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Introducing the new Topless Vac-U-Tow. If you want to build you own structures on a pre-made hull here's your chance. Check out more info on the Topless Vac-U-Tow at


Kits can be bought from Vac-U-Boat http://www.vac-u-boat.com/KitsParts.htm

Vac-U-Boat's tow knees and the stacks can be used when building a boat .


Building a modern towboat with kit 202

(Click on thumbnail to view larger image)


The material I will be building with is 1/8" x 4" basswood for the decks and 1/16" acrylic plastic for the cabins.

The build process is the technique that I'm used to using. Many modelers have different ways they find easier and prefer

different materials. This build is just a guide to help the novice scratch-builder get an idea of where to start. The kit comes

with step by step instructions on installing running gear. Hope your project is fun and have you building for many years to come.



DSC00001.JPG (71396 bytes) Here's what comes with the topless kit. Not shown is stack, tow knees, and rubber deck seal strip.

I have already installed the rudders, shafts, and servo. It comes with instructions on how to install the running gear.


DSC00006.JPG (45545 bytes) The first thing was to cut the main cabin sides and mask the windows. Paint the inside black to black out the windows. Image shows masking and marking the windows then top part shows removing masking and leaving windows masked.


DSC00052.JPG (93730 bytes) Here is a way to curve the corners. I used Plastruct HP 12 half round profile tubing. It's 1/2" wide. After cutting the length for the height of the cabin, split the tubing in half and glue on each corner as in photo. you need to shorten the front wall by one scale foot to allow the corners to equal the right width.


DSC00051.JPG (108956 bytes) Here's a top view showing how it makes round corners. I glue everything together with CA glue and then reinforce the corners with epoxy.



DSC00049.JPG (91899 bytes) Here's another corner rounding technique using Plastruct MRQ-125 3.2mm quarter round.



For more info on constructing cabins go to construction page



DSC00047.JPG (118797 bytes) Using basswood cut out the decks for second deck, third deck, riser for pilot house and roof. Next mark your cabins at their location on the deck and cut out the inside to save weight. Next step was to glue the upper cabin onto the second deck and the pilot house onto the third deck. For gluing basswood I prefer Titebond weatherproof wood glue and for gluing the plastic cabin to basswood I have good results with regular Testor's plastic cement.



Here's how it all looks stacked on top of each other. For door frames I used Evergreen H-O scale 4" x 4"styrene strips. You have two options on mounting the main structure. I chose to glue it to the bottom of the 2nd deck. If you worry about large waves you can glue the main cabin to the main deck to make it wave tight and make 2nd deck removable. Notice the small holes in the doors. I'll be using the heads of straight pins as door knobs.


DSC00073.jpg (41717 bytes)To add more realism to the hull, we need engine coolers. Skin coolers are the simplest to make. They are just half round pipes welded onto the hull. I used Plastruct 90171 (3/16" half round). I cut the ends at 45 degree angle and cut in scale 40' lengths. I then sealed the ends with a piece of plastic sign stock.



DSC00076.jpg (81645 bytes)To mark off the hull, take a scale model railroad rule and hold to the upper lip of the hull and mark a line. Next make two more line a scale 1 1/2' above and below that line. Here is where we'll locate three cooler lines on both sides of the hull. Glue the top edge of the cooler line to the line on the hull. Be sure to mark a vertical line on the hull for the starting point of each cooler line.




DSC00078.jpg (33993 bytes)Here's what it looks like with three cooler lines on the hull. Be sure to do the same on the other side.



DSC00087.jpg (51697 bytes)Here's what the coolers look like once the hull is painted.



DSC00083.jpg (81313 bytes)Here's what I do with all towboats. I put skids on the bottom to prevent wear on the hull when moving model on table.




DSC00089.jpg (61070 bytes)Before installing deck, install strips of

bass wood to give the cavils something

to secure to.


I epoxied the cavils to the deck and then ran

straight pins at an angle through holes drilled

into each cavil. That gives it more strength

and allows a line to be attached.



DSC00093.jpg (107720 bytes) Here's a simple winch with making a square box and dowel rod for drum.


DSC00098.jpg (154116 bytes) Here's the layout of the roller chocks. Notice how the winch wire is run.


DSC00099.jpg (129237 bytes) Here's how I mounted my switches for receiver and main batteries.


DSC00100.jpg (94244 bytes)DSC00101.jpg (116159 bytes)I'm using a Proboat waterproof electronic speed control for both motors.

Use bullet connectors to make two "Y" connectors to connect both motors together.








More to come slowly, but surely.