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While I continue my research and drawings on the SGB I'm about to build, I thought I'd share some information on Turbinia, a model I completed ~6 years ago and entered into the 2014 Model Engineering Exhibition where it won a bronze metal and a cup for the best dispplayed ship model

 

Below are the complete judging notes I prepared for the show:

 

Ship details

Turbinia was built by Charles Parsons in 1894 as a demonstration steam yacht to prove the feasibility of using stream turbines to power ships.  When she was launched, she was the fastest vessel ever built, eventually achieving almost 35 knots, an amazing speed for a vessel only 100 feet long.

Most famously, she gate crashed the 1897 Spithead review where the entire home fleet was drawn up for the Queen’s inspection.  Sailing between the lines of battleships, she comfortably outpaced the torpedo boat chasers used as guard ships. 

I believe that from that point on, all new British warships were fitted with turbines, the propulsion unit that paved the way for the Dreadnought revolution.

Her statistics are:

  • Length:      103’ 9”
  • Beam:         9’
  • Draught:    3’

 

Turbinia is preserved today in a museum in Newcastle.  The model shows the yacht after a funnel rebuild as she was around 1900, generally as she is preserved.

 

9532494404_2befa10b88_k

 

Sources

The model was built using three plans:

 

  • A John Haynes plan @ 1:48 scale: contains a number inaccuracies on the lines and the deck-house locations but useful for some details
  • A model Shipwright plan set by Charles Sells @ 1:24 scale: much better, the lines are based on this plan
  • A small plan reproduced in a booklet produced by Ken Smith in 1996, reproduced below, seems to be from original drawings and so taken as very accurate, albeit small
  • Many current photographs of the preserved ship in the Newcastle museum and various contemporary pictures found on-line

 

As with all plan sets drawn by others, once you get into the detail, discrepancies arise.  However, the basics start with the frame centres.  In Turbinia is was simple to work out that the frames are at 18 inch centres.  The enables the deck houses to be positioned exactly as their ends have to rest on frames.  It also positions the stanchions (also on frames) and a good guess at the longitudinal breaks in the shell plating.  After a lot of thought, as no shell expansion drawing was available, it was decided to use 5 plates at the mid-ships point, giving a maximum plate width just less that 4’.  As the keel strake has to be an inner, the bilge strake is an outer and the sheer strake an inner again.  This seems to agree with the pictures of her in dry dock following a collision that nearly sunk her.  I’m guessing that rivet lines are weaknesses and flush riveting expensive so minimising rivet lines makes sense.  The shell plates all meet between frames (often forgotten that they cannot be joined on a frame line) and no two joins are in the same frame space.  It may not be exactly as she was built, but it makes sense to construct it in the way.  The bilge strake runs smoothly into the top of the flared stern, this can be seen clearly on one of the dry dock pictures.

The deck plating is interesting.  Three strakes were used as can be seen from the pictures, with a mixture of flush and raised riveting.  I’ve followed this pattern from the photographs.  The raised riveting makes sense where the jolly boat is as it provides more purchase when handling the boat.  I’m not sure why they went to the trouble of flush rivets elsewhere though.

GA 001

 

Hull construction

The basic hull is solid wood constructed around 1/16” ply frames as shown in the drawing below:

 

Turbinia Frames 3d

The frames were drawn on a CAD package with keel slots, printed and stuck to ply with spray mount before cutting out.  The keel, also from 1/16” ply was held straight with 2 x ¼” timber sections.  After this was sanded to the downward curve of the rear deck, the whole frame was locked together with a flat deck plate from 1/32” ply.  The forward deck house was originally designed to be visible and so this section of the hull was planked.  In the event, so little could be seen through the desk house windows that extra interior detail here as omitted.

Obeche blocks were cut to slide between the frames, glued and then sanded back to the ply frames.  This made a very strong and straight hull with the fine stern deck slope correctly featured.  The hull was then painted in a clear liquid epoxy to harden it, allowing for further shape refinement and to act as a firm base for the Aluminium hull plating.

The cambered deck was added as a superimposed additional 1/32” ply section on top of a central strip of wood sanded fore and aft to simulate the complex compound curve of the deck.  The superimposed deck section contained cut-outs for the funnel and deck houses, allowing them to have flat bases.

The three propeller shaft tubes (in brass) were set into the frames before the blocks were added.

The hull plating lines were marked out on the hull, with the plate butt lines marked to ensure stagger.  Each plate was then cut from Aluminium sheet (4 thou for inner strakes, 8 thou for outer) and bonded to the hull with contact adhesive. With the exception of the stern, all plates are single curvature.  The stern plates were heated and beaten to shape.

