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1:48 scale Fairmile B

Steve D

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I'm new to this forum and to sharing my build process on-line, hopefully what I'm doing is of interest.


As background, I've been (mostly) a ship modeller for over 20 years, in between other projects.  I am a scratch builder.  Wherever possible, I make every part, meaning the projects take a long time each.  Over the years I've finished 8 projects, which doesn't sound a lot, but the longest took me 4 years and ~3,000 hours, so fitting this in with a full time job that takes me abroad a lot is tough.  I build mostly in wood and brass/copper, rarely plastic.  In general I try to follow full scale practice, it the full scale item was metal, I model it in metal, if wood, then wood.  My scale of choice is 1-48th, following ship-builder's model practice though I've also build models in other scales, see below.  I produce drawings to scale from the many books I've acquired over the years and build from my own drawings.  I have exhibited a 4 models and the old International Model Engineering Exhibition (is it still going?) and each time been fortunate to be awarded medals.  I've also written a build article for Model Shipwright (20 odd years ago).


The scratch scale models I've completed (in date order) are:


  1. Gun-boat Amarpa built by Thorneycroft for the Brazilian navy around 1905, 1/24th scale - Silver
  2. HMS Medea - M class destroyer 1915, 1/48th scale - Gold.  My grandfather was an engineering petty officer on Medea, modelled just before Jutland in black overall
  3. Darby Hydroplane - post-war, working model, 1/6th scale
  4. Saunders-roe flying boat launch - 1/12th scale.  This was the launch that took passengers out to the flying boats in the Solent between the wars - Silver
  5. 40 ft CMB WW1  - 1/48th scale
  6. Admiral's Launch WW1 - 1/48th scale
  7. Turbinia 1894 - 1/48th scale - Bronze
  8. WW1 ML210 - 1915 - 1/48th scale  


So, that's me, the sum of many mistakes, re-tries, impatience, and determination.  I simply love ship models, as long as there are not too many knots.


This thread is about a Fairmile B (#188), see https://laststandonzombieisland.com/2016/11/01/want-a-rn-coastal-forces-ml-from-wwii/motor-launch-ml-188-dazzle-painted-and-on-patrol-duty-in-fleet-anchorage/ that I started over a year ago and is now heading towards final making and assembly of parts and painting.  Again, at 1/48th scale, intended as a companion model to the WW1 ML, really to show the evolution of the class and purpose from one war to the next. 


I chose this particular vessel because I like the dazzle scheme and the picture is very clear so the equipment fit is relatively certain, 3pdr forward, Holman projector amidships, Y gun and Rolls-Royce 2pdr aft and 6 depth-charges down each side.  The challenge for me with this model is painting.  I don't get much practice painting and so I'm not very good at it.  I hope on this model to change that.  The model is based on the coastal forces books and Lambert's plans, re-drawn to 1/48th, these are listed on another Fairmile B thread here so no need to repeat


Once I work out how to load pictures, I'll post some images, but I don't have that many to date.  I will try to take more if there is interest in my little project





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Hi Steve


I'm responsible for the other Fairmile B thread here!

If I can help with colours - please let me know -

This is my first "Scratchish" build - I know what you mean about time!!

ML 188 is a cracking boat - great camo scheme - looking forwards to seeing the pics - compared to  my 1/72 , it's going to be huge:blink2:


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Hey everyone... I just gave @Steve D his first ever Britmodeller ‘like’ 👍


Let me summarise whats happening here:


- This dude is Scratcbuilding

- Coastal Forces

- 1/48  Scale

- His name is Steve


So liking this dude is MANDATORY. 


Follow suit people get ‘liking’ this guy!


Welcome to the Forum Steve. ✌️The more scratchbuilding Steve’s here the better. 😎




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Hello and welcome to the strangest but friendlyist place on earth yes we even have the odd green one drop in from time to time 👽

looking forward to seeing your work on display 👍🏻



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Thanks for the nice greetings, now I feel really bad that I didn't take many pictures early on.  I had not intended to post the build, sorry.  I'll do better from now on 


To start, let me explain how I build small hulls.  I redraw the stations with the structure that keeps everything straight, print them and cut them in ply (3 mm in this case). Then I fill the gaps between the stations with balsa.  For this model it was simple as the gaps were exactly 25mm, saved a lot of time.  At this stage it looks a total mess.  I then sand it back to the ply and varnish to harden it.  The deck ply is part of the frame before the balsa is inserted.


