A live steam tugboat.....





go to.....





Something different.....I guess if you can build airplanes.....you can build boats?? well, we'll see!! Follow along with me in the building of this 36" model of the steam tugboat "Hercules" It is a 1/40 scale kit by Saito. I will choose a different color scheme than that shown above. This Saito live steam engine will go into the tug if room permits.....


         Saito 3-cylinder engine model T3DR


                      Saito boiler model B3

August15 2012.....

Here is the start of the hull.....The prop and rudder are in place and the servo and pushrod are installed. On the right I am experimenting with planking which will be on the deck surfaces. Strips of 1/32" ply are cut and glued to the sub-deck with contact cement. Colored wood filler is toweled into the gaps between the planks and into small drilled holes.

Here the planking is being applied to the sub-decking.

Two or three coats of varnish first then drill the small holes then fill the gaps with wood filler. Note the planks are stained slightly different shades of brown.



Planking on the rear (aft) deck is complete, the hatch cover is in place and the cabin superstructure is started.




The inner bullwark lining has been installed and the cabin structure is progressing. Planking on the upper deck is finished. The rear hatch and the center cabin work is in place. Railings and brass portholes are looking good. Now it's time for the small fittings.....






At this point I am concentrating on the installation of the steam engine.....I now find that the engine is too big for the boat!!    I have suspected this from the start.   Also, it seems it would be a shame to put that beautiful engine in a tugboat only to have it completely covered up by cabinwork......an open launch where the live steam engine can be seen working would be much more appropriate I think. So the decision has been made to put an electric outrunner in this tugboat and save the steam engine for something about 5 feet long and open on top.




So here is the motor I will use.....

Turnegy Aerodrive SK3 42-50
350 KV

I expect it will run on a three-cell litheum battery or perhaps a 12V gell-cell if I can use the weight.







  October 10. 2012.....

The motor along with the speed controller and receiver have now been installed and the drive shaft connected. The motor is running OK but no way of  knowing if there is enough power ??

Some more painting and small details added.

The hull has been painted green above the waterline and red oxide color below it.


Reversing of the outrunner motor is accomplished by  using a common2-pole switch and crossing the outer terminals as shown. The switch is transmitter operated by a servo.



November 1st. 2012.....

Finally finished.....only 2 1/2 months!!.....Now just need to float the thing in the bathtub to weight it down to the waterline and then, of course the maiden voyage. The masthead lighting system will light up from the transmitter and the smoke generator will produce real white smoke. I can stop and start the smoke at will.



January 2013

THE MAIDEN VOYAGE was generally very successfull. The boat floated on the waterline standing still but seemed to "plough" slightly in the water when running hard. I will remove a little ballast from the forward end to cure this. The motor / propellor  combination produces way more power than necessary.....I was not able to go more than half throttle. Either the propellor has too much pitch or the motor is too powerfull (probably a combination of both). I could replace the 5000mah three-cell lithium battery with a smaller two cell pack, I could replace the motor or I could purchase a lesser pitch prop. Instead of this I will reduce the full throttle end-point on my transmitter which will utilize only about half of the motor power and I will still have full stick throw. I need the battery weight and the big battery will give a very long run-time. Reverse steering is very sluggish but I am told that it is normal for this type of steering. The smoke generator is spectacular.....loads of billowy white smoke!! The mast lights go on with the smoke generator.