Author Topic: HMS Hannibal - And so it begins  (Read 2974 times)

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Offline Buswab

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HMS Hannibal - And so it begins
« on: 03 January 2016, 23:26:44 »
Hi and a Happy New Year to one and all

OK, my first RC model boat for 25+ years. A quick intro.  I started in Multi racing, building and running boats in A,B,C & D classes with varying degrees of success. I ended up as Southern Area and National MR Rep for the MPBA. Part-way through my multi period I switched to RC Scale. I've built kits, both British and European origin in the past and scratch built several models. Won the southern Area Championship and became SA Scale Rep for the MPBA. Been around a bit as you can see.

I was also instrumental in getting the Stevenage 24 hour scale sail up and run and was half of the team that ran the only boat bigger than Ron's "Battle Barge" - the Atlantic Conveyer at 118.5"

I have been building a POF Victory, on and off, for the last 20 years.  My son wanted to build an RC boat so I thought "Why not, we can do it together".  He wanted military so it had to be Deans Marine.  I had a long look and decided on the Hannibal - always like a big boat.

Following purchase and reading the instructions, studying the bits and pieces I finally made a start.  Instructions are basic but easy to follow and get the job done.  First panic was "use 1.5 mm piano wire" to align the deck edge support strips while the adhesive is drying. What? Where do I get piano wire in Stevenage. We don't have a model shop. Well, we do but he specialises in model railway. Gave him a try and came away with with 3 lengths of 16 gauge (he's still imperial) - his entire stock. Panic averted.

Nothing unusual to begin with - start was the same as any other model I have built, other than stiffening the hull bottom with some hardwood strips.  The main, keel, strip I fixed with P40.  This is glass strands "dissolved' in resin.  Mixed the same as P38, this is evil stuff to use.  Gets everywhere and sticks like muck to a rag. It's also very strong and probably stiffened the hull as much as the hardwood.

I then moved on to the propshafts and rudder tube.  After drilling, filing and lining up, these components were also secured with P40.  They are never going to move but you can't get a finish on it.

Balsa deck supports added around the top of the hull and it was time to shape the deck to fit.  Now, this is where it all gets a bit tricky. The instructions say you'll need to "pull the hull sides in" to meet the deck.  No way. More likely to need tyre levers to pry it apart. Anyway, after a little sanding at the bow and stern sections, the two piece (4mm ply) deck was persuaded to fit in the hull. 

Now, the instruction state the the width of the hull at deck level should be set the same as the width of the bottom of the superstructure moulding. This is where the first real confusion sets in. During the work up to commencing building, I downloaded everything I could find on the internet on these ships.  This was not much and everything was of low resolution. However, one download was a copy of part of the plans showing side elevation and plan views. The plan view shows, to my viewing, that the s/structure sits inside the hull width.  It appears that the deck edging strip extends all the way round, including alongside the superstructure. That's the way I intend going unless I am convinced differently, perhaps via this forum. The grainy photos will not take much of a zoom but do appear to show a "step" in this area.

Anyhow, temporary deck beam were fitted to give me the deck width I required so on with the rear bulkhead and motor mount.  This all went well as described, secured with P40 and tidied up a bit with some P38. Might be worth a mention although most might already know. When adding a "fillet" of P38 to a join, to smooth it before it starts to set, dip your finger in some thinners (I used acetone) and run it over the join. Nice smooth finish. I do struggle getting in to tight corners as my hands are a bit large - variously described as "bear's paws" and fingers like ham rolls - but it works. This could have health and safety implications so probably a good idea to wear some gloves.

Motor mount "wedges" added awaiting the curtain hooks for rubber band attachments. A comment here on the motors. From past experience I would have thrown in two Decaperms at least in this size of model.  Ron insists that the Kondors are more than man enough. OK - but amazed.

Couple of hardwood beams across the hull and the rudder servo mount is in.

Just spent today knocking up a temporary build stand then on to the portholes.  I have managed to rough out all the starboard side portholes. I will copy "Nick" here and insert brass tubes - I think the overall finish is improved. Anyone got a good method of cutting thin wall tubing without having to file it or open it up where the tube cutter has partially closed it? How do K&S do it?

