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Author Topic: Occre Ulyses - a typical 60's Ocean going steam tug build  (Read 340 times)

leachim

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Occre Ulyses - a typical 60's Ocean going steam tug build
« on: March 25, 2020, 06:08:38 PM »

A year ago for my birthday, my dear wife bought me a kit to "Keep yourself busy". I had just finished making a Springer tug, that is still awaiting a maiden voyage, and needed something else to do. I have tried to take photos as I built the thing and some notes on how I got on along with comments on the kit and how easy or otherwise I found it. I will be posting on this thread over the next few days.
Ulyses is a plank on frame kit made by Occre (Occio Creativo) from Italy and comes delightfully packaged with laser cut ply panels, bundles of wood strips and lengths of dowel. Also included are two lovely sectioned clear plastic trays full of goodies including white metal castings for portholes, anchors, ventilators, tyre fenders etc. some brass strip and rod cotton thread and some fabric. The kit includes a brass rudder with plastic stern tube and a propshaft with a twin bladed plastic prop.
There is an instruction booklet with parts list showing the items on each laser cut ply sheet. instructions giving build steps supported by a booklet of colour pictures annotated with part numbers. The photos proved extremely helpful especially when trying to work out what the white metal castings were as they were not described in the instructions.
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leachim

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Re: Occre Ulyses - a typical 60's Ocean going steam tug build
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2020, 10:20:32 AM »

Forgot to mention last time that there were also full size plans with the kit with some very useful dimensions on.
Well first job was to look at the parts layout and mark all the part numbers on the laser cut ply bits. The Mowe 2 that I made with my grandson had the part numbers laser etched into them but not so with the Occre kit.
All marked up, the next job was to find a building board. Didnt have anything at home so a quick trip to the DIY store where I picked up a cheap pine shelf which was perfect for the job.
Releasing the laser cut ribs from their ply sheet was a bit of a chore but a sharp scalpel made short work of the retaining tabs and very soon I had a small pile of boat parts. I used some plastic corner joiners that I have had for years as support blocks to keep the false keel upright and with a small engineers square set to glueing the ribs in place with a fast setting wood glue. It rapidly began to look boat shaped. All the parts needed a little fettling to make them go together, all the little nibs where the parts were retained in their ply sheet needed removing and some, not all, of the slots needed easing. However all went together surprisingly well and quite quickly. This was going to be a fast build, or so I thought!

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leachim

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Re: Occre Ulyses - a typical 60's Ocean going steam tug build
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2020, 11:08:11 AM »

With my support blocks repositioned onto a couple of battens the hull could be flipped over and fully supported ready for the planking. Now the instructions say sand the edges of the ribs to achieve a good contact surface for the planking (or lining strakes as they call them). what isn't made very clear is how much needs to be sanded off the bow section of the false keel. The photos don't help much in this ares either. so assuming the keel strips, that are added much later in the build, need to glue to a flat area I sanded the bow of the false keel to leave a flat area the same width as the thickness of the keel plywood. If I built this again I think I would sand down to a point and then sand the planking back to form the contact area for the keel as I have been left with a bit of a step between the planking and the keel at the bow. However it doesn't really notice on the finished boat so I am reasonably happy with the result of my labours.
There were plenty of planks in the kit, so many that I'm pretty sure I could plank the boat again with the leftovers. The first plank was placed at the top of the boat near deck level making sure that 3mm was left for the bulwarks to fit, it's all in the instructions, first one side then the other. I'm glad I invested in a pin pusher as there is no way I would have coped holding the plsnks in place while trying to hammer the pins home. A combination of fast setting wood glue and thick cyanoacrylatewas used to fix the planks in place. Working from deck to keel and from keel to deck the planking progressed, slow but steady. I'm pretty sure that I didn't trim the planks correctly and am certain that I didn't take enough care sitting the planks down on the frames and butting them up to each other. When finished there were more areas where the edges of the planks stuck out more than I would have liked where the curve of one plank hadn't quite matched the bend in the next resulting in more filling and sanding than was strictly necessary. I also fell down on the photo front and can find no pictures of planking progress, only the finished thing. How long did this take? Far longer than it should because I got a little bored with the process and allowed the summer to get in the way so progress was halted for a few months. Anyway once I got back to it eventually the grind of planking was over and I had a reasonable looking hull on my bench.
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Tafelspitz

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Re: Occre Ulyses - a typical 60's Ocean going steam tug build
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2020, 03:50:45 PM »

That looks like a very nice kit your dear wife got you there. Lovely work so far!
I love tugs!
Dom
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Mark T

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Re: Occre Ulyses - a typical 60's Ocean going steam tug build
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2020, 04:04:22 PM »

