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SS Xantho, Western Australia's First Steamship - Scratchbuild - 1:72


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Considering what reference material is available, you're doing a fantastic job so far...I wouldn't have a clue on where to start.

I read on BM a little while ago about 'paralysis due to analysis' which echos Johns words ‘Don’t get caught up in sweating too many unknown details or the model may never be built.’ To that end, I think your approach on concentrating on the hull first is a sound and I'm finding your process fascinating to watch.

 

Stuart

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Gidday Steve, I've been wondering how you're going with this. I understand you not wanting to spend more time at the computer in the evenings after spending all day there. As a school cleaner my situation is a little different from yours. In the evening I sit down at the computer, and some time later I wake up! Needless to say I'm not getting a lot of modeling done during the week.

    I like the plans you've drawn up. I must stress here that I know almost nothing about ship design of that era. I do have some simple drawings similar to yours of some schooners. They seem to indicate the height of the gunwales is consistent the full length of the vessel, unlike your last sentence in point 2. However they also show that the flare of the gunwales follows the flare of the hull below them, except at the stern, and this seems to be consistent with your point 4, although the flare of these drawings at the bow is a bit less than your vessel.

     Back to your last sentence of point 2, I would have thought the gunwales would be of a constant height the length of the vessel. If not then I would have thought the height would increase toward the bow, to reduce the amount of water shipped over the bow when running into a head sea. I must stress again, I'm not an expert in any way on ship design, in fact I know very little about it. On the whole I think your drawings are very good. I've included one of the schooner's drawings below.

DSCN6302

As I said, they're rather simple, but HTH.

     Regards, Jeff.

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Thanks,

 

Some good input there.

 

I think next time I will ‘stack’ the cross-sections as per that drawing in order to ensure a smooth transition from one to the next. I think you are right about the gunwales getting - if anything - higher towards the bow.

 

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Wow Steve, that's a lot of research.  Your posts here provide invaluable information for scratch modellers of similar ships.  Great work!:clap2:

 

John

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Thanks guys! 
 

I have just been reading through all of this again and have just noted that I have been using the term ‘gunwales’ incorrectly. I think the more correct term For what I was trying to say was ‘bulwarks’.

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10 hours ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

Thanks guys! 
 

I have just been reading through all of this again and have just noted that I have been using the term ‘gunwales’ incorrectly. I think the more correct term For what I was trying to say was ‘bulwarks’.

Bulwarks to you as well! Oh, sorry, you meant the ship! Silly Martian.

 

Martian 👽

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4 hours ago, Martian said:

Bulwarks to you as well! Oh, sorry, you meant the ship! Silly Martian.

 

That’s a pretty childish comment Martian! 
 

Can you make some more? 🤪
 

 

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Nothing I can say would be much help Steve but I have enjoyed going through this again. I do think Jeff's point re the height of bit around the outside at the top ;) is sound, for no other reason than it sounded weird to me as you described it, otherwise, I feel you're heading down the right path.

Steve.

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5 hours ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

That’s a pretty childish comment Martian! 
 

Can you make some more? 🤪
 

 

That can be arranged Steve, Mrs Martian seems to think that there is an unlimited supply! Can't think why.

 

Martian 👽

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5 hours ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

That’s a pretty childish comment Martian! 
 

Can you make some more? 🤪

You really do not need to encourage him Steve he does it quite well all by himself  :whistle:

 

All very interesting stuff will have to pay a visit to the Shields museum have not been for a good few years and it is not far from me :idea:

 

beefy

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9 minutes ago, beefy66 said:

 

 

All very interesting stuff will have to pay a visit to the Shields museum have not been for a good few years and it is not far from me :idea:

 

 

Lots of photos of John Bowes please. Especially from above if you can manage it, and perhaps the stern too?

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1 hour ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

Lots of photos of John Bowes please. Especially from above if you can manage it, and perhaps the stern too?

