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Our  Models

Virgin Atlantic Challenger I

Everyone was disappointed when the news broke that Virgin Atlantic Challenger I had hit an underwater obstruction and sunk, just a few miles short of the record. [Read more...]


Virgin Atlantic Challenger II

Inspired by Mr Richard Branson crossing the Atlantic in record time, we thought it would be nice to have a model of the Virgin Atlantic Challenger II. [Read More...]


H.M.S. Norfolk.

F230 Duke

Class Frigate.

A world record holder.

[Read More...]



Motor Torpedo Boat  [Read More...]



Fitting Out


Challenger II hull and cabin bareChallenger II hull and cabin bare

Prop shaft slots

Next job was to cut out the propeller shaft slots, which was quite easy to do as we used the good old dremel drill again and we finished off with a fine file.

Rudder mounts

The rudder mounts were similar to those on the real boat. These were made of laminated hard wood and were to prove very difficult to make as we had to include the exhaust pipe outlets aswell as we copied the "Levi" design which exhaust through the rudders under water.
The mounts were made out of 4 pieces of hard wood on each side and these were then glued with Araldite and placed altogether in a clamp to wait until very hard before being carved and sanded down to the desired shape.
The vertical shaft for the rudder posts had to be straight and true, not an easy job to do. The next process was to offer them up to the hull and then glue and screw with stainless steel screws to the hull. The exhaust tubes were made out of 15mm domestic copper tube with outlets reduced down to 12mm copper tube that was glued into the rudder mount with 24 Hour Araldite glue.
This glue makes it much stronger. To give the glue a chance to set on to the pipes we roughened up the outside of the pipes and on the inside we used brass pipe surporting brackets that you can buy from any good plumbing outlets.

P40 & Respirators

Before we glued them down we scored the hull to give them best grip and then we used P40 a fibre glass paste and this goes off very hard indeed! If you use this be sure to wear gloves and a mask and you will need good ventilation as well. All copper joints were silver soldered. I used a higher content of silver in the rods as this would flow better even though this was more exspensive to buy, "but worth it". Beware. Only solder in well ventilated airy places or use a double filter mask like a Moldex 8102 or 8172 respirator. Use with gas / vapor / dust filters.

These are not cheap but will help to keep you ok! I use these all the time now even when gluing with epoxys and other types of glue. BE SAFE AT ALL TIMES!

Stainless steel rudders and water scoopsAft of VacII showing the rudders and water pickupsAft of VacII showing the rudders and water pickups


Peter and I designed the rudders and then had them made by one of our sponsors in stainless steel exactly like the real ones.

We had to attach water scoops to them and I made a plate out of brass with a slot cut in to it.

I used a stainless steel cap headed bolt with a nyloc nut and then I made the water pick up`s out of "Kunaflex" car brake tubing bought in rolls.

I decided to mount two pipes together so I silver soldered them to each other and then on to a stainless steel shaft onto which I cut a thread as this was to be bolted to the brass bracket.

The reason I used "Kunaflex" tube is because it is flexible but also very strong and would hold shapes.






Silencers, home made

We made our own silencers as we had a good design given by one of our friends and these we made out of copper tube.Aft section of Vac II showing the rear tank, exhaust pipes and servo linkageAft section of Vac II showing the rear tank, exhaust pipes and servo linkage

Also we inserted a pressure nipple into each exhaust. We used domestic copper tubing and solderless copper fittings and I used silver solder to weld them. We used "Kunaflex" tubing for the cooling of the exhausts which was a bit of a bind to do but we overcame the difficulties.

The plumbing in the stern is tortuous, with inlets and piping for not just engine cooling but exhaust cooling as well. Note how the exhaust drops down to vent in front of the propellers.




Mountings for the aft servos

We had a little difficulty with mounting the servos for the rudders as there was not much room. So we decided to make two 90 degree brakets from aluminium and mount the servors upside down onto them. This made them much easier to install. We bolted and glued them into position and which was a little fiddly to do but we managed it all the same. Also the linkages would be shorter and would give a much more postitive throw, BUT much more fiddley. OH WHAT A PAIN!


