A Clyde Puffer - My first scratch build.

  Part 1                                                        Part 2  

The black art of building from plans.

This all started, like many model boats I guess, after a friend of mine had built a small Puffer from a set of Dean's Marine moulting bought at a show for 20. The model turned out very presentable but I was far too small for my liking.

I never had the bottle to try anything like this before but was spurred on my encouraging emails from Bob Wilson and a lot of badgering from my mate 'Bradders' who's motto must be "Why can't you do it?" Closely associated with "Have you done it yet!"


There are various plans around for Clyde Puffers but being a 'tight wad' I didn't  want to actually pay for a set of plans so I set about looking through loads of old model magazines, I'm sure I had seen one somewhere! I found 3 or 4 but settled on an old yellowing plans published in a Model Boats Magazine special circa 1980.


It's called Locinvar, a semi scale build which produce a model of about 18 inches. This size is just the right size, big enough so as not to be a 'silly model' but small enough so I can just pick up and put in the car without any fuss. You could at one stage purchase a Styrene hull for it but this is no longer available. Just have to DIY then!


Other considerations were,
I don't know what I'm doing,
I didn't want it to take too long, (want to build the Aziz!)
never done a scratch build before,
I wanted to make a mould to Vac-form the hull,
possibly also vac-form other parts as well,
... possibility of producing a simple kit from it in the long run!

After studying the plans for a few months I gave it up as a impossible job and got with building the Robbe S130. As time went by I kept coming back to the Puffer plans and kept tiring to 'build the model in my head'. Once I could do that building the model would then be a simple process of cutting things out and sticking bits together wouldn't it!!!   Yeah, easy

Much heated debate with 'Bradder' then ensued over a couple of as to the best construction methods - polystyrene foam , plaster of paris, plasterboard, paper mache, chicken wire and plasticine, bread & butter, solid block, powr sander or band saw, transverse or longitudinal formers, etc, etc. I soon was confused beyond belief and descended into a long self consoling sulk!

Then last week end while looking around at my favourite model boat web site I came arrows a site showing in pictorial form how to build a model boat hull!!


This inspired me to have a go - it looks so simple!

I cajoled my son into helping me cut out and stick a lot of hull former templates to cardboard and cutting them out. After an hour or so and a lot of wasted we had 18 rough-&-ready formers ready to go! I then showed 'Bradders' and after a bit of corrections I stuck them all together on a false keel also made from cardboard.

"So that's how they do it!"
It was a bit of a mistake making the templates from soft cardboard but I just wanted to see if I could do it. I sat around at lunchtime gluing bits of cardboard together not really hoping for much but soon surprised to find I had something that look like what I've seen many times in the modelling magazines and the web site above.


After admiring my brilliant handy work for a little while, I soon found myself cutting and rough shaping blocks of balsa between the formers, a time consuming job as every single piece needed to be  cut to size and every former was a different distance apart.

After a few more hours, the precision shape of a traditional Clyde Puffer was soon evident... well you do have to look deeper than just surface detail !!

Well that's it for now. 'Bradders' has taken the hull away to his workshop to show the hull his power sander but I won't get it back, under pain of death until I move my shed!!

The plans are still available via Model Boats Magazine - www.modelboats.co.uk
( Go to the Modelshop and do a search for PUFFER. )

Lochinvar Clyde Puffer by Vic Smeed -   Plan code: MM1410
An easily constructed two function Clyde Puffer at 1:48 scale. Plans include body lines, side elevation and plan view. For single screw electric propulsion.

Length: 17.5" (445 mm)
Beam: 4" (100 mm)
Skill: ***
  Price: 4.75 (inc. VAT @ 17.5%) - Dec 2003

Well all this just my opinion, but what do I know!


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