Warminster Model Boat Club Newsletter December 2021

Here we are, December already and trying to decide what to have for Christmas no doubt.
I should start by saying a big thank you to John and Richard for their super Thursday and Sunday sailing reports both e-mail and on our FB page. Most welcome for the likes of me who cannot manage to get sailing on a regular basis. Nice to see what is happening. For me thought I am missing the tails and gossip that I might be able to use in these newsletters so I appreciate anything you can send in.
On that subject John K has sent in his build log for his Gaurdia Civil so, in his own words here it is:-

From scrapper –
to smooth runner.

For many years we have holidayed on the Costa De Sol in a place called Benalmadena , it’s about 20 minutes from Malaga by a speedy taxi. I always like a boat ride and more often than not I would see this Guardia Civil / Customs fast launch either moored or on patrol along the coast and it sounded great even from the beach and travelled really well in the water .
Hence wanting to make something similar for all those years but could never get going.
I had an old ex IC fast boat that I bought for £10 at the Shepton Mallet flea market and had often wondered what to do with it , I even tried to sell on to no avail as I would think it had been sunk and was delaminating badly , it looked rough . It was ply with some type of plastic coating over it , but was pretty bad hence it did not move , just kept getting in the way, but I cannot throw anything away.
A bit longer story was also I bought a Brushless motor from Howes at the last but one Warwick show. Ivor bought one at the same time but mine sat in the box for nearly 18 months. Ivor fitted his and was not long before it had a melt down and was ruined. This put me off for that 18 month , plus have not got another model at all with brushless or lipo battery , all new to me. Andy Hill was going to Howes so went for a ride also and took my motor. Told Neil up there the story of Ivor’s motor and he was happy to take mine back and do a good deal on a new one with matching speed controller

So, the rebuild of my Gaurdia was sort of coming together , the only other actual new item was one of Robin’s larger lifeboat radar units , that even now may be a little big but looks great. Everything else is scratch built or used parts. The 60mm prop came from another donor boat that is now a flower planter in the garden. I was amazed a while ago when I found on a buy and sell site somebody was selling the exact model. It is (was) a Lesro Javelin . Just a tidy hull but sold in Liverpool for £120. That made me feel good.

  1. A lot of fibre glass inside and out and a lot of dust in the garden and I was thinking about the first coats of primer filler. Brush painted the inside to cover the waterproof repairs and things were starting to move. New prop tube complete with 4mm shaft well fitted with Araldite ,never to come out or leak again.

The paint job was done mainly with Halfords aerosol cans the hull side flags were masked with the yellow easy to remove Frog tape so as not to mark the green and white. Slowly the superstructure of 2mm ply started to come together. No time spent cutting out windows as the real boat was blacked out anyway to protect from the sun, so used sticky backed vinyl . Much of the flashing lights were powered from a lorry kit of electrics , this gave me tidy circuit board housed in the roof of the cabin .the radar was powered by a seperate pack of 2x AA batteries house in the bow and the same batteries are still working it now. There was good fixings for the motor where the old IC engine fitted. The 50amp speed controller with attached capacitor. Powered by a 4500mlp 3S battery easyly gets it on the plain and is so smooth at speed , it could not have turned out better considering the original state it was in .
As with any model it’s never finished until it has a crew which is something I have not been the best at by any means . Plus the water motor cooling that does not work at all . Maybe add them to the list of winter projects. As it is, it’s quite exciting to skipper without being stupid fast.

Me and Trent Class lifeboats.

I have had a job just recently to help out an acquantance in Essex with a Model Slipway Trent Class lifeboat, as if you could not guess. He helped me out with detail information when building my Waveneney Class boat as he was the station Mechanic at Harwich when they had 44-005, so knows those boats intimately. Anyway, He had bought this Trent kit advertised as part started as he wanted a replacement for the one he had sold a while ago. When this one arrived it was obvious to him that the stae of the boat and the quailty of the work left a lot to be desired. He asked if I would take the kit and get it into a stae that he could then carry on to compltion. Well, how could I say no. When it arrived the box had obviously been damaged in transtit and this had caused damage to the hull. This in fact turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the damaged parts, deck supports and bearers, were not up to scratch so the dismantling was made easy for me. A few of the plasticard parts for the decks and companionways needed to be remade, fortunately I still had the templates for all of these items from the building of my own Trent. Eventually I had the hull with all decks etc fitted and I have to say I was pretty chuffed with the end result. I completed the build of the Wheelhouse and Flybridge for him along with a handful of the smaller sub assmblies ready for him to go on and complete the boat that he is basing on 14-37 “Betty Huntbatch”, the Hartlepool staion boat. With all that done I returned it to him and he is now carrying on the build.

As received
Decks and companionways on
Wheelhouse dry fitted
As returned to owner

On the subject of Trent’s, as was mentioned in Richard’s last Open Day report, I had an electrical failure on the day. I rigged a repair and tested the boat out a couple of weeks or so later and all was well. However, I have not been content with the way I had connected some of the lighting circuits and general wiring so decided to take the bull by the horns and strip it all out and rebuild it with more control on the various systems. To that end I have incorporated an Action Electrtonics Quad switch which I find rather good as they give independent control on up to 4 different circuits via 1 stick on the Tx. Action Electronics (The Component Shop) have recently revised the design of the Quad Switch (P62) and all in all is a much nicer unit to install than the earlier version.

Pen Portraits.

John Thomas has given me a resume of his and his modelling history which I have copied here in his own words:-
I’ve been making models for about 70+ years, mainly aircraft.
Aged 16 I served a 5yr apprenticeship with ICI in Swansea. At 21, I did National Service in the army, after training I was stationed at Minden in West Germany. An army friend and I made acouple of model boatsin our spare time. Using home made single channel RCwe sailed them on a local canal. We were in the signals platoon so batteries were @borrowed’ from the signal store.
Following Demob, I went back to work at ICI leaving some time in the 1970’s to work as a model ,maker in a toy factory, I left after 9 years to ,return to my old job for better pay ets.. The ICI facory was now american! A.L.C.O.A. I worked there for 19years always under pressure of threat of closure. The owners were never satisfied. I tool voluntary redundancy in 1997 with no regrets.
I also had a personal life outside of model making. My dear wife and I were married for 50 years before she succumbed to cancer. Our only son is a GP in the area and he moved us to Rode to make it easier for him as we got older.

3.5″ guage Loco “County of Wilts” 4-4-0
1/4 Scale D.H. Tiger Moth
My last Marblehead Yacht at Portishead

Now a piece from one of our newer members, Dennis West. Not modelling but involving boating none the less. Thought provoking tale:-
The Legend of Seagulls.
My father was 24 years career Royal navy. In WWII he hunted German U-Boats as an ASDIC (Sonar) operator on mainly the destroyer H.M.S. Douglas in the Battle of The Atlantic, Artic convoys to Russia and the Malta convoys. When my brother and I were little, he told us over 70 years ago never to harm a seagull, as for going back centuries it is believed that they are the souls of dead seamen who died in battle or by some other means. I have never forgotten what he told us and have heard about this legend from other seafaring folk. When my daughter was old enough to understand I told her of the legend too.
Having been to night school to be awarded RYA Navigation and Marine Radio certificates my daughter Angie and I bought a Westerly 21 yacht to sail round Cornwall where we lived in 2002. I am RYA Coastal Skipper qualified, Angie as RYA Day Skipper. One year Angie and I were sailing our Yacht back from Fowey where we had spent a long weekend at a Westerly Owners Club rally. We set out mid-morning to cover the 30 miles (as the crow/seagull flies) to the Helford river where our boat was usually moored to a buoy. Wind was from the South-West as usual so we knew we would have to tack for most of the way home. So, leaving Fowey the wind was against us and the tide was going in the opposite direction which produces at times a very choppy sea state. We were moving ahead towards home at less than walking pace with 30 miles to go crossing St. Austell Bay first. Getting around Dodman Point was horrendous as wind and tide was against us and we were making little headway towards the Helford River. The wind was getting up and the waves were getting bigger and cutting up rough and I was getting worried for Angie getting anxious to our predicament. She could see that I was worried for her although I had the situation under control with my sailing experience not only with the yacht but a lot of years sailing GP14 dinghies. She said, “Don’t worry Dad, Granddad is with us, we will be OK.” I asked her what she meant, and she said that while I was looking ahead all the time to where we were going a seagull, unknown to me, was keeping station on our starboard quarter for the last hour or so. I looked around and there he/she was, not afraid of us and so close to our transom I could have leant out and touched it. We got round Dodman Point eventually and as the wind altered south a bit we were allowed to make a better and faster tack across Veryan Bay towards Zone Point near Falmouth. When we started to go out to sea a bit in better conditions the seagull sheared away and left us. We eventually got home, tying up to our buoy on the Helford river about 7 O’clock that evening. Now my dad spent a career at sea and retired from the Royal Navy in 1953, he then worked on ships in Portsmouth Dockyard until 1977. He died in 1980 and we were sailing back from Fowey in 2002. This seagull decided to stay with us, or so it seems, while we were having difficulties making headway in rough weather for nearly two hours. Is there something in the old legend and why did the seagull stay with us right up to when we were sailing in better conditions. The story is true, like the next one but as for the old legend ..I will leave that for you to think about. One day when we lived in the village of Constantine in Cornwall there was a loud banging and then clattering on the conservatory roof. We went outside and found a seagull on the lawn trying to get a good run to take off but kept falling over. No wonder, the poor thing only had
one leg! This one, like others I have seen, most likely got caught up in a fishing net or food can and lost its leg. We think it fell off the house roof and then bounced off the conservatory roof on the way down. We managed to catch it before our cats did and in putting it in a box, took it to the Mousehole Bird Hospital a few miles west of Penzance. They said that they would take it in as by weighing, found to be undernourished, underweight, female and with a proper diet for some time would let it go later. We phoned up a few clays later and was told it was gaining weight and doing fine. The next week they phoned back to say it was fit enough to be let go and had taken it out to the cliffs where it flew away.
About two weeks later, a one legged seagull alighted on one of our back garden fence posts! Coincidence, were there two one legged seagulls attracted to our garden? It tried to land on the bird table roof but found it difficult with just one leg as it wanted the food underneath. After a lot of practising and flapping about it managed to get the hang of it and land on the table itself to get the food. Afterwards we used to leave out on the table leftover meat food scraps and cat food. It soon became a regular visitor to the table, and we looked forward to seeing it every day for a long time.
Once again, I leave you with the thoughts of the old legend and the true story of ‘our’ seagull visiting us every day. Needless to say, I took a picture of it on the bird table roof.

That’s all for this time, I hope and trust that you all have a pleasant and safe time over the festive season. Don’t forget that I am always on the lookout for copy for the next edition, so any build logs or model related stories please get them in. If you write them in ‘Word’ could I ask that you use Calibri (Body) font at 14pt size.
All being well I hope to see you all at the lake in 2022.


Warminster Model Boat Club Newsletter September 2021

Isn’t it good that we have now got rid of the rule of 6 regs and are able to sail almost as we were before the pandemic?  With 2 open days’, the second of  which included the ‘Bob’s Boats’ regatta and having the stands out for the WTC fun runs and Carnival fun day.  Two long days on consecutive Sundays.  We have certainly been active and received may good comments from the public. You would already have seen Richard and John K’s reports on these either email or on our Facebook Page.

