Sir Winston Churchill 
by Jim Baumann 

1/350 Sir Winston Churchill (Imai /scratch)

Sir Winston Churchill was built  for the  British    Sail Training  Association  ( S.T.A. )

She was designed as  a three-masted topsail schooner with two square sails on yards,, two gaff rigged mainsails sails  and a large Bermudan rigged  mizzen, along with staysails, topsails and flying jibs

The idea behind  this seemingly oddly  jumbled style of rig was that sail training students  could gain  experience in handling every type  of sail commonly seen on sailing ships of the 20 th Century

The 135 ft long steel hulled  vessel was built by Richard Dunston of Hessel on the River Humber in 1965/66

In 1968 a sister ship, the Malcolm Miller was launched.

Sir Winston Churchill differed from Malcolm Miller mainly in having rounded top cabin door midships, whereas those of the Malcolm Miller were square topped. The Sir Winston Churchill was also  somewhat lower in the water  at the stern. When she was being built, the poured concrete ballast had run aft ...  more than intended ...(!) This was never corrected and therefore this difference in trim can be clearly seen in most photographs of the two ships together.

She served together with the Mallcom Miller for over 34 years  as the primary Sail and adventure training  ships for the S.T.A. for both adults as well as youngsters.

In 1976, the vessel took part in a transatlantic Tall ships race to celebrate the Bicentenary of the United States Declaration of Independence.

The vessel was sold by the Sail Training Trust in 2000, but continued operating as a sail-training ship, albeit with reduced capacity owned by an Isle of Man based company.

In 2007 she underwent a major refit, and she now again in commission as a luxurious private Yacht under Greek flag, cruising the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas under charter .

The over  40 year old Imai kit  is pretty good in hull outline , but aside from the hull and deck insert  virtually everything else was discarded and fabricated  from scratch. Being a fairly 'modern' sailing ship, finding information of the ship   would seem to have been straightforward, but I found it not to be a simple as anticipated.

There are numerous small resolution images of the ship all over the internet mostly views from a distance with unhelpful graininess and a  lack of pixels, many of which were only useful in seeing the  rig outlines.

The candid photos posted in various threads on the 'net by  people who had actually sailed on the vessel in her sail training  days  often gave  good views of much of the deck detail. However the  most useful source of reasonable resolution  images was found by making screen-shot stills from old Pathe News  cine-reels found on You-tube

Along with the  1/100 plan sheets,   courtesy of David Carter . numerous views of various models in often larger scales,  almost all of which conflicted  in many ways with photos of the real thing!

The  detailed step-by-step summary in the thread  of the build can be found   right here in the forum at

The masts  on  the real ship were made of anodised aluminium in one piece, on the model they were made of stainless steel welding rod spun  in a drill at speed  and filed to shape to make a fine taper and then left unpainted .

The square section wooden spars of the real ship  were made of strips of coarse thick old  00 gauge Model Railway locomotive Coupling rods

The  sails were cut of  fine-grained paper,with the  panel lines drawn on carefully  with a pencil--particular care being taken to ensure the diagonal seams and verticals of  the mitre cut seams would line up correctly on both sides.

They were then varnished to make them  moisture impervious The sails were then gently washed with thinned white watercolour paint  to soften the appearance.

Thereafter they were rolled and shaped to induce the 'twist in the gaff, mizzen  and headsails; with particular attention paid to ensure  the leeches would all be parallel.

The model was set on her sea using my usual  watercolour paper over wooden  cocktail-sticks  described here in the forum at

Rigging this  was a bit different for the first  time ever for me, a mixture of my usual preferred stretched sprue , made and applied as per description here. combined with some  ultra-fine 'Uschi' flexible thread used mainly for al the vertical halyards to pinrails.

In conclusion, taking in consideration the age of this venerable and quite rare  kit,  it was  a fair starting point to make  a model of this much-loved  piece of 20 th Century British sailing ship history Whilst in retrospect I can see areas where I would have could have made it finer still--I am satisfied with the end result!

Jim Baumann

Gallery updated 2/21/2018