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Author Topic: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug  (Read 5986 times)

Steve Mahoney

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Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« on: October 02, 2016, 04:26:55 AM »

When I showed my wife my last tug model she asked the two questions we all dread: "How much did it cost? and where is it going to go?
"Well, she’ll never get to know the cost of making a model – that could be a real deal breaker, it makes my eyes water to just think how much they really cost to build. But she did have a point about filling the house with model boats.
To try and slip my next project past her I would need a pretty special boat.
And I think this one will do it – it’s small enough to fit in her handbag – and cute.In fact, when it was launched, local papers described it as ‘a handsome little vessel’ and ‘one of the finest little vessels ever built in New Zealand’.
It also ticks a few boxes for me: nice lines, wooden hull, teak deck, no winch, lots of polished timber – and it’s white! Not too many white tugs around.
Plus it has bilge keels (which I’ve never done before), canvas flying bridge and a funnel that looks like it’s come straight off a passenger liner. All good so far.
The Hikurangi was designed in Wellington by Athol Burns for the Gisborne Harbour Board and built in 1961 by Miller & Tonnage in Dunedin, in the South Island. Athol Burns designed many classic local work boats (tugs, launches and trawlers), many of which are still in service. He was quite a character (his obituary is attached) and an 'old school' designer. He designed boats all his life but didn't spend much time on them as he was prone to terrible seasickness. Bummer!
Hikurangi and Albatross (another trawler tug) may be the finest examples of his work.
Gisborne is a small port on the far east of NZ and is the sort of town that you go to for summer holidays. It’s a relaxed little town with great beaches, surf and the best weather in the country.
From these press clippings it looks like the Hikurangi had a pretty good life there too – taking school kids for rides, being used as the starting point for swimming races and the odd bit of harbour work.
My version will be a 1/50 version of the boat as it was in the early 60s. At 1/50 it is only 335mm long – tiny – she’ll never notice it.
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Shipmate60

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2016, 05:07:08 PM »

Dont forget to name after her, she couldnt get rid of her namesake!!


Bob
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hama

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2016, 05:59:02 PM »

That's one cool looking little tug!
Hama
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Steve Mahoney

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2016, 07:32:17 AM »

Good idea Bob. Might have to save that for one of the bigger projects I have in mind.
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Steve Mahoney

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2016, 09:31:34 AM »

I started the project by drawing up the hull and profile based on the designer's sketch and a fair amount of guesswork. Luckily it turned out not too different from Russell's photo, although it's much easier getting all of the research/reference material before you start – doh!.
I have since found out that the current owner has a GA/plan. I'm reluctant to get a copy as it might send me back to the drawing board – so, full steam ahead.
Once I was happy with the lines I transferred them into a form that I could use to laser cut the keel, hull frames, deck and superstructure. If you've seen any of my previous builds this followed the same process.
The hull frames and keel were cut from 3.6mm ply and the deck and superstructure from 1.5mm birch ply. This way I end up with almost a semi kit that slots together. Takes a bit of time on the computer to draw it up but I quite like the 'figuring it out' part. Very accurate, and easy to flip or mirror image components as well.
By adjusting the laser power ( the blue lines were half power) I was able to get the planking lines etched into the ply. The burnt edges will look like caulking when the deck is stained, and the etching will look like planking in the wheelhouse when painted.

But first the hull needs to be planked.
The hull frames and keel slotted together pretty easily and the the fun began.
Purists look away now...
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Steve Mahoney

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2016, 09:43:26 AM »

OK it's safe to look now but not too closely. The planking will all be painted so it will hide all of the blemishes. A few sessions of filler and sanding will sort it out. The real deck is teak and the best way to replicate this is with a light stain/wash of very diluted paint. This way the grain of the timber and the laser etch lines show through. I decided to finish the deck and then mask it off for the rest of the build. I didn't want to get any glue or paint on the raw deck wood as I'd never be able to clean it off once the bulwarks were attached.
The teak colour turned out OK. Now it's all masked and we won't see it again for a while.
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Steve Mahoney

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2016, 09:53:42 AM »

