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Author Topic: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild  (Read 17474 times)

Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #25 on: July 28, 2009, 05:09:09 PM »

This just shows what can be done with an RTR.

Thanks - though there's not much of the original RTR boat left! Still, it cost much less to buy than it would have cost to buy a commercial GRP hull of the same size, and quite a few of the fittings (not to mention the deck, basic superstructure, battery + radio mount, and ballast) were usable. Like the "Seaport Workboat", the RTR out-of-the-box wouldn't look too bad on the water with just a straightforward repaint.

Here's progress so far: (also nearly finished the 25mm deck gun, will post some photos of this later)











The mast is finally complete (other than flag halyards and electrical wiring - which will be added later)! This is probably the single most complicated model part I've built so far on any of my projects, it was quite a challenge given that I didn't have any plans (just photos) and there are certainly some inaccuracies and omissions compared to the real thing, but the finished result still looks reasonably good. The mast on the Island-class cutters resembles a Christmas tree not only vaguely in shape but in the sheer amount of stuff attached to it (including numerous multi-coloured lights, and the ship's bell)! I'm not actually sure what many of them actually are; there are certainly 2 radars (possibly one surface and one air), a direction-finding loop, speakers, and running lights as well as a large red spotlight aftl, but there are many aerials, equipment housings and small gadgets the purpose of which is a mystery to me.

Most of the various fittings are scratchbuilt from styrene and metal - the speakers are modified Graupner parts, the bell is a metal casting, and some of the dome-shaped radar housings, and the large red lamp, are adapted from spares-box parts (aircraft propeller spinners, etc.)





The small boat carried by the cutter is a Zodiac RHIB (rigid-hull inflatable boat). The one supplied with the RTR is a boxy and unconvincing-looking object, though the outboard looks more or less salvageable. I picked up a small vacform plastic kit for a RHIB at the Leamington show last November, so decided to use this as a replacement. It's still not quite right (the real boat is a bit longer) but close enough.
The above photo shows the original "boat" with its slightly more seaworthy-looking replacement (which still needs the smaller details adding)





The completed RHIB ready for painting, details are made from styrene + metal bits, with the modified original outboard and a wheel from the spares box.


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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #26 on: August 03, 2009, 05:32:10 PM »



The main armament of the Island-class cutters is a 25mm "Bushmaster" automatic cannon, this is the same gun as carried on military vehicles like the M2 Bradley and LAV-25, and is also fitted on larger US Navy warships for close-range defence. (The photo above is on a larger USCG cutter, the 210' WMEC Alert) The gun is manually aimed, similar to the old 20mm Oerlikon, but on a powered mount and with belt-fed ammunition.



There are plenty of photos of the naval 25mm available online, so reference material isn't a problem, but turning the plastic blob supplied with the RTR boat into something actually resembling the real gun is! The shape of the mount and side equipment/ammo boxes approximately resembles the real thing, but is very simplified and chunky. The barrel is more suited to a 4-inch gun! As a replacement, I found a 1/35 25mm Bushmaster barrel in my spares box, which, though still a bit overscale, looks a lot better.



I dismantled the gun into its component parts and cut off all the crude moulded "detail" such as the sight and shoulder rests. I then made a new (pivoting) mount from styrene and brass. The replacement barrel was drilled out for about 30% of its length, and a brass wire inserted which then fitted into a hole drilled in the main body of the gun; this should reinforce thir rather thin and fragile part enough to prevent it from being inadvertently snapped off. For the same reason, I also cut off the muzzle brake and re-attached it to the barrel with a short length of thin brass wire.





Details were added using styrene, brass and plastic kit oddments (the latter including the ammo belt)










The completed gun in place on the forward deck. Though there are a few spots of colour such as the shoulder rests, warning plaques and status lights, the entire gun mount, other than the barrel, is painted a uniform black or dark grey, so I drybrushed it with a slightly lighter shade to bring out the details.

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Mark47

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #27 on: August 04, 2009, 11:29:45 AM »

Super rebuild, I've been watching with intrest, cause I'm still trying to get a hold of one of these for my son. I missed out on one on e-bay. Still looking though.

Mark
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #28 on: August 26, 2009, 12:42:24 PM »








Here's the completed RHIB in place on the boat cradle. It's airbrushed with Revell acrylic gloss orange over a matt white base coat, the details are brush-painted. I also added a few details including a throttle, aerial and blue warning lights.








The two M2 .50 calibre machineguns, mounted on the upper deck either side of the bridge, were a much easier job than the 25mm gun. I used Aeroclub 1/48 white metal castings, with scratchbuilt mounts and ammo canisters + belts from the spares box. The guns actually pivot (I drilled a hole through the mount bracket + gun, and fitted a brass pin), not so much for added realism as to reduce the chance of them being accidentally snapped off! For the same reason, they're trained fore and aft rather than outboard, otherwise the barrels actually project beyond the edge of the main deck and are bound to get snapped or bent sooner or later.

