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Thanks for the information. Following Doug’s lead I came up with an idea for a scale fluorescent light fixture to install on the pilot house ceiling. I have odds & ends in my spare parts boxes that I can use to make the fixture, complete with a reflector & transparent pebble-surface scale diffuser. Even though the fixture won’t be visible I still want to achieve nice, even light in the pilot house with minimal shadows. The fixture design is still on the mental drawing board at this point but I’m reasonably sure it’ll work in the tug’s pilot house. If it doesn’t, however, I’ll definitely look into your suggestion. Thanks for reading my post & for your helpful advice, too. Pete
Hello, Doug! I’m happy to report that my eyes are finally healed & I’m ready to get cracking on my tug’s LED lighting improvement project. Needless to say it’s so fantastic to be able to see again. The infection was so bad that I had to move around the house for weeks with at least one hand on the wall or I was in danger of falling or walking into the china cabinet. I lost what’s called “stereo vision” & had no depth perception. It was a nightmare to say the least, especially considering that the source of the infection remains unknown. But I just had a checkup at the ophthalmologist‘s office & I was given the happy news that all traces of the infection are completely gone. Hallelujah!🙏🏼👁👁 BTW, did you complete your tug’s mast LED lighting project? I recall that you had finished up the mast itself & had its LEDs working. Were you able to reinstall the mast in the pilot house roof & get everything back together without any problems? At one point you had mentioned possibly making a plug & socket arrangement for the mast so that it could be removed for safer transport to the lake. Were you able to follow through with that plan or was it just is easy to simply re-install the mast? finished for your dog? If so, how did it come out? I hope all is well with you & that your many projects are all turning out successfully.
Hi, Doug. I’ve been plugging away at some of the work that doesn’t call for really good eyesight, such as stripping off the “Richardson” name & repainting here & there. I still can’t see well enough to work on the microscopic circuit board modifications. The last of the parts that I ordered arrived last Thursday so everything is finally on hand. I hope the infection goes away for good soon & stays away. It’s really discouraging. Fingers crossed for better days. Pete
Hello: I have a Hobby Engine “premium” 2.4GHz “Richardson” tug. This boat is identical mechanically to the “Southampton” tug. I’ve read many posts on the forum having to do with replacing the factory-installed motor/gearbox unit with two separate motors mounted side by side. Personally I’m happy with the factory drive setup; it’s quite powerful & it runs smoothly. The reduction gearing is a bit noisy, but my boat is new & will likely quiet down with use. I have two requests for those who have removed the factory drive unit & replaced it with separate motors: 1. If you’ve still got your factory drive unit & have taken it apart out of curiosity, if possible will you please post photos of the internal parts? I’m interested in seeing what’s inside the housing & how the gearing is set up. 2. Along the same vein, I’d like to acquire a spare factory drive to have on hand, just in case. If you have a complete, working drive unit that you’d consider offering for sale, please send a PM to me & let me know what you would want for a price. Thanks very much. Pete
Hi, Doug. I’ve attached a zoomed-in photo of the “Anchor Enclosure” that’s built into the starboard bow bulwark of the Wyeforce. There’s an anchor in the box but I can’t tell for sure what kind it is. Maybe a navy-type with the fluke & bill pointed inward toward the deck? A better photo is needed to be sure, so I’ll keep looking. The enclosure itself would be simple to build & fit to the hull. I remember seeing a photo of the boat’s foredeck area that showed what may have been a hawse pipe running inboard from behind anchor enclosure & down through the deck, presumably to a winch belowdecks? Does that make sense? Pete
Hey, Doug. Thanks for the photo link; I grabbed them for my reference archive. The winch can be seen again in one view; I think I have plenty of information now to extract measurements & sketch a fair representation. Thanks again. Pete
Doug: I feel like a dunce for not noticing that anchor before. It sticks out like a sore thumb if you know where to look. That’s another thing that I’m surprised hobby engine didn’t add to the boat. I guess in the long run it was easier for moldmaking purposes to omit that particular detail. That’s another thing, however, that wouldn’t be all that hard to scratchbuild. All that’s needed is to cut an opening in the bulwark & build a sheet styrene box for the housing. It’s not exactly a high priority item, but I think it would go a long way toward adding realism. So far none of the photos of the Wyforce I’ve seen show what the anchor enclosure looks like on the inside of the bulwark. Then again maybe some of them did & I missed that, too. I assume there’s an anchor winch, possibly below deck near the chain locker. I expect there’s a “drop/raise” button inside the pilot house. I’ll browse for a photo of the anchor & post it if I succeed. Thanks
