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I have to admit, plastic kits are convenient and an interesting opportunity for r/c conversion

As a scratch-builder, I’m not sure about all this plastic stuff ……. but it looks like Joe’s really in the groove and working on r/c power conversions. Starting at the end of January, he’s now well into construction of a Dumas 1:350 scale model of the Akula, a Russian nuclear attack submarine. He’s planning to keep it as a dynamic dive model and using an old Futaba 4 Ch Tx (which he already has). With a length of 33 inches, it should be good for pool use and at the pond. No doubt there will be considerable interest to see how well it performs. I hope Joe had a good look at some of the R/C forum comments about this build, particularly how best to cut out and prep the vacuum formed half-hulls. One second time around builder managed to reduce his time to about one hour …….. how long did it take you, Joe?

Not content with a sub, Joe’s also well advanced in building a 1:400 scale model of the French aircraft carrier Foch. At a little more than 2 ft long, this will be convenient to carry around but decidedly more demanding to construct as a working r/c model. He’s made a false keel to allow ballasting at sufficient depth below the waterline to maintain stability. This popular model has been “reboxed” several times, so one would assume it’s had all the “wrinkles” ironed out by now but as Joe indicated, the instructions are “very basic” and the model details are often “rough”. Up until now he’s been reluctant to apply the decals, especially since he admits a lack of confidence working with them. Steel yourself Joe and get comfortable before you start. Enjoy a well earned “jar” when the deed is done.

I don’t know how far Joe has got with his build of a 1:350 scale battleship, Prince of Wales. I know he’s planning a similar conversion to r/c for the model, which will also be about the same size as the aircraft carrier. Topside details are yet to be finished and he’s adding a servo to rotate fore and aft gun turrets; a nice touch but “space-demanding” in a hull of this size. Apart from a few mistakes with the conversion to power (prop shaft support struts got bent the wrong way and had to be repaired), inside the hull, things seem to be working out quite well.

Oh yes, I nearly forgot ……… Joe built a galleon too; so now comes the fun “where to put everything”; I think we’d better ask Bob how he’s managing space requirements (see previous blog)!

John McK sent word that he was going to start work on Kathleen; drawing from his recent comments, John McK says that over the years he has built a number of boats out of cardboard and paper. Cardboard for the frame and business cards for the skin (cheap and easy). The intent has been to make a quick build, something that dads and kids could do or just the older kids on their own, after visiting some of our displays ….… . The models have usually been made from Glynn Guest designs …… fairly small (pool sized) and pretty much slab-sided, like a Clyde Puffer.

However, as an escape from Covid, he allowed himself to dream a bit, to build something more substantial, more complex and more of a challenge, and big enough for the pond. In real life, He has always fancied a nice 30 foot motor sailer, something like the famous double-ended Colin Archer designs. Some time ago he saw the Pottinger plans for Kathleen, a lovely double ender with a lapstrake hull……. so, as he said “here goes”, at 1/12 scale she would be 2 1/2 ft long.

Alas, enthusiasm and reality don’t always match, and John has taken a step back to rethink the use of cardboard in this model build. Since his failure to get the paper built motor sailer to come out as he wanted, the work has been put away in a corner to allow further and more thoughtful consideration about how to proceed. In the meanwhile, He has decided to build another Clyde Puffer in cardboard, but at a larger scale that looks good and handles well on the pond. He’s redrawing the simple plans to a 1:24 scale (resulting in a model of 33 inches LOA). It will be easier than the motor sailer because the slab-sided hull is very largely without the problems of compound curves.. Paint and varnish twas used o waterproof the small Puffer but it was only in the water for short periods. Now, however, the larger hull will need to be far stronger and more waterproof so John plans to cover the cardboard hull with epoxy and fibreglass. Sounds straight forward but likely the considerable increase in size will add it’s own complications particularly with respect to material strength and the flexibility of the slab-sides. Good luck John.

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