You would have seen the minutes of the 2021 AGM held at the Warminster Conservative club.  Again, good to hold a ‘proper’ meeting and for it to be quite well attended.

We have a poser set by John Rogers to start off with this time and it is – what is the connection between Julie Andrews (star of stage and screen) and the Naval Torpedo?  Answer later.

We have a couple of Pen Portraits for you this time under our meet the Members heading, firstly this from Noel Adams.

What am I doing here?

How did I end up making model boats?

I’m really quite new to model boats.  Of course, I saw the adverts for KeilKraft, AeroKits, etc., in the modelling magazines when I was a kid, but back then my big interest was model aircraft.  In those days radio control was in its infancy, so everyone flew either free flight or control line.  Trying to fly a model round in circles on the end of a pair of wires never appealed to me, so I went for free flight.  Over the following years I built and flew probably a couple of dozen models, some engine powered but later reverting to my first love of rubber power.  I even worked at The Modeller’s Den model shop in Bath for a year or so in the early 1970s.


My first brief brush with model boats came in the mid-70s when I bought the plans for Vic Smeed’s ‘Starlet’ yacht, together with his little book ‘Simple Model Yachts’ which contained reprints of his construction magazine articles for the design from the 1960s.  I decided that I would like to build ‘Starlet’, but the book also contained plans for a small yacht called ‘Petrel’, which looked much simpler, so I decided to have a go at that one first.  The hull was bread-and-butter construction in balsa, a material I was well used to, so it went quite well, although in hindsight the glue lines were too prominent as I didn’t spend enough time fairing the lines.  The project stalled due to an increasingly busy job and a growing family – a familiar tale for many modellers.

The model aircraft hobby continued sporadically, then our son Dave began to take an interest in model railways, so the emphasis shifted.  We started to build a layout together, then moved on to building a railway in the garden.  All the ‘civil engineering’ was completed and I made a start on building a meths-fired steam loco, but once again life, mainly the job, got in the way and the project lapsed.  As an aside, Dave never lost his interest in steam locos and these days builds very successful coal-fired locos – so I must have done something right.

I took early retirement in 2004 and told everyone that I was going to build model boats.  At the Model Boat Show near Warwick that year I met up with Richard Chesney, leading light of the Association of Model Barge Owners, and was very taken with the idea of building a Thames Barge.  I’ve kept in touch with Richard over the years since then.

First though, I thought I ought to start on something simpler – I still had the ‘Starlet’ plan, remember.  Still being a total novice, I looked round for a club to join and the nearest one I could find was at – yes – Warminster!  I went along to a meeting, which was in a pub as we were now in mid-winter.  There were only about three other people there, but it was all very friendly and we chatted for an hour or so.  I paid my five pounds membership fee and duly joined.  A few weeks later I went along to what I thought was the next meeting but no-one else was there and no-one seemed to know anything about the Warminster Model Boat Club, so at that point things sort of fizzled out once more.

A while later I went along to a model railway show and of course got sucked in to yet another hobby.  Meeting up with a friendly bunch who were modelling narrow gauge railways in the unusual scale of 5.5mm to the foot, I joined them – the 5.5mm Association.  Getting more involved over the next few years, I joined the committee as editor of the newsletter and produced over 30 issues over about eight years.  Getting copy for the newsletter was always a struggle, so I can very much appreciate Robin’s efforts on our behalf.  I eventually tired of being seemingly the only person doing very much in the Association and gave a year’s notice of my ‘retirement’ from the post of editor.  In any case, those model boats were still calling to me!

So – here was the plan.  I was going to build a Thames Barge, something I had promised to Richard Chesney some years before.  Before that I was going to build ‘Starlet’ – and looking at the plan again I decided that perhaps I should start off with a kit as a gentle introduction.  One kit that had always appealed to me was ‘Sea Queen’, so that was my first purchase and I started to build it.  At last, I was building model boats.

Once again, I looked around for a club to join and tried a couple of the local ones.  I was at an open day with the Shepton Mallet Drifters when I got into conversation with a friendly guy who was sailing a rather nice old gunboat.  He said, ‘We’ve got an open day tomorrow – why don’t you come along?’  ‘Where’s that?’  ‘Warminster – my name’s John Kitley – I’m the secretary.’  So along I went next day – and now you know who to blame!  I was warmly welcomed by just about everyone at the club and joined on the spot. 

Now encouraged more than ever before, I pressed ahead with ‘Sea Queen’, eventually finishing ‘Starlet’ after having the plan for 40+ years and finally fulfilling my promise and building my Thames Barge.  What’s next?  You know what they say – Watch This Space!

Next and few notes from yours truly

My (model making) history

During my growing up years in my hometown of Margate I made a number of models.  Starting with Keil Kraft free flight rubber powered planes, I recall that the Beachcraft Bonanza, flew particularly well.  The only boat I ever build was a Vosper RTTL which was either Keil Kraft or Veron.  Not dissimilar to the one I built from plans a few years back which John Sankey has since bought from me. 

                Upon leaving school with a handful of ‘O’ levels I moved to Dartford to start my engineering apprenticeship, living in ‘digs’ somewhat put paid to any modelling due to lack of space and facilities. During my time at Dartford, I took my OND in Mech & Elec Engineering, followed by HNC in Mech Eng. Upon completion of my apprenticeship, I had a position as a Jig and Tool Draughtsman.  A couple of job changes increased my overall knowledge of tool making, eventually rising to the position of Section Leader in a drawing office of 24.

                Getting married in 1968 and now having our own space, slowly modelling started up again.  This was mainly Airfix kits, be they aircraft, cars or ships.  Towards the end of the 1970’s, together with a work colleague, I started some r.c. plane flying.  We used to go onto the North Downs and it was there that we used to meet up with the ex-Kent and England batsman, Brian Luckhurst with his ‘planes and spent many a fun filled Sunday morning.

                Change of job and employer brought us to Wiltshire in 1980, where I could specialise in the designing of Injection Mould Tools, for the Plastic and Rubber industries and for the last 25years of my working life I was the Engineering Manager for an Injection moulding company with responsibility for all plant and machinery as well as the design and procurement of the mould tools.

                Once again modelling had to take a back seat as other activities took up my time.  Not least of all being Dad’s taxi for our daughter who had various dance classes to be ferried to 4-5 nights a week!  Once the kids had fled the nest and I was getting near to retiring age, I needed something to occupy myself once again.  Because of my wife’s increasing mobility problems, I did not want to be far from home.  Around this time one of my RNLI volunteer buddies contacted me to say he had been approached by an elderly lady who was looking for someone to finish off her late husband’s model boat  It turned out to be a 1/16th Model Slipway Trent class lifeboat. (Gasps of surprise all round!).  This one has ended up as a display model in the crew room at Alderney Lifeboat station.

                I searched the local directory for any model boat clubs during this time and found a contact number for our Peter Campbell.  I met with him and 2 or 3 other guys at the lake one Thursday evening and this was when the club only had around 6 members and not all of those active.  From then on boat modelling and indeed the club have grown to what we have today.

                So far I have built for myself an Aeronaut Diva, a sports boat and from Model Slipway a Wyeforce Tug, Tsekoa II and of course a Trent class Lifeboat.  Along the way I have also built a 1/16th scale Tamar lifeboat for our current chairman (do not mention the crash at Lakeside).  Other boats have been a Bruma motor yacht by Mantua models and more recently a Zwarte Zee salvage tug from Billing Boats. I have just now completed a full refit on a RAF launch that was originally one of Bob Inman’s collection.  It closely follows the line of the Walton Motor Launches 65ft HSL 2642.   

I’ve also picked up a couple of commissions on the way, viz another Trent lifeboat, this one as 14-23 Oban, and a 1/12th Severn class lifeboat, 17-08 Islay.  Now that was BIG and heavy!!

I am currently nearing the completion of a 1/16th Waveney Class Lifeboat.  I am basing it (as near as possible) on 44-009 the first ever ALB at Sheerness.  She is the predecessor to my Trent 14-13.  Along with Peter May’s 1/16th Shannon 13-38, between us we will have the full history of ALB’s at Sheerness in Kent.  This happened to be the nearest station geographically to the village in which we lived before moving to Wiltshire.

                What next?  Well would you believe it that I have just been asked to help out on the initial build of yet another 1/16 Model Slipway Trent Lifeboat.  Note to Peter May, the treatment is not working!

Another item from John Rogers,


                The 19th century saw huge leaps in technology so far as warships were concerned.  Within 50 years out went wooden walls and sails and in came steel and steam.  Lots of new ideas were tried out, mainly all to overcome the problems of top weight and sufficient power.  After all, big guns and armour are very heavy!

                One of the wackiest must have been the 2 armoured monitors designed and built (!)by the Russian Navy.  Carrying 2 heavy 12” muzzle loaders in an armoured barbette, the problem of aiming was overcome by making the hulls ….. circular!  Yes, completely round, with screws and rudder at one point on the circle. And they built 2 of them!! On their trials they were impossible to steer and, caught in eddies spun uncontrollably making their crews prostrate with sea sickness.

                The Novgorod and the Admiral Popov were only ever used as floating forts and ended their days as tourist attractions.

Maybe one for Kevan

John Sankey has sent in this from his early days.

Dug these photos out when I was into r/c in Saudi Arabia. Cannot remember what they were called and who was the supplier.  Any clues????

Excellent sailing  fantastic when sailing goose winged with the aerofoils

Sailing is the equivalent of gliding one is using an upright aerofoil the other is horizontal

For anyone who has not seen Mike Payne’s article he has in the September edition of Model Boats mag, get yourself a copy.  Very enlightening.

Finally, I know you must all be busting to know the answer to J.R’s question at the beginning, well here it is:-

The torpedo was invented and developed in the 1880’s by a British engineer, Robert Whitehead, working in Trieste. His son, John, later joined the company and they were very successful. John’s daughter, Alice, met, fell in love and married a dashing Austrian naval officer. They had 5 children and employed a nanny. Then came the First World War and the naval captain became Austria’s top scoring U boat ace sinking 13 allied ships (ironically with Whitehead torpedoes).

Later, his wife, Alice, died and the Captain married the children’s nanny and had 3 more children.

So, the Julie Andrews connection? The Captain’s name was Georg Von Trapp …..  The nanny’s name was Maria. You get the picture!! Sound of Music.

A reminder that our 3rd open day has been postponed until Sunday October 24th and is to include chairman‘s challenge (rubber power) and a Lifeboat regatta. Also, our ‘Night Glow’ is planned  to be held on the evening of Thursday 28th October.

Happy sailing and let’s have some build logs and Pen Portraits for the next edition please.


Warminster Model Boat Club Newsletter – June 2021

Hurray, we are back sailing albeit with some restrictions still but nonetheless we are back!!

Thanks to John and Richard for their regular email and FB postings keeping us in touch with the Rule of 6 days at the lake we have managed to achieve.

It has been good to see some new members/boats being featured.

I have only got one build log update for you and that is from John K and his HMS Bulldog. This is it in his own words and pictures.