The model is now finally nearing completion; I'll post some photos of the boat crane and bridge details (currently working on the latter) soon.
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #29 on: August 28, 2009, 12:23:56 PM »









Some photos of the model on the water at Black Park a couple of weeks ago (I've now joined Black Park MBC). I replaced the transmitter with one from the "Smasher" RTR destroyer (the frequencies are the same) which gives much better manoeuverability; it has "tank-style" control over individual motors.
I plan to eventually replace the RTR radio gear with a proper crystal set; currently I have to run it some distance away from other boats with more powerful radio, otherwise the transmitter gets "swamped" and stops working when more than about 1m away from the model.
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Mark47

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #30 on: August 28, 2009, 01:43:44 PM »

looking a lot more scale like now. :-)) :-)) :-))

Mark
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #31 on: September 02, 2009, 02:47:33 PM »

Forgot to post this earlier - some photos of the crane:

The sizeable crane fitted aft appears to serve both as a boat crane for lifting the RHIB in and out of the water, and a general utility crane for lifting salvaged debris out of the water (there are several photos on the USCG website's gallery showing the crane recovering parts from a downed airliner) and supplies onboard.




The crane part supplied is simplified in detail, and in the wrong place (on the boat deck - it should be further aft, on the main deck) as well as the wrong colour, but is more or less the right size and shape.




Here's the original part with some scratchbuilt detail added:










and here's the finished article in place on the model. The hydraulic cables are copper wire painted black. I have no idea what the purpose of the blue tarpaulin-covered cylinder on the boat deck is, but it appears in most photos of this area, so I made it using a plastic cylinder covered with PVA-soaked tissue, painted blue.
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #32 on: September 06, 2009, 04:37:40 PM »






The bridge (actually, the "flying bridge" - the main bridge is in the superstructure below) is not as detailed as I'd like, as I have been unable to find any reference photographs of this area. I did manage to find one high-res closeup of the binnacle, but the rest is basically guesswork based on small glimpses of this area visible in photos. The instrument panel is from the original RTR model, as I don't know what the real one looks like I didn't think it was worth scratchbuilding a new one!



I also added the two small signalling lights either side of the bridge. These are totally scratchbuilt, as I didn't have anything of the right size in my spares box.
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Mark47

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #33 on: November 01, 2009, 12:54:42 PM »

Hi Edward,

Can you tell me what size of motors and battery this build runs on?

At last I've managed to secure one for my son. :} Still to pay for it, but if all is well I should have it in a couple of weeks.

Mark
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #34 on: November 02, 2009, 05:10:50 PM »

Hi Edward,

Can you tell me what size of motors and battery this build runs on?

At last I've managed to secure one for my son. :} Still to pay for it, but if all is well I should have it in a couple of weeks.

Mark

The battery is a 9.6v ni-cad pack. I used the same motor type as the ones in the "pods" as I didn't want to risk overloading + burning out the RX circuit by fitting larger motors (this happened to me once). Can't remember the exact name for them, but the ones I bought were sold as 5240 RPM.
Good luck finding one of these models at last!

My own build is now complete (apart from the crew figures), and has been for a couple of months - if there's anything I'm worse at than finishing models, it's getting round to photographing them when they're complete! I'll try and take some "static" photos of the finished article in the next few days, and will take some on-water photos once I've fixed a problem with the motor mounts.
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Mark47

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #35 on: November 02, 2009, 06:44:49 PM »

Great, thanks Edward. :-))

Mark
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tweety777

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #36 on: November 03, 2009, 09:09:01 AM »

Looks great!

Are you sure that the lower part of the mast (near the bulwark and the bridgedeck) is build correctly?
If i look strengths of material it seems to be better to make a knuckle in the legs rather then simple weld to tubes on eachother.
If you make the tubes going over in eachother nicely (like in the scetch below) it also is better.
Now the forces need to make a turn of 90degree's over the full breadth of the tube, making it pretty tough for the material to handle.
This isn't any problem on a model, but in real it does, that's why i'm telling you this.


Greetings Josse
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Mark47

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #37 on: November 06, 2009, 02:41:13 PM »

Hi Edward,

Can I ask, what size of props and shafts you have installed?

Many thanks.

Mark
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Boatswain

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #38 on: June 06, 2010, 10:52:39 PM »

I was stationed on one of these while on active duty.  I can tell you about the flying bridge area.  There is no wheel on a 110.  the helm, both on the flying bridge and below, in the pilothouse, are metal "jogsticks".  I will look through my photos and see if I can post them for you.  Of course, I have to screen the photos due to secure radios and such, that may appear in the photos.  You'll understand. 
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #39 on: June 12, 2010, 09:03:02 PM »

I was stationed on one of these while on active duty.  I can tell you about the flying bridge area.  There is no wheel on a 110.  the helm, both on the flying bridge and below, in the pilothouse, are metal "jogsticks".  I will look through my photos and see if I can post them for you.  Of course, I have to screen the photos due to secure radios and such, that may appear in the photos.  You'll understand. 

