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MP3 Sound clips from m/v G L FURR

Click on photos to download sound clip.

Horns Phone EMD engines Air Starter All Stop

The EMD engines clip was recorded while we were fighting heavy cross winds coming out of lock 52. Normal cruising speed is around 9 to 12 mph running 180 rpm on the shafts. At the time I recorded the engines we were running 210 on the shafts.

Operating Pitman Arms for Sternwheeler

Here is a mechanism I built to make my pitman arms push back and fourth as in the prototype. There has been many designs, from simple to complex, cheap to expensive, that has been scratch built by modelers, but in the end it gives the same result, a realistic operating sternwheeler.

Click on thumbnail to view larger picture.

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Paint Schemes

Listed below are the most common paint schemes used by towing companies today. Items marked with an (*) are sometimes painted in the company trim colors.

Hull black

Bulkheads white

Decks gray or red

Wheelhouse interior light green or paneled

Wheelhouse floor tiled, carpeted , or painted steel

Cabin floors carpeted

Galley, mess, head tiled, linoleum, or painted steel

Interior bulkheads paneled

Bitts, chocks, cavels * black with white or yellow trim

Tow knees * black

Exhaust stacks * black or white

Handrailing * black

Nameboards * black

Window frames * white or aluminum

Water connects blue

Lube oil connects gray

Fuel connects red

Electrical panels gray

Water hoses light gray or sand

Fire stations red

Most hazardous areas are marked with a yellow or white line. These include the tops and tips of bitts, chocks, buttons, cavels, stair steps, guard (edge of hull), manholes, booms, and radar swing area. Some doorways, hull openings, and winch areas are marked with either a black/white stripe or a black/yellow strip.


Make Removable "Cargo Loads" for Barges!

Like - Coal, Grain, Rock, Sand, Gravel & Scrap Iron!

Coal.gif (6690 bytes)This Photo & Drawing show - two ways to make Loads of Coal... for use in Hopper Barges. In the Drawing ( Top Diagram ), you can see how a piece of Foam Rubber - 1 Inch thick, has been cut to proper size, to spread out and raise up( Humped Up ), inside a Barges - Cargo Box, to appear like a real load - of something. Once fitted properly, remove it and then "Spray Paint" with Gloss Back" to make the foam - shine & sparkle - like Coal. NOTE .... Foam Rubber will deteriorate after a period of time, if its not kept clean!

In the same above Drawing ( Two Bottom - Diagrams ), you can see how a mixture of "Elmer's White Glue" and "Kitty Litter or Fine Sand" ... depending upon material load - Sizes. Can be mixed and poured over a Cardboard Mold. The mold and the interior "Cargo Box" area, must be covered with "Wax Paper" - prior to pouring the mixture over top of the cardboard - mold pattern. This insures the mixture won't harden and stick to the Cargo Box, and makes the molded form - removable. Once the mixture has dried for a day or so, pull the mold out, and remove the wax paper and cardboard, then clean the barges - Cargo Box. Your now - formed load or plug, once sanded & final shaped, is checked for fit and done, ready to be spray painted = Gloss Black to represent Coal. Or any color - Noting... This could also represent loads of White Rock & Stone = Rip Rap, if applied to a Flat Deck - Barge - for an example. This idea could also use a few shovel loads of common gravel, glued over the model, to look like - Huge Boulders too. Or Fertilizer loads for a hopper barge, if spray painted with proper colors to represent such materials, or for just about any type of cargo box - loads, as optional ideas.


This is something - Special & Unusual a Load for Model Barges that's seldom seen in any model barge- tow .... a load of "Crushed Autos" or Scrap Iron. This idea can be made from Used - Tin or Aluminum Foil. The idea uses burnt or used "FOIL", left over from your latest BBQ's Cookouts. Just clean the grease off the foil, with soap & water to leave the wrinkled - foil and its burnt - crumpled effects. Then use scissors to cut and roll small portions of the foil, into scale size "Square Blocks", to represent Cubed or Crushed Automobile bodies. Spray paint or dab with thinned - brush paints, in different flat & gloss colors, to represent rusted parts. Allowing some of the foil to carry its shiny, yet dirty and burnt finish. The stuff really looks like crushed cars!

Making Canvas Tarps & Covers

Making Tarp Covers for equipment on boats, is also easy! A Large Cake pan is used, pouring in about a 1/2 Inch of warm water, mixed with a large amount of "Elmer's White" Glue.

Then several ordinary Kleenex Tissue's ( About 3 - Layered together ), are dragged through the mixture, to soak the water & glue into them. Lift out and let excess mixture - drip away, then gently apply over the object ( A Life Boat - for example ), to be covered. Shape and trim the tarp - before it dries, with scissors, adding "Tie down" lines - if desired, by using a Needle & Black Nylon Thread. Once dry, paint the tarp with Flat Colors = Green, Brown or Blue or even White ..... That's It! "Oh Yeah, I almost forgot this, if the object to be covered by the Tarp, is partly exposed to show its details, this idea looks even more Realistic!

