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Author Topic: Frigate HMS Alert K647 (ed HMS Dundrum Bay, laid down as HMS Loch Scammadale)  (Read 1308 times)

ErikvG

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This is the topic about the frigate HMS Alert. She was laid down in WW2 but was finished too late to take part in WW2. She was completed as a despatch vessel for the Far East Fleet, with added space for an admiral on the quarter deck. My late father in law was her last Commanding Officer before she was laid up in 1964 and he sailed her back from the Far East to Devonport Dockyard.

An overview of my father in law's travekls with HMS Alert can be found here;
https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=1Fq0snraL2Ym_XJEMW4pETwlizOySnu8s&usp=sharing. This link also contains his other journeys with surface ships, but lacks his submarine travels (due to Google constraints on the amount of folders). These maps are reconstructed using the official ship's logs.

As a fitting remembrance to my father in law, I want to built a model of his first command in a scale big enough to enjoy details, but small enough to ensure my wife will not object against having it in a living room. A scale of 1:96 has been selected as being an optimum with a wide range of Royal Navy related parts and fittings being available.This story contains both research, design and building experiences.

The picture attached shows HMS Alert flying her paying-off pendant, when leaving Singapore (collection John M. Jessop)
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ballastanksian

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I look forward to your updates on this interesting build Erik!
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ErikvG

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When  building a model, my first attention goes to the research part. I like to know how the original ship was built, what are the detailed drawings, why were constructions as they were made? The rationale behind this question being that a model looks better, if it replicates the structures which give the original it looks in a convincing way.
Books and drawings are my primary source of information. One of the most interesting books I have obtained (in the second hand book shop of the Historic Dockyard in Chatham was a reprint of papers written by the designers of  the various WW2 ships; Book title: Selected papers on British Warship Design in World War II
Publisher: Conway Maritime PressPublication date: 1983
ISBN: 978-0851-77284-6This books contains an entire chapter devoted to the construction of frigates using mass-production and prefabrication techniques. It has a global overview of the ship, an overview of the decks and some of the frames and it has a planking diagram.
The drawings however are way too small to use as a base to build a good-looking model. However, one of the interesting statements in the book is that the deck camber (how many model ships include the deck camber, quite often I see completely flat decks) is not based on an arc, but that the deck camber is made up of three sections, the middel section being flat and horizontal, the two side parts being 'chamfered'.
I have tried to verify this looking for photogprahs in other books and all over the internet, but I have never been able to confirm this statement (even though it was made by the original desigenrs of the ships).
By coincidence, I cam into contact with a man in New Zealand who has made a model of HMNZS Rotoiti, a Loch Class which has been transferred to New Zealand. He had found a great selection of original drawings and has shared them with me. The drawings are included below in a highly compressed way (the full size of this set is almost 150MB). I have used these drawings to make a CAD drawingto use as a base for the model.
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gingyer

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Interesting model and very unusual.


Watching with interest  :-))
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derekwarner

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Well Erik....you certainly have an excellent reference set of detail Drawings  :-))  ......


You can never have too much detail available .......always easy to not include something, than wonder what it was really like  {:-{


Derek
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Derek Warner

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ErikvG

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Thank you for the compliments.The ship is indeed usual as from bow to funnel, she is basically a standard Bay class frigate with all armament in place and from funnel to the stem, she is a yacht with accomodation for an admiral and his staff. From the description in the ship's log, it is clear that her crew is trained well in the various weapon systems (the log even states that she was the last Royal Navy frigate to fire Hedgehog anti-submarine mortars in 1964). She also has patrolled the Sarawak and Sabah areas of Malaysia during the Indonesian Confrontation actions to fight insurgents, while my father in law was her commanding officer.

I am indeed happy with the drawings which I obtained (if people are interested in the full size drawings, feel free send me a mail). The drawings are converted to a (2D) CAD drawing in Draftsight, an AutoCAD like program which enables me to turn the drawings into any scale I want. I am now in the process of converting the drawing (I use 1:1 for the conversion) into 1:96. Included are a couple of screen prints of the artwork so far. Basically every line in the original drawing has been traced, only the L-shaped braces, etc, must be added for inclusioon in places where these are visible when the model is finished.
Due to the fact that multiple models can be made from this artwork, I have used layers to denote generic artwork (usable for any model), specific Loch class layers and specific Bay class layers. I do not yet have found any artwork of the HMS Aert herself, so I am still looking for those, but have enough reference material to start working on other parts of the artwork.
In the picture showing the bridge structure, the reasder can see the different setup of the Bay-class and Loch class bridge location.
A funny detail which has been described in the original drawings is that a big part of the bridge structure was made in brass, as it is a non-ferro material and does not influence the conpass. As I intend to make the superstructure from brass, at least for some parts I can use a prototypical material...

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Beagle1831

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Will be watching with interest - I think my grandfather was on Alert in the late 1940s as a Stoker. Seem to remember him talking about the ship in the Far East and running the engine room.
Looking great 👍

James
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ErikvG

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While converting the blueprints to the CAD drawing, I thought it was nice to check whether the drawings were a bit accurate in relation to the ships bult from these drawings.
I have always assumed that if a class of ships were built, especcially using prefabricated sections and units, they must be pretty much identical in outlook.
The pictures included below, show that there are actually some differences with regard to the location of the chimney or even the entire superstructure. I wonder what the design motivations were behind these changes.
For HMS Alert I can imagine that the extra rooms and offices added for the admiral and his staff would shift the centre of gravity too much to the back, but on the other hand, the double 4" cannon is also quite a heavy weight compared with just the sheet metal for offices and a deck.
I do no think that the photographs are so much distorted that the distortion in the image is the casue of the shift in location for the superstructure elements. The photo's are taken from the side and basically show all the superstructure parts in proportion.
For HMS Alert, I will adapt the drawing and move the supersturcture more to the bow of the ship, to ensure the outline of the ship will be correct. That means a bit more drawing work, but that is part of the hobby. A good design is a prerequisite for a good model.
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gingyer

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Interest stuff but you need to remember you are using a computer program when they built these
The draftsmen had pen and pencils. And with different yards too involved in the build they all have a slight variation.
Itís a bit like the nimrod aircraft debacle they took the first one in to modernise, measured it up drew it in CAD and it fitted perfectly then airframe No2 went in all they did was CNC cut out the parts but nothing fitted when they checked they found out because it was built in jigs and frames not a computer each airframe was slightly different.


