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1/170 SS Ophir Steam Coaster

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Hello all!

I have just finished a scratch build of a steam coaster which I did for the Made In Britain Group Build here on BM, and thought you might like a look. This was my first 'proper' scratch build of a ship, I had done one some time ago but it was a plastic version of a paper model. This one I had to work out myself, and largely succeeded, but I am aware of a number of mistakes, misinterpretations and areas I could improve. I still need to give her the name plates, and pop her on a sea base.

There is a build thread: http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234994334-ss-ophir-steam-coaster-finished/











I make no bones about who inspired this project, and that was fellow BM'er ShipbuilderMN whose Merchant Marine models were such a factor in me choosing this ship to do. I also had tons of help during the project, (Longshanks, Murdo, Lashenden amongst them) and plenty of encouragement. Thanks to everyone who chipped in!

This was one of my most pleasurable builds I have ever had.

Thanks for looking,


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Very nice indeed, she is a beautiful model. I know what you mean about Mr 'ShipbuilderMN'. He is a bit of a tinker as he has me looking at plans to do some scratchbuilding as well!

Thanks for showing


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  • 10 months later...

Hello all!


It has taken some time, but I finally finished up my model of the SS Ophir. I added some extra detailing - I added an inverted V of rigging on the front loading boom (as suggested by BM'er Murdo in the build thread) and some tyres to act as anti-rubbing over the sides, along with some rudimentary weathering to make her look a bit grubbier, although I did keep it understated somewhat. The nameplates were printed in 9 point size with the nearest font I could find (Ariel I think) onto white paper with a black surround (a story in itself considering my lack of skill with computers). A black Sharpie took care of the white paper when I cut them out. Next time I will try decal paper.


The next issue was how to display her on a watery base. I had build ships and put them in ocean settings, but was a bit fed up with bluey grey water. Ophir sailed out of Liverpool for nearly 50 years, so I googled 'Ships on the Mersey Estuary' for inspiration, and found a photo of a Mersey Ferry, the MV Snowdrop, on an incredibly brown water.



So that gave me an idea, and I ended up with this:
















The base was MDF, I epoxy'd the ship to it after finding that in the time since I originally 'finished' it and finally finishing it, that Ophir had bowed a bit, and was slightly curving upwards towards the bow. That is one of the reasons she has such a bow wave and wake. I do not think she would have gone quite so quickly in real life. The 'water' was textured card, with normal polyfiller making up the wake and agitated water, then non-sanding polyfiller to make the froth and foam along the hull sides, and the splashy bit at the bow.


Well, that is it, and I am happy with how she turned out. Now I want to build the MV Snowdrop just for that colour scheme in the link!


Thanks for looking,



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Superb build Ray!  I followed the WIP with great interest and having seen the success of this and the horribly brilliant post of his models by ShipbuilderMN (aka Bob) I finally decided to try my own scratchbuilt model. I've taken pics throughout the build so I think it's time to embarrass myself and start a thread showing it.


Your build has been an inspiration to me! Well done mate!

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On 3/16/2017 at 10:01 PM, Murdo said:

 I finally decided to try my own scratchbuilt model. I've taken pics throughout the build so I think it's time to embarrass myself and start a thread showing it.


Your build has been an inspiration to me! Well done mate!


Murdo, I would love to see that!


I am thinking of doing another ship soon, the Knight Templar - built on the Clyde in 1872, she sank in 1873. I have plans in one of my books so it may well appear here soon, and I can see if I learnt from Ophir!


Thanks for all the comments from everyone!





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