Home bashing

Here's some tips for making things out of other items

#1 ... Window Screens ... Try cutting up a pair of the wife's "Old Used Panty Hose" to make this item When stretched over a Wire Coat Hanger - as a Frame, you can spray paint the stuff with Chrome, Gray or Silver. Let it dry and this stuff, will stay - stretched, so you can cut it. like a flat sheet of very fine scale - WINDOW SCREEN. Also great for making Aluminum Screen Doors and Fine - Deck Grating & Grill Work!

#2 ... Emergency - Parts Clamp ... Why not use Old Wooden or Plastic - Spring Loaded "Cloths Pins!" The Wooden versions, can be have each arm reversed in position, to the spring, making a wider spreading - Clamp! And so do those spring loaded - wide faced "Paper Clamps" work for this too!

#3 ... Plastic Eggs Panty Hose Containers ... Make great parts for making Radar Systems, or other details like a - Sink for example, in a fully detailed model interior. Craft Stores offer a wide assortment of these things, in all sorts of shapes & sizes.

#4 ... Plastic ... Bacon & Meat - Pads ... Yeah, that little square plastic pad the meat man puts under the sausage & bacon, with one side - smooth, the other side - Rough. Makes great material to make a Rug, deck - pads, and also looks like a walk-way "Ice Sand Strip" if cut to shape. Painted in whatever colors you need, the stuff usually gets thrown out in the garbage - Right .... Well Quit That & Save the dang stuff!

#5 ... Various Sizes of Insulated - Solid Wire ... Makes great scale" Water Hose & Steel Pipe" for a model that needs guttering - for example, among other uses.

#6 ... Plastic Model - Kit ... Sprue ... Yep, the frame that a kits - many parts are all molded together upon. Is great stuff to use as Water Pipes, easily bent or shaped with a small candle or cigarette lighter, into all sorts of shapes and all sorts of things. If heated and stretched to its limit, this stuff can be pulled, into the shape of a VHF Marine ( Fake Version ) Radio Antenna!

#7 ... Plastic Model - Leftover Parts ... Steering wheels, Scale tools, Fuel Tanks, Fire Extinguishers, Exhaust pipe, Batteries, Pumps & Other Parts - Work Great. Even modified a diesel engine from a truck kit, for example, easily makes a Generator - Power Plant. There's hundreds of uses for those extra parts - left over from a model kit, limitless ideas. So use those extra parts from model cars / trucks / ships & airplanes and put them to good use.

#8 ... Throw- Away Cigarette Lighters ... These make great parts for all sorts of things, like the Thumb Roller - itself. It can be used as a "Winch Drum" with a few wraps of black nylon thread added, it looks like the cable & drum on a Deck Winch .... Great for 1/48 scale Models. And the Lighter - Itself, if all the butane is removed - carefully, can then be cut and shaped into small Exhaust Stacks for Generator Systems on a Boat, or made into a Lifeboat - Fuel Storage Tank!

#9 ... Bayer Aspirin - Small Plastic Boxes ... Make great "Sliding Hatch" Covers for some scales, like you find on a sailboat - for example!

#10 ... Life Rings ... Craft Stores carry assorted "Plastic Rings" and some work great as Life Rings on model boats. Just use Trim Tape in "Red, Orange, Or Yellow colors, to make the rings around it and add a bit of thread for the throw - line. And by the way guys, in some scales, a simple thing like those "Candy Life Savers" you like sucking - On, painted to seal them, can also make great - Life Rings.

#11 ... Rivets ... Depending on scale needed, you can use "Drops of CA Glue" dabbed into place, using a pin or needle. Or just use the Pin - Itself, drilling tiny holes for them, to represent steel plates held by Rivets!

#12 ... Door Knobs ... Plastic Bead Topped - Pins, with a small amount of sanding to shape their plastic heads. Make great door knobs or cabinet knobs for some scale boats. They can also be shaped and made into Throttle Controls for a detailed Helm, depending on scale required and the size of pins used, of course!

#13 ... Door & Window Frames ... Can be made from Plastic & Wood - as the rule, but why not try - Thin Brass Sheets? It can be cut easily and makes a smooth material - that stands out, as Doors & Window Frames. Or can be used to build other items too. Try very thin plastic or brass - sheets, available in hobby and arts & craft stores.

#14 ... Ladders or Mast - Hand Rails ... Can be made from Paper Clips and Staples out of a Staple gun, if cut and shaped properly, to look like scale "Steel Rod - Steps", going up a Mast or Side Structure!

#15 ... Plastic Playing Cards ... Cut to size or shapes - required, can be used to actually make thin looking "Hull Plating" on a model, or its Structures. It looks like a Patch Plate also, if its painted to look like one, made over a damaged area, as if a shipyard has made a quick repair job. And add a few pin heads, to look like rivets, if needed for an older hull to look right!

#16 ... Wood Paneling ... Why not try "Contact Shelf paper" that comes in varied styles of Wood & Grain Patterns. Its easily purchased from local hardware or Dime stores, and makes great - wall paneling, for a model boat. Or can be used to make a "Dash Board" for instrument panel on a Helm too. Placed over a plywood or plastic bulkhead, and looks very realistic! ... Also great for covering scale wooden furniture, in models too!

#17 ... Tar Roofing ... Glue masking tape to the roof area then paint flat black.