After the war some loch class had the single 4Ē gun swapped for the dual 4Ē and the Oerlikons to bofor guns but these mods donít seem to have made much impact on its characteristics apparently.


If I read correctly Alert was converted on the slipway during its build so this also could give the builders some leeway to alter its appearance slightly fitting in more cabins by moving structures slightly. .
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ErikvG

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It is indeed fun to draw CAD drawings based on original blueprints. Quite often the ships were one-offs but in the case of HMS Alert, she was part of an (intended) large series of Loch Class (and later Bay class) ships with pre-fabricationed sections used as a base. That means that quite a lot of the building was performed in other parts of the country, with final assembly on the slipyards and hence, every ship still being a one-off. From my personal interest, I have read that also with steam locomotives which were produced in series, every locomotive had its own firing and performance characteristcis, so apparently minor differences will have significant influence on behaviour...
Apparently there was still room for alterations in how the superstructure was set up.
With exception of a couple of small details ion the upper deck and lower deck, I have no dea about changes made in the configuration below deck between Loch Class, Bay Class and the specials such as the despatch vessels and surveying vessels....
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tonyH

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Hi Eric, this is just a message of thanks for pointing out the Dutch Archives on the HMS Glory thread! I've been trying to obtain info on HrMs Koningin Wilhelmina der Nederlanden for a long time and you're the first person to even mention them. Neither Amsterdam Museum nor Den Helder have been as helpful as you. :-))
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ErikvG

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@TonyH; It is my pleasure. Being a Dutchie married to an English lady helps  :} .
HrMs Koningin Wilhelmina is available (drawing 1241-1251, so you have something to chew on...)
Please feel free to contact me if you need some help (translation,etc.). The picture included is a famous picture of HMAS Vengeance. My father in law was 'Signals' when they forged the autograph. I als have scanned this picture in a high resolution, which will give you HMS Glory details for the sponsons, etc.
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ErikvG

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For my model, I have been thinking about building a hull myself or to use a GRP hull, as Dean's Marine sells Bay/Loch class hulls in 1:96 scale. These hulls have an imitation plating and are nice in overall looks.The pictures included in this post show the hull in combination with the books I use as a basis for my research. On-line research is never as accurate and complete as books are and these books help me quite a lot to see how things are made or why things are located as they are.
The bookshelf picture shows my nautical book collection (which is a hobby in itself  :-) .
With regard to the hull, I think I will have to file down all the porthole markings as they are way to protrusive (the portholes on HMS Alert seem to be flush with the hull and only the brows are protruding. In addition, the plating is a bit course and will need some trimming down as well. The length of the hull is pretty accurate for 1:96, but it is almost 0,5" to wide (One of the books about ship modelling describes an identical situation with a Dean's hull for a destroyer model in 1:96). That is not such a big problem to fix, and I will see if I can use a wooden keel/bulkhead structuture to provide strength.
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Dean's Marine

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Hi Warship hulls are lightweight glass fibre and are flexible, the deck decides the beam when fitted. Hulls in transit can open out or close up depending on how the lay for any time. measuring a hull as it lays will give a false dimension
 Ron
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ErikvG

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Hi Warship hulls are lightweight glass fibre and are flexible, the deck decides the beam when fitted. Hulls in transit can open out or close up depending on how the lay for any time. measuring a hull as it lays will give a false dimension
 Ron
Thank you for the clarification, the difference in width has not scared me at all. The length of the hull is very accurate and it is a very good base to start from for HMS Alert. I understand the limitations you have as a manufacturer as every choice you have to make will have implications included (I am heavily involved in design choices for my professional activites, and knowhaving to make choices can be painful at times  ;) ).
Based on my artwork, I will see if I can match a laaser cut keel with bulkheads to fix the hull and to prepare for fitting the decks.

One of my choices will be to decide on having HMS Alert as a purely static model or whether I want her to be able to sail as well. My preference now goes to purely static and that requires a lot more detail then when she would be sailing (and need more robustness).


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Dean's Marine

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Hi Porthole markings on the hull are for a guide for the ship we produce, they are drilled out to correct size and the outer ring markings are sanded off you can line the inside of the hole with bronze paint or vinyl bronze for extra detail,
the porthole are then filled with clear epoxy after painting the hull
 make sure you treat the hull properly before working on it. Ron
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ErikvG

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Thank you for the advice regarding the portholes. It was indeed a like what I had in mind. HMS Alert has some port holes on different locations, so I might have to make some adaptations anyway. The portholes in real are 9" diameter, so that will be close to 2,5mm outer diameter brass tube. I intend to use the brass tubes to make a nice crisp shape and then sand the tubes after painting (as HMS Alert was an Admiral's yacht, she will have looked well-polished).

The hull will have to be properly primed before painting and I also intend to prime the inside after I have installed the keel and bulkheads, just to ensure that my model will stay in a good shape for a very long time.
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