By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more

Member postings for Bob Wilson

Here is a list of all the postings Bob Wilson has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Barque Christine - 900 tons 20 Feet to 1 inch
18/05/2020 14:09:03

It was an average of 2.44 hours per day, but I wouldn't have spent that much time if we had not been confined to the house most of the time. Making the deadeyes was very simple and didn't take very long as I wound them on the frame already mentioned and stuck the paper circles on them. As the lanyards were tinned copper wire, I just soldered each one to the end of each stay before putting the stay and deadeys on in one piece. They looked a lot better when painted black. This is quite a big enlargement, but they look much better in real life, as they are so small. Most if it is just illusion in miniatures and most modellers add to the mystique by declaring they could never do it, re-nforcing the idea that it is difficult. When I used to take these models to the local ship model society, eyes just tended to glaze over, and they rarely got more than a casul glance, so I stopped taking them, and now just pass a photograph around, that rarely brings out any comment, good or bad. But I am continually being pressed by collectors all over the place to produce more, but when I did take private commissions, I found it became too overwhelming, and in the year 2000, we had 24 models on order! I find it difficult to deal with them when they are often asking what I am building next, and offering to pay for them in full before completion. Nowadays, I only build what I feel like building, and nothing is ever for sale until it is complete, and even then, I do not advertise them, but just wait until someone asks. But we will probably be keeping the barque.


tiny deadeyes -  (large).jpg

18/05/2020 12:52:06

Total building time - 66 hours spread over 28 days. Scratchbuilt, and no machine tools used

Today, I fitted the twisted wire edging around the inner base, and put the model on it for a trial view. Everything is looking OK, and the polished base really enhances the model. As it is a fictitious ship, built to the normal specifications of the era (about 1870), I will be calling it Christine, after my wife. I am very pleased with this model, considering the fact that I never meant to complete it beyond the empty hull. It was just intended to be used as a basis for an article on how to make hulls the easy way - no saws or machine tools involved. It was made from thin slices of balsa wood, cut to shape with a scalpel, and then glued together. I then experimented with an easy method of copper plating, and I was so delighted with the result, that I decided to push on and complete the model. The masts, spars, and rigging are 100% metal. The furled sails are white airmail paper.

At the moment, I am now almost out of glue, and today the postman did not deliver the order that I placed on the 13th, so I guess I can now take a rest, and maybe tidy up a bit! smiley


christine completed 1 (large).jpg

christine - waterlines (large).jpg

Thread: St Helena, SS Ohio
18/05/2020 09:44:58

It is only 700 miles away, and in the Good Hope Castle, we covered that distance in 29 hours, but the St Helena took 43 hours, but I would hardly call the Falklands a "neigbouring island!" laugh If you want to read the St Helena newspapers, they are free online, via this link: **LINK**


17/05/2020 15:26:52

Hi Dave, Thanks, I have replied by PM.

They were very happy years, and I am still in contact with a few of them on the island. In the Tube video, you will see camp beds on deck, in addition to our 76 cabin passengers.  That is because between Ascension and St Helena (700 miles) we were licensed to carry a further 48 passengers on deck, very much in the style of Joseph Conrad's old sea stories. Probably wouldn't be allowed these days! This is the first St Helena, in which I spent the 11 years - Only 300 feet long - That was my cabin just under the bow of the lifeboatd on the boat deck -

Bobrms st helena.jpg

Edited By Bob Wilson on 17/05/2020 15:27:59

17/05/2020 13:17:41

He wasn't there when I was, probably came after in the new ship that I left in 1992. When I was there, the chef was David Stroud, and assistant cook was Belfred Stroud, who ran quite a good group called "Stroud and the Strouders!" Also Stedson Stroud, steward, and Cyril Stroud in the engine-room.


