Building the models

Choosing and building the models.

Building any model will require a varying level of skill, some tools and some patience and forethought. Below are my thoughts which may help you with your decision.

The Canterbury J (48)

The picture left shows the short Canterbury moulding, the ballast is bolted up against the lower part of the moulding to complete the hull shape.

The hull is taken from a Canterbury Association approved mould and so can be used for racing purposes outside the UK.

The parts provided for the Canterbury are essentially the hull and the ballast weight. The internal woodwork, stand, deck and hatches from the Nottingham will fit the Canterbury hull but not the rudder which you will need to make for yourself using the dimensions in the Canterbury rules.

On a scale of modelling I would put the Canterbury at level 3 as a rudder will need to be made, a lower rudder pintle fabricated to attach to the ballast and then the hull will need filler and paint to complete. Applying filler, sanding and then applying the various coats of paint are a skill all on its own. A poor quality paint finish can let down an otherwise well built model but other than this the skills required are as the Nottingham 48.

Nottingham 48

The picture to the left shows a Nottingham 48 in White above the Canterbury. The Nottingham hull is a complete moulding and the ballast is fitted inside the hull.

The parts provided for the Nottingham 48 are the hull, in either a single colour gel coat finish or a two tone finish to your choice, a rudder with fittings, ballast and trim weight, internal woodwork with stand, deck and hatches.

On the build scale I would put the 48 at a skill level of 2. The build is easier than the Canterbury as the hull and rudder are supplied as finished items with the flash lines removed and the gelcoat polished to a high gloss finish, no painting is required. The moulded ballast is placed inside the hull and only requires minor work to get it to sit as low as possible in the hull and is then held in place with resin or silicone. If resin is used the hull should be in water to keep the gel coat finish cool.

The internal woodwork will need some fettling with sandpaper and the more time spent on getting a good fit using a plumb line from the bow and the stern and careful measuring will yield a better result. Not much skill is required but patience is…

The deck is provided with laser etched plank detail and the etch to the king and outer planks is deeper so the model maker can apply a contrasting stain without the risk of bleeding. This can create its own problems as the hull and deck need to be measured together before final fitting to ensure that the outer plank is as parallel as possible to the hull line and also the hull is a mirror image, side to side. Of help here is a neat measuring tool called a “centre finding ruler” where the graduations start with “0” in the middle… I purchased mine from Axminster Tools but I’m sure other suppliers will have them.

I have tried to design the kit for the 48 to attract those with less modelling experience whilst still offering something of a satisfying challenge.

Nottingham 60

The picture to the left shows a 60 hull in White precariously balanced on a 48 stand! The lower forward part of the keel is flared out to acommodate more lead lower in the hull. This reduces the draft for a better scale look without being immediately obvious.

The parts supplied for the 60 kit are bigger and otherwise as the 48 but without the ballast. This is lead shot which is better sourced by yourself and which does require care to fit. Resin cures with heat and this heat can damage the gel coat so I suggest that the shot be added to the hull in 2kg to 2.5kg batches with a “cool” mix of catalyst. As with the 48, the hull should be in water to aid the cooling of the gelcoat.

Apart from this the model is the same but there are more parts so more measuring and patience will be necessary. For this reason, I would place the skill level at 3.

The picture to the left shows the 48 and 60 hull together for comparison. The 48 is shown in Bright Blue over White however both hull are available in any choice of colour schemes. Other pictures on this site will show other colour combinations.

The practicalities

The 48 inch models will have a finished weight of 6.5kg to 7kg so are reasonably easy to manage. They can be transported with the rig in place in many cars but I advise that the rig be removed to reduce the risk of damage. The centre of gravity is in front of the forward hatch so a handle to aid launch and retrieval can be fitted and I supply a “lifty” which sits on the deck and attaches to the ballast if you want one. (Its "T" shaped!!)

The 60 inch model will weigh in at about 13.5kg and at 5 feet in length so is about at the limit of the size of model that one person can launch. It is a very satisfying sail as bigger models generally sail better than smaller ones and it does have good “presence” on the water. The hull and rig will fit in most cars with the back seats down but undoubtedly as a bigger and heavier model that the 48, the 60 is less practical.

If you are aiming to create more of a scale model of a J Boat then the 60 makes for a better basis for a replica.

Choosing a colour scheme

The decision to buy a J Class model is the easiest part of the process (!) but the choice of colour is perhaps a little harder. Your choice of colour is a very personal decision and whilst I wouldn't want to unduly influence this decision there are some schemes that I feel look better on the hull than others.

Single colour: We have laminated hulls in a wide range of single colours but our conclusion is that a single colour other than the classic White doesn't show the lines of the hull off well. I can't explain why but someone with a more arty background may be able to clarify.

Two Tone colours: This scheme shows the hull off at its best. We have laminated many hulls with a wide range of colours above the waterline; Black, Oxford Blue, Bright Blue, Light Blue, Red, Crimson, Green and Yellow, with White below the waterline and they all look good. The additional advantage for many of us whose eyesight isn't as good as it used to be is that the flash of white as the model heels in the water is a good indication of how the yacht is behaving, especially at distance. The hull doesn't look so good with the colour below the waterline and white above.

The hull also looks good with a colour above the waterline with red below. Oxford Blue over Red is a classic choice (and a personal favourite) and I also like Bright Blue over Red (similar to Endeavour) and Green over Red but that isn't to everyone's taste. The scheme looks a little "flat" out of the mould but when a white waterline and pinstripe is added the scheme "pops"...a modern expression I think

A customer asked me to do Black above the waterline with Light Blue below and whilst is was initially very sceptical I liked the scheme so much I made one for myself!!

Get in touch if you want to discuss colours as I may have a picture of a similar hull to help with your decision.

The picture to the left shows a Nottingham 48 in Bright Blue over White with the internal woodwork fitted, next stage is the deck. The two pieces just behind the bow are laser cut so that the through deck pulley can be fitted either side. The later sheeting design retains these parts to aid hull strength and shape but the lose sheeting to the sails comes through the deck under the respective booms.

And while we are here meet Mick "The Laminator". Mick has a lifetime of experience working with fibreglass and the high quality of the mouldings is down to his knowledge and expertise.

For both of us creating the models is a bit of fun, our main objective being that you find building the model a satisfying experience and that you enjoy sailing the finished yacht.