The first 54 RCN Flowers were fitted for minesweeping, and it was the construction of this winch that determined that I would ultimately build an RCN corvette. As previously mentioned the kit was basically completed when I started to go back and accurize the various details. The ongoing battle was to determine which Flower to build. I wanted to do an RCN Flower, but I didn't feel like doing major modifications to the kit, so the decision was made to try and build a minesweeping winch, and if it turned out, I would then convert the kit.
I began by scanning and rescaling the drawings of the winch in AOTS: AGASSIZ, this gave me 1/72 templates to work from. The first actual construction was to construct the wooden platform upon which the winch was mounted. Once this was done I noticed that the entire thing would be covered by the metal baseplate, so wasn't really needed. An 'L' shaped base was then cut from .040 styrene. The four uprights were cut out, with the various openings roughed out. One of these was then completed, and used as a template to shape the other three. All of these were glued to the base.
The items I really wanted to build were the three large wheels with gears on their outside diameter. I started by drawing a circle on .040 styrene and marked the centre. A hole was added to the centre and the circle was roughly cut out using an exacto knife. The resulting disc was then chucked into my Dremel and sanded down to the necessary diameter. Two more discs were cut out and placed in the Dremel with the original piece and all three were sanded to the same size. The stiffening radials were added from .020 x .010 styrene, and a strip of .060 x.010 was run along the outside diameter. To represent the geared teeth on the outside I embossed some aluminum foil using the finest serrated edge of a medicine bottle I could find. This was then cut on a pane of glass using a steel edge and CAed to the outside of the wheel.
The three reels were done in basically similar fashion, but using .020 styrene for the main shape. Spacers were placed between them - two wide and one narrow. All six wheels and reels were then placed on an axle made from a section of sprue. It would be advisable to paint these items before attaching to the axle .. and definitely recommended that the wire be added to the reels at this point as well - you guessed it, I did both a lot later in the operation.
Below the main axle is a smaller one that engages the main wheels. The four small gears on this one were made by using a standard hole punch and .040 styrene. These had the aluminum foil gears added and then were glued to a length of the rod included in the kit.
The small axle then engages a final axle which is driven by two pistons. This axle was from yet more rod, with the pistons being represented by lengths of the stanchions. The piston cylinders were sprue with .010 wrapped around to increase their diameter. The pistons and cylinders were glued to the base and piping added to it as well as a handwheel from somewhere or other.
About now I made an error in wanting to see the thing glued together, therefore the main axle was glued in place and small plates added to cover each one where it joins the uprights. These were made by embossing thin styrene over a pin and then cutting each piece about 2-3mm from the bump in the centre. Wherever an axle comes in contact with an upright these were used.
The smaller set of gears was then placed between the pistons and larger gears, with care being taken to insure that all three were in contact where required.
The front of the winch has three rails with two movable guides for the actual minesweeping cables. These guides were made using guitar string. Not sure of the diameter, but I would guess it to be .017 as that is one of the sizes I use. The guides were made from small rectangles with two bent triangles glued on each edge. These were joined in the centre by a section of .020 x .020 styrene, leaving a gap below for the wire to pass through.
On the outside of the main axle are two drums used for warping other lines. After trying to find something I could use for these, I finally settled on some hardwood plugs used for filling holes in furniture. Using the Dremel I ground the outside to a curved shape and also recessed the outside edge. Styrene strips were added to the flats and a section of tubing placed at the very centre.
The item that gave me a lot of trouble deciding on what it looked like are the brakes for each wheel. None of the drawings clearly show exactly what it looked like, so I first just added an upright column with two 'L' shaped levers connecting to a rod at the top. This rod would tighten a band against what I now assume to be another set of drums. However I just added a vertical strip to connect the rod and the baseplate of the entire mount.
With the winch basically complete I just had to get ahead of myself and sprayed it with a coat of Testors Neutral Gray. In this state it sat for almost four months...... then the WEM Colourcoat paint arrived and I resprayed it with RN white. I would have weathered it using Rustal, however I plan this for radio control, so used Model Master Rust instead.
The 'wires' were black thread, and getting it on the reels was a real pain. I was able to loosen two of the reels and rotate them to wind the thread on them, but the third was done by threading a needle and passing it around, and around, and around the reel. Two things would have made this easier. One/ use a larger diameter inner spacer – there is no need for scale appearance when it is covered in thread. Two/ wrap the wire BEFORE gluing the axle in place.
To go along with the winch I also made new davits, floats and racks for the floats. I made my own drawings based on the AOTS ones and got to work.
Each float started life as the wing tank of a Hobbycraft 1/72 CF-100. The fins were removed and a 1cm section was cut from the middle of each tank. The two halves were then joined together and a lot of sanding faired it to shape. New fins were added from .010 styrene. I still have to add the flag, bridle and hook on top.
The rack was made from angled styrene. At the time I made them, I didn't have any actual angle shapes, so made my own by gluing .010 x .060 styrene together.
The davits were pretty straightforward, with the bases being provided by the kit Oerlikon mounts. These were extended by adding a 7mm spacer to the top and gluing styrene around it. The works then being sanded smooth. The hand gears were guitar strings. I also added small pins in the bottom of the davit to allow me to move them until I decide how I want them mounted.
For anyone building a model, or interested in Flowers, I have started a website with all of these articles and more collected in one spot. Give it a try.