Work continues on our lost friend, Mel Colwell’s HMS BULLDOG.

Since last email around the club, the main super structure has been primed and painted white. Nice finish from a 400ml can of Quick Colour multi surface paint from Screwfix , good sized can at a good price. Click and collect is so convenient these days.

The working anchor winch is good although keeping the lengths of chains the same is proving to be a tad tiresome.  The mark 2 version will have fast drop and individual lift, not sure if that will go into this model though.

Obviously at 49 inches long there is plenty of room to work inside, but it is filling up. While building, the lighting has to be done at a similar pace. The existing 12v screw in bulbs will stay and shine through lower port holes , but LED’s will be used everywhere else, some will light instantly with switch on and others via  a  MrRC World  £9.99.  RC Power switch  this ‘nano’ sized hand-crafted Surface Mount Technology (SMT) module identical in function to the very popular MOSFET RC switch but packing a whopping 14A at 30v current capacity MOSFET at one tenth of the physical size and weight of its predecessor, triggered from a rotary switch  channel on the Flysky. Yes, unusual for me, there are two fuses in the system, I know I will regret it.

Inside the bridge wheelhouse also has to be sorted at same time, with a few crew members and because of the way the bridge to lower level is fixed or not fixed at this stage I chose to attach everything to the floor of the lower deck then sit the bridge over them.   1/48 scale crew is proving to be a little tricky and of course expensive. But crew behind windows can doctored , the captain was 1/35 scale but by amputating his legs and replacing them with twisted electric cable he can see out of the windows while sat on his seat, quite nicely. I will paint his boots. Two bright LEDs in roof should light it up well, one white one orange.

Glazing is undecided as of yet, clear  is probably what it should be  but  tinted green that I have in stock as used on the Medway Queen may look better.  More thinking time required. 

Exterior deck wall lighting is another tricky project. I bought 12v glow LEDs from the Salisbury model shop, obviously for railway set ups, but I think either painting black grills or even pinning them with wire will give the affect that they are safety covered bezels.  If they don’t look right may have to turn them into down lighters with some type of shroud.

All the decks are 2mm plain ply and I drew with pencil every board line, every join and every screw hole, don’t ask but eyes and hands did lose coordination at times. Having to leave a 6mm waterway around all decks, plus, where the railing stations will finally fit took some thinking do I do the paint first or the varnish, which one would get  messed up when the masking tape was removed. In the end it was varnish first but had to leave nearly a week to dry properly. Question what does the misses say when she opens the airing cupboard door and find half a boat on top of the hot water tank?

Bought some cheap 40mm handed  plastic props and sprayed them gold , maybe one day if it all turns out well, I will splash out on some quality  brass ones. Next stage will be to manufacture the mast so the running lights, radar, search light wiring can be fitted at same time.  Then maybe put the order in for 100 odd stanchions that will hurt. Like to think it could be finished by Christmas, depending on our busy season on the water. All for now. JK.

In our series of members Pen Portraits, there are 2 for you this time firstly our Hon Treas, Richard followed by fairly new member mike Payne.

Pen Picture – Richard Windell


I graduated from Queen Mary’s College, London University in 1971 with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and I started work with Hawker Siddeley Aviation at Kingston – upon- Thames. I first joined the Design Office and contributed to the design of the titanium engine firewall frame for the Hawk. I then moved into the Aerodynamics Department where I worked on the aerodynamic stability and control for the Harrier, Sea Harrier and Hawk aircraft, together with a number of future concept designs. This also involved me analysing flight test data from test flight programmes at Dunsfold Aerodrome and in briefing and de-briefing the test pilots. I was also present at the first flight of the Hawk trainer at Dunsfold.

In 1978 I left Hawker Siddeley and moved down to Weymouth (Portland actually) working for AUWE – the Admiralty Underwater Weapons Establishment. Well Hydrodynamics is much the same as Aerodynamics only wetter. My first job was studying the launch of torpedoes from RN submarines to prevent damage to the weapons which involved the launch of 1/5th scale model weapons into the large water tunnel at AWE Haslar. The data from these trials was used to develop a computer simulation of the launch dynamics.  Moving on, this naturally went onto devising methods to protect the weapons in their stowage’s from underwater explosive shock, including explosive tests against models in Portland harbour. Again, moving on logically, onto noise reduction methods applied to the current and future weapon discharge systems and stowage compartment structures and machinery. This work also allowed me to liaise with my peers in the USA, France and Germany.

I then had a brief period managing the future research programme and funding for torpedo sonar homing head systems which included work with the Norwegian navy to measure their submarine signatures as seen from an RN torpedo homing head, the data being used to further develop the terminal homing algorithms of RN torpedoes. I then transferred to CDA – the Centre for Defence Analysis. At the time CDA was based at Portsmouth and the Winfrith Nuclear Research site. Here I lead a team involved in studying the Operational Effectiveness of our submarines and surface ships, together with navy helicopters and countermeasures against various threats including the Soviets. The work also involved presenting verified operational performance data to MOD Main Building staff in support of “value for money” decisions on future naval systems.

During my service, the establishments changed their names and funding processes so that AUWE, became ARL, which became DERA which then split into QinetiQ and Dstl. I stayed with Dstl – the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory – where my final job was as a Group Leader for a team of about 50 researchers. However, enjoyable though this was, it was now based at Portsmouth, so I was commuting each week from Weymouth to Portsmouth, staying in digs in the week. I soon got fed up with this and so at age 60 is was able to retire.

Modelling interests and history:

My earliest modelling interest was aircraft. At age 6 or 7 I spent sixpence (6d) a week on chuck gliders bought from the local toy shop and flown in the road outside my house. The family moved to Nigeria when I was 7 and here I grew into readymade, plastic flying models of Hawker Hunters and F86 Sabres launched by catapult. I also developed a liking for Airfix model aircraft all of which had to suspended from my bedroom ceiling. During my teens I started building model aircraft kits – mainly control line and free flight models powered by diesel or glow plug engines, and the occasional thermal soaring glider. I also stared building flying wings from scratch mainly for control line combat. At that time radio control modelling was in its infancy and out of my price range. During my University and Civil Service career I stopped modelling completely, although I did support the Hawker Siddeley model flying club at Dunsfold, only really returning to modelling on my retirement. In 2010 I joined the Weymouth & Portland MBC (indeed I still am an honorary member) and started building radio controlled model boats of all types, sailing on Radipole Lake and Mangerton Mill at Bridport. I also started displaying my models at the various shows and events in and around Dorset. However, in 2015 we moved from Weymouth to Westbury and I then joined the Warminster MBC doing much the same as before.

Recently, I have again been tempted by the “dark side” and have resumed my interest in model aircraft. To this end I am now a member of the Wessex Model Flying Club who fly at Keevil Aerodrome and at Poulshot. Currently I am learning to fly (and crash) a WOT trainer, with serious “buddy box” help from Andy and Kevan, and if the weather, my health and Covid allow, I hope to be solo this year.  I’m also interested in slope soaring (ideal up on the white horse) and was given an A-Train kit for Christmas. I have just started building her in my loft (my workshop isn’t big enough for an 81” span glider) in parallel with maintaining my existing boats and completing my Rother Class lifeboat.

Hopefully, we can all get back to sailing and flying soon.


Mike Payne –Personal history.

Born 1946 in North London. One brother 12 yrs older, plus two parents.

Failed the 11+ and went to the then new-fangled secondary modern school. There we had roughly 40 kids per class with four streams per year, A,B,C & D. A’s were aimed at “O” levels, B’s at RSA, C’s at survival and D’s likely to end up in borstal. A useful exposure to most levels of the ‘working’ strata at that time. Managed to gain a then average crop of “O” levels. Looking back, I had a right wing primary and left wing secondary education which probably accounts for my sometimes overbalanced and cynical outlook on life.

It is fashionable to decry Nationalised Industries, but I was lucky enough to gain a five year indentured apprenticeship with the London Electricity Board (LEB) and to be blunt it was a bloody good one. They had a permanent apprentice school handling 400 students per annum, and I recall, not word perfectly, the Senior Apprentice Master’s words when my year was gathered for the first time in the large machine shop. “Gentlemen, (no girls) we will attempt to teach each of you your chosen trade, your success is entirely up to you, but you WILL leave here with an adult attitude to work, regardless.” He added sometime later, since we were only 15/16 and the training staff were loco parentis, that it was immediate dismissal for anyone seen crossing the road to visit the long row of terraced houses opposite, either within or without working hours. That was another eye-opener; some of the houses were allegedly occupied by working ladies and the apparent volume of trade staggered my naivety.

That first year in particular was hard. Discipline at home and at secondary school was strict but this was far more robust. We were novices learning to use tools and process which could kill or seriously maim you, and as importantly, your mates. Not sure in this modern time of delicate skins if that regime as an apprentice would still be tolerated, but we had no serious injuries that year, and this was long before the present Health & Safety requirements.

The Board’s trades were varied, not just house wiring, they ranged from delicate instrument repair through to heavy forging and all points between such as surveying, lead working and the use of machine tools. We all had to do a six week session at each in turn to learn the possibilities and impossibilities each craft could achieve before we settled on our chosen trade. A working week was four days with the LEB plus one day and an evening at a technical college. At the end of those five years, I was a qualified design Engineer with a skill set which would shape the rest of my life.

During the next couple of years with the LEB I had the interesting opportunity to see all sorts of life “at home”, from the severely impoverished to the vastly advantaged, but far more importantly I met Gill, a Wiltshire lass working in London. Having had five years on significantly less than average salary this was suddenly a reason for improving the financial position and when someone showed me an advert for the Civil Service I applied. A giant leap into the dark really. There followed a move to Trowbridge in late 1969, marriage in 1970, subsequently a family and a longish career as a not so civil servant.

Model making milestones.

My father was inquisitive, always wanting to know how things worked but finances were very tight. At one point, as well as a day job and another evening job he did piece work painting lead solders for a company called Britain’s. I recall Welsh Guards (typically) marching by the gross across the kitchen table firstly dipped in red, then again with black trousers, yet again with pink faces and finally with black bearskins. Then of course the detail was added. I was fascinated, particularly with the more exotic models, those for export perhaps or the marching bands with leopard skin fronts. They say you are shaped by your environment.

My first personal modelling memories are of cardboard models cut from the back of cereal packets. Later there was a shop in the high street which sold 1/72nd sized aircraft kits. A poor quality cardboard box containing a few blocks of balsa, a bit of moulded clear acetate for the cockpit and an awfully reproduced sketch plan. Sandpaper and glue were extra, decals or paint unheard of, but then I knew no better. The only one that I recall well was supposed to be a Ju88, cheap and not popular being German, but it had two engines and two bits of acetate.

Of course, being in London I had free access to the many museums, then full of the most wonderful models of all sorts. It was not unusual to see hordes of unaccompanied children in the school holidays visiting interesting (to them) places. Also, I was annually taken to the Model Engineers Exhibitions to see the work of the best craftsmen of their day, if I recall correctly at that time you had to win a local exhibition prize to get selected for London.

