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Author Topic: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat  (Read 48877 times)

raflaunches

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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #50 on: April 06, 2012, 07:28:24 PM »

Hi everyone,

I have some more info for any one interested in Insect class gunboats.
Once again this is on-going research that has currently lasted 10 years, but I would be very grateful if any more info came to light.

The fates of each of the twelve Insects are very surprising and can be quite shocking how they survived as long as they did.

Aphis- Survived both wars and sent back to Singapore in 1946, only to be scrapped two years later.

Bee- Flagship of the RN Yangtze gunboats from 1925 to 1938, completely worn out and scrapped at China Station.

Cockchafer- Survived both wars, served at D-Day, like Aphis sent back to Singapore before being scrapped in 1948.

Cicalia- Sunk at Singapore after surviving for three days being attacked by Japanese dive bombers, she was the biggest ship left in
          Singapore.  She received three direct hits before her stern was blown off.

Cricket- Immobilized, beached and scrapped.  Cricket was attacked in broad daylight by Junkers Ju87s and Ju88s dive bombers which
           continuously missed their target due to high maneuverability of the Insect class.  However, they changed tactics but Cricket
           out maneuvered them but the shock waves caused by the bombs detonating beneath her wrenched the hull and twisted
           her ripping the hull open.  She was towed to Alexandria where they discovered that her back was broken.

Glowworm- The first Insect to go, in 1919 whilst serving on the Dvina river in Russia she went to assist a burning barge, unknown to
                her crew the barge was an ammunition lighter.  She pulled along side when the lighter exploded.  The gunboat had no
                armour and the little gunboat hull was badly holed and her superstructure ripped to pieces, killing 10 of her crew.
                She was rebuilt in 1920 and went to serve on the Danube but the damage was too extensive and she had to be scrapped
                at Malta in 1928.

Gnat-  Torpedoed off Bardia whilst escorting a X-lighter convoy.  Her bows were blown off and the hull plating torn for 30ft.  
          The forward 6inch gun was ripped off its mounting.  After drifting for a day she was spotted and towed back to Alexandria.
          An idea was formed to fix the bows of the crippled Cricket to the surviving hull of Gnat but a dry dock was not available.
          She became a AA barge and eventually scrapped in 1945.

Ladybird- Perhaps the most famous of her class.  She was eventually caught like Cricket in daylight, bombed by Junkers Ju87 Stukas in
             Tobruk harbour and sunk in 10ft of water.  However the upper deck remained free from water so her AA guns were used
             to defend the harbour.  Nothing remains of her now the harbour was dug out and she was pulled out and scrapped.

Mantis- After surviving the Great War she was sent to China where she spent her days patrolling the Yangtze, in 1939 in she was
          declared worn out and scrapped in China.

Moth- Scuttled to prevent capture by Japanese forces.  Refloated and renamed Suma, she was eventually mined and sunk.

Scarab- Survived two wars, to be sunk as a gunnery target off Cyprus.  Her hull is now used by divers to explore as part of a diving
           holiday in the Mediterranean.

Tarantula- After surviving the Great War she served in China but was moved to Ceylon to become a floating workshop in 1940.  She was
               scrapped when the war ended in 1945.

The five Insects which served in the Mediterranean during the war gained a reputation from the Axis forces in North Africa.  They were the smallest named vessels to be mentioned in German and Italian orders to be sunk at all costs!  These little gunboats caused havoc everywhere they went, often engaging targets five miles inland, guided by LRDG personnel.  Virtually silent they could appear in a harbour un-noticed, destroy their target and disappear again.  After Ladybird and Cricket were knocked out, the gunboats only came out at night hiding by day under camo nets.  In 1940 when they entered the Med for the first time in 20 years, Admiral Cunningham was pleased that these little boats were his to command and was upset when they were lost one by one.

Hope this has been of some interest, either that are gave you something to fall asleep to!

Nick B
    
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #51 on: April 06, 2012, 07:32:50 PM »

Hi Oldiron

Thank you for a new picture, its one of the few I have never seen!  These were the vessels that went to the aid of the Panay in 1937, Ladybird actually shot down a Japanese bomber defending the Panay, but was too late to save the stricken gunboat.  Ladybird's Captain got a 'ticking off' for shooting down a foreign aircraft when the British were supposed to be neutral but I guess a quiet 'well done' was probably issued too!