17/05/2020 10:56:46

Thanks Dave,

What was your friend's name? I would no doubt remember him if he was there for any length of time. Here is my little Utube video of the old St Helena (1978 - 1990) - **LINK**

In the opening frame, I am on the left in the stern gallery lounge on fancy dress night.   Next to me is Jeannie, our assistant  purser, whom I sailed with between 1965 and 1992 aboard Windsao Castle, Reina del Mar, Pendennis Castle, and both St Helena's, and am still in touch with.

I was there from 1979 unti 1990, then we all went to the new ship of the same name.

I have always found merchant ships infinitely more interesting than warships, and really did have an awful lot of assorted adventures during 31 years.




Edited By Bob Wilson on 17/05/2020 10:59:38

Thread: 900-Ton barque
16/05/2020 20:15:45

And rather better here:

newton hall.jpg

16/05/2020 20:11:59


I print white names on a black background in a normal word processing programme. You can just abou see it here.


1 (large).jpg

Thread: St Helena, SS Ohio
16/05/2020 17:11:44

Two of our stewardesses at San Carlos, visting one of the missile sites - Dreadfully cold and miserable, but the army seemed to enjoy our social calls and made us very welcome.


maureen & glenda san carlos (medium).jpg

16/05/2020 17:03:38

Hi Pete,

The leave situation was not meant to be like that. We were supposed to do two voyages on for one voyage off. But the company only had one ship, so it was one on one off. Even before we were married, my fiance could come and stay oboard in Avonmouth in a passenger cabin, again free of charge. All officers could take their wives all the time if they wished. Some of the crew as well, if they were senior enough to have their own cabins. When we got grabbed for the Falklands, one of the mechanics had his wife aboard, and as they were from St. Helena, she couldn't get home, so she volunteered and sailed with us to the Falklands, signing on as stewardess with the other two permanent ones. Here we all are on the flight deck the day before we left Portsmouth in 1982. The three girls in the middle. I am standing on the far right of the photograph -

There were no serious casualties in the fire. One minor burn that didn't even need hospital treatment, but it was mighty uncomfortable for a few days with the boiling heat, power erratic and a lot of the accommodation flooded with firefighting water. Passengers helping to carry fresh water from the open tanks up forward to the galley. Cooking on open fires on the deck using wood chopped from the accommodation. Actually, I know that some of our older American passengers loved the experience and didn't even want to fly home from Dakar, but they had to!


st helena mn officers & crew portsmouth 1982 (medium).jpg

Edited By Bob Wilson on 16/05/2020 17:06:34

Thread: 900-Ton barque
16/05/2020 16:47:55

Hi Pete,

I was fortunate that they were able to do the surgery before this virus cropped up, because I doubt if they would have done it if it was a couple of months later. rather unpleasant experience, but I am glad it is behind me now.

Nameplates I cut them bigger than 1mm, and stick them on, covering the joins up wih paint. I also make funnel emblems in the same manner.


15/05/2020 21:28:16


Similar with me, but in my case I got a bubble of liquid under the retina two years ago. This caused some central distortion. They told me that if I was patient, it would probably disperse of its own accord, and sure enough, the bubble has virtually gone now, but it has left a slight bluriness slightly right of centre, and if I get that in line with a fine wire, I can't see the end of it. I had a far worse one between 1984 and about 1992, but that eventually recovered completely for over 25 years, but came back suddenly in 2018, so I am hoping it will eventually go again. But like you, I find I can manage, and in normal life, it is not even noticable, it is only close up. The problem in the other eye was high pressure, requiring eye drops ofr over 20 years to control it. But following Viscocanalostomy last September, pressure down and no more eyedrops needed and no damage to optic nerve either.


15/05/2020 18:22:39

Hi Pete,

I do make nameplates in the way you mention and print them onto white airmail paper. The self-adhesive film for "brass-simulated" nameplates is glossy mdp mr decal paper from Ebay.

