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Pic 1: Detail on the Gold Medal winning drifter Formidable, built by Grahame Palmer (photograph by Dave Abbott). Pic 2: Excellent detail on the foredeck of Formidable. Pic 3: Wonderfully neat and precise work on Formidable by Grahame Palmer. Pic 4: A VHC for Peter Revill with his fine example of the Model Slipway Envoy naval tug (photograph by Dave Abbott). Pic 5: Peter Fitch’s Mantua Dutch Coastal Gunboat which earned a VHC (photograph by Dave Abbott).

The Centenary Model Engineer Exhibition at Ascot early in September 2007 featured some very high quality model boats and the Kit Class was no exception, although overall numbers continued to be low.

A reduction of one day in the exhibition schedule meant that judging had to be conducted on the day that models were being delivered, which was quite challenging as the last entries arrived at 6:30pm. This was marginally better than having to judge on the first public day, but if the competition is to maintain its traditional status then the organisers will need to think carefully about this in future.

I was particularly pleased to see that many entrants provided interesting and informative documentation which was appreciated by judges and the general public alike.

It was a pleasure to be able to award a Gold Medal in this class to Grahame Palmer for his drifter Formidable. Sourced from John Hemmens and fitted with a Hemmens steam plant, this was an excellent example of this impressive kit.

He had chosen not to weather the model which is a matter of personal preference and the finish was impeccable, including crew, fully planked deck and simulated flickering oil lamps. This was a very nice model indeed and well deserving of its award.

No Silver medals were awarded this year, but there were two Bronzes. The first went to Roy Verdon for his yacht Endeavour, an extensively modified Amati kit to enable it to be used as a practical sailing model. The changes made included strengthening the hull by adding an extra layer of planking, fitting an external false sailing keel faired into the original hull and increasing the rudder area. A replacement fully planked deck was also fitted. The modifications were in keeping with the original and not very noticeable to the casual eye.

The second Bronze was awarded to Leslie Jones’ HMS Nimrod which was an adaptation of the popular JoTiKa HMS Cruiser kit. The model included some very neatly applied copper sheathing and the standard armament had been replaced by specially moulded 32 pounder carronades. The overall finish was excellent, but slightly marred by some rather obvious glue stains on the deck. Leslie Jones also gained a Very Highly Commended Certificate for his model of the Mamoli Royal Yacht Mary, which was a gift from the City of Amsterdam to King Charles II in 1660. The finish of this model was marginally better than that of his HMS Nimrod, but the degree of complexity was somewhat less which reduced the overall points total.

A second Very Highly Commended award went to Peter Fitch for his Mantua Dutch Coastal Gunboat. Mr Fitch had chosen to depict the model in ornamental guise with exposed woodwork and brass armament and fittings. The overall impression was very neat and effective with the only obvious flaw being an apparent touch of filler around the bow planking.

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Pic 6: Excellent hull planking on the Dutch Coastal Gunboat. Pic 7: Endeavour by Roy Verdon achieved a well deserved Bronze medal. Pic 8: Jeff Carter was awarded a Commended certificate for his Atlantic 21 from a Lesro kit (photograph by Dave Abbott). Pic 9: HMS Nimrod by Leslie Jones was awarded a Bronze medal (photograph by Dave Abbott). Pic 10: The glue stains on the deck of HMS Nimrod marred and otherwise excellent model. Pic 11 & 12: The impressive Ascot venue and part of the model boat display captured by Dave Abbott.

Another Very Highly Commended Certificate was awarded to Peter Revill who entered the naval tug Envoy from Model Slipway. This was a very nicely made model, essentially out of the box with some improvements which shows just what a good kit this is. The only minor imperfections were some glue marks on the bridge windows and porthole glass, possibly due to the use of cyanoacrylate glue which tends to “fog” transparent plastic. I also felt that close up the finish was a bit bland but there is no doubt that this boat must look really impressive on the water. Peter is also to be congratulated on the extensive construction notes provided for the judges and the public which gained the model several extra marks.

The final award was a Commended Certificate to Jeff Carter for his Atlantic 21 Mudeford Inshore Lifeboat. This was based upon an original Duplex kit originally issued in 1980 but now marketed by Lesro. Only one crew member was provided with the kit and Mr Carter had brought the boat up to complement by adapting 1/12th scale motorcyclist figures for the missing two crew members. Although not a complex model, it captured the spirit of the RNLI inshore lifeboats very well.

This year’s entry demonstrated a good cross section of the kits available these days, but my recent coverage of various regattas on behalf of this magazine shows just how many more really excellent models are out there which would do well in the ME if their builders chose to enter them. The visiting public would also get a better impression of the sheer variety of kit models on offer which might entice more of them to dip a toe in the water and have a go themselves which could only be good for our hobby.