Confederation Marine Modellers

New Year update from Garth - his tugboat model "Duna"

Click on pictures to enlarge

The vessel sold in the form of a model kit with the name "Duna" is based on a real tug currently named "Frederic Mistral" and based in Vienna, Austria. The "Frederic Mistral" was built in the Netherlands by Schippers & Van Dongen in 1914. She was originally named "Columbia" and was operated by the French company SFND, the Societe Francaise de Navigation Danubienne on the RIver Danube. It was used by the Emperor Franz Josef I for him to travel incognito.
In 1940 German agents raided and seized the "Mistral" and a sister vessel "Pascal". They were converted into minesweepers and operated by the Germans until 1944 when they were seized by the Russians who then transferred them to the partisan leader Tito. In 1946 they were returned to the French company who used them again as tugs in Rumania.
At some time, they were taken out of service. In 1998, Captain Franz Scheriau found them in Rumania and lauched a campaign for local witnesses who knew details of the vessel's history. THe condition of the vessels had deteriorated but, considering their age, the boats were in reasonable condition thanks to their having spent their lives in fresh water. Captain Scheriau had the "Frederic Mistral" towed to Austria and restored it, including returning its steam engine to service. 
THe vessel is 26.4 m(87 ft.) long,  5.4m(18 ft) beam and 1.8m(6 ft) draft. Maximum speed is 17 knots, bollard pull 37 tons, and her triple expansion steam engine horsepower 250. She was converted to burn oil fuel in 1985. The hull is steel except for the wheelhouse which is wood. A novel feature of the vessel was that the crew carried chickens in a cage suspended from the mast in front of the bridge. THere was also a pen on the deck aft of the towing hook where pigs were kept. 

Information taken from some printed pages, source unknown. More information can be found:,_1914)

Mike H's new tug

Smoke unit for "Ned Hanlan.

Roy's paddle tug "Forceful"

Forceful was the last paddle tug in active service with the Royal Navy (or any other Navy in the world). When decommissioned she marked the end of almost 150 years of paddle tug use in the Royal Navy. Strictly speaking, she was operated by the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service, part of the marine services organisation which provided non-combatant support services to the warships. Forceful was one of the unique Director-class paddle tugs which came into use from 1957 onwards.  They were designed specifically to handle aircraft carriers, their masts being designed to fold down so that they could easily get under the overhanging flight decks of the carriers. At that time the RN had 23 fleet carriers. It was felt that paddles with independent drive would give the tugs greater manoeuvrability alongside the carriers. These paddle tugs were very labour intensive boats, with a crew of 26 on the Forceful. ​

The model is mostly scratch-built on a GRP hull. The paddle drives are independent using belt drives, but the two paddles can be clutched together. Several decks are planked with basswood, but the basic structure is all styrene. The deck fittings are a mixture of scratch-built and purchased. The radio controls the sound system, the forward fire monitor, and the towhook release, as well as the paddle drive.

RC TUGS - paddle or screw, river or ocean

Peter reported on a smoke generator system Bill Morrison engineered and made for his 40” scratch built historic Toronto Harbour tug “Ned Hanlan”. He is pleased to report he recently completed the installation of the system in his model. The system is a water based nebulizer type electronic smoke generator that runs off the 12 volt 7.5 AH lead acid gel cell battery that powers the tug. It has a radio receiver-controlled electric on-off switch and manual adjustable smoke volume control. The system board and water tank sits on a plywood board fitted to the top of the battery with a copper stack that easily fits into the wider diameter model smoke stack. It draws about 5A so the large battery enables full operation of the tug and over an hour of continuous smoke (i.e. water vapour). It was a windy day when the test was done and the pics show good volume of smoke for such conditions. Bill has since completed other such systems for some of his boats and other modellers. 
Thanks again Bill for a great job! and your assistance.  

Mike’s new tugboat is the Dumas kit of the Shelley Foss. Mike had previously built a sail boat (37) and having seen tugboat models at the club wanted to build one himself.  He selected this because he liked the size and the overall look of this tug, together with the scale.
Mike will be the first to acknowledge that he relied on Bob I. as co-builder and instructor – most of the work was carried out in Bob’s garage when he lived in Niagara Falls. This build required a great deal of patience. It became very clear especially after finding out that many modellers started this kit and never finished it!!
The instructions were very poor and a great deal of modification was necessary. In particular, they had to stitch and glue the hull sides to the frame. After the hull was built, they returned to it some time later and found that it had warped and was out of shape. After they had soaked it in Windex, they clamped it down and then allowed to dry. This restored it to the required shape.
Mike was surprised at how much sanding was involved, even in a hull built from a kit. He says that this, and the fibreglassing, was the most challenging part of the build.
The ladders and railings were made out of brass rod and then painted. Brass rod was used for the railings because the originals were too bulky in appearance.  The mast was made from round brass tubing, wire and wood.  The funnel also is from brass, Mike didn’t like the one that came in the kit. The deck machinery was made from spare plastic parts to Mike’s own designs that suited the design of the tug.  Much of this due to the club's workshops. 
Canadian Tire Tremclad paints were used to finish it off, red and grey primer, and matt black.
He’s using a Hobby King 2.4GHz 4 channel radio, with a Horizon Hobby 60A waterproof ESC with full forward and reverse control. The battery is a 7.2 volt 800mAh NiMH, and the motor from Princess Auto.
Because Mike made the tug mostly in Bob’s workshop and he not only worked on the construction of the tug but also guided Mike in many other ways, Mike’s wife Carol suggested the tug should be called “Joint Effort”.
The model has only undergone bathtub trials so far, and it didn’t sink! Some additional ballast is required to complete it.
Mike says he’s extremely pleased with the final result and appearance of the tug – let’s hope it sails well!!


Click on pictures to enlarge