In 1955 my brother discovered that Woolworths sold a new form of kit and bought home a light blue plastic Spitfire and a silver Gladiator, each in a clear plastic bag with a poorly illustrated piece of card stapled to the top. He built the biplane and I tried to build the spitfire. Actually, compared to its balsa predecessors it was quite easy. The name on the top was Airfix. Another memory from about that time was a “large” Ferguson tractor in grey plastic, “real rubber” tyres, also Airfix.

One Christmas in the later 50’s a Rovex black Princess Elizabeth “00” train set appeared with two/three short maroon carriages and a battery driven speed controller. The loco had a piston type power collection system. This started an intermittent interest in model railways in Lone Star 000 (now N), TT and 00 scales.

In June 1960, the first edition of Airfix magazine, you will note a trend here, had an article on HMS Cossack. When the 1/600 scale model was available, I spent my pocket money and rescaled it to 1/72nd onto the back of a bit of scrap wallpaper. Dad and I tried to build it but with no real model boat experience it was a failure. Not so two free running Kiel Kraft Tritons, plans for which I note are now in the Club website links. Those ran quite well across Hampstead Heath horse pond, separated by a few years.

Life trundled on and new passions filled the time. In 1973 the now “WE soon to be three” were introduced to dinghy sailing and shortly after my first and last 1/1 scale boat kit was delivered by the postman. A Mirror Newspapers ten foot ten dinghy developed by Barry Bucknall, a popular DIY “expert” at the time. Funded I might add because neither of us drank or smoked, public servants are not well paid despite the public image put about mainly by politicians. Another much more significant addition arrived by stork, a process repeated a little later.

I still occasionally dabbled in 1/72 mainly plastic kit and scratch built Fleet Air Arm aircraft when I found a specific one of historic interest, you might be surprised how inaccurate some of the plastic kits were, they usually needed significant modification. These continued low on the priority list until I was retired.in 2006. Life and modelling gently flowed onward then, as a long-term RNLI supporter, I decided to scratch build a group of four lifeboats in 1/12th scale, about two years each in research and build. The opportunity to display them in support of our local fundraising team led me to meet Robin, then Richard. The rest, I suppose, is recent history.

Mike P

Thanks to Richard and Mike for those pieces.

Do not forget that the Chairman’s challenge for rubber powered free running ‘objects’ is still pending.  At time of writing, I do not know when this will be held, maybe on one of the open days, watch for updates on that.

Undoubtedly, you have seen the list of club events for the remainder of the year, mainly parochial until normality returns, or as near to it as possible that is.

May 31st marked the inaugural World Pond Yacht Day (aka WPYD) we put on a fine display with some welcome visitors swelling the ranks of club members.  Richard has put out a grand report plus pics of the day as well as submitting a piece to the Warminster Journal which has been accepted for publication.  Good show Rich.

I will just put a couple of photos here of 2 especially interesting vessels.  The first is the 10-Rater yacht belonging to Robin Searle (“Lord Robin of Yeovil”) the second is our John K’s super Medway Queen paddle steamer.  Yes, I know it is not a Yacht, but it is still very nice to see. All for now except to remind you all that I would like some more members ‘Pen Portraits’, so come along, let us know how and why you got into modelling and any other interesting snippets.


Warminster Model Boat Club Newsletter March 2021

Here we are into a new year and still no sailing has been possible.  That has not stop build programmes around the club from all the news I’ve sent so thank you guys for your submissions.

Firstly some parish notices

The committee have been seriously considering what should be done regarding annual subscriptions for year 2021-2022.  At the moment the thought is to reduce the subs by 50%, but that will be under review until we know if/when we can get back to the lake and in what manner.

Secondly is the news that the sail racing association that the club had joined has had to cease.  There was a small amount of monies in their account and it was jointly agreed that that should be used as a charitable donation to The Ferne Animal Sanctuary.  For you rag and sticks guys that is a shame, especially as we had purchased the dingy, buoys and a new electric outboard motor.  These, of course, will still be of use and hopefully when circumstances allow, we could hold our own events and maybe invitation races on our open days.

There have been quite a number of posts on our FB group page and John has repeated most of those via email for the benefit of non-Facebook users.  I will not include those but keep to “new” reports.

Now to business. 

Firstly a question from John Sankey.  “Why is a ship a She?”  Answer at the end of the newsletter.

Last time we had a piece from Mike Payne on the build of his Deans Marine 1/96th HMS Bulldog.  Here is his next episode:-

Another bit on the Deans 1/96 Bulldog.

Not sure if I am suffering the lockdown blues but this ‘kit’ is becoming tiresome. As you know I have not built a boat kit like this one before but I wonder if I chose the wrong one. Having looked up its history I now realise this must have been one of the first Deans Marine kits dating back to 1981 or thereabouts. I was warned when I ordered it that quote,” it does not just click together.” Fair enough but I am coming across some weird issues, they are recoverable but to be frank, I am not impressed given this is a kit designed to be fitted out as an R/C model and intended as a starter kit.

Some of the many fittings supplied are of poor quality and indeed damaged. I expect if I asked they would be replaced without hassle but it shouldn’t be necessary surely, anyway I am going to reproduce my own.

The hull, which to be fair is a lovely lightweight moulding has been incorrectly trimmed when compared with the real thing so I have had to build up some of the bulwarks, easy being fibreglass but???

The rudder assembly’s as supplied are made up of a white-metal cast rudder with a (what I took to be some form of stainless) shaft running in a brass bearing tube. Purely by chance, having already assembled everything and glued the decks down, I spotted a comment on the Model Boats forum website about seized rudders on a Deans Bulldog. Sure enough, when I checked, the shaft was ferrous. Result, complete disassembly and a rudder set homemade all in brass. Silly and avoidable at minimum cost to the supplier surely, but an serious embuggerence, particularly had I completed the build before rectification.

Overall there is more good than bad, just more bad than I would expect from a well-established and apparently esteemed supplier, am I being picky, or just unlucky? Has any other Club member built a ‘Dean’, if so how did they feel about it?

OK whinge over, progressing slowly and irritably awaiting the next build issue. I still think overall it is going to be a pretty little boat, I look at John’s build of the big one with admiration, hopefully in time both will populate the lake and mine will not let the team down.

Richard has sent this report on his ‘Banana boat’

Banana Boat Build – Part 3: Radio, Sails and Rigging

On the home stretch of building the Banana Boat now. I have taken a break in the actual build due to Christmas, lockdown 3 and a visit to the hospital which made me lose interest in doing any modelling for a while. Anyway, I am back in my workshop (with halogen heater) and eager to finish the job.

Following on from part 2, the next part to fit is the keel. However, before I do that I need to turn the hull cradle I have been using into a proper boat stand to allow for the keel clearance. I just added four legs. The keel was fabricated in part 2 so all there is to do now is to fit it into the slot in the hull. However, the slot needs first to be cut in the hull bottom being careful not to cut too wide or beyond the forward and aft bulkheads. The same Evostick adhesive was used making sure that the join at the hull bottom was made waterproof and smooth. The deck hatch cover was then fitted with the keel nylon securing nut and the unit set aside to dry.

The next job was to fabricate the three sails – 2 mains and a jib. The sail material is a thin polythene and the instructions suggest that a supermarket plastic bag be used. Not wanting to advertise any particular supermarket I opted to use a polythene dust sheet obtainable from DIY stores instead. Mine happened to be blue in colour. The plan in the kit gives the size and shape of the three sails so it was just a matter of tracing the shape onto the material and cutting them out. The picture below shows the jib plan shape but the other sails are done in the same way.

The two mainsails are gaff rigged, the gaffs being made from 3mm dia. carbon fibre rods. Securing the sails to the gaffs and the various other sheets is done using strips of waterproof duct/gaffer/cloth tape. I had a roll of 48mm wide, grey Gorilla tape so that’s what I used. The gaffs are fixed first – simply cutting an appropriate length of tape, sticking it to one side of the sail, laying the gaff in position and rolling the tape round onto the other side of the sail. The sail leading edge (luff) was strengthened with a 12 mm wide strip of tape both sides and the gaff tape trimmed to suit.

Clearly the gaffs will eventually need to be attached to the masts so an adjustable line is attached to the gaffs by pushing through the tape just under the gaff at a given position. To allow for adjustment when rigging to the masts the line is threaded twice through a short length (4mm) of silicon tubing and a stopper knot tied at the end of the line.

The 3mm dia. carbon fibre booms were then attached to the two mainsails. The tack was simply attached directly using a strip of tape. The clew needed to have some adjustment to allow for some fullness of the sail so a line was stuck to the sail clew using tape then threaded twice through a short silicon tube and ending the line in a stopper knot. The tube was then slid onto the end of the boom. Two other fixing are needed on the boom – one to simulate a “goose neck” and the other a sail sheet. The goose neck is simply a 6mm dia. loop of line attached to the boom with a short silicon tube for adjustment, with another line through the same tube with another tube attached for eventually fitting to the mast.

The jib on the boat is not gaff rigged but just the usual Bermuda rig and so is fabricated slightly differently but still using duct tape. The clew of the jib was attached to the boom in the same way as for the main sails. However a forestay line was attached to the luff of the jib using tape once again. The tack of the jib was attached using the bottom end of this forestay line using two lengths of tube, one to fix to the boom the other for adjustment. As for the two mainsails, a jib sheet was attached to the jib boom using a length of line and two lengths of tube. (See picture on next page).

This then completed the fabrication of the sails with only fixing to the masts and completing the rigging to be done. However, it is more convenient to install the radio whilst the sails are not in place so that was the next task. I chose to install my Ikonnik KA6 radio gear, mainly because I had just found a replacement transmitter for the one that was duff and I still had six perfectly serviceable KA6 receivers. There are two pockets under the deck hatch, one for the battery pack and the other for the receiver with connecting holes for the servo and battery leads. I chose to use a 6v, 4 x AAA, switched battery holder which meant I didn’t need a separate switch. Having connected up the system I set the sail servo to the fully in position in advance of rigging the sails and secured the deck hatch with the nylon bolt.

The installation of the sails is fairly straightforward. For the mainsails, the top and bottom tubes are slid onto the appropriate mast together with the loops which serve as the goose necks with the sail sitting on the port side of the mast. The jib tack forestay line is passed through the most forward deck eye and tied off leaving about 10mm free line. The tube at the head of the jib forestay is then slid over the top of the forward mast.

Now for the sail sheets. The aft mainsail sheet is passed through the two aft deck eyes and then tied off on the outermost port end of the sail arm. Similarly the middle mainsail sheet is passed through the deck eye on the hatch cover and tied off on the outermost starboard end of the sail arm. Finally the jib sheet is passed through the remaining deck eye and again tied off on the starboard end of the sail arm.

The range of movement from fully in to fully out was then checked and where necessary adjustments made. The general set up of the sails was then adjusted using the various tubes so that the sail trim looked about right. Needless to say this will need to be adjusted again once on the water.

With that completed the build was done – just need to be able to get to the water to see how it goes. Judging from other examples it should sail surprisingly well and is at home in whatever wind is available. A picture of the finished boat is on the next page but I must say that it is not an example of my best work. I found the novel materials difficult to use. I think I’ll stick to good old wooden construction for future models. Oh well! On to the next project.

Peter May has been getting right into his lifeboat builds here is his piece on how far he has got.

