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Author Topic: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat  (Read 2844 times)

Laker

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Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« on: July 13, 2017, 10:50:02 PM »




This model was built back in 1982 from a Model Boats free semi-scale plan (Model Boats RC Special 1982) and it was my first proper radio controlled model boat.  I was very young at the time and a great deal of help was needed from my Dad.  Despite his best efforts I think I was keen to get the model finished as soon as possible, hence some shortcuts were taken and the model never measured up to the high standard of Douglas McGhee's original in the free plan article.  Nevertheless it sailed very well and I had a lot of fun with it at the time.  It then remained in my parents house gathering dust for many years and eventually came back to me in the condition shown in the photos.  As you can see it is quite crude in places, showing the pine softwood timber on the deck and I also got the red and black colours of the hull the wrong way up at the time (i.e. it is red above the waterline rather than below - I think I didn't want the model to look black when it was in the water!).
The original running gear was a Mabuchi 540 motor with a small 6V lead/ acid battery and a Bob's board for speed control and reverse.  There was a 27MHz 2 channel radio set as well.  It was quite fast at full speed (faster than scale speed) and I remember that full reverse was likely to pull a wave of water over the stern.  It steered nicely and ran for 1-2 hours on a charge.
The model is currently pretty complete barring the radio and electrical gear and most of the damage and wear is fairly minor.  The only real issue is a split in the hull where the wooden base has split away from the side pieces.  This isn't watertight and needs fixing.  My intention is to chisel the wooden base away gently (it is pine softwood) and then glue a new base in place to ensure a sound watertight hull.
I will try to take photos as the job progresses and will post some updates.  The Forum has already been a great help - Chas had a copy of the original 1982 magazine and was able to send me the scanned article and plans which is great.  I had long since lost my original copy.
Laker.



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chas

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2017, 02:25:14 PM »

Hi Laker, that's a nice surprise, it looks a lot nicer than the plan or old black and white magazine pictures suggested. I also like the red top / black bottom, it stands out more, and with a model like this you can do your own thing. I'm looking forward to seeing the restoration.
Chas

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dreadnought72

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2017, 04:02:01 PM »

Do you need to remove the bottom? And chance of running resin in there and clamping up?


Andy
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Laker

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2017, 09:52:36 PM »




Andy - I have been thinking about that for a while now.  If I could be sure to seal it completely and make the hull strong enough I would try to run some more glue into the crack and fix it that way.  It would have the advantage of keeping as much of the original as possible.  Against that, I have made previous attempts to seal the crack by running epoxy in from the inside (quite a lot of it!) and I didn't get it to hold.  I'm also thinking that removing the hull bottom will be a good way to remove the old motor mount which is very securely glued in and which will need replacing for a new motor - I am hoping to fit a lower current drain motor, possibly a geared one.  So no final decision yet - I will sand the hull back to the raw wood and get a better look at the extent of the crack first.  Laker.
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Laker

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2017, 09:21:11 PM »




Well the job has started - I have pulled out the handrails (stanchions made from split pins), removed the prop and rudder and started to sand down the hull so that I can see the split around the base better.  The black, red and white were Humbrol enamels.  I think the grey primer may have been a Halfords car spray paint - not completely sure!  I may need to sand it some more but I can see several places now where the base and sides seem to be coming apart.  Laker
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Laker

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2017, 09:13:19 PM »

I decided to go ahead with removing the base from the hull and it actually didn't prove to be very difficult.  The base was very soft pine (8 or 9mm tongue and groove) and I was able to use a sharp chisel to shave away the pine around the edges of the base until the whole base came away.  I could push the chisel through the pine by hand, no mallet needed.  I removed both parts of the base - the longer main piece and the shorter sloping piece up to the transom.  The photo shows the hull minus the base, giving a good view of the bread and butter construction inside.  You can also see a blackened area of wood on one side, about 6 or 7 inches in from the transom.  I think this is where the water was getting in and the wood has discoloured in this area.
The hatch is resting on two new lengths of clear pine - this is the wood I'm intending to use to put a new base on the model.
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Laker

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2017, 09:20:38 PM »

With full access inside the hull I did some cleaning up to remove a lot of old excess glue.  I also took the opportunity to enlarge the rear hatch which was originally very crude and plugged by a cork.  I made it rectangular and fitted some coaming around the edge so that it will take a proper hatch later on.  Then I sanded down inside and gave the whole interior two coats of primer and two coats of white paint.  I'm feeling a bit better about the project now - it feels as though I have got through the tearing apart stage and from here on it should be a nice steady build again.
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Laker

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2017, 10:34:04 PM »

The project is continuing slowly (work does get in the way) and I have now made up a new base and glued this in place.  The closest material that I could buy to the original tongue and groove softwood base was some planed clear pine which is about 10.5mm thick.  I glued two pieces together side by side and then cut slightly oversized pieces from this to fit the bottom of the hull.  Some care was needed to angle the front edge of the rearward piece so that it fits closely against the main base piece.  Then I used a good layer of aliphatic glue and plenty of clamps to fix the pieces to the hull as in the photo.  The second photo shows the base pieces glued in place.  Once the glue was set it didn't take long with a small razor plane and a sanding mouse to shape the new base pieces to fit the hull.   
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Laker

