Lifeboat Models

Model Lifeboats Built to Perform

The Severn Class Model LifeboatBuilt By Robert Smith

Project 1/12 FAB 3.


Or, to build a 1/12 scale model of a Severn class lifeboat.


Objective: to build a very strong and powerful model, with the same characteristics and ‘attitude’ as the full sized boat. Oh and just to complicate things it had to pass the RNLI self righting test, have fully functioning trim planes and a bow thruster worthy of the name.


As I have spent most of my working life as a professional boat builder, from tea boy to MD, it didn’t seem to be much of a problem. After all you don’t need overhead cranes and seven ton jacks to move a 58 inch boat around the workshop.


Deciphering the plans, making plugs, patterns, moulds and mouldings was quite straightforward. All work I had done many times, albeit on a much larger scale. Getting it to perform wasn’t going to be so easy.


 After several months’ tank tests and sea trials on two prototype boats the project came close to being scrapped. We had re-proped, re-motored, changed voltage, burnt out speed controllers, burnt out motors, over heated batteries and overheated me.


 Eventually on a cold dark evening in October, in 40 knots of wind under the sailing clubs flood lights, with a boat half full of water we managed to get the results we had been looking for. I think but for this it would have ended up just another wedding cake.


Now we had a boat worth completing, (you may have noticed ‘I’ has become ‘we’) because I have to include my very good friend John Owen, without who’s able assistance and encouragement the project would not have been the success that it is. “Thanks for driving the chase boat John”.


Acknowledgements also to; Mike Rogers, the RNLI, coxswain & crew Falmouth Lifeboat, Dudley Sailing Club and General Motors.

Robert Smith


Click on the pictures for the full gallary

Details of the development and building of  the boats

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The boat on the water

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Model Severn on its Mooring.

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Model Severn out in a Gale

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Video clips of the Bow thruster and audio from the sound system

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Performance testing or how fast are we going

This is a page about some speed testing we did

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Pictures from Performance testing

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The Model Severn Self-righting Demonstration

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The Model Severn Towing

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Commissions undertaken from a Basic Ready to run shell to a complete boat. Contact Robert for Details.