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Marine Models

Miniature representations of ships attract their enthusiasts all over the world. Ship models may be ornamental (“glass-case”) or working models, and their purpose may be to give pleasure to the amateur, to advertise a shipping line, or to further research in naval architecture




















FOUR HUNDRED YEARS OF PROGRESS in the Royal Navy are represented by the juxtaposition of these two models from the collection of Charles J. Hampshire, to a scale of 64 feet to one inch. The sailing vessel is the Tudor galleon Mary Rose, built in 1509; the battle cruiser is H.M.S. Hood, launched in 1918. The Hood is the largest vessel in the British Navy, having a displacement of 42,100 tons.




THE shipbuilding industry probably has made more extensive use of models than any other. In the chapter “How the Modern Ship is Tested”, the part played by hull models in the evolution of great ocean liners has been fully described. Experiments with accurate scale-model ships in the wonderful testing tanks at Teddington and elsewhere are essential preliminaries to the building of modern ships.


Further, shipping companies do not dispense with models on the launch of a new vessel. It is a well-recognized practice with all important lines to make use of scale models, complete in every external detail, for publicity purposes. The wisdom of this course is apparent because the model ship never fails to attract attention. The model conveys far more to the public than a picture or photograph and provides immediate interest to the casual passerby and to the keen ship lover alike.


Models of that type, however, cost hundreds, even thousands, of pounds and are necessarily the work of professional model makers who specialize in the work. But the building, sailing and collecting of model ships is of interest to the amateur also. Ship modelling has its following among

thousands of people all over the world. The marine model enthusiast has a wonderful range of activity open to him and his fascinating hobby is well catered for by firms which supply model ships’ fittings and materials. A first-rate technical press is also available to the model craftsman. The series of drawings in this work, “Merchant Ship Types”, has proved of great service to many requiring accurate data about modern vessels. In addition, large numbers of clubs exist for the purpose of furthering model shipbuilding and sailing.


Marine models may be divided roughly into two groups — ornamental or “glass-case” models and working models. In the first group are included the complete scale models owned by shipping companies and those built or bought by followers of the sea for decorative purposes. Such models may represent any type of ship, past or present. To an ornamental appearance is sometimes added historical value. The chapter “Ships in Miniature” describes a series of wonderful models which record for all time the exact appearance of famous sailing ships of long ago. There is a fascination in the building of these models that is without parallel. The cost in materials is negligible, but one thing is essential — unlimited patience.


Historical models need not be exclusively of the glass-case type. Many a fine model of the Victory or the Cutty Sark has sailed on the boating lakes of Great Britain, and Elstree and Hollywood make full use of scale-model old-time ships in film-making.


The majority of working models are usually amateur-built and represent every type of ship in existence — liners, warships, cargo vessels, motorships, river steamers and tug boats. Sizes vary between one and twenty feet in length, and methods of propulsion comprise model steam engines and turbines, electric motors, petrol engines and even clockwork.


A distinct type of power-driven model ship is the speed-boat, usually built in the form of a hydroplane and fitted with a steam engine or petrol motor. Speedboats are tethered by a line to a pole in the centre of a lake so that they run on a circular course. Speeds over 40 miles an hour have been attained. In contrast there are the graceful model yachts used for racing, now a well-recognized international sport. There is one branch of model ship-building that stands in a class of its own — miniature modelling. A favourite pastime among old sailors was the building of miniature ships inside a bottle. Many interesting specimens may be seen in museums. Some of these models are works of art; others rely for their interest on the ingenuity displayed in getting their components safely through the neck of the bottle. The method was to make the masts and spars so that they could be folded up — umbrella fashion — to pass the bottle neck, for subsequent re-erection inside.


Miniature modelling has now been brought to a fine art, and the famous Hampshire collection of miniature ships at the Institute of Marine Engineers, London, will amply repay a visit. The models are the work of Charles J. Hampshire, M.I.Mar.E., who has made the work a life-study, backed by many years’ experience in the Royal Navy and in the merchant and cable-ship services. All these miniatures are glass-case models, built to a scale of 64 feet to one inch, so that even the Queen Mary appears as a ship less than 16 in. Long.


