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This is a 1:48 scale model of a CHANT (CHANnel Tanker), a very small gasoline/diesel fuel tanker built during WWII on an emergency basis.  It was constructed from 28 pre-fab sections built in small shops, which could be trucked over public roads and assembled in boat yards that could not normally build ocean-going ships.  It has an operating crane (video link attached at end of this posting).

CHANTS were small, just 148 feet long and displacing only 1000 tons, but they could operate in less than ten feet of water, which was the reason they were built.  Designed in anticipation of the Allied invasion of northern France, they were built during 1943 and 1944 all over eastern and southern England.  During the final year of the war, they delivered fuel to Allied armies by sailing into small coastal ports to supply fuel to Allied armies landed at D-day, and later far up rivers in northern France, Belgium, and Germany, as Allied forces moved inland.

After the war surplus CHANTS were bought by oil companies and used to distribute heating oil and diesel fuel to small towns along the European, Balkan and Mediterranean costs until pipeline system destroying during the war were rebuilt.  Eventually most CHANTs were converted into freighters and served for decades carrying general cargos along coastal trade routes.

My model is entirely scratch-built.  The hull was made from pine boards and the rest of the ship from Evergreen sheet and tubular styrene, or found parts (the smoke stake was once two prescription med bottles. I made this model by using diagrams and plans from British on-line WWII archives and photos of a surviving CHANT, still in service after 75 years, for sale on a Norwegian ship broker’s website.  It took only about a week and a half to build the model but about two and a half weeks to figure out how to make the operating crane and boom, build a proof-of-concept prototype, and then built the mechanism that is now inside the ship.  

My back story for why this ship in on my layout is that it was one of a group of ships bought by the ESSO oil company after the war and named after stinging inserts (ESSO WASP,ESSO HORNET, ESSO BEE), and then converted to a freighter in 1954.  It is based out of Port San Bettadaise on my layout, and usually seen the harbor along with other commercial and military ships that come and go, as here, where it is unloading pallets of cement bags.

Video Link:


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