Hello, Doug: Out of curiosity, did you remove the molded-on plastic ladder rungs from inside of the mast to gain more space for wires? Seeing your finished mast has shown me that it’s best to keep the original nav light locations. Having all 6 lights on the main mast will make it look too cluttered. With all of the lights switched on it’ll look like a light saber is jutting out of the pilot house roof. Do you know if there are standards governing the horizontal spacing of navigation lights? There should be, otherwise I’d think the lights could tend to overlap & look like one big light, especially in fog. BTW, the cables you added to the mast antennas look great. The smooth curve of the cables & the weather boots at the antenna connections add a lot of realism. Well done!👍🏻 Speaking of details, do you know if tugboats carry anchors? If so, what type? As far as I know the US Coast Guard requires every powered vessel to have at least one anchor. I see no reason why tugboats would be exempt from this rule. I’m glad you mentioned using a Tamiya sanding sponge as a means of removing the factory-applied lettering. There’s a model railroad technique I’ve used successfully where an ordinary pencil eraser & window cleaner are used to remove lettering. I’m sure it would work on my boat but I might not live long enough to get it finished. Shortly after I got the boat I ordered a cloth American flag & scale Plimsoll markings from BECC. Sadly BECC has gone out of business. Another good supplier goes around the bowl & down the hole. Sad. Regarding the winch again, your comments tell me that I may have misled you into thinking that my boat has a winch. It doesn’t, but I did say I’m planning to scratchbuild one. In fact, I’m going to sketch one out right after I post this message. Thanks, Pete
Hey, Doug What you’ve done so far looks terrific. I noticed that you stayed with four lights on the mast itself. I take it you’ll also replace the two “dummy“ lights on the stub mast (behind the pilot house) with working ones? I considered the same thing but I like the look of all six lights on the “main” mast. Based on how things usually work out for me I’m still going to put a divider or barrier in the mast before I button it up. If there’s the slightest ghost of a chance of a short in the wiring it’ll happen to me. Five minutes’ work & a scrap of plastic will help me sleep better. Regarding the winch, it appears to be a very simple unit (see attached photos). The large bitt/towing hook unit in the photos hides some of the winch details, but it doesn’t look like a complicated unit to model. A few pieces of plastic sheet stock, some rounds & a few bits from the spares boxes is pretty much all it’ll take. I plan to attach the winch assembly to the Deckhouse; not to the deck. The base plate for the winch will need to be shaped to fit around the horn speaker grille holes in the deck but otherwise no problems. I already have a large roll of scale rope to wind around the drum. If anyone who reads this happens to have photos or a sketch of the winch in full view please post them if you’re willing. Thanks. Pete
Hi, Doug: I hope all is well. FYI, I’ve received all but one of my parts orders needed for the LED Mast Light project. The flat top LEDs arrived today & will be perfect for Nav lights. I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but a while ago I decided that instead of starting work right away it would be best to wait until everything I need for the project is on hand. While waiting for parts to arrive (& mysterious eye infections to clear up) I looked the boat’s Cabin & Pilot House over & made a list of details I want to add, changes or replace, not least of which is the conspicuous absence of a towing winch. Other things like adding a life raft canister, better looking life rings, fire extinguishers, etc. will come later, after completing the Mast LED Nav lights & wiring changes per your design. This brings me back around to a wiring question. Some time ago we discussed using a common ground bus inside the Mast & soldering each of the six “-“ leads to it rather than using six wires to do the same job. I plan to put a plastic divider piece up the middle of the Mast & run the six “+” LED wires on one side. The other side will have the bare ground bus onto which the “-“ leads of each LED will be soldered. The question is: what gauge should the bus be? I was thinking of using a length of brass rod but I don’t know what diameter to use. What do you think? Thanks, Pete
