Category Archives: Boats

‘Miss Severn’ 1922 Gold Cup Racer – Mack Models 1:8 (PART 2)

Well hopes of the next post in this series coming along sooner than the last weren’t realised. It’s been quite a long time since the last post on the Miss Severn build. However, progress has been going on in the background albeit slowly, despite illness and such.

In order to make some progress while I wasn’t at my best I polished up some of the fittings that come with the kit. The improvement in them is quite marked. Hard work without being able to use power tools though.

Having completed the basic hull, the next step was to plank it with the mahogany strip provided in the kit. The operation is pretty standard stuff. the planks were fixed with medium grade (as opposed to thin or thick) super glue. It’s a messy job as the glue seeps through the pores in the mahogany so it is almost impossible to stop it getting on your fingers at some point.

Having completed the bottom of the hull the chine line was redrawn and the planks cut back to it.

Chine line

With the chine line re-established planking of the sides commenced.

When the first few layers had been completed the boat was finally freed from the baseboard. It was at this point that I realised I’d messed up a little.

I’d stuck the doublers LS3 and RS3 on the wrong side of deck. Obviously they should be on the underside of it to allow it to be planked on top. It’s not specified in the instructions, probably because it should be obvious, but not having built many boats before it wasn’t to me. Ho-hum. They weren’t that hard to remove anyway with a chisel.

Having cleaned the deck up it was possible to get on with the assembly of it and the associated hatches. This was all done as per the instructions.

I took the opportunity to coat the inside of the hull with some expoy resin prior to completimg the decking. It was finished in a coat of mid grey paint.

Completed hatches
Hatches installed with spacers to allow for the hinges later.

The decking was completed which in turn allowed the remainder of the side planking to be finished and sanded flush with it.

Looking more like a Gold Cup Racer now.

At this stage I decided to get on with making some of the cockpit internals for a bit of light relief from all of the sanding, which I struggle with.

First up was the gearbox cover.

The wood in the kit wasn’t especially attractive to be honest, and the fixing tabs were very visible, so I decided to cover the entire assembly, and the rest of the cockpit items, with some mahogany veneer I had to hand. The improvement in the appearance between the veneer and kit parts is shown below.

Kit ‘mahogany’ on the right. Mahogany veneer on the left.
Finished gearbox cover with mahogany veneer applied.

The model I’m building has the optional lighting kit included. In order to hide the switch I decided to adapt the gear lever by installing it on a small rotary switch. The switch I opted for was a 24V, 0.5A Lorlin MTL-21-10 part, which I actually got from Farnell (Order code 2797234). The switch is an 8 position rotary one so each throw is 45°.

The whole assembly was then stained and varnished.

Modified gear lever, adapted to switch the lights on and off.

Next up were the seats which went through the same process.

And the cockpit ceilings and sideboards.

The sideboards, as supplied, had some annoying voids in them which thankfully would be hidden by the veneer.
After a bit of staining and varnishing. Oh, and a new cutting mat.

It was onto the seat squabs and backs next. The squabs were quite straight forward. A little bit of sculpting to make them look like they had been sat on in real life and some piping added around the edges, made from 0.5mm solder wire secured with super glue, and they were ready for sealing and painting. The seat backs were a different story.

The kit parts come fully marked up and just require some careful cutting, carving and sculpting to achieve the desired shape. However, sculpting and carving are not my strong suits, and the final results of my efforts did not make the grade. At all.

So I decided to make them again in a different way. I made some half round balsa strips of the right diameter and glued these to a thin piece of plywood backing as shown below. That at least gave me a nice even shape to seat backs which were then coated with resin, which was allowed to pool a little in the valleys so that they became rounded at the bottom.

Patent tooling for the making of half round balsa strip. Take your oversize square piece and hammer it through the nut and splitter to get two half round strips.

The final result was much more even than I could carve.

The instrument panel was my next project. I started with the instruments themselves. You have to cut the ‘glass’ yourself from clear acetate. I cut out some circles as a guide in masking tape using my sharpened compass. Then stuck them to the acetate, chopped off the corners and then sanded it circular.

The kit tells you to fix the pictures of the instrument faces supplied directly to the acetate with super glue. This was not an unqualified success for me as my glue disolved the print.

Luckily I’d already scanned in the pictures in case I needed extra copies. Bitter experience has taught me to always do this. So I was able to remake them. The second time around I mounted the pictures on some white plasticard and glued that into the bezel, behind the clear acetate glass.

