Model Boat Mayhem

The Shipyard ( Dry Dock ): Builds & Questions => Working vessels R&D: => Topic started by: Bryan Young on May 30, 2013, 06:33:30 PM

Title: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on May 30, 2013, 06:33:30 PM
Two for One. “Hunan” and “Baroda”.

I got to thinking………….
My next “project” will hopefully be the refurbishment of “Hunan” after her disastrous damage/repair job she suffered during her theft and subsequent neglect.  Pondering this project I realised that neither Hunan” or  “Baroda” had ever had a build write-up. Although the 2 ships were built 20 years apart there are many similarities. So perhaps I can combine the 2 original builds into one and try to point out the differences/developments during that 20 year gap between the builds.
    Before even considering the building of a model I like to get a general “feel” for at least the type of ship I’m thinking about making. Easily done if, like me, you have actual “hands-on” experience of the vessel….as was the case when building the 2 Cable Repair ships “Norseman” and “Recorder”. But “Baroda” and “Hunan” were from way before my time. However, the further I looked into the build and operation of these 2 ships, the more I realised just how little had changed over the years.
    It’s quite remarkable just how little the design of General Cargo ships changed between the early 1900s and up to at least the late 1950s. That’s an empirical statement I know. But in general it holds true.
The “standard” visual aspect would be that of a vessel with a raised fo’c’sle, the bridge somewhere near the middle of the hull with the funnel not far aft of the bridge and a raised poop deck. Commonly known as a “3 Island” ship. The early variants would usually have 2 cargo hatches on the foredeck and one hatch on the afterdeck. All served by the ships own derricks. No matter how many hatches were added over the years as the ships got larger, the same basic layout carried on. The centre accommodation block sort of standardised at 4 decks and the cargo space in the holds aft of the centre-castle remained pretty much constrained by the shape of the afterbody of the hull and the large amount of space required by the shaft tunnel.
Over the years the hull shape “developed” with the so-called “cruiser stern” replacing the counter stern (in itself a hangover from the sail era, and the gradual re-shaping of the bows. The upperworks slowly developed from being purely utilitarian into more visually appealing shapes. But the basic 3-island design seemed destined to last in perpetuity.
     As with road going cargo vehicles, ships weren’t really designed for any one prime function. Even the early tankers were a variation on the standard types. Now, of course, both road and sea-going vessels have become ever more specialised. Does anyone build pure “general cargo” ships any more? I doubt it.
As examples of the type I enclose 9 different ships ranging from 1914 to 1959. The age range is actually longer, but these will do. I could have included some more WW2 ships such as the “Liberty’s, Oceans etc….but they are either flush decked or have split upperworks.
1914……”Bandra” (British India).
1917…...”Katanga” (Belgian…originally “War Daffodil” (!)).
1928…...”Zealandic” (Shaw, Saville and Albion).
1932…..”Hunan” (China Steam Nav…Butterfield and Swire).
1936….”Umtali” (Bullard & King)
1944….” Alcyonis” (a variety of “Empire “ class)
1944…” Silverbow” (a much post-war modified “Victory” class).
1949…”Benavon”   Ben Line, but typical of her era).
1959...”Benloyal”   Ben Line. Different, but still basically the same layout as the others.
      Next time I’ll at least make a start on comparing the 2 ships before I get to any of the model making aspects.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Capt Podge on May 31, 2013, 08:21:14 PM
A most interesting subject Bryan. Looking forward to reading (and seeing) more on this.... O0
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 01, 2013, 03:15:51 PM
Part 2.
The earliest one……”Baroda”.
This historical context comes from Jim Pottinger who also drew the “Model Makers Draught” plans for publication in “Model Shipwright”.
She was one of a class of 6 ships built for British India by Barclay Curle  between 1911 and 1914. Primarily designed for service between Bombay and Basra.
The other ships were named “Bandra”, “Bankura”, “Barjora”, “Barpeta” and “Bamora”.
“Baroda” was 342ft x 46ft on a 21ft draught…..speed 13knots.
She would carry 12 first-class passengers, 21 in 2nd class and 1105 as “deck passengers”.
These numbers are remarkably similar to those pertaining to “Hunan”….of which more later.
“Baroda” seems to have had a fairly innocuous life until ……well, read it for yourself at (
    “Baroda” is just a bit-part player in this saga, but it really goes to show how wrongly/carelessly stowed cargo can lead to a megga disaster.

    The ship itself was really nothing out of the ordinary for the time…..but there were a few “quirks” that intrigued me. First was the open bridge with a wooden hut on it to protect the helmsman from the elements….no such luxury for the OOW! Then there was the (to my mind) unique stowage arrangement for No.2 hold derricks. Fianally came the very unusual stowage for Nos. 1 and 2 lifeboats.