Doug: Why do we do it? So many kits, so little time. I just looked at my list...736 kits, not counting the last year’s worth of purchases. I’ve convinced myself that it’s a nest egg. My downstairs stash of 1:350 ships also has the Tamiya HMS Hood, Big E & USS Missouri. I’ve got the RMS Titanic, too & the RMS Lusitania as well. Subs of all types, a resin USS Long Beach & Bainbridge to compliment the Big E. Remember the famous “Nuclear Navy Trio” photo? I’ve attached a copy in case anyone hasn’t seen it. The 1:350 Normandie is an astounding resin cottage industry kit that I got at a very good discount but it still cost twice as much as my first car! I can send you the link to it if you like, but make sure you’re seated before you look at the price. BTW, I found sets of pre-cut, self-adhesive wood decks for the Titanic & Hood, too, I believe, & a few others, but I can’t remember which ones. They really make a model pop, for sure, but I’d be inclined to use contact cement or something so they don’t “pop” off the model. If you’re interested I can send info about those to you, too. Pete
Doug: The glass paint is indeed a great idea. It’s an idea that I’ll consider seriously whenever a situation arises that’ll make using colored LEDs impractical, such as on my 1:350 SS Normandie kit, maybe? Finding the flat-topped LEDs made staying with your original design an easy choice. Regardless of when the job gets done, I can just imagine launching the tug late in the day, waiting until just before dusk, then switching the lights on with the transmitter’s function buttons until they’re all shining & reflecting in the water. It doesn’t get much better than that. Thanks, Pete
Hey, Doug: Thanks again. I’ll take your suggestions & mark up your drawing accordingly. I still need to finish clearing away the molded-on plastic details inside the mast, then order the parts for this project. I generally don’t like starting any kind of project until everything needed is on hand (everything I think I’ll need, that is). You’ll probably have your tug’s lighting finished long before I do. I’m looking forward to being able to use my desktop PC comfortably again. Every word & photo I’ve posted on this fantastic site so far has been typed on or photographed with my trusty iPhone 6. It’s very convenient but it’s awfully hard on my eyes. The little touch keyboard is a challenge for my beat up old dinner plate-size mitts, too. Anyway, when my tug’s new lighting & modified controls are all built, tested & buttoned up I’d like to combine your drawing, spreadsheets & various notes with my own hen scratches, notes & miscellaneous observations into a CAD drawing. Naturally you’ll be cited as the project EE/electronics designer on the drawing’s title block. I’m confident in saying that your tug’s lighting will use factory colored LEDs, not hand-colored white ones. It would be a shame if I didn’t follow suit & use your design for colored LEDs as originally intended. I’ll much more satisfied knowing that the new navigation lights & other changes were done the right way. The glass paint is coming off my list! Thanks, Pete
Good afternoon, Doug: I found the flat-topped LEDs at Ali Express. The url for these LEDs is: https://m.aliexpress.com/item/32462840779.html? I’ve included another photo of the LED that has a dimensioned sketch with it. FYI, I’ve ordered lots of stuff from Ali Express, such as hobby tools & supplies, electronic components, gizmos, gewgaws & doodads. One particularly nice thing I purchased is a wireless guitar-to-amp device. Everything I’ve bought has been top-quality, but because nearly everything ships from China it can take several weeks to be delivered to me here in Massachusetts. Now for the inevitable question: If I use your drawing as it is now & modified the circuit board, added the resistors as you’ve already indicated & connected white LEDs in all locations, everything would work OK, but some LEDs would be brighter than others because your design was based on using colored LEDs. Correct? Based on your observations & experience would any harm be done? Don’t worry, I’m not going to jump the gun without your final drawing (which I’m in no rush for...take your time). I’m just curious. Which leads to my last remark, for now. For some reason my wife thinks I ask far more questions than “normal” people do. She claims that I’m exceedingly curious. I don’t know what she means, but her offhand remarks have inspired me to rechristen the Richardson. When the LED project is complete & the tug is all ship-shape & Bristol fashion, her new name will be: “Curiosity”.
[Score: 9/10] 23" Richardson (to be renamed) Twin Propellors (3 Blade) Geared Powered by NiMH (7.2v) Batteries - Comments: LED navigation lighting will be added soon. RNinMunich (Doug) has been extremely generous with his time & talent with helping me with this project. With Doug's help all of the lights on the boat, including navigation, spotlight, aft deck lights & cabin interior, will all be controllable from the boat's existing 2.4gHz unmodified transmitter!