Anyhow, that's where we're at so far.  Will keep it coming as and when.

Brian.
« Last Edit: 04 January 2016, 07:39:18 by Buswab »

Offline Buswab

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Re: HMS Hannibal - And so it begins
« Reply #1 on: 13 April 2016, 17:08:11 »
Has it really be 3 months since my last post? Oh well...

I have been building during this time but not as far along as I'd hoped.  Must confess to suffering several chest infections this year, still waiting for the last to clear.  Doctor is blaming dust inhalation and agree that each time has followed some extensive "rubbing down" of filler/GRP/styrene.  Must use mask for all sanding - not just when using power.

Anyway, another cause for delay is procrastination on my part.  I often over-think something rather than just get on with it.  My original plan was to build this model as it came out of the box.  The further I progressed the more I knew this wasn't going to happen. Example: The gun mounts in the hull sides. Kit wise one simply drills a hole in the moulded blister and glue the barrel in place - adequate but not right.  The more time that went by the more I knew I would have to do them differently in order to be closer to the original.  I have copies of a few photos, downloaded from the 'net. I couldn't justify the time or expense required obtaining plans from Greenwich and the like so would do the best I could from the pics I had.

The rudder is as supplied with a couple of mods, bottom bracket etc., which I realise is nothing like the original.  I decided to retain the kit shape/size, built around a brass racing rudder, as this has a far greater area than a scale version of the original. It also retains the "balanced" format.  Both of these "mods" should assist turning, something needed in the original class as, after reading R A Burt's book, it would appear that Majestics were quite handy at ramming other, friendly, watercraft.

A 3mm ply floor was added to the hull with this divided to accept the sealed lead acid batteries I'll be using.  It will take 4 laid on their sides.  Either side of and forward of this floor are ply compartments for lead to be placed for ballast and balance.  I have 4 off 2kg dive weights and a roll of lead flashing set aside for this.

Portholes. I drilled and filed these carefully as per the mouldings on the hull. Then stood and looked at them and compared them with photos.  Promptly filled and re-drilled virtually all of them in corrected positions.  Brass inserts were cut using my old Unimat 3 lathe and a small pipe cutter. I became fairly proficient at this so didn't take too long.  These were part filled with epoxy to be finished after the hull is painted.

Eyebrows. Why oh why did I ever think of this.  I struggled endlessly attempting to bend 0.5mm brass wire accurately.  I also couldn't seem to get the drilling jig right either - broke a few drill bits too.  I must have wasted a month on this alone. It has shown me how much dexterity I have lost in my fingers and is extremely frustrating, almost to the point a walking away from it.

The Admirals walk lower section was was fitted as instructed - excellent method and very strong.

Confident that all work inside the hull that would be impossible afterward, I fitted the main deck.  This worked well as described and, after gap filling and a light sanding, I had my hull nice and rigid at last

I've added a photo of Hannibal with my son's Amethyst hull above - quite a size difference.

Finish now - another post very soon
« Last Edit: 13 April 2016, 18:20:47 by Buswab »

Offline Buswab

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Re: HMS Hannibal - And so it begins
« Reply #2 on: 13 April 2016, 18:18:29 »
OK - quicker with the next episode.

While working on the hull there were periods of inactivity waiting for adhesives to set and the like.  During these I turned to the superstructure moulding and deck. After cleaning up the moulding I started prepping the deck insert.  At this point I must make a comment about the laser cut 3/4mm ply.  It was awful.  For the most part the "cut" was barely halfway though the ply.  Now, cutting a couple of metres of ply does not bother me. A decent knife will do this easily. Oh no it won't - not when it's been burned with a laser.  It was rock hard and took a great deal of sweat with a little blood and several blades before the job was done. Also, the surface finish on the superstructure deck was terrible to the point that I threw it away and cut myself a new one.

After trimming the ss deck to fit the moulding I lined the sides of the moulding with 1mm ply.  This was fixed with P38 and clamped in place between lengths of 75X40mm timber in order to take the vertical "bowing" out.  This seemed to work OK.  The centre top section and got ports were also cut out.  Because the deck ply was not original I had to carefully mark the mounting positions of the various fittings and housings.  These were laser etched into the original deck ply.

