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Tramp steamer build

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John Davies:
These are quite fun. Began life as a Melanie and ended up as something rather different.

The main problem was the research. At the start of the project all that was available was one postcard view. But I think that while the result is almost certainly not a 100% accurate model, it is certainly closely faithful to the original. Research sources included both volumes of PN Thomas' tramp steamer books, which included drawings of ships built by the same yard around the same period, Malcolm Darch's "Modelling Maritime History", alas long out of print but available second hand and a complete jewel of a book, particularly his chapter on modelling the "Chelford", as well as his advice about research. Online it turned out that while the local museum in the town where she was built did not have a photograph of this particular ship, they did have a selection of ships of very similar dimensions by the same builder around the same time and bless them, they had put their photos online.

This was the first tramp steamer model I have built. I expected her to be simpler than a warship, without the latter's plethora of fittings. In fact she proved surprisingly complex. In general if a fitting is in a particular place, it is often because that is the only place for it to be and it cannot be moved without interfering with several other things.

Best of luck with your project.

I have acquired the shipbuilders plans from the Tyne and Wear museum. As my build is a Sunderland built ship. My “adjustments are rather more drastic. The hull has to be increased by 16 “ and 1 1/2” on the beam.
Making a 52” vessel. The cut and shut has come out quite well along with some filler. With the addition of a bilge keel. It’s hard to see the joints !
As usual my build is for display only. This gives me more scope to strengthen the hull, as internal gear isn’t required.

Like yourself I have tended to Build Warships which Is my passion, However I rebuilt the Clyde ferry MV Arran (1953) in 1/48 Scale. This was given to my Grandson by one of the club members. It took around eight months to rebuild the hull was in reasonable condition although the wooden upper works had to be strengthened with plastic. The running gear was somewhat out of date. the final result was good and the ship sails well. You will enjoy the building a non warship model as I did with the Arran.

I have just completed S S Kirkpool. I used 2x Melanie hulls to cut and shut for the length. Also had to increase the beam by 2”. much of the work was to alter the hull (s) to conform to the shipbuilders plans which I obtained from Sunderland museum. This project certainly helped lockdown Mk ll pass quickly. I have only ever built warships before, so the derricks and rigging were a novel experience and learning curve. I have photos of the completed model but the files are too large for this forum.I need help to resize them.


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