Model Boat Mayhem

Dry Dock / Shipyard: Builds & Questions => Working vessels R&D: => Topic started by: ianb on June 07, 2008, 07:15:45 AM

Title: Puffer Research
Post by: ianb on June 07, 2008, 07:15:45 AM
     Well, my Arif is "completed" and I'm looking forward to a summer of sailing her and my Al Khubar around the pond. Hopefully my old thumbs will start to acquire some ability to control and direct the models in a more precise and less haphazard manner.

     For my next model, to be started this winter, I am leaning towards the Mountfleet Highlander. The size and weight are right, and as an ex-pat Scot I want to give a tip of my (metaphorical) bonnet to my culture. I do enjoy the Para Handy episodes on Youtube!

     So far my research indicates that a Graupner 720 Torque on 12V SLA might just fit the bill for power. Would love a real steam engine, but I may be getting out of my depth there. Amber, red and green LED's with the flicker effect electronics to simulate oil lamps. So far so good. I can order all the electronics from Britain, and can readily obtain a Graupner motor here (Japan). My main problem is that there are no readily available sources of model boat parts here, so any additional small parts must be ordered from abroad. Can't run down to the local hobby shop unless I want car, aeroplane, or helicopter parts!

     Bearing in mind my circumstances, I would really like to hear from  builders of the Mountfleet Highlander regarding any points of note or possible surprises (good and bad) that I might discover should I go ahead with the model. It is a lot easier to make preparations before than after.

     What would be a realistic smoke unit and sound unit for the Highlander? How do the Mountfleet kits compare to the Model Slipway kits? Is the finished model not only a fine display model, but will it be able to take the rather more severe conditions which result from use at the pond?

     I have studied all the relevant posts I can find on this fine forum (thank you Martin and Bradders) but concluded that I should write this plea for advice to be doubly sure about any choice I make. Maybe the consistently high  quality of the Model Slipway kits have spoiled me, but they don't make a sufficiently large model of a puffer for my purposes, so I must look elsewhere.

     Thank you all in advance.

Title: Re: Puffer Research
Post by: Martin [Admin] on June 07, 2008, 09:36:16 AM
Hi Ian,

..... I think you and I will be conversing quite a bit over the next few months!
I'm off out in a minute but just quickly : 720 Torque is about 10x the power you'll need! I fitted
a 'Model Motors Direct' 555 and that was way too much! It's very heavy with all the ballast you'll
need but it only moves at a slow walking pace. ( ( (




Title: Re: Puffer Research
Post by: ianb on June 08, 2008, 09:53:46 AM
     Wonderful, a real nugget of information on a suitable motor! I had no idea that I would be so overpowered with a Graupner 720 Torque, which shows you how little I know. This is the sort of information and detail I need so badly in order to succeed. Thank you Martin.

Title: Re: Puffer Research
Post by: MCAT on June 09, 2008, 11:10:47 AM
Ian  I must thank you for your post letting us know about para handy on the tube ,having a watch while at work, anyone know if you can copy them over. 

I have a puffer,which someone else built from wood. I spruced  her up a bit. I enjoy sailing her they so have much character
and a good history attached to them  injoy you puffer when she is done and post a few pic's for us to  see.

Title: Re: Puffer Research
Post by: ianb on June 09, 2008, 12:41:30 PM

Hope you are enjoying the Para Handy videos as much as I do.

Yours looks like a really nice Puffer, very realistic appearance on the water. What smoke unit are you using, I'm very impressed.


Title: Re: Puffer Research
Post by: Martin [Admin] on June 09, 2008, 12:53:39 PM

Re: YouTube.  Try Desktop YouTube -

Title: Re: Puffer Research
Post by: MCAT on June 09, 2008, 01:03:47 PM
Smoke unit is a little Graupner 6 volt  get a few minutes on each fill. looks better on cold days.
Title: Re: Puffer Research
Post by: bogstandard on June 09, 2008, 03:37:28 PM
What you have to remember with a puffer, the coal bunkers, boiler and engine were all below the wheelhouse and engine casing, so with the ship unladen, it had a definite stern low attitude, with the bow sticking up at an awkward angle.

If the hold is shown full of coal, as many people do, the waterline should be just below the freeing ports, or even sometimes with the main deck slightly awash. The ship pivots about a point just below the wheelhouse, and would very rarely, if ever, sit at the nice, neat, high out of the water and horizontal level most modellers have their boats at.

It is for that reason most of the anti fouling was from just below the top rubbing strake, not further down. As in the attached pic of my build from many years ago.
This was the old style of hull built from curved plates, unlike the later Vic series which used mainly flat plates, like a TID tug.

Title: Re: Puffer Research
Post by: ianb on June 13, 2008, 12:52:08 PM

I have carefully noted your advice on the correct waterline. Thank you very much.

I've carefully read the build blogs of the Mountfleet Puffer on this site and have a couple of questions/comments.

Is the supplied prop shaft and tube OK to use or should I upgrade as Martin did?

Is the supplied prop to be recommended for actual sailing or should that perhaps be another upgrade?

Is the quality of the castings something I can count on, or a little bit variable?

Martin has suggested the 555 motor from Model Motors Direct, but I have noticed other posts indicating that all 555's may not be equal in power and current draw. Comments and/or alternative choices welcome. I believe that it is false economy to put an "economy" motor in a model costing over 250 pounds plus the time spent in assembly, unless you know a lot about motors. I certainly don't, so I prefer to play it very safe even if it costs me more.

The good news is that I may have found a hobby shop in Tokyo which sells model boat bits and parts. Am going to try and go and see it in person this summer. I live about 125 miles out of Tokyo so it's practical to do it in one day.

Thanks in advance.

Title: Re: Puffer Research
Post by: Jim on June 23, 2008, 07:05:24 PM
Thanks for the tip about Para Handy on Youtube - I'll have a look later tonight.

I made a Highlander a couple of years back and found it a very enjoyable build. This was the third Mountfleet kit I've made (Danny Boy and Boston Typhoon were the others). Altough I have seen reports of faulty castings, can't say I ever had any real problems with quality. 9i have no connection with this company!) Those in my Highlander kit were good.
I have always substituted a Prop Shop prop for the white metal castings - just didn't feel comfortable with them and the ones I got needed a fair bit of balancing and truing up. Maybe I just liked the brass look (hardly "scale" though!).

Good luck with the build. I don't recall any particular horrors I should steer you clear of, but I'll gladly help out as you go.

Title: Re: Puffer Research
Post by: ianb on June 24, 2008, 02:10:16 PM

 Thanks very much for all the information from your experience with the Highlander. Read, marked, and inwardly digested as my old school principal used to say!

 I believe that your post was the tipping point, so I have ceased trying to decide (dithering) and will be ordering the Highlander at the end of the summer. Construction will begin in the fall.

 I note that Martin is adding to his thread on the build for Jan. Wonderful stuff - really whets my appetite.

 And thank you for your offer of help. I always seem to need more good advice.

Title: Re: Puffer Research
Post by: Cargo on June 24, 2008, 04:26:21 PM

Thats she nearly at full speed.