Marten, Howes and Baylis Vigilant


The Vigilant of Marten, Howes and Baylis


The 'Vigilant' was built for the Commissioners of Customs in 1902 for a cost of 5,390. She was powered by a triple expansion engine steamed by a single scotch boiler and attained a speed of eleven knots. Her dimensions are 100 feet, (30.48 metres) between perpendiculars, 108 feet, (32.8 metres) overall, 16 foot, (4.88 metres), beam, 8 foot, (2.44 metres), draught. She was stationed at Gravesend and used for the control and clearance of ships bound for the Port of London. She was also used by the Commissioners for Customs to inspect their posts in ports around the coast. The 'Vigilant' has an interesting history. A Customs Officer recently 'found' her being used as a houseboat in a marsh on the south coast. The Customs Service formed a trust and purchased the vessel. H.M. Customs and Excise kindly provided us with Cox and Co.'s original general arrangement drawing, the mid-ship section, their tender and specification and several photographs. The hull lines were taken directly from her when she was hauled up onto the hard. The model is to 1/24 scale and represents her as she was when launched

Vigilant Vigilant Vigilant Vigilant Vigilant Vigilant

Built for the Commissioners of customs by Cox and Company of Falmouth.

Scale:1/2"= 1ft
Length: 54" (1372mm)
Beam: 8" (203mm)
Draught: 4" (102mm)
Weight:without propulsion unit etc 12lbs (5.5kg)
Displacement:24lbs (11kg)


Glass reinforced plastic hull with a stainless steel stem and keel locked into the moulding. Stainless steel stern post and propeller guard, cast bronze rudder, bronze propeller with stainless steel shaft, running in brass stern tube with bronze bearings. Pre-cut plywood building stand, deck, deck beams and stringers, chart house frame and saloon roof. Strip spruce in various sizes. Lime strip for the laid deck. Sheets 0.8mm pear for the construction of the hatches, chart house, engine room hatch and skylight and the saloon. A tool is provided to produce the panel beading. Pear in various sizes and sections is also provided. The two ships boats have moulded hulls and are provided with all parts to finish them, including oars, cast brass rowlocks, boat hook ends, gudgeons and pintles, and cast gratings. Several sheets of acid etched brass for both construction and fine detail. Nearly 400 cast or machined brass fittings. Parts to build a full set of working copper navigation lights and an anchor light. Lengths of brass rod, tube, angle and 'T' section. Cordage for rigging etc. There are 6 x AO sheets of drawings including two sheets of full size general arrangement drawings. 8 x A3 and 4 x A4 sheets of colour illustrations and an instruction manual. The model displaces 24 lbs., (10.8 kilos). The completed model from the kit weighs 12 lbs., (5.4 kilos). There is therefore 12 lbs., (5.4 kilos), of displacement for the propulsion unit, batteries radio, etc. The model is ideal for electric propulsion, this is not provided.