The whole project then took a bit of a lurch to the left…

I was mocking up the dashboard to get a feel for how it would look. In particular I was trying to come up with a more in scale switch assembly than the one supplied in the kit. I ended up with a stainless steel pin in a small eyelet which looked OK. You can see it below next to one of the machined switches supplied in the kit.

The one thing that does leap out at you is that the grain on the instrument panel is very out of scale itself.

The real instrument panel in Miss Severn.

I decided to try a few other woods to see which looked best.

Oh, and I ought to warn you at this point that the kit dash has a hole in it which isn’t used and shouldn’t be there. It’s at about 2 O’clock from the steering column hole.

The drawing of the instrument panel vs the pre-cut kit part. The latter had an extra unwanted hole in my kit.

Having made the samples the decision was made to go with the pear option. Then commenced the job of actually buying enough pear to remake all the parts I’d just finished in mahogany!

While quite a few people advertise that they sell pear veneer and structural veneer, I discovered that most seem to only buy it in when someone orders it, and they can get it. It took me quite some time to actually locate some satisfactory supplies. A couple of months in the end.

The gearbox housing remade in pear is shown below next to the original mahogany one below. The improvement in the scale of the grain is obvious.

A lot of work went into the picture below. Honest!

Cockpit components remade in pear wood.
SS316L 2mm stainless steel strip used as capping for the sideboards. The screws are from US Microscrew P/N M06-30-M-SST PAN. They also sell on Amazon. They are M0.6 x 3.

The cockpit floor was also covered with pear veneer. Simulated brass screws were made using 0.8mm brass rod sanded flush, then scored with a knife blade to simulate a slotted head.

The floor was airbrushed with mahogany stain.

Mocked up in the model prior to the airbrushed stain being removed from the brass screwheads with acetone.

After it had dried the stain was removed from the screw heads with acetone on a fine brush. Be careful if you try this. A slight excess of acetone on the brush and it will pool and strip the stain from the wood around the brass too. Go careful.

CAREFULLY removing the stain with acetone.

And here it is again after the stain has been removed.

The next question was what finish to do the cockpit in? I had assumed that it would be gloss, but the satin looked so good. The problem was how to manage the transition from a satin cockpit to the high gloss hull outer. The latter has to be gloss as it is such a key characteristic of these boats.

In order to help make the decision I’ve decided to make a mock up in both satin and gloss just to see how they compare.

Mock-up in satin to determine the best finish in the cockpit.

I’ll let you know how it goes…

‘Miss Severn’ 1922 Gold Cup Racer – Mack Models 1:8 (PART 1)

Having shelved the Chris Craft build for the time being until I can locate some acceptable fittings, or am well enough to make my own, I decided to move on to another boat build.

The model chosen was another 1/8th scale model. This time of a 1922 Gold Cup race boat derived design called Miss Severn. The kit is produced by Mack Products, and mine included the add-on lighting set. As the model will be built for static display, none of the radio control elements  will be fitted.

Continue reading ‘Miss Severn’ 1922 Gold Cup Racer – Mack Models 1:8 (PART 1)

CHRIS CRAFT 19FT 1940 BARREL BACK – DUMAS 1:8 (PART 3)

Well it’s been longer than I anticipated since my last post, but due to not feeling too good, and the modelling room being too cold, I have only recently got back to making models.

After the sanding of the hull on the Barrel Back I moved on to the varnishing which has been a comedy of errors, mainly due to my lack of experience with some of the materials I suspect. I’ve never used epoxy resin as varnish before so it was all new to me. There were a number of recommendations for West Systems’ 105 formula on the model boat building websites so that what I went for.

I applied it with a brush and the initial coat went very well. The second coat however suffered horrendously from ‘fisheyes’. Dimples in the surface caused by the resin being repelled from it. You can see the result in the picture below where I have commenced sanding the surface back to recover the situation. I think left too much time between the coats of epoxy and the first coat wasn’t tacky enough for the second to take properly.

Whatever the cause, the model was a mess and naughty words were said. Then began the task of recovering the model.

Rather than persist with the epoxy and dig a deeper hole I elected to return to a good old polyurethane varnish. Ronseal’s Yacht Varnish to be exact. I put on a number of thick coats and sanded each back until all of the fisheyes were filled. This was not a quick process. At all. In fact it took a number of weeks.