Re. the numbering of lifeboats; British ships since the very early days have always numbered the boats with the “odd” numbers on the stbd side and the even nos. to port.
Most countries seem to have adopted this system, but some European countries still do it the other way round. This has always struck me as being a bit daft as all countries have adopted the one whistle blast to indicate a turn to stbd. and 2 blasts for a turn to port….and in the days when the lookout man was on the foc’c’sle, one ding on the bell for a ship sighted to stbd, and two dings for a ship to port (3 dings for a ship right ahead).I suppose there are other examples of this, but I can’t bring them to mind at the moment.
    There are other “odd-ball” aspects to this ship, but I’ll get to them during the build.
By the way, I chose the name “Baroda” simply because I had no “N’s” left among my plastic letters…….
Also Baroda was 30ft longer than Hunan (7” longer as a model), and so wouldn’t fit into my trailer. But I’ll get to all that eventually.

“Hunan” was the first of the pair I modelled. Mainly because the plans etc. were published in Model Shipwright before “Bandra” was.
These plans etc. were also drawn up by Mr.Pottinger.
Built by Scotts of Greenock in 1932 for Swires (later Butterfield and Swire) China Steam Navigation Co.
She was 312ft x 44ft x 18ft draught, speed 12.5 knots.
    Although Hunan was built almost 20 years after Baroda (1932 against 1914), the hull of Hunan was distinctly “old fashioned” when compared to many other early 1930s ships. The straight stem and counter stern were real relics of earlier days.
She also carried passengers, but I can’t remember the numbers. There’s a good reason (excuse?) for that. Although the published plans were quite adequate for a model afound 2ft long it was a bit inadequate for a 48th scale job (pushing 7ft). Fortunately the good old Glasgow Archives could sell me a complete set of 1:48 drawings. And from those I could count the passenger numbers.
But the main reason I decided to build this model was because I recalled seeing so many of this type of ship as a cadet. Wherever we went around the Far East it was almost guanteed that something similar would be there. Perhaps Swires just kept on ordering the same thing over and over again over the years, hence the “outdated” looks. And they all looked like well maintained “West Hartlepool Tramps”!.
Sorry, no pics this time; but plenty to come.
    Next time will be about the beginnings of the modelling.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 02, 2013, 06:59:17 PM
Part 3.

The gestation period.
After the loss of “Hunan” and “Bayflower” plus almost all of my workshop equipment, including the radio gear and so on I had to spend a fair amount of time re-equipping so I could continue with the build of “Gold Ranger”. Once she was completed I decided to build a new version of “Bayflower” (later to be named “James Cullen”). Then came, in no particular order, “Discovery”, “Mount Washington”, “Bluebird of Chelsea”, “Baroda” and “General Havelock”. But I never forgot “Hunan”. But after eleven years I got her back. In a sorry state, but at least she’s back home.
    “Baroda” had been built as a sort of therapy.
I decided to use the hull mould I made for “Hunan”. The proportions were just about right if I shortened the poop  and after deck just a little. I suppose I could have cut the Hunan mould in half and added a few inches. But I didn’t want to do that….so I guess that I cheated a bit.
When “Baroda” was finished I sent her off to the Harrogate show. It was praised by many onlookers, but only Mr.Pottinger noted the disparity around the stern area. He told me (via e-mail) that he liked the model so much that he’d decided not to mention it. Very kind of him. And no-one else has ever noticed!
     The building of the GRP hull for Hunan followed normal practice.
Many “formers” (stations) inserted into a solid backbone followed by planking up with 0.5” wide 2mm strips of 2mm ply. Stuck to the station formers with a glue gun. Rub the whole thing down and don’t worry about small gaps. Then do the plating.
Amongst the plans I’d bought was a plating diagram. More commonly known as a “Shell Expansion” drawing. I described this process when posting the blog on “General Havelock”, but it mainly entails cutting the “plates” from thin card as per the Expansion Drawing and sticking them on to the “plug” with double-sided tape.
Make the mould and out pops a hull. Or not. Chisels and wedges required to get this one out. Both times. But it worked…eventually.
And now “real work” could begin.

       Today, Sunday 2nd of June I took both Hunan and Baroda along to Tynemouth lake. This was the first time ever that both models had been seen together. Even though Hunan is still in need of much TLC she looked “OK” beside her sibling. Apart from the wheelhouse structures it’s really quite difficult to realise that there was a 20 year age gap between the two.
I also beg you not to criticise some (most) of the rigging on Hunan! Not my doing, guv…..but it will all be fixed, given time.
