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28mm MoTM: Wandybrine Ferry

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28mm Model of the month for October is The Wandybrine Ferry


This model will be available from Oct 1st to Oct 31st 2017 - then it'll be "retired" and no longer for sale.

The 28mm scale Wandybrine ferry is a classic "cable ferry", seen around the world - and one of the simplest ways to make a reliable river crossing - especially over fast flowing or shallow water.

A rope would be strung between two docks, one on either bank and the boat would be pulled across by hauling on the rope.   This model is of a kind where the rope ran over guide wheels at either end to keep the boat pointed in the right direction and one or two turns of the rope would be made around a central pulley/crank arrangement.   So simply by cranking on the handle, the ferry could easily be pulled from one dock to the other.

The model is an unpainted kit - the ferry itself is 7" long and a little over 3" wide - the perfect size to accomodate a wagon and four horses in one trip.

There are two docks - one with a simple shelter where the ferryman can rest between trips.



We strongly recommend that you paint the parts before assembly - it's a LOT easier. For clarity, we show the assembly with the unpainted parts.

I used two shades of brown and dry-brushed darker brown stipes on the deck to simulate the mud from cart wheels - and then dry brushed the underside and the ends of the ramps with a greenish brown to look like rotting timbers.

Locate the hull, deck and handrails of the Ferry boat:

Glue the two hull sides into the slots in the deck - push them towards the centerline of the boat:

Next glue the handrail with the large blocks of wood into the outside of those same slots.  NOTE that this handrail has to go into the side of the deck that has six smaller holes in it:

Repeat the process with the opposite handrail:

Flip the boat over and glue the bow and stern plates in place:

Locate the remaining parts of the ferry boat:

Glue the three other pulley blocks into the six holes in the deck:

Take one of the short pins, a hex-bolt and one of the two large, plain wheels.  Place the wheel between the two mounting blocks, press the pin through the whole assembly and glue the hex bolt onto the protruding end of the pin:

Repeat on the other end of the boat.

Next, locate the crank wheel and glue the crank handle into the hole at the edge:

Take the remaining (long) pin and the two smallest wheels and the remaining hex nut - and assemble them as shown:

The ferry boat is now complete.

Next, we'll assemble the small dock - locate the parts as shown:

Glue the two handrails through the holes in the decking:

Glue the cable stay in position:

Glue two signboard posts into the holes on the opposite side:

Glue the signboard over the two posts (you may have to tape it in place while the glue sets):

Now locate the parts for the large dock:

Proceed as before - add the handrails, the cable stay and two sign posts:

Locate the parts of the ferryman's shelter:

Glue the two shelter supports into their holes:

Glue the shelter back wall between the posts and the handrail:

Glue the two TINY bench legs into the holes in the deck (the large pins go at the bottom):

Glue the bench-seat onto the legs:

Glue the roof onto the shelter:


You may want to get some "floral wire" - this comes wrapped with paper and looks PERFECT as rope in 28mm scale.  "Michaels" stores stock it with brown paper wrapping, so you don't have to paint it.

The idea (and I've seen pictures of a real one that does this) is that they tie a sturdy rope across the river from one dock to the other. It's slack enough that it lies on the river bottom when not in use. The ferry takes the rope over a large pulley at one end of the boat - then wraps it several times around the center pulley (which has a hand-crank) and then out, over a third pulley on the other end. To ferry someone across, you just crank the handle.  This pulls on the rope in the direction you want to go until the rope is tight - then you keep on cranking to start moving across the river - leaving slack rope behind you. The rope serves the dual purpose of providing propulsion AND preventing the ferry from being swept away by the current.  You don't even have to steer it - it just follows the rope.

The boat is extremely simple to operate - you just crank in the direction you want to go! By using smaller pulleys in the center, you can get as much "mechanical advantage" as you need. The ride may be kinda slow - but enormous weights can be transported by just some guy with big muscles.

Floral wire "rope":








Reader Forum: 28mm MoTM: Wandybrine Ferry

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From: Steve Baker  Date: 2017-10-25 06:47:02  

Yes - we shipped a bunch of ferry kits out mid-month.

Generally, if we get a lot of sales of a particular kit, we manufacture one batch of models in the middle of the month and another batch at the end...but if we don't sell many, then we might wait until the end of the month and do them all in one batch.

In the USA, they are usually delivered about 5 days after we ship...maybe 3 days if you happen to live in Texas.

If you're concerned, please email us at or - Renee will be able to look up your details and let you know for sure.

From: Thunder  Date: 2017-10-24 17:31:00  

Have these started shipping out yet?


From: Bob "Limbolance" Sweeney  Date: 2017-10-05 02:48:46  

Also, if hauling cargo - the deck cabin is not needed and would actually cost room better spent on cargo. I imagine the cargo is on deck, lashed and covered with canvas. With crew either sleeping on deck or on the cargo or on the bank or on a mudbank...
From: Bob "Limbolance" Sweeney  Date: 2017-10-05 02:43:13  

Pretty sure that for the TV Show, some “license” was made....and then some! But, since it is a Fantasy World we be gaming in - I’m thinking about buying a second model and making hauling cables for both sides of one boat and railings on both for the other. The first will remain a cable boat and the other will become the basis for my pole driven boat (though I intend to add a sail - who wouldn’t use free locomotion if possible) and some Half Orc polemen.
From: Steve Baker  Date: 2017-10-03 08:23:17  

Come to think of it...what do you suppose the hull of that boat is made of? Looks kinda smooth for a wooden boat. They couldn't possibly have formed metal boats that big back then. Maybe an early version of fibreglass made with tree sap and leaves?

From: Steve Baker  Date: 2017-10-03 08:12:19  

Dunno about you - but doesn't it look like the boat is going a LOT faster than the poles that are pushing it through the water?

(I'd say there is also a suspicion of a prop-wash coming out the back of the boat! :-)

From: Bob "Limbolance" Sweeney  Date: 2017-10-03 00:56:27  

I keep thinking of the TV Show Davy Crockett when he met Mike Fink, King of the River. The flat bottom boats that were hand piled up the Mississippi...

From: Bob "Limbolance" Sweeney  Date: 2017-10-03 00:21:03  

From: Steve Baker  Date: 2017-09-22 13:24:27  

Yes. More or less any flat-bottomed craft actually. With real cable ferries, they sometimes have outboard motors driving them - but certainly they're sometimes pushed across with a pole - just like a giant punt. Some that I've seen have the suspension cable tied up high on trees on either bank to allow other boats to go up and down stream. But then you can't propel them like this one. Ferries like this just rely on the ferryman lowering the rope to allow it to sink to the bottom of the river when the ferry isn't in use - and then other boats can go up and down easily. There seem to be as many designs as there are ferries! I even found a modern one in Denmark which has electric motors that you get into and swipe your credit card and it takes you across automatically!

From: Bob "Limbolance" Sweeney  Date: 2017-09-22 00:22:01  

I'm also thinking that without the wheels, it resembles a pole barge - but will be better able to tell when I get it... next week!