Graham Voss -
HMS Indifference

   Barbie Boat

 HMS Indifference  

HMS Indifference – my own version of  HMS Invincible


Length = 58’’  (1450mm)     Width = 16’’ (400mm)            
Height to deck = 14’’ (350mm)
Height to top of mast = 29’’ (725mm)        
Weight = 66lb (30kgs)

Bought via EBay from private manufacturer
V shaped      
Length = 49’’ (1225mm)      
Width = 13.5’’ (337mm)      
Depth = 9’’ (22mm)

Other dimensions
Maximum speed = 8mph.  Cruising speed = 4mph
Power = Tornado 800 motor – 12 volt
Prop shaft = M4 150mm
Propeller = 50mm brass screw
Battery = 1 x 12 volt 13 amp and 1 x 12 volt 7.2 amp
Hitec HS -322HD servo
Hitec HFD-08RD Dual Conversion receiver - 40mhz
Hitec Laser 6 transmitter
Electronize FR30HX forward/reverse speed controller
Trolley One weight = 12lb (5.5kg)
Trolley Two weight = 8lb (3.6lb)

Working functions
Radar – strobe lighting – deck lighting – destroyer sound – ships bell sound – Morse code sound – Aldis signal lighting – steam super generator – water jets.

The Inspiration

It was a cold blustery winters morning when I visited our local boating club at Aylesbury. I had taken my home made airboat ’Mandalay’ with me and it was going where it felt like because of the strong winds. What I need, I thought, was something more solid in the water. Back in work the following day and my colleague was talking about his son’s adventures on HMS Invincible. And so the seed was sown. I will build a look-alike HMS Invincible. I scoured the internet for days for photographs of the aircraft carrier and decided on six that showed all angles of the ship.

The Basic Research
Cost was a major contributory factor on how it would be built. I could not afford the huge cost of buying proper hulls, etc so I decided to look on EBay for a hull. Size was another factor. I wanted something ‘big is beautiful’ however, it had to fit in a Volvo V70 estate and still have room for four people. As long as it looked something like HMS Invincible that was OK by me – and me was all that mattered. The general scale was 1/100th scale, with the ship itself being under scale at about 1/120 so it would fit in the boot with just one seat folded.

I spotted a basic hull, made from fibreglass, four foot long by sixteen inches wide, with a start price of £29.00. As I did not fancy bidding I contacted the seller direct and asked him how much to buy direct from him. He said for £40.00 he would make one twice as thick and in battleship grey, with £10.00 postage. It would take 70lb inside before it sank. Sound as a pound. It was ordered, paid for and duly arrived early March 2005.

Whilst I was waiting for it to arrive I was thinking ahead of where to go from there. I decided that I would build the height up with two inch polystyrene insulation block foam by a further eight inches – four layers of foam. Then there was the running gear and radio control. I visited Howes Models, Kidlington, Oxford. They were very helpful as usual and put together a package within my budget and loads of advice on how to go about it.

When the hull arrived I fitted the prop shaft, rudder, servo, speed controller and motor. The receiver was fitted to a battery and the motor and servo were checked for correct operation. Then I cut the foam so each piece overlapped the piece below by two inches at the front, with a perfect fit all round for the bottom piece to fit inside the hull by an inch (25mm). After the four layers were glued together the ship was now fifty six inches long – perfect. The front of the hull was shaped to follow the same angle as the fibreglass hull. The whole of the polystyrene part of the hull was coated with 50/50 building adhesive/water, then papered with brown paper and coated on top again with adhesive/water. This gave a real solid finish. When it was cured for a few days it was rubbed down with a fine sanding block. Finally, it was fitted inside the hull and epoxy glued. The whole thing was then primed with grey primer/undercoat and glossed with normal light grey high gloss paint. Time to check this all out.

I tried floating it in my garden pond and found it was too high in the water. Out with the lead flashing and, after twenty pounds had been added she sat just right. Off to the local lake next to test it. In the water it went and dwarfed the one metre yachts that were sailing.  Someone said, ‘What is it going to be?’ I replied, ‘HMS Invincible’. This was met with comments like, ‘Invincible hasn’t got this, hasn’t got that and does not have a hull shape like that either’. So what, I thought, it’s my ship and her real name now is HMS Indifference. And so it was, she was named and I was under no more pressure to make it exactly like others wanted me to. She performed magnificently. Her bow waves were as real as they get and the wash was the same. So home we returned – contented.