My lifeboat story (to date)

In 2019 I purchased one of the last Speedline 1:16 Shannon kits from Speedline who ceased trading as such soon after. Some of their mouldings and fittings now appear on EBay but not as full kits.

Speedline where a company producing high quality lifeboat kits in 1:12 and 1:16 and at a cost that reflected this. The quality and quantity of the mouldings and fittings was exceptional.

Even the jet drive units looked good-on paper.

The build went ahead in the second half of 2019 and all proceeded without problem and initial trials in early 2020 seemed encouraging and then lock down occurred and I didn’t get back to the lake until the summer of 2020 for more thorough testing.

Photo 1

It was apparent that though the boat went well enough it seemed to lack real power and so a course of testing by trial and error occurred with the help of Andy Hill. The original power supply was a pair of 12 volt NIMS in parallel but these were blowing high amperage fuses and we wondered if the NIMS were not suppling sufficient current so we changed to a single 3S LIPO which seemed to improve matters to some extent. In fact, running on a 2S battery did not seem to reduce the speed by much and it was concluded there must be an optimum voltage for the 1:16 drives and after which increasing the voltage just gives a diminishing return.

Having accepted the limitations the boat was run for a number of weeks over the summer until it started to leak seriously. The cause was traced to the prop shafts on the Speedline jet drives that had water passing the O rings. There was no choice than to strip down the drives in situ and install new brass prop shafts which was a tricky job but successful. Further runs during the latter part of the summer proved the repairs had worked and the boat was now serviceable.

Building on my knowledge with the 1:16 I decided to proceed with the 1:12 Models by Design Shannon which I had actually had in stock before the Speedline 1:16.

The M by D is just a hull, deck and cabin with a few fitting, all the rest having to be fabricated from scratch

No Jet drives included either so I opted for the Oceonworks units which come from Hong Kong. I’ve been following the Shannon Forum on the Facebook page and everyone seemed to rave about them. Duly ordered during lock down they arrived after a few weeks and I would say the quality is excellent to the extent they come with all fittings and working Trim Tabs.

Construction went well during 2020 and I was able to test the basic boat last summer between lockdowns to prove all worked.

Photo 2,3,4,5

Construction has continued and is basically now complete.

The boat runs on double 3S Batteries and has adequate performance because I suspect the jet drives and at 1:12 are more efficient.

I think the electronics have been some of the most complicated I have installed on any boat to date and I’m interested to see it completed on the lake when we get back.

Having completed the Shannon’s I felt I should build another lifeboat and with some encouragement from Robin I have decided on a 1:12 Mersey.

Mountfleet models do the hull and cabin mouldings but are currently not available as the moulds are being repaired, however another Facebook group gave access to a guy who also makes a hull which was available in 7 – 14 days which seemed ideal.

I decided I would build the cabin from HIP which is easy to work.

Photo 6

As you can see the hull duly arrived this week and building is now well in hand.

Again most of the build will be a scratch build job.

At least this this has props on and should be a whole lot easier to build – or that’s the hope.

 Take care all and hope to see you back at the lake sometime later in the year.


Pic 1
Pic 2
Pic 3
Pic 4
Pic 5
Pic 6

As a footnote to Peter’s piece When he started his 1/16th Shannon he kindly took up my suggestion to base it on 13-38 which is to be the new boat at Sheerness in Kent.  My 1/16th Trent class is based on their current boat, so in real life, Peter’s boat will replace mine.  This is the 2 of them (models that is) shown together.

Shannon Lifeboat
Trent Lifeboat

Message via John K.

Another Brian build paddle steamer in progress.

This time it’s the City of River Fall.     The pictures on the back of  bench show it and I can see the funnels are spaced  well apart in line , but I cannot find another photo the same anywhere , so that makes it a bit special. It’s surprising as it was commissioned in the middle years that the company run.  

But with Brian’s normal touch just from a photo it will be beautiful come the end.

Thanks Brian.


News from John Thomas that he is finding building a little difficult at present having recently had a cataract operation, but he has sent a pic of his latest schooner.

We would like to introduce a “Getting to know your fellow members” section to the newsletter, based on an idea from Noel Adams from something his model railway club do.  In this we invite you to write a ‘Pen Portrait’ about yourself with the main emphasis on modelling in your life, but include whatever of your personal history that you would be happy to share with us, of course these will only be able to be viewed by bona fide club members.

To start the ball rolling I have news from both John Kitley and John Rogers.  J.K first then as he is club secretary after all!

Get to know your members

John Kitley:

Born in 1949 in Knook a tiny village 4miles from Warminster, so I am a true Wiltshire Moonraker. Heytesbury primary School and Kingdown Secondary Modern as it was called in those days.  Being in a village surrounded by farms I spent any spare time and holidays helping out and was driving tractors from the age of 12 and a Massey Harris combine when I was 13.   Leaving School I day released and spent 2 years boarding in at Lackham Agricultural School as it was called in whose days 1968/69, life was Ag Machinery. City and Guilds certificates in Ag Engineering.

First job junior engineer with O&J House AGRI Contractors in Powerstock Dorset staying in B&B. 

At that time came the stupid years, married at 18 divorced at 23 with a young daughter who I still speak to weekly.

Changed lifestyle to forget the bad times I moved to Isle of Wight and worked on a building site, lived in a grotty caravan on site, for two years.

That’s when I spent many a night in the night club of my beloved Medway Queen Paddle Steamer.

Back to the mainland and married Maggie in 1974 and still going strong most days ha-ha.

First job with a house when married I milked cows for 2 years, what a nightmare.  Then National Tyres for 2 years, reached National Finals in Manchester for changing lorry tyres on hard shoulder of motorway.

All jobs seemed to last two years, but I was never sacked.

We lived in Knook, Upton Lovell then finally got a Council House in Codford where we lived for some 13 years.

Another two years in a second-hand Porsche garage in Heytesbury when I regularly delivered and collected super cars from London , Birmingham and a lot to Leicester.  Great jobs like that never last.

But more fun ensued working with Russell a club member and best mate at Codford Motor Body Works, or COMOBOWO.

Many a tale could be told of this job at that time, but would take for ever so much that enough to write a book.

Two more children and a mortgage   bought a sense of, oh better settle down now.

So back to agriculture and R. Tincknell & Son at their Wilton Depot. Main John Deere Dealership and 26 years later, working through as workshop technician to Service Manager. Green blood flowed through my veins. Tractors, combines and every piece of Ag equipment of the time.   John Deere were very pushy to the point that the company sacked them and closed all the Ag depots. I finished my last couple of years running their Depot Workshop at Devizes.

Two more years with John Deere with R Hunt at the new depot in Shrewton until head hunted by C&O tractors at Blandford , main New Holland Dealers .   Change of colour was tricky for a year or two but 11 years later I was in a position where I did not need to know every technical resolution to a problem   , more how many productive man hours can be achieved in 40 hours at what cost and so on.  

At the age of 68, I was ready to retire until again fate, my boss then sacked New Holland and we became overnight full blown Massey Ferguson Dealers.   Well back to my childhood and MF I thought I would like a bit of that and said I would give it for 2 more years ,  that would take me to 70 and I thought that’s got to be enough.  Whilst Service Manager I never had less than 10 engineers to look after.

Because of total commitment to looking after every whim to poor farmers and their highly expensive equipment 7 days a week for over 40 years, I never had time for any hobbies until about 6 years ago.

Again meeting an old member of the club member from Heytesbury Brian Turner who invited Russ and myself to the park to see what we thought.

So we joined and as time went on I started to help out and then took on the Secretaries roll.   

There has been a club at Warminster for over 30 years with various numbers and when we joined I think there was only about 6 active members.  Now with around 50 the club has gone from strength to strength.

I like scratch building and restoration jobs , I cannot bring myself to spending hundreds of pounds on kits which I know will have loads of parts not fitted and listening to people say how poor some of the kits are puts me off even more.  Even my Airfix plastic model Spitfires are short of their pilot’s arms or legs as just too fiddly.

Hence most of my models are on the large side, so I can work inside and not break parts off just getting in to access.

The thing is with this hobby, there is always a model that appeals to you and gets the adrenalin running so much so that they often have to be kept out of sight of the wife for some months to find the right time for them to emerge. Ha-ha.    How much !!!!!!

So unlike some of our members that have been modelling for years I am actually , bit of a late starter , so have to gain info all the time from all sources but mainly  just talking to members in the club helps me get through . Some guys know modelling like I know the part number of an oil filter for a John Deere 3040 tractor is T19044 , some things you never forget.

Hope this has been of interest to you. 

Take care   John Kitley   Club Secretary.

No newsletter can be complete without something from John Rogers this is his contribution:-


                I was born at a very early age in Liverpool in 1947.  My parents were much older than me. Later when I worked at the Hospitals Trust I had a chance to check the birth records.  No mention ……!! Well it was pre NHS!

                My first recollection of model making was when a next door neighbour’s son gave me an Airfix ‘Golden Hind’ kit when I was 5 or so. Glued it and my fingers together and painted them both with a Humbrol gloss brown paint.  Well, I thought it looked good. (I still have that tin of paint!!)

                Went through school but although I got O levels, I decided I wasn’t academic and failed my A levels. This, you realise was in the 1960’s in Liverpool and there were much better things for a teenager to do…..  Got certificates in Car Crime, Breaking and Entering and Forgery though. Well, it was a Liverpool school!

                While at school got a weekend job working in a model shop (Hobbies Ltd.) which was so funny and enjoyable I wish I could have stayed but the money wasn’t good.  But the perks were!!  Never paid for glues or paint. The funny stories are so many.  Ask me about fireworks sometime.

                Ended up after school in Liverpool Corporation as a committee clerk (boring) but it paid regular money.  Because by now I had discovered cars and rallying.  I acquired a second hand Mini 850 with birthday money from parents who realised that a car was safer than my 650 BSA Gold Star.  And with this car I discovered North Wales and Derbyshire at night, fast with maps.   And girls, also at night. I made some firm friends and formed TGR Automotive as a part time job to fettle rally cars and do general servicing to pay for the sport.  Sadly, I am now the last as the T and G have departed this earth.

        I joined the Liverpool Teaching Hospitals Group but left in 1972 as I got married and decided that fun though Liverpool was there were better places to raise a family.  All this time though I was still making models – almost all plastic kits.  I recall the Aurora rep. trying to sell Hobbies a plastic kit of the Titanic. I got the job of making it and decided to saw it I half, diagonally.  You get the idea.  Put it in the shop window.  Not a good idea.  It was Liverpool after all – lots of family connections! Complaints were many.  Good model though.

                So, came south to sunny Wiltshire, liked it so much we stayed.  Ended up at County Hall as Countryside Manager – footpaths, parks, landscapes etc.  In 1997 Jennie suffered a collapse in the office (also County hall) and was diagnosed with a brain tumour.  By now I was 50 and they offered me redundancy with full pension so I could look after her.

                But all this time I had been rallying, quite successfully, and Vauxhall offered me a part time job rallying, demos and 4×4 instructing. This paid far more than County Hall and I got to see the world (well Europe) for free.  And got lots of funny stories. Guess how much beer is in Norway!!

