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I’ve been a long time “lurker” on this site and thought that it was about time I shared some of my own efforts. I started modelling when I was about 9 or 10 years old, I still remember buying an old Airfix Saab Draken from a jumble sale, rushing home to make and paint it (all done in an afternoon) and being delighted with the result. From there I worked through a large part of Airfix’s other offerings most of which ended up gathering dust hanging from my bedroom ceiling. AFVs followed although by then I was trying more for quality rather than quantity. Then it was back to aircraft, mainly US Navy stuff and I even managed a “highly commended” at a small model expo, being awarded the trophy by Miss Sutton Coldfield herself !! Anyway life then started getting a bit real and the whole hobby took a back seat although I still read magazines and bought kits but they just ended up languishing in my attic. Now 30+ years down the line, back in the UK and with more time on my hands I’ve been able to dust down the toolbox and get started again. I started looking at an old Airfix Mauretania but then found a load of old ship plans on Ebay, the Servia amongst them, and decided to try to scatchbuild something. Having not built anything for 30 years or so, never having scratchbuilt anything and having never built anything without wings or tracks I expected this to be more of an experiment that would ultimately end up on the shelf or in the bin. Although its been a bumpy road with every 2 steps forward usually followed by at least 1 back it does seem to be going a lot better than I expected and whilst I doubt I’ll be meeting Miss Sutton Coldfield again anytime soon thought it was about time to add the work to date to the site to both share my experience and hopefully get some pointers from the seasoned experts out there. My starting point was the Underhill plans that I picked up from Ebay, because of the age of the ship (1881) there are very few photos around and the only really decent one I could find was on Wiki and this seems to show the ship after a refit which dramatically altered the upper decks. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:RMS_Servia_Underway,_Detroit_Publishing_Company.jpg There is a 1/48 builders model apparently but this lives in Canada I think so no chance of seeing that close up. I therefore took the view that I’d follow the plans and use a best guess where they couldn’t help. https://www.diomedia.com/stock-photo-ss-servia-1881-image5522819.html Unfortunately because I’m playing catch-up there are not that many pictures from the early stages as I didn’t expect my approach to work but I will post what I have and fill in the gaps as best I can. I also tend to work in bursts so progress is slow, I’ve probably spent about 400 hours on her so far but this has been spread over 18 months or so. I’d also like to apologise in advance for my patchy knowledge of nautical terminology. Anyway enough blathering - on to the build itself….. The starting point was to use the plan to cut out the various cross sectional bulkheads from 2mm plasticard. A piece of mdf was then used to act as a base and the spine and placement of the various cross sectional pieces was carefully marked out. I used small fillets of wood to create clamps to hold these pieces in place at the correct position along the spine and perpendicular to it. One thing that I learnt quickly is that at this stage you need to be as precise as possible as misalignments will come back to haunt you later. I also used the plans to make plasticard spacers so that the cross sections could be positioned at the correct height from the base board to make laying the decks easier later and to give them the correct camber.
