Anyway, I pitched up at the museum, paid my entry fee and nipped through to check the boat was still there. It was. Phew - not a wasted journey.
I bagged a couple of pic and then pondered about leaping on board. No one would have spotted me but I am boring enough not to like doing this. Exhibits in museums aren't playthings and shouldn't be treated as such, even by those who think they are too good to worry about such niceties.
Back inside, I have a chat with the curator in charge and he came back out to the boat and gave me permission to step aboard. His only comment was that I should walk up and down the side next top a narrow boat as if I fell off, I'd only fall against the boat and not in the water. Apparently It's very deep in the basin!
So, 20 minutes later I'd crawled all over the boat and poked my camera into every space I could, including under the locked cabin doors. I even lowered it on it's strap into the cabin (the back doors aren't a terribly good fit) using the self timer to capture some interior detail.
What did I learn?
- Well, the hull I'm using is the wrong shape. The plan view should be a teardrop with a narrower stern rather than the parallel side hull I have. I've decided I don't care about this.
- The yellow decoration on the sides is pretty scruffy and not the collection of smooth curves the card kit shows.
- Behind the front bumper is hollow and includes a winch on each side to tie the tug to a barge being pushed.
- There is a towing point under the doors at the back of the boat.
- The driver steps down into the cabin. This is quite spacious and would be perfectly acceptable to be in with the back doors closed, saving the modeller some detail work inside if required.
All good stuff. I've posted some pictures on Flickr for anyone contemplating building the same boat. Thanks to the staff at the excellent London Canal Museum for helping out. Even if you don't want to build a Bantam, it's worth a visit.
Photos of the Bantam on Flickr.