It was around this time that the "non-scale" appearance of the hull gun mounts really got to me so I cut them off.  I made new mounts, hopefully closer in appearance to the originals, in the form of a "cassette" to slide in to the holes where I'd cut out the mouldings. 0.8 mm ply pieces formed an open box.  The "turret" is 18mmmm dowel wrapped around its circumference with 1mm styrene.  I made 8 of these (obviously) cut and machined to height and bored for their pivot and insertion of the barrel.  After careful measurement and drilling of the boxes the turrets were inserted and 5mm brass tube passed though to act as a pivot.  This appears to work well.  My son felt these should now be servo controlled as "it would be easy to do it". Yeah, right. No, they can be moved by hand.  The "cassettes" were then fitted in place and secured with P38.

At this point I opened up the bow chaser gun positions and fitted styrene boxes in place.  Just need to knock up a couple of barrels for them.  The ship also has 2 similar stern chasers,  I couldn't find a suitable photo of this so they will remain closed. At this time I also added the anchor hawse pipes.  Not happy to just cut a small hole, as stated, for the chain to pass through I cut, filled and shaped the hawse holes to be closer to that shown in the photos.

Lots of other bits and pieces were done during waiting periods, one of which was bending the admirals walk roof support pillars after knocking up a simple jig - a piece of scrap timber and 4 nails - simples.

More to come

Offline Mark

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Re: HMS Hannibal - And so it begins
« Reply #3 on: 14 April 2016, 11:20:22 »
You have done a nice job on those gun ports, just make sure they are water tight behind as they are a very quick way to fill a model full of water as I have found out on trials when I built HMS Kent.

Mark

Offline Buswab

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Re: HMS Hannibal - And so it begins
« Reply #4 on: 14 April 2016, 19:32:49 »
Thanks Mark

Bit paranoid about water ingress myself. Boxes built with waterproof resin and fitted with P38. I intend to "box" them inside with their own watertight compartments.

Brian

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Re: HMS Hannibal - And so it begins
« Reply #5 on: 15 April 2016, 09:36:38 »
Anytime Brian.

I also made all the gun barrels removable in the side casemates after the first couple of times the model was "Brushed" accidentally by other boats on the water which ended up with the barrels being knocked off.

Mark

Offline Buswab

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Re: HMS Hannibal - And so it begins
« Reply #6 on: 19 April 2016, 21:10:58 »
Bit of progress - added a 1mm styrene deck. I was concerned that there was little clearance between the upper portholes and and the deck so added a little more.  I will be building the model with torpedo nets at deck level so a little extra room will be useful. The deck edging strip still to go on - from the 'photos, this appears to be a substantial lump.

A word here on my decision to build the earlier configuration.  I made the mistake of showing a photo of models in both colour schemes (black/white/beige & grey) to the boss.  She said do the Victorian colour scheme so high net shelves.  I then found a photo, added here, of Hannibal entering Portsmouth harbour. In the background there is HMS Victory - well, I assume Victory.  Can't think of too many other first raters that would have been floating in Pompey's approaches in the early 1900s.  As I am also building a POF Victory I decided that this would be the configuration - high shelves and grey.  Explained to the boss that the black and white made it look like a "royal yacht" rather than a warship (no disrespect to those building to Victorian colours). Got away with that so on we go.

Made up and fitted "step blocks" to the hull - yes -these are what appear to be square section lengths of steel (tube?) welded to the hull sides for the crew to climb up and down. A throwback to the wooden walls I would think.  I made these using styrene strips (see photo below). One length 3mm X 1.5mm "L" section and one length 1mm X 1mm square. I cemented the square strip inside the "L" to give me a 1.5mm square step with a 1.5mm "spacer tail". I cut the strip in to 10mm lengths. After fixing a small rule vertically at the desired position I simply "stacked" the steps one on top of the other and fixed with cyano. I think will be suitable after clean up and final spray.  Might be cheating but simple way to represent what was on the original - 'twas never a ladder.