Friday, 15th May, 2020

The main lower topsail, and both upper topsail yards have now been fitted, and a lot of rigging added. The fore and main braces have also been rigged. As I was rigging the lower topsail yards, I was uncomfortably aware that it was not as easy as previously, as I found it difficult to focus on the fine wires all in close proximity to each other. This was not caused by the right eye that had the surgery in September, as that is near perfect, but by the left one that is the less dominant one. Normally, I am not aware of this, and can even read without glasses. I was beginning to think that I was at last coming to the end of small-scale sailing ship modelling. But in the afternoon, when I moved further up the masts with the upper topsail yard rigging, I experienced no real problems, maybe because the further up the masts I go, the less cluttered it is. Also, the main yard on this model, at 20 feet to one inch, is only three inches long. If I had been building a four-masted barque at the same scale, a typical main yard would be 100 feet long or five inches, and I probably would not have had any problem at all. After completion of the rigging of the six yards already fitted, there only remains the two t'gallant and two royal yards to make, paint, fit and rig, so I am now very close to completion. I am really pleased with the way this model is turning out, but there has never been much interest in this sort of thing here!


dscf6656 (large).jpg

Thread: St Helena, SS Ohio
14/05/2020 18:19:16

Hi Pete,

Plenty of leave. When I first joined, I did two trips together (four months). After that it was one voyage on, one voyage off, leaving and joining in Avomouth, until 1982 when the MOD grabbed us for the South Atlantic in 1982. I had just done two months, but went south with the ship, as my opposite number was from New Zealand, so couldn't go. I had very little leave until the summer of 1983 when we were released, although I did get flown home twice for a few weeks break . Then back to one on one off until Halloween night 1984 when we caught fire on the way back from Cape Town. Drifted for a week with tanker Oversea Argonaut standing by in case we had to abandon. Picked up by salvage tug after a week and towed to Dakar where it took one month to repair us, and then back to Cape Town again. So by the time I got home, I had done four months, but then got four months off. No more dramas until 1990 when one of the new ship's engines (twin screw) destroyed itself off Lisbon on the way back from the maiden voyage. My first two months were spent aboard in Falmouth drydock whilst they cut the side out of the ship and put a new engine in. Then my wife joined, and we both sailed in the ship togehter for voyage two. Then one on, one off again after that until I left in late 1992. I had been going to St Helena since 1973 in Good Hope Castle. When we met St. Helena, the 3rd mate was talking to them on the VHF and mentioned that I had been in Union-Castle. He phoned down to the bar, and I went up and found a load of old friends there, and the offer of employment as well.


Thread: 900-Ton barque
13/05/2020 17:19:59

Wednesday, 13th May, 2020

900-ton barque.

I have now completed all the standing rigging (thank goodness!). This included a total of 70 pairs of tiny deadeyes all with the lanyards visible - a very tedious task. I have also made and painted the lower yards, lower and upper topsail yards, but not yet fitted the furled sails to them. All that was completed this morning, so have been taking it easy since then!

