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A Small Towboat & Barge (rev. Sept. 20, 2015)

    This model towboat is 1/35 scale (about 27 inches long) and is totally a scratch design and build model of a conjectural towboat.  This would represent a towboat about 79-feet long.  It was designed during the summer of 2011 and the build started on October 16, 2011.  The original "service boat" deck was eliminated in mid-2015 as a new first level superstructure was added.

     The accompanying barge is also 1/35 scale (about 29 inches long, 15 pounds) and is also totally a scratch design and build conjectural model of a  working barge, complete with a small workshop.  The hull construction is very similar to that of the towboat.
 The Design
     This boat was originally powered by two electric motors (Graupner), each driving a shaft with a 45mm prop in a kort nozzle.  Behind each kort is a traditional rudder, and in front of each kort will be a pair of flanking rudders, all linked together.  Radio is a four channel unit.  The upgraded version (Sept 2015) has one channel controlling the direction (rudders).  The entire superstructure is removable as one piece but can be broken down to three main subassemblies.

Photo taken on Sept 20, 2015

Towboat pushing a barge     With these two photos (above and right) you can see the difference in the model.  The photo at the top is the current configuration, pushing 165 pounds (combined weight of the barges).

     The photo at the right is the previous (original) configuration.

     With the change to individual controls for each motor and a faster set of motors the performance has increased drasticly.

          A look inside the bridge

The Barge
Barge     Barge potty     Barge workshop

Simple Hull Construction (see bottom of this page for construction photos)
    With the simple designed hull that most towboats have, the hull for this model is made up using 1X3 (3/4"thick) Aspen wood for the sides, and 1/4" thick white wood for the areas to span between the sides (deck, under-hull, etc.).  A router was used to cut a 1/4" X 1/4" cut all around the inside of the hull sides.  The 1/4" planks were cut to length then glued into the steps forming the bottom of the hull.  Narrow pieces were use in the curved areas (bow and aft end).
Superstructure  Construction
     In order to give the superstructure strength, lightness, and a good exterior finish, the exterior walls were created out of 1/8-inch balsa sheet.  The exterior sides were covered with .020-inch styrene sheet using 3-M contact adhesive.

    All surfaces were painted after assembly.  For ease of future modifications or repairs, the super structure can be disassembled into the following subassemblies: Top overhead; pilot house; pilot house interior; main superstructure.

     When a new main level (full length) superstructure was added (Sept. 2015) the existing structures were modified and lifted atop the new structure.  The new structure is made from plexiglas, .100 for the walls and .062 for the roof.
Operation Gear
     The boat is currently powered by two 380SW motors, each controlled by Hobbywing Quickrun-WP-1060-Brushed electronic speed controllers.   The shafts are opposite rotating.  The radio is a 4 channel Futaba 4YF-2.4GHz FHSS system. 

Hull pieces cutClose-up of step in hull sideAssembling the hullTop side ready for sanding & paintingBottom side (showing korts) ready for finishingNov 29 2011Added first level superstructure (balso base)Cut windows and doorsCovering balso with styrene (in white)