Next time:….a few “comparison” shots.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: chipchase on June 06, 2013, 11:07:26 PM
Interesting reading Bryan looking forward to the restoration of the Hunan.  :-))
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 07, 2013, 03:30:22 PM
Brian....Sorry for the delay in continuing this thread.
The last week or so has been largely taken over by my efforts to bring my "Noddy" car back to life after 5 years gathereing dust under a SORN.
Passed its MOT without any in the process of taxing and insuring it prior to (once again) attempting to sell it.
Once that's accomplished I can bring Hunan into a bit of space and get to work on her. Wish me luck. Bryan.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 10, 2013, 05:08:36 PM
Well, what better place to start than at the front.
You’ll notice that the fo’c’sle head on Baroda is considerably shorter than that on Hunan. From the presence of the galley or heating “chimneys (and the scuttles) it’s pretty evident that both fo’c’sles were used for crew accommodation. Hunan also has a prominent breakwater just aft of the windlass. I’m a bit surprised at this. Understandable in Hunans’ case as the China Sea can get pretty rough at any time of the year. But Baroda would also have occasion to thump into some pretty nasty SW Monsoon weather. Plenty of “bows under” seas down the E.African coast. For a cargo ship of this type solid water over the bows can play havoc with the tarps on no.1 hatch. Also, having that bit of extra deck space allows for more space to range the mooring ropes when berthing/unberthing. When you consider that at least 4 ropes, each being at least 6” x 120fm long, working space is always at a premium. Add to that the fact that both vessels would have “native” crews (Lascars or Chinese) and were therefore more numerous than a UK crew, space gets even tighter. This lack of working space would be even worse on both ships if the heavy (1.5” or 2” dia.) storm wire had to be deployed. A horrible job even on a modern ship. This wire was also called the “Towing Spring). The “backsprings” would be usually handled (via snatchblocks) by one of the cargo winches…..which, in turn, meant removing the cargo runner from the winch drum as very few of the older winches could de-clutch the barrel ends and run independent of the main drum. Such was life in those far gone days. The “Panama” type fairleads fitted into the bulwarks on both ships were primarily for the backsprings, but if the quay was unusually short then the headlines could be payed out from them.
Next we come aft to the for’d hatches. My goodness. What a relief to everyone when McGregor came up with their roller hatches! Perhaps you’ll begin to understand why the deck crew was so large on these old ships.
First of all, the hatch locking bars had to be removed. Then the dozens of wooden wedges had to be hammered out and the steel backing bars lifted out. Then the combined strength of perhaps 6 seamen would have to roll (one by one) the 3 heavy hatch tarps off the hatch boards. Then the many (and heavy) wooden hatchboards themselves would have to be manhandled off and laid on deck…alwayswith the added danger of a crew member falling into a hold. Not so bad if the hold was full, lethal if empty. A not uncommon event. Then after all that, the heavy hatch beams themselves had to be lifet out using a winch and cargo runner. By now the deck area around a hatch would be a real obstacle course. H & S would have a field-day with that lot scattered all over the place. The 2nd pic is very typical of this (“Box Brownie” 1959!).
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 10, 2013, 05:10:55 PM
The missing link!
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 12, 2013, 09:01:32 PM
The attached pic shows just how not to rig a foremast topstay.
The wire (“thread”, in this case!) attached to the ends of the longer “yard” and then going into a ring is a bit of rigging unknown to man. The main forestay should be attached directly to a point close to the top of the topmast. All this version has done is to bend the yard.
Then there’s the bit of tubing around the topmast. Obviously the topmast was broken during the models abduction. What sort of “restorer” would mend a mast in this fashion?
I can’t show the shrouds as they appear to be made from 5amp fuse wire and are as loose and saggy as….well, use your own description.
    So this will be the first of the repair jobs…starting with getting rid of the tube thing using a brass pin to re-connect the break. Then the shrouds and ratlines (missing, of course). The topmast stay repair speaks for itself…..and I haven’t even mentioned the weird and wonderful method used to re-rig the derricks. Oh dear. The more I delve into this, the more depressed I become.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 16, 2013, 11:21:17 AM
But now I’ll turn to the back end(s).
This pic looks as if it could have been taken at that ship graveyard called Alang beach. But it wasn’t……actually Tynemouth a couple of weeks ago.
Just looking at the photo it’s almost impossible to tell that there was (in real life) 20 years difference in age between them. Did Merchant Ship design really stagnate during those 20 years?
I touched on the cargo-handling facilities last time, but another similarity crops up here. The “Radio Room”. In both cases this is the little shack at the after end of the boat deck. Apart from being the radio room, it was also the radio officers cabin. Poor bloke. Out of sight and out of mind (literally, in many cases). Well into the 1960s the radio officers were not employed by the ship owners. Generally speaking they were employed by Marconi (but others such as Siemens were in the business).
