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Vic Smeed's Model Boat Designs

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Tony Hadley03/07/2017 15:18:34
914 forum posts
559 photos

Ian, whilst discussing children and model boats, I can once remember having a telephone conversation with Vic's wife Margaret about Vic's modelling activities. She told me about the time when Vic stored all his model making bits on a building board under a chair in the living room, anyway Margaret had just sat down when one of the children crawled over (wearing a nappy at the time). Their daughter then handed to Margaret a double sided open razor blade of the type in use at the time (1950s) - Oops!

John, thanks for posting your Guardsman, it's good to see the photographs back, I guess you must have been modifying your photo albums. When building mine, I thought the rudder looked on the small size and enlarged it slightly.

Guardsman is a superb model to build as Ian has described. I thoroughly enjoyed building mine, it must have been the model which has given the most pleasure of any I have ever built. A thread was created about the build of mine on this site so I won't dwell on the build and bore anyone, Larry Whetton also built one which was powered by a 400 motor whereas mine by a 385LN, which was recommended by DM. Sadly Larry isn't with us anymore. Here is an on the water photograph of his -

larry whetton guardsman.jpg

Mine -

guardsman (105) - copy.jpg

MM1330 plans (and a plastic hull) -


A larger 30" version from Scale Hobbies in Skelmersdale, Searcher -


and a link to the build thread -



John W E03/07/2017 18:05:18
302 forum posts
284 photos

Hi there

One model that hasn't had much mention of Vic Smeed's is the Pathfinder, the pilot vessel - I thought there would be a lot more pictures of it. It seems to have been a popular model. I know there are one or two in our Club, and I myself have the plans. Its on my build list. The only thing I need to sort out before building it, is the actual underwater shape of the vessel at the stern. I know Vic simplified the hull shape on a lot of his drawings for ease of building - and I wonder if he simplified the Pathfinder Hull? I have done a bit of investigation and I have found that there are one or two other vessels with a similar shape of hull to which Vic has drawn. I would like to know if Vic actually had access to the shipyard drawings of this boat. Or, if anyone has photographs of the Pathfinder in dry dock showing her stern and props set up.


Tony Hadley04/07/2017 09:24:54
914 forum posts
559 photos

John, I can't answer your question about the underwater design of the model's hull as against the full sized vessel, as you say without yard drawings this would be difficult. Reading the September 1955 issue of Model Maker, Vic mentions in the text that this model was to be a 'desk top' build so I would guess some kind of model makers licence has been applied. At the size of the model, my thoughts of a desktop build would be optimistic, but who knows!

Colin Bishop sent me four photographs of a Pathfinder on display at an exhibition a few years ago, I posted two of the photographs in page 8 of this thread. The other two are now posted below, should they be of any help. The original magazine item was in four parts which ran from September to December 1955 in Model Maker. I would guess that these four magazine articles formed the instruction manual which was available some time ago. Tom Gorman had a build of this model featured in the July 2007 edition of Model Boats magazine. Tom's model was built plank-on-frame as against the plan which is mainly for a bread and butter hull.

pathfinder me exhibition (1).jpg

pathfinder me exhibition (4).jpg

September 1955 magazine heading


model boats - july 2007 (1).jpeg

Tony Hadley31/07/2017 14:46:37
914 forum posts
559 photos

Whilst researching Vic's Lifeboat designs, I've come found some old pictures from past magazines.

Liverpool Class Lifeboat (MM374) at 3/4" to 1ft scale, from Model Maker May 1955. A couple of photographs of a superb model appeared in the National Radio Control Scale Championship item in the January 1982 Model Boats. The plan was later at 1" to 1ft scale (MM1448).

mm may 1955.jpg

liverpool class (1).jpeg

liverpool class (2).jpeg

and a further photograph from February 1982

liverpool class (3).jpeg

Plymouth R.N.L.B. Barnett and Stromness (MM418) was featured in the April 1956 Model Maker magazine. The scale was again 3/4" to 1ft. I haven't located any photographs of a model built to this plan to date.

mm april 1956.jpg

Tony Hadley01/09/2017 10:13:18
914 forum posts
559 photos

In the latest, October 2017 Model Boats magazine, a new Glynn Guest submarine, Nixie comes as a free plan and detailed build. Glynn states in the text, that this and his two earlier dynamic diving submarines were based on the original Vic Smeed design Sprat.

Sprat was featured in the 1960 Model Maker magazine and the item is attached below for anyone interested. Nixie looks a good one Glynn, just kicking myself for giving away two new 40mhz receivers & crystals as I still have the 40mhz module for my hitec set, better start looking for a replacement.


Ian Bell 103/09/2017 14:11:19
24 forum posts
9 photos

I have long been a fan of Vic's designs, especially of the sailing variety, stretching back to the mid 70's. My Dad and I got into model boats by building a Starlet yacht, which I still have though it needs a freshen up. I also have an example of his Panache design which sails and looks very well. Waiting in the wings is a Harem M class bought off of Ebay which needs new mast and sails. Lastly, again found on Ebay is a Star C fibre glass yacht hull which Vic drew up with the intention of getting a smallish R/C yacht class started. Model Boats got 50 hulls made and they all sold but unfortunately the class did not take off. My first back in the 70's sailed well before moving on . Hopefully the new one will as well

Tony Hadley05/09/2017 09:05:47
914 forum posts
559 photos

Ian, wasn't the Star C a 42" one design class? Would be good to see some photographs of the yachts.

Not too long ago, I had a request for a copy of the text for Starlet from Vic's book Small Model Yachts, which I managed to locate and send. The request was from Brian Barber who has just emailed these two photographs of his now completed Starlet. The model is sailing at the Bluewater Shopping Centre, Kent. The photographs of this excellent model show what lovely models can be built from Vic's designs.

brian barber starlet (1).jpg

brian barber starlet (2).jpg

Tony Hadley15/10/2017 09:26:36
914 forum posts
559 photos

Empress of Britain was featured earlier in this thread (#4 & 5). Attached is the magazine article from December 1956, Colin Bishop posted the magazine front cover earlier. Two photographs of the full sized vessel are also attached of the ship whilst in Liverpool in the early 1960s. These are extracted from an old family cine film which has been digitalised.

empress of britain (3).jpg

empress of britain (4).jpg

empress of britain (5).jpg

empress of britain (1).jpg

empress of britain (2).jpg

Tony Hadley20/10/2017 10:09:22
914 forum posts
559 photos

Brian Rossenrode, a member of the facebook group 'Classic Wooden Model Boats' built this Guardsman from the free plan in Model Boats magazine 1982. Brian is a member of the Durban Radio Boat Club and his superb little model took six months to build. A much quicker build time than mine.

brians guardsman (1).jpg

brians guardsman (2).jpg

brians guardsman (3).jpg

Ian Bell 120/10/2017 16:08:27
24 forum posts
9 photos

Tony did say in an earlier post about photos of a couple of Vic' designs that I have, and I never got round to it!

One of the designs is the Panache yacht. Sorry haven't managed to change the orientation! dscf7920.jpg

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