Mike Gardiner
1/24th scale Fairmile Type D

Hello Martin,
I've been a regular visitor to your site for months now, and jolly good it is, too. Masses of photos, loads of info and fun, which is what all this modelling lark is about, isn't it?

For the last year or so, I've been busy super-gluing my fingers together, slashing my hands open, skewering myself and burning myself (average for a modeller? Dunno, certainly average for me!) with soldering irons as, gradually, (and at times painfully!) a 1/24th scale Fairmile Type D MTB/MGB has taken shape. Well, MTB 778 is now almost finished. I live in Poole in Dorset and MTB 778 was built in Poole in 1944, hence the choice of number.

It is a big model (worth checking the planned model fits in the car before you start…I didn't!) at 58" overall and 11" across with a weight of around 15lbs. I got the hull from Kingston Mouldings: excellent quality GRP moulding, hand laid and accurately trimmed too. Many of the fittings came from Precision Controls, a mixture of resin and white metal (which, incidentally, is exactly what I got when I tried soldering a white metal fitting glued to a resin base: not recommended! ) and plans from John Lambert. Deck and superstructure from 1.5mm ply and various bits and pieces and other fittings from balsa/plastic and just err...stuff! I've built models before, but always from a kit, so this was very different. I thoroughly enjoyed the build, even though it took 6 months longer than I thought! Power comes from a pair of 6V sealed lead acids in series to give 12V to a pair of electronic speed controllers, each controlling a pair of 500 series motors…so that'll be 4 shafts then! What fun it was trying to get those lined up, especially with each shaft's A and P frames. I dropped a shaft and bent it, I was cutting a replacement to length and the saw slipped…and I bent it etc etc. Oh what fun I had, still, only a couple weeks to go now and I'll be off the medication! I've fitted a Robbe Navy 14 four channel radio controlling port and starboard motors in pairs, rudders and accessories, which are, or at least will be, lights: chart room, stern, steaming, mast head, navigation and coach roof. The lights are fitted but not wired in yet.

She made her first appearance on the water in November of last year. Re-trimming corrected a slight list and a light stern and she now runs very nicely. No speed queen, but a fair pace all the same. Recently fitted a sound effects system from JJC Electronics: V12 Packard engines, recorded from the real thing. The sound quality is superb and utterly realistic. Adding some crew has turned her into I think a very much better looking boat. I'm now in the process of gradually weathering her and dirtying her up a bit.

I'm not sure if you can see it in the photos, but there is a single signal flag hoist, a 'D', which, on its own meant/means (I think) 'Keep clear, manoeuvring with difficulty'. I shall keep that one flying for a while yet!
Hope the attached photos are OK. I have a whole series (20+) of build articles on this, which I hope to put on my website (if I ever get around to doing it) and over 500 photos too.

Happy sailing,
Mike Gardiner