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Fairey Swordsman 33

Scratch Build

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Chris Fellows06/02/2018 00:13:06
808 forum posts
528 photos

As with the River Cruiser I started a thread on the Swordsman (subsequently moved to Building Kits) when I was producing the drawings and as I’ve also made a start on building it as well I’m continuing in here.

I used the Aerokits kit drawings (plan and side view) for the basis of the drawings but have modified them for the version of the Swordsman 33 that I want i.e. the one with the aft cabin that has the roof just sitting under the top of the coamings.

The Aerokits has the aft cabin but it is the one where the roof is level with the deck. Fairey Marine aficionados will know that there is also a version without the aft cabin and just a large open cockpit similar to other Faireys. The version I’m building may not be considered to be the best looking of the various options but I’ve not seen a model of that version and hence why I’m attracted to building it.

I actually started cutting out the parts for the hull (as far as I got with the drawings) before Christmas interrupted proceedings and I started on the River Cruiser. In fact the RC has been a distraction, albeit in a good way, as I was going to start building a Huntsman 28, perhaps I’ll build all three at once! Space may well be a problem though!

As well as the aft cabin I’ve modified the drawings by adding a temporary spine with “fingers” as well as on the keel. I’m building right way up and the keel fingers are for screwing to a substantial, straight piece of timber which is then screwed to a baseboard. I added them to the spine as well in case I want to work upside down as well, whether I need them or not, time will tell. Obviously the spine will help greatly with alignment and helping to keep the frames in place whilst gluing. This is all a learning curve for me as I’ve never build a model before, well apart from a few Airfix planes when I was young.

I made quite a few tweaks to the drawings before I was happy with printing them and today I made my first tweak to the parts. The final positioning of the prop shaft was after I’d decided on the frame positions and drawn-up the frames and I subsequently found that the prop shaft cut through the keel at one of the frame positions (see photo). The doublers were going to butt up to this frame and once all glued up would probably be fine. But why take the risk? So, I’ve cut new, longer doublers, to span completely over the prop shaft cut out and have widened the slot in the bottom of the frame as per common practise.

So all parts are almost ready for the hull, just need the cut-outs doing for the stringers and will be ready for gluing.

Photos are:

Ply cut-out and sanded and prop shaft etc. laid out. Note the longer doublers.

Goodies from Protean Design. Was expecting the P bracket to be the usual formed from brass strip so this was a nice surprise. Prop as usual is lovely.

Motor mount needs some fettling and holes countersunk.


Chris Fellows06/02/2018 00:15:44
808 forum posts
528 photos

new doublers & prop shaft laid out.jpgprotean design bits.jpgmotor mount needs fettling.jpg

Chris Fellows18/05/2018 18:08:43
808 forum posts
528 photos

Swordsman assembly 1.jpgSwordsman assembly 2.jpgAt last I've started assembly of the frames and keel and have fitted the doublers.

The last photo shows a mistake at the drawing stage - one of the "fingers" for attaching to the building board is in the way of drilling for the rudder tube. No big deal as I will do this later. Another lesson learnt and I have already altered my drawings for the Huntsman 28 which I will be starting building soon.


Cant drill for rudder!

Edited By Chris Fellows on 18/05/2018 18:09:54

Chris Fellows19/06/2018 17:25:05
808 forum posts
528 photos

Progress has been steady, all stringers now fitted.

Just got to cut down and fit some doublers at the bow and fit the motor mount base and the hull can be taken off the building board and remounted upside down ready for skinning.

Two down (almost) and one to go!

All stringers done

Chris Fellows29/06/2018 20:14:11
808 forum posts
528 photos

It being one of my non-working days I had to decide between continuing with sitting in the sun in the garden or a spot of boat building!

Well, the latter won and having cut-off the "fingers" on the keel I've started sanding the keel to profile. The plan was to screw the fingers on the spine to the baseboard but they are held fine in my Workmate which is better really.

Also it's freed up the baseboard, which is better than the one I've been using for the Huntsman 28, which was a bit warped, and now building has been transferred to that.

As the Swordsman is my second hull I'm much more confident with tackling the profiling of the keel and then the stringers and am really enjoying it.

I really like this hull, it is a nice shape and just the right size at 33" long.