The ships are all shown sailing on a sea of putty. The putty is worked into an exact representation of the sea. The ship’s bow wave and wake are faithfully portrayed and the colouring is perfect.

A roll-top desk is used as a “shipyard” and the hulls are carved from cedar wood that has been seasoned for fifty years.


Decks are of Bristol-board and the hand-rails and running rigging are made from specially treated human hair. Fine horsehair is used for standing rigging, and the “canvas” of sailing-ship models is of best quality tissue paper. Every sail is given its correct shape by the use of a damp brush and heated needle. Needles and fine tweezers are used to assemble the models; nothing may be touched by hand.


Miniature Ships for Titania’s Palace


Wireless aerials are made from fine copper wire, the finest copper wire made, as used for certain components in radio sets. Some of the model liners in the Hampshire collection have over 1,000 port-holes, and these are made by winding fine silver wire round a needle 1/64 in. in diameter. The wire spiral is then cut with a sharp knife between each turn, leaving a ring of exactly the correct diameter for the port-hole.


Another detail to which careful attention is paid is the shaping of the tissue paper flags and ensigns so that they appear to be fluttering in the breeze. It is this careful attention to the smallest details that renders these models such perfect examples of craftsmanship.


Many famous ships are represented in the Hampshire fleet, and many models have taken approximately twelve months to build. Some models represent the painstaking work of two years. Christopher Columbus’s ship, the Santa Maria, was modelled for exhibition at Nassau, in the Bahamas. It was at Watling Island, in the Bahamas, that Columbus first set foot in the New World.


A miniature, so small that it can be hidden behind a penny, was made of Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hind for Sir Neville Wilkinson to exhibit in his marvellous Titania’s Palace — the tiny mansion that ranks as a supreme example of miniature modelling and has earned, by exhibition, large sums of money for charity. The model ship was built to commemorate the visit of King Edward VIII, as Prince of Wales, to South America in 1934, where he opened an exhibition (that included Titania’s Palace) at Buenos Aires.


Another model of a French 74-guns ship was an almost complete restoration. The model, also in Titania’s Palace, was made to a scale of 80 feet to the inch and was the work of French prisoners of war over 100 years ago. Extensive damage had necessitated reconstruction before its completion with rigging and sails.


Another old-time ship in the collection represents H.M.S. Prince, a famous warship of King Charles II reign, built by Phineas Pett at Chatham in 1670. No fleet that included old-time warships would be complete without Nelson’s Victory, and Mr. Hampshire has made a splendid job of the famous flagship to his standard scale of 64 feet to an inch. This model makes a wonderful contrast with modern warship models in the collection.


Model of HMS Prince Royal



BOWS OF A MODEL SHIP BUILT IN 1640. The model, of H.M.S. Prince Royal, is a fine example of the collection in the Nautical School training ship Mercury, at Hamble, Hants. It has been proposed to sell this collection to provide a perpetual endowment for the training ship.





Among the miniature warships is a composite model depicting the “Jubilee of the Ironclad”. In it are represented H.M.S. Thunderer, launched at Blackwall in 1911, and H.M.S. Warrior of 1861, the first British sea-going ironclad to be built. This model is now in Chatham Dockyard. Another fine warship model depicts H.M.S. London, the 9,750-tons cruiser. This vessel’s armament includes eight 8-in. guns, four 4-in. quick-firers and eight torpedo tubes. Every detail is faithfully reproduced in the model, including the seaplane and its catapult launching gear.


The Hampshire collection has also a composite model illustrating four hundred years of progress in naval architecture. The battle cruiser Hood, launched in 1918, is shown with the Tudor galleon Mary Rose, built in 1509.


The miniature liners include the Queen Mary, made to the scale of 64 feet to one inch. Alongside the Queen Mary, but sailing in the opposite direction, is shown, to the same scale, a miniature of the Cunard Line’s first steamer, the Britannia of 1840, equipped with paddles and sails. The two ships provide a striking contrast.