So, ended up applying a coat of etching primer. now I can see what tidying up is required prior to applying colour.
« Last Edit: 20 April 2016, 17:32:58 by Buswab »

Offline Buswab

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Re: HMS Hannibal - And so it begins
« Reply #7 on: 21 March 2017, 17:29:56 »
OK - it's been a long time since I added to my build progress.  Work has progressed though but for some reason I didn't add to this.

When adding the 1mm styrene deck covering I also fitted a 6mm wide X 1mm thick styrene deck "edging strip". Judging by a photo of the fore deck, this was a substantial piece of kit on the ship and hung out beyond the hull sides.  This was made in sections and sanded smooth. I figured the 2mm thickness of styrene would assist in the "heat sinking" of handrail stanchion later.

Deck planking came next.  Only one way to simulate planking - plank it. 2 mm lime strips were used for the planks with the edges formed, in sections, by cutting the curves from 6 and 10 mm strips.  Planks were laid in 60mm long strips. The 6 areas of planking took me about 2 weeks to complete and I was happy with the result.  Then I sanded, stained and varnished it. Aaaargh! It looked awful.  Real patchy.  Re-sanded and tried again but to no avail. Others said it was alright - looked good.  Was almost tempted but knew I would always be aware of it. So, spent a whole day removing it. Soul destroying but, in the end....

The reason for the patchiness was, I think, a combination of adhesive, plastic deck covering and my heavy handedness.  I used Deluxe Card Glue, as per Nick on his Majestic.  This is excellent, easy to apply and dries clear.  However, I obviously used too much and, with the styrene deck not being absorbent, the excess was just sucked up in to the lime.  This created areas that would not take the stain as they were already "glazed". So, start again.  This time I used walnut strips. thinking that with the wood being harder, there would be less soak up.  I was tempted to go for 3 mm but had been happy with the 2 I stuck with it. I tried a couple of different adhesives but went back to the card glue.  Walnut does suffer with colour variation and it is difficult to match "from the tube".  Figuring that the dockyard would not be too selective and photo showing variation in plank colours (shades of grey - no not 50) I felt the result was fine. So, stained and sealed, that was a 5 week trial but worth it in the end.
« Last Edit: 21 March 2017, 17:34:15 by Buswab »

Brian Williams

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Re: HMS Hannibal - And so it begins
« Reply #8 on: 21 March 2017, 19:43:36 »
With the deck in a reasonable state, I moved on to the citadel. The GRP moulding needed a bit of a tidy up moulding lines and a couple of air pockets to sort out.  The supplied laser cut/marked ply deck had been replaced as detailed in an earlier post. I considered planking but, as Ron pointed out, one couldn't place wood above the boilers as the heat would destroy it.  He did show me on an Admiralty plan that the area above the furnaces/boiler were covered with coconut matting.  As this could be kept damped with a drop of sea water I thought it quite logical

Following the instructions was straight forward in regard to fitting the strips inside the citadel on to which the deck would be fitted. The centre of the top of the "upper deck" was easily removed using a razor saw.  This did leave the remaining sections of deck, port and starboard, rather distorted.  Deal with that later.  I continued building the various "boxes" and fittings which are mounted in and on the citadel.  I was not happy with the 4 guns being fitted "in a hole drilled through the side".  I repeated the process of the hull guns and fitted turret mounts that look a little more realistic. Subsequently, the "square box" inside the citadel to enclose the gun were replaced with something closer to the originals, made up with styrene sheet.

I added a couple of planked sections behind the guns to form a walkway then, happy that all that had to go on was on, I fitted the deck to the underside of the citadel using P38.  Bit messy with excess P38 squeezing out everywhere. This needed cleaning up quickly before it set to save a lot of rubbing down later.

Now, the two "wavy" upper decks had to go as nothing would straighten them. Quick zip around the edges with a rotary cutter and replaced with 1 mm styrene sheet and edged with 1X1 mm styrene strip. I fitted 4x4 mm styrene "beams", glued and pinned to the citadel sides on the outer ends and 2mm brass tube pillars on the inners. Then planked these. I also planked the fore and aft bridge decks, masked them up and sprayed it all with primer.

