BattleFleet Models produce a delightful little kit of the little coastal steamer SS Pearl BFM-728.
This kit was reviewed at Modelwarship.com and a fine rendition of this diminutive ship was built by
model chum Peter Fulgoney
Now then...--and having read contemporary descriptions of these vessels
and having studies countless photos of early steam driven merchant ships- and having studied the fine and inspirational models
of merchant ship master Bob Wilson
It is my contention that .....
although the General
Arrangement ( GA) plans often show these vessels with sailing rig... that in reality sails were seldom used for actual propulsion....
steam having quickly become reliable by this time.
HOWEVER... I reckon that in a rolling beam-on swell sails would
often have been used for their steadying effect to inhibit excessive rolling....
I used this valid (in my view! ) pretext
when I built the BFM Tramp Steamer SS Drumgeith.
This little project is also intended as a distraction
from the 'serious' business of trying emulate every minutia on some obscure warship-- ....as is my usual wont...
rather than slavishly building a replica of SS Pearl--which Peter Fulgoney already has done rather well ... I shall use the
kit as my basis for a bit of freelancing--or in common parlance:
.....making it up as you go along!!
I reshaped the stern with filler to make a more elegant counter; and also will induce a more pronounced sheer line; this has
been achieved by gluing small blocks of styrene for and aft--when pulled done in the centre with the to-base securing screw
it will give a more accentuated and in my view rather pleasing sheer line...
Not working to exact plans and photos to try and recreate a 1:1 scale ship, but rather giving reign to my whims is a new
experience for me ...( in model shipbuilding anyhow) .. !! we shall see if this will all work out!!
Progress has been satisfyingly brisk!
I added some underwater hull on the starboard side so that the vessel could
heel a little in the breeze and beam-on rollers
The ship was mounted using a screw to pull down the amidships section
and create the desired sheer line
I cut off some of the wt doors and substituted some PE from Voyager.
the traditional for that type of vessel wood paneled bridge surround using some WEM Ark Royal catwalk PE.
was constructed of 1/350 handrail, subdivided with stretched sprue, the gaps in-filled with white glue.
on it looks quite effective!!
Scupper doors made of paper have been added to the hull sides , hawse pipes drilled and
most of the deck painting completed
The sometimes hazardous journey from Bridge to foredeck- bypassing the low lying well deck which in a seaway could have
a lot of water sluicing around or even be partially awash...- on SS pearl and many vessels of here era could be effect by
use of the raised catwalk.
I made mine of a strip of brass PE waste, to which were added GMM goldplus railings and
some 1/350 twin bar rail cut down carefully to make the legs; numerous testfits were required...
The wheel house gained a roof made of paper infused with CA glue
The kit funnel was fine in its own right-however I desired mine a bit taller still in keeping with an old photo in a 1930's
'Shipping wonders of the World' ....--- a most worthwhile tome indeed to browse .!
A new funnel was made
of copper tubing which had the opening thinned down further and the steam pipe separated further in accordance with a GA plan
of Pearl- the upper bracket being made witha droplet of white glue
The accommodation aft had the 2 x large engine room
vents added( BFM resin items)
These were drilled vertically to create a hole and then had the edges of the mouth thinned
down by hollowing out with a bur-tool held in a pinvice.
The foredeck had the handrails added--and the beak steel wall increased in height .windlass furnished with brake handles,
anchor chain ( twisted wire ) and a vent made of solder wire ( core drilled out) ; anchors were added and the stairway handrails
made of fine 1 bar railing.
The ships boats required cradles --these were made of (WEM Askold) PE parts and davits bent out of wire
Nevertheless a few snatched moments resulted in some open ship s boats being made with separate thwarts, some finely tapered
masts ( BMK from Germany) being installed and a bit of sail making ...
The furled sail on the middle mast has been
made of white glue and can be seen while wet - ergo white )
The sea has had a first coat...