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Author Topic: 1963 Refinery Line Handling Tug Busby  (Read 808 times)

Steve Mahoney

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1963 Refinery Line Handling Tug Busby
« on: November 28, 2020, 09:02:00 pm »

You know the saying about going from a feast to a famine – well this is just the opposite. After not touching a model project all year I now have 4 builds on the go at once. Two are personal: the Maui (a 1971 17m Voith harbour tug) and the Tui, a 46ft steam river tug from 1880.

And now I have 2 commissions: the 15m Busby and the 11.5m Mahi.

While trying to track down some reference on the Mahi for a personal project I contacted the current owner. After seeing some photos of my Tika model he asked if I would be interested in making models of his two tug boats: the Busby and the Mahi, for him (photos 1 & 2). Well, I’ve got time on my hands and I like building tugs – so yeah, it’s a no brainer. Here we go!

I'll do the Busby first as I have a GA and hull lines – 1/32, display only. The Maui and Tui are back in the cupboard.

Busby and, identical sister ship, Marsden (photo 3) were built in Auckland for the Northland Harbour Board, and launched in 1963. They were designed by Burness Corlett & Co and built by Mason Bros in Auckland. 13.7m LOA, 23 tons gross, powered by two 300hp diesels with a 3.6 ton bollard pull. They were designed as line handling tugs for the supertankers calling at the then new oil refinery in Whangarei’s deepwater port. The tugs were named after Marsden Head and Busby Point which stand on opposite sides of the harbour entrance.

Burness Corlett were notoriously protective of their drawings, much the same as Damen and Allen are today. These two little tugs were standard 2 chine hulls and not 'Hydroconic' hulls which were patented by Burness Corlett so that may explain why there are still basic hull lines in existence. Sure makes my job easier. The whole 'Hydroconic' thing seems like a lot of smoke and mirrors now. There really wasn't anything startlingly unique about the hull design and I doubt that the patent would stand up to scrutiny these days.

Marsden and Busby were the smallest of the 6 Northland Harbour Board tugs. Parahaki and Raumanga at 39.4m/27 ton BP, and Herekino and Waitangi at 35m/22ton BP were all built by Brookes of Lowestoft in the UK. All 6 tugs were delivered in the early 1960s and at the time Whangarei had the most up to date fleet in the country. The Parahaki and Raumanga also served as rescue tugs for the top of the North Island and up into the Pacific. They are big bruisers but dated looking even when they were new. I quite like the look of them and built a 1/50 Parahaki a couple of years ago. (photos 4-7)

Parahaki and Raumanga were found to be underpowered and not as manoeuvrable as they needed to be and were eventually replaced. Marsden and Busby were also soon surplus to requirements and sold off.

Busby went to Auckland to work on the Manukau Harbour. Unfortunately she was smaller and less powerful than the Ports of Auckland tug (Manukau) she replaced and was ‘the right tug in the wrong place’. She certainly wasn’t meant to be handling ships up to 6500 tons on her own. This was borne out in 2001, when she couldn’t single-handedly pull the ‘Spirit Of Enterprise’ off the Motukaraka Bank after the ship had grounded.

Ports of Auckland didn’t waste time waiting for the inquiry’s final report, within three months, Busby was back on light duty in the adjacent Waitemata Harbour, carrying out tasks better suited to her size. She was eventually sold off in to private hands and has been through several owners. She is now with STF Marine and does general inshore/harbour duties around the Auckland region, everything from barge work to towing a dead whale of a beach.


She’s still in pretty good nick and I was able to get onboard recently and get a stack of good reference photos.
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Steve Mahoney

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Re: 1963 Refinery Line Handling Tug Busby
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2020, 08:02:43 pm »

Now onto the project:

The owner sent me a GA and some very basic hull section drawings for the Busby which were easily transferred into a cutting template for the major components. The hull drawings are pretty rough but I've worked from worse.


I also have a few photos of her out of the water which show some of the rudder and propellor details. They will be very useful. I was also able to get onboard on a recent trip up to Auckland and get a heap of good detail photos. As luck would have it the Busby was moored right next to another tug on my wishlist – the Tauhine, and I got a lot of useful photos of that as well. Great day for photos if it wasn't for that knobhead in the hat.

The Busby drawings are not 'as built' – the wheelhouse windows are not angled. I'll make it as it is now, as in photo 4. The frame lines are basic but adequate. Better than I've had for some of my builds.