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2018, 09:15:56 PM »

The next two pictures show the new base pieces planed and sanded to shape.  I have also drilled out the hole for a new 8mm propshaft.  I have tried a little experiment at this stage by fitting three small brass sockets into the base of the hull.  The idea of these is to allow me to make a neater display stand in future - one which will support the model on three pillars with small rounded 'pins' that will fit into the three sockets in the bottom of the hull.  The previous stand was rather ugly and had arms that extended up the side of the model and I'm hoping I can do a bit better next time.  The brass sockets themselves are very simple shapes turned on my lathe.  I will let you know if the idea works later on!  My hope is that even if they aren't any use for displaying the model, they shouldn't do any harm to its sailing qualities etc.
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Laker

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2018, 09:23:51 PM »

The next step is to plank the deck.  I've started by gluing edge pieces all around the deck made from 1/16" mahogany veneer.  I have given this two coats of white primer, rubbing down between coats.  I have then given the edging an initial coat of matt white paint - I will give it a second coat after the planking is added and stained. 
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Laker

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2018, 09:32:02 PM »

On to the planking!  This is a good winter job that I can do indoors without needing any of the larger workshop tools.  The model is 1/36th scale and so assuming that the full size planks might have been 9 feet long by about 4" wide I have chosen 3mm wide stripwood which I am cutting into 3" lengths.  I'm using 3mm x 1mm limewood strip which is very fine-grained and lovely to work with. 
The planks are very small and so I am taking a shortcut with the caulking.  I have previously used the 'black cardboard' method on larger planks but for this model I am simply using 2 strokes of permanent black marker pen along one side of the stripwood before cutting and gluing the planks in place.  The initial effect is probably slightly heavier than I need and I am hoping to 'soften' the look slightly by rubbing down the finished deck before staining and varnishing.  The photo shows the first half-dozen or so rows of planks in place.
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Laker

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2018, 09:26:46 PM »

The planking of the deck is now finished - I think it took me about five sessions in all.  Some of the small edge pieces were quite fiddly, but the limewood (basswood) can be cut very finely with a scalpel and so it was only a matter of being patient.  The pattern used is quite simple, ensuring that the lengthwise joints between planks have three unbroken planks to either side of them before the next joint. 
Since these photos I have also sanded the whole deck down with fine sandpaper which does make the caulking fainter and more even.  I have started applying coffee stain to the deck as well - more on that next time.
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chas

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2018, 11:15:58 PM »

What a lovely job you're making of the restoration, I really like the deck planking. I get the feeling that you're enjoying the job and determined to make a brilliant job of it. The Molendinar is a seldom modeled good sailing boat that deserves more attention.
   Thanks for keeping us up to date with it.
Chas.
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chas

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2018, 11:25:35 PM »

I forgot to say, isn't lime wood wonderful to work with? One of the more pleasant materials in modeling.

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Laker

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2018, 08:49:12 PM »

Thanks for the encouragement Chas.  Yes I'm enjoying the restoration and you're right, limewood is always a lovely wood to work with.  I'll post another photo once the deck is stained and varnished - after that there may be a pause because I will need to wait for warmer weather to get back in the workshop to start fitting the propshaft etc.
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Laker

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2018, 09:31:58 PM »

Time has been flying by and there have been too many things keeping me away from the workshop but anyway there is a bit of progress to report now.  The deck has been stained with several coats of strong, instant coffee and then sealed with some matt varnish.  The rudder tube has been fitted and also the prop tube.  The original plan shows no support for the prop tube other than gluing it where it passes through the base of the hull and this is how my model was built back in 1982.  To make it a bit more secure I have made up a simple skeg from 0.7mm brass strip - this is wrapped around the prop tube, soldered together to make the strut up to the hull and then filed to shape the leading and trailing edges.  I have also primed and painted the inside of the hull to waterproof it. 
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Laker

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2018, 09:38:59 PM »

Painting the hull is next and as I don't have an airbrush it is being brushed.  I'm using Humbrol matt paints and brushing them on with a good quality brush about 1/2" wide.  After several coats of primer/ undercoat rubbed down between coats I have used Humbrol red/ brown to paint the red antirust coat below the waterline.  It needed 4 coats to get a good solid colour.
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Laker

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2018, 09:48:57 PM »

At this point I needed to fix the waterline in order to paint the black coat from the waterline upwards.  I didn't want to use the waterline from the original paint job because the model floated very low in the water originally.  The cause was the large and heavy 6V lead/acid battery that powered it originally.  I now plan to use a 1500mAh Ni-Cd pack which is much lighter and which allows the model to float very close to the waterline marked on the original plan.  To find the actual waterline I marked up the design waterline on white insulating tape applied to the bow and stern and then floated it in the bath.  Obviously this required loading up the model with all the intended radio gear, motor, sound system, hatches and everything I could think of that I intend to fit into the final model.  The photo shows the model with the tapes applied as it was floated.  As it turned out the model floats at the right level at the bow and slightly low in the water at the stern.  No ballast is therefore needed.
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Laker