However, after a lot of effort and sanding I got the model back to a reasonable standard.

Prior to painting and the final varnishing of the kit I decided to glassfibre the bottom of the hull. The PVC sheet used is quite soft and during the assembly process a number of dents and dings had appeared in it. I could see the same happening during the model’s life so decided to provide some additional protection to it.

The glassing process was pretty straight forward and went well.

As I was using 25g (1 oz) cloth it was even easy to follow the compound curves at the bow.

Another coat of epoxy and then some high fill primer left me with a nice smooth surface for the paint.

Then it was simply a case of marking fore and aft where the water line should be as defined in the Dumas drawings, jigging the model up on a flat surface so the marks were equidistant from it, and then using a pen taped to the epoxy bottle to draw the line between the marked bow and stern points.

The marker on each side of the stern.

Scribing the waterline.

Do they use the term ‘Plimsoll Line’ on boats of this size or is that just the big jobs?

I then airbrushed the lower hull with a dedicated primer and several coats of a nice copper paint that I have and it did look smashing. However, the stuff was quite slow to dry and soft too. In fact I ended up putting the model next to the radiator for 3 weeks to try and harden the stuff off, but it was having none of it.

Even after 3 weeks of baking, the paint just refused to harden, and when I left the model in its cradle overnight I was greeted with this the following in the morning.

Notice how nice the finish is either side of the mark though!

Again, bad words were said and I must confess the model put on the shelf for a month or so as after the epoxy debacle and now this I couldn’t face working on it for a while. Eventually I took a deep breath and commenced the filthy task of sanding all the copper coat off and getting the model back to the primer stage again.

I did consider having a second go with a different type of copper paint, but bailed out in the end and went with an ordinary red instead.

The paint finish just awaits the final overall clear gloss top coat now, but before I add that I need to apply the decals. The ones in the kit are printed on clear vinyl which is a bit too thick for me. I think it’ll be tough to hide them seamlessly behind the final top coats, so I’ll have to have a look at the costs of getting some custom ones made. I’ll also do some trials with the kit ones to see if they are easier to cover than I anticipate.

In the interim I have been making some of the fittings for the boat including the cutwater, rear fenders and exhaust.

These were made from brass sheet and tube I had to hand. They will need plating before fitting.

I’ve also been struggling with Dumas’ fittings provided with the kit. As I may have mentioned before, they aren’t really up to the standard I want and polishing them up to a reasonable finish is a long and arduous process when no power tools are involved. Dumas have plated the castings before they were polished, which means removing all of that too. I understand that Dumas will provide unplated castings, on an exchange basis, if you ask them though.

Bowlight before:

After:

Lifting eyes and engine bay handles:

One casting that I have really struggled with is the bow mooring point. I tried for quite some time to improve and polish what was offered, but during the process discovered some inclusions of slag in the casting that no amount of tinkering was going to fix. So in the end I used the Dumas part to create a mould in RTV-101 rubber  and then cast a replacement.

You can see the inclusions in the casting in this picture.

Now to drill out, file down and polish up the new item.

I’ve cast the new part in a lead free pewter which is usually used for jewellery as it has some added silver.

I may need to do something similar with the horn casting provided in the kit which is very poor. However, with that I may have to resort to making a new shape from scratch, which I don’t look forward to.

If anyone knows where I can buy high quality castings for this type of boat I’d be very grateful for the information. The closest I’ve found on the net is Wet Goose’s products, but they aren’t quite the right size, require plating and are also for a 1939 boat, not the 1940 one I’m building.

The other item I’ve been working on is the steering wheel (helm?) Again the basic casting is a little below par.

I’ve seen others on the net create wonderous items using lathes etc, but I am forced to do everything with hand tools. The basic rim and hub were OK, so I decided to just replace the spokes. I used 0.7mm nickel-silver rod for the spokes and some brass sheet for the fences. Drilling the rim and hub accurately by hand was not the simplest task I’ve ever done and alignment of some of the holes isn’t as good as I’d have liked.

On the real item there is also a lever attachment on the face of the hub. I’ll have a think about how I’m going to add that, if at all.

The improved version is definitely better than the original, but isn’t nearly as neat, even and accurate as I’d like.

 

So that brings things up to date on the boat thread. I’m now investigating new decals and awaiting the delivery of some two-pack clear polyurethane varnish for the top coats.