                Still kept modelling though.  In 1974 I decided to make a model of HMS Kent. Finished it finally about 4 years ago!!!  I discovered radio control aircraft and joined the R/C club at Keevil and became secretary. (Yes!  Andy and Richard, I was there before you!!) There are lots of shallow depressions in the grass at Keevil and the White Horse that are down to me.  Realising slowly that model trains don’t crash as often I built a number of layouts and am still a member of a Frome club that does N scale American stuff. Just sold a layout (On30 American narrow gauge) to fund Audi Quattro.  (Why do I have expensive hobbies?)

                And then, having finished the ‘Kent’, I tried more model boats and discovered the shady crowd who are the Warminster Model Boat Club.  The rest, as they say, is history………

Also from John R

 “Did you see in the newspaper the bit about the Pope?

Apparently he is a cat lover and has been going out and around Rome with helpers saving strays.  He takes them back to the Vatican and cares for them with help from the vets.

The problem is he now has over 100 and his Cardinals are afraid it is becoming an obsession.

They fear he may become a Roman Cataholic………

And finally the answer to the question “why is a ship a she?”

Answer-  A ship is called a ‘she’ because there is always a great deal of bustle around her; there is usually gang of men about, she has a waist and stays; it takes a lot of paint to keep her good looking; it is not the initial expense that breaks you, it’s the upkeep; she can be all decked out; it takes an experienced man to handle her correctly; and without a man at the helm, she is absolutely uncontrollable.  She shows her topsides, hides her bottom and when coming into port always heads for the buoys.


Warminster Model Boat Club Newsletter _____December 2020

Would you believe it? Just after we went to press last time I received this super report from John Rogers about his latest project.  We had a taster a little while ago so here, in John’s own words, is the latest sitrep.

Thank God the riveting has stopped.

Now, a lot of you will have realised by now that my main interest in ships is naval history, particularly the world wars.  Coming from Liverpool as I do, I also have an attachment to those old, dirty 3 island tramps steamers which ploughed the seas for the British Empire. I went to the Holt School which was named after Alfred Holt of Blue Funnel Line fame and we regularly got dragged around their ships whenever they were in port.

          So my next model had to reflect that and I fancied a Q ship from 1917. In 1917 Britain was facing starvation and defeat from German U boats as there was little defence against them.  No sonar or depth charges as in WW2.  Convoys were belatedly introduced in 1917 as a desperate measure and found to be the answer as up until then freighters sailed independently and were picked off one by one.

          The RN came up with the idea of heavily armed decoy ships that would lure U boats to attack them and then spring a surprise.  Torpedoes were very expensive and most merchant ships were sunk by gunfire from a surfaced U boat, hence the idea.  In the beginning these decoys were converted merchantmen, but later the Admiralty converted a number of sloops.  These were built to look like a typical tramp steamer of the period, purposely dirty and travel stained.  They operated out of Queenstown in S. Ireland (now Cobh) and became known as Q ships accordingly.

          The problem for me making a model is that they were considered to be ‘secret weapons’ and few photos exist. However I found plans of a well deck steamer similar to the ‘Anchusa’ class and started construction.  I wanted to create the image of an old iron hulled freighter so decided to make the hull from wood planking in the usual manner but cover it in plates of ‘metal’ (plasticard!) to give it the correct appearance.  Hence the reference to riveting!  6 weeks later…….

          The attached photos show the nearly finished model.  It is a bit of Eric Morecambe in that as no colour photos exist the paint scheme is all the right colours and all the right patterns, but not necessarily in the right order!  Norman Wilkinson was an artist who came up with the idea of dazzle schemes to break up the shape of ships to confuse U boat captains.  The other problem for the model maker – or perhaps its answer – is that there were 140 plus Q ships and each time they sailed they changed name and appearance.  It is impossible therefore to identify a particular ship/colour scheme/name at a specific time. Well, that’s my excuse anyway.

          Apart from some of the fittings it is scratch built.  I was keen to get the character of the iron hull right as I feel that some fibreglass hulls look …. just like a fibreglass hull.  Ok for a modern ship, but not for a battered tramp.  Think John Masefield – “Dirty British coaster with a salt caked smoke stack, butting through the channel in the mad March days …..”

          Not finished yet – still to add guns etc. and finish painting.


From John Kitley

This quite quick launch has been around the club now for some ten years. Brian Turner from Heytesbury who is not a member now, but bought originally and had it restored nicely including a new Planet 2.4 radio.     Brian sailed it regularly and as said was very quick for its age with just a 600 Graupner brushed motor.

But Brian used to have the odd collision usually with the unforgiving metal sides of the lake, and I will admit we thought it was Brian getting on in years that was the problem.    

But when Brian was giving up I bought it from him with the knocks it had taken and had it for a few years. Some of Brian’s repairs were not that great, but I lived with it and never got round to tidying it. I sailed it with the radio that came with it and after a while I realised that this radio had a bit of a mind of its own as I managed to have some very near escapes from sidewall and other models on the water.

I thought oops perhaps it was not Brian’s fault after all.  I put a different radio gear in it and it was great and never missed a beat. I will apologise to Brian when I see him again.    

Then, must be nearly two years ago I sold it to John Thomas, who was happy to make the repairs along with his many projects.

But John’s real passion is wind power and has shown us all his sailing skills and expertise in that field, I have ended up having the Admiral back again.

John had inserted some sections in the hull and part covered the outside with a fine cloth and stuck in position with Poly-C a RC World product which they call the Original Laminating and Finishing Resin, which I guess John has used on his model aircraft.   It certainly worked well as long as you don’t make too many drips as it’s a sod to rub down when dry.  Anyway I have finished the repairs, then under coat and red Plastikote fast dry Enamel from B&M up to the water line.    B&M are open as they are essential to supply everything they can.  Ha-ha.

Anyway see the text and photos on the Admiral which has always been in yellow, do I now make it the original white.

Following on from that, John sent this message…

When paint jobs go wrong, but  on the other side may save on the wife’s  out goings.

I can see now why the colour of the Admiral refurb , was yellow , as the original white does look pretty bland  and would take a lot of stripes or rubbing strips to make her look better.

But one job I did not think I needed to do was the varnish/ resin finish to all the deck areas that looked really good before painting started.  Outdoor winter painting always a problem.!!!

When I need a good line of masking I usually buy the green frog tape that has worked for me well in the past.  So masking and two coats primer and top coat over a period of two days it was time to remove the masking to reveille the finished job to discover oh —-.

Carefully removing the masking I found to my horror it was also removing all the varnish from all the deck area. 

So apart from her not looking so nice in white I have another major job I had not anticipated.

I am hoping to use the frog tape to remove the rest in a similar manner.

Now the saving, the next time you want to buy the wife a beauty product, gift wrap a roll of frog tape for her to wax certain parts of the body, what a surprise present for Christmas it will make. 

  Depending on which areas it gets used on one roll could last a year or so if she keeps keep it warm.

Good luck !!!!!!!  Hope you like the hints and tips section for today.  £4.50 well spent .HAAAAAA.

Danger do not use on old varnish, but great for hair removal.  

Andy Hill has a new steam powered project under way

News from Richard on a couple of his projects.  Firstly his Rother Class Lifeboat:-

My Rother Class Lifeboat Model – “Silver Jubilee”. The story so far.

During lockdown 2 I plodded on with my Rother Class Lifeboat kit which I started in lockdown 1. There were many problems and trials with this kit which will form the subject of a longer article so here I will just give you the summary of where I’ve got to.

The GRP hull, complete with fore, aft and side decking and with two prop shafts and rudder mechanism installed is now ready for painting using Humbrol spray paints. As is the GRP cabin complete with portholes and window cut outs but without windows until after spraying. The boat looks as if it is in arctic camouflage at the moment.

The boat is driven by two Mtronik 600 brushed motors using two Hobbywing Qutrun 1060 ESCs powered by two 3S Lipos and two 3 bladed brass props from “Propshop”. The cast white metal props that came with the kit were rubbish! I was concerned about the limited movement of the rudder so I have fitted a transparent extension to increase rudder power.

Whilst building and preparing the big bits I also started assembling and painting the wheelhouse interior, complete with tools and crew and other items to be added to the cabin and hull after painting.

Assuming that the weather dries up a little bit I intend to start paint spraying soon but the boat won’t be finished for the end of lockdown 2. I guess it will be ready for our new season in the spring assuming we are allowed to sail again then.


And secondly, his “Banana Boat”

Banana Boat Build – Part 1: Fabricating the Hull

During lockdown 2 I decided to build the Banana Boat Kit I have had in the cupboard for about 6 years, in parallel with continuing steadily with my Rother Class lifeboat kit. The Banana Boat build is novel to me in that it uses novel materials and techniques and the sailing of the final model will also be different. Following our attempts to keep you all entertained I decided that a sort of “blog” on progress might be good, probably in several stages. So here goes. Let’s start with what the finished model should look like:

Yes the hull looks like a Banana – hence the name. Some of you may have thought it was one of the cargo vessels that brings bananas to the UK. As you can see, twin masts really classifies it as a schooner, the two mainsails are gaff rigged and it is a “swing rig” setup. All new to me.

The kit was designed by Ian Campbell of the Weymouth & Portland MBC and at the time cost me £25.00 although that may be “mates rates”. The hull is made from 6mm Depron foam which is very light (and fragile) and is held together with Evostick Seriously Strong Stuff Ultimate Adhesive which comes in cartridges for which you need a gun to apply. The deck, sides and bottom of the hull are made from two halves of Depron which are pre-cut in sheets in the kit and which are glued together to make the full length, held flat with weights and laid on polythene sheet to prevent it sticking to everything. Depron is easy to cut but the knife needs a very sharp, new blade, or it will pull the foam rather than make a clean cut.

Sticking the fore and aft halves together proved to be no problem but I’ve never been so messy applying adhesive before. This was due to having to apply it using the gun which made precise working difficult. My hand wobbled! It was also because you needed two pairs of hands to hold the parts in position after gluing whilst applying tape and bands to hold it in place until it sets. The adhesive takes 24 hours to properly set and remains very slightly flexible. Having got all the parts the next steps is to assemble the “spine” of the boat, again from 6mm Depron. During this operation a slot for the keel had to be made by gluing two doublers to the two spine halves leaving the correct gap. A drawn plan is given to ensure the correct position and alignment. Following that the “bulkheads” are attached. You can see the shape of the banana now. The bow is the stalk end.

The deck, bow and transom plates, bottoms and sides and now added and this is where the second pair of hands comes in. Diane was good enough to help me hold it in position whilst I applied tape and straps and more tape and bands and more tape to hold the flat pieces to the curved spine shape. I got covered in glue which of course then spread to the surface I was holding. Yuk! Actually pins are no good on foam, they just pull out but they do keep sideways alignment OK. Fortunately the glue is soluble in white spirit so clean up of hands was easy enough. In the picture showing the bottom of the boat you can see the slot for the keel and also the messy finger prints on the surface. You can also see the access holes in the deck; the two smaller ones are for the 5 or 8 gram mini servos and the larger two for receiver and battery pack. The thin pieces of foam between the two larger holes is very fragile and I did manage to break it trying to hold the deck in place on the spine.

