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Author Topic: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat  (Read 48528 times)

raflaunches

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HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« on: October 27, 2011, 04:14:16 PM »

Hello Everybody

From the lack of replies from everyone I can safely say that no-one knows what a WW2 HMS Gnat looks like and I am going to have to use my imagination or as we say in the forces, service by comparison!!! %%

The model is built to 1/32 scale making it 7ft 3inches loa (including the rudders), beam 14inches, and only 1.5inches draught.
It is powered by two 12v car heater motors each driving an in-turning 45mm propeller from Prop Shop.  Due to the large size of the model I wanted to have smoke/steam pouring out from the funnels, this is achieved by two MMB big foggy units.  We used two Electronize 30amp speed controllers, controlled by a Robbe F-14 twin stick Tx.




Here is the story so far...

September 2010- whilst I am busy surviving the Leuchar's Air show (for Queen & Country) my Dad, Steve, lays down the keel and builds the entire hull, tunnels and motor brackets, etc... in less than two months :o :o

November 2010- A big tapering wooden box (I mean hull) appears at the Warwick Show on the Wicksteed Park MBC stand.

December 2010- Dad hands over the hull to me and in a typical forces way tells me 'to get on with it or else!'  <*<

May 2011- At the mayhem meet HMS Gnat's maiden voyage



We recreated the original steering system of push rods and chains around pulleys, and it actually works  :o.
We thought that the steering gear would be the weakest link on the model but it was human stupidity when both prop shafts disconnected themselves from the motors (someone forgot to tighten the nuts, I'm not mentioning names, Dad).

Currently I am trying to finish off the deck fittings ready for the Warwick show (only two weeks to go!!!)
Any questions I will try to answer asap between swearing and cursing at the amount of junk the Royal Navy fitted to their boats.

Nick B

p.s thanks to Paul Millers for the pictures so far.

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John R Haynes

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2011, 10:47:12 AM »

There are photos of HMS MANTIS in my Portfolio section on my site www.johnrhaynes.com
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TailUK

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2011, 11:03:45 AM »

I've got the 1:48th scale drawings, somewhere but they are of Gnat in her original config. Two stuffing great guns, a load of Maxims and the O/R Latrines hanging off the stern.
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raflaunches

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2011, 02:24:38 PM »

Hi Everyone

Thanks to John Haynes for the extra info and the interest so far. 

As with most models the detail is every thing, and the lack of this detail really stopped us building this version of HMS Gnat until recently.  After reading 'Armed with Stings' by A.Cecil Hampshire, whilst there are no pictures in the book the info described by the author gives some exceptional details of the vessel.  For example, HMS Gnat lost her 2pdr pom-pom on May 19th 1941 when she was attacked by a German field gun outside Tobruk but the author does not elaborate whether the gun was replaced!!
Another piece of mis-information in the book states that HMS Ladybird (sister ship to Gnat) was sunk (sitting in 10ft of water) in Tobruk harbour after sustaining heavy damage, which included her 2pdr pom-pom gun being ripped to shreds with its gun crew. But pictures in Paul Kemp's Gunboat book, and on the internet (see British Pathe film), clearly shows the gun in place being used by the Aussies as an AA gun. >>:-(
 


However, on a high note A.Cecil Hampshire did give plenty of confirmed info with the camouflage (or dazzle paint work, I haven't decided what it would considered to be yet {:-{) being black splinters over light Mediterranean grey.
 


Does any one know where the 3 inch ammo lockers would be located in relation to the 3 inch/12pdr gun, because whilst the NMM plans show the old system from 1915 of a hoist from a davit being lowered into the superstructure to retrieve the shells, 'Armed with stings' states that when Gnat was torpedoed in October 21st 1941 the 3 inch ammo lockers on the battery deck were on fire caused by the calcium flares inside them igniting.  This in turn invited the U-boat captain thinking he was attacking a much bigger target to fire two more torpedos at the already crippled Gnat!

Any way this is the picture I am working from, the last possible time HMS Gnat was photographed whilst she was serving on the Yangtze in 1937.



If any one has any later shot of her I would be very grateful, many of the other pictures from WW2 are of her sister ships HMS's Aphis, Ladybird, Cockchafer and Scarab.

