The Loftsman
Leith Shipyards

A history of the Ships built at the Henry Robb Shipyard in Leith, Scotland. Also a testimony to the men who built the Ships and to all who sailed in them.
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Ship Models

SOFALA Ship No 241

A ship model in miniature of this fine old ship built in the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb in 1937



Bob starts off with some old ships plans cut from magazines from long ago, and just cuts out his first shape




It begins to take shape as we now have a hull with a main deck


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The shell starts to take shape



She now has her superstructure on and is looking good


Now she is finished and painted and looks superb. Nice one Bob

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Time to show some more of the amazing models that are built from around the world, some are Leith built ships and some are not.



Another fine model made by Andy Forrest

Here are a couple of photographs sent in to the website and they show an old model ship built in Spain and inspired by the early steel vessels 

first built in the North of Spain around the start of the last century.



Now the following was a ship built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb Ltd, she was one of the modern Coast Lines ships built at Leith

Building a model of the MV

From Steve Heward

The first few stages come
together very quickley and after a while it

still dosn't look like a ship, however given time you can see where

it's leading to.(The three thicknesses you will need in balsa is

3/16ths-1/8th-and 1/16th ), the glue used throughout is Mercury M1100G

super glue, thick viscosity, green label on the bottle. Taking

measurements off the plan I doubled these and marked out shapes

directley onto the balsa sheets. So the first piece was taken at the

first parralell from the keel, this for a time is the building board.

Next using three sheets of balsa 36 x4x 3/16'' use two sheets as they

are and the third one cut up into widths and make a box which is

positioned on the base, the two middle ones will be removed at a much

later stage leaving a huge interior for whatever equipment needs to be

installed. Next working from each end make up more boxes

until there is no more room for boxes. So that all the bulkheads and

frames have been cut off, at the first parallel
to fit on the building


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Next as the ship is slab sided midships there is no need to worry

about frames or bulkheads in this area, so working on the outside of

the main box make straight supporting pieces and form another parallel

from stem to stern, on the plan this is no 4 from the keel (water

line). So when the time comes one sheet of 1/8th balsa a large

section of the hull is now covered. Try to do as much work as possible

whilst the boat is still on a flat building base then turn it upside

down and fabricate the frame work for the bottom. At midships stop

framework short of the bilge as can be seen on one of the pictures,

then after planking or skinning the sides and bottom fill in the bilge

with solid wood either laminated or blocked and shape to fit, now it

should be looking like a ship.

I still worked at getting the hull planked up to the waterline so with

a bit of blocking and laminating using 1/16th sheet still giving 1/8th

thickness planking throughout, I finished off the hull from keel to

water line. The planking went up to the last frame on the plan at each

end and then I used a big block of balsa and shaped it all in. It is

agood idea to stick to this until the hull is fully moulded up to the

water line as you still have the hull upside down on the upturned box

giving a firm structure to work on.

With the model now the right way up extend the original box up to the

sheer line of the main deck line. Now the main deck from bow to stern

can be cut out and finally fitted and more spacers and frame pieces

are fitted ready for the next planking. This is where card patterns

are needed so the sides including the bulwarks go on in one piece. I

found the best way here was to use two laminates of 1/16th the inner

one with the grain vertical and the outer horizontal, it's surprising

how strong this is. However round the stern both pieces have to be

grain vertical. At a later stage when it's time to fit the rubbing

strakes the cheapest coffee sticks you can buy just simply bend round

in one go, so three sticks make the right thickness. If you can get

them bamboo coffee sticks make superb deck planking.As can be seen

from the pictures it's best to build up the framework for the fo'csle

and aft deck house so the sides can be fitted in one piece.

This then describes the build for the main hull, the next stage I

built up the main bridge structure, here there is some debate on

whether to make it removable or to just keep building, and I chose to keep

building as it proved to be easier. So now the build has become a bit

fiddly with the woodwork round the flying bridge and wheelhouse. At

this stage I think it is a matter of opinion as to which is the best

way to continue.

More to follow as the build progresses.

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