This was not so much a kit conversion as a complete rebuild on a commercial hull. For several years I was a Police Inspector in Hong Kong and spent some time with the Marine Police Department. Legendary in police lore were the two post war 'cruising launches' Police One and Police Two, which were actually modified Empire Hoedic Class tugs, namely Empire Josephine and Empire Sam, given to Hong Kong in 1946 to replace the police fleet that was almost entirely destroyed by the occupying Japanese in W.W.II.

All I had to work on were a few black and white photographs, including one very useful side view, and the razor sharp recollections of Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke (Rtd) who had been the skipper for two three year spells in the 1960s. He was very useful with the colour schemes, detailed vessel knowledge and operational use. Fortunately the hull from Mountfleet Models of Empire Ivy to 1:32 scale fitted the bill exactly and I was able to persuade Adam Slater (of Mountfleet) to provide me with only the GRP parts and a chosen selection of white metal fittings from the kit, everything else being scratch built.


On to the Empire Ivy hull was installed a 3mm styrene (plastic) card deck along with the standard kit supplied bulwark stanchions, rudder and anchors. The main GRP superstructure was dimensionally accurate and used after some modification. For example, the side stairways were cut out and steps added. Meanwhile, other Mountfleet kit parts were used including the steam anchor windlass, main capstan and the towing hook.

The upper superstructure, bridge, engine room housing and rear tow hook area were scratch built from styrene card and plywood, using the photos. The normal kit supplied GRP funnel was discarded and replaced by a piece of plumbing tube of the correct height and diameter and made (by heating and cutting) into an oval shape. The davits are entirely scratch built using styrene card as they were of a different type to those in the Empire Ivy kit. The two ship's boats were also quite different in Police Service. Here, then, one is a Quaycraft rowing lifeboat moulding, while the other motorised workboat has been fully fitted and detailed on a bare plastic vac-formed hull.

To complete the conversion, the model was fitted with an Oerlikon platform and gun above the fore deck and the bridge was fitted with awning stanchions and wires as was the stern deck area. At the time of writing, the stern awning remains to be fitted - sorry! Also fitted were two bridge mounted Bren guns with their pintles and two correctly uniformed European Inspectors as the captain and second in command. The remainder of the crew were Chinese (Hong Kong) police officers and so far, finding or converting suitable uniformed figures has rather eluded me.

The tripod foremast and wooden main mast are from styrene tube and wood dowel respectively and fitted-out as necessary. The bridge side logos have been printed by a colleague as water-slide transfers and read, 'Soy Ging' which translates as 'Water Police' - no great surprise there! The detailing of the ventilators, hatches and rigging etc. is all from the aforementioned photos, plus Peter Clarke's excellent memory, which also confirmed the colour scheme. His recollections included some real gems. For example, the reason for having two tyre fenders amidships was not so much for fendering, but to provide a crew footstep during their frequent boarding operations. Anyway, I'm pleased to say the model passed his critical inspection. Perhaps equally important, it sails well, looks impressive and is very different to a normal tug. My thanks to Adam Slater of Mountfleet Models for supplying just some of the parts from one of his kits.