The structure of the hull is now complete and I took time out to make a cradle for the hull. I will turn this into a stand when the boat has its keel fitted. I must confess to using some filler on the finished hull where the struggle with the glue and alignment weren’t quite right but that won’t be seen under the covering. Be careful with what filler, some solvents in the fillers will dissolve Depron foam!  I made a point of testing fillers and glues on Depron scraps before using them on the model itself. Yes, the boat is covered in yellow (or green if you don’t want a ripe one) self-adhesive vinyl. You can’t paint Depron foam. Another new one on me.

See the next instalment for fabrication of the keel and ballast weight, rudder and the challenge of covering the foam in vinyl.

Finally for this newsletter, some earth shattering news is that Mike Payne has broken from his lifetime of ‘scratch building’ and has started on a kit.  Here is his report:-

One of Richard’s inherited hulls started me looking at coastal survey vessels of the RN. Couldn’t see myself finishing, let alone lifting the big Bulldog but long story short, I sent off for a Deans Marine 1/96th kit of the same vessel

I normally build from scratch, something to do with deep pockets but short arms, however, this was the first full boat kit I have purchased since my Mirror Dinghy delivered in the early 70’s. First impressions seemed good and then started to go South but I will hold my closing thoughts until all is over. Am writing this as I go so it might get a bit disjointed.

For those unaware the boat itself is, I believe, pretty for an RN vessel, very small in this scale and was originally finished, being a Hydrographic vessel, in the ‘almost’ Victorian colours of white hull and upperworks with yellow/buff funnel and mast, Before leaving the Service they were repainted CDL Weatherwork light grey but there are enough grey boats about.

The kit turned out to be introduced in 1981 and included two build write-ups, one dated 1999 and the other 2004. These were worth reading because clearly, over time, errors had been identified and some difficulties resolved. As presented to me the kit consisted of a nicely moulded and very curvaceous lightweight G/F hull, two trays of metal and resin bits, several sheets of laser cut plasticard superstructure components and a couple of vac-form sheets.

Clearly the laser cut sheets saved a lot of cutting time, however I found a few of the parts were incorrectly cut, relatively easy to resolve but it led me into a mind-set that perhaps I had got something wrong. Don’t mind making my own errors but not sure if I expected such shortfalls in a kit intended for the largely inexperienced.

Another consideration is displacement, stated at approx. 950gm. Have already selected small 300 style motors, lightweight Mtronix ESCs and a 9gm Ripmax servo, will probably replace some of the cast metal components with plastic replicas. Ideally want to use up any spare displacement with battery storage to give a long sailing capability..

Despite misgivings the pre-cut superstructure is growing rapidly, pic attached hopefully, far quicker than I could have scratch built, and the modifications mentioned in the write-ups have proved easy to implement. Can forgive the few incorrect parts and the instruction “manual”. Given the speed of progress. Gill is complaining (joke) I have taken up glue sniffing again, too cold now for the ventilation I know I should be providing.

Ship’s 28ft survey boat (a real feature of this Class of vessels) roof looks a bit odd but cannot find a definitive picture of the original. I expect to see a cabin roof camber but cannot ever remember seeing an RN launch with a roof bowed fore/aft and port/stbd. Will be another modification probably unless any of you know different. For info, only HMS Endurance, the ice ship (ex Anita Dan), carried similar launches (2 off, 5ton each, mounted on the foredeck) in the RN during this period (1980s)

Have decided to back/seal all windows and ports, cannot see any wisdom in leaving an open invitation to water ingress anywhere on such a small model, perhaps I should leave a hole in the bottom to let any water that does get in get out!

Having winged about a few dubious parts I was impressed with the fit of the pre-cut parts supplied to produce the multi-faceted and curved bridge front assembly. They went together with only the smallest quantity of filler necessary. The third pic shows the result, the three basic blocks of superstructure simply placed on the hull and presently loose fitted decks. Lots of fitting and detail to add but this is where I am at the moment.

John has sent some news that, at time of writing, Russell has had some time in the RUH, Bath having had more than one heart attack and is currently awaiting a space to become available at a Bristol for further treatment.  Don’t know any details, but we wish him a speedy recovery. That just leave to say that we hope you all have as wonderful Christmas and New Year as current conditions allow and if things go to plan we should be back on the lake from January 7th.  Should be quite a few new builds on the water then.


Warminster Model Boat Club Newsletter September 2020

My, how time has flown despite all the restrictions etc.  So much so that I’ve just realised I have not penned September’s newsletter, so here goes.

I’d like to start with blowing my own trumpet just a little.  In July I completed the build of a 1/12th scale RNLI Severn Class lifeboat for a third party.  With help from John, Richard and John’s Passat I was able to get her in the water on the 26th for trials prior to the owner coming to collect it.  We managed to have a bit of a Lifeboat gala. Which went down well, I think.  Plenty of photos and video’s taken, so hopefully whenever we are able to have some indoor meetings again, we could have ourselves a film show.

Mike Payne’s picture of the Severn
A gathering of things Orange

As you will be aware, the committee had the task of having the Club AGM under rather strange conditions.  Thanks to John Rogers we were able to hold a meeting in his garden being able to maintain social distancing and all that.  Suffice is to say that “The Famous Five” have remained at the helm.

I have been somewhat incapacitated for a while and have been unable to take any sailing slots but it has been very good to see the way the booking system is working, well done Richard for that, and all the emails from John and Co. with pics of so many new vessels on the lake.  Kevan keeping up his reputation for “novelty” items with his model of Campbell’s Bluebird.  Even an aircraft carrier has been afloat.  That’s a first for us.

I am reminded that the Chairman’s challenge is still in place. A rubber powered free running vessel of your own invention is all that is required.  You would have had details previously.

End of October saw the club have its first Thursday afternoon sailing with the advent of the clocks going back to GMT.

Club membership is around 48 at present, giving us some vacancies to our agreed max of 55.  We have had 7 new members since June and there were 10 who did not renew their membership. 

It is sad that Model Slipway have closed up shop with Jackie and Lawrie taking retirement.  The quality of their kits and service was, in my experience, really good.  Just as I was about to order a Gry Maritha kit from them as well.  With Speedline and Models by Design also shutting up shop that’s 3 British suppliers gone this year.

Having said that, there have been some postings on one of the Facebook group forums that the Speedline range may soon be available again.  The person who has been supplying mouldings under licence has said that he is close to being in a position to supply full lifeboat kits.  Which models (Trent, Severn, Shannon) and which scales I’m not sure.  But a space worth watching!

Would be nice to include news of members latest projects on here so please get in some photos and news of your latest acquisitions and build logs.  With the demise of Model Slipway, as mentioned, I’m currently on a 90th scale salvage Tug from Billing Boats called Zwarte Zee.  She is 900mm long and has a single screw.

Robin’s Zwarte Zee

Let’s have your news then and see you next time.

STOP PRESS With the latest Covid-19 restrictions just announced by the P.M. coming into force on November 5th, our sailing on Sunday November 1st will have to be the last we can have until further notice.


Warminster Model Boat Club Newsletter June 2020

Who could have imagined the events of the second quarter of this year turning out as it has done.  From coping with a very wet launch area at the lake in feb/march to no launches, or anything since.

Thankfully John K and Richard have been sending out emails to us all with all sorts of news, quizzes and humorous items.  Thanks chaps.

Many of us have, inevitably, been working away at our various projects and, again, we’ve been kept up to date with some of them.

I think I’ll list those that I know about with as many pics as can be fitted in.

Quite a bit has been involved lifeboats of one sort or another but I’ll start with non SAR vessels.

John K has been advancing his scratch build Medway Queen.  After some problems with stability he used the keel off a Dragon 65 has established the weight required.

Noel Adams has been keeping us up to date with his Starlet build on our Facebook page and he, too, has had ballast type problems involving a modification to the keel, something that John may want to consider for his MQ!

John Thomas has been feeding us updates with his Antares Yacht, which looks absolutely splendid.  Reckon she’ll look impressive when under sail.

Clive Orchard has done some work on restoring the Jupiter 550 that he bought at the Bring and Buy that we held at the Cons Club.

John Rogers has an interesting scratch build in progress. I have copied his own words here describing what he is up to:-

No, it is not a kit, – I downloaded some plans and converted them so as to build an ‘Aubretia’ class sloop, WW1 variety.  In 1916 the U boat menace was getting out of hand so the RN thought it would be a good idea to put hidden guns on cargo ships to lure U-boats to surface and use their gun. It was the only answer the RN had and was moderately successful so they built a class of sloops using merchant ship plans. They named them after flowers. Just like WW2 Corvettes!

They operated from Queenstown, (now Cobh) and became known as Q ships accordingly.

After the war the survivors were sold off for use as tramps.

The model is 1/72 scale (like my corvette!). Balsa planking, sealed, then plated with plasticard sheets to make it look like a steel ship. Very few photos exist as they were considered to be ‘secret’ weapons so a lot of the detail will have to be creative!

Seeing John use the word Tramp, I am reminded of the third verse of John Masefield’s poem “Cargoes”

“Dirty British coaster with the salt-caked smoke stack,

Butting through the channel in the mad march days’

With a cargo of Tyne coal,

Road-Rails, pig-lead

Firewood, iron-ware and cheap tin trays”

Just thought I’d slip that in.

Now news of our ever increasing fleet of lifeboats.

Peter May has completed his 1/16th scale Shannon, then after building a hovercraft made from balsa and foam, is now on to his 1/12th Shannon.

Be great to see the water jets in action on the lake.

Vic has completed the build of his “Alice Upjohn”.  She was a Rother class lifeboat and was the station boat at Dungeness in Kent.

Coincidentally, Richard, our Hon Treas, has had the kit for one of these for quite a while now.  Now having started it I said to him that we cannot have 2 boats of the same name and number, to which he agreed.  After a suggestion of mine, he is going to model his on the ex-Margate boat “Silver Jubilee”, which still exists and lives in New York USA.

When starting the build, Richard was more than a little dismayed to find that the hull had sustained some damage and that a number (c.120) of the die-cast white metal fittings were missing.  Fortunately these issues have been resolved although the quality of the replacement fittings is none too special and will require a fair amount of fettling.

He has completed the refurbishment of his Tyne class and has it so it will be able to launch remotely from a slipway.  Now that will be fun to watch!

Peter Watts has acquired a Barnett class lifeboat ready to run, which he believes was modelled on the ex- Weymouth boat.  It seems to be around 1/16th scale

He is also into the build of a 1/16th scale Trent class lifeboat similar to my own.

He tells me that he is going to base it on the station boat of Achill Island (14-28) a place he has visited in Ireland and thought it we be nice to do a model of their boat.

Now how about this for coincidences?

Before Peter May offered his Trent Lifeboat up for sale I had decided that whenever I was able to build one it would be based on 14-13 George and Ivy Swanson the boat at Sheerness in Kent.  To fund this I sold my Wyeforce tug and the guy who had it had the surname Swanson.

Now, as Peter May has made his 1/16th Shannon based on the Sheerness boat to be so I wondered what boat they had there before the Trent.  It was a Waveney class “Helen Turnball”.  When she was withdrawn from Sheerness she had a few months as the station boat at, wait for it, Achill Island!!  

Andy Hill has acquired an amazing German SAR boat which has a daughter craft which can be launched and recovered at the stern.  There is a video on YouTube showing someone’s boat doing just that.