dscf6642 standing rigging complete (large).jpg

Thread: St Helena, SS Ohio
13/05/2020 12:44:49

Hi Pete,

I did normal radio watches and the three mates did 4 hours on, 8 hours off. Although I couldn't use the main transmitter whilst we were pumping oil, VHF phone calls to and from our charterers, Atlantic Ritchfield, were pretty continuous, so we were all kept very busy. The US rule did not allow foreign ships to remain permanently coastal, hence a short deep sea voyage once a month, but we couldn't get ashore in the Bahamas because it was an oil jetty, and the same if we went to Philadelphia. In Coatzacoalcos, Mexico, there was nothing on the shore anyway. We spent two weeks in a backwater in Houston following a boiler explosion that took two weeks to repair. That is when I got ashore for a couple of hours, but nothing worth going ashore for anyway in that location. We knew about the name Algol. Not long after I left, a bad accommodation fire killed three of the officers, including the radio officer. The company had asked me if I wanted to go back after my first six months, but I declined, and asked for the brand new Silveravon instead, and got it. Initially it was a 16,000 ton container ship, but after one voyage to Jeddah and various Mediterranean ports, they sold it to West Africa and renamed it Bandama and converted it to a general cargo/log carrier., with us still manning it. Very good ship, numerous good Mediterranean ports to discharge logs and coffee, then load general in Marseilles (about a week to load), then off to the the river in Abidjan to spend at least a month at a time loading logs and coffee. Six hours up the coast to San Pedro and another two weeks loading logs on deck then back to the Mediterranean. As we came out of San Pedro one night, we spoke to the St Helena on her first voyage on the Cape Mail run, and speaking to old friends aboard, the captain phoned their head office next morning and said I would be happey to join as they only had a temporary R/O. They agreed, I resigned from Silver Line, and flew home from the Mediterranean and spent my final 13 years at sea in both St. Helenas.


12/05/2020 15:13:00

Hi Pete,

Thanks for info. I was only in one tanker, and didn't like it. Main reason, we spent six months lightering at Galveston Bar taking 55,000 tons a time from VLCCs and taking it to the Houston refinery a mere 5 hours away, with one voyage to the Bahamas or Mexico every month because of US rules, but only got ashore for 2 or 3 hours on one occasion in the whole six months. That was between Union-Castle ending, and getting in St Helena two years later. But St Helena was the best, as a lot of us had been sailing together since the mid 60s in the Castles. Here is my tanker, Algol, where I spent three months standing by the building in Cammell Lairds, then 6 months off Houston. Fortunately, most of my 31 years was spent in passenger liners, and it was even better when my wife could travel free of charge as well in both St Helenas. - Bob


Thread: 900-Ton barque
12/05/2020 10:37:00

It has had over 1,000 views here, although not much interest beyond that, but across the world, there is enormous active interest in it.


12/05/2020 09:59:56

Tuesday, 12th May, 20202

900-ton barque

I have now completed the mizzen mast with all its standing and running rigging and furled sails. All of the shrouds and ratlines have been fitted to the fore and main masts. The next task is to complete all the standing rigging on the fore and main masts. This will consist of three topmasts backstays, two t'gallant backstays and one royal backstay on each side of each the two square-rigged masts. The model will then be ready for the ten yards for the square sails, five on the fore and five on the mainmast. I have also veneered the display case and started polishing the base.

Elsewhere, this model has been viewed over 1,000 times, so it appears to be a great success so far -

dscf6640 (large).jpg

Thread: Loss of the Britannic
10/05/2020 19:59:32

The ship itself was accurate enough, and easily recognisable, but the siking of the Windsor Castle is well documented, and even photographed as she went dwon stern first in perfectly calm seas -


Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Boats? Use our magazine locator link to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Boats!

Support Our Partners
Premier March
Restorers Wanted
Tony Green Steam
Pendle Boilers
Shopping Partners
Social Media

'Like' us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Pin us on Pinterest

Member Contributions
Distributors of Model Boats for our overseas readers

Make sure you never miss out on the latest news, product reviews and competitions with our free RSS feed

Make your own contribution to the Website

We welcome well written contributions from Website members on almost any aspect of Model Boating with a particular emphasis on practical hints, tips, experience and builds.

In order to maintain a consistent standard and format, all suggestions should first be sent to me by Personal Message for approval in principle. Only a very limited amount of time is available for editing contributions into a suitable format for placing on the website so it is important that the material is well presented, lucid and free from obvious spelling errors. I think it goes without saying that contributions should be illustrated by appropriate photos. I shall be happy to give advice on this.

The Member Contribution area offers space for short informative mini articles which would not normally find a place in Model Boats magazine. It is an opportunity for Website Members to freely share their  expertise and experience but I am afraid that virtue is its own reward as there is no budget to offer more material recompense!

I look forward to receiving your suggestions.

Colin Bishop - Website Editor