Nick B
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #52 on: April 06, 2012, 07:53:59 PM »

You may have been hunting my duck, but I rammed HMS Gnat, albeit unintentionally....   :embarrassed:
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #53 on: April 08, 2012, 04:01:58 PM »

I thought I had to wipe some feathers off!  {-)
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #54 on: April 08, 2012, 04:21:19 PM »

Hi Nick

I'm back after the meltdown. Nice to see your progress and those pics.
I loved the history bit too - I really like to see peoples research items. O0 :-))

Dave
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #55 on: April 08, 2012, 04:58:45 PM »

Thanks Dave

(and welcome back to the chaos world of mayhem  :})

I was going to take her out on the water today but I looked out and thought better of it!  ;)

Here's to hopefully finishing her by June 2, 2012...

Nick B
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #56 on: April 15, 2012, 03:55:51 PM »

Hi Everyone

After months and months of putting it off, I decided that it was time I start to build the upper deck 3inch (12pdr) gun.  I tried looking everywhere for a kit in 1/32 scale (even tried 1/35) but there appears to be none available.  Biting the bullet I unrolled my copy of a John Lambert drawing of the 3inch gun and settled down to start drawing it out to my scale.  The drawing is to 1/12th so after a bit of number crunching I had started to mark out on the 0.8mm plastic card to outline of the mounting.  After cutting it out and started to detail the mounting with angle plastic card and rod, I realised that I did not have a gun barrel! Looking through my brass/aluminium stockpile for a suitable piece of tubing I discovered an old broken yardarm spar from my Strath class trawler in the box.  Cogs and pulleys started to turn in my head and I formulated that with a bit of hacking and bashing I could modify it to look like a 3inch gun barrel.
So with a plan, a broken aluminium spar and a bit of imagination I have created my version of a 3inch (12pdr) gun as fitted to an Insect class gunboat from 1928 onwards.  The turret shield appears to be unique to the class and I had to rely on old Aussie photos of the sunken Ladybird to get an idea of their shape and structure. 
Anyway enjoy the pictures, now with a bit of experience I might start on the 2pdr pom-pom on the after battery deck! :-))















Best regards

Nick B
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #57 on: May 05, 2012, 02:14:19 PM »

Hi everyone

It has been a little while since I posted anything in to this build log, but I have started to finalise some of the details.
Some of the eager eyed members might recognise the men standing by the 3inch/12pdr gun as LRDG personnel. Gnat was often used to drop off LRDG and agents on to the North African coast at night and I thought it would be something different to see on the deck apart from sailors.
I have started to 'rig' (not sure if thats the correct term) the anchor davits and the lifeboat davits.
I am using the brass fittings range from Deans Marine for the pulley blocks and some thin cord for the rope.
Last year I bought via Hannants some 155mm shells for 1/35 scale tanks and artillery pieces, but they don't look too out of place as 6inch shells in 1/32, only problem is that I will need some more as the pictures I have of the Insects show these shells scattered everywhere around the 6inch guns!
Finally from the Coalville show I  bought a steam whistle/horn from Modelling Timbers and I have fitted it on the starboard funnel as per the original drawings. Might not be accurate for a WW2 variant but its something different to break up the funnel area.

















Hopefully the bank holiday will allow me to continue the detailing of what is made already.
Regards

Nick B
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #58 on: May 20, 2012, 04:06:20 PM »

Hi everyone

I have just got back from Windsor marching around the castle for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee parade, see if you can spot me in the arena, bet you can't! Neither can I the pictures keep flitting too much to spot myself  <:(
Anyway, today I have completed the stanchion supports and added the chains to the entry gangways, the White Ensign has been raised permanently and starboard carley floats and supporting structure have been made.













Whilst glueing the final stanchion support I spotted this on the starboard rudder. For a start I thought that the nut and bolt on the steering arm were loose so I tightened them up but the rudder still moved up and down 5mm, but after closer inspection I discovered that the solder holding the steering arm to the rudder has worn away allowing the rudder to move up and down, strangely the other rudders are not affected in any way so it must have a weakness on the starboard rudder, so I know what dad will be doing soon (burning his fingers resoldering the rudder arm!)