Another interesting composite model that provides a comparison between two ships separated by a century of time represents the William Fawcett, built in 1829 and chartered by the Peninsular Line, alongside the P. and O. liner Viceroy of India, built in 1929, and the largest turbo-electric ship of her time.


The Cunard White Star motor liner Britannic is also represented in the collection. One of the most striking exhibits among the liner models is one of the Canadian Pacific vessel Empress of Japan. The liner is represented “dressed” with flags, every one of which is an exact replica in miniature of its counterpart in the International Code of Signals. She is shown towed by two small tugs which, as with the liner, are complete in every detail. Included in the fleet of miniatures built by Mr. Hampshire are many models of ships that have played important and dramatic parts in maritime affairs shortly before and during the war of 1914-18.


One such ship reproduced is a model of the P. & O. liner Medina, which was converted as a Royal yacht to carry King George V and Queen Mary to India in 1911. The tragedy of the Titanic has been commemorated by a complete scale model only 13½ in. long. This now rests in the Institute of Marine Engineers at the foot of the memorial to the thirty members of the engine-room staff who perished in the disaster. A model of the ill-fated Lusitania, torpedoed in 1915, was made for Lord Rhondda, one of the survivors. The Institute has also a model of her sister ship, the Mauretania.


Scale Model 22 Feet Long


In happier vein are the circumstances attaching to the building of a miniature Shamrock IV, one of Sir Thomas Lipton’s world-famous racing yachts. In June 1914, as a guest in Sir Thomas’ steam yacht Erin, Mr. Hampshire witnessed the trials of Shamrock IV. Afterwards he made a model of her which he presented to the owner. The model was accorded a place of honour in the saloon.


In contrast with these wonderful miniatures we have the much larger scale models, complete in every external detail, that usually emanate from the works of the leading professional firms in the country.


The scale models built by professional firms for shipping companies are the work of highly skilled craftsmen who use official drawings of the ship to be modelled. As the work on the model progresses the dimensions are carefully checked to ensure accuracy in every detail. The hulls of these publicity models contain no machinery, but comprise a number of planks of wood screwed and glued together in successive layers.


Sometimes a solid block of specially selected timber is used instead of planking, and the hull may be partly hollow to reduce the weight of the model and facilitate its transport. This is an important consideration, because some ship models exceed 20 feet in length.


Model of the Temeraire, built at Toulon in 1749



REPRESENTING A FAMOUS FRENCH WARSHIP, the Temeraire, built at Toulon in 1749. This model from the collection in the Nautical School training ship Mercury, was built of bone. The Temeraire was captured from the French by Admiral Boscawen in 1759,when he defeated the French fleet off Gibraltar. Three British warships have been called Temeraire. The first was the “Fighting Temeraire, captured from the French at the battle of the Nile. In 1875 a newly-built ironclad was given the name. The third Temeraire was an early Dreadnought, launched in 1907.





A 20-feet model of the Canadian Pacific liner Empress of Britain was built by Bassett-Lowke for the Lord Mayor’s Show of 1931. Another model measuring 22 feet long was built of the Queen Mary for the Cunard White Star Line and shipped to New York.


During 1936 a model of the Queen Mary was exhibited for many weeks at the Science Museum, South Kensington, and afterwards in many parts of Great Britain. Such large models are, however, exceptional, and the average model is between 4 and 8 feet in length. When the hull of the ship has been completed the various components of the superstructure are placed in position and the painting and the final assembly of the fittings are proceeded with. Model ships’ fittings such as stanchions, portholes, bollards, davits, ventilators, blocks and many other items are made by a system of mass production. This is necessary because a modern liner model will require about 1,000 portholes alone, apart from other details.


The final assembly of a model is generally carried out in a large, well-lighted studio kept spotlessly clean and free from dust. In one instance part of the floor of the studio, situated above ground level to obtain good lighting, is removable. The completed models in their glass cases are lowered through the floor to lorries or other transport vehicles.


Another branch of modelling that has proved of great value to shipping companies is the representation of interiors. A model of a cabin or state-room made to a scale of, say, 1 in. to 1 foot, gives a far more accurate impression than a photograph to an intending passenger, and the nature of the accommodation offered can be judged at a glance. Similarly, a liner’s public rooms and features such as swimming pools are often modelled; they are shown complete in every detail and in all their correct colourings and furnishings.


