Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Clydeside-Flotilla preparing to launch

In an earlier post I mentioned how I was definitely going to buy some 1:2400 GHQ waterline models. Now I am definitely not going to… because I’m indecisive… and because I have come across an excellent small producer of metal 1:1200 scale models and model kits. This little shop is called Clydeside Flotilla. It is named after the famous Clydeside dockyards in the Glasgow area in Scotland. The River Clyde after which the dockyards were named maintained many ship manufacturing companies. Today there are only a couple left.

The Clydeside Flotilla shop only has a limited range at this point in time, however, the quality of the models produced appear exquisite. The owner has been undergoing a renovation programme for the models. He wishes to ensure that the quality of the models meets the standard expected today.

Masters (in various stages of development) - ABDA Fleet
Front to Back - Van Nes, Evertson, De Ruyter, Java, Exeter, Perth, Pope
Being from Australia I’m interested a lot in the ABDA (American, British, Dutch and Australian) command during WW2. This is a subject not covered much in Australian school history and certainly not well covered around the world. Therefore it tends to take a back seat. Clydside Flotilla presently have Bathurst Class corvettes available which as far as I’m aware is the only manufacturer of these 1:1200 models in the world.

I have had the pleasure of some communication with Bill Gilpin who runs Clydeside Flotilla and he has shown me a picture of some of his proposed masters for his ADBA fleet. These in-progress masters are shown below. I can only hope that Bill will be able to start manufacturing these kits soon. I’ve ordered some of his existing models, so I’m now committed to this scale.

Bill described the last couple of years challenges in an email which I reproduce in part below:
I spent the last 12 months sourcing a 3-D printing service to make the RP masters. I then discovered that the best quality, and most expensive, RP material, reacts badly with the silicon mould material used to cast the metal production masters, so I’ve been experimenting with various paints, coatings & separators to form a barrier between the two, without loss of detail. Each failure resulted in the loss of a very expensive RP master! Fingers, toes & eyes crossed, I think I’ve now solved that, and I’ll be putting that to the test with new moulds in the next couple of weeks. Meant time, a ”virtual” fleet is growing awaiting me sorting this out, and I think you’ll recognise some of them...

Bill provides the following explanation for why all this effort for Clydeside Flotilla's overall plan on his website:
Clydeside models were first produced in 1978, as simple, one-piece, wargame models and the range rapidly expanded to over 200 models, including WWI, WWII & modern warships, and 37 Clyde steamers. The early models were cheap and cheerful to produce, but the many undercuts resulted in short mould life and lots of (constant) extra work remaking new production moulds. This slowed down production of new models and hindered the process of advancing the quality of the models. It was decided to stop production of all the original models and reinvent the range in the form of more detailed, multi-piece kits, allowing scope for super-detailing and customising to any particular ship in a class, as, rarely were two sisters identical. At the same time, the models would continue to be robust enough for the rigours of war gaming.
The Clydeside Flotilla online shop can be found at this address: No time frame is presently available but progress is certainly being made. It is an exciting wait.