Eventually the mast shrouds on Hunan will look more like the ones on Baroda.
Next time I’ll take a look at the shipd built in security arrangements. Anti-piracy and all that stuff.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: boathound on June 19, 2013, 07:46:55 PM
Enjoying this topic very much as I love cargo ships and those models are beautiful. About the design of the super structure of early English cargo ships, engineering officers in the aft deck house then a break in the structure with navigating officers in the front deck house. Why the break? Was it because of a social divide between these sorts of officers or did this long lived design cause it? Or was it some sort of design perculiarity? I know this all changed with the liberty ships- why wasn't it a common feature of American ships? Glad Hunan was recovered sick to think she was stolen from her owner after all that hard work to build her and all your equipment...but you still kept building, must be a moral there somewhere!
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 20, 2013, 11:15:59 AM
Thanks for your comments.
By the term "after deckhouse" I presume your'e referring to the superstructure on ships such as the "Oceans", "Forts" etc.and not the housing on the poop.
The split accommodation style was very common right up to the 1950s at least (P & O built many of them for their cargo fleet). I don't think for one moment that it had anything to do with class distinction. After all, the saloon and smoke-room were invariably used by all officers.
The "gap" between the 2 blocks had a few uses. No.3 hold was usually situated there. Cargo loaded into this hold would have minimal effect on the ships trim, but considerable effect on bodily sinkage and so could be used to ensure the maximum amount of cargo could be loaded. Also, if the ship had "deep tanks" for the carriage of such as liquid Latex or Palm Oil (a common cargo on the Orient trade) amidships is the ideal place for them. Then there's the bunker space. Coal or oil...mainly coal in the early days, but also common on ships built during WW2, again the consumption of fuel would give the ship a bodily rise without altering the trim. That would be difficult on a full dry cargo ship. So there were quite a lot of advantages to this layout. The other method would be using the double bottom tanks as both bunker and ballast tanks. A system used on most modern ships.
I hope that answers your query. Bryan Y.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 20, 2013, 01:30:55 PM
Now let’s take a look at the older ship, “Baroda”. All 7 of the class were originally built to operate on the BI service from Karachi to Basra, but no doubt called at other places. BI throughout it’s history was well known for swapping ships around from one trading area to another. Not the only liner company to do that of course, but I can’t help but feel that they trod on more toes than most. But her duties in and about the Persian Gulf needed an extraordinary passenger capacity for a ship of her size. Only 32 “cabin” passengers but over 1100 of the “deck” class. Add to this a crew of probably around 70 or so you finish up with a pretty crowded ship. Piracy obviously wasn’t so much a concern in her “home waters” as she had nothing like the arrangements on “Hunan”. In fact the only token of any sort of control is the very restricted access to the boat deck….and hence the bridge. Only 2 lockable hatchways on the boat deck either side of the funnel.
However. In spite of carrying between 1100 and 1200 people she had only 8 lifeboats. Between them I doubt if they could carry more than 500 people at a pinch. No other major life-saving equipment is apparent. You also sort of have to believe that the 2 boats on the bridge wings and the 2 on the poop would be carefully and jealously guarded for crew use. Doesn’t leave much in reserve. If only the boats on one side were usable….well work that outcome for yourself.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 20, 2013, 02:26:52 PM
Time to look at the Bridge structures.
Actually, until you get to the wheelhouse area, there isn’t all that much difference between them. The main deck superstructure on the 1914 Baroda does, if anything, look more “modern” than that on the 1932 Hunan. Mainly due to Hunan having scuttles and Baroda being fitted with windows. But Hunan was built to operate in more extreme weather. But Baroda (without a breakwater) looks pretty vulnerable to heavy weather when out of the Gulf.
The next deck (the “Promenade”) is almost identical on both ships. As is the Masters cabin on the Boat Deck. The big difference comes when you reach the bridge area.
All the accommodation windows (on both ships) would have at least 3 components.
The outer brass-bound glass area, an inner “jalousi” screen ( a wooden slatted screen like a fixed Venetian blind) and a mesh “Fly screen”. These last 2 were normally fitted within the cabin cavity “wall” and hauled up and down as required. The heavy glass section would open outwards and fasten with internal “dogs”, the jalousi would often be fitted with a brass handle so it could be wound up and down and the fly screen would work like those on early railway carriages…with a leather strap.
Oddly enough, RFA “Pearleaf” built around 1960 had this arrangement. Very “retro”!
The main visual difference is the fitting of the wooden screens around the front of the superstructure on Hunan. If Baroda wished, no doubt canvas screens would be attached to the rails. Cheapskates.
Next time I’ll concentrate on the Bridge area.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 20, 2013, 05:16:13 PM
This episode is primarily about the different construction of the 2 models.
