Vosper Perkasa P150

DAVE ABBOTT reviews the Nautical Marine Models radio control model kit


Under full power Perkasa makes fine sight


Kit contents
This is a new release of a favourite subject and has been produced in kit form by Nautical Marine Models. It is to a scale of 1:32 and builds into a very compact 35ins (89cms) length model suitable for the average modeller and is just right for the boot of a family car.
 
As can be seen in Photo 1 the kit is comprehensive with a one-piece GRP hull, a full size plan and a really good building guide taking the builder through all the stages of building the model. The hardware supplied includes the running gear, propshafts and tubes, P frames, rudders and their tubes etc. All the rest of the major fittings including the cabin and torpedoes are produced in cream coloured resin and there are over 200 parts included in the kit.
 

Other included materials include balsa wood, hardwood strip, plywood sheet and styrene sheet of different sizes and thicknesses. The running gear can be seen in Photo 2 and this shows the exposed propshafts, P frames and the rudder assemblies in brass and white metal. All of this is of first class quality. The only extras required are r/c equipment, motors, couplings, propellers, batteries, glue and paints.

Getting started

No special tools or techniques are required for building this model. The first task was the cleaning and preparation of the one-piece GRP hull and believe me it took no time at all. This hull was one of the best quality and finished that I have worked with for a long time. The outside of the hull only required a light sand with very fine grade wet or dry paper. The top of the hull at deck level only required a run over with a file and further light sanding to take off any slightly uneven GRP strands, then finally a wash of the entire hull with soapy water to remove the dust.
 

The next and most important task was to make a stand for the model which I regard as essential to provide a stable platform on which to build it. The profiles for the stand are shown in the building guide along with the dimensions. I built the stand from 12mm MDF board which is strong and cheap. Don’t forget to varnish the MDF at least once, as this type of material does not take kindly to getting wet. The finished stand can be seen in Photo 3 and the stand and prepared hull are in Photo 4.

Fitting out the hull

The propeller shafts and rudder assemblies need to be installed next and the building guide gives measurements of the holes that need to be cut in the bottom of the hull. The motors, couplings, propellers and tiller arms are not included in the kit (as is normal with most r/c kits), so it is a good idea to have these to hand at this stage. This will enable the running gear to be set up and aligned easily and correctly rather than later in the build. Suggestions as to suitable motors etc. are included in the kit instructions.

Photo 5 shows the running gear laid out on the hull and the positions marked ready to be cut away. The P frames have a small hole drilled at the foot of the fitting through which brass rod can be fitted inside the hull preventing the P frame from being accidentally moved whilst the glue is setting. This also makes the mounting of these much firmer and more secure for operational use.
 
I always find it best to temporarily ‘spot glue’ the shafts and rudder tubes in position using two part epoxy, and then if satisfied with the alignment, permanently fix them in place with a generous amount of fibreglass resin or two part epoxy (I usually use 24 hour Araldite). Photo 6 shows the running gear glued in position with just some filler still required.
 
As I mentioned earlier, the motors, couplings and propellers are not supplied in the kit. I decided to install two Speed 600 motors complete with motor mounts and couplings and two 30mm brass three bladed propellers, one left hand and one righthand. I believe that the full size vessel had three shafts, but this kit was designed with two for convenience and simplicity. Photo 7 is a general view of the motors and rudder servo mounting and Photo 8 is a close-up of the motors in particular.
 

The deck supports were also fitted at this stage. These are installed in a frame pattern, similar to a model aircraft frame using the supplied balsa and hardwood strips. Glue used was once again two part epoxy. Don’t forget to rub down the contact areas on the inside of the hull before gluing, Photo 9.

The deck and a minor modification

This is cut to shape and is intended to be a one piece item with cut-outs for access to the r/c equipment and batteries as shown in Photo 10. In this form there is adequate access through the openings as can be seen, but I decided to make the whole after deck piece removable for even more access to the r/c equipment, motors and rudder linkages. I hope the manufacturer will forgive me for doing this, but it does make access easier and providing that the removable section is well sealed and secured, there should be no problem with water ingress. This removable section is shown in Photo 11. I stress this was a personal choice – it made life easier for me, but there is nothing wrong with the recommended constructional method.

