Virgin Atlantic Challenger II

The Great Challenge Continues

ST 06

Inspired by Mr Richard Branson

Inspired by Mr Richard Branson crossing the Atlantic in record time, we thought it would be nice to have a model of the Virgin Atlantic Challenger II.

We had started to call ourselves "Challengers in Model Power", in order to encompass all the other challenging models to come. The problem was how to afford to buy the hull that was on the market at the time. Yet even as we were thinking about it, Virgin Ltd decided to take it off the market due to lack of interest, as the hull was nearly £130.00 to buy. Peter and I were stumped yet again, and we had come to expect that the odds were against us!

However, we soldiered on with the project. We had already written to the firm that originally produced the hull for Virgin Ltd, explaining to them who we were and that we were in the process of writing a book about our models. We needed to have a model hull of Virgin Atlantic Challenger II so that we could finish the book.
The company director enquired if we could prove who we were, so we suggested to him that we should bring down our photographs and the model of Virgin Atlantic Challenger I, which we duly did. When we arrived he was in his workshop. We introduced ourselves to him and then we showed him our model. He said that he would have a word with Virgins Ltd and promised to contact us with in a week.

First Mould

This he did and said that we could borrow the FIRST MOULD so we could make two hulls from this, one for Peter and one for me. We had a local model engineer, to make us the hulls, which he did in due course. Then we returned the moulds to Virgins Ltd, London.
Peter was going to use his hull for general racing and I was going to use mine for a long distance record attempt.
This attempt would be called "THE GREAT CHALLENGE" and we were to use my boat for it.

OS46 engines

Peter and I had a long discussion about all sorts of engines, and decided to buy 2 x OS46 ABC engines, as we felt that these would most likely last longer and be able to give greater speeds.


The hull was 53 inches in length, at 3/4" per foot scale. As to the remark we made about Virgin Atlantic Challenger I, “if its not made of wood, it`s not a boat!”, we had to go with the flow on this occasion. As usual, there were no plans for this model, so we had to result to using the official magazine and some films and photos that we had.

Build 01

Sliding roof & windows

Cabin top with the H plastic channel (sorry for the picture and the state of the top)

Cabin sides & panels

The red side panels were difficult to make as they had to have red painted on to them but it was easily scratched, so we decided to spray the paint on to the inside of the Perspex side panels. This was a difficult job as we had to put on a few layers and then leave them for a few days to dry. Then we were going to araldite the finished side panel on to the side of the cabin. The paint was on the underside, so it looked much more genuine and wouldn’t scratch.

Aft part of the cabin roof ladder I know its a poor picture, but I have no other

The flying bridge and the aerial, the picture was taken when I had just re-silver soldered the aerials on again

Ventilation & Buoyancy foam

I made a ventilation shaft immediately behind the aft cabin under the flying bridge, I had taken an old transistor radio apart for odds and ends and I used part of the front grill as a vent front and glued it in to the hole that I had cut out.
On the inside I used a piece of thin marine ply rolled to a shape of a tube, I also cut out a section to the shape of the grill that I already glued in.
This would allow warm air out as it was over the engine bay. We had to make the interior of the cabin completely separate as we were to fill the remainder with buoyancy foam as we did not want to lose the cabin.
To stop the cabin from popping off the hull I installed a tongue shaped piece of aluminium as this would clip under the forward deck skin. This I glued onto the underside of the cabin skin. To make sure of good contact I drilled a few holes through the aluminium and then scored the GRP with a very sharp knife as this would help you to glue it well.

Build 02

Photo showing the aft section of Vac II