Hello, Doug: I stumbled upon some other LEDs that are particularly well suited for navigation lights. They have the same specs as the rectangular LEDs shown in the photo I posted recently, but what makes them ideal for me is that they’re flat-topped, not domed. They’re cylindrical in shape, still 3mm diameter & look quite similar to ship’s lanterns (see photo). With your experience you’ve probably seen these before, but I was surprised to see them. My plan is similar to the original idea for making scale lights, except as we last discussed white LEDs will be used everywhere, colored by dipping them in appropriately colored glass paint. For the mast lights that will remain white but need to emit light at a given angle, I’ll mask & paint the LED’s body the same color as the mast, resulting in a clear aperture. 4mm & 2.5mm diameter disks punched from sheet styrene, glued one atop the other, then painted & glued to the top of each LED will form the light’s top covers. What do you think? BTW, the flat-top LEDs are also available in a variety of colors. If anyone is interested I’ll post the url to their location. Thanks, Pete
Hey, Ed: Yes, I’ll take several photos to document the project. I’ll shoot a video or two as well to highlight the differences between the tug’s original factory lighting & the new setup. I’ll shoot video of the tug out on the water at dusk, first with the light off, then with the lights on. It should look pretty good. It’ll be a while before anything gets posted because I still have to get all the parts. I have a lot of nasty medical stuff to deal with, too. Wish me luck. Thanks, Pete
Hey, Doug: Thanks for the excellent advice. The “dip/dry/repeat if necessary” technique for coloring LEDs makes the most sense. Brush painting transparent colors always seems to result in a very blotchy finish. Now that I can see well again I think I’ll turn my attention to removing the molded-on ladder rungs inside the mast. Sounds like a job for my little cordless Dremel. Thanks, Pete
Thanks, Doug. I really like the idea of simply using the exact same white LED for everything, including all of the colored LEDs currently on the boat. Coloring each LED the appropriate colors is the ideal solution. Glass lacquer is a great idea, plus Tamiya makes a translucent or semi-opaque acrylic paint available in many colors. Paints are ideal because I can control the depth of color simply by applying more coats. Another plus is that I can replace the somewhat cheesy looking port & starboard sidelights with more realistic ones. I like it! Will you please rework things as necessary to account for white LEDs as I’ve described? Things are coming together beautifully. Thanks, Pete
Hello, Figtree7nts: What about “happy”? You wrote “we're all one big family”. Over here we’d usually say “we're all one big, happy family”. Are we not happy? Would anyone not grin from ear to ear when they see their boat on the water for the first time? Wouldn’t any of us be over the moon when our new boat kit arrives? If this or any other hobby doesn’t make us happy then why do it at all? The above is all in good fun but far off topic. Over to you, Doug: For my project can I use the spreadsheets & drawing you’ve already sent or do you plan on posting revised versions based on your operating observations & adjustments? I’m going make a PDF of this entire post eventually so I’ll have a good reference to use as my project progresses. There a many very useful tips & parts sources throughout as well. BTW have seen the scale boats made by Aquacraft? They’ve got four very nice boats (actually three boats & one ship) that are large, very well detailed & realistic. There’s a tug, a fire/rescue boat, a trawler & a fantastic 1/72 scale US Navy Fletcher-class destroyer that could easily be used as a movie prop. It’s over 5 feet long & priced at about $700 US. My wife said if I spend that much on a boat she’d better be able to ride in it or she’ll leave. I’ll really miss the old girl.🤪Here’s a link to Aquacraft’s page for the model. There’s a nice photo gallery as well as a video: https://www.aquacraftmodels.com/boats/aqub5705-fletcher-clas... I have my eye on the Bristol Trawler. I’ve always like trawlers & the Bristol is a beauty. It comes with a full range of LED navigation lights (including mast lights). There’s no working horn but that’s about the only thing lacking. This reminds of a joke: Why do cows have bells?🐮Because their horns don’t work! Thanks, Pete.
Doug?? What is “extracting the Michael”? I’ve never heard that expression before. Sounds like a technique that a plumber with a fondness for naming his tools would use to pull his stuck plumber’s helper out of a WC. I’m sorry about that one. Anyway, have you pretty much finalized your resistor options for the tug’s LEDs? Judging from your observations things seem to be working very well indeed. If you have already posted your final configuration I’m sorry but I didn’t see it. What little bit I’ve been able to read about the project appeared to be on a path to optimization. Obviously I don’t want to buy incorrect resistors. That’s not likely to matter much because I’ve found a source where I can buy as many as “2600 1/4 watt .1% metal film resistors in 130 values” in one lot for $10.63 US including free delivery. Smaller lots are available from the same source for far less, also with free delivery. I just need to be certain of your final choices as determined by your tests. Thank you, Pete