Following the instructions, I continued building this up with fittings, assembling the fore and aft bridges and flying bridges. No real difficulties other than the screw davits.  Now, I realise that one would have to clean up the flash from white metal fittings but this would have been impossible.  Cleaning up one face and then the opposite would have resulted in no davit. It looks like the two halves of the rubber moulds were misaligned leaving badly stepped components.  I realise that this is a very "old" kit and the moulds might be getting tired.  I could have contacted Ron and got some more sent but decided to make my own using brass tube.

How to fit the brass gun port doors?  Well, I didn't want to simply "stick them on" so I fitted hinges, 1 mm brass tube soldered to the rear edges of the doors, with 0.5 mm brass wire passed through, bent over at top and bottom then mounted through holes in the citadel.  Doors now operate.

Handrails. I cut out the etched brass stanchions and made a start on the fore flying bridge. Threading with brass wire, bending and heat sinking them seemed to go well. Move down a level to the bridge deck/wings.  Gave up and ordered round brass stanchions, 2 rail for the bridges and 3 for the main deck. Things went much better then.  On several photos of various Majestics I noted that the hand rails on the upper decks had "dodgers" fitted.  These looked like they were vinyl, like one sees with banners.  Probably wasn't but was smooth and semi shiny - definitely not canvas, as one would expect, from the appearance.  After a few tests I settled on 0.25 styrene and liked the result.

From the pics it will be obvious that there was some painting going on along the way. As I said previously I was going for the grey.  One photo I found was a colour postcard.  I assume this was hand coloured but did show various parts, funnel, masts etc., in a buff colour so decided to follow this.  Below waterline was Halfords red oxide. All grey was mixed up for me by a local bodyshop supply factor.  Medium Sea Grey - 3 cans of aerosol and 1 half litre of "base coat". Aerosol used where possible but air brush used where necessary.  Tamiya black for the boot topping and a mixture of Tamiya colours to make the buff. All other colours were Tamiya applied with a brush and everything lacquered with Windsor & Newton Acrylic satin finish.

The boats went according to plan other that the Admiral's Barge being incorrectly identified.  Fitting the various boats in their correct positions was a challenge and I'll admit to leaving one off as there was insufficient room.

Offline Buswab

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Re: HMS Hannibal - And so it begins
« Reply #9 on: 21 April 2017, 16:59:45 »
The Main Guns were made up as directed with the addition of brass pins to help secure the barrels. The process is a bit fiddly with several adjustments to the various pieces required in order for the set up to be correct. One area which did cause a problem was the laser cut base for the barbette. It was too small.  A simple matter to cut out correct sized replacements from 2mm styrene but this shouldn't be necessary.

I made some brass wire "hooks" which would protrude into the hull when the guns were mounted.  From these I hung rubber bands through which I passed a length of dowel.  The length of the dowel was slightly greater than the access hole.coaming in the deck. Sliding the "front" end of the dowel under the forward edge of the coaming then pushing down and sliding the rear  under the back edge of the coaming caused the barbette to be pulled down so securing it. Mounting the turret to the barbette was achieved by bonding brass tube to the barbette, 7mm, and turret, 6mm, "centres". This gave a stable mount and allowed me to solve the problem of switching on the electrics without the need to remove anything.

I mounted a micro-switch to the underside of the fore gun barbette that was operated by turning the turret to the straight ahead position.  Cutting a hole through the barbette through which the micro-switch roller could pass and another, carefully aligned, hole in the underside of the turret caused, after assembly, the switch to be on the "off" position  when the gun was pointed "over the bows". Rotating the turret to starboard pushes the plunger down. Because it is a 3 terminal switch contact is made between 2 terminals in the off/released position, the contact being broken when the turret is rotated and the switch pressed "on".  Having been advised that the switch might not be man enough for the current being drawn, the micro-switch operates a relay which powers up the radio and motors/ESCs. Photo below shows this switch. A length of 1mm brass wire though the 6mm tube prevents the turret from rising and switching the boat on while travelling.

Offline Buswab

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Re: HMS Hannibal - And so it begins
« Reply #10 on: 21 April 2017, 18:11:56 »
Assembling the masts was fairly straightforward, following the instructions and drawings.  Building to the earlier configuration meant that the fighting tops would have guns - just as well as there were no rangefinders provided in the kit.  Photo's show 3 guns on each top - 12 in all.  There were only 9 in the kit so I mounted 2 on each.  This meant that there were also none for mounting on the citadel and main turrets as shown.  As I couldn't see any on the photo's i wasn't worried about it.