First is Baroda under construction and the 2nd is of the completed Hunan, although the photo shows her still in need of some obvious repair work.
The first thing to notice is the heavier construction of Baroda, even though she was primarily intended to operate in a more benign climate than Hunan.
The main structure of Baroda is of steel plate and heavy angle pillars at the corners, whereas the edge of her superstructure is all of steel tubing. (Plasticard in both cases). Perhaps the quality of the steel had improved between 1914 and 1932? Using the tubing did away with the need for all those triangular and diamond shaped doubling brackets. I’ll mention the different methods used to mount the boat davits in another episode.
All superstructure bulkheads are of 2mm ply coated with thin plasticard stuck to the ply with double-sided tape (except for the planked wooden bits of course. They are all of 2mm ply with many separate teak planks stuck individually to the ply with Bostik contact adhesive. All ports and window openings are cut out of the ply before the plasticard is attached. The black margin plates at deck level are separate strips of black plasticard stuck on with Plasweld. A lot easier than painting the things on…and closer to real practise. All stanchions are supplied by James Lane.
The awning spars are a treat to make…says he jokingly.The pillars for these are of plastic coated piano wire. Trimming off a bit of the plastic coating makes for a nice neat fit into the deck. These pillars are all in the vicinity of 2” long at 1:48 scale. The spars themselves are of spruce. Nice straight grain and easily painted. The  varios “joints between two interconnecting spars are half lapped and gently drilled to fit snugly over the top part of the carefully cut and “shaved” coated wire.
All decks are of 2mm ply laid over curved ramin beams to give the decks the correct camber. All planking is of 1/16” Obeche cut to suit the model and stuck down with the Bostik (or UHU). The various bits of the superstructure had been epoxied to the ply decks before the planking up process. I think the most tedious job was painting the stanchions and rails. Three coats (one matte and 2 of satin). Seemed to be never ending. But now onwards to the “Ivory Towers” (as Engineers are wont to call the Bridge areas!.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: boathound on June 20, 2013, 05:58:14 PM
Thanks for your reply! I have another question, how do you work out the deck camber and build it into the model?

Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Netleyned on June 20, 2013, 06:39:48 PM
Perhaps no class distinction but oil and water don't mix
The RMAS Captain of one of the Robust class tugs
demanded, and got, an extra deck in the superstructure
so the Engineers and Seaman Officers had separate accommodation.

Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 20, 2013, 07:41:50 PM
Thanks for your reply! I have another question, how do you work out the deck camber and build it into the model?
Nice one.
In general for Merchant ships the camber has long been assumed to be 1/4" per foot of the ships maximum beam. As both Hunan and Baroda are a whisker off 1ft beam then 1/4" total is fine.
Trawlers tend to have a larger camber. Some ships have none. But where a cambered deck is appropriate the presence of it adds a lot to the visual impact of the model.
Warships are a rule unto themselves.......
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 20, 2013, 07:46:04 PM
Perhaps no class distinction but oil and water don't mix
The RMAS Captain of one of the Robust class tugs
demanded, and got, an extra deck in the superstructure
so the Engineers and Seaman Officers had separate accommodation.

Oh dear. Sounds like reverse snobbery doesn't it. But perhaps not. It could well have been because of a different work pattern so designed to prevent undue disturbance to the 0ff-watch people. BY.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: derekwarner on June 20, 2013, 11:25:26 PM
The location of the engineers accommodation at the stern could also be a carry over from the vessel design of the boiler & engine room at the stern.......Derek
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 21, 2013, 11:01:32 AM
I didn't think the original question was about ships with engines aft, more to do with the split accommodation sort. But of ccourse if the question wasabout ships with engines aft then it's logical to have the engineers there.
In many ships of this type the officers dining saloon and lounge was also "down aft" no social stigma there!
But just to prove that any system works.....The RFA "Ol" class refuelling ships had all the officers living amidships, as was the large bar/lounge space...but the dining room was aft.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 21, 2013, 01:58:52 PM
Ah, the sacred Ivory Tower. In fact, once my bridge days were over it didn’t take me all that long to share the rest of the ships company in their frustration with the isolationists “up there”. Truth be told, when it was “my” bailiwick I found that giving out as much info as possible and as often as possible paid many dividends. Primarily, it made my job easier by not having to keep on answering the same questions over and over again. But also it meant that everyone was kept aware of what we were doing…and why.     I’ve often been asked why the wheelhouse area is called “the bridge”….easy when you think about it. A number of years ago I built a model of RRS “Discovery”. She had a “proper” bridge. The ships wheel was still down aft, but the OOW had to patrol a platform that went over the superstructures below and went from one side of the ship to the other. The only equipment on this bridge were the Standard compass, a couple of ER telegraphs and a voice pipe to the steering position. No weather protection whatsoever. A cold, rough and wet night on the Southern Ocean must have been sheer purgatory. I reckon that even the guy up in the crows nest was more comfortable than the OOW
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 21, 2013, 02:37:13 PM
Still on about “The Bridge”.
