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Deans Marine Motor Gun Boat 1/24 scale

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 This will be a build of the Deans Marine kit of MGB 77, a Christmas present from SWMBO (after a little strong hinting).  It’s taken a little while to get going because I was building something else for the first few months of the year, but I’ve been looking forward to this all the while.  Deans obviously have a pretty good reputation, although I have never built one of their kits and never done a warship of any size before.  Never too late to learn something new!

The instructions proudly announce that I have one of the first batch of this kit, released in April 2004 (or possibly 2007, as it says later on the same page!).  So maybe this has been sitting on the shelf for 16 years, or is it simply that the instructions haven’t been updated?  Well, I have the laser cut plastic sheets rather than the printed ones, so I guess this is actually a fairly recently boxed kit.  (Deans ask for “thoughts and suggestions” on the kit and the instructions in particular, and I will send a few comments on the instructions once I have finished because they do seem to leave a little to be desired in clarity and completeness for someone unfamiliar with kits of this type.)

So here we go – first, wash the hull in warm soapy water to get rid of release agent, grease and any other stuff that might have settled there.  OK, done that.  Then mark the cut line on the hull – hmm, where’s that?  I did have a quick interchange with Deans just to make sure I was looking at the right place, and then added some masking tape around the hull to make sure that I was clear where the line was (it was indistinct in some places) and that the hull edge would be a fair curve.

The hull was then sanded down to the tape line and we are ready to start building.

As you can see, I have also made a stand using the templates provided in the instructions.

The next job is cutting the holes for prop shafts and rudders.  The locations of these are moulded onto the hull so no tricky measuring, re-measuring and getting it wrong.  Just cut the marked areas.

(For those interested in the small saws that fit a scalpel handle, Accurate Armour.)

I had decided not to use the kit supplied shafts, tubes and P brackets and go for exposed shafts so ordered a new set of everything, including props, from the excellent Prop Shop.  I also made a new pair of rudders more in keeping with those illustrated in Angus Konstam’s “British Motor Gun Boat 1939-45”.  Here are the rudders being made, alongside one of the kit rudders.


The rudders were given a more hydrodynamic profile on a palm sander held in the vice.

The rudder tubes were fixed through a piece of wood glued (UHU Plus Acrylit) into the hull.  As the rudders are flush against the bottom of the hull, they need to be at right angles to the hull surface, hence the angle they are set at.

The instructions suggest completing the internal fitout of all running gear at this point but as I was waiting for the Prop Shop order to arrive, I moved on to fitting the balsa strips around the top of the hull.  That will be in the next post.

Happy isolation!


Dean's Marine:
Hi thanks for the note, missed at update should read

                           B.P.C.  MOTOR GUN BOAT  77

Thank you for joining the world of Deans Marine. I am sure you are as excited as us with this long awaited updated addition to our range of Fast Launch kits.
This first batch of production laser cut kit has yet to be seen around the regattas, however the prototype has been through the normal trials and has been tested and proved at many events in the past year, its first release date was the 01- 04-20 and yours is one of the first batch.
Please follow the additional instruction for handling the laser cut sheets especially the marking of part numbers.

Whilst every care has been taken in the design and production of this quality kit there is always the possibility that further refinements can be made.
If you have discovered any aspect that can be improved upon in either the fittings, method of construction, or more importantly the information in the instructions, please contact us as your thoughts and suggestions on these matters to assist us and all fellow modellers.
We run a continual improvement program on our production kits, and any input from modellers in valued.

Having said that please follow the instructions carefully since our methods have been tried and tested over many years.
Our prime consideration is your satisfaction and pleasure in building and sailing this vessel.
We at Deans Marine look forward to seeing your model on the water or at the competitions and exhibitionsthroughout the world.

                                                        Deans Marine.

When I read the thread title I thought it was like the one I built about 30 years ago and took to quite a few shows. It is not the same, though, but I am sure they'd look good together. I sold mine when I left the country in 1996, no idea where it is now or even whether it still exists.