Don't know if I've mentioned it but I'm building all my Faireys at a scale of 1:12 to go with Dave's lovely little Huntress.

Plan is to also build a Huntsman 31 and once that's done (some way off yet!) I've got to decide what to do with my 46.5" one which is too big for me. Either keep it as a display model or sell it on.


sanding keel.jpg

Chris Fellows19/11/2018 19:13:51
808 forum posts
528 photos

It's been quite a while since I've posted about the Swordsman, due to lack of progress really but now that we're heading into winter I've picked it up again along with the other projects.

I've now added the formers to the transom to give it its shape and will then remove the remaining spine and other temporary timbers.

As for the Huntsman I can then drill the holes for the rudders and prop support and finish off profiling the stringers.

All three will be ready for skinning then!

As you can see I'm not building light (check out the transom!) and even at this stage it's getting quite heavy! Though some of this is down to the temporary timbers. Weight has never been a concern and performance won't be a problem as I've already got a powerful motor for it. For the other, smaller models, I'm using thinner ply etc. and they feel like featherweights in comparison, though again I'm not concerned with weight.

transom 1.jpgtransom 2.jpg

Chris Fellows24/11/2018 19:39:27
808 forum posts
528 photos

Been doing a bit more and even though I haven't been eating any Weetabix I must be feeling stronger as it doesn't feel as heavy now! I have cut out the rearmost part of the temporary spine though to drill the hole for the rudder but that shouldn't have made much difference.

This is a warts and all build blog and I wasn't entirely happy when I was fitting the chine stringers. They were the same size as used on the other, smaller builds at 3.2 x 6.5 (1/8 x 1/4) but whilst I wanted to use some deeper timber I hadn't got any. Checking with a straight edge suggested that there would be enough chamfer but the reality when sanding to profile was that whilst there was some it didn't provide as much gluing area as I wanted.

So I glued another piece of timber across the bottom of the double stringers. Most of it was subsequently sanded away but I was much happier with the amount of chamfer for gluing.

As well as that I have drilled the holes for the rudder and prop support, cut a hole in the rear bulkhead to give more room for the rudder arms to move and fitted an additional former by the transom for the area of decking for the superstructure to sit on. So at last it's all ready, along with the other two hulls, for skinning. I shall practise on the smaller hulls though first!

additional former.jpgprop shaft test fit.jpgimg_0045.jpgadditional chine stringer.jpg

Edited By Chris Fellows on 24/11/2018 19:42:52

Chris Fellows12/01/2019 21:30:51
808 forum posts
528 photos

It's been quite a time since I've done anything on the Swordsman with most of my recent free time being taken up with the River Cruiser and over the last couple of days the Huntsman.

In fact the RC, the baby of the fleet, has had the most time lavished on it as I continued with starting the superstructure whereas the original plan, such as it was, was to get all three hulls skinned at the same time. The next plan is to get all three ready for painting in the spring but as I'm going to plank the Swordsman, which will obviously take longer, that will probably continue to lag behind the other two.

Anyway the Swordsman. I've removed the temporary spine and not being sure that I could fit the bottom skins in one sheet all the way from the stern to Frame 1 I added some additional timbers to the edge of Frame 2 in case I had to do it in two pieces and required some additional gluing area and support for the joint. In the event I did it quite easily in one piece helped by steaming it to the required curve.

The reason for my uncertainty is that the bow of the Swordsman is much sleeker than the other two and the curve upwards from the keel starts further back which along with the curving in as you approach the bow I thought might give me a problem. Thankfully not and both bottom skins have now been fitted.


additional timber to frame 2.jpg

1st bottom skin.jpg

2nd bottom skin.jpg

Tim Rowe12/01/2019 22:34:17
426 forum posts
440 photos

More nice work Chris

I see you are a Permagrit fan. Me too. They rank amongst some of the most useful tools I have.

Tim R

Chris Fellows13/01/2019 10:30:15
808 forum posts
528 photos

Yes, I'd certainly struggle without them, particularly as I'm sanding a lot of quite hard ply. I've used 2mm birch ply for the skins and they take some sanding to shape. I think I'm starting to wear out my smaller "block"!

I've got a set of the files as well which are useful great for notches and hollowing out for the prop shaft etc.


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