RMS Carpathia In 1912 Harold Thomas Cottam was the RMS Carpathia's wireless operator. Early in the morning of 15th of April, whilst Carpathia was Eastbound in the North Atlantic, he was about to retire to bed following a long but entirely routine shift. Instead of going to bed however, purely on an impulse, he decided to send a courtesy message to Titanic regarding some undelivered commercial messages that he intended to relay on his next shift. Instead of receiving a polite nod of thanks from Titanic - he received this... 'Come at once. We have struck a berg. It's a CQD OM.' CQD = 'All Stations - Distress!' Carpathia's Captain - Arthur Rostron - was immediately alerted and, despite the extraordinary improbability of the events that were unfolding, he quickly grasped the situation and realised that he was within range to help. He turned Carpathia toward the Titanic's last stated position and ran her at speeds exceeding the ship’s nominal maximum through hazardous waters known - self evidently - to contain dangerous icebergs. Carpathia arrived at the scene of the disaster approximately four hours later - just before sunrise. Heartbreakingly she was too late for the 1503 souls that died that night. She was however able to recover 705 survivors and following a harrowing journey deliver them safely to New York city. Of the several ships associated with the Titanic disaster Carpathia was really the only one with her reputation enhanced in any way. For this reason it is perhaps a little surprising that she is not modelled more frequently. After all she is the hero in the most famous episode in maritime history. Right now however, as some of you will know, I'm in the middle of scratch-building an Avro 504k in 1/32 scale and I'm greatly enjoying the challenge, Here's the WIP if you are interested. So why am I sitting here writing about Carpathia? Well, the Avro project is going well but is progressing very slowly and is about to enter, yet another difficult phase involving cockpits and struts and rigging and what-not... I was hoping to have the Avro ready for the Western Australian Model Expo in May 2019 but, frankly that's looking very unlikely. So I've decided to have a crack at a quicker build that, for the time being, will take priority - RMS Carpathia, Scratch built in 1/500 scale. Here's a book on the subject - just to prove I can read And here are the plans - enlarged from 1/1200 scale from John Bowen's excellent publication 'More Miniature Merchant Ships'. And here is the first cut in the entire project. And the wood selected for the hull - superb stuff this - maybe even as good as bass wood for carving... When doing fuselages and hulls and other symmetrical things I like to temporarily glue two even halves together at the start of the project. This creates a natural centre line to work from but I'm still be able to split the two halves apart later on if need be. For example when it comes to fitting the masts and other centreline accruements. If you follow the thread you'll see what I mean. I've decided to cut the sheer first. The sheer - nautical term that! It means the lovely curve along the top of the hull. I'm using a bench sander for this job as the thickness of the wood is just a whisker too great for my little bandsaw. Besides - belt sanders are fun! It leaves this effect. A nice even curve running the entire length of the hull and a smooth top surface onto which to stick... This! Note how the join in the wood allows us to get the plan's centreline dead in the middle of the job. And now we can cut this... (using a bandsaw of course) and use the bench sander to sand the correct rake on the stem of the ship's bow. Fire up the bandsaw again to start shaping the Carpathia's beautiful 'counter-stern' - which I fear is going to be one of the tricky bits in this build. A bench sander is essential for this kind of work - perhaps even as important as a bandsaw! After about two hours work we have this roughed out initial shape of the Carpathia's hull. Not a bad return on a minimal time investment I reckon. I'm going to try to complete this model quickly. I don't want to mess around too much. 2019 is shaping up to be a hectic year for me so on the brief occasions I'll get out into my 'factory' I'm aiming to get a fair bit done. This is a labour of love - but it's not going to be the work of a perfectionist! Hope to see all my old maritime mates back showing an interest in this one! Very Best Regards, Bandsaw Steve.
RMS Carpathia - 1/500 Scale - Scratchbuilt I present for your viewing pleasure my recently completed model of RMS Carpathia. She is depicted as she may have appeared on the night of the 15 April 1912, the night that she sped to the rescue of the beleaguered survivors of the Titanic disaster. The model is constructed from wood, brass, plastic-sheet and various other bits and pieces. It is completely scratchbuilt except for the lifeboats that are 3D printed. The WIP thread that tracks the process of the construction of the model and the sea-scape can be found here: I am quite pleased with the result - especially as the project took less than 4 months from start to finish. The model will be on display at next weekend's WASMEx scale model exhibition at Cannington community hall in Perth Western Australia. Thanks to everyone in the Britmodeller community for showing interest in this project. All comments, criticisms and queries most welcome. Best Regards, Bandsaw Steve
For those who hadn't heard, Cunards 3 Queens will all be in Liverpool on Monday 25th for the 175th anniversay. Weather is looking OK if unfortunately not great. Hopefully some decent photo opportunities in the madding crowds! http://www.visitliverpool.com/onemagnificentcity