As soon as it reopens after lockdown i will be sure to visit and share them with you. :book:

 

beefy

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  • 4 weeks later...

Warm... Warmer... Hot,...Red Hot!!!!

 

'This I think is as close as I will ever find to a photograph of Xantho' I said in my last substantive post on this subject... Let's see if that statement has stood the test of time.

 

Last week my employer asked for a small number of volunteers to resume working in our offices in central Perth. I was one of them; chiefly because I wanted to see if the bookshops in town had re-opened. :penguin:

 

And so, last Monday-week at about 11.00 AM, I returned, after a seven week break, to my favourite bookshop. And here I found to my great surprise that not only had they had somehow stayed open throughout the great COVID 19 'lockdown' but had significantly increased their stock.   In the maritime section was this brand new tome on the Ship Models at Glasgow Museums.
 

Glasgow! Home of Denny Brothers Shipbuilders - the people who built Xantho.

 

Glasgow! Home of Robert Stewart - the metal merchant who reconfigured the ship! 

 

What wonders would await within? Dare I hope? I opened it and started to search...

 

3uooTWs.jpg

 

The models are broadly speaking arranged in chronological order and / or increasing technology.  Naturally there are plenty of sailing ships in the first half of the book.

 

I liked the clipper bows on these examples, but they weren't steamers, I was at best luke-warm. 

 

 zOrEWcm.jpg

 

Ah! this caught my eye - this is 'Loch Lomond' - the first ever steam-ship built by Denny Brothers. This very model had been cited in my initial discussion with Mac McCarthy. I was getting a bit warmer.

 

vPLZlOO.jpg

 

Then this one - 'Lady Torfida' an auxiliary steam engine luxury yacht. She has three masts and is much larger than Xantho but has a clipper bow and a single screw. Her funnel is set to the rear of amidships, but not as far back as Xantho’s.  Built in the 1890s some of her fittings are probably too modern; but still.... not bad.  Getting warm, but I may have over-shot by a decade or three.

 

1WwBpHJ.jpg

 

'Menai' 1840. Probably about the right size and possibly a fair approximation of Xantho when she was a paddle-steamer. This is a pleasure yacht and not a ferry but I think I'm getting very warm now. I like the fact that the photo is slightly elevated and shows the deck fittings. Please bear that in mind when photographing ships and ship model; if at all possible try to get at least one or two shots from an elevated position.

 

jQaA4Kx.jpg

 

Now we're very warm.  'Erin'  another pleasure yacht. I had no idea these things were so common in the 19th century! A couple of decades too late and with funnel amidships. The ship is supposedly much heavier than Xantho at 994 tonnes but frankly - I'm wondering if that's a typo.  I think that the hull shape is about right, she has the correct bow and number of masts!  

 

uawtTNB.jpg

 

Hot! 'Cressida' Yet another yacht! Correct period, bow shape, number of masts, rig and roughly the correct size.  Just about perfect except that the funnel is mounted amidships. I suspect that the hull on Xantho was more flat-bottomed than this - but this is really very close to what I have in mind.  It's also a very beautiful vessel. 😘

 

z7h5Dnt.jpg

 

And now we get to it... White Hot!!!!  The yacht 'Britannia' (No not QE2's Britannia - this one!)

 

Correct period; only about 10 years after the Xantho refit. About the right size - slightly lighter at just 64 tonnes. Two masts and correct rig (schooner).  Correct shape to the bow. Single screw steamship with the funnel mounted to the rear of amidships. Elliptical counter stern. It's just about perfect!  It's also a very attractive vessel - I much prefer to make models of subjects that I like the look of! 

 

hlyY59Z.jpg

 

This is a builder's model so it is a primary reference. This in many regards is better than a period photograph and I'm going to use this as an important guide when it comes to compiling drawings for the model. This beats the  photograph of William Miskin!

