Tony Munns - Robbe Najade
Attached are a few photos of my first ever model boat, a Robbe Najade named 'Rachel' in honour of my long-suffering wife.
Here's the story that goes with it:
For years I have been trying to persuade my wife that we should have a motor cruiser - but despite the fact we had a ski boat for a couple of seasons the idea (like the money to pay for one) is as far away as ever! So in the meantime, I suggested I would like to build a radio control version and lo and behold on my birthday a large box of bits turned up.
When I was a teenager I built a couple of R/C planes so the electronics side was no mystery, but the first read through the construction guide made me realise this was going to be a fairly major challenge. There were lots of different bags containing mouldings and fittings, plus the major ABS components that all needed trimming out. This was going to be a bigger project than I first thought, but the pictures on the box made me determined to give it my best shot- albeit with my limited modelmaking experience.
During the build process I was getting advice form sites such as this, reading magazines and talking to my local model shop. The instructions from Robbe, whilst well written, were supported with grainy black and white photos that only gave limited help. Once the build process had started however, I was hooked. Every stage that was completed gave me an increasing level of satisfaction, and my confidence grew to a point where I wanted to make the model my own, and not like every other Najade on the pond. OK, so this 'customising' was restricted to my own colour scheme and some ingenious re-positioning of some of the running components to give better balance and access, but it worked for me.
The first trial on water proved interesting, with a small leak into the hull that resulted in close scrutiny and resealing of the prone hull elements. But the performance and handling was excellent, requiring little or no adjustment and making the model a pleasure to drive. I guess it took about 45 hours to complete, the most tricky part without doubt being the railings. I have since learned of a much easier and cleaner way to make these up using super glue instead of solder, but the result was OK.
Rachel is named after my wife who bought me the boat and who calmly let me spend hours in the utility room working on it. I am very pleased with the end result, and looking forward to another boatbuilding project soon - so much more challenging aeroplanes and you don't come home with a box of bits if it all goes pear-shaped!
Tony Munns - Fender Europe