There were etched brass steps to be mounted on the masts to gain access to the tops.  I discarded these in favour of some bent 0.5mm brass bent to shape.  Using a simple jig, I drilled two rows of holes in the masts and fitted the step, securing them with a spot of cyan.

Rigging the masts was a pain for two reasons. There was no rigging thread in the kit so had to order this.  First kit I've built without thread being supplied.  Second reason was the size of my digits.  After much wailing and gnashing of teeth of managed to complete this.  The completed masts were fixed to the citadel deck reasoning that if it wouldn't fit in the car I would lift the whole citadel rather that "un-ship" the masts.

Getting close to completion now.  Deck fittings were simply following the plans and glueing them in place.  Handrail stanchions were simple.  I set up the hull, level on the waterline, then drilled at the pre-marked positions using a Proxxon mini drill mounted in a drill press.  Threading 3 lengths of 0.4mm brass wire was a challenge but all went well when bending to shape, soldering together and glueing in place.

I had fitted hawse pipes for the 3 bow anchors so I could run the chains as seen on photo's.  I now discovered that there was insufficient chain so i ordered a couple of metres of studded link from Cornwall.

Brian Williams

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Re: HMS Hannibal - And so it begins
« Reply #11 on: 21 April 2017, 18:35:37 »
Thorough check over then on to the ballast tank.  This turned out to be the grand kids 6 foot paddling pool. A couple of hours filling it then in with the boat.  I was expecting to add a lot of weight and was not disappointed.  Power is supplied by two 6v/12ah lead acids so a useful start. Two 2kg dive weights were added and it still just bobbed about. I had a roll of lead flashing which I cut in to strips and hammered to shape then placed it judiciously around the hull.  Eventually, it was down to the waterline.

Well, I had to run it didn't I? Of course. Obviously there was no room but it was possible to spin the boat in its own length - most impressed.

Off to the lakes then. Bit of a struggle to get it in the water and a launching cradle/trolley will be needed.  On the water it is superb.  Flat out it is way beyond scale speed, causing a bow wave to rise to deck level, but will run slower with no problems.  I must admit I am amazed by the power of the Komet motors. "In my day" I would have fitted a couple of Decaperms but these 540 sized motors are more than up to the task.  The model is very controllable and turns well with a mix of rudder and motors.

The model creates a lot of interest at the lake with lots of questions asked.  So, 15 months in the build and, I'm pleased to say, well worth it. One thing I have learned (sadly) - don't build at 1:96 any more.  The scale is too small for my hands and rather shaky control of them.

Offline Buswab

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Re: HMS Hannibal - And so it begins
« Reply #12 on: 22 April 2017, 11:40:58 »
Thorough check over then on to the ballast tank.  This turned out to be the grand kids 6 foot paddling pool. A couple of hours filling it then in with the boat.  I was expecting to add a lot of weight and was not disappointed.  Power is supplied by two 6v/12ah lead acids so a useful start. Two 2kg dive weights were added and it still just bobbed about. I had a roll of lead flashing which I cut in to strips and hammered to shape then placed it judiciously around the hull.  Eventually, it was down to the waterline.

Well, I had to run it didn't I? Of course. Obviously there was no room but it was possible to spin the boat in its own length - most impressed.

Off to the lakes then. Bit of a struggle to get it in the water and a launching cradle/trolley will be needed.  On the water it is superb.  Flat out it is way beyond scale speed, causing a bow wave to rise to deck level, but will run slower with no problems.  I must admit I am amazed by the power of the Komet motors. "In my day" I would have fitted a couple of Decaperms but these 540 sized motors are more than up to the task.  The model is very controllable and turns well with a mix of rudder and motors.

The model creates a lot of interest at the lake with lots of questions asked.  So, 15 months in the build and, I'm pleased to say, well worth it. One thing I have learned (sadly) - don't build at 1:96 any more.  The scale is too small for my hands and rather shaky control of them.