As usual the keel and hull frames will be 36mm ply, and the deck is 1.5mm. The hull sheeting and superstructure will all be 1mm ply. I haven't used 1mm for anything this large before so it will be interesting to see how it stacks up.

Everything has been laser cut and is all ready to go. So... on with the show.
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JimG

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Re: 1963 Refinery Line Handling Tug Busby
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2020, 08:22:54 pm »

Are you covering the wood with paper when laser cutting?Is this to stop burning of the wood surface?
Jim
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Steve Mahoney

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Re: 1963 Refinery Line Handling Tug Busby
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2020, 08:45:24 pm »

Jim – it's actually to stop the parts falling way from the sheet during cutting. Both side of the sheet are covered, the bottom side 9away from the laser, has two layers. The laser doesn't cut through the second layer.
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Steve Mahoney

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Re: 1963 Refinery Line Handling Tug Busby
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2020, 10:50:49 pm »

Finally got started and it wasn't so bad after all. The hull framework slotted together pretty easily – with a lot of CA. The 6 packs it comes in also include a tube of CA de-bonding agent. That stuff is brilliant, unlike me who needed to unglue my fingers from the ply twice. Yes – twice. Doh!

Despite that the frame all seems straight and true, so far.

In hindsight I could have designed and laser cut a simpler, more elegant spacing/bracing system – but hindsight is always 20/20 – and you'll never see it once the deck goes on.
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Steve Mahoney

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Re: 1963 Refinery Line Handling Tug Busby
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2020, 11:23:27 pm »

I've managed to squeeze a few hours in at the bench between home maintenance, the usual pre-Christmas bedlam, and other tasks, and have installed the deck and stringers.

I haven't used stringers on any of my models before – always in too much of a hurry to get the hull finished. As this build is for a paying customer, I thought that I'd better approach it with a bit more of a professional manner and build it like some of the pros on this forum.

Turns out they are a good idea – the stringers, I mean. Really helps to get the curves nice and smooth and shows up any problems with the hull section alignment. Who knew?

Also attached the deck and covered it with Diamond Plate sheet. That hurt – US$30 for the sheet. Ow! It's a Plastruct product that is described as HO Diamond Plate 1/00. I'm pretty sure HO scale is 1/87 and this stuff looks perfect on a 1/32 boat so I think that the Plastruct description is a bit out. Strange type of styrene too, doesn't cut well. I think I'll stick to the tried and true Evergreen in the future.
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madwelshman

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Re: 1963 Refinery Line Handling Tug Busby
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2020, 09:40:49 am »

Really starting to take shape now.


I agree with you re the deck, looks spot on, to me anyway.


Will
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Dave

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Re: 1963 Refinery Line Handling Tug Busby
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2020, 11:01:08 am »

If feel your pain regarding other duties around the house etc. At least when the new year starts normal service can be resumed  ;)

I like the look of the checker plate but not the price  :o

But it's coming on well Steve
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Thanks and regards

Dave

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Dean's Marine

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Re: 1963 Refinery Line Handling Tug Busby
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2020, 01:29:05 pm »

Hi
with age it goes brittletry here a lot cheaperhttp://deansmarine.co.uk/shop/index.php/cPath/82_86

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Steve Mahoney

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Re: 1963 Refinery Line Handling Tug Busby
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2020, 06:31:17 pm »

Thanks Will and Dave.
Ron: Now you tell me!! I wish I had seen that $30 ago! I'll know better next time  :-))
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Steve Mahoney

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Re: 1963 Refinery Line Handling Tug Busby
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2021, 07:25:02 am »

So...

The hull sheeting went on OK. Working at 1/32 is all new for me and I'm surprised at how much glue I'm going through compared to 1/50.

This is the last section of the hull to go on. The next few photos show the work fairing out the bow and trying to get the chine lines smooth and sharp.

And the last few photos show the bulwarks and the aft capping rail attached. The bulwarks are 1mm ply and are surprisingly strong – even where I have sanded through a couple of layers of ply. The forward capping rail is steel tubing. I'll do this with styrene tubing but will need to pin it in place with some thin brass rod. Mañana.

Work on this one has now ground to a halt. I had ordered some props and shafts from The US in late November (none available in UK prior to Christmas) but they have been stuck in a US Post clearing depot in LA since December 8. Some rubdown lettering for a couple of completed models is suffering the same fate in Vancouver. Looks like the Maui and Tui will be getting a bit more attention.
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