Build Log: MV St. Roch - Billing Boats 605 1:72

Anchorman

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Feb 12, 2018
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Welcome to my build log for the St. Roch. I am working from the Billing Boats kit (#605) in 1:72 scale.
Designed and built for Arctic service and launched on May 7th of 1928 the St. Roch at 104 feet in length and with a beam of 27 feet was a strong vessel constructed with Douglass fir planking and an Australian ironbark outer hull. The rounded design allowed the ship to withstand the pressure of crushing ice. However, with a draft of 12 feet 9 inches, in heavy weather the ship was uncomfortable as it bucked and heaved considerably.
The ship, constructed as a Merchant Vessel, was schooner rigged with a 150hp diesel engine. It underwent significant modifications during its 22 years of operational duty with The Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The ship served to supply remote police detachments along the coast and serve as a floating detachment and patrol (dogsled) base when frozen in over winter.
From 1928-29, the ship completed three patrol and supply missions in the Canadian Arctic. In 1930, the ship began a 4-year patrol of the north and, from 1935 to 1937 served out of Cambridge Bay.
In 1940, before the ship left Vancouver, an upgrade saw the addition of an auxiliary engine for battery charging and a steel “shoe” for the bow to aid in ice breaking. On June 21st, the ship sailed to make the first west to east transit of the Northwest Passage. She arrived in Halifax on October 11 1942. In January 1944 the ship underwent a major retrofit in Dartmouth NS including upgrade of the main engine to 300hp, removal of the wheelhouse and extensive modification to the superstructure, removal and relocation of masts and rigging.
From July 23 1944 to October 16 1944 the ship made an east to west transit of the Northwest Passage becoming the first ship to sail the route in both directions. She completed the 7,300 miles in 86 days. In 1950 the ship left Vancouver for Halifax via the Panama Canal and became the first ship to circumnavigate North America.
In 1951, the ship was retired from duty and laid up in Halifax until installation in Vancouver in 1954 where she is now a National Historic Site and a permanent display.
If this summary has been of interest there is much more information available online. The full account of the ships exploits is truly remarkable as are the photographs taken during the voyages.
The Billing Boats kit shows the vessel in the post 1944 configuration however, I want to depict the ship as it was during the 1940 voyage. Using historic photographs and a plan of the contemporary schooner Idaho I have drawn a rough schematic that will serve as a scale reference for the build. The most noticeable differences are the bow shoe (not sure how I am going to build that yet), the main superstructure and the masts/rigging.
Opening the Billing Boats kit we find seven very well defined laser cut sheets of parts, planking, plastic parts including lifeboats, mast materials (no sail cloth), an assortment of very well made brass components, one sheet of plans (two sided) and, an instruction manual that contains literally five paragraphs of directions. The instructions should not be a problem as the plan drawings are highly detailed. Overall, the quality of the parts is excellent.

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Anchorman

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Here we go, The Billing Boats instructions say to build the keel and bulkheads in two parts and then join together after planking. I have never come across this before. Does anyone have input on this method? Over the next few days I will work on the keel and frames, the masts and a prototype of the wheelhouse, If it turns out well I will uses it, if not there will be another entry in the build log!
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I will get more pictures posted later today. One more shout out on the quality of the laser cutting, very nice.
 

Norway

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I see that Billingboats, still supplying some plastic parts, which you will probably replace, I will follow your log, good luck.
 

Uwek

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This can be really an interesting model - I will follow with big interest, especially to see what is possible with such a Billing boat kit :cool:
 

Anchorman

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Many thanks for the birthday greetings. Jim, I had a few more candles on my cake.
On with the log:
I have the masts, booms and gaffs shaped and have built some of the deck level equipment. As "Norway" mentioned there are some plastic parts that can be rebuilt in wood, I am doing this as some of the plastic parts do not match the plans anyway (main hold and cover - winch mounting.....).
As for the hull I have decided to abandon the instructions and get to a stage where I know what I am doing. I will join the two keel halves, mark the gunwale and plank up from the keel. The stern will need a bit of modification as the mast is being moved to the main deck. I am attaching 2 photographs showing the ship before the refit and some pictures of the hull so far. You will be able to see the amount of changes required by comparing the historic pictures with the image on the kit box.
I will be back with a better update soon



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Anchorman

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First, sorry I was away so long. Work did continue in the build so I will bring you up to date.
I found a plan for the US schooner Idaho which is the same size and style as the St. Roch and, built at about the same time. It looks very much like the St. Roch in its original configuration so I used it for the main deck and superstructure. The planking and painting went well as did the construction of the deck fittings.
Here are some photos:
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