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Hi Rob,


A bit of background as to why I started designing my own stuff.  I am 73 and have no previous knowledge of engineering or technical drawing.  I started to do my own stuff mainly as the mainstream kit producers didn't produce stuff in my scale, or what was produced was long out of print and cost stupid prices on the web.

I tried some basic CAD freebies, plus some bigger stuff such as Blender, before settling on the free software Fusion 360.   Then I just played those tutorials by Arnold Rowntree, copying what he did as the video went along, pausing and rewinding at times, just to get a better understanding.  After that, I started to take measurements from paper diagrams and add them into Fusion 360 and then save as STL files.  Like others on here, I do owe credit to Iceman 29, for his helpful advice in the early stages of my learning.


I started in September 2020 and produced my first print from the Arnold's tutorial in two weeks.  After that, I produced my first vehicle, a Queen Mary trailer, in January 2021.  As can be seen below, the shape is not that dissimilar to a boat hull; pointy at the front, blunt at the back and hollow in the middle.






Although three months had passed, I wasn't only doing the CAD, more of my time was spent on standard modelling and research; plus the festive period took me away from modelling for a while.   Bottom line, how long to get from knowing nothing to producing my first, decent looking model, took about one actual month of research, trial and efforts.

Lofting, for joining sections such as ship sub-frames took a bit longer although it wasn't the actual lofting; more so trying to get the horizontal lines (rails) to match the hull contours.


I've proved, to myself, that anyone can do the CAD and make STL files and it just needs some patience and concentration.  If you can scratchbuild from a paper design/plan then you can do the CAD.  Obviously, the first output will not be anywhere near the standard of professionals; however, each design and STL will lead to a better version next time, as you learn more from it.



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1 hour ago, robgizlu said:

I understand it but need an "adult" to give me an estimate of how long it's going to take me (No engineering or metrics background) to get to producing CAD designs for hulls to be printed using original paper (non digitised) plans.

I know this is a hard one and is going to be a very rough approximation.  It will help me to decide whether time spent is worth investing

Thanks if possible



I'm new to CAD, but have experience with photo software, and other 3d design software.

Having tried a few options, I'd suggest going for Autodesk Fusion 360.
There is a free licence for non-commercial use.


For drawing ship hulls, there is a lofting option:

Set up your hull cross-sections (profiles), and loft the form through your profiles.

Learning time?  Still learning, but I feel I could set produce something like that.

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Box arrived from California this afternoon :elephant:


Three tiny cast bronze propellers from my artwork, remember these are 1/2 inch diameter




And here they are mounted temporarily on the hull, looking the business imho




Happy with that 👍





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Few days radio silence, devoted to the etching drawing.  Each time I do one of these, I forget how much work it is.  Not only deciding the exact dimensions of each item, not always correct of even included in the GA drawings, but also how to produce brass pieces that can be  both etched and also assembled to create some semblance of the object in question.  In my hands thIs is certainly an iterative process with a £100 cost if I get it wrong, so not to be rushed.


For some items, drawing isn't sufficient, I also need to trial fit.  Here is the wheelhouse brass cladding tested out in paper, 4th iteration.  the middle side panels slope then switch to vertical where that horizontal line is, interesting stuff, supporting a curved windbreak for the early boats




For those that haven't read my other build threads, I etch in 18 thou brass (0.45 mm).  For 1:48th scale, this thickness seems to work and allows good relief for rivet detail etc.  It's also a thickness I'm used to and it (mostly) silver solders without melting.  The minimum line thickness you can etch is the same at the thickness of the brass, so ~.85 inch at scale.  This limits really super fine detail, but overall I think it creates the right image.  The rivets have 0.7 inch (full scale) heads, smaller and they disappear when etched


Here is the finished artwork with the red joining lines in a support frame with the scale included.  To understand the drawing, you need to remember that black means leave alone, white etch through, red half etch from the front, cyan, half etch from the rear.  90 degree fold lines need to be the same width as the brass thickness.  Red joining lines are 0.02 inch wide


One thing I'm trying here that is new is the slots you can see in the top margin of the sheet.  My idea is to use this margin piece to create a square frame to weave the Carley float base net, it may work....



About 200 pieces in total comprising:


  1. The torpedo tube frames and sloping supports.  These frames are only 6 inches high, I've very nervous about folding such narrow pieces, will need a frame made to control it
  2. Wheelhouse armour sides
  3.  The windbreak
  4. Deck access opening frames for engine removal etc
  5. Canvas deck edge frames
  6. Scuttles and deck lights
  7. Circular hatches 924 inch and 20 inch, the upstand will be brass tube section
  8. Torpedo loading saddle frames
  9. Cavitation plates
  10. Lower bridge door, hinges and frame
  11. And a few tiny bits such as the mast frame and base, gun sight, nav light boxes etc

A lot of this stuff can of course be scratch-build, but as the cost is fixed per sheet, I may as well fill the A5 sheet, getting more lazy in my old age


This will get sent off on Monday, time for me to consider it tomorrow and hopefully remember what I've inevitably missed off





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Designing and preparing artwork for etched parts takes a lot of time but is immensely rewarding when it comes back and you get to build the test kit to prove the design, it makes such a big difference to a model when it all fitted and completed.



