John's grandfather was Leslie Rowell, the founder of Lesro Models and chief designer of Aerokits. Alas, he died in 1992 after a long battle against cancer and, unfortunately, by the time John was old enough to appreciate the beautiful models Leslie had created, he had retired and sold the business. Before passing away, however, Leslie had begun building a Sportsman for John as he always liked the look of these model boats. Les managed to build the basic hull, but sadly did not have the chance to paint it and install the necessary running gear etc.

For the best part of 25 years the model sat in its unfinished state in the loft of Leslie's widow Mary. John was a little apprehensive about touching it as he is not a model boat builder and he did not want to ruin his grandfather's last ever model. That said, in the last few years he has started radio control model flying and began to wonder if he could complete this lovely little boat. It’s taken him some time to do this, but he can now say it is finally finished and a tribute to Les' Rowell's much missed skill and expertise.

Jane Marie

Powered by a 3180KV brushless water-cooled motor and fitted with a sound unit to give it a lovely touch of realism this crisp model has working navigation lights, a scale cabin and a real wood deck to add welcome authenticity. The model is named Jane Marie, after Leslie's daughter (John's mother) and the boat is nominally registered in Great Yarmouth as that is where Les operated his business after W.W.II and also where John was born. The photographs published here show what a fine model it has turned out to be and is a credit to both John and its designer.


For anyone interested in building a Sportsman, the kit is currently being reintroduced as a Sportsman Mark II (with flybridge) as part of SLEC’s Vintage Model Boat Company range and is due for release in Spring 2018. The all-wood laser-cut model has a hull length of 31 inches, a beam of 12 inches and suits 1000KV motors and 3S LiPo batteries. For further information email or telephone 01953 885279.