Hey, Doug: I’m heartily sorry if my gushy-sounding salutations & closings upset or offend you. It’s an old habit that my whole family & I picked up from my maternal grandmother over the years. Gram had a rare sense of humor that combined razor-sharp wit & wordplay with killer sarcasm that she could deliver with laser-guided accuracy to single or multiple targets. On those rare occasions that she missed her primary target, everyone in the room was still temporarily blinded by tears of mirth while they rolled around on the floor gasping for breath. My Mom, three sisters & I lived with Gram from the time I was 9 months old until I married & got my own place with my wife at age 22. Gram’s arsenal of wit grew bigger & bigger even though she herself became physically smaller & smaller. In her final year she reached equilibrium where her age, weight & preferred room temperature were the same value: 98 (years/pounds/Fahrenheit). Anyway, every time I repaired something at Gram’s House, usually plumbing or electrical problems, she was equal parts appreciative & amazed every time. I fixed dozens of things in her house & each time I told her I’d finished & said goodbye Gram would say something like “Thank you, Master of Plumbing Mysteries” or “I’m so glad you fixed the bathroom wall switch, “O Conqueror of Darkness”, that sort of thing. She grew up at a time when electrified homes & indoor plumbing didn’t exist & she always seemed to have a childlike sense of amazement with them. To her anyone who understood them & could fix them was a magician. All that said I’ll be careful not to misspeak in the future. I hope you aren’t bothered by my clowning around occasionally. If so, just speak up & I’ll quit that, too. Thank you, Pete
Hey, Doug: I was just rummaging through my “miscellaneous leftover, why did I buy this, what did I have in mind for those, where did those come from” stuff & I found the packet of “white” LEDs shown in the attached photo. Does the secret code on the front of the packet mean that these are anywhere close to being usable for my tug? On another note, back when we were talking about various types of wire I mentioned telephone wire. The other photo shows the type that I was referring to. It’s essentially four 22 AWG solid wires, insulated with thin green, red, yellow & black vinyl & covered with a flexible vinyl outer jacket. This is kind of wire (or is it technically a cable?) has been used for household telephone hookups for a long, long time. In fact, it was originally made with cloth-like insulation on each wires & the outer jacket was a tough, thick material that was more like heavy PVC instead of the newer, thin-wall easy-to-strip. Rumor has it that old kind was field-tested by Lewis & Clark while they explored the Louisiana Purchase. Pete
Good morning, Sir Doug The Amazing: My eyes are getting steadily better but I’m still having some trouble. Regarding the LED link you sent there seems to be something odd. When I clicked the URL from within your post, a new page starts opening but a “page cannot be found” message appears in a few seconds. If I copy the link & paste it in the address bar of a new page the Banggood.com main page opens without any focus on LEDs. I’m losing my mind! If you’re not completely blind from wiring up microscopic LEDs with strands of spider silk will you try sending that link again? BTW the Banggood site looks like it could be a “one stop shopping“ source for the mast project. That would be a nice plus. Thank you, O Miracle Worker! Pete
Hello, Doug: It looks like a total success! Outstanding work! Now that details for this job are just about finalized I’ve been putting a shopping list together for all of the components. 3mm LEDS should be just right for the Richardson’s mast lights. I’ll be able to easily scratch-build the mast light housings & mounting brackets from my spare kit parts bins. When it comes to the LEDs for this project, what do I need to look for voltage & current rating, brightness or anything else? Unfortunately I can’t see very well yet but I can use Siri on my iPhone to type what I say. If there’s anything offensive in this post, it’s Siri’s fault. I can’t wait for this plague to leave me! Thanks for your ceaseless generosity & patience. Pete
Excellent work, Doug: Everything looks great. Unfortunately just as my eyes have begun to feel better I’ve been stricken by a mysterious illness. Fever, headaches & weakness. Ugh. I’ll read your posts when the headaches quiet down. Thanks again, kind sir. Pete
Hey, Doug The drawing is excellent; thanks very much. I have one concern about something that I might not be able to do. The resistors that are to be removed & replaced with jumpers are the surface-mounted type & are microscopic. They don’t have leads passing through the board that can be desoldered. Seriously, those resistors are very tiny. They’re only about 1/8” (3mm) long. If a flea sat on one it would overhang the resistor’s sides quite a bit. I have a couple of magnifying visors but I still may not be able to do the necessary microsurgery. My worry is that the patient may not survive the operation. Are there any techniques that help make the job of removing those tiny resistors any easier? Pete
Sorry, Doug. I missed the LED tester suggestion. I remember the one about the bench top battery charger. I must’ve been in one of my narcoleptic fogs. I’ll get a tester as soon as I can. You’re correct, mercury vapor lights definitely would have been replaced by sodium vapor lights by now. Mercury that finds its way into the environment is a major concern. There are still areas on our interstate highways where yellow is used because heavy fog is a concern. Maybe a special yellow tinted lens is used. Bolt-on fog lights for cars have halogen bulbs in a housing with an amber lens. They cut through fog very well. Maybe the Wyeforce has similar deck lamps? Speaking of fog, The Goo is coming back again with a vengeance. I’ll be back when my eyes are clearer. Pete