Nick B
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unbuiltnautilus

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2011, 05:16:15 PM »

Nice model, have always wanted one of these in their WWII guise, all AA guns and ugliness :-))
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raflaunches

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2011, 07:34:57 PM »

Hi Mayhemers

It's been several weeks since the Warwick show where I have my twice yearly meeting with Steamboat Phil (some would say that once a year could be considered punishment enough). I met quite a few Mayhemers who were interested in the Gnat however my Dad had to hold the fort on the Friday because I was stuck at work until 12:30  >>:-(.
I was asked several times why I chose to portray Gnat  in October 1941 and the simple answer is the height of the model in 1/32 scale!
Many pictures show the Insect class gunboat with incredibly high masts to support the radio aerials and the searchlight  in the crows nest but in 1/32 scale this would put the overal height at over 3ft, too tall to fit into our van safely.  I absolutely hate removing rigging just to lower the masts, something we had to do with our RAF trawler Adastral.  However a bit of research later I discovered that after Gnat's almost catastrophic engagement with a German field battery at Tobruk it was realised that she was too easy to spot and a nightmare to hide her during daylight hours.  In A. Cecil Hampshire's book Armed with Stings, Captain Poland O/IC Inshore Sqn suggested to Lt Cmdr Davenport  (Gnat's captain) that he should remove the upper mast and crows nest to assist hiding her with camo nets, so job sorted the mast would only be 1ft high!  :-))
I'll update the build progress and some earlier building pictures on Saturday when I get home.
Happy building.

Nick B
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raflaunches

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2011, 12:33:58 PM »

Hi Everyone,

As promised here the pictures of the build so far!




















More pictures to come soon.

Nick B
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raflaunches

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2011, 01:24:19 PM »

More pictures...















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raflaunches

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2011, 02:23:54 PM »

And more pics...


















Some fantastic advice for everyone...

If you have that sinking feeling that something is wrong, you're probably right!

Whilst test floating the Gnat in my Dad's garage, we loaded up with batteries, foggy units, and motors.  That sinking feeling happened about two minutes into the test when water poured into the hull to about 1cm deep (remember the model is over 7ft long!).  Panicking I ripped all the batteries (x4), foggys (x2) and motors (x2) out of the hull heaving the model out.  Thinking we had a serious crack or hole in the underside of the hull we realised what a pair of wallies we are.  We had not fitted the prop shafts! {-) {-) and two little water jets had formed from the resultant holes.
Happy modelling.

Nick B.
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unbuiltnautilus

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2011, 12:17:39 PM »

Surely one was to let the water in while the other was to let it out again?!
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mark w

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2011, 12:20:56 AM »

Nick,

Great looking model, wonderful "outside the box" subject, perfect size and scale (from someone that has a 165lb tug boat)  :-)).

Mark
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marinemole

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2011, 10:39:08 AM »

Impressive model of an unusual subject.

Andy
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raflaunches

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2011, 06:30:46 PM »

Hi everyone

Thanks for the fantastic comments, you are never sure what people think of a model but with the responses on this thread so far I am glad that other modellers like it.  :-))
Hopefully I will upload some more pictures in the next couple of pages of the steering gear and the 6 inch and Lewis guns.
Thank you.

Nick B
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raflaunches

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2011, 03:32:16 PM »

As promised some pictures of the steering gear and the 6 inch gun with the twin Lewis 0.303 mg.
















The steering gear is a chain and push-rod system which required a bit of thought power to work properly.
The chain is from MMB, whilst the rods are 1mm welding rods and the rod supports are from Dean's Marine brass fittings range.
There are six pulley wheels stolen from my Meccano box and are held in place by split pins (temp job only).  The rudders are constructed from 0.8mm brass sheet with filler in-between. The rudders have a strange 'double pivot' where the rudder is pivoted from the transom but the input lever is behind the pivot, thus creating more of an exaggerated arc instead of a semi-circle arc.
We used a 17kg servo with metal gears because we found out at the Mayhem in May the old plastic geared servo was completely broken within 30mins of constant use.     