Superstructure

With the deck now complete, the superstructure was started and the rear part was constructed using the good quality styrene provided in the kit as can be seen in Photo 12. The box type structure was built using the dimensions given in the building guide with extra fillets added for strengthening. The glue used was a solvent type called Plasweld and this type of construction makes for a strong but light item. The forward part of the superstructure, namely the bridge, was supplied as four parts of moulded resin and these were glued together with superglue and then any joints or imperfections filled with David’s Isopon Easy Sand filler. These moulded parts were of excellent quality and required little cleaning and fettling. The complete bridge can be seen in Photo 13.
 

With the hull, deck and superstructure complete, the horizontal transom plate was fitted to the stern and Photo 14 shows everything made so far temporarily fitted in place.

Radio control installation

The bulk of the r/c gear is installed under the after part of the superstructure and Photo 15 is an overhead view of this. As you can see, there is adequate access via the opening underneath the superstructure, but you can also see where I cut the deck to make the whole section removable. It really is just a matter of personal choice. As on many of my other projects I have found that simple is best for electronics. I used two channel r/c, the left hand vertical axis stick for forward and reverse and the right hand horizontal stick for steering. Batteries used were two 3300mAh 7.2v car buggy type of packs for the main motors power, and the speed controller was a Ripmax P-Xtra Seasprint 40amp forward and reverse with provision for water cooling, but this was not necessary on this occasion. A battery eliminator circuit was not used, so a normal four cell receiver battery pack was also installed. The transmitter and receiver were a Zebra 40MHz two-channel set, that is more than adequate for the task.

Fittings

All of the major fittings are produced in resin and the two guns, a 40mm Bofors and 20mm twin Oerlikon are mini-kits in their own right with clearly illustrated building instructions, Photos 16 and 17. The torpedoes and their racks are a combination of resin, brass and white metal, Photos 18 and 19.
 

Assembly and positioning of all the fittings is very straightforward with nothing too taxing. As with the rest of the kit, the resin, etched and white metal parts are all first class, fit together well and require little effort to prepare for painting. Most of them were temporarily fitted on the model as can be seen in Photo 20 to get an idea of what the finished model was going to look like. They were then removed and painted separately.

Painting

All the painting was done with an airbrush and spray gun using paint from the Humbrol range of satin enamels. The building guide recommends the appropriate colours and these were used on this model with no deviation! Photo 21 is of the after superstructure and Photo 22 is of the bridge and mast.
 

Photo 23 is of the foredeck and Photo 24 is a close-up of the 40mm Bofors gun. As you can see, I have included a bit of light weathering to emphasise and highlight the features. Finally, Photo 25 is a picture of the transom with the massive exhausts from the gas turbines. When completely painted and I was satisfied with the overall colour coat finish, two coats of Humbrol clear satin varnish were applied to everything.

Access

I have already mentioned my personal modification to the rear deck and Photos 26 and 27 highlight the difference in access by having a completely removable section, but it is a matter of choice.

On the water

Using the recommended motors, batteries and propellers proved just right and as can be seen from the on the water pictures the model did what it said in the instructions. I have seen many models of the Perkasa before, but not planing just right and this combination of motors and batteries seems to be just perfect as can be seen in these pictures.

Conclusion

Not just another Perkasa, but a rather good one. All items and materials are of good quality together with a comprehensive building guide. I was very pleased with the performance. This is marketed as a functional well detailed model and of a practical size. There is some scope for extra detailing in the bridge area if the builder so wishes, but not much else.
 
Nautical Marine Models also list another limited edition 1:32 full kit of a PT Boat 109 - Elco 80 with a similar specification and fittings and also a range of GRP hulls, plans and fittings. Please visit them on their website: www.nauticalmarinemodels.co.uk or email: mail@nauticalmarinemodels.co.uk for more information.

Kit details

Vosper Perkasa P150 kit

Price: £200

Available from:

Nautical Marine Models

17 Liverpool Road North

Burscough

Lancashire

L40 5TN

Tel: 01704 894006

Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm.