The model boat program

The model boat programme

As ThrustSSC aerodynamicist Ron Ayers once said, the problem with record breaking vehicles is that they are both the prototype and the finished vehicle – which means that no matter how much research you do, when you’ve built the vehicle the only way to prove the design is to run it. If you’ve got it wrong it’ll be hugely expensive and even worse, potentially very dangerous.

But there is a way to test theories and collect data and it’s one that goes back to the very earliest days – use powered scale models. Just about every form of advanced vehicle design has been tested in model form – the larger the scale the better. To be really useful, the model must be a “true scale model” not just a representation by taking into account size, power, weight, materials and the actual test environment.

There are equations and rules to determine this, many of which can thankfully be discounted for our purposes. Railton and Vospers built a number of test models before the original K6 Crusader design was finalised so all we have to do is scale down that design.

Len Newton has done exactly that to magnificent effect. And for the follow up design which we have designated C2 for simplicity, we have the large scale wooden test model that remained largely unknown about until it came into Richard Noble’s possession. Is that Railton’s final design or just the start point? We have no real way of knowing until we build and test that model to run alongside the existing K6 Crusader.

So, although we will use an engine of identical power and consider how we might equalise weight if needed, the later model is of composite construction. This means that as we test, collect results and draw up conclusions, we can if necessary evolve that shape more easily in a way that Railton himself might have done.

Read more about …

the Crusader 1 model

the Crusader 2 model