An important aspect of marine model work that is usually undertaken by commercial firms is the supply of waterline scale models to naval authorities. These models represent only the above water portion of warships and they can be moved about on a flat surface for the purpose of studying naval tactics. The model warships are made to a small scale and sufficient detail is included to enable them to be identified in silhouette. Most naval officers are familiar with the silhouettes of ships in their own navies and with those of the principal warships of foreign Powers.


Commercial firms of model shipbuilders in Great Britain have not, however, neglected the recreational aspect of the work. Whole fleets of water-line miniature models can be bought, illustrating the development of shipping from the earliest times. The public are also able to obtain working scale models of warships, liners, tugboats, motor craft and model yachts. Such models are a boon to the enthusiastic ship-lover who may be handicapped by lack of skill or of time to build his own vessel. The majority of people who make model ships their hobby do, however, build their own craft, working on them during the winter months and enjoying their sailing in the summer.


“Bread-and-Butter” Method


For building the hulls, drawings are required and may sometimes be obtained from the shipping companies or more usually from the technical press. The essential drawings are the “body plan”, showing the section contours of the hull at the transverse bulkheads, and the side elevation and deck plan.


The usual method is for the side elevation to be divided by a number of horizontal or “water” lines and by vertical bulkhead lines corresponding to those on the body plan. The same number of wooden planks as water lines is then marked with a line down the centre and this is divided by cross lines that represent the requisite number of bulkheads. The shape of the hull, at the water levels, is then marked out on the planks from the body plan. The planks are cut to the marked outlines and the central portions are also cut out, to leave an elongated ring with thin sides. The cut planks are then glued together in layers, resembling outwardly a series of terraces or steps. These steps are cut away, leaving a hollow wooden hull, true to scale. This is the so-called “bread and butter” method of hull construction, and it is used by many amateurs and professional model makers.


Many prefer to build hulls by the “dug-out” system, using a solid block of wood, generally soft pine, which is carved to shape externally and then hollowed out to leave the desired thickness of the walls. In such instances only the deck is marked out, in plan, with the bulkheads. From the body plan are made cardboard or wooden templets, which are numbered for identification with their respective bulkheads. These templets or moulds are then used to check the carving of the hull.


These methods are sometimes varied to meet the model builder’s requirements. Another means adopted in hull construction is to make use of ribs and planks as in the old-time wooden ships. Metal hulls are commonly used for large working models, especially for those equipped with powerful steam machinery. This type of hull may be beaten from sheet metal in much the same way as motor-car bodies were once made, before the days of large steel stampings.


MODEL OF THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER GLORIOUS

















MODEL OF THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER GLORIOUS, in the Royal United Service Museum, London. The model took over a year to complete. The Glorious, formerly a cruiser, was launched in 1916. She has a displacement of 22,500 tons and a designed speed of 30 knots. The official complement of aircraft is forty-eight. The Glorious has sixteen 4·7-in. guns, four 3-pounders and fifty-two smaller guns. Her sister ship is the Courageous. Either vessel has an overall length of 786 ft. 3 in.




Checking for size and contour is done by templets from the body plan. Some hulls are plated on metal framework — as in the “real thing”. Rivets in such instances are generally dispensed with and joints are made by soldering.


Superstructures are kept as light as possible, and fittings may be made from “odds and ends”. One of the advantages enjoyed by the model shipbuilder is the comparative cheapness of the materials required. Fittings may be bought and an immense range is available from specialist firms.

Machinery for model steamers and motorships may take many forms, depending on the type of model and the use to which it is to be put. For small models the clockwork motor provides an inexpensive and reliable means of propulsion. The use of clockwork does not imply that the model is a toy. The miniature ship may be too small for any other type of motive power, or the superstructure and fittings may be too delicate to risk close proximity to a steam engine and boiler. For this reason so many of the larger models, especially power-driven yachts and liners, are propelled electrically. Model electric ships rely on batteries or accumulators for their source of power.