With the basic shape finished thoughts turned to electronics. I decided I would have;
Destroyer sound - Ships bell - Morse Code sounder - Aldis signalling light - Full decking lighting with hyper bright LED’s - Steam generator

 As I wanted all this to run from one channel I also bought a four way latching switcher and a Mixer/Amplifier, attached to a three inch speaker.  All of this was supplied by ActionKit. The next couple of weeks were spent making the distribution board, wiring everything up and adjusting tones and testing. It all worked no problem.

 Next it was time to think about building the deck. I decided on using 6mm plywood for the main deck. It was also made so that it would be fitted with screws so that in the future I could use the hull and change the top for something different. The basic size was made, overhanging on one side. The wood was sealed with water resistant Cuprinol then an access hole was cut out to allow full access to all workings and for battery installation, etc. The launch ramp was made from shaped polystyrene and a strip of polystyrene was made to go under the overhang. Then the whole deck was painted with 50/50 building adhesive/water, papered with brown paper and coated again with the adhesive water to give a solid finish., When it was dry it was rubbed down with fine sand paper to a smooth finish. It was then primed, undercoated and sprayed with Plasticote grey, to give long lasting protection. Nothing is going to get at my deck!!

 Deck buildings
The next item on the agenda was the deck buildings. These were built from Balsa (6mm), to a similar shape of HMS Invincible. When the basic shape was made I decided that this whole unit would be detachable for easy transportation. Within the buildings a lot of electronic were fitted, which consisted of:

Rotating Radar

This was made from a small 1/96 scale kit, a servo converted by me to a slow rotating motor (about 35 times a minute) and the external case of a biro pen to connect the servo to the radar dish.
Ten hyper bright white LED’s to light the deck, four hyper bright green down the starboard side, two hyper bright on the front, two strobe lights on the back, one strobe light on the front top, a hyper bright red on port side top and a hyper bright green on the starboard top.
Smoke generator
Located inside the rear chimney, with the solution bottle painted and strapped to the rear mast.
Water jets
A trip to the local recycle centre bought me an old windscreen washer motor for £3. This was completed by purchasing a pair of windscreen jets, non return valve and a small length of pipe. The inlet is positioned below water level on the side of the ship and the motor installed away from any electric inside the hull. It is connected to a remote latching switch and is operated from a spare channel on the receiver. Water squirts from 4 jets out a distance of approximately two metres.
Morse Code sender unit
Located at the front of the unit, sounding for 20 seconds every 30 seconds.
Speaker – 75mm
Located on side of unit for ships bell and destroyer sound
Twelve volt to nine volt to run strobe lighting and twelve volt to three volt to run the radar servo.


 Transport trolleys
I was determined that, even though the model would eventually weigh over 60lb I wanted to be able to take it all out with me anywhere, anytime, and on my own if necessary. Therefore I had to design a trolley system that would fit in the car, be able to be loaded single handed, be able to travel across rough terrain as well as be able to go down corridors and through doorways. After loads of failed ideas the inspiration came over me one night lay in bed (oh yes, I lost lots of sleep as most modellers do, perfecting ideas in our heads). Wives and partners never really do fully understand why.

The stand was made to fit the ship on. This consisted of a solid board sixty inches by 16 inches, the size of the ship’s hull. The shapes were made for the ship to sit in comfortably at front, middle and back, then strengthened lengthways by fixing each upright to the next. Fixed wheels were fitted to the rear and steerable to the front. Two 5mm holes were drilled in each side of each wheel to take 75mm bolts. These were to lock the wheels during transit. A long handle was made for the front to pull the trolley along. Four 22mm pipe clips were fitted underneath to attach this trolley to trolley two. This trolley was designed to go into the back of the car and to travel along corridors, or go through doors, if the route to the water dictated it.

The second trolley was made to transport the ship and the first trolley across rough ground or long distances. It consisted of a shortened fishing trolley. The way it worked was like this. The ship sits on trolley one. Trolley one is steered to the back of the car and the front end lifted to rest in the back of the car. The rear of the trolley is lifted and the whole trolley slides on it’s wheels into the car. The wheel lock bolts are applied and away to the destination by car.

