multicore solder contains flux it is regularly well worth considering using additional A typical hand-held petrol burner provides enough heat to raise the
flux to keep the surface clean during the heating up process. temperature quickly and efficiently and is very easy to use.

which will be far more resilient and reliable your pipework around and reuse the pieces,
than any glued connection and the low 14 there is never going to be a danger of mixing
temperatures used make for a quick and up silver soldered joints and soft soldered
convenient means of joining these metals, joints.
Photo 10. You even have the option of re- Silver soldering, in exactly the same way as
heating the joints to separate them if you get soft soldering, is all about controlling the flow
it wrong. of heat. The process is basically the same:
Soft soldering, as with any heat process, is Clean up the joint; arrange the job in a hearth
all about the control of heat. You need to to prevent heat from escaping; then heat the
heat the joint up quickly to the required job to the melting point of the solder and
melting point of the solder so you can add apply first the flux from the rod if it is coated,
the solder and let it cool quickly. Struggling Photo 15, or from the tin if not, then touch
with a heat source that is too small will the rod to the joint.
always lead to heat going off in the wrong Again it is the heat of the job and not the
direction, so select an appropriate sized heat flame that should melt the solder to ensure
source for the job. Don’t go too big though that it will flow over the surface of the metal
and then lose control at the other extreme! and by capillary action flow into the joint.
First, the job must be thoroughly cleaned, When the job has cooled down it should be
degreased and abraded to bare metal, Photo cleaned to remove the flux and then polished
11. Whether you are soldering handrails (or to give a nice bright pipe and fitting. The most
wiring or anything else) the heat of the common challenges with silver soldering are
parent metal must melt the solder and not not getting the parent metal hot enough to
the flame or the soldering iron. This ensures melt the solder so you end up with a spherical
that the parent metal is at the correct blob of molten solder sat on top of the job, or
temperature for the solder to flow over its not cleaning the surface prior to soldering, so
surface and capillary action will take it into the oxide coating on the copper pipe prevents
the joint. It is always worth using a spot of the solder from flowing and again you get a
flux, even if you are using multi-core solder, blob of solder sat on top! As with soft
to thoroughly clean the surface of the metal Silver solder is a very expensive commodity, soldering, choice of heat source is important
before heating, Photo 12. Note that for but a bulk packet from an industrial supplier as you do not want to get too big and damage
electrical connections you should not use the can be shared amongst a number of the parent metal and not big enough will
modellers and coated rods such as this
acid type of fluxes as is mentioned elsewhere make for a very convenient medium. never achieve the temperature you need.
in this issue in the ‘But I don’t understand Silver soldering will produce a very strong
Electronics’ article. joint in copper and brass, which is resilient to
Heat the job quickly with your heat water feed lines, it is better to stick with silver the effects of temperature as it requires a
source, apply a spot of solder to the now hot solder, Photo 14, because a leaking clack much higher temperature to melt the metal.
job and allow the solder to seep into the valve could still subject your feed line to This makes it ideal for boiler shells and steam
joint. Remove the heat source quickly and boiler water and if you ever decide to change pipework and even cold water feed lines that
the job will cool down allowing the solder to
solidify. I like to use the small petrol burners
for brass handrails and mast structures as
the heat is perfectly controllable and heats 15
up the job quickly, Photo 13. It also avoids
actual contact with a soldering iron, which
can move the job around and mar it with
solder from the tip of the iron.
Handrails and mast structures can be
done very quickly and easily with soft
soldering and far more effectively than you
could do with any glue. When you are
finished it is always a good idea to degrease
the joint to clean off the flux as the residue
might cause staining and corrosion in the
future. An electrical spray degreaser is easy
and quick for that purpose.

Silver soldering
Apart from safety,
Because model boilers and associated pipe the next main
work could get very close to the melting consideration when
temperature of soft solder, especially if you silver soldering is
ever let your boiler run dry, it must not be comfort. You will never
get a nice even joint
used to build them. Even though it may be if your arm is shaking
tempting to use soft solder for such things as because it is tired!

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modelling techniques

16 17

Get everything right and joints like this are easy to achieve. If you Boiler ends are regularly dished to give additional strength. A
remember all the important considerations, good solid joints such as common method is to simply beat them with a planishing hammer
this are achievable by anyone at home. on either a former, or a sand bag, with regular heating to anneal and
soften the metal.

copper is slowly beaten on a bag of sand with these procedures, because all involve the
18 a curved headed hammer known as a action of a harder and sharper material being
planishing hammer. As has been mentioned, drawn across the surface of the metal to
Copper ‘work hardens’ more noticeably than remove part of it, namely the swarf.
most metals which basically means that it Machining ease and quality will always
becomes harder under deformation. depend on the following few simple criteria
Planishing a dished shape will require regular that should be remembered.
reheating to maintain the ductility of the Secure the job
copper and prevent cracks occurring and with The number of times I see people sawing,
regular heating, the edge of the dished boiler drilling and even tapping a piece of work that
end can actually be bent completely over to is being held in their hands is worrying. At
form a flange without any creases. the very least you will almost certainly end up
Similarly with a pipe, if you use a small pipe with a cut, a hole or a thread that is poorly
bender and carefully feel the resistance of the aligned, but you also run a very high risk of
copper tube as you roll the handle you will having a lump of one of your hands removed
quite noticeably feel it increase. You need to as well. Always secure the job by either
stop when you feel the resistance getting too clamping it to a secure table or holding it in a
much to prevent a kink forming and reheat vice, Photo 19. It actually makes the process
the pipe to red heat. This relieves all the of machining so much easier and it amazes
internal stresses that you have created by me the number of times modellers do not
bending it and allows the pipe to be gently realise this.
Forming, as most of us will have experienced it, is when we simply bent a bit further. Ninety degree bends can Remember the safety aspects
bend copper pipes to fit the various components of a steam plant. often take two or three reheats to get the pipe Wear goggles, Photo 20, to keep the swarf
Regular annealing and correct tools are required to prevent creasing
of the pipe.
to shape and then it is always worth a final out of your eyes and never disable or remove
heating to relieve any stress that remains in machine guards. Stand with your feet secure
may be subjected to higher temperatures in the copper, Photo 18, otherwise this (stress) to ensure that you are properly balanced and
the event of a failure of a feed clack valve, could lead to cracking later in life as a result you are comfortable. Never reach across
Photo 16. of flexing with heat or even manual rotating machinery and ensure that loose
movement. clothing and jewellery is secured and always
Forming? ensure that the area is well lit. All common
Forming metal is basically bending it into a General rules of machining sense stuff, but things that still leads to
shape, possibly quite complex, by nothing A lot of modellers think of machining as lathe accidents nowadays when insufficient
more than the action of forcing it around a work or milling (or ‘shaping’ if you are really attention is paid to them.
solid object or former. It can be assisted by old fashioned) and forget that machining Always use a sharp tool
heat to soften it, or it could even be