The snow was thick on the ground, the workshop out of bounds because of the cold weather and I was recovering after an operation stuck indoors in an armchair with orders not to do anything silly. So yes, you have guessed it, I was bored stiff! The only space available to do anything on was about the size of a dinner tray. Then I browsed through the 2010 Model Boats Winter Special for the hundredth time and there was my answer, a little ‘dinner tray’ sized Fairey Huntress by Glynn Guest, my saviour from a period of boredom! The model, as designed is just a bit over 14 inches long.
I like Glynn’s simple model designs and this was a Fairey Marine boat to boot. I have admired them all and had previously built a big 46 inch Gannet powered Huntsman and a 31 inch 0.40 powered Swordsman as well as a little 24 inch Huntress from another free plan for r/c scale steering some years ago when diesel fuel on your sandwiches at the pondside was the Sunday norm. Oh, happy days!
Step 1: Getting Started
I won’t bore you with a step by step constructional account as I followed Glynn’s instructions and pictures to the letter and soon had a lovely balsa hull sanded and ready, all whilst I was recovering by the fireside. I had to wait for the dreaded thinned dope application sessions as even I couldn’t get away with that until the house was empty, but the old pear drop aroma hanging around just below the ceiling, gave it away on the family’s return and I got a suitable grilling for ‘stinking out the house’. So, there had to be another way, my wanting to proceed as quickly as possible. This is really the point where following the instructions went out of the window.
Looking at the tiny hull I thought: ‘What a great starter model for the club at school’! I should say here that I am retired, but teach Design Technology for a few hours a week at a local school. I thought that I could take a vacuum forming of my hull and the school children could have a go at doing the rest.
So my first trip out after recuperation (which wasn’t long) was to the school workshop and after putting the kettle on, I fired up the vacuum forming machine and selected a nice bit of bright blue 2mm thick HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene Sheet). In went my lovely hull and the plastic sheet and over it went the heater unit. I bet you have an inkling of what happened next!
A quick prod with a fingertip, which is the only really technical way to check the HIPS was hot and flexible enough, and then a smart yank on the big lever and up she came. I smiled as I punched the vacuum button and the plastic draped beautifully over the hull, but just as I took my finger off the ‘suck button’ there was a loud ‘Bang’ and my beautiful blue hull shape turned into something that resembled a discarded Quality Street wrapper, Photo 1, and my balsa masterpiece was trapped inside it! I couldn’t even look at it, so I just tugged the molten heap out of the machine, abandoned the tea and plodded home very dejected.