Next model was “General Havelock”. A coastal passenger ship built in 1895.
Whoever was on this bridge did have some minimal protection from the elements. Remember that she’s a very small ship (under 200 ft. long) with the bridge area only about 8ft above the main deck. Still a very wet place to be when in a N.Sea winter.
The “cabin” on this deck is really tiny. Apart from being the wheelhouse, it was also the Masters cabin. While I was building the model I kept thinking that this wee shed was too small for the wheel never mind accommodating the Captain and all his associated “needs”…personal as well as professional. And he couldn’t be “on the wheel” 24 hrs a day, so there’d be someone else in there. With only a curtain between them. It’s also of interest that the bridge deck was open to passenger, as witnessed by the presence of seating/buoyant life “rafts”.  Can’t imagine those awning spars being used carry awnings though. The standard compass was placed behind this hutch….rendering its use as a navigational aid  pretty minimal….unless you actually trust and like taking bearings of things you’ve already passed. A rather stupid bit of placement…but what’s new about that.But it’s a start towards better things.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 21, 2013, 03:13:31 PM
The bridge develops. Now up to “Baroda” of 1914 vintage.
At first glance it all looks very much like the arrangements on “Havelock” although she was built nearly 20 years later. The same idea of an “open” bridge with a shed built somewhere on it. But this bit of the superstructure is not now the less than palatial accommodation offered to the poor soul in charge of “Havelock”. This is now a Chartroom. Still very small, but probably adequate.
The standard compass is now placed on top of the charthouse away from much of the ships magnetism. The helmsman has been moved out into the weather with his own magnetic steering compass. Which is also in a nice place for the OOW to use for taking bearings, azimuths and amplitudes etc. And these awning spars would most definitely have been well used to being rigged with canvas awnings.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 21, 2013, 03:53:50 PM
We progress!
The model I’m using to illustrate this section is my model of the cable repair ship “Norseman”. She was built in 1922. Eight years after Baroda and 10 years before Hunan.
From the earlier examples, I think it’s a fairly easy leap to extend (upwards) the bridge screen and put windows into it, and put a sort of roof between the isolated shed and the bridge front. Leaving the sides open to the elements.The helmsman is now back “indoors” with his own windows looking out into the also glazed section where the OOW does his stuff. The QM’s  position isn’t very big….he has to share it with an equally cramped chartroom (and, in this case, a stairway leading down into the Captains cabin). The after part of the structure is the radio room…but now the radio officer has his own cabin elsewhere.
This new “roof” can be used for all sorts of purposes. At theforward end we have the optical rangefinder, followed by the standard compass, the main aerial terminal column and a large box containing the radio batteries. The usual telegraphs etc. are within reach of the OOW.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 21, 2013, 04:35:50 PM
The final bit about bridges/wheelhouses.
I now come to “Hunan”, built 10 years after “Norseman”. Although still a complete wooden structure it’s getting closer to what we know today.
Doors have been fitted! The chartroom is now a proper working space…although the poor radio officer has been relegated to his caboose at the aft end of the boat deck.
The standard compass, although sited aft of the chartroom has been elevated to a more useful height. The little brass thingy at the front of the “roof” is a Morse Signal Lamp (carried today on many ships at a masthead, but seldom used when picking up a VHF phone is easier).
The bridge wings are now protected at the aft end rather than just at the front. Some effort…however minimal…has been made regarding fire-fighting with the provision of sand filled fire buckets. The big box is still a battery box. And we now meet the idea of permanent awnings (wood covered with painted canvas).

I hope you’ve enjoyed this very brief canter through the development of the bridge as seen on 4 ships spanning around 50 years. Seems to have taken an awfully long time to introduce such slight and simple improvements. But then shipowners have never been renowned for their concern for their employees welfare, have they.
    I’ll move on to the lifeboat davits etc. next.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 24, 2013, 02:30:38 PM
Oops…..forgot the poop decks!
Two entirely different layouts here. The 1st one(Baroda) was taken during construction. Bits yet to be fitted are The bulwarks, brass scuttles, emergency steering wheel and steering chain holder.
    You’ll notice that the working space on Baroda is much more cramped than on Hunan. The Hunan is also fitted with a capstan. This obviously makes the handling of the mooring ropes easier than for Baroda. That crew would have to utilise a couple of the cargo winches down on the main deck. More manpower needed. I guess “ergonomics” hadn’t been invented back in 1914. In fact, everything about Baroda seems specifically designed to make life as awkward as possible for everyone on board. But Baroda does have one advantage here….the positioning of the 2 lifeboats.
