Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The saving of Fireboat 94

Fireboat part builtA few years ago we were happily sailing on the model boat club lake one Sunday morning. A car pulled up and a man got out of it and came to chat. This happens quite often and usually it's just someone from the nearby holiday cottages who is curious to know what we are up to.

They weren't tourists though. It turned out that they were clearing a loft, had found a model boat and wanted to find a home for it. We were interested of course and out of the back of the car came the vessel in question.

A part built Aerokits RAF Fireboat. The big one - 46 inches long.

The work that had been carried out looked nice, although the model was pretty mucky thanks to it's long stay in the loft. Everyone like it, but no one wanted to take the project on. To be fair, this is a big model and not easy to accommodate in the average home. Also, while all the wooden bits were present, none of the fittings were. To get the thing on the water was going to cost money and take a fair bit of effort.The owner was happy to be shot of the boat, it probably freed up a big chunk of loft space, with the knowledge it had found a good home. Or at least he could image it had.

You are probably saying "Stick it on eBay". But that didn't seem fair. We'd been given the boat for free after all. Anyway, people don't really want half built Aerokits, they want upstarted ones in boxes or finished and ready to sail example for about 3 quid. Finally, it would be a hell of a thing to ship what with being fairly fragile and 4 feet long.

So, the boat went in to store again. Until one day when one of our club members, Tom, was showing off the 36 inch version of the kit he had built and explained that he was building the same prototype in lots of sizes, something to do with being given a small model as a kid and loving it. He was on the hunt for the biggest version now.

Knowing Tom would finish the model and do it justice, and not flog it, we immediately offered the boat in store. He was delighted and picked it up from the club stand at the model boat show at the end of last year. We sat it there to show exactly what a "loft find" model looks like. It attracted a lot of interest from people and I think even a couple of enquiries about selling it.

Anyway, fast forward a few months to last Sunday and we saw the boat again. This time finished and in all its glory. Tom has done a fantastic job - the model looks superb. Power comes from a pair of brushless motors, each developing one horsepower of thrust. On the top are a pair of working (squirt and rotate) fire monitors.

Fireboat 94

On the water, the boat is magnificent. Large Aerokits were intended to be powered by IC engines, electric motors of the day being heavy and feeble, but the modern motors really do the job. In fact for our smallish lake, they are too powerful. Still, all he needs to do is refrain from pushing the left stick all the way forward !

At the end of the day the model has been saved. OK, it's not a valuable old master of unique bit of literature, but someone started building it and now it's finished. They probably saved up for a long while to afford what wasn't a cheap kit. Why they stopped work and deposited it in the loft, we'll never know, but at least the boat is now on the water so the story has a happy ending.


Unknown said...

My dad had one of these boats in my grandads loft in about the same state and I'm planing on slowly rebuilding it to this kind of glory it's nice to see a boat simular as dont see these that often

Apple Tree said...

Lovely story. I so enjoy hearing about classic items which have been rescued, rebuilt and live again. Recycling of the best sort.

Mart said...

I am in the process of restoring my fire float can you please advise me the colours you have used on the superstructure and the deck?
Thanks Mart

Phil Parker said...

Sorry Mart - as I say in the blog post, I didn't build the model in the end so have no idea what the colours are.