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  1. After completing my scratch SS Servia a few months ago I thought I’d happily return to an aviation subject for my next project but unfortunately the nautical bug seems to have bitten quite hard so it looks like it will be another ship project after all ! Initially I was looking at building an early RN destroyer in 1/72 (HMS Jason caught my eye as did the Acorn and early tribal classes). Being based in SE London the obvious starting point was a trip to the Greenwich archives which I did in May. I could blather on about the visit for ages, suffice to say that unrolling sets of original plans from the late 19th century is a superb experience. Anyway a change in personal circumstances means that for the next year or so I will be based in Exmoor with a reduced workspace so something of that size wasn’t going to be feasible. I then stumbled across the Seaforth title on RN Trawlers and Drifters and finally decided on a Round Table class minesweeper (its on the cover). The book includes many sets of useful plans but they are quite small, Cornwall Models can supply sets of the MMI plans at 1/96th so that settled it. The finished model will be just over 1foot in length so a much better fit in my temporary mini workshop. The plan was to use primarily wood and metal in this project instead of plastic but again because of space and limited tools I opted for plastic. Step #1 was to cut out the hull cross sections and profile from 1.5mm plastic sheet. I don’t own a power fret saw so I opted to create each cross section as 2 halves clamping each pair together so that they can be sanded to be identical in shape. For the prow I made a brass insert to ensure a crisp line and filleted this into the profile. The shear lines in the plans do not extend aft of the propeller so all I had to go on for the shape of the stern section was a plan view and profile. I built the shape up with various addition cross sections that were sanded back until I had a shape that I was happy with. The sections between these were filled with balsa to provide a solid base for the plastic skin. Once this was done I made a simple jig to hold the spine straight whilst the planking is done. My approach on this is to use quite thin plastic sheet (0.5mm) and to then build up the hull from the inside with more plastic and resin. The smoothing process means that the original planking is almost completely sanded away in places. I used some auto filler to get a nice smooth finish and then set about the transom which extends all the way around the sides up to the fore deck. This is quite a fiddly job as it splays out at the stern rather than being vertical. I started by using printer paper taped in place to get a rough shape and then gradually refined this eventually moving to card and ultimately plastic sheet. The shape is too complex to do in a single piece so I made the stern section and then butt jointed the side sections to this. More auto filler, more sanding and this is where it stands currently. The next step will be the hull plating, the plans do not include a shell expansion but there is a set in the book for another class and I’ll use these to create something that is hopefully reasonably credible.
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