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Author Topic: Freelance 1930's style "Gentleman's Launch" - "Maggie"  (Read 1588 times)


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Freelance 1930's style "Gentleman's Launch" - "Maggie"
« on: October 25, 2012, 04:58:37 pm »

Some time ago I spotted a very sad looking model boat hull on Ebay. It was advertised as all wood but "origin unknown", with an overall legnth of just 26" and a beam about 5".
I put a bid in and to my surprise I won it for 10.
On initial inspection the hull turned out to be in pretty poor condition with the outer veneers peeling and about 10 coats of thick black paint covering the whole exterior. It did however have a rudder fitted together with a M4 propshaft. (Could the hull have come from an old RAF Launch?)

Not really having a clue what to do with the hull, I stripped off the old outer veneers and sanded down the hull and deck to bare wood. The decks had a suggestion of planking which gave me the idea to turn the thing into a Freelance design 1930's style Gentlemen's launch, which could even with a stretch of the imagination have taken part in the "Little Ships" evacuation of Dunkirk!.

The first task was to make sure the thing floated. Much filling, sanding, filling again and a final white primer coat proved adequate giving a watertight hull.

Next fitting out for R/C.....I didn't want a high performance planning boat, it just wouldn't suit the image I was trying to create, so I installed a Graupner 400 Speed motor, and fitted a 30mm plastic three bladed M4 Prop. Battery was to be my favorite 6 Volt Lead Acid with a Mktronics 15amp Bec ESC and Planet 2.4 Receiver, (I now have 6 of these fitted to boats and all run off the same Transmitter). I found an old servo in my spares box and fitted this for rudder control.

I still really didn't have a clue about the superstructure and decided to "make it up" as I went along. This probably horrifies most people but it is different and whats more -  fun.

I measured out the sidesection onto some 3mm Plywood, and after some considerable time came up with a three level roof sectioned launch design. The sides were cut out and glued overnight to the hull. Next two cross peices were tie the sides together. and three roof sections cut out. I decided to fit small magnets to hold the removable hatch sections in position.

I didn't like the window and porthole cutouts so I added brass road to form the window edging and brass curtain rings for the portholes. Interior glazing provided by clear sheeting glued to the inside of the walls.

The boat was then sprayed with several coats of Humbrol white with Humbrol red below the waterline. The gold waterline itself and the rear boat name "Maggie" are stiick ons. All decks and roofs were stained with "Dark Oak" and then many coats of exterior varnish applied.

Fittings were either scratchbuilt or purchased from suppliers on Ebay. The figures are 1/32nd scale, (which seemed about right for this boat) and are 1960's Scalextric....  

I took "Maggie" for her maiden voyage today and after adding a little lead she performed well :-

I also took a couple of very short videos and I've poped them on You Tube:-


Alan (Now onto the small Trent Lifeboat!)


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Re: Freelance 1930's style "Gentleman's Launch" - "Maggie"
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2012, 09:04:18 pm »

well done, lookin very nice
scale speed as well
If it ain't broke. Don't fix it !
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