I have to agree that is really lovely work and it looks like a nice tug too - I'll be watching your updates good luck with your build
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leachim

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Re: Occre Ulyses - a typical 60's Ocean going steam tug build
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2020, 10:40:38 PM »

With the outside of the hull planked there was a lot of filling and sanding to do. I give thanks to the "Mouse" sander that I acquired it was just the job and saved hours of scratching with sandpaper. Not the most exciting job in the modelling world and I'm afraid I set it aside more than once to do something more interesting.
I thought I'd make the funnel. The kit comes with a nice carboard tube for the funnel with three lasercut ply flanges to fit at the top, partway down and at the bottom. This is when I found my first major problem with the kit. The cardboard tube that I wasn't exstatic about as it looked like it would cause me problems with finishing was too small to fit the ply flanges! It wasn't a fraction too small but significantly lacking in diameter the photo below shows the difference. Luck was on my side though as I found a length of wastepipe that was the correct diameter so consigned the card tube to the bin. Completely out of sequence, making the funnel felt like a major step forward. With the flanges glued up and the funnel painted it was set to one side until it was needed.
Next step with the hull were deck plates ready for planking the deck with some lovely mahogany strips. The instructions state to glue the planks to the deck sheets then draw in the joints with a pencil. I had read somewhere that using a black sharpie on the edge of the wood strips works well so I did a small test and was pleased with the result. So each plank before being glued down was marked along the edge with a sharpie then cut to length, positioned and glued in place using thick cyanoacrilate. I challenge anyone to do this without getting stripy black glue encrusted fingers! Still the deck looked ok in the end, and the glue does eventually scrape off the fingers.
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derekwarner

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Re: Occre Ulyses - a typical 60's Ocean going steam tug build
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2020, 11:01:05 PM »

Realistically, your hull planking work is a job well done  :-))  as the underwater shape appears true and attractive [for the period]


One could say this is only governed by the frame profiles, however I disagree as the natural curve & flow of the individual planks also plays a very important part


Before completing the decking, you may wish to consider how, and your chosen method of waterproofing the hull internals, together with the installation of the mounting rails or frames supporting the boiler, engine & propeller shaft tube etc etc


Finally, the photographic image shown on the box top could suggest the top Black section of the funnel is smaller than the White & Blue lower sections.....so this would explain the [telescopic looking] differences in funnel section diameters?!  %)


An interesting thread....thanks for sharing & keep up the good work


Derek
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leachim

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Re: Occre Ulyses - a typical 60's Ocean going steam tug build
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2020, 10:58:03 AM »

Realistically, your hull planking work is a job well done  :-))  as the underwater shape appears true and attractive [for the period]


- Thanks!


One could say this is only governed by the frame profiles, however I disagree as the natural curve & flow of the individual planks also plays a very important part


- I agree, the plank curvature between the frames produced the lovely hull profile. The only problem I had was some planks curved more readily than others. Some were nicely curved wheras others seemed to want to stay straight. Easily sorted with a little filler but unnecessary work If I had been aware of the problem whilst planking I probably would have taken more time to provide smoother curves on all the planks.


Before completing the decking, you may wish to consider how, and your chosen method of waterproofing the hull internals, together with the installation of the mounting rails or frames supporting the boiler, engine & propeller shaft tube etc etc


- Had decided very early on that, having no experiance with steam, I would rely on electric power for the tug with a steam effect.


Finally, the photographic image shown on the box top could suggest the top Black section of the funnel is smaller than the White & Blue lower sections.....so this would explain the [telescopic looking] differences in funnel section diameters?!  %) 


- The funnel is the same diameter all down on the plans. The problem I had was the ply rings internal diameter was much larger than the diameter of the card tube so there was no way of glueing them in position without increasing the tube diameter in some way. The photograph shows the card tube sitting on top of my plastic tube funnel.


An interesting thread....thanks for sharing & keep up the good work


Derek
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leachim

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Re: Occre Ulyses - a typical 60's Ocean going steam tug build
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2020, 12:14:48 PM »

