Before I start let me say I’m a complete beginner with model boats, I have been building and flying planes and helis for a while. So what got me into this boat lark?
I have a toddler (~3years old) who we quite often take to the children’s play area in a local park; Broomfield Park here in London. On the way to the kids area there is a fairly well attended model boat club using what I believe to be a purpose built boating lake which dates from many years ago. He loves watching the little boats on the pond, seemingly more interested in them than my noisy planes! One day my wife suggested I build him a little boat, well how could I refuse!
I’m a great fan of vintage model aircraft, and while flipping through a ’70s vintage Keil Kraft catalogue I found a selection of boats from the Aerokit range, a bit of googling later lead me to the Vintage Model Boat Company who are producing laser cut kits of some of this range. Not being one to think things through completely before diving in! I soon found myself in possession of a Sea Nymph kit 🙂
So this is how I got here, the rough plan is to try and use a 7.2v buggy NiMH pack and a receiver out of a car I no longer use. The kit came with a 385 (I think?) motor and I have a spare 9g mini servo. So I’ll need a rudder, prop shaft, prop and ESC.
Being mostly a thing for my kid to play with I dont intend to go to town on detailing. Simple but nicely done is sort of what I’m aiming for!
Progress started off pretty quick, the laser cutting is very nice and before long you end up with the basic structure assembled.
I’ve only taken the odd picture while going along, but you’ll get the idea.
First up is the keel, you can see the front and rear formers have been attached in this shot, as has the breasthook.
Now this may look like some crazy goings on but trust me, it is all square. I’ve no real building area at home so I have to improvise. The window sill is at a slant, but the two cabin sides are perpendicular to the former and it is all clamped up so it stayed that way!
This is where I’m at right now, main structure built. I’m currently fiddling with the angled windows above the cabin roof which I’ve not yet satisfied myself I understand, more head scratching!
The rear cabin area is something which is troubling me at the moment. The floor originally was quite low, but I think I need to raise it sufficiently to hide my NiMH under it, I’m just worried that might be too high to look good. I’m also wondering where to put the rudder servo. I dont much want to raise the floor enough to have it under it, so I think maybe build a box at the back and decorate it as a seat.
I have managed to visit the local model shop where I bought a nice propshaft, prop, motor mount, UJ and a little ESC. The ESC is NiMH only, partly because I wanted to make use of some old NiMH cells, rather than my aircraft LiPos and partly because the model shop had nothing else in and I didnt fancy going elsewhere. So at some point in the future I’ll have to face up to getting a buggy pack in there. One thought I had was to split it into mini packs, but still wired the same way. Not thought much about that yet but it is a possibility.
As for tonights progress, I’ve all but completed the upper cabin area and the hatch. Everything needs shaping but it is all together. The one pain is there gap between the two upper windows, they were too short and I had no ply in, so I’ve left a gap and cut a wedge shape out of offcuts to fit in the gap, I’ll get that in tomorrow.
The biggest progress is the motor is now mounted. I had to lower the mount plate, cut some wedge shaped bearers and still had to shave a bit out of the plate because the motor was still sitting too low. It all feels solid though and the motor is a straight run to the prop shaft so I’m happy. The propshaft is still too long, I’ll get to that tomorrow.
So now I can’t avoid attending to the rudder. Gulp!
I had a bit of a think this afternoon, considering the options for the rudder servo. Initially I was going to try the closed-loop/pulley idea, but having had a root around in the spares box, found nothing suitable. So I plumped for the rudder at the back and some sort of seat to hide it option.
The rudder is in and the servo mounted on a couple of bearers, everything has been tested with the radio and seems fine.
The next thing was the power pack. I had pondered splitting a pack into two 3 cell packs, but decided against this because my son and I sometimes still put these packs back in the HotShot. I’ve come up with a solution though, having eased the middle former a little (about 1/4″) it fits without having to raise the cabin floor that much. It probably would look better lower but I’m happy with how it has gone together. I’ve also put little bearers around the outside of the hatch for it to rest on. Of course I am hoping that cutting a chunk out of the middle of that former wont weaken the boat too much! My thinking is that this boat was designed for a 1-1.5cc diesel which would cause a load more vibration and stress than my little leccy motor.
I managed to get a good few hours yesterday alone and in peace to make some progress.
On Saturday night I gave all of the internals of the boat a coat of resin (Z-Poxy Finishing Resin). Hopefully all the areas I wont be able to access later are now sealed.
Then I decided to tackle the hull sheeting, which I have to admit I was not looking forward too! I roughed out a couple of carboard templates which helped a lot and before long I had to the two lower sheets attached.
Above you can see the lower right sheeting clamped on and drying.
Closeup of the nose showing a pencil line where I rough cut it before sanding to shape.
Two lower sheets applied and sanded to shape.
Next up; the side sheeting. I think it will look best overlapping the decking rather than the other way so I got the breasthook and side decking attached first. That is where things are now, the final pics show it all attached but not trimmed to shape. I have now sanded it back to the stringers ready for the sheets. Hopefully I’ll get them attached today.
Hopefully I’ll get to the side sheeting today, then the major construction will be finished although I still need some seat/hatch type structure at the back to cover the rudder servo.
After a few busy evenings bending plywood and much sanding, construction is all but finished.I’ve given the entire boat two coats of resin (Z Poxy finishing ). I have yet to finish the rudder servo cover/rear seats but I figure given it will be a removable hatch it can be built later.
I have never used resin as a finishing technique and I have to say I was a bit nervous, but I needn’t have been. It went on really nicely; two thin coats applied with a brush and excess wiped off with a sponge. The last coat will need a little cutting back with some wet and dry before I paint it.
With the second coat dry I installed the radio gear which went in pretty easily because of the test fit before applying the side sheeting. Some thought will need to be given to securing the battery, current thinking is a Velcro strap attached to the keel.
After all that we were both as excited as each other to put her in the bath, I’m pleased to report all went well, happily going back and forth without sinking! The only water ingress appeared to be from the top of the rudder outer tube, although it was only very slight.
I managed to get her finished to the point of being water tight and having all the electronics installed before going on holiday, below you can see a little video of her on the pond at the Warminster Pleasure Gardens.