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Progress a bit scrappy while I wait for the etched sheet to arrive and nurse my wife who has managed to pick up Covid after 2 years of being very careful (she's OK, it seems very mild and we're both triple dosed...)


Transfers arrived from Rothko and Frost.  I use them (they make Guitar transfers) because they can print white and I need that for the minimal draft marks on the bow.  Great service, upload a pdf to their website and pay on line, easy




The curved lines in the bottom left of the sheet are the line of the bow from the keel as a guide to positioning the draft marks which you can't see because they are white :rofl:...  I'm basing the model on the illustration in Mark Smith's Coastal Craft History Vol 1 for the Vosper boats, #34 Photo earlier in the thread) is not only the exact boat in the IWM drawings, but it has a cool stripped appearance and these very large numbers.  The sheet contains enough copies to accommodate my usual level of error...


Also been printing and adding scratch brass detail to a few components, below the smoke machine




And the first (Starboard) torpedo tube assembled




After seeing a few pictures that show Danbuoys being shipped, I decided to make one (dimensions from the drawing in the Anatomy of the ship publication on the flower class HMS Agassiz).  I understand they were carried ready rigged to deploy (logical when you think of it) so once painted, I'll add some rigging and line buoys, sinker etc.  This picture is on a 1964 copy of the Naval Handbook which covers the rigging and deployment procedure, though it looks like the buoy had developed somewhat in the 20 years since the WW2 version




Lastly, a number of pictures show oil drums being carried (I guess for extra fuel) and I thought that might be cool to include so I've printed a couple.  One question I have is what colour would a WW2 fuel oil drum be?  I have no clue, red seems logical but a bit prominent, might it be green?  Anyone who has facts not supposition, please add a comment





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The etching sheet arrived yesterday, earlier than I'd expected. Now we get to see how accurate my drawing is......




I actually made a start on the wheelhouse, but that's a post on its own and I'm not finished yet, so we'll start with the hull fittings


First the cavitation plates and brackets that improve the rudder performance.  These are 4 pieces each with the slot cut after the back is soldered in place.  Just solder paste here, tends to run and make everything silverish




Only fettling was a little filing to open the slot slightly, pretty good really.


Here they are epoxied in place with the rudders placed in their brackets to give some idea of the complete assembly (rudder shafts still over-length, upside down of course)




Then I opened up the scuttles to receive the brass outers.  These have a slight ridge on the onside face so they centre the hole.  The hull is so thin (.5 mm) that this can't be done with a drill, I used a tapered stone burr to gradually open up the holes until the brass covered snapped in place




The hull is not ready for a coat of primer to check for blemishes


Then I added the deck trim for the canvas anti-slip matting and the engine room panels that are bolted in place




The staining is the thin cyno I'm using to stick these down, runs everywhere but it provides an even joint and lays flat on the deck, it'll look OK once painted


Here is the same shot with the twin Vickers tub and engine room hatch in place.  IN the foreground is the first of the round hatches, still needs the spring and hinge bar added




The Vickers mount is the same print model I used on the SGB but the tub is different on the MTB, slight higher with a flange towards the bottom.  The clips are 0.5 mm brass wire


The next few updates will be similar, me assembling tiny bits of brass, all much the same once you get going.  I'm still thinking about how to bend the torpedo tube frames, tough.....


Still real progress can now proceed full steam ahead..  I have everything I need to get this finished, its a simple model but needs to be crisp because that simplicity doesn't allow me to hide mistakes the way a more complex boat does  :hmmm:...









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Hi Steve, I've only just found your build. I do like scratch building projects and someone who can take a blank piece of paper and work from there. The PE and 3D printing skills you have, I have to admire, at 75, I just can't bring myself to earn a new skill. As an ex modelmaker, I'll plug away at hand carving the parts I need for my projects.

I'm not a boat builder, I get sea sick! However, I have the Trumpeter LCP which I'm converting into a Vietnam rivercraft helicopter landing pad. So lots of superstructure building work.


I'll tag along if I may?



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On 22/12/2021 at 07:21, heloman1 said:

I'll tag along if I may?

Hi Colin,


Thanks for the kind comments and you're most welcome to tag along.  I grew up with a passion for technical drawing so the conversion to computer aided drafting came naturally, we're not so far apart age wise...  Still there are better members on this forum than me, at drawing, 3D modelling, certainly painting, at everything really!  I make so many mistakes, its a wonder I finish any model, but I just love ship models so I keep trying. 