Whilst working on the hull and deck planking my mind turned to motive power. I had made a decision quite early on that I wasn't goint to fit a steam plant. I have no experiance of steam and didn't want to complicate a build that was already taxing my skills, after all it's my first plank on frame build! However I rather wanted to have the ship looking like it was steaming so I would need something to make steam come out of the funnel. On this forum is a very interesting thread on how to make a cheap steamer, I had a good read and turned to the internet to see what I could find. There were plenty of 12 volt ultrasonic humidifier units but I was really hoping that I could use one of my 6 volt battery packs to run the thing. I found a nice small ultrasonic 'donut' humidifier designed to float in a glass of water, this seemed ideal so I placed one on order. It came complete with a USB plug. Now I didn't want to cut the wiring so needed an USB power source so back to t'internet. There were several electronic circuitboards that would reduce  voltages down to 5volts. I found one that would take 12 - 4 V input and out put 5V via two USB sockets at a very reasonable cost, needless to say I ordered one then say and waited for China to deliver.
When the parts arrived I quickly cobbled together a test rig to see if it would work. The humidifier floated nicely in a tumbler of water, with the circuit board connected to a battery pack and the USB plug connected, the humidifier sent out a very satisfying stream of "steam". Blocking off the outlet with a piece of ply I placed the Funnel on the top and watched the steam come out. It needed something to push the water vapour out, a fan was needed. I found online a computer fan with a USB plug and so a plan came together. Using a plastic pot with a screw lid (it used to hold treasury tags) I cut holes in the lid and mounted a length of tube that would fit easily inside the funnel and the fan to the top,  fed the wire through and sat the donut humidifier inside the pot. I added a length of silicone tube for ease of filling and screwed the top on. Part filled the pot with water and plugged it in and it worked a treat! The fan was to fast and dispersed the stream of water droplets way to quickly so I fitted a variable resistor in line and turned the fan speed down. Perfect, I could now control the level of steam by controling the fan speed but have no control over the quantity of 'steam' produced. I think it looks ok but wont really know until I get the boat on the water. Overall I am very satisfied with the result.
Photos show humidifier package, first test, the steamer unit complete and a test in the almost completed boat.
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Tafelspitz

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Re: Occre Ulyses - a typical 60's Ocean going steam tug build
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2020, 03:56:02 PM »

Nicely done!The humidifier packaging looks like something out of the sixties or seventies  {-)
Dom
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Big Ada

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Re: Occre Ulyses - a typical 60's Ocean going steam tug build
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2020, 04:25:37 PM »

Nice build Mike  :-))

Len.
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leachim

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Re: Occre Ulyses - a typical 60's Ocean going steam tug build
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2020, 12:22:52 AM »

I should backstep here to before fitting the deck plates. The instructions suggest sealing the interior with varnish to help strengthen and waterproof the inside while you can still get in there. I had some Poly-C left from my Springer build and several coats later I had a nice waterproof hull, well inside anyway. Then on went the deck plates and deck planking.

 
With the deck finished the next step was to fit the bulwarks, 4 nice flexible pieces of laser cut ply two per side. I had expected to have to greatly trim these with the possible inaccuracy of the planking but was surprised how well the fitted. Just a small adjustment and they went together very nicely. a mixture of woodglue and cyano along with many clamps and the things were set in place. The instructions suggest painting the insides before fitting, I prefer not to try gluing paint so left them unpainted, yes I knew this would give me some possible problems when painting.
Next came the keel, this was in three sections again laser cut ply. Slight adjustment needed to match the curve of the bow and a decision needed with regard to the length of the keel extension under the rudder, easily sorted with reference to the plans. with bulwarks and keel fitted I had to finally get on with finishing the filling and rubbing down and sealing of the hull planking. I had decided that I would apply a fine fibreglass mat to the exterior to add strength and ease finishing (I had done this to my springer Poly-C and lightweight glassfibre cloth but that was nice and flat, Ulyses curved hull would be more of a challenge). It's always a little worrying as to how to prevent wrinkling but somehow the glassfibre went on nice and smoothly with no major wrinkles. Poly-C fairly odourless, quick drying and water based I found to be very user friendly and was very happy with the result. Once all was dry and set trim back the cloth and apply several more coats of Poly-C to fill the grain in the cloth ready for paint finishing.
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leachim

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Re: Occre Ulyses - a typical 60's Ocean going steam tug build
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2020, 12:43:07 PM »

