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by Charles Darley

General Introduction

In May of 2000 I saw the MV Scot Ranger sail up the River Medway. I have been looking for a ship to build as a large model. During a period of 100 days, 43 days were actually used in the building of the model which as launch on 20th November 2000.

The MV Scot Ranger is about 89 meters overall long which when scaled to 1/31 gives a model craft size of about 9'6" or 2.9m, just what I was looking for.

The MV Scot Ranger is one of a fleet of ships owned by Scotline

The photo above was taken by me when MV Scot Ranger was on the River Medway in early May 2000. This is a composite picture taken from video as the ship passed by in the gathering gloom of a damp evening.

When scratch building from ships plans they do not come with a ready made set of instruction as to how to proceed and build the craft.

Whilst an overall concept of the construction was been considered between (May and August 2000), it is only when each individual aspect of the part of the construction which is in hand has been thought out, is a decision made as to how the fabrication will proceed in detail.

Thus the construction of the model proceeded in small stages, especially as I did not have free time to work for more than about 1 hour at a time, in the evenings but weekends sometimes had 6-7 hours work on the craft. These timings does allow the glue to set before continuing with the next part!!!!

The Proposed Model

Disadvantages of a large model.

  1. Weight - It is expected that the craft will be about 200lbs or 100 kilos when complete.
  2. Its overall Length - This could make problems with fitting it into a car for transportation - it will have to be made in two sections and connected together when at the waters edge.
  3. Electric motor - The craft will need about a 1/4 hp motor driving a 3" propeller
  4. Battery - A car size battery will be needed to given a duration of say 2 hours minimum.
  5. Electronics - All systems will need to be beefed up to control the craft. Heavy Duty Servos for the rudder, Improved Electronic speed controller to handle 30amps at 12 volts, fail safe system on the motor control to shut the motor down in the event of loss of signal.

Advantages of a large craft

  1. A crowd puller - I built a large craft for the model club to which I belong and at Navy Days 2000 held in the World Naval Base Chatham, much interest was shown in an 8 foot cargo vessel.
  2. There is lots of space inside the craft - There will be the potential to have operating hatches model upon those of the actual ship, lots of space for the batteries and other electronics and electric motors.
  3. Construction - Unlike smaller models the construction of the hull is not down to the 1/64" but, for the most part, to say 1/8", but there is plenty of scope for detail, including the interior of the Bridge.

Materials used in the construction of the model

Where ever possible timber and ply has been reclaimed materials. Had this not been the case the cost of building such a vessel from all new material would probably be in the region of £200 as at prices August 2000 in the UK.

Materials for such items as the propeller shaft were purchased new but the phosphor bronze for the bushes and the brass sheet for the propeller came from stocks in the scrap box of my workshop.

Space to build the model.

My existing work bench, made from Dexion, is about 6 feet long so this has been extend, by the use of more Dexion, by about another 6 feet and now nearly stretches right across my double garage. Dexion if a very useful material for use in the work shop as when the project is complete the extension to the work bench can be readily removed.

Power and Hand tool used.

My work shop is well equipped for metal working, including a lathe and milling machine together with a metal band saw. For wood working I have many hand tool, clamps and a wood turning lathe together with the more usual electric drill and electric planer.

To take on a project, such as this, without good well stocked workshop would have lengthen the time scale considerably, as some parts would have had to be me by friends who had suitable equipment.

Electronic which will be onboard

In addition to the usual electric motor to power the main propeller shaft there will be a bow thruster to make maneuvering easier and to keep in line with the actual equipment on the ship.

The craft will be radio controlled via a 4 channel radio control system. The speed controller for the propulsion and the bow thruster electric motors will be made to a design that has been well tested for the use in model racing cars 1/10th scale, which I together with two other friends have been developing for for about 2 years.

Further control of electric motors used to open and close the deck hatches will be required and therefore two further speed controller will be necessary.

The craft will be powered by a 12v car battery, jelly type, with independent battery supply, again jelly type, for the motor control and steering system and radio control receiver.

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