Next step was adding the bulwarks. On the real boat they are an extension of the hull triple planking and don't have any struts or supports. Usually the supports give the bulwarks a lot of strength and make it easier to glue them into place. To replicate the smooth inside edge of the the bulwarks I would have to make the whole lot one piece – and strong enough that it could take a few knocks or be used to pick the boat up.Luckily I had given this some thought beforehand and I had drawn up a jig that was laser cut with the rest of the components. This saved a lot of headaches later.The jig fitted onto the deck perfectly (double sided tape) and I used the old 'thin cardboard wrapped around the curve' trick to get the basic shape of the bulwark. This was taped in place and then a pencil traced the top and bottom of the bulwarks shape.
Once cut out this pattern was checked against the actual model to ensure a good fit. So far so good.Then I cut the shape out of two pieces of 0.4mm ply. The second piece cut on a different bias so that when stretched around the jig and glued together they would keep the curve.Worked out fine and it's surprisingly strong.Also put in the details for the scuppers and hawser holes. The inside facing was painted before being glued into place on the deck.
Now I can start refining the hull...
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Steve Mahoney

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2016, 04:26:32 AM »

Next step was to attach the rubbing strips and stempost.[/size]The stempost was straightforward and was held in place with toothpick pins.The rubbing strips were made from 3 layers of basswood glued together while clamped onto the bulwark jig. The base of the jig follows the shear of the deck so it gave the rubbing strips the same curve. You can see how much curve is needed as shown by the arrow.The bow strips were clamped directly onto the bow forward deck to get their shape.After I had made them all I decided that they were all too thick so I had to slice of one layer. Much better now.These were pinned into position in the same manner as the stempost.
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Steve Mahoney

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2016, 04:32:11 AM »

 
Now we jump ahead a week. All of the bulwarks and rubbing strips have been attached, The rudder heel/shoe that I managed to snap off has been repaired and strengthened with the 'metal' plate that is on the real boat. The plate and bolts are styrene.The rudder is not set in place yet – waiting on a prop.The hull has been smoothed out and 99% of the flaws have been sorted out.The scupper covers have been scribed into the bulwarks, hawser holes added, and the bow bulwarks re-cut to be consistent with the boat as it was in 1961 (last photo). They have subsequently been raised but I want it to look like it originally was.The rolling chocks/bilge keels are basswood and pinned in with brass rod.The protection plate around the anchor well was a feature on many of Athol Burn's boats. I guess it prevented the swinging anchor from damaging the hull as it was pulled up.The plate is the thinnest styrene I could find.Now onto the wet & dry.
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tugmad

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2016, 08:16:54 AM »

Lovely job well done.
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BFSMP

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2016, 10:43:00 AM »


what a beautiful finish you have achieved on your wooden hull. One would believe it to be a GRP or plastic hull.


I am absolutely in awe of your wonderful workmanship.


Jim.
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missyd

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2016, 02:11:22 PM »

First class work!!!! :-))
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Martin [Admin]

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2016, 06:23:01 PM »


Ditto   O0
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Footski

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2016, 07:53:31 AM »

An excellent build and as you say, a lovely little tug..
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Brian60

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2016, 10:35:48 AM »

Well done. Another member realising just how helpful having a laser to cut the parts is :-))

Steve Mahoney

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2016, 11:16:28 PM »

Thanks for the comments and encouragement.

[/size]Brian – I'm a measure twice cut three times kind of guy so having the parts laser cut saves tons of time and makes assembly much simpler and more accurate.

[/size]I'm still waiting for the propellor to arrive so the hull has been sidelined for awhile. In the meantime I assembled the last of the laser cut components and gave the hull its first top coat. I added a tiny amount of chrome yellow to the white paint to give it a slightly warmer/more used feel. Looks good in real life but is a bit too subtle to show up in the attached images. I'm happy with deck colour too, looks like teak in real life.
The laser etching for the plank lines worked out OK. I'll have to stain and varnish these parts before I go any further because if I get any glue or paint on the raw wood I'll never be able to clean it off without destroying the plank lines. No filling & sanding option on these parts so quite a bit of time bevelling the edges to get a clean tight fit.
The roof is 3 layers of 0.8mm ply formed into a curve the same way as with the rubbing strips.
Starting to look like a boat now.
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Steve Mahoney

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2016, 06:34:08 AM »