Steam, however, stands favourite with the model marine engineer. It is not usual to reproduce the engines of a model steamer exactly to scale. Engines vary in size, design and complication. They range from working model triple-expansion engines to models of the early type of oscillating engine.


Speed and Power


Types of boilers and methods of firing also present a wide choice. Again, the simpler boilers follow old-time practice and resemble the early box boilers of the first paddle steamers. Model water tube boilers of modern design and fired by spirit, oil under pressure or solid fuel, are now in common use. Many of the larger steam-driven models of merchant vessels and warships have a surprising turn of speed and power. They are capable of speeds up to about 5 miles an hour, and can easily tow a rowing boat full of people.


A working model steamship takes a considerable time to build, and it is unusual to find an owner with more than two or three vessels. Occasionally, however, an enthusiastic ship-lover will possess a complete fleet of steamers of all types. A keen British yachtsman, Victor B. Harrison, has built a fleet of model steamers that sail on an artificial lake in the gardens of his home.


Strict attention has been paid to the correct proportions of the steamers and their appearance is realistic. Two of the vessels, 20 in. long, represent L.N.E.R. Hook of Holland passenger steamers, and there are some 20-in. and 30-in. cargo carriers, in addition to a 30-in. twin-screw cross-channel packet. Included in the fleet also are a large model liner, a tug-boat and a coastal motor-boat. All the ships are steam-propelled and spirit is used for fuel in the miniature furnaces.


Most of the larger fleets of model steamers are to be found at the headquarters of the numerous clubs in Great Britain and other countries. The important British clubs are affiliated to the Model Power Boat Association, founded in 1924. The Association controls all racing competitions between the various clubs and exists for the purpose of promoting interest in the design of model power boats.


Most club members own at least one model, and that has probably been made in a home workshop after much patient experiment and by the exercise of careful craftsmanship. Warships never fail to attract the model maker. The largest battleships and battle cruisers make attractive subjects for modelling, and many remarkable ships, driven by steam or electricity, have been built. The difficulty with such models, however, lies in their size — a 6-feet, or longer, working model presents a real problem in transport unless the sailing water be close at hand.


Battleships modelled to a small scale lose much of their impressiveness as working models because it is impossible to include the necessary detail. Partly for this reason the light cruiser and the torpedo-boat destroyer are frequently chosen for modelling. A typical destroyer is represented by the model built by F. H. W. Haworth of Whitley Bay, Northumberland. This vessel, the Verdun, is steam-driven and the hull is built up of 1/32-in. Muntz metal plates. This material is an alloy composed of 60 per cent copper and 40 per cent zinc, and is easily worked and soldered. The length of the model is 5 feet and the maximum beam 7 in., with a depth amidships of 5⅛ in. The depth forward is 6⅞ in. These dimensions are near the maximum for a portable model, but the length is somewhat offset by the “lean” lines of the hull.


Detail of a model ship by Norman Lindsay



INFINITE PATIENCE AND EXCEPTIONAL SKILL are needed by the maker of a miniature ship, and are exemplified in the detail of this model, by Norman Lindsay. The smaller scale employed by Charles J. Hampshire requires the employment of special materials. The hulls are carved from cedar wood that has been seasoned for fifty years. Decks are of Bristol board and the hand-rails and running rigging are of specially treated human hair. Fine horsehair is used for standing rigging. The “canvas” is of best-quality tissue paper. Needles and fine tweezers are used to assemble the models.





The keel of the Verdun model is a brass bar, 3/16 in. by ⅝ in., to which the keel plates are riveted and soldered. The brass ribs are 1/16 in. by ½ in. in section. The metal hull was built up on a carved wooden block and is stiffened at deck level amidships by strips of oak that form a seating for the removable aluminium deck. The watertight joint between deck and hull is ingenious. It consists of a continuous length of rubber “cycle-valve” tubing on the wooden seating.


All controls are operated from above the deck, which is removed only before and after a cruise. The fore deck and superstructure are hinged to provide access to the blow-lamp controls, and the deck house aft can also be raised on a hinge. External fittings such as ventilators, searchlights, capstans, hatches, guns and torpedo tubes, are all reproduced in the model; but the hull below the water-line has been modified.


