Miss America X by Touchwood Models

by Peter Radcliffe © 2006 Modeler Site

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I first saw this model at Modelex 2002 and thought "WOW" and this boat really was the inspiration behind this our Marine issue. I must thank Stuart Delf of Touchwood models for providing the revue sample and also for his enthusiasm and response to my comments during the build.



The last of Garfield Arthur [Gar] Wood's legendary Miss Americas. Powered by 4 Packard V12 Engines tuned to give 1600hp each. Gar Wood and his faithful mechanic and crew chief Orlin Johnson took Miss America x to the Revier canal of the St. Clair River, Michigan and on 20th September 1932 raised the Water Speed Record to 124.91 mph.


Length Overall 38 feet Beam. 9'8"
Weight 8 tons
Engines 4 Packard 1M2500 60deg. V type 12 cylinder
Capacity  2490ci. HP 1600
Carburettors Holly Duplex down drought [16 in all]
Superchargers Roots type Pressure 7psi. [8 in all]
Fuel consumption  At full speed 480 gallons per hour fed from 4, 75-gallon tanks mounted forward.

The kit

This is the first 1:43rd scale kit from Touchwood previous kits being 1:12th scale. Stuart is still finding his way and there have been changes to the kit since it was first produced. The Main hull and deck are cast by CMA and are superb castings, which require almost no preparation before painting. Replicast casts the smaller resin parts in this kit and they do leave something to be desired as they suffer badly from blowholes and loss of definition. It is to be hoped that in the future CMA will cast all the resin parts as the very few problems I had with building this kit are almost certainly due to the poor quality of the resin castings. That said the resin parts are almost hidden in the depth of the hull but it was frustrating as I could see that the original patterns were obviously of a very high standard. The white metal parts are cast by Mach One models and are relatively problem free.


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The instruction are several sheets of clear written instructions with a history of the boat. I always enjoy a brief history of any model as for me it puts a little life into the subject as it comes together. The sound and vibration felt by driver and mechanic must have been awesome. I suspect it would not be allowed in today's health and safety politically correct environment! There is also a sheet showing a drawing of the construction of the engines and a sheet of drawings for positioning of parts in the hull.
There are 49 resin parts, 81 white metal parts, two lengths of brass rod, one length of brass tube and a length of shrinkable plastic tube. The kit is completed with a sheet of nice quality decals. With this number of parts great care must be taken in studying the instructions thoroughly and that I only managed to position one part, the drivers side padding, slightly to far forward is testimony to the quality of the instructions.


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Building the kit required I learnt a new skill, wood graining and the instructions printed below and a little practice end with a result that I was very happy with. A colour chip for the brown was provided but as I built the model over the New Year break I was unable to get some paint mixed. I found a darker brown and added a little yellow to my wood-graining pallet, which lightened the overall colour a little.

Wood grain effect

Spray all "wood" parts with Cellulose or Acrylic paint as pattern; polish as necessary to obtain a smooth finish. Place a small amount of Humbrol Red no.19, Tan no.9 and Brown no.10 on a pallet.

Have a container of enamel thinners nearby and with a suitable size brush mix a drop of each colour together and thin with thinners. Rub brush on kitchen roll until almost all paint is removed. Proceed to brush hull in straight strokes along length, add tiny amounts of paint changing the colours and adding thinners to obtain the effect of wood grain, as you proceed always go in one direction only. If you are not happy with the effect, rub it off with enamel thinners and try again. The secret of wood graining is patience and when the correct effect is achieved it is very satisfying. Always go in the direction of the planks, in the case of Miss America x along the hull sides parallel to the deck, across the transom inside and out and across the forward bulkhead, along the engine bearers lengthways and across ribs between bearers. All the interior of the hull is wood grained lengthways; deck is planked lengthways parallel to centre line.

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It is suggested using a slave engine mount to assemble the engines before they are fitted to the hull. Plastic electric conduit worked very well. I did manage to position the engines slightly to far forward which meant when I came to fit the deck it fouled the front carburettors.

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I had to remove a little from the underside of the deck to resolve this. The only other problem I experienced was that the shorter water pipes across the V of the engines did not respond well to bending the metal being a little brittle.


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One addition of my own was a piece of brass rod extending forward from the steering chain through the front bulkhead as in the kit there is no apparent connection of this chain to the forward rudder. I also added a "Rubbing Strake" along the joint of the hull and deck as this seemed to neaten this joint and they are present on most boats. It should probably be wood colour or aluminium.


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Even nicer is the boat models get a place on display in the lounge unlike the cars which are in the main banished to my studio!

The1:12th scale models available from Touchwood are


Bluebird K4 1939 Malcolm Cambell 19th August at Coniston raised the record to 141.74 mph.


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Bluebird K7 1967 Donald Cambell as it appeared at on the day of his fatal crash


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Bluebird K7 de 1967 Donald Cambell como era el día de su accidente fatal.


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K3 and K4 can be built as static models or can be motorised, the kits are a combination of GRP, resin and white metal parts.

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