The deck plates were similarly marked and cut out, however, on the deck, the frame lines had been drawn so that the rivet detail could be worked out where non-flush riveting is used. The rivets here are made with a wheel from the back of the plate, again remembering that deck plates do not join on frame lines.

Deck houses and fittings

The deck houses are made in wood and then plated in Aluminium with rivet detail marked out on the reverse as with the deck plating.

The wheel house is made from sheet Copper over a wooden buck, silver-soldered as are the wheel house sliding doors.  The funnel is made from sheet brass (for strength) and mounted on a wooden Aluminium lined buck.  I included the two smoke stacks inside the funnel casing, the boiler is double ended and I assumed two stacks were used.

The fittings are built up from custom etched parts (produced by 4D Model Suppliers) from my artwork (shown below)

etching

This contains:

  • Deckhouse rivet flanges & rivet strips
  •  Steering quadrant pieces
  • Window frames (2 parts each)
  •  Stanchion bases
  • Hatches
  • Deck lights
  • Coal scuttles
  • Wheelhouse portholes
  • Propeller blades

The 9 left and right hand propellers are a key feature on the vessel.  They were made by turning the hubs in brass and then silver-soldering the blades on in a jig.  The outer circle holds the blades, which have been turned through 45 deg, for soldering.  After which it is cut away.

The window frames were soldered together over an Aluminium jig which held them centred.  The Perspex glazing was then snapped in.

Using relief etching provides the opportunity for including all rivet detail, quite distinctive on some of the hatches and of course the deck-house flanges.  The sheet illustrated was etched in 22 thou brass and produced ~300 pieces from an A5 sheet.  The colour code means; Red is half etch from face and; Cyan is half etch from rear.

The 10’ ships boat was made with tissue paper and dilute PVA over a wooden buck containing the planking lines.  This was then lined on the outside in card when dry and then fitted out in the normal manner.

The mast and flag yard are scratch made in brass as are the other minor fittings.

I’ve fitted her with an Admiralty pattern anchor, not the Hall’s anchor she has today.  This type of anchor is shown on some contemporary photographs and looked interesting to me.  I’m guessing she could have carried either.

Studying the photographs, the life rings were stored on the outside of the handrails, which seems unusual practice, but is probably due to the limited width on deck.

 

Colours and display

The colours follow the pattern of the preserved vessel with the exception of the hull below the water line.  This has now been painted black, but contemporary references talk about dark green.  Early models also show the hull in green and this colour was used on the vessel before it was moved to Newcastle.

modelships_32

This illustration shows a model from the Science Museum.  The hull is dark green below the water-line (which is set too low on this model, see contemporary pictures showing a much higher water line).  I decided to use this colour for the model, there is plenty of evidence of a green hull and it lifts the model as it would have the actual vessel.

Turbinia_-_Wallsend

The name on her side was a custom water slide made based on a drawing of the ship as preserved.

Display is always a difficult problem.  For this model, I decided to display it in a simulated dry dock to set it off and add scale to the model.  Turbinia is a strange model to scale in your mind as there are no natural scale clues that really help.  Adding the dry dock and the figure touching up the paint anchors the scale well.  I took some hints from pictures of her in dry dock after a collision but the actual dry dock is not a true model, more a complex stand.  She is shown finished and ready to re-float with all her paintwork bright, though age on the deck houses show she is not new.  The bright paintwork is set-off by the dull grey dock.  No flags are flown as she is not yet floating.

The next post shows the completed model

 

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Pictures

DSCN1561

 

The bow has a very fine entry

 

DSCN1562

 

DSCN1565

 

DSCN1566

 

Man touching up the paint on the stern, adds scale

 

DSCN1563

 

Close-up of the deck at the stern showing the rivet detail and the steering quadrant

 

DSCN1569

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Wow! That's fantastic work! :worthy:

 

I've been scouring the interwebs for a couple of months looking for information. I have the John Haynes plans. I didn't find any plans for Turbinia on the Model Shipwright web site; were the plans in their quarterly? If so, which issue?

Is that photo etch sheet available for purchase?

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That is quality  model engineering Steve,she is indeed in the science museum in Newcastle I've seen her a good few times over

the years since she was exhibited in the original museum in the city's park,great to see her in model form here.

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6 minutes ago, dnl42 said:

Wow! That's fantastic work! :worthy:

 

I've been scouring the interwebs for a couple of months looking for information. I have the John Haynes plans. I didn't find any plans for Turbinia on the Model Shipwright web site; were the plans in their quarterly? If so, which issue?

Is that photo etch sheet available for purchase?