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2018, 07:32:25 PM »

The matt black above the waterline and the matt white topping have now been added, again using Humbrol paints.  The black only needed two coats but the white needed three or four.  I'm starting to get impatient now, hence the picture with the hatches back on the hull!  I have done nothing by way of restoration to the main hatch yet.  The photo also shows the beginning of the little rear hatch.  This is built up on the coaming from 1/16" ply and it has been given a coat of white primer/ undercoat.  I will probably look back on this photo and think 'yes that was the summer of 2018 when the garden got scorched to straw'.
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Laker

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2018, 09:26:36 PM »

I'm now waiting for delivery of some 1 1/4" split pins (or cotter pins if you prefer) which will be used to make the stanchions for the handrail, as used on the original model.  In the meantime the hull and deck has had 2 coats of clear matt varnish.  I have also started making a little model electric windlass to go on the front deck, which looks rather open and empty.  It uses a little trick that I learned from Model Boats magazine, which is to use the tops from two golf tees to make the winding drums.  The rest is built up from pieces of balsa wood, thin plywood, a little bit of aluminium bar for the motor and some short lengths of brass wire.  The pictures show the basic parts and the assembly ready for filling and painting.
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Laker

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2018, 09:54:20 PM »

Good progress has been made now, starting with the stanchions and handrails which are all fitted, soldered together and painted.  I used 0.9mm steel wire to make the handrail to match the original model as closely as possible, threaded through the split pin heads.  I've also fitted the radio gear, battery, speed controller, motor and sound system - all shown in the photo.  The sound system is from Action Electronics and this is coupled with a 2" diameter waterproof speaker.  The sound system offers switches to select different diesel engine configurations and four potentiometers to set volume, rev rate and two controls on the sound characteristics.  I've selected a V12 diesel type and fiddled with the potentiometers until I was happy with the sound.  The sound is somewhat muffled when the hatch is fitted over the speaker, but there is plenty of volume control to make sure it is audible.
Space is limited inside this size of model, so I had to mount the RX, speed controller and sound system on top of the battery.  To do this I made a lightweight box for the battery from balsa offcuts and thin ply.  The battery is an old 7.2V, 6 cell Nicad type which still has quite a bit of useful life.  The 385 motor drives the prop shaft through a 2:1 ratio pulley set using thin O rings as drive belts.  In order to tension the belts I have arranged space to fit plasticard spacers underneath the motor mount, with long brass screws used to clamp the motor mount down onto these spacers.  The prlop is a 3-blade, 40mm diameter brass type.
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chas

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2018, 12:41:56 AM »

Hi Laker, that's coming along very nicely. I'm a fan of pully drives, and the neat double pulley you've installed is very nice. Very neat installation too. Great work.
Chas

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Laker

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2018, 09:39:44 PM »

Yes I needed to reduce the motor speed somehow to drive the same size 40mm prop as the original model but with a smaller 385 size motor and I like the quiet running of pulley drives.  I will need to take care setting the tension though.  This picture shows the drive a bit better.
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Laker

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2018, 08:57:26 PM »

Well it has taken about a year but I think the Molendinar Pilot Boat is now just about finished.  I have added some lettering on the hull, added the windlass and fitted a flag and a hinge to the mast.  The hinged mast can lie flat on the main hatch for transporting the model and it will allow me to make the box a few inches smaller when I get around to making a transport box for the model.  The main hatch has had a light rub down with very fine grit paper and then a couple more coats of matt varnish to restore a few areas where the original varnish had discoloured.  The original stand has been painted up using a leftover tin of green paint - perhaps not the colour I would have chosen ideally but a good waterproof finish for a stand that will be used at the lakeside.  I still intend to make a smarter stand for it, possibly supporting the hull using the three brass sockets that I fitted into the base at the start.
The model has also had its first float since restoration, at the Cheddar Steam Club, where it sailed for about an hour on the first NiCd battery.  It moves quickly enough to keep up with the local steam launches and it makes a nice wake pattern.  It has a turning circle of 2-3 meters and it will steer either way when going astern, although not very quickly.  The hull is of course very narrow at 4 1/2 inches and so it does roll in choppy water but it is stable enough with the battery mounted low down and I don't think stability will be a problem.  After an hour on the lake there wasn't a drop of water inside either.  All good fun and it brought back many happy memories from over thirty years ago!
I will try to get one or two photos of it on the water to post here in due course.  I may need to rope in a helper to hold the transmitter or the camera - I don't seem to be able to do both together!
If anyone has made it this far then I hope you have enjoyed it and who knows, perhaps someone else will be tempted to build another Molendinar Pilot boat?
 
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johnv

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Re: Restoration of Molendinar Pilot Boat
« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2018, 08:37:56 PM »

Hi it's John V looks like you have done a very nice job .Neat and tidy .Well done cheers John V
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