Thanks for the info! Didn't realise the Island-class don't have a wheel on the flying bridge. I was (loosely) basing the setup on the RNLI Severn-class lifeboats, which though much smaller craft, have a similar flying bridge/pilothouse setup, with a wheel in both. Thanks for the offer of photos - I'll send you a PM with my e-mail address.

BTW, this model is now basically finished (and has been for the last 6+ months) - I'll try and get round to posting some photos of the completed article soon {:-{ . However, it hasn't run for a while; I've finally decided to give up on RTR R/C hardware, with its limited range, short battery life and (above all) interference problems, and am planning to refit the boat with some half-decent radio and running gear, including rudder steering (and proper motor mounts - I bought some cheap metal bracket mounts at the Beale Park show which are ideal for small motors like the ones in this boat).


Hi Edward,

Can I ask, what size of props and shafts you have installed?

Many thanks.

Mark

The props are the same type as those originally fitted to the RTR boat (and identical to those on the RTR Severn) - plastic 3-blade, about 25mm. Prop shafts are about 2mm, they were just some matching shafts + brass tubes from the spares box. When I re-do the radio I'll probably also replace these with reasonable quality props + shafts (the "economy" ones sold by Howes, which are quite good value)
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Boomer

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #40 on: June 16, 2010, 04:22:47 AM »

Edward,
I have been reading with great interest your thread on this project. You have done a wonderful job of taking what was a child's toy and converting it into a very respectable RC model. I found a fellow here in the States that has a few of these boats, brand new, and still in the original packaging. Your work has inspired me, so I will be picking one these boats up next week, and will be using your rebuild report as a guide for modifying mine. I included a couple of pictures of how you boat looks new out of the box.

Having spent a good deal of time boating, I developed a great respect for those brave souls that put their lives on the line to rescue unfortunate boaters who find themselves at the mercy of the sea. I became interested in Coast Guard boats as a result, and have added a couple to my fleet of RC Sailboats. They make great recovery boats for my sailboats when they are stranded in the middle of a lake.

I have attached some pictures I hope are of interest to you, and other forum members. Both boats are scale versions of US Coast Guard boats still on active duty here in the US. The Motor Life Boat is actively used both here in the US and in Canada. I haven't seen the Utility/Life boat in use in Canada, but it could be used there as well. The Life Boat is a slightly larger scale than the MLB as you might detect from the picture with them together. Still pretty close.

Both of the actual CG boats are designed to right themselves in 10 seconds if they are knocked down (over). Don't think I'll try that with the RC versions. The first boat is a scale model of the Coast Guards 47 Motor Life Boat The 2nd boat is also a scale model of a Coast Guard 44 foot Utility/Life Boat. Both are powered by twin counter rotating electric motors. My MLB has a fiberglass hull and was produced by Pro Boat. Two companies produced versions of the MLB; Pro Boat (Fiberglass) and Midwest (wood). Both versions were recently discontinued and have become somewhat of a collectors item. If you were to see both boats properly assembled you'd be hard pressed to see a difference. The Utility boat is made out of wood and built by hand.

My brother is active in the US CG Auxiliary and wanted one of the MLBs, but was not able to find one. It seems that those that have them, are keeping them. Once I get the new boat modified, I will give it to him for his birthday. I hope you enjoy the photos and if you have any questions, just shoot me an e-mail.

Again, very nice job!
Windchaser






















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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #41 on: June 18, 2010, 08:58:15 PM »

Your MLB models look great - thanks for posting the photos. Is the 44' boat a scratchbuild or a kit? I know Billing Boats make a couple of kits of this class (a small wood-hulled one and a larger plastic-hulled one intended for RC, I think). Dean's Marine also sell an ARTR model (link).
There was a cheap RTR model of the 44' available few years back (under the name the "Pelican"), about a foot and a half long, 1/32 scale. I bought one but had the useless "pod" motors rust up solid after a couple of runs - I still have it, and one day will get round to installing replacement radio and giving it a repaint/detailing job. It's not a bad model in terms of scale accuracy even though the radio + motors are junk!

