Dick Hopper

Greetings, Martin

I'm nearing completion of Pretoria Castle at 1/96 scale, I guess some 2 months left to paint and admit 100 odd 1960's era passengers, derricks, and then sea trials. Pics show her in my test-tank (family allowed to swim when not testing). Northern Star berthed nearby at model of captain Cook wharf, Auckland, though of course Castle liners didnt call here, save in wartime for troop embarkations.
Any other liner nuts out there - my email rjshopper@xtra.co.nz


Greetings from the South Pacific, maybe you could use some our summer ?

Pics from my recent build of HMNZS Taupo and Rotoiti, Inshore patrol ships.
1/48 scale, 12v. grp hulls, 30amp throttles.
Built from Tenix shipyard plans.
Am now completing two remaining Lake class ships - Hawea and Pukaki.

1st image shows both at speed, perhaps 28knots scale.
2nd image shows superstructure & q'deck lifted off to show interior.
3rd. image shows both on the hard.


Greetings from the South Pacific,

Grateful if you would add this one of RMS Strathmore to my photo page, this build is the conclusion of project to build all three liners I have been sea-sick on.  RC1/96 scale. Made of wood, plastic and colourful language.

Strathmore took me 9 months to build. Traditional hull build, plank on frame, from Hull lines plan purchased from National Maritime Museum, Greenwhich. Silicone patterns (winches, lifeboats etc.) for previous liners  Pretoria Castle and Northern Star cut short construction time. No more room left in the model dockyard, so it's now playtime on the lake.

dick Hopper




Season's greetings, Martin. You run the very best model boat website. Well done.

Here is a model of mine, HMS Intrepid at 1/72 scale, from when I built her in 1993. Featured a few bells & whistles, such as 4 RC LCT exiting from stern. A ballast railway was driven aft to lower the dock, rear door opend, let the tide in, and away swam her brood. Model has not been sailed in 10 years since I swapped it for an oil painting, model spending all that time at a tourist site near Auckland. This photo appeared Marine Modelling mag. June 1993 issue cover.


Pretoria Castle


Hi Martin,

Pretoria Castle is finished, and has made successful voyages to Cape Town and back, via Las Palmas (least
that's what I imagine when sailing the model recently).

Photos show a working davit, with apprehensive passengers. I've even started to move the ship slow ahead, forgetting them
with lowered lifeboat still attached.

I had to build a cradle, upon which the main superstructure sits, so as to service the interior. A model of this size - 8ft.
l.o.a., requires a largish transport, and I take out all seats in my 4wdr, and slide the model onto a platform, then clamp
that lot, 'cos I don't fancy braking hard, and spearing the model through the windscreen, and impaling a pedestrian.
Now that would make your Tv news ?

The aft emergency platform hides an off/on switch. A camping neon tube throws light throughout the hull for night sailing, better, I find, than installing hundreds of bulbs. An optional extra is an MP3 player, which belts out Bert Kaempfurt's 1960's era tune " Zambesi".

For those interested in comparing liner construction notes, my e/m address is rjshopper@Yahoo.co.nz

Have fun,

Dick Hopper



Hi Martin,

A brief mention from this ancient Kiwi modeller - I've lost count of the ships now - it all started with 1/96 scale RN fleet in 1966, comprising Duke of York, Kashmir, Sheffield, Dido, Illustrious then went on to more modern stuff- Glasgow, York, Avenger, Illustrious 2, Blue Rover. All sold off to clear more deck space.

Now it's New Zealand Navy, but at 1/48 scale, cruiser Royalist, Taranaki, Canterbury (full size is probably the oldest Leander hull still at sea). Pic shows Royalist chomping along at scale 28 knots. Finally I'm into a 6 year project - building all three passenger ships I've sailed on - Shaw Savill's Northern Star, now complete. Rest of pics show her ballast trials, and finally, a view of my dockyard. Have just started Union Castle liner Pretoria Castle, 2 more years to go. Finally it will be P. and O.'s Strathmore - all three to 1/96 scale, and all radio controlled.  Hulls are made of poly-styrene, horizontal sheets of it cut by a machine from plans for accuracy. Sanded, fibreglasses, and when dry, petrol dissolves 'styrene, and so on.

The models now are too darn heavy - I find volunteers to lift them disappear into the hills around Auckland, suffering from hernias and ruptures.


Dick Hopper.

G'day Martin,

This is a recent fleet sail, all 1/48 scale, all built in my dockyard, at a private lake in SE Auckland.
We are fortunate in finding a freshwater, weed-free water, accessible on all sides, and so that
these 6ft.+ long models can be off-loaded by water's edge. Initial attempts at drilling ship captains
into some sort of sailing order was like herding cats, but the owners are now obeying the commands of their Admiral during exercises.

We call ourselves TF48Kiwi. Individual owners include those who have served on these ships.
It's possibly the first such group to be formed in this country. The smaller ship in the middle is an Inshore Patrol Vessel, one of four newly commissioned warships RNZN named after New Zealand lakes - (those that are 48 times bigger than ours).

dick Hopper (Admiral)

Martin, here's another showing Canterbury(rear), frigate Te Mana, surrounded by
three patrol vessels, Taupo, Pukaki and Rotoiti, named after New Zealand lakes, (New Zealand Lake Class - two North Island lakes, 2 South island)
dick hopper.


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