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Key lessons learned

Hull build

1. Fitting of the bottom hull ply. I missed the instruction to install the bottom ply sheet from the rear of the keel. I started at the front so as to get the pointed sheet aligned with the frame intersection and only later found that this pushed the side sheets back too far.  (This was in the instruction but I missed it.)

2. Stern sheet. I found that I had little ability to hold the curved rear/transom ply and so did not fit the to deck level stringer until I had fitted the ply. I then cut a custom fitting piece of balsa level with the deck.

3. Broken obeche 1/4” strip.  When fitting the stringers along the chine and top of the deck I had at least one of these 1/4” strips break. The main reason being that the grain was much lower (more like balsa) than those that didn’t break. The second reason being the sharp or large bend. Because there are no spares I had to joint this piece at the rear of the hull where there was no stress on the wood.

4. Position of propeller shaft. I initially drilled the shaft at the angle the keel had marked on it but even initially it was obvious that the shaft was coming out at too steep an angle. I continued to file it out at a shallower angle but am confused as to why the plan is out?

5. Stern walkway. I really thought I had done everything right when finalising the stern panel but when I trimmed the overhang on the deck sheet it became quite obvious that the depth of the scaled walkway seemed wrong and this left me pondering if I would build up the stern to increase the walkway?

6. Don’t believe the experts. I’m a novice, especially with this kit and yet I’ve got an over powered motor (Graupner 700) and a battery that nearly sinks the boat (7amp, 12 volt, dry cell). I’ve now upgraded to a 40 amp ESC that was wickedly expensive and have a boat that roars down the pond. It’s a fun speed but a smaller motor and battery combination would make more sense. I’ll get to the pond and try a new prop, battery, combination.

7. Viper ESC failure. I was sold a 25 amp ESC for the Graupner 700. This burned out when the transmitter was turned off before the receiver and the motor went wild. An in-line fuse rated at say 20 amp would have saved the ESC. TIP: fit an in line fuse rated below the ESC current. Find out what size ESC is required or pay £49 like me for a 40 amp ESC!

8. Motor size: A Graupner 700 is too powerful for scale speed, though I love speed, and it hammers the battery at fast speed. The ESC also gets really hot and strangely, has the same heat sink at 40 amp as a 10 amp ESC? Without looking into this, I’d say a Graupner 400 would be a good size. I’m also considering running the boat at 7.2 volts on lithium Ion 4300ma packs. I’ll try these at the weekend.

9. Planked deck finish: Having created a beautiful planked deck I was advised to coat it with bees wax. As I am a carpenter this sounded perfect but the water gets under the wax and creates a water mark. I am having to strip it all off and varnish it.

10. Quality of die cutting. Having glued the pair of seats together I noticed that the seat was not level. The 4 side pieces are on two sheets and clearly one of the pairs of side frames are not as accurate. You can match a pair of side frames to get the geometry of the seat right


Scale details: I really struggled to find a boat that I could take pictures of or photos on the web. Here’s some links that I finally found that are interesting.

Fairy owners club Includes the history of the Fairey Huntsman 31 and other models. See the gallery for loads of pictures - though few of deck arrangements.


Precedent Assembly Instructions (Scanned to read if you are thinking of buying the kit)

Fairy Huntsman front page,   Build instructions overview and hull assy,  Hull assembly continued,  Cabin assembly,  Component identifier 1,  Component identifier 2, Frame assembly sketches 1,  Frame Assembly sketches 2,  Frame assembly sketches 3,  Motor selection    

Anglia Models, Fairey Huntsman 31 Model Kit Build

How to build the Fairey Huntsman 31 Precedent model boat kit.

This blog helps modellers with the build that is not that well documented in the instructions accompanying the kit. I’m no expert and have made several mistakes during the build. Some are due to the poor instructions and some due to having not picked up modelling tools for 25 years. I hope it helps. Contact me if you have any questions.

Build a better model huntsman


Would you really buy the kit and then build it with new materials?

If I was to build the model again, based on my blog and experience this time, then I’d seek to build a better huntsman. I have had a number of emails from modellers and some have mentioned the poor quality of instructions and the accuracy of the cutters that pre cut the boat sections

1. Move the transom back - I hate the fact the rear deck goes into the rear cabin by 35mm. This is a nonsense. The rear walkway is correspondingly too narrow. The solution is to move the transom back, making the boat slightly longer but moving the rear bulkhead and transom back by around 10mm. This means hand crafting the change and having to cut new ply sides to the model - or extending the existing ones. Extending the transom and walkway will allow you to add railing if you wish.

2. Roof Overhang - I got this wrong due to the insufficient amount of material on the two roof halves. I would cut new roof sections from ply and add 3mm to the width.

3. Improve the accuracy of the stringers that run along the hull Many models have stringers running in different positions and I didn’t get this right. Look at the picture of the fibreglass hull and real boat pictures to see the right place for these ribs that run the length of the hull.

4. Study the cabin seats and build scale seats - seats wouldn’t have been made of a thin piece of timber, there would be cushions and padding. I’m still trying to do this, using balsa carved into the shape of seats.

5. Get the cabin hatches and sliding hatches in the right position because I used super glue I didn’t get a second chance to move them. Take great care with positioning and if necessary mark it up or tape a wooden jig in place to locate the hatch

6. Add a prop shaft filler - between the hull and shaft. This will help the boat from skipping across the water in a sharp turn and reduce vibration of the shaft.



Build Status: Completed

16th February 2010

I have now sold the model in Jul 2013. Here’s some detailed pictures.