A single propeller is used instead of the twin screws of full-size practice, and to ensure straight running two fins are attached to the hull forward of the propeller and on either side of the shaft. The propeller is two-bladed, with a diameter of 3¼ in It is driven by a two-cylinder engine, with cylinders of ¾-in. bore and ¾-in. Stroke.


A mechanical pump and a hand-operated emergency pump supply feed water to the boiler. This is of the water tube type in an asbestos-lagged casing and provides steam at a pressure of 60 lb. per sq. in. It is fired by a blow-lamp, the oil container of which is supplied with compressed air by a bicycle pump. The container is pumped up through a valve similar to that of a bicycle tyre, and sufficient fuel can be carried for a run lasting three-quarters of an hour at a speed of 4½ miles an hour.


Another type of vessel that is deservedly popular with the model maker is the coasting steamer. A splendid little model, the Florence, was built by W. Melville. This miniature steamer is only 25 in. long overall, with a breadth of 5 in. and a depth of 4 in., but she is fitted with a wonderfully compact power plant driving a single screw.


Run of Four Hours


The hull is of the wooden “dug-out” type, with a deck that is completely removable except for a short distance at the stern and in the bows. The single-cylinder engine is of the slide-valve type, with a bore and stroke of 7/16 in. The engine bed-plate is made of sheet steel brazed together and resembles the webbed casting used in marine engine practice.


Despite its small dimensions great care has been taken in the design of the engine. The crank is double-webbed and balanced and the main bearings are split and held together by studs and nuts. The connecting rod is of the proper marine type and is fitted with a split phosphor bronze bush, as is also the crosshead.


To save weight the components of the cylinder were silver-soldered together and a casting was thus dispensed with. The slide valve has a travel of only 5/32-in., but correct lap and lead are employed as in full-sized practice and steam is cut off at 55 per cent of the stroke. The piston rod is of stainless steel correctly fitted to the phosphor bronze piston by a taper and nut. The steam chest is fitted with a drain valve and a displacement lubricator. These or similar lubricators are essential to model marine steam engines, except turbines, and their action is reliable and simple.


Steam enters the lubricator through a small hole and on meeting the oil a small quantity condenses. The resulting drop of water sinks through the oil, of which it displaces a portion that is forced into the valve chest and lubricates the valve and piston. At the end of a run condensed water is removed, through a drain valve, from the lubricator, which can then be replenished with oil.


The model engine of the Florence works a feed pump, only ⅛-in. bore by ⅛-in. stroke, but it supplies water to the boiler without difficulty and is supplemented by an emergency pump operated by hand.


The “boiler-history” of the Florence is interesting. The first was a plain cylindrical boiler similar to the box boilers of the early steamships. The addition of water tubes effected an improvement and after experiments with various types of spirit lamp and fuel tanks a continuous run of four hours’ duration was accomplished at a speed of about one knot. A run of four nautical miles is certainly a commendable voyage for a vessel only 25 in. long. The next generator made was a Scotch dry-back boiler 3¼ in. in diameter arid 2¾ in. long, with fourteen tubes and a superheater flue. The furnace was of 1⅜ in. diameter with a combustion chamber ⅞ in. deep, containing a feed water heater. On oil fuel this miniature boiler worked excellently at 35 lb. Pressure.


THE TITANIC IN MINIATURE
















THE TITANIC IN MINIATURE, a model of the ill-fated White Star liner, by Charles J. Hampshire. The Titanic struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York and sank on April 15 1912. with the loss of 1,500 lives. She was at the time the largest ship in the world. Her length was 852 feet, her beam 92 ft. 7 in. and her gross tonnage 46,328. She had a speed of 21 knots, The model is 13½ in. long.




This generator was later replaced by a model Thornycroft boiler. This boiler is only 3½ in. long overall and 4 in. high, but it closely follows marine practice and works at a pressure of 110 lb. The main steam and water drum has a diameter of 1½ in. and is fitted with a baffle plate above the water level. At one end of the main drum are fitted the safety valve and the feed water and steam valves and the “downcomers” leading to a pair of water drums, ⅝ in. diameter, at the bottom of the boiler.