Also, nice to see you modelling in God's own scale of 1/4 inch to the foot.  If it was good enough for shipyards, its good enough for me :wink:





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  • 3 weeks later...

Sorry for the radio silence, I was side-tracked by the need to build a basement extension for my eldest daughters dolls house, its a long story...


Anyway, progress on the MTB has been a little patchy and not really helpful to post, so here is quite a major update


First, the hull and deck..


Lots of careful masking and priming resulted in a reasonable well primed hull with rudders fitted and the primer in the camouflage pattern but before I get there, I added the canvas anti-slip areas.  These are bordered in very narrow brass strip and infilled with sections cut from a linen handkerchief that had been sprayed with matt varnish to seal it and prevent fraying.  Stuck down with wallpaper repair adhesive




Also visible in this view, I've added bolted strips to the hard rails at the stern (visible in photographs), the forward angle bracket at the break of the forecastle, two of the circular hatches and copper infill over the main engine room access hatch and the torpedo tube rail support beams (visible in pictures with the torpedo tubes removed)




and here it is in primer, note rudders in foreground






The colour scheme for MTB34 is really simple, White and B15 (illustration composed from images in Coastal Craft History Vol 1)


mtb34 artwork

I also tidied up the cowl vents seen here in my spray-bay




And scratch-built the windlass seen here with the cowl vents and other hatches in place here




Then I made up the first torpedo tube rail assembly.  This starts with folding a very long narrow box which has slots for the transverse frames and a lot of holes.  Luckily, it fits around a piece of scrap brass I have which helps to get it straight and flat






I've realised that I didn't take any pictures of the frame before soldering, if anyone is interested, I'll post a picture when I make the second one


Anyway, here it is trial fitted to the tube before fitting the external brackets




and after




And then primed




It's Ok, second one should be better..


Lastly, the twin Vickers mark V mount, which I'd printed (same as the SGB) fitted out with it ancillary brass and copper bits, tub in the background.  The gun mount pins are over length for handling, the guns are removed for painting and assembled at the end




Sitting in the tub, ready for priming




So, lots of bits of progress, the wheelhouse comes next....





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10 hours ago, Courageous said:

As for that spray booth, looks more like a blast furnace!



Great observation Stuart,


In my defence, the spray booth is really only used to apply primer and for this I use automotive paint which creates plenty of overspray.  I can close it up immediately after spraying to prevent dust attaching to the items.  However, that said, it does look quite horrific in that picture, perhaps after 14 years, I should give it a clean :hmmm:


Then again, maybe not...



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33 minutes ago, Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies said:

You know B15 is blue, right

Ha Jamie, yes I not only know B15 is blue, I've even bought your paints for this model, for the first time, so you will get the shout out when I apply the top coats.  The grey is primer....





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Quick update on the wheelhouse progress.  The etchings took quite a bit of fettling but I've got them in place ready for the windbreak tomorrow...


First, added some detail to the forecastle, cat heads, hatches and vents added, the water-trap cowl vent bases will be added once in final colours, this detail is all in the B15 so safe to fix in place.  The pole forward of the large hatch is the locking pole to hold it open.  I'm pleased with the spring detail on those hatch lids made from brass wire taken from a Rioja bottle, useful stuff, 0.25 mm dia.  The wine was also good...




Then the wheelhouse.  The timber roof will be canvas covered as full size practice




And from the starboard side.  The rear windows are sealed up and will be covered with splinter mats, this is still removable at this stage, fixing comes very late in the build




Coming together now, should be painting final colours next week





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Wheelhouse Part 1


Left alone today so good progress on the wheelhouse.  Most of the side plates just stick on to the wood core but the wind-deflector needs soldering.  This is (I admit) very fiddly.  It took a couple of attempts to get things right, luckily solder unsolders easily


Here is is upside down at the start of the assembly




The sides are then bent in and the remaining brackets soldered in place.  Then its soldered to the upstands on the rear sides as shown here




The brackets stick out to make slots the outer sides can slot into.  They are then cut away and the whole assembly sanded and cleaned up so give this result




Which I'm reasonably pleased with, this is the most challenging assembly, all down hill now....  Obviously there are lots of detail still to  add, there will be a second update on the wheelhouse before painting


Here is the lower mast support installed.  The lower mast is square and hollow allowing the upper mast to slide down inside it.  Interesting detail I've not seen before.  I've sure 2 mm rolled hollow section brass for the lower mast, loosely fitted here to give the idea of where this is going (you may need to zoom in).  In this shot, I've also added the canvas roof covering and wooden trim to the deck to form a mounting flange




Part 2 coming by Friday








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