So, here it is after priming with the basic deck houses fitted.  Priming is essential to see faults in the basic hull clearly.  The grey wheelhouse is removable as I will fit the interior before finalising.  The forward gun platform was a mistake, one of the many, now removed and replaced with the correct structure as you will see later.  The rear gun platform is just a mock-up to get a feel for things, now replaced with a complex brass bandstand.  The first few diagonal strips have been installed 





For this model, I then diagonal planked both the hull and the deck in 4mm x .5mm strips, the pictures shows one side completed, it took a long time....  Then that was varnished and sanded and filled before painting.  The effect I'm struggling to achieve is subtle.  When you look at the boat, in particular along the side, the lines of the planking should just be discernible, very faint.  Before you dive in and say 4mm (~7.6" scale) is too wide, I know.  I think the planking was 6", but 3mm strips end up too uneven and rough, scale is a challenge always.  You can see the armoured bow in brass, this is also wrong, it should be sharp not flat.  I realised this much later when i found a picture on one on the slip.  I debated changing it, but I'm really too far in now, so I'll have to live with the error :(





The tram in the background would be another thread.  A year in, I decided the quality was not good enough and so stopped the build, sigh....  Back to boats..


Still the diagonal wood looked nice, shame to paint it.





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Oh! A tram model! That always gets my attention; my dad and his dodgey mate @Barry Marchant have built dozens of them at 1/32 scale. From the little I can see in this photo yours looks great! 


I’m also very interested to note that you produce your own drawings. This is a skill I really want to develop so any tips or comments on how you work will be of great interest to me (and I doubt I’m alone).


keep posting!





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A lifetime and 3 careers ago I trained as a draughtsman, I'm never happier that when I'm drawing.  Part of the fun of this hobby lies in the research, re-scaling, re-drawing and then working out how on earth to built each piece.  For this model I've also strayed into manufacturing as a service, kind of cheating but my fingers are not as nimble as they used to be so I thought I'd give it a go.  The results are amazing, but I'm getting ahead of myself on the build, more on that subject later.


I'll also post some of my drawings later.


Meanwhile, to show I can finish things, here is the WW1 ML that will be the companion model to the Fairmile








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Thanks for the nice comments, all I see are the things wrong with it.  The scale is 1:48, 1/4 to 1ft, so about 21 inches long


The only drawing I had was from a book, plus a lot of pictures


ml layout scan


Couple more pictures








I bought the propellers, made everything else

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OK, this is where it stands today





What you can just see in these pictures are the mine fixings in brass.  These are part of my custom etching set drawn for this model and etched by 4D ltd in 0.020 brass.  4D can do relief etching meaning that they can etch half depth from and back, normally back for fold lines and from for relief such as rivet detail


The plan picture shows the 3pdr platform etched and reinforced on the underside with 0.5mm ply



Also in view is the inside of the wheel-house in need of finishing.  The deck painting still needs further coats and cleaning up.  The hull dazzle pattern (2nd attempt) is now looking OK and is waiting for the custom transfers before I can complete it and apply a matt cote


As ever I'm in the middle of many jobs.  I admire modellers who work in a straight line, I tend to break the process up, partly assembly of components, part testing painting etc meaning that at this stage it all looks a bit of a mess, as does the workshop.  Both will clean-up in time


I'm in two minds about finish on this model, but my thoughts are to attempt the sort of tired and slight distressed look that most pictures show.  Weathering is not a strong suite of mine, but you only improve by trying.


The wheelhouse is still removable but has now got most of its detail (wheel not mounted in this picture)




Flag lockers mounted and paint in various testing stages, etched window frames installed




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On 31/01/2019 at 16:16, longshanks said:

Hi Steve

Welcome to the forum, we'll always make room for anyone interested in Coastal Forces . . .


Looking forward to seeing more pics of your work



Hi Longshanks

As someone with an eye to coastal forces, do you (or anyone else) have any idea what colour the inside walls of the outside enclosure to the wheelhouse would be given the dazzle scheme I'm attempting.  My thoughts were the light grey 507c as it would be dark there at night and they'd need all the help they could get without switching lights on but please correct me



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Wow - I'm loving this - great paint job on the hull B)

The 3 pounder etch gun platform looks superb as does the wheelhouse

I wish I'd raised my wheelhouse floor - it's not always clear and pics are few and far between but I think it is significantly raised from the coach top median.

Really like those voice pipes and I agree with Kev re light Grey as a colour though if you have Lambert's "Allied Coastal Forces" ML 173's bridge on p35 is likely 507A

The IWM images that appear in my blog for a 1944 ML show unequivocal 507C/G45

Impressive :clap2:


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1 hour ago, longshanks said:

Your paint scheme certainly dazzled me 😉  Looks good though 


My thoughts for an enclose cockpit (MTB style) would be white. The wings/open cockpit, I'm with you a light grey



Thanks, glad to have it confirmed

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As I catch up on what has been a year's work so far, I thought I'd post some components I've been working on.  As I said, I do a lot of work in brass, as below the RR 2pdr before painting


This is all made up from turned shapes and filed sections, no etching used though I have an etching for the sight now that I'm going to try to attach, it is tiny!  Hopefully not too small to solder to a mounting wire 


The gun is built up from almost 50 individual pieces silver soldered into sub-assembilies which are then soft soldered together


Its a little rough in these pictures, will look better once painted

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