By placing the boats on an extended (and substantially supported deck) frees up a tremendous amount of deck space. Another “anomaly” on Baroda is that she has a hatchway ( visible on the starboard quarter) that, on the plan I had, said it was an access to a chain locker. Well, that’s believable as ships operating regularly around the Indian continent generally had at least one stern anchor. But here there’s no sign of such a thing or any method of deploying one. Perhaps the space below was utilised as a rope store.
You may also notice that Baroda has 2 galley funnels visible whereas Hunan has but one. On Baroda I’d think that the one on the port side would be for the crew galley, and the one to stbd would be from the passenger galley set one deck below…as is the galley on Hunan.
The brown “box” thing on Baroda (just visible behind the stern of the stbd boat) is a livestock pen. It’s certainly big enough for a few sheep.I don’t know what arrangements Hunan had, but by 1932 she probably had a refrigeration capability….”Norseman” of 1923 did…admittedly a pretty primitive sort that used large blocks of ice.. Still managed to keep the beer chilled.
    A quick note on the boat davits. Both ships had radial davits. Those on Hunan were fitted directly into deck mounted sockets….but Barodas’ davits were mounted outboard with a central holding bracket at boat deck level. This looks a much stronger arrangement than on Hunan. But it’s the only example of this sort of fitting that I can recall ever seeing
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Capt Podge on June 24, 2013, 07:17:08 PM
Some very interesting points made there Bryan - with regard to the livestock pen, there's a good view of it in your photograph in reply no.9 (page 1) and, in the same photo, the "outboard" locating brackets for the davits on the port side.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 24, 2013, 08:54:15 PM
Hah! You must have been paying more attention than I was. Well spotted, Sir.
Apart from the ding-dong of the bell signals, what caught your eye this time? Bryan.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Capt Podge on June 25, 2013, 12:55:47 AM
what caught your eye this time?

Believe it or not, it was the galley funnels, I hadn't noticed them at all !
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 25, 2013, 03:19:49 PM
Now I can move on to the boats, davits and other associated bts’n’bobs.
As before, I’ll use 5 models in an attempt to show improvements/deviations in davit design over a 40 odd year period (if there was any, that is as there isn’t really a lot you can do with a radial davit. Even the smaller ones that can still be found in use for odd tasks like hoisting a heavy joining shackle out of the depths of the foc’s’le to deck level.
All the models shown are at a common scale of 1:48.
Starting with “Discovery” again. All her boats were pretty heavily built and so needed a larger capacity davit than a more “normal” ships lifeboat. But one thing all radial davits share is that the top third (or so) is tapered. Not a lot, but enough to be seen.
Apart from length and diameter the only variant seems to be the method of mounting the things on to the ship. Not a lot seems to have been “standardised” in the early days. I guess each shipbuilder had their own ideas. They all have a “ball” at the hook attachment end. Also it seems to have become standard practise to use 3 sheave purchases. A crowd of seamen can heave up or lower a boat in the absence of power assistance given 3 sheave blocks, but it’s asking the almost impossible if 2 sheave blocks are used. However. I haven’t a clue how the 4 “work-boats” were lifted and swung out. As this must have been a common evolution on “Discovery” I’d have thought some evidence of some method would be visible.
   Moving on a few years to “General Havelock” (1895) a more “standardised” version appears on the scene. The tapered base “socket” for deck mounting became common (although Baroda bucked that trend). The Havelock layout almost mirrors that on Hunan which was built almost 40 years later.Not much else to say about these 2 early examples. The (slight) differences between all the examples I’ll show during this topic come under the operation and rigging section later on.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 25, 2013, 03:25:18 PM
Although Radial davits were by far the most common type found on commercial ships well into the 1920s, other types did exist. I show one of the more common alternatives…the “Quadrant” davit. These were fitted to “Norseman” built 1923. These were especially useful on ships where the boats were often needed for “work” or passenger ferrying purposes. Simply fit a handle and wind the boats out. No more faffing around swivelling the davits around and pushing and pulling the boat into position. But the actual heavy lifting was still “mandraulic” unless the falls could be lead to winches. At least 2, as the falls were still independent of each other. I well remember that hoisting one of these boats took 30 men to do it in a very cramped working area. Still easier than using the radial davits though.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 25, 2013, 06:38:33 PM
And finally….to Baroda and Hunan.
