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Building a model of m.s Constance Bowater

By Shane Doyle

This is Shane Doyle. Shane lives in New South Wales in Australia and as it says in the picture "He loves building ships". Shane is currently building a model of the Constance Bowater and has agreed to send me pictures of her progress and an explanation of his building techniques as and when he gets time. Shane builds his models to a scale of 1/72 this will give the hull a length of about 59 inches, the finished ship will be fully radio controlled.

The plans that Shane is using are available from Marine Modeller magazine and were drawn by my late friend Fred Smith. I have also sent Shane a copy of the original general arrangments and rigging plan.

So here goes:

I traced and stenciled the ribs and keel from the drawing. I then transfered these to MDF(medium densified fibreboard) but plywood would do. Both the ribs and keel are assembled by use of a halving joints which makes the fit snug. The keel runs the entire lenght of the vessel to give you the hull shape. This may be trimmed later to fit engines and electronics.
The next stage in the build shows the ribs planked with balsa wood strips and roughly shaped. The the hull is then fibreglassed both inside and out which encases the balsa to give a strong and waterproof finish. Polyester fine filler can be used to cater for any lumps or bumps and then sanded to a great finish as shown.As can be seen in this photograph Shane has got the Anchor recesses just so. Well done so far Shane.
Another view of the completed hull, it gives you an idea of the scale when compared to the small table it`s sitting on..In the picture to the right it can be seen that some progress has been made, the deck has been fitted and painted. The rudder servo has also been fitted.
The hull has also been given a couple of coats of red oxide undercoat this helps to see any final imperfections in the hull before final spraying.As can be seen the Pleuger "Activ" rudder is in place. Excellent!.In the backround can be seen some of Shane`s other masterpieces. Great workshop Shane, I`m jealous!
Hatch No2 contains the radio reciever, digital speed controller and 12v switchboard.Motive power is supplied by a Pittman 30volt motor with a 12volt supply to it, this gives plenty of torque without any heat problems.Two universal joints are used to cut down any vibration and also an oiling tube which lubricates the shaft and prevents and water getting into the hull past the stuffing tube.
Work on the aft deckhouse has begun and as you can see plenty of attention to detail with the deck planking. The corking on the deck is simulated using a piece of old photographic film between each plank, initially it is proud of the plank but after sand it gives just the right effect. A long and sometimes boring procedure but well worth the effort.Shes really coming together now.Theres nothing better than getting the final coat of paint on the hull, this can make or break a model so a good quality airbrush is used. Sampson posts fitted and first stage of accomadation, also some deck fittings and railings. The decals were also a tricky job to complete with some very careful cutting required..
Fore and aft.Foc`sle showing anchor windlass and deck fittings. Note Bowater houseflag on bow.Aft view showing anchor windlass.
Aft deckhouse complete , hose box and vents with correct colour on inside of vents, midships accommodation coming along very nicely now.
A nice view of the ship so far, funnel detail is excellent, well done Shane.
.......This section is all about the hatch coamings. This has been the most difficult yet. but it must be right because it catches your eye everytime you look at the model. It is repetative but all the supports have to be exactly the same or you will not be happy with all the hard work. To get all the pieces exactly the same you need to make a couple of jigs. The pictures show firstly that you need to establish the height of the stantions then set up a drill so all holes are the same. The next step is to set up a mitre saw to cut the angles. Then all the pieces can be carefully glued in place checking that they are all straight. You can now airbrush and finally put in place on the model. The detailed finish is very satisfying. You will need to repeat the process for the second tier to house the McGregor hatch system.
Making the hatch covers was achieved by scoring the top with a stanley knife to simulate joins and lining up the hatch wedges. Making the winches and topping winches was achieved by filling various sizes of brass tubing with a hard filler then cutting to size as the pics show. They are then assebled on a brass spindle. The further pics show all pieces in place. More coming soon.
Deck is really starting to look busy now. Keep up the good work Shane.
The ship is finally finished and ready for her maiden voyage as can be seen above there is an officer on the bridge wind ready to give orders. The fine detail on this model is excellent
Shane evens excels himself with the construction of the display cabinet, there are small rollers at the bottom to make removal of the model easier and an air vent on the side for circulation.
Finally on her maiden voyage and doesn`t she look fantastic.Shane has really got her sitting on the waterline well she looks like she is ready to take her cargo of newsprint up the Seaway and Great Lakes.
Well done Shane, you really have captured the spirit of a Bowater vessel with you model. Thanks for all your efforts sending the photographs and information for the website.
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