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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.
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!!
Roy's paddle tug "Forceful"
RC TUGS - paddle or screw, river or ocean
Confederation Marine Modellers
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