The six inch gun was built by my Dad, Steve.  It is constructed primarily from 0.45 aluminium sheet from our local model shop whilst the barrel and mounting were made on a lathe by my Grandfather, Arthur.  The turret shield is made from one piece of aluminium sheet and is designed to be removable so the entire gun and mounting can be removed (if we wish to make it rotate at later date).





The Lewis machine guns are from the Resicast range in 1/35 scale, I know the model is 1/32 but I am not going to split hairs over a fraction of a gnat's leg in scale.  I bought eight of the guns from Historex who are based in Kent, the guns are supplied with full and sealed ammo boxes and are reasonable priced for such small items.  I used John Lambert's plans for the gun mounting and constructed it from aluminium tube with a length of welding rod inside and a few bits of plastic tube for detailing.

I am currently detailing the forward battery deck and conning tower, so when I am finished I will upload some more pictures.

Nick B
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marinemole

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2011, 10:44:39 AM »

Some excellent trad modelling skills on display on this model. Looking good.

Andy
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raflaunches

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2011, 03:34:18 PM »

Hi Everybody,

I have just finished detailing the conning tower and parts of the forward battery deck, primarily the 3inch ammo lockers.  I have included some pictures of the aft (quarter deck) deck area as this is what I have been concentrating on over X-mas.











Looking through my pictures I have found some of the bow and forward deck areas.











The hatch is made from off-cuts of a sterodent tube with a plastic-card top, strip for the sides and hinge points,whilst the locking handle is stolen from a resin hatch. I bought the hatches from the Warwick show a few years back for this model but later found out that they were closer to 1/48 scale but the locking handle was closer to what I wanted. Its not perfect but its as close as I am going to get!  :-))

Finally, thanks for the continuing positive feed-back, especially from Marinemole (Andy), the aim is to complete the model before the Mayhem Big Meet in May/June next year so I can go to the Falklands knowing that it is finished.  (Now I know I'm telling big whoppers now, not a single one of my boats are actually complete yet! :embarrassed:).
Have a happy new year.

Nick B
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Martin [Admin]

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2011, 08:47:53 PM »


   That's coming on nicely;!  :-))
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marinemole

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2011, 12:05:32 PM »

The hatch is made from off-cuts of a sterodent tube

Steradent tubes :-)) Very useful source of plastic tubing. Presumably not yours {-) Can't/won't reveal my own source. ;)
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raflaunches

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2011, 05:55:23 PM »


You should see what else I use on the other models I have made, I don't think my Mum would be happy to know that her Fairey liquid tops are now cunningly disguised as radar domes {-) {-)

Nick B

P.S Thanks Martin, its nice to know that you are watching the build so far, I'm taking orders for penguins does anyone want one? I hear they taste horrible! :D
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pugwash

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2011, 06:13:34 PM »

It looks excellent Nick - Vick tubes are also excellent for slightly smaller pipes and biros of all shapes and sizes.

Geoff.
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mark w

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2012, 04:53:05 AM »


Keep it coming  :-)).

Mark
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raflaunches

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2012, 01:05:46 PM »

Hi Everyone,

Time for more pictures..



















Gnat's crest, I will be making a 2x2cm version for the bridge of the model (hope my hand is steady enough, maybe stay off the sloe gin the night before {-))







The large carley floats are from Macs Mouldings, technically they are 1/24 scale but I couldn't find any big enough in 1/32.
The lifeboats are from Quaycraft and are 1/32 scale 16ft clinker lifeboats, glad I only needed two!
The large rope reels are another cunning scratch built item, built from cotton reels for sowing machines (this time not stolen from Mum but kindly donated by Paul Millers!)
The original pictures of HMS Ladybird (sorry about the flash) are from The Royal Navy and the Sino-Japanese Incident 1937, and show some excellent detail of the fore and rear decks, unfortunately some details can not be used  because  pictures of Gnat show some detail differences primarily in the folding gun screens around the 6inch guns.
Thanks for the comments so far.

Nick B
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raflaunches

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2012, 04:42:46 PM »

Hi everyone,

Its been a few weeks since my last post, just doing some niggly little bits and pieces such as the final cowl vents, etc.
I have included some pictures that I have found recently that are a lot clearer than the previous ones I have been using.











