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Model Building

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From the Officer's Mess

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From the Admiral’s Desk

  • Model building is more than just a hobby

    Building model boats maybe a hobby for most people, but getting it right, from scratch, is more a science than a hobby. I recently started building a harbour for use at club sailing days. The idea was to have a “port like” enclosure of piers, where model boats can enter and moor. The original plan was to have a U-shaped array of jetties, floating on the water. But, as I got into it, it became more and more a work of art, as detail and more detail was added. And what would a harbour be without a crane or two? Working on a shoe string budget, and knowing I won’t find a scale model of a port crane in South Africa, I had to make do with what I had. And I found it in a Dickie Toy Construction Play set. Well, almost! It was a tower crane and not a port crane, but at least it had the lattice sections I could use. So I butchered it and made a few modifications. I didn’t want it yellow, as it looked too much like the typical construction cranes. But in the end, I decided to keep it “visible” to passers-by. I cut off the counterweight and removed the tower. The crow’s net was turned upside down to form the base, and it was then mounted on a square piece of wood(a coaster). And then it dawned on me… Where is the trucks to take the cargo from the ships? Luckily I had some die cast trucks and used these. As the West Pier of the harbour is at a 1:100 scale, everything on the pier has to be the same “size”. But the trucks looked a bit smallish. I also did not recognise the truck tractor and the package did not give me an indication either. So I took to Google, looking for all the popular truck makers, Kenworth, Peterbilt, OSHKOSH, DAF, ERF, MAN etc etc. And finally I found it. It was a Scania T-Series!! Right…now, just to get the length of the real truck and I could work out the scale of the die cast toy. Finding that information was a mission on its own. Wheelbase yes, Axle width yes, and anything else a sales person would fling at you to convince you it’s the best truck in the world. But no “bumper to bumper” length. “In the absence of facts; assume!” is what my grandfather always told me. “But always check your assumption to be as close as possible to the expected truth.” was my Dad’s corollary on that. And there you have it…by assuming the toy will not the legal maximum combination length of a 3 axle truck with a double axle semi-trailer is 13,5m, I measured it at 12cm. Further assuming the trailer to be slightly shorter than the maximum allowed, it worked out to be exactly 100 times smaller than the real truck. And the scale is 1:100 – Perfect! Building a model is not just looking at an instruction chart and gluing parts together. It does take a bit of science and creative flair to come up with a stunning model that people would WOW! And even if it’s just a harbour, without any real functions, it sure would be awesome to see it on the water when the time comes! Enjoy your models!

  • The CapeWest Promise

    Being the owner of a model RC boat places a lot of pride in one’s heart. The pain-staking detail and the amount of time put into it can never be rewarded enough. As the Cape’s best RC club we want to make you a promise. We promise that: We will never charge a membership fee for social sailing at public venues. We will never ask you to remove your boat from the water as another activity takes preference. The sea is full of ships. Every ship and small boat has the right to be there. That is why captains and skippers need to navigate the ocean. The idea of removing all power boats to allow sailing boats in the Atlantic Ocean is absurd. Why should you then be treated differently in a dam with model boats?  

  • CapeWest MBC terminates membership fees

    The national lockdown has given us all a beating of one kind or another. Some lost their jobs, their loved-ones and even their lives. It is with this great peril in mind that we have opted to cancel all membership fees moving forward. But that is not the only reason why we are the Cape’s only Free-to-join Radio Controlled Model Boat Club. It would have been nice to claim that we are the exclusive permit holders to a specific water body, but we all know that making such a claim is not only false but also unconstitutional. Public parks and dams are created for each and every citizen to enjoy; not just for an elected few. Why then should we charge a membership fee? The exception to this is however our Officer’s Mess. This is for the serious model boat enthusiast who likes to show their skill and detailed models and obviously their achievements. Joining the Officer’s Mess is R420 and your membership will remain valid for as long as you attend any of our Ranking Events. These events allow you to move up in the ranks of the club and eventually become part of the command structure. The longer it takes you do move up the ranks, the greater the chances of another person beating you to it. And the ranks get fewer as you move up. But, as the club also need to maintain the reputation of the model boating fraternity, it is inevitable that we will need funding of some sort to keep the sport alive. One expense that we need to cover is the monthly hosting and maintenance of our website and the digital membership card system. If you can afford it, even if you are not into model boats, feel free to join as a friend of the club. Your contribution will allow us to keep going for another two months.

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