Thanks for the nice comments, I actually love this model because it is so clean, there is no-where to hide.  The John Haynes plans are not great they contain some errors, be careful.  I don't seem to have the Model Shipwright plan scanned on this PC so I'll have to look through my plans draw.  I can send you the frames drawing and the etching drawing that $d use to make the etching and they will make one for you, don't think they keep the photo-tool for 5 years but I can ask them, that will save you money.  Let me know where to send the files if you want them, happy to share

 

Also check out flickr, someone has photographed the whole boat in close-up, excellent source, I have those pictures if you need them

 

Stvee

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I briefly thought that the first pic was your model, some engineering task that was :doh:.

Anyways, beautiful model and a gong too, well done.

 

Stuart

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I agree, Turbinia is quite a striking vessel due to its singular mission--to demonstrate the superiority of the steam turbine. I believe I found the Flickr site with the photos of the vessel in Newcastle.

 

I'll PM my email address. Can you identify the specific Model Shipwright issue? Perhaps I can source a copy.  subscribed for a few years, but those plans are not among the issues I have.

 

Thank you so very much!

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2 minutes ago, dnl42 said:

I agree, Turbinia is quite a striking vessel due to its singular mission--to demonstrate the superiority of the steam turbine. I believe I found the Flickr site with the photos of the vessel in Newcastle.

 

I'll PM my email address. Can you identify the specific Model Shipwright issue? Perhaps I can source a copy.  subscribed for a few years, but those plans are not among the issues I have.

 

Thank you so very much!

I've found the etching frame (the bit that's left when I've taken all the pieces out.  It has the 4d ref on it, I will ask them if they still have it

 

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I'm not into floaty things, but wow that's beautiful!

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5 hours ago, JohnWS said:

Another beauty, Steve.

 

John  

Thanks John

 

The real challenge on this boat is the hull and deck.  It is so fine, the deck slopes to the rear (like a slipper launch), and that concave stern is tricky.  Giving it a flat deck with a finish deck added later across a central beam enabled me to get the compound curve reasonably accurate.  It's a shame i didn't take any build pictures, at one point the whole hull and deck were shiny aluminium, seemed a shame to paint it. The SGB will be build the same with Aluminium plating over wood so you'll see what I mean. 

 

I was very excited to get three drawing from the Maritime Museum plans and photos service this week that I've been studying, will start that thread soon.  One is the shell expansion drawing which contains secrets not shown in any other drawings I've got...

 

Steve

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2 hours ago, Steve D said:

The real challenge on this boat is the hull and deck. ...

 

I was very excited to get three drawing from the Maritime Museum plans and photos service this week that I've been studying, will start that thread soon.  ...

Thanks for the background info about the build Steve.  I'm in awe of your metal working skills.

 

Looking forward to following your SGB build.

 

John

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Unusual, and very nicely done.

Cheers

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On 15/12/2019 at 23:54, Murdo said:

Another cracker!!!

 

:mike:

You have to show me how you did that emoji thing...

 

Thanks, I sincerely appreciate all your comments

 

Steve

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Tis easy mate; reply to a post, click on the "face" icon, select a category and pick what you want.

 

 

 

nZYsCix.jpg

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Every now and then I come across a model that makes me smile and this has had me grinning broadly as I read this thread.

 

What a smashing build. 😀👍

 

Dave

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10 hours ago, davecov said:

Every now and then I come across a model that makes me smile and this has had me grinning broadly as I read this thread.

 

What a smashing build. 😀👍

 

Dave

Many thanks Dave, I'm glad it made you smile.  Of the models I'm made, this one gives me the most pleasure to see every day

 

Steve

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That looks utterly compelling Steve. 👏

If you ever come to Ireland and have the chance to visit Birr Castle it's the home of the Parsons family and has a great museum covering the engineering (including of course Turbinia) as well, as astronomical associations they had.

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10 hours ago, TheBaron said:

That looks utterly compelling Steve. 👏

If you ever come to Ireland and have the chance to visit Birr Castle it's the home of the Parsons family and has a great museum covering the engineering (including of course Turbinia) as well, as astronomical associations they had.

Thanks, I didn't know about Birr Castle but I have seen the telescope mentioned on TV, I'll add it to the list.

 

I believe this is the man himself standing on board by the steam value that was the only speed control, it must have been one heck of a ride...  I read that they took it to France for an exhibition and the channel crossing nearly finished them off, it was no sea boat...

 

Parsonsengcab1blog1

 

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Absolutely stunning build.  Though Turbinia herself is impressive, I especially like the cutaway dry dock display.  What a great way to show off a model.

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