At the destination trolley one is slid out of the back of the car. The back end is rested on the ground and the front end is lowered to the ground. Trolley two is unfolded and placed next to trolley one. Trolley one is then lifted up at the front and trolley two slid under it until the 22mm pipe clips line up with the frame. Trolley one is lowered and it is now sat on top of trolley two. The ship is now transported sideways so it needs wide access.

At the waters edge, usually the local jetty, the whole outfit is steered over the top and lowered into the water until the ship floats on it’s own. To remove the trolleys it is simply a matter of lowering it further into the water, sliding back or forth, then lifting out of the water. Getting the ship back out is exactly the reverse. It works a treat.

The whole outfit had it’s first public viewing to our club at Aylesbury on Sunday June 26th 2005. It was met with admiration from fellow members for its originality and the youngsters loved the ships bell, destroyer sound, bright lighting and radar. I do not class myself as anything like a really good modeller however, even I was proud to see that a mere mortal such as I had produced something that actually works. On the water the bow waves and wash looked true to scale. Being high out of the water I took it steady around the ‘bends’, although she has been tested to 70 degree list and still stayed upright. I had to be careful using the rudder in jerky movements as this is what causes her to ‘rock’ from side to side. Her speed was estimated at a respectable 8 mph – fast when you think it weighs 66lb (30kgs).

I intend to have a lot of trips out with it and next time it will be in full darkness on the lake, being launched from the local pub bandstand. I shall be taking the dinghy just in case.

And what about the thoughts of my wife? Well, we are getting to know each other again and folk who ring are not being told, ‘ He’s in the garage of course!’. She did attend the maiden voyage and maybe I can encourage her out more, if I can find a venue that is sunny with a park bench for her to read. She has been VERY understanding throughout.

Future working functions
Pyrotechnics deck – for launch of flare fireworks
Working anchors
Internal tape player for special verbal announcements, i.e, ‘Abandon ship’

And finally, if I ever master flying a small helicopter, a helipad attached to the rear to bring back a helicopter from the ship when anchored in the middle of the lake. The latter may well be just a dream but dreams are what realities come from.

Thanks for looking,
Graham Voss

HMS Indifference – Updated Jan 2009

It is now three and half years since the finish of the build of HMS Indifference. During that time she has sailed on many canals and lakes and never failed to amaze. Most years she has been to Black Park, Slough for their annual show. On the first occasion it gave me the chance to try out my first addition since the build was completed – an mp3 player that played 3 pieces of music in a continuous loop. The music was; 1. Rule Britannia, 2. Land of Hope and Glory and 3.The National Anthem. It was so funny seeing people stand to attention and salute as it passed playing the National Anthem. Even more satisfying is letting the youngster ‘have a go’ and him saying, with beaming eyes, ‘WOW, wait till I tell my mates I sailed an AIRCRAFT CARRIER!! That will have been after he had squirted his parents with water from the two water cannons on the ship. That’s what makes it all worthwhile.
On one occasion I was invited to attend a ‘Night Sail’ at Black Park. This was spectacular as I took the opportunity to test out the newly installed Pyrotechnic launch tube. It was constructed of a one and half inch waste pipe approx. 10’’ high attached to the rear of the deck. Up each side was a 3mm steel rod terminating with 2 x crocodile clips. The bottoms of the tubes were connected to the main battery via a servo, which made the live connection by the use of Channel 5 of the radio control. Between the crocodile clips was clipped a piece of cigarette lighter element from an old car. The flare was dropped into the tube and the wick was sat under the element wire. In the middle of the lake, when no-one was expecting it, as no-one knew it was attached I threw the switch. The element glowed and lit the wick. ‘Wicked’ would be an understatement. Everyone stared in pure bewilderment, some of the ‘Peter Perfects’ were not amused of course, but who cares. Life is too short to be serious about anything.
Never did get the anchors to work for real. I have just one thing left to do – take it through a Canal Lock for real. I have looked at it many a time and am almost sure it will go through with ease, I think. I just don’t fancy seeing it sink to the bottom of 15 foot of water at the moment. I will wait until the Spring and see what happens.