He has also built a RIB loosely based on the RNLI B Class ILB

Keep the news coming in and hurray that, with limitations, we are able to get back to the lake.  Happy sailing.


Warminster Model Boat Club Newsletter March 2020

Here we are into a new year and what a new year it is turning out to be.  With the ground around the lake still very wet we have managed to do our launches from the hard standing.  Possibly not the easiest but better that than get plastered in mud and chewing up the grass I guess.

You would have seen the reports on the festive meal at Corsley and Richards report on the Bovington show which was included in the discussions at our February meeting.

There have been 2 meetings this year at the Conservative club, January’s meeting included a talk by John Rogers telling us about the involvement of HMS Kent, amongst others, in the region of the Falkland Islands during WW1.  Illustrated with his long term build model of same.  Most enlightening.

You would have received e-mails from John Kitley advising of all the postponements and cancellations to events etc. due to the current crisis. I guess us older members won’t be getting Lakeside for a few weeks at least, but it does give some extra time to get on with new builds and any refits.

Talking of new builds it was good to see Peter May’s 1/16th Shannon class lifeboat last Sunday (March 15th) having its initial sea trial.  The water jets appeared to be working well  We wait to see her all finished and join our Lifeboat fleet. Mentioning Lifeboats, at the last meeting I said that the two 1/12th Severn class kits would be with me on the 21st.  This, naturally, has not happened but the current owner has told me that one kit is not complete and as there is little chance now of sourcing the missing parts has instead offered me a 1/12th Tamar class instead.  Now that will be a fun boat to have.

It is a shame that with the purchase of the dingy, buoy’s, lifejackets and all, for the scheduled SYR event that that event has fallen foul of the current situation.  Next time, we hope.

We have managed some Club 500 races this year and the scoreboard at the moment looks like this:-

1st Andy H. 390pts; 2nd Richard 270; 3rd John K. 260; 4th Kevin 180; 5th Peter W 120; 6= Vic & Graham 85; 8th Geoff 55; 9th Peter M. 40; 10th Allan 30.

Also managed some club Yacht racing on March 15th

Race 1 1st John T. 2nd Norman P. 3rd John K. 4th Tony H. 5th Peter W. 6th Richard W 7th Andy H. 8th Slater R.

Race 2 1st Richard W. 2nd Norman P. 3rd Slater R. 4th Tony H. 5th Peter W. 6th John T. 7th John K. 8th Clive O.

Whilst composing this newsletter, John has been in contact to say that the Cons Club is closed and therefore we cannot have an April meeting, even if we were going to.

Does this warrant the “novelty of the month” award?

Ingenious sail box by Norman

May I add a personal appeal here please? As most of you will know that I am also involved with the local RNLI fundraising branch, along with David Gregory.  Because of the current situation we have been advised that ALL fundraising events, visits and presentations are cancelled until the end of May at the earliest.  In light of this may I invite any supporters of the RNLI to perhaps join our 100 club monthly draw as 3 of our fellow club members have.  For an annual subscription of £12 per share, you have a number that is included in the monthly draw.  At each draw the first number drawn wins a cash prize of £25 and second, a prize of £12. All remaining monies go to the RNLI. If you would care to be included I can send an application letter to you, just email me, either directly; rsilman73@gmail.com or through the WMBC email.  Thank you

Finally for this month another appeal and that is for news for this letter.  With a lot of us not sailing for some time, there must be some news of boat builds etc. that you could share with us here.  So do send pics and notes for the next edition, due beginning of July. Do all keep yourselves safe and we will meet up soon, I hope.


Warminster Model Boat Club Newsletter December 2019

We trust you all had a very pleasant Christmas and are looking forward to some good sailing days with boats old and new in 2020.

What a December, that is the first time in the years I have been a member that there has been TO MUCH water in the lake!!

In October, 13 members when to the RNLI College in Poole and had tours of both the All Weather Lifeboat Centre to see where boats are built and maintained and also toured the college with a session in the bridge Simulator with our trusty chairman taking the helm.  Future visits can be arranged if other members would like a trip.

September was an especially busy month for the club and Richard’s show notes Nos 9,10 & 11 refer to The White Horse Park show in Westbury (14th); Lakeside garden centre, Crockerton (21st & 22nd) and Bovington Tank museum on 29th. (These you would have had emailed to you so no need for me to repeat here.)

On October 24 we held our annual “Night Glow” at the lake which was well attended.

On Sunday October 27th John K and Richard W took up an invitation to go to Sutton Bingham reservoir for an inter-club sailing event.

Our indoor meeting on November 7th had us entertained by our first guest speaker from outside the club.  Lt.Cmdr Geoffrey Carr gave us a 45 minute talk on the engineering aspect of the Titanic disaster.  I think we all found that most interesting especially disproving some of the long established myths that abound.

The International Model boat Show was held at the usual venue in Warwick on 9th & 10th November and a number of members went along.

At our December meeting John showed us a video of his recently completed “Lady Lena” when he took it to Bathampton, along with Brian, to present it to the owner of the “real” boat. And sailed it there.

Also at the meeting John demonstrated Russell’s fully articulated “Atlas” crane with all functions working and is a wonderful example of his skill and ingenuity.

I raised the subject of the offer I have had of two 1/12th scale Speedline model Severn Class lifeboats.  The owner approached me to see if I would build one for him.  Later in transpired that he has 2 kits and said I could have one for myself in “payment” for building the other for him!  These models are big at some 56 inches long.  Being a bit large for me to store when completed, I suggested that the club take it on as our own project, inasmuch as anyone can give what time and resources as they can but at the end of the day it is the club’s boat.  The vote that evening agreed to take this on.  I will be in contact with the owner early in 2020 and will keep you up to date with happenings.

Sunday December 22nd saw some of us have a coffee and chat in the park café as no sailing due to high water level as mentioned earlier and a gentleman, with whom John had been in contact, brought in a 1939 built model R36 yacht for the club.  Another project for the club to tidy up, repair and (hopefully) fit R.C. for sailing on the lake.

I had a thought that I put to the guys about having an event within an event at either the ‘ Spring in the Park’ or our June 14th open day and the idea was to have a cavalcade of Lifeboats and maybe we could see Richard’s Tyne class launch down the slipway he has. That’s about it for this year.  2020 should see a selection of new craft on the water so let’s hope for calm seas and fair winds.


Warminster Model Boat Club Newsletter – September 2019

Here we are with the second of our quarterly newsletters.

You would have seen Richards’ show Note #8 describing John and his attendance at Lyme Regis Lifeboat week opening.  Brave decision of the person who sailed his lovely looking Watson class boat in the sea.

On 29th July, John went to Sutton Bingham to see how the SYFRC events are run to gain information for when we are able to hold one at Warminster.

Saturday 3rd August saw John and Richard at Sutton Veny House putting on a static display for the care home garden party.  By all accounts it was a low key affair and the water that was suggest they could run boats in was no more than an ornamental lily pond so the display was purely static.  They did meet a gentleman who had served on MTB’s during the war and he was most interested in the display.

Our Gazebo Set-up
The Pond

September has been quite a busy month but due to my wife’s accident at home I have been somewhat confined to barracks and unable to attend these as well as the AGM.  You would have seen John’s various messages and minutes for these.  At the AGM Andy Martin stood down as chairman and Andy Hill was elected in his place.  John Rogers was also elected to the committee as an extra voice to cover our expanding membership numbers.  An extra reminder for you is that membership fees are due now.

A point worth noting that if you are considering going to the Model Boat Show at Warwick this year it is only open to the public on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th of November, i.e. no Friday.

October 26th sees the visit to the RNLI in Poole.  We have a block booking for 12 places at a total cost for the 2 tours of £12.50.  Could I ask that all of you that have (or think you have) reserved a place, please confirm ASAP as we will need to let Poole know early October and pay the fee. I suggest payment is made to Richard, who will then make one payment to the RNLI.  I would think that the October evening meeting would be a good time for you to arrange car sharing (3 cars should be enough)

Richard has sent out a list of evening meeting dates but note that the January meeting is on the second Thursday as the centre will not be open due to the New Year hols.

Sunday 8th September saw the club supporting the Warminster Carnival Fun Day in the park, as we have in previous years, which resulted in a good turn out and you running of the ‘have a go’ boats netted a total of £53.00 which we donate to the carnival fund.

The “Have-A-Go” boat pen

During this last year we have enjoyed the company of Richard Hext who has now said cheerio as he returns to Spain live. He had the use of John’s Dragon 65 whilst here and by all accounts sailed it better than it’s owner!  He will, however be back in the UK next May to live here permanently. One final note in case you missed it in John’s minutes and that is we are going to have our ‘Night Glow’ on October 31st.  For newer members who may not be aware, this is where we use the gathering gloom of the shorter evenings to sail our boats with all lights (fixed or added) illuminated and get some rather nice effects on the water.


Warminster Model Boat Club Newsletter – June 2019

Newsletter editor – Robin Silman

You would have read in Richards summary of the recent Questionnaire that the desire to have a club newsletter thought to be a good idea, so with that here is my first attempt to get things going. I’m hoping to produce 4 of these per year and as it is called a Newsletter the one thing I will need is news. Therefore if anyone has news of an event or new build/restoration project or indeed anything newsworthy for our interests, please pass it on and will try to include it in the following issue.

What so far? Well the club has been quite active in the area of shows as you would have read in the reports from Richard and John, the latest being at The Drifters site at Collett Park in Shepton Mallet.
Diary dates for future events start with our next open day on August 11th then quite a busy September with our AGM on the 5th, the Warminster Carnival Fun Day on the 8th; Westbury Model Engineering Show on the 14th; Crockerton Garden Centre on the 21st /22nd and the helping out the drifters at Bovington Tank Museum on the 29th .

A few weeks ago John Kitley and I had our conducted tour of the All Weather Lifeboat Centre at the RNLI College in Poole. Very interesting and for me, having been in engineering manufacturing all my working life, to see the way they have embraced modern manufacturing techniques was very interesting. We have a block booking of 12 places on Saturday 26th October. John has a list of names of those who expressed an interest and we will be contacted by the RNLI for confirmation of numbers and pre -payment approx. 10 days before hand. The cost to do both tours on that day (ALC followed by the College) is £12.50. When the time comes payment to Richard please and he will do a single payment to Poole.

There are a couple of dates when we will forego our sailing at the lake due to other events. The Inspire Warminster music event is on Sunday 7th July and the Warminster Carnival Chase 3k & 10K runs are on Sunday 1st September.

Our history books tell us that 2020 is the anniversary year of a couple of sailing events. Firstly in August 1620 the Pilgrim Fathers sailed to America and in 1960 Sir Francis Chichester won the first Solo Transatlantic Yacht Race. What about having those as a theme for one of our open days next year? Your thoughts and ideas please.

The local cubs and scouts have been in contact with a thought to have a model boating interest for them. Some ideas on how we might involve them would be useful. There is a class of small yacht’s called ‘footy’ class. These are 12” long boats with one unstayed mast that can be free sailing or maybe some small electronics for rudder.
Might be of interest to you. Different anyway
That’s all I have for this quarter. Don’t forget to pass on any news.