The rest of the brass etching has arrived. Produced and delivered from Scotland to New Zealand in 6 days. That's pretty good service, and the quality is excellent – as aways. Eagle-eyed readers might be able to spot clues for my next 2 projects. I managed to get a few layers of stain and varnish onto the superstructure, and add a few details to the wheelhouse and engine room access hatch.
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Steve Mahoney

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2016, 06:36:32 AM »


Not much progress this week. Still waiting for the prop.
I ordered it, along with another, from Westbourne Models in the UK in Sept. Two props did arrive but they were completely the wrong size and both only 3 bladed. Sent them straight back, emailed many times, left phone messages but no reply after 6 weeks. Impossible to reach them by phone, the website email contact doesn't work. Very frustrating.
I found quite a few bad reviews online – all similar stories to mine. They get less than 1 out of 5 stars from customers. Looks like I've just become another statistic. Don't know how they stay in business.
When I realised that the props were never going to turn up I ordered 2 replacements from Cornwall Model Boats. Heard back immediately and they should be here any day.
I can't do any more to the hull until the prop arrives so in the meantime I've been assembling some of the other items.
The tow hook is made up from components that I had brass etched. The brass is only 0.7mm thick so some of the pieces are several layers sandwiched together and soldered. The bar is styrene and the spring is some very soft, malleable brass wire, formed by wrapping it around a small brass rod.
The hook on Hikurangi is quite small and complex and took much longer than I had planned. I had to go out and buy a pair of really strong reading glasses. Can hardly see at night these days so this type of work is very taxing. Next time I'll use 1mm brass and save some of the work – or even better, get them 3D printed.
Also managed to cook my faithful old soldering iron and got a new 45w version. Probably too powerful for this type of work so I may get a smaller 25w for the fine stuff.
Still need to clean up the hook mechanism with a smaller file (in the mail also). It looks a bit rough in these photos but they are way larger than real life – you'll never get up that close, and a coat of paint should hide a lot of sins.
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Steve Mahoney

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2016, 11:46:55 PM »

Not too much progress here lately but I have a bit of spare time coming up and I'll try to get this finished before Christmas.
The prop arrived the day after my last post, good service from Cornwall. Won't be going back to Westbourne Models again.
So now I've completed the hull, painted it and added the 'teak' capping rails.

The combination of warm white hull, red oxide, black boot strap line and teak looks good.
The strap line was more difficult than I had imagined. Viewed from the side the top and bottom of the line are parallel but when it runs around the undercut of the stern it is much more complex and flares out. Very fiddly at this size.
Had to upgrade the reading glasses for that one!Turned out OK – eventually.
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Steve Mahoney

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2016, 11:48:29 PM »

I did the deck 'teak' as a very diluted wash of a very warm grey (added a little yellow and a tiny amount of white to weak black). This allowed the laser etched decking lines to show through.
The inside of the bulwarks and the steps are the same pale warm grey colour but look quite different in these photos for some reason. The 'teak' on the deck is more grey and less yellow that these photo – must be the flash. Anyway the colours work well together.
The dark grey panel is part of the cabin floor that locks the superstructure into its correct position. As do the slots in the rear deck.
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Antipodes

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2016, 08:42:39 PM »

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Steve Mahoney

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2016, 03:04:44 AM »

Well spotted Bruce.
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hama

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2016, 08:22:26 AM »

Wow! Stunning modelling skills, she looks fantastic!
Hama
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Steve Mahoney

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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #23 on: November 30, 2016, 11:08:34 PM »

Thanks Hama, slowly getting there, although at this stage all I see is things I could do better next time.

The funnel started out as a laser cut frame that was then packed out with balsa.
This was sanded down until I was happy with the basic shape and then skinned with 2 layers of the thinnest styrene I could find. The flange, bolts, vents and bulges are all styrene.
A couple of coats of paint sprayed on and it's almost ready.
In her later years a large stainless steel stack was added onto the funnel. It's pretty ugly so I'm keeping her just like the the day she first sailed into Gisborne.
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Re: Hikurangi – classic 1960s wooden tug
« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2016, 09:18:18 PM »

I have just found this build and think it is fab. The chrome yellow shows up well in the photos as a warmth to the white.

The highlight of the project so far has to be the hook! Now that is a work of art.
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