It looked like this:

 Ah, so the kit isn't 16 years old!  I have to say it certainly doesn't look it!  And Dave, nice boat.  Shame you don't still have it.  Was it a kit or did you scratch build it?

The next job is installing the shelf around the hull that takes the deck.  I did a quick check that the deck was going to fit approximately.  It seemed that either the deck had been cut a fair bit oversize or the hull sides had pulled in a bit.  I checked the plan and the full size beam (20’ 7”) and it seemed that the bare hull was a tad too narrow so I fitted a temporary spreader to keep the beam correct as I fitted the shelf.  The first job is to mark a line 2mm down from the hull top to show where the shelf should be.  I drew it like this –

After taping the pencil to the piece of plywood I refined the offset by gluing a small piece of card to the bearing surface and the line is pretty well 2mm down from the top.  In case it isn’t clear, the other end of the piece of wood runs along the opposite side of the hull.

The kit provides ¼” balsa for the shelf.  I confess that me and balsa don’t always see eye to eye.  >:-o Yes, it has advantages – it is light, easily cut, …. well, that’s about it.  But as it was supplied I used it.  The instructions suggest multiple half cuts to allow the strips to bend to conform to the hull.  Well, I tried that but it still snapped, so I ended up gluing short lengths in place where the hull curved appreciably. 

The instructions say to add another strip alongside the first to give a nice broad seating surface, but there is the issue of getting a flat surface for the deck when the hull flares quite a bit.  I got around this by cutting more balsa strip from a spare piece I had and putting this below the first part, then gluing the inner piece to both.  This sketch should show what I mean.

I then sanded it down flat with a sanding stick similar to my marking out tool.  You just need to make sure the sanding surface is around 2mm (or a teensy bit less as the deck material is 1.7mm) from the surface of the ply by adding shims of card and/or thin ply under the piece of abrasive.


Then just work your way round the hull sanding the balsa down until you have a nice flat shelf.

The package from Prop Shop arrived full of lovely shiny goodies,  :-) so I have moved on to installing the running gear.  First I made up a couple of braces to hold the two shafts parallel and at the correct spacing.

The tubes were epoxied in place following the style of Radiojoe – build a small dam around the slot, chock the hull so that one side is flat and flood with epoxy (30 minute Z-poxy).  Obviously, tape up underneath first!  The small scrap wedges are just spot glued in place to hold the tubes at the right angle.  I also had the shafts in place and held by the two wood braces to ensure the tubes were placed parallel. Once the epoxy was set the temporary wedges were popped out and replaced by a tailored wedge to support the inboard end of the tube.


I decided to try an Action Electronics P40E to help in the turns, this being my first twin motor boat.  Before I got much further with the running gear, I set up the motors, speed controllers, and the P40E to make sure everything was working as it should, and that I understood how the P40E affected the motors.  Here is my rather scruffy rig –

The setup of the P40E was entirely straightforward and the instructions supplied by Action are simple and complete.  They even provide an illustrated guide to removing the centre wire from the ESCs to disable the BEC since they recommend a separate Rx battery when using their little box.  I confess I did need to use a magnifying glass to see what I was doing!

Having removed the wire, I discovered the programming card for the ESC now doesn’t work.  {:-{ So I put the wires back in place, programmed the ESCs and removed them again.  Good practice!
Next time will be steering gear and P brackets I think. 
Keep smiling!   :} :}

Hi Greg, my MGB was a Dean's kit, lovely boat. I was sailing it once at Black Park and a chap stood behind for a while and then spoke to me when I brought it in. Said he'd been crew on one of them in the war and that mine looked 'just right' on the water. There were a few dodgy types around there at the time, so I wasn't entirely convinced, but I accepted the compliment - they're few and far between!

I took that boat to various shows in the 90s, Beale Park, Brighton, Greenwich and others I can't remember. It was a good scene back then, no idea if that still exiits.

I'm still enjoying your magazines,, BTW!


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