Home made fuel tanksThe two home made fuel tanksThe two home made fuel tanks

The tanks I made out of a 5 litre can that you were then able to buy. The first tank was the front one holding about 5 pints and the rear held about 3 pints. Now you can buy ready made fuel tanks in all sizes. The front tank was to feed the rear tank as this would give a good balance of fuel supply. So I soldered an 8mm x 150mm long copper pipe into the middle and just off the bottom of the tank, as this would stop small rubbish getting into the rear tank and supply systems. The rear tank would have 2 small outlets of 1/8" made from Kunaflex tubing. These also were soldered into each side of the rear tank and a little way off the bottom to stop sludge making trouble. I also soldered onto the top of the front tank 2 breathers as this would stop any blockages.
We used SHG flip up fillers on on each tank; unforunately they do not make these any more. But they were super. The supply pipes were made from Kunaflex as these were easy to bend. They were glued into place under each engine. Also each end was chamfered with a flat fine file to make connecting of the silicone tubing easier. Initially we used Saito helicopter fuel filters but then found we found that the glass bowls would shatter from the vibrations so we then used large plastic filters with fine mesh. For the water cooling tubes we also used Kunaflex tubing as we could glue them to the hull and this cut down the silicone tubing used.

Exhaust manifolds

The exhaust manifolds were made by our friend Harry Pinder and then bent some Kunaflex copper pipe around them to help in the cooling.

Making the carburettor needle easier to adjust (when you had cold hands!)

The next thing I did was to find amongst my odds and ends box (WE ALL SHOULD HAVE A BOX OF ODDS AND ENDS) 2 brass washers with a small hole in the middle which would fit onto the rod sticking out the back of the carburettor mixture needle. This was very difficult to screw in when your hands were dropping off with the cold and could be bloody cold sometimes. When I found them I then used a very small triangle shaped file to cut nicks out as this would help when tuning the engines and these were soldered onto the needles.

Cooling water outlets

We vented the cooling water out through 2 Kunaflex tubes each side at the rear of the model. I soldered a copper washer over the tube that was on the inside of the hull which would be helpful when gluing them to the sides. This also helped to reassure us that all the water was doing its job as it was very visual spurting out.


Outside and middle Engine mounts

The outside and middle mounts of the engine I designed myself and were made of aluminium.

The outer brackets were 50mm x 20mm x 3mm in a shape of an L and the middle mounting was 50mm x 50mm x 3mm in a shape of a T.

These you will see I used in other models as well. I used a hacksaw with a 12" x 24 teeth high speed blade to cut the aluminium.

It is best not to use a fine blade as you could be there next year still trying to cut it.

For the engine mounts I used some steel angle of 20mm x 20mm x 3mm as I thought at the time these would be stronger.

I also installed a twin clamping system at the top of the T bar as this would hopefully keep the engine mounts from coming loose and popping out.

I used P40 fibre glass paste to glue them to the hull with a wooden block under the T bar at the rear.

To hold the main rear tank into place I installed a 5mm stainless steel pan headed bolt through the rear of the T bar as the hooks of the strap would hold onto it.



Rubber mountings

The rubber mounts I used were from Prestwich and were RMM23 - 15mm x 15mm with a M5 thread each side.



ElectricsChallenger II with the specially made Radio ControlChallenger II with the specially made Radio Control

I decided to take a leaf out of the Americans' books and put the radio receiver and batteries as far as possible up the front as this would be out of the water as long as possible, if we had the misfortune of sinking. We used a plastic box with a lid that was a good tight fit and we used rubber bellows for the linkages and wiring.
As with Challenger I, we designed a transmitter with two sticks plus the rudder and auxiliary function. The two sticks were for each engine, so they could be run up individually, then prior to putting the model into the water, they can be switched over onto one stick, thus making them easier to control. We thought as this was an very inportant venture we would have the transmitter Challenger II made for us. This proved very difficult because no English makers were interested in us, so we once again turned to the USA. We found that in America, Ace R/C Inc, would make anything that we requested, but we were advised to use World Electronics in Great Britain as they used the same components under licence from Ace R/C Inc.
We had missed these people, so I rang them and they agreed to make it, if we sent them a diagram of the proposed transmitter design. We did this, asking them if they would add an extra stick for a third engine, plus an auxiliary lever and a three position switch, in all six functions. This was done and we had them make a fail safe control up for us aswell. Employing the 40MHz band, it was called the Nautical Commander.  
As you see from the photo at top of the page it was a special transmitter and it cost us about £160.00 then. Not bad considering how long ago it was.
The battery packs we used were 2 x 9.6 volt x 4 amp hour, 2 x 4.8 volt x 4 amp hour, 1 x 12 volt x 4 amp hour nicads & 1 x 12 volt x 85 amp heavy duty car battery. All were made by Varta and were sponsored by Battery Specialists (Norwich) owned by Multicell

Painting and lettering

Peter painted the model, applying the base and top coats of white and adding the Virgin logo. I decided to get a local firm called Matt Graphics to design and make up a set of transfers for the model. These were made and we applied them. Wow! Didn`t they look SUPER, they really brought the model alive.