The final two picture show the large carley floats now stuck in position either side of the officer's WC, and the final section of railing stuck in place on the stern, thank goodness!
The stanchions are from caldercraft but I was not aware that even though they have the same part number on the pack and in their catalogue the newer ones are slightly lower in height, something I did not notice until I stuck them into place >>:-(.

The history of HMS Gnat is quite interesting in WW2, this has taken me about six years to piece together any help would be gracefully accepted if you know better than I.

Sep-Nov 1939 Gnat converted for minesweeping duties.  Lt Cmd Davenport takes command.
Nov 1939-Jan 1940 Gnat, with Cockchafer, sails to Singapore.  Armament removed for transfer to Mediterranean.
Nov 1940 Force W, Gnat deployed for minesweeping  and bombardment duties along the north African coast.
Dec 9, 1940 Force W bombard Tobruk to support ANZAC troop landings.
Dec 17, 1940 Gnat returns to Alexandria
Jan 6, 1941 Gnat joins the 'Inshore Squadron'
Jan 21, 1941 The Inshore Sqn bombard Tobruk
Jan 30, 1941 Gnat bombards Derna
Feb 6, 1941 Gnat bombards Benghazi
Feb 25, 1941 Gnat with Ladybird sent to guard Massawa but was cancelled
Apr 14, 1941 Gnat bombards Sollum- Whilst trying establish communications in a motor sampan, the sampan capsizes drowning the coxswain and stranding two men.  Gnat enters shallower waters to retrieve and to glimpse the raging battle, a figure appears (appearing to be a British officer) and waves to the Gnat.  Suddenly shells burst around Gnat hitting the 2pdr pom-pom, a signalling projector, a lewis gun and a boat davit.  Furious at the deception, Davenport returns fire at the German field battery with Gnat's 6inch main guns destroying the enemy guns.
Apr 15, 1941 Gnat returns to Mersa Matruh for repairs
May 14, 1941 Gnat replaces the sunken Ladybird at Tobruk
May 20, 1941 Gnats topmast and searchlight is removed to aid camouflage
May-Oct 1941 Gnat becomes a night raider
Oct 19, 1941 Gnat accidently engages a German shore battery, unknown to the gunboat men the enemy gun was controlled by a primitive radar set, Gnat is straddled four times before she pulled out of range.
Oct 20, 1941 Gnat ordered to intercept and escort a convoy of A-Lighters to Mersa Matruh
Oct 21, 1941 At 0334hrs U-79 fired a torpedo at an unusual unidentifiable enemy vessel 32.08N/25.22E off Bardia.  The explosion was catastrophic.  The torpedo struck Gnat below the starboard anchor hawser completely destroying 15feet of her bows and tearing the hull plating for a further 30ft.  The torpedo tail wrapped its self around the anchor chain sending flying ripping the forward 6inch gun off into the sea.  The column of water rose approx 200ft in the air and swamped the Gnat causing her to list and start to capsize.  Luckily she managed to self right in time rocking heavily on her beams.  Then unfortunately the violent movements ignited the calcium flares inside the 3 inch ammo lockers lighting the gunboat up.  The Uboat captain thought he had hit a bigger more wothwhile target and fired two more torpedoes which passed under the stern of Gnat.
Oct 22, 1941 After drifting for a day Gnat was spotted and towed back to Alexandria by HMS Griffon and HMS Jaguar where she remained as a floating AA platform until she was scrapped in 1945.

Hope this was of interest...

Nick B
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Norseman

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2012, 05:54:18 PM »

Hope this was of interest...

It sure was - research is frustrating sometimes but great fun also  :-))

Dave
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farrow

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2012, 09:39:08 PM »

Lovely model of one of my favourite class of warships, my mums uncle served in them on the China station in the between war period. I do not know if it is of interest to you, you may already have the book, but Osprey have published a book on the China gunboats, an this class features in it. I remember as a kid my Grand Mother showing photos of the crew during the inter war period with a good one of a landing party, all in white, gaiters, knapsacks on back, bandoleers with .303 rounds in them, huge Victorian type straw hats with Lee enfield rifles with bloody great bayonets on them.
Nice to see so detail gone into the model, hope to see it at Wicksteed this year.
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