 

My main trepidation about ‘Britannia’ is that she is a pleasure yacht, so I'm expecting that Xantho will have different deck fittings (we know it had a cargo hold for example) and a more robust hull. As mentioned before, since Xantho was originally a paddle steamer I'm picking she had a flat bottom and a squarish cross-section through the hull.  But that's not a problem as I have the form lines from 'Premiere' to help me with that. For now I'm very happy with this image and believe that finding this is a major step forward.

 

Now all I need to do is draw up another set of plans and get them reviewed by a recognised expert in shipping of that period - and it so happens that I think I've found just the guy... 🤔

 

Till next time, 

Bandsaw Steve. 

 

 

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Really useful book Steve and a great source.

 

I must ask.  Is SS Bulolo in there?  I know that the Glasgow Transport Museum has a model of her as built as a mail liner because I saw her there last year but she was so high up in the display cabinet that all you could see was her underside.  It's a little late now in my build of her in Her Majesty's service but it's be good to see what the upperdecks are supposed to look like!

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Hi Chewie, 

 

I have just checked for you and am happy to say there is a beautiful photo of Bulolo - In civil guise - in this book. I’m about to head off for work so don’t have time to photograph, upload the photo and post right now but I promise I will do so this evening. 
 

 

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That must be Boffins the bookshop.  My favourite bookshop too! I like to buy books from there occasionally but often can find cheaper versions from book depository for example. Always make a beeline for that shop every time we ‘re in the City, then for that far corner of the shop.

BTW have you checked out the excellent forum ModelshipWorld for information on scratch builds etc?  Sorry if its already been mentioned.

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Yes Boffins it is! 👍
 

That’s where I found the book on Xantho in the first place.

 

Model Ship World is good also - I should search it for Xantho. But my home is Britmodeller. 🏠 

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22 hours ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

I much prefer to make models of subjects that I like the look of! 

Gidday Steve, then I take it you'll be making a model of Kate Winslet sometime?

 

14 hours ago, Chewbacca said:

all you could see was her underside

More Kate? 😛

 

Seriously, it looks like an interesting book. Beauty in the eye of the beholder and all that, I rather like the look of "Cressida" and "Lady Torfida". Perhaps I should visit this bookstore myself when I get to the city, which is a very rare occasion.     Regards, Jeff.

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21 hours ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

Hot! 'Cressida' Yet another yacht! Correct period, bow shape, number of masts, rig and roughly the correct size.  Just about perfect except that the funnel is mounted amidships. I suspect that the hull on Xantho was more flat-bottomed than this - but this is really very close to what I have in mind.

Hi Steve

I think you need to be looking at the photo of the model above Cressida in the book as well if it's of a similar date. All the models you're looking at in your post are yachts with very fine lines, and all the features you're picking out are above the waterline. From what you've been saying about Xantho it had a significant cargo carrying capacity and there needs to be sufficient volume aft of this to fit both boiler and engine in and provide buoyancy to support them. The dimensions you quote earlier for the rebuild suggest a block coefficient of 0.8-0.85 which will give a much bulkier bluff underwater shape than the fine lined yachts, and more akin to the hull lines of the model above Cressida. This model will also give you an idea of period fittings for cargo operation eg derricks and winches. The layout, fittings and features above the deck, and to a certain extent above the waterline could certainly be lifted from models like Cressida and Britannia, but the underwater lines and the deck plan outline will be much more bluff/fuller/rounded as oer the model above Cressida than the fine/slender low block coefficient of the yacht models you're looking at. As you've got the engine and boiler near you and know it's rough location inside the hull you should be able to work out how full the lines need to be at the stern to accomodate it, which shold help as well.

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Thanks Dave 

 

All good points. I agree that the ‘greyhound sleek’ lines of the yachts are not correct and that Xantho as a converted ferry will not look as racy. In terms of hill shape once again something like ‘John Bowes’ or ‘Pemiere’ or perhaps ‘William Miskin’
 

The next set of drawings are underway- will be posting something soon.

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