Well ordinarily I would not start a new model at this time of year.  In fact at one time I would not go into the shop for the whole summer, but these are different times.  Having finished the Mathew I had planned to start on a different kind of model.  Many years ago in Paris, I saw a model of Le Sphinx a French Corvette from 1830.  This was a sailing warship with side paddle wheels.  I spent years trying to find plans and finally sourced a set from a Maritime Museum in Italy.  60 years ago Vincenzo Lusci was a master model shipwright living in Florence.  His plans were used to make a model kit available in the 60s by Mantua.  I have a copy of Lusci’s handbook for model builders and on the cover was a copy of a model of Le Sphinx.

So I sent away for the drawings, paid 75 Euros and waited.  6 months later a package showed up which I quickly confirmed were plans for Le Sphinx.  Did not examine them but put them aside.

After finishing The Mathew and cleaning up the shop I took out the plans to check them out.  Found out I had been duped.  These are not the detailed Lusci plans but a copy of a 3 of the sheets from the Mantua kit showing basic assembly of pre made parts.  Furthermore not even a complete set.  Enough to get me started and I will have to work the details myself.  Fortunately there are photos of the model built in the 1930s available on line which I can refer to.

But I ran into an immediate problem.  The paddle wheels required 6 circular frames that original model builders would have made from small castings.  These would have been supplied as part of the kit.  As casting is not a skill set I have acquired.  I cannot make them out of wood because the scantlings are too small and when I tried wire with soldered joints, did not look good.  I did consider sending a drawing to Meagan to see if she could relearn how to do a 3 D drawing and 3 D printing which she at one time had access to at work, but not happening as she is homebound and even then the machine is no longer in use.

There are no end of specialty craft places that will do this so I contacted a one woman shop in Victoria and sent her the basic plan.  She originally wanted more money than I was prepared to put out but as she said I could then make hundreds of these wheels.  Anyway she seemed interested in the project and we agreed to a price I could manage.  She produced a 3 D drawing which I approved and printed off 10 of the wheels.  They are perfect.

I normally pride myself because I scratch build all the components in my models, but this was a good compromise.  Attached is the drawing I sent her and the completed wheels they are abou 8 cm in diameter.