See you at the Mayhem weekend at Wicksteed, Gnat will be there showing off her amazing steering skills! {-)
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #59 on: June 07, 2012, 07:23:11 PM »

Saw her at wicksteed and she looks better in the real than in the photo,s a brilliant model.
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #60 on: June 08, 2012, 06:39:13 PM »

Hi Dodes

It was nice to meet you in person at Wicksteed, I enjoyed our chat about the Gnat and her sister ships. Just a shame that the weather was not better and Gnat could have had another sail around the lake but even though she is over 7ft long and 14 inches wide she found it difficult to remain stable with other boats moving around her!
I have just started again after a week off by completing the remain structure supports for the upper battery deck and and the nylon wire for the hand rails near the funnels, found a missing pulley block on the rear mast so another item to add to the list for Doncaster!
Regards

Nick B
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #61 on: June 23, 2012, 06:30:38 PM »

Hi everyone

I have started on the final paint on the superstructure, the bridge looks completely different to how I expected, it looks more like the German battleship Tirpitz camouflage pattern than anything British!
I have sobered up enough to paint the ship's badge, a golden gnat on a black background, the entire thing is only 2cm square and required the finest brushes in my paint box to get the detail I wanted. It is painted with Tamiya acrylic on a piece of plastic card cut to shape.
I have also finished detailing the upper battery deck superstructure doors, the door knobs are from Modelling Timbers and the rest is various bits of plastic card, angle and rod.
Finally I have started on the folding armour plates on the upper battery deck. Its not as easy as first thought as each section has to be curved to match the profile of the structure below, I have made the first two sections and glued them into place, only another four to go!











Regards

Nick B
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #62 on: July 01, 2012, 03:45:12 PM »

Hi Everyone

I started detailing the boat davits this weekend, much more difficult than I imagined!
I had to constantly cross refer to all the pictures I have with some of my anatomy of the ship books to get the mechanisms to work properly, or at least look like they could work. It appears that the supporting boom which stops the boat smashing in to the superstructure or swinging wildly is in different locations on each gunboat as are the lashing straps which hold the boat against the boom. So once again the imagination had to come out to get the best result.




 
Regards

Nick B
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #63 on: July 01, 2012, 09:52:11 PM »

Smashing work Nick :-))

Dave
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #64 on: July 02, 2012, 08:18:25 PM »



Very nice  :}.

Mark
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #65 on: July 02, 2012, 08:47:22 PM »

Hi Dave and Mark

Thank you for the comments, hopefully I will upload some more pictures of the ships boat davit detail
on Friday  :-))
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #66 on: July 22, 2012, 03:58:02 PM »

Hi everyone

This will be my last uploading of pictures of the build log of HMS Gnat due to my 4 month detachment to the Falklands.
I have finished off all the extra gun shields and rigged the funnels and fore mast. The port ship's boat has been fitted on to the davits and all associated rigging and ropes have been attached, this was achieved by careful studying of the known pictures of Gnat and a very useful diagram in the anatomy of ship book Warspite. Also, I have eventually made the port sea mans heads on the stern.















My Dad will be displaying her at the International Model Boat Show at Warwick in November and at the Deans Marine open days in September on my behalf.
I will be able answer any queries but won't be able to upload pictures from my location for next 4 months so hope everyone is happy with the pictures so far! :-))
Best regards

Nick B
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #67 on: July 22, 2012, 05:44:48 PM »

My best wishes for you Falkland's detachment Nick

Dave
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #68 on: August 29, 2012, 04:55:53 PM »

Hi evreryone

Bit a while I know, I still can't build anything because of my deployment to the wintry falkland islands!
Today I have received a picture from a kind gent from the World Naval Ships forum of Gnat during WW2 and another gent is sending me another picture of her also in WW2, all this time and now towards the end of the build I get two pictures that could have prevented a lot of head scratching! Unfortunately it means that some of my efforts were in vain, the toilets are completely wrong on the stern, the are more light calibre guns on the deck and other positions, there are less carley floats fitted, and all that work getting the extra gun shields around the 6inch guns was pointless because they were removed! Oh well more work when I get back.
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #69 on: September 09, 2012, 02:26:43 PM »

I have been studying the picture again, really annoyed myself with some stupid mistakes on my half!
I have been drawing up all the differences and realised that the rear superstructure and rear mast are in the completely wrong position >>:-(
The entire structure and mast requires moving aft by about 4-5inches, that is not main problem, in its current position it hides the rx and switches, so I am doing a bit of artistic licensing and modifying the structure to incorporate the two large water tanks I can see on the picture and making them wider to hide the big hole in the deck. Its either that or planking the exposed hole/hatch over and trying to blend it in with the deck which was completed almost 18months ago.
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #70 on: November 28, 2012, 01:11:21 PM »

Hello everyone


I have arrived home from my 4 month detachment with the RAF in the Falklands. Now that I can upload some pictures I thought I would show the picture that has changed it all, HMS Gnat in 1941 at Alexandria, with thanks to the kind gentleman on the world naval ship forum.





