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Question for anyone who's built Vic Smeeds Guardsman

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Charles Oates03/07/2020 16:26:52
662 forum posts
52 photos

Our long lockdown has made me very busy in the workshop. I've re built and re finished many older models. Inevitably, when I had finished all that I wanted to start a new build. Out came the old plan for Vic's Guardsman, a build I've been putting of for 40 years. I scaled it up to 29 inches instead of 22.5. I use a very scientific method to choose a scale, it has to fit on a vacant shelf.

Anyway, my question. Vic's plan shows the stern tube and motor at quite a steep angle, and I can't see any reason for that. There is plenty of room to set the motor lower in the hull, plus I'm going to use a geared 385 I have spare, with a low set output shaft so I can put the tube and shaft nearly horizontal. I presume the original would have been like that.

Am I missing something? Did Vic have a good reason for installing the motor as he did, or was it just one of his quirks?


Ray Wood 203/07/2020 16:49:49
2789 forum posts
970 photos

Hi Chas,

Any chance of a photo of the drawing ??

Regards Ray

ashley needham03/07/2020 17:30:05
7593 forum posts
167 photos

Chas. You will set them off arguing about the angle of the dangle with this one!

Personally, and not even knowing what can’t do it...any comment will set them going.

I would not even DARE to say something like.. if there is room, put the shaft flatter rather than steeper angle....

Some are likely to say “if that’s what Vic drew, why are you asking”’s that sort of thing.

Ashley (FLAT earth society) 🤭

Edited By ashley needham on 03/07/2020 17:30:24

Charles Oates03/07/2020 17:48:47
662 forum posts
52 photos

Hi Ray, I'l sort out a picture tomorrow, but it really is a simple installation, that's why I can't see why Vic drew it the way he did.

Ashley, I don't regard Vics plans as perfect, some are far from that, anyone who's built Mistral will know of a piece that's a couple of inches out. That said, he usually had a very good reason to do things the way he did, and age is making me question my own judgement, hence the question.

Flat Earth.................. It's elephants all the way down!


John W E03/07/2020 18:13:05
298 forum posts
279 photos

Hi Chas

Somewhere on this forum - someone has already made Vic Smeed's Guardsman and the build is somewhere on this Forum. As far as I recall her built it as per plan = bread and butter balsa wood hull construction and so forth. I think that gentleman kept the prop shaft at an angle We will have to try and locate the thread and find that out.

Many moons ago I myself built the Guardsman - but - I built it plank on frame and I do know I had the prop shaft parallel to the keel. To be honest to you, I don't think its made any difference, as long as you keep the propshaft well lubricated so the water doesn't seep through the prop tube into the hull.

What method you use for sealing the prop shaft is up to yourself. It can cause a lengthy discussion that one can - nearly as bad as where do you fit a fuse.

Going back to my build though, I also altered the location of the door on the bridge. On the plan, the door is on the front of the bridge and I put the doors either side of the bridge.

Couple of pics of mine.

John W E03/07/2020 18:14:03
298 forum posts
279 photos


Dave Milbourn03/07/2020 18:58:19
4025 forum posts
282 photos

Vic was a genius but nobody's perfect, so if it feels right to make the shaft angle shallower and there's no obstruction preventing it then do it. The "angle" arguement breaks down when it comes to displacement hulls with high stern counters. Like Vic, John Elsy knows what he's doing - or he's had me fooled for over 20 years!

Incidentally, Tony Hadley's build is here Guardsman build

Dave M

Edited By Dave Milbourn on 03/07/2020 19:19:01

John W E03/07/2020 19:18:10
298 forum posts
279 photos


Dave Milbourn03/07/2020 19:22:34
4025 forum posts
282 photos

Yep! 154 miles.


Tony Hadley04/07/2020 09:08:14
914 forum posts
559 photos

Thanks Dave for the link, that model (Guardsman) is still with me.

Charles, looking back at the plan and my build the prop shaft and the angle were as the plan. The difference with mine was the length of the coupling as against the plan. This obviously influenced the positioning of the motor. Mine was a plan size model.

As previous, I still have the model and it's in good condition, stored in the shed, awaiting a small modification to the electrics. Component Shop sells a smaller car type fuse holder and toggle switch. I've recently received these, as the current larger type fuse holder is a squeeze to fit in.

My only comments about the design are firstly, the positioning of the navigation lights. The full sized vessel, Enterprise, which the model is based on, the navigation lights were located on the side of the cabin above the door. Vic's plan shows them mounted on the top of the cabin. With my build it was too late to change them after they had been fitted. In Model Boats magazine, September 2004, is a large steam powered version of Guardsman and the builder has worked to the full sized vessel's positioning of these lights. I've attached a couple of photographs.

The second comment, is the rudder linkage, the way it's shown on the plan would never work. It needed to be modified by cutting away the balsa blocks under the deck. To coin the saying - "It was like wallpapering the hall, through the letter box". Shouldn't be problem for your size of model and type of construction.

I wish you every success with what is a super little model and it's always a pleasure to take this one to the lake.

guardsman (10).jpg

guardsman item (6).jpeg

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