The water drums are connected also to the main drum by nests of inclined tubes. The forward end of the main drum is of special interest. It is provided with a flange and ring, between which is secured a disk of in. plate glass that provides an end-cover and water gauge in one. The retaining ring is secured by twenty-four small bolts. This remarkable miniature steam generator is complete with superheaters and feed water heaters and is fired by a special type of blow-lamp burning oil fuel.


In contrast with the Florence is the large model cargo steamer built by V. Wall. This vessel, the Vernon, is 6 ft. 10 in. long, with a beam of 12 in. and a depth of 10 in. She weighs 120 lb.

The model of the Vernon has a plated metal hull and is fitted with a compound engine driving a single screw of 4½ in. diameter. The high-pressure cylinder of the engine has a diameter of ¾ in. and the low-pressure cylinder has a diameter of 1¼ in., with a stroke of ⅞ in. Steam is supplied by a water tube boiler enclosed in a sheet iron casing 10½ in. long, 9¼ in. high and 8 in. wide. The boiler is fired by a powerful paraffin blow-lamp and works at a pressure of 100 lb. The speed of the Vernon is about 4½ miles an hour.


One of the finest model cabin cruisers in existence is Mr. Eastaugh’s ship Tony. This steam-driven model is of splendid design and finish, complete in every detail, and in addition has shown a fine performance at speed. Model cabin cruisers sometimes follow real practice by the use of an internal combustion engine for propulsion. The motor cruiser Libric, built by Mr. Daniels, provides a fine illustration of the use of a small petrol engine in a power boat.


Miniature Racing Craft


Model petrol engines are more often used, however, for driving the miniature racing craft about which so little is known outside club circles. Speeds of over 40 miles an hour have been reached by boats only 3 feet long. The hulls of these speed craft closely follow, in design, the lines of large racing motor boats and are provided with a step on the underside. The under surface of the hull is thus divided into two “planes” on which the boat rises at speed and so skims the top of the water with the minimum of resistance.


The building of light but powerful petrol engines for model racing boats has reached a high standard and two-stroke and four-stroke working have been used. These miniature engines are built largely of aluminium alloys to save weight and vary in capacity between fifteen and thirty cubic centimetres. Carburettors, sparking plugs, ignition coils and batteries are all reduced to miniature proportions to suit the engines. Repeated experiments have evolved various types of proved efficiency.


One of the largest of these model speed boats is the Betty, built by S. L. and M. J. B. Innocent. She attained a speed of 41·18 miles an hour. She is a single step hydroplane, 36¼ in. long and with a beam of 11 in. The model weighs 14½ lb. complete. The engine is a single-cylinder four-stroke petrol motor, with a bore of 32 mm. and stroke of 37 mm. The two-bladed propeller has a diameter of 3 in.


Racing model yachts represent the highest form of craftsmanship and their finish and fittings are superb. In the British Empire model yacht sailing and racing is carried on by a number of clubs under the Model Yachting Association, with headquarters in London. Model yachting is not confined to Great Britain, and the International Yacht Racing Union controls the racing events in which compete the best and fastest yachts of some twenty nations.


The sailing of model yachts provides an opportunity for the exercise of great skill in adjusting the sails, the rigging and the automatic gear that attends to the steering while the “skipper” necessarily stays on shore.


Working model of the German record breaker liner Bremen

























WORKING MODEL OF A GERMAN RECORD-BREAKER. This model of the North German Lloyd liner Bremen is faithful in every detail, including a catapult for aircraft. The Bremen, a quadruple-screw steamer of 51,655 tons, won the Blue Riband of the Atlantic for Germany in 1929, averaging 27·9 knots eastward. The same year her sister ship, the Europa, 49,745 tons, averaged 27·91 knots westward. The model of the Bremen is shown undergoing her trials at Potsdam, near Berlin, in 1933.



[From part 35, published 6 October 1936]



You can read more on “From Tudor to Victorian Times”, “Merchant Ship Types” and

“Ships in Miniature” on this website.

Marine models of HMS Hood and the Mary Rose