Compare the above picture to the one below to see the corrections required!





I have started to correct the rear superstructure and mast by cutting down the mast, moving the superstructure back towards the stern by 3 inches and cut out the new 'water tanks' to sit in front of it. The mast will sit in the centre of the new structure and will be removable.
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #71 on: January 05, 2013, 07:08:29 PM »

Hi everyone


Thought a would update the build so far with the new corrections as per the evidence!
I have removed the old rear mast and its socket and build it in to the new rear superstructure. The mast has also been cut down by 6inches and the mast light relocated to the lower part of the mast. The flag yard arm has also been removed completely.
I have reused as much of the old rear superstructure as possible and extended forward to create what I will call 'water tanks' as I can't see what else they could be! On the new structure I have built an Oerlikon 20mm cannon stand from 0.75mm plastic card and 1mm plastic strut. A ladder purchased from Mobile Marine Models was suitably modified for the task. I have also started to construct a crew for the gunboat using the old Airfix 1/32 scale Desert Rats figures which have been sculpted to fit the ladders and around the guns. The extra gunshields I built before my departure for the colder climate have also been removed because the new picture clearly shows them with out them. The strange radar looking item on the mast isn't a radar scanner from modern times, its the remains of the cutdown searchlight platform and upper mast. This was recreated with a bit of plastic card wrapped around a tiny cotton reel and a 5mm length of plastic card tube. Two new features have appeared on the bridge wings, first the nav lights have been relocated from the battery deck side to the bridge wing ends, and secondly a half roof has been fitted on top of the bridge wing made from 0.75mm plastic card and some plastic structs and angles.
The toilet blocks on the stern have been demolished and are being replaced with individual units made from 1mm plastic card sheet. New ammo boxes are being made to sit around the new rear superstructure and some of eagle eyed of you may have noticed that the rear most cowl vent has suddenly move 6inches forward. The angle brackets on the forward battery deck are to support the folding sides to prevent them banging against the metal work on the real vessel, here they are stuck on to look like something vaguely like this!
And finally the tarpaulin supports have been made from 0.75mm metal rod coated with plastic, this took an unbelievable amount of time to construct and glue in to position, as did the battery deck side support rods which can be seen in the first picture.






























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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #72 on: January 07, 2013, 01:13:10 PM »

Looking superb.  :-))  A model with character. I admire the effort to update tbo new information. Don't think I could be that dedicated.


Andy
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #73 on: January 13, 2013, 05:55:10 PM »

Hi Andy


Thanks for your comments, my Dad has also commented that I am mad to change so much and has even tried to persuade me that the picture is not HMS Gnat!!! :D


I have continued today my making a third stern seaman's head and painting it light grey. I have also started the final push to complete the deck hatches- only two more to build!
Planning to buy some 1/32 scale 20mm oerlikons if I can't modify some 1/35 scale versions from an old tank kit! Fingers crossed that the spare ones in my Italeri 1/35 Crusader Mk III AA Mk 1 will fit the bill. :-))
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Re: HMS Gnat- Insect class Gunboat
« Reply #74 on: February 08, 2013, 06:51:11 PM »

Well last weekend I bit the bullet and started on the final big gun- something I wasn't looking forward to because of the openness of the weapon i.e. no enclosed turret!  {:-{
After looking though the forum I realised that I had seen someone else making a 2pdr pom-pom and it looked fantastic. So I must thank ggeorge for his picture build of his 2pdr pom-pom for his flower class corvette, this solved so much and saved me alot of time working out the basic parts from the John Lambert drawings. The only difference between mine and ggeorge's version is that I used plastic card to build it instead of brass, primarily because my soldering is not super fantastic like his!
Everything other than the muzzle, mounting plate and wheels is plastic card, the muzzle is made from a servo mounting ring coated with filler and sanded to shape- not 100% but looks better than some of my earlier attempts! :embarrassed:
The mounting plate is a white metal fitting that has sat in my spares box for so many years that I can't remember where it came from! But it looks the part.
The wheels are from Modelling Timbers and are luckily the right size! The elevation gearing is from an old tamiya r/c truck which stopped working when I was knee height to a grasshopper and was stripped at the time, it has been sitting in my spares box for years too!!! I know one day that the bits will eventually get used. The gun is not fully complete yet but is getting there, I need to make the sights and a few more bits and piece here and there and it will be ready for paint soon.
















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