How to build a Huntsman
     by William Honeyball

Hi Martin,
I am trying to find out the spacing of the prop shafts on a Huntsman 31. The model was given to me in kit form (Modav) by a friend who had it" for years" as he put it and had never had the time to build it. I was looking at your web and saw that the gentleman that discussed twin shafts was the same as the signature on the Plans of the aforesaid "Hunstman 31" and he refer ed to the twin shafts in same. The model is the 46 1/2" one. I was wondering if you could give me an approximation of Measurements of this installation.
I love to read your column and some of the models make the mouth water and I hope to send you a picture of the craft in build.

Respectfully William Honeyball.
---------------------------- # -------------------------

Hi William,
Don't tell anyone that I said this but shaft spacing is not that critical. In full sized twin engined boats, the makers would endeavour to put the engines as close together as possible to get the centre of gravity as low as possible. Dave Milbourn wrote the twin engine article, I'll copy him in for his comments.

Martin. - Mayhem
---------------------------- # -------------------------

Hi William / Martin
Well - an original Modav kit! Must be 30 years old if it's a day (I wish I was...). As you say, it's not critical how far apart the two shafts are, and I certainly don't have the original Fairey drawings to check. I'd reckon something around about 4" - 4 1/2" would be a good place to start, with the twin rudders placed slightly closer together so you can withdraw the shafts without removing the rudders.
For motors, there are lots of opinions about which electric ones to fit. My prototype had one 10cc glow (nitro) motor so I can't speak from experience about electric motors. Maybe someone on the Model Boats Forum has built a twin electric version. All I can say is that William should aim to keep the model as light as possible, which means using NiCads or NiMH cells instead of lead-acids.
Incidentally, because of the speed of this model I don't think there's any need to "split" control of the motors. I'd be tempted to fit two ESC's but wire them into the Rx throttle output via a Y-lead. One single ESC would have to be a hell of a big and expensive unit to carry the current to both motors.
I'd like to see William's pictures as he builds the Huntsman, and I've attached a picture of my little Swordsman for his amusement.

Dave M
---------------------------- # -------------------------

Hi Dave,
I am indebted to you and Martin for this info. I acquired this kit from a friend who had" had it for years," as he said. I did not realise it was as old as .it is!! Again thank you for the photo of your "Swordsman" it gives me something to aim for. The kit is complete with, Booklet of instructions, Plan, and even the original propshaft, rudder, water pickup, prop shaft strut and windscreen, all in good condition. Would the same Prop and size of rudder be used on your suggested mods for twin installation?

It will be my pleasure to send some views of the build as it goes. I am not the quickest of boat builders but we will see how it grows!

Kindest regards and thanks,
---------------------------- # -------------------------

Hi Dave,
I have taken on board your comments re the twin install and have been wondering if it was better to use the 850 MFA with a maybe 1.5 reduction and a 45mm prop. As I live in Australia I find obtaining these parts rather hard but I will try to get them.

Unfortunately I had started to build the model before you told me of the age and the possible sale otherwise I would have tried to sell and bought a modern moulded hull and parts or a complete kit but too late now but if I can find another one I will know what to do next time!!!

I have access to ESC's that are 20 amp rated at 12v would these be powerful enough for the afore mentioned motors? Do you think reverse is required on this model as I do not envisage doing any steering course or regatta sailing.
I am thinking of your suggestion of a lite ply model as I can just copy the lines from the plan and as it is only part built the parts not shown I can deduce from the parts as is.

I would be willing to have the plan copied if anyone would like it if it is not infringing on any copy write. I think I might even have the plan reduced to the 1" scale version for my own use.

I will be happy to hear your comments on these notes of mine.

Again thank you for taking the time to listen to my woes and most of all for your patience and advise.

Kind regards
---------------------------- # -------------------------

Hi William
It's really a pleasure to hear that there is still an original kit out there. I designed the model in 1972 and the kit was radically changed around 1976, when Model Avionics mastered the technique of die-cutting liteply and changed to this method and material. They also had new instructions done and stopped including a plan, so your kit must be one of the real originals. One of the things you might consider is copying all of the parts shapes in liteply and then selling on the complete kit to a collector - it would be worth 60 - 80 these days.

I'm afraid I don't remember the prop size but the rudder would probably be a Ripmax one. If you can obtain a couple of similar-sized ones they should do the trick. Radio Active of Essex make suitable items, or you could try Jerome Grainger at SHG Marine The prop size will depend on the size and type of motors which you use. I'm drawn to the MFA Torpedo 800 - see or their advert on the back cover of most editions of Marine Modelling for details. I imagine these motors would spin something around 40 - 45 mm dia three-bladed scale props. Once you've decided, ring Simon at Prop Shop and talk it through with him. His props are the best in the world and he will help you match the props to the motors to the model. Try to keep the shafts as short as possible and the motors as low down in the hull as you can get them. I'd recommend M5 steel shafts in plain-bearing tubes - again, SHG can supply these, along with Huco universal couplings (don't use SHG's plastic ones - they aren't man enough).

I could rattle on all morning but I still have to go to work. Let me know if there's anything you need in the way of opinion, experience or contacts and I'll do my best to help.

Dave M
---------------------------- # -------------------------

Well guys, here's the build so far..... far as the motors are concerned I have Four Buhler motors that came out of industrial letter openers and they would not stop even when jammed so I thought I might give them a go. I have put the bottom skins on and am now trying to get the infernal sides to bend to an appropriate shape to allow them to fit somewhere near to shape #x!!XX@.

By the way I am also building the "Swordsman " to your plans as taken from "Model Boats". I hope that I can get it somewhere near to your standard, I don't think so but it is such an attractive vessel that I have been toying with the idea for a long time now. I was unaware that you designed bother of My boats so it did not take nr long to decide to try to emulate you.

Many thanks for the pleasant hours you have given me, and the time and patience you have shown. Again thanks. I will keep in touch and send some more pics.

Regards William.

 The part built model of the Billings L'Etoil,a sail training ship of the French Navy was started in 1988 as a Bi centenary project but due to circumstances beyond my control it was shelved but now is on the stocks again. The other models  are of some progress in the Huntsman trial and third is a  Swordsman was inspired by the photo's that Dave sent, I was so impressed by them and the fact that Dave was the designer of this most engaging model (I had been taken by the drawings in Model Boats for a long ) That I felt an urge to do something about it there and then.

This is the fastest I have ever built anything. I will keep you posted on progress.

Catch up with you later,

Kindest regards,


Update May 2009

Hi Martin.
A few static views of my Swordsman that might be suitable for the forum. It is the one I have been promising for yonks.

Here goes!!!