During the seventies I had made a model of the Mi Amigo, but as with a lot of things in this life, upon moving house the model was left in the attic and lost for ever.

However the urge for building another model of a radio ship started in October 1992. I was on board the Dover to Calais ferry and a friend was looking over the side of the boat. I asked him what he was doing, and he replied that the Caroline Ship Ross Revenge was in the dock down the road and he was trying to see it. Unfortunately we could not see the ship from the ferry. However my appetite for offshore radio was wetted yet again, and the following weekend Robert bought round a pile of offshore echoes and other magazines he had collected over the years, I studied the photographs of the Ross and decided to make a model. I spent the next few evenings making rough plans of what was required. I knew that I had a yachts hull in my shed which with a bit of work could be moulded to the rough shape of the Ross. Anyway I contacted Peter Moore and told him what I was going to do, and he sent me some drawings. I started work the hull was reshaped and then it was the job of building the superstructure. Being a carpenter by trade this was not much of a problem, but the one thing that I was not sure of was how to build the funnel. Anyway the answer came with a trip to the loo. I noticed a bottle of well known disinfectant, and noted that the shape was roughly the same as the funnel. I made it my intention to get hold of this bottle when it was empty. I managed to shape the funnel, but painting it was a problem. However after several attempts I managed to get a good finish. Next problem was the aerial, should I build the model based on the new twin towers or the 300 foot mast. The twin towers were less of a problem, but the 300 foot mast was certainly more impressive. I decided on the later, despite the problems of balancing the model with such an antenna system. The mast is four feet high and the whole thing is made out of welding rod. Then I installed the tape players and the amplified speakers to play the   "programs"  These were installed in the hull of the boat along with the radio control unit, electric motor and its battery. We tested these out in the lounge and all seemed to be ok .I then took the model to the bathroom and tested it for balancing in the bath. All seemed to be ok, so it was off to the local boating lake. At this time the boat was not properly painted and on a cold and wet Sunday afternoon we gave the model her maiden voyage. Despite the unfinished nature of the model, she attracted quite a bit of attention from people going by. I then contacted John Knight of Caroline Sales, who sent me some photographs of the Ross Revenges paint scheme. Peter Moore informed me that the Colour was Signal Red and this enabled me to paint the model to the correct Colour scheme. John also answered my various queries on the fixtures and fittings on the Ross. Throughout the next month the model was painted, hatches etc were painted in. Anchor chains ,crew members and other fixtures and fittings obtained from the local model shop. The studio in the bridge was fitted out with model deejays and turntables to add feel of the model. I contacted the local press about my model, and to my surprise they sent a reporter round and this led to a half page report in both the Eastern Evening News and Eastern Daily Press. Much interest was now generated in my model and I received invitations to display her. It has been displayed at many locations, such as the Caroline Birthday Party, Christmas Party, Sheringham Carnival Week and the Royal Norfolk Show where 200,000 people pass through the gates in two days. Wherever she goes she commands a lot of attention, and memories of the offshore days are talked about. Keith Skues mentioned my model in his book Pop Went The Pirates. My one ambition is to take my model, and be photographed with it on the real Ross Revenge.

Melvyn Johnson,   

adapted from his book" Nostalgia Of The Pirate Boat Years"(1996)

 

 

 

 

 

Melvyn Beside The Ross Revenge In Southend

 

 

 

Picture Left is   Melvyn's second model radio ship  the sixties offshore station Radio London's ship Galaxy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  This is a part of Melvyn's workshop. You can see his model of Caroline North Ship, Fredericia.This was converted from a model of a hospital ship. The Ross Revenge is from an old Airfix kit of a North Sea Trawler, unfortunately now out of production. In front a plastic kit made into Veronica's Nordeney.

    

Melvyn displaying his Ross Revenge model at Radio Caroline Classic Car Show Mersea Island 12th June  1994.