Writing this screed has given me pause for a re-think. I’ve come to the conclusion that “Baroda” was correct for her time (1914), but “Hunan” was a “throwback”. Almost everything about her seems to point to a lack of ambition. Apart from the closed in wheelhouse (not a new innovation in itself), there isn’t really much difference between them. Way before Hunan was built ships were moving away big-time from counter sterns and straight stems. It’s almost as if, when China Steam Nav wanted a new ship they just asked the builders for “another one of those, please”. I mentioned the “West Hartlepool Tramp” in an earlier post. With some modifications I’m inclined to think that’s what she was. Still makes a great model though.
One “little” detail on Hunan that was unusual is the bent (outward leaning) main ER cowl ventilators. With everything being crammed into such tight spaces, if the vents had been totally vertical then the funnel would have blocked the air passage to the vents. So “bending” them was quite a nice solution.
But now it’s time to get into “operational” mode…..
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 26, 2013, 01:49:14 PM
Starting with the davits themselves. They are all made from aluminium knitting needles. Particularly the ones with a “ball” or nearly a ball on the end. Until recently I was able to buy bunches of these things in any Charity shop, but recently the beloved H&S fraternity seem to have decided that knitting needles are offensive weapons and so can’t be sold “over the counter”. This idiocy surely belongs in the same folder as every house in the country having an arsenal of lethal weaponry in the kitchen drawers. But I latterly found that elderly ladies would happily give me as many and of different sizes that I wanted.
   On average the davits would be around 5” in max. diameter, and around 10ft high.
The wire span is not removed whilst rotating the davits ro the launch position. Being attached at both ends to the “spectacle” plate (more on that later) prevents the whole thing getting tangled up. The wire guys oneach davit do have to be unlashed and re-lashed when the boat is finally swung out. The main chocks are usually made in 2 halves, the outboard half being hinged at the bottom edge so when the weight of the boat is taken by the falls that half can be dropped….really just to save having to lift the boat higher than necessary, but more useful when lifting the boat as it makes fitting the boat into its chocks easier. Oh, and don’t forget to let the gripes go! (Or forget to put the boat plugs in, otherwise the boat will sink).
    In the drawing, as noted, the top blocks are 90* out of line. A prime requisite for rigging 3 sheave blocks is to finish up with the downhaul exiting from the centre sheave of the upper black. The 2 photos of my demonstration model (enclosed)should explain this.
   Pic 3 shows the fittings at the ball end of the davit. Take no notice of the block in the drawing.  For my purposes all proper lifeboat falls need 3 sheave blocks.  The top 3 sheave block needs a becket at the bottom to secure the tail of the fall.
The “spectacle” plate is free to rotate about the central pin. This is needed because the span wire needs to remain attached so the spectacle plate has to rotate through 180* during the process of swinging the boat outboard.
    The falls themselves should be at least 6times the distance between the upper deck and the light-ship waterline…for obvious reasons. On more modern ships the falls are lead to the reels via sheaves…older ships used cruciform bollards.One of these can be seen (just) behind the davits on the bridge wing of Baroda. The fall rope should never be removed from these bollards during any operations when the boats weight is on the falls…these act as the only braking system.
  The lifelines …not all boats can be boarded at a deck level due to weight considerations. So the boats can only be launched with a launching crew on board. The rest of the people have to use boarding ladders (like “pilot ladders”) or shin down a lifeline…but those lines are really there to give a means of escape for the crew left on board after the boat is in the water. These lifelines have a “figure of 8” knot in them every 6ft of their length.
I hope all that helps.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 26, 2013, 05:40:01 PM
And so ends this chapter.
I've now got the space I need to do some serious re-working of at least one damaged model.
But first: I need to chuck out a lot of accumulated "stuff" that I'm never going to use again.
Then I've got to wire-brush the walls. Then I've got to use a whole lot of "Mr.Muscle" to clean up the accumulated stains etc. Next will come the weather proofing around the main door.
Now that I have no intention of ever doing any more "heavy" mechanical work, I think I'll re-cover the main workbench with something akin to a kitchen work surface. Then I'll re-paint the white walls and only then will I repaint the floor.
Only then will I consider bringing in "Hunan" to commence her re-build.
All that may take a little time....
Regards to you all. Bryan.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: vnkiwi on June 26, 2013, 08:31:48 PM
good luck with your cleaup.
We will be waiting, right here for your next descriptive post.
Really do enjoy them. And I've learned heaps from you. And enjoyed every word.
Thank you
vnkiwi    :-))
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 26, 2013, 08:49:29 PM
Thanks for that Vin.....give me perhaps a month. But the way this summer is going I may well be up to my oxters in snow by the end of July!. Bryan.
Title: Re: "Hunan" and "Baroda"
Post by: Bryan Young on June 28, 2013, 03:32:42 PM
Goody! Back on line with e-mail system fixed.
If you have any questions or whatever re.this topic...then just ask. BY.