Fairly early on in the construction of the hull you have to glue in a plate to support the motor. I had done this but needed to decide fairly quickly what motor I needed to drive the ship. I did a lot of reading through threads on this forum and came away almost as confused as I was before I started. There were so many motor / prop combinations and everyone seemed to have their own idea as to what was best. I had to start somewhere so took a decision.  I am rather old school and brushless motors are beyond my understanding so a brushed motor it had to be. I ordered a MFA 540/1 motor complete with stand and an Mtronics Viper marine 15 ESC to run it.
The kit came complete with prop tube, two bearings to be press fitted into the ends and a 4mm propshaft. This is where I found my second problem with the kit. The bearings were pressed home, took a little effort but we got there, and the shaft slid in nicely. I fitted the two blade plastic prop that had been supplied and gently rotated it. The shaft turned nicely then stiffened before turning freely again. It was binding somehow. I blamed my insertion of the bearings as I couldn't see anything wrong with the shaft. Muttering under my breath I placed an order for a prop tube and shaft to replace those in the kit and was very pleased when it arrived all ok. Out of interest I tried the new shaft in the old tube and it rotated freely! there wasn't anything wrong with the prop tube in the kit but something definitely wrong with the shaft which has now been consigned to the bits bin. With the prop fitted and breath held I carefully drilled the clearance hole needed to fit the prop tube. It wasn't as difficult as I feared and I was able to slide the tube home ready for glueing.
There are loads of comments regarding motor / shaft alignment, this needed to be my next priority. The propshaft seemed to be pretty much in line with the motor shaft when I sat the motor on its stand in the bottom of the boat. I needed an alignment jig. Two pieces of brass tube slid together 4mm i/d at one end drilled out to 3.2mm the other and I had a method of keeping the propshaft in line with the motor. So with the motor temporarily fixed in place and plenty of two part epoxy glue on the prop tube it was set aside to go off. 24hrs later all was hard and looking good. The shaft was removed along with the motor and placed to one side so I could paint the hull.
Woah! I had forgotten the rudder tube. Taking my life in my hands again I carefully drilled a vertical hole for the rudder tube, all done by eye bus with the assistance of an slot in the framework indicating the rudder location. That done the plastic rudder tube was fitted and glued in place. It needed a little adjustment to allow the moulded flange at the bottom of the tube to fit against the sloping rear of the hull but I achieved it and made certain there was plenty of epoxy sealing it to the hull.
Then out to the shed for some coats of Halfords filler primer to see wher we were hull shapewise. Several coats of paint, rubbing back, filling, rubbing back, more paint ensued until I was reasonably happy with the hull. Photo shows that I had progressed the superstructure as well but I will talk about that next time.

Several coats of paint, rubbing back, filling, rubbing back, more paint ensued until I was reasonably happy with the hull. Photos show that I had progressed the superstructure as well but I will talk about that next time.
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leachim

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Re: Occre Ulyses - a typical 60's Ocean going steam tug build
« Reply #13 on: Yesterday at 05:36:13 PM »

The superstructure, there are two main parts to this build. The wheelhouse/cabin and rear hatch covers (for want of a better description). The cabin constructed from lasercut ply panels which went together well once the little nibs are rubbed off with all the panels glued with a waterproof woodglue. Usual proceedure of sealing the wood prior to painting. The floor and walls of the cabin are lined with African Walnut, nice wood strips supplied in the kit. Two shelves and a line of coathooks added to the rear wall a bench seat and table to one side. A 'shelf unit' that supports the binnacle, control panel, levers and wheel made from two lasercut ply panels fits to the front of the cabin and the walls are then panelled as the rear. The windows are framed with walnut strips, very fiddly but looking great once done. I glazed the windows with some clear plastic sheet (acetate? maybe, collected from packaging over the years) getting the door to stay in place was a nuisence but eventually the glue went off and it stayed in place, slightly open looking like it's in use. I didn't glue the roof on as I wanted to fit working lights. The kit provides cast white metal lamps and two small dome shapes that took an age to decide where they went. Finally I worked out that they were supposed to be the cabin lights, I didn't use any of these a instead opting for LED lights. I will discuss the lights later.
The rear Hatch covers were cast white metal and quite heavy. I used them but for weight saving probably should have replaced them with scratch built panels that would have been much lighter. The covers fit into a wooden structure, lasercut ply again, looking rather like a small greenhouse. It fits on the rear deck over the aperture giving access to the motor and drive coupling. There is a further box that fills a hole in the deck over the drive coupling where it connects to the prop shaft. This box looks like a fish tray and would appear to be for containment of the tow ropes.
With the ply boxes glued, sealed and filled I painted them using matt white and matt mid grey Humbrol enamel. The colour scheme on the box lid which I quite liked.
It was a relief when they fitted in place with no problems, no adjustment necessary so I must have done something right. Along with these items I also added the capstain, a nicely turned piece of dowel whic I painted Gunmetal grey and black and a square patch of grid made from pre cut strips of wood that locked into each other very nicely making a large rectangle of grid from which two squares are required. One for behind the capstain the other on the cabin floor by the wheel. To finish things off I coloured some tissue yellow and roughly formed two oilskins to hang on the cabin coathooks. I also took the opportunity to cut down a 1:25 scale rail passenger that I had in stock, reducing him to 1:30 to match the scale of the boat and adjusting his arms to hold the wheel. Suitably painted, Fred now steers the ship.
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