I'll be interested to see how your 110' Island-class turns out. The RTR boat is very crude and toylike but definitely salvageable - the hull and about half of the fittings, at least! You might be better off scratchbuilding a new superstructure/cabin - although mine turned out OK it was a slow, messy and frustrating job carving off all the crude, inaccurate moulded detail, and it would probably have been quicker to just build a new superstructure from styrene sheet, using the dimensions of the original as a guide.
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Boomer

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #42 on: June 20, 2010, 05:50:34 PM »

Edward,
The CG Life Boat was built from a very rough kit and plans. Here are a few pictures taken during construction. I have an RC mentor. Pete Sinclair who is responsible for the outcome of this project. He has taught me and is teaching me about building boats and aircraft. Until recently I have been able to stay focused on my boats, but I just purchased "The Real Flight Simulator by Great Plains. It is really fun. I can see how so many chaps get hooked the RC flying thing. Some of the aircraft are magnificent.

I love the water and most every kind of boating, and believe I have this flying thing under control. The worst thing that has happened to one of my boats, is it has bumped into the side of the lake. In watching my chums fly, even the best of them crash. Their planes come home in a bag! Very expensive aspect of the hobby. For now I am more interested in boats. Time will tell if the con/convince me into flying.

Moving forward, I will let you know how the upgrade goes on the new CG boat. Should be fun!
Windchaser











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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #43 on: November 04, 2011, 05:29:47 PM »

I completed this model not long after my final post in the thread, but it hasn't seen much time in the water since then (or at all in the last year or so) due to the lousy RTR radio installation - no range to speak of, interference problems, and a run time of about 5 minutes before the Ni-Cad battery pack goes flat do not make a boat much fun to sail regardless of how good it looks! It's been sitting on a display shelf gathering dust for well over a year, but now I've finally finished my subchaser build, I've decided to get out some of my older projects and refit them with decent radio gear. As I use a removable radio/ESC module for most of my boats, the only additional expense required is a rudder, servo and linkage along with some wires and connectors.

I stripped out all the old RTR gear, along with the extra lead ballast I originally added (the SLA battery will be enough extra ballast) and cut out the battery compartment as well as cutting a large rectangular hole under the superstructure. I fitted a single rudder - I'd like to have fitted two, as on the full-size vessel (I have a matched pair of small rudders in my spares box, which would have been ideal) but the cylindrical sockets for the old "pod" motors would get in the way of the arms and linkage; there's only just enough room for a single centre-mounted rudder!
I glued a flat plate of styrene card inside the hull to provide a base for the battery and radio. The former is a small Powersonic 6v 4.5ah SLA type and goes in a tray made up from 1mm styrene sheet.

Once all the radio gear had been installed, I glued the deck permanently in place and made the superstructure/mast removable via metal pegs fitting into the old screw holes (this is the same method I used on the Seaport tug rebuild). The old battery compartment lid is held in place by tape, so it can be removed if necessary to give access to the motors + propshafts.



Here's a photo of the new radio + running gear installation. The main hatch is covered by the superstructure which is held in place by 6 pegs fitting into the former screw holes around the hatch; the mast is now permanently glued in place (and the aerial wire tube has been removed, since the boat now uses 2.4ghz radio). Since taking this photo, I've filled in all the other holes and retouched the deck paint.
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #44 on: November 04, 2011, 05:30:21 PM »

And here are some on-water photos from last Sunday at Black Park:















I was very pleased with the model's sailing performance. At low to medium throttle it runs at a very scale-looking speed, and the 6v SLA battery gives plenty of running time. Manoueverability isn't as good as I'd like (due to the twin prop/single rudder setup) but is probably fairly close to scale.

Once I've finished painting the crew figures (modified 1/48 aircraft ground crew) I'll post some closeup photos of the finished model. As you can see in the above photos, it now has a hull number and name, rigging and flags - also an anchor chain, but this is rather hard to spot in the above photos.
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MikeA

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #45 on: November 04, 2011, 08:41:10 PM »

very nicely done. im not sure if i read somewhere in this thread or ones linked to it that you made a steam boat using the rtr radio have you got a link to it?
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #46 on: November 05, 2011, 04:29:08 PM »

very nicely done. im not sure if i read somewhere in this thread or ones linked to it that you made a steam boat using the rtr radio have you got a link to it?

I built (or started) a model a few years ago of a 1900s steam yacht which used RTR radio - electric rather than steam-driven though. Here's the build thread: http://www.modelboatmayhem.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=11028.0. This one is next on my list to refit with proper radio gear (and finish the build).

I wouldn't nowadays recommend using cheap RTR radio gear in any boat (motors and props etc. are usually OK) - the lack of proportional control, short range and interference problems make it a false economy.
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MikeA

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Re: 1/48 US Coast Guard Island-class cutter - RTR rebuild
« Reply #47 on: November 06, 2011, 12:18:12 AM »

i have bult 4 or 5 boats with the cheap rtr radio gear in. Theres a shop near me selling brand new rc rtr cars for a ten pound each. I upgraded the motors to slightly larger 280 ones from the normal flat side ones, but i thought they were pretty good considering it cost me 20 quid to scratch build a boat.
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