|Newsletter& Customer Feedback|
ANSWERS to some of the QUESTIONS that Customers ask from time to time.
What is actually moulded on the hulls ???
In all cases, any bulwarks on hulls, that part of the side above the level of the deck, are moulded. This includes models like tugs, where the bulwarks usually lean inwards over the deck, especially around the stern. In most cases, rubbing strips on the hull are also moulded, as are the keels and stems on hulls like the steam launches.
Am I ready to take something like this on ?
If you’ve already built one or two models from kits, then you shouldn’t find the work too much of a problem, but it is very hard to generalise about this. Some customers have been able to construct a museum quality model at almost their first attempt, whilst others make a pretty horrible job of things, even though they have been modelling for years and years. As long as they enjoyed the building process though, and are happy with the result of their labours, what does that matter ? One thing is certain however, you’ll derive more satisfaction from a model built this way than you would from a run of the mill kit.
How difficult are these models to build ?
You don’t get any of the moulded and pre-cut parts that kits contain, and you’ll have to make everything except the hull yourself. Most of the work isn’t particularly difficult, but it does usually takes somewhat longer than assembling the average kit. Obviously some of the designs listed here are more difficult than others, but you can get a pretty good idea of the complexity of each model from the photographs and side view drawings that you’ll find around this site.
How much work do I have to carry out on the GRP hull ?
Not a great deal. All Kingston hulls are supplied neatly and accurately trimmed around all the edges, so other than drilling the usual holes for rudder and propeller shaft, there is very little more to do other than preparing the outer surface for painting. Sometimes you’ll have to fill and sand some of the inner surface of the hull where this is going to show above the level of the deck on the finished model.
How much detail is shown on the drawings ?
As with each individual model’s complexity, this varies a good deal. One or two of the drawings do give some details of the model’s construction, but mostly they only show outlines of decks and superstructure and most external scale details, with no model structure. Most show full-size plan and side views, together with front and rear views, and often other details as well. A few of the older drawings are slightly less good, but eventually everything in the range will be re-drawn in line with current standards.
What are the best materials to use for the rest of the model ?
Choice of materials for superstructures and decking comes down to personal choice, what you feel happiest working with. Good quality thin plywood and plastic (styrene) sheet are two of the most common choices today, but my own preference is for wood. Perhaps it does take a little longer to get a really good finish, but I just enjoy working with the stuff.
Can steam power be used in GRP (fibreglass) hulls, isn’t there a fire risk ?
No problem at all, in fact for a number of reasons GRP is perhaps the best choice of all for a steam powered model, but if steam power is to be used, a few simple precautions are advisable. There’s really no appreciable fire risk, as although GRP is ultimately flammable, it is rather less so than most of the other materials like wood and plastic that are commonly used in model boat construction. As long as you don't try to cram too much steam plant into too small a space, and maintain reasonably generous air gaps around all of the boilers and machinery, the GRP hull will be rather less of a fire risk than your model’s wood or plastic decking and superstructure.
What is it all going to cost me ?
This is mostly up to you, but the total expenditure on a model built up in this way usually comes to considerably less than the cost of a comparable kit. One big advantage of doing it like this, is that you don’t have to buy everything at once, but can pretty much spread the cost over the time it takes to build the model. Additionally, most modellers already have a useful stockpile of materials, and you can often re-use all kinds of items from existing models that you no longer want to keep.
Are any fittings available ?
Kingston Mouldings can’t supply any of these items, but if you know a good model shop, then you should be able to obtain many of the necessary bits such as bollards and portholes there, and some are quite simple to make yourself. If you have to resort to mail order though, I can recommend my own local shop, Westbourne Model Centre, with whom I have no connection other than being a satisfied customer. If Westbourne can’t supply anything you need, then it probably isn’t available anywhere else either, and you can find their advertisements in every issue of Marine Modelling and Model Boats magazines.
And finally, ANSWERS to two QUESTIONS that I'd much rather you didn't ask.
This is a good point to add a friendly warning about two kinds of common enquiries from customers that annoy me more than a little. The first is an e-mail or phone call that begins "I've had a good look through your website, and I can't find what I'm after. Do you make....?" This happens surprisingly often, and the obvious response from me, especially towards the end of a hard day should be along the lines of "If I did, don't you think I'd put it on the website, you dozy ...... ?" Most of the time I'm a lot more pleasant than that of course, but please take note of what I've just said, and try not to push your luck. The second annoying enquiry often follows on from this. After I've explained fairly politely that I can't supply something I don't make or advertise, along comes.... "Could you make one just for me then, and how much would it cost?" Honestly, it happens almost every week. Again it depends on my mood, but I usually ask them how many hours they think it would take to make a wood plank on frame hull to the standard they expect, most suggest something like a week or two. I tell them that a production mould and hull would take at least as long again, and then I ask them how many hours all that comes to, and how much they themselves earn per hour. Most get the message at this point, but like I've just explained, it happens with astonishing regularity. Of course, I'm sure that you have far more sense than to ask anything quite so unintelligent.....