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Author Topic: Ontario Tugboat information  (Read 1111 times)


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Ontario Tugboat information
« on: May 18, 2020, 04:04:53 pm »

Hi,[/size]I have a Tugboat from the 80's. This is made by OK MODEL Co., Ltd / RPM.I have owned it since kid and it still working properly. I don't have much information of this.

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Re: Ontario Tugboat information
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2020, 08:59:21 pm »

Hi Tumppi,

Well what a surprise! I thought I was the only that had built the OK MODEL's Ontario!
It was my first 'scale model' and I was very proud of it.   :-)

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Re: Ontario Tugboat information
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2020, 06:14:55 pm »

Nice boat Martin  :-))

So, is this rare / valuable ?

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Re: Ontario Tugboat information
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2020, 06:46:09 pm »

Very rare.... but sorry, not very valuable!

It was a very basic kit to start with and not very popular.
It's the economic / entry level / base model  version of a scale boat kit.

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Re: Ontario Tugboat information
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2020, 10:03:08 pm »

Hi Martin, I noticed your tug has a hook for towing, is this a common feature? I may choose to have a similar fitting on my 18.5cm tug. Definately simplifies things. I need to keep detailing fairly simple to survive travelling in a box in my rucksack.

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Re: Ontario Tugboat information
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2020, 10:56:34 pm »

Yes, it was a fully working metal tow hook, an after market item... long out of production now.

 The whole area was beefed up to support the hook.

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Re: Ontario Tugboat ( Build blog from 1988 ! )
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2020, 12:30:54 am »

 Hey! I found the build log!

  OK MODEL Co. - ONTARIO Tugboat Kit

  Running name "ORTON"
  Semi-scale tug boat, electric 'slow ' 540 motor & 2 channel radio.
  Shop...........Howes Model shop, Oxford.
All  my boats up till now have been sport  or  speed  boats,  but now for   something different,  a nice slow scale tug boat.
It's main role would be to  tow in my dead IC boats back to shore,  but if  it turned out good enough I  could enter  it into
scale steering competitions in the local scale club. 

Until now,  I have been using my "Rescue  One" ie. the MFA PIRANHA,  but when I saw this ABS tug boat kit in Howes Model,
complete with running   gear, motor,  [mechanical] speed controller  and fittings for 40 (1988) I couldn't pass up the offer. 
An  ABS(?) plastic hull, 650 x 175mm.  This will be an ideal kit for your first scale model if you can get hold of one (1988).
Even if you can't get  hold  of  this particular  kit it is similar to other kits such as the Robbe  Neptune or HFM  Marine's OCEAN tug
as much of the construction  techniques  are similar.

The ONTARIO has a one piece hull and deck,  the rest of the  main  parts such  as cabins,  bridge,  funnel and hatches all also
ready made in ABS.  Most of the parts only needing careful cutting out,  fitting and painting, the surface finish of ABS is very shiny!
The  cutting  lines are slight groves in the ABS,  highlight these lines with a felt tip  pen or pencil. Trim out the parts with a very
sharp Stanly knife or scissors. If you use a knife, score a light groove to  start  with then gradually deepen it on  progressive cuts
but don't try and cut right through. Flex the groove and  the  ABS  will  cleanly split along the line.   There is no easy  way  of   
cutting the bits out and some of the corners are real tricky.
Also    included   in  the  kit  is a  wooden  stand. It's a nice touch, including  the   stand because it usually one of the first  things
you   need   and it's not the first thing you feel like scratch building  when  you've  just  bought your new kit. The stand is a little
on the weak side but easily beefed up for carrying the boat as it's quite  heavy  once ballasted.   

Other   fittings  also  included  were  a  motor   &  mount,  coil / resister type speed mechanical controller, propeller,  coupling,   
bow  protector, rubbing strip,   brass wire etc.   Some parts you may feel like replacing such as the bollards, cowl vents  and  towing
gear  as  these will take a  lot  of  work  to  make   presentable,   whereas you can buy these  parts ready made.  I bought new
bollards, vents,  tow gear and replaced the shaft for a brass and stainless  steel  one and the ball and socket coupling for a Marx double
KARDAN type.
The kit comes with a plan sheet in Japanese and English ......  it's hard  to tell  which is which.  There are no step by step instructions 
but  their is  7 photo  sequence of  assembly which all that really needed.  Even if you   haven't  built  a  model   boat  before  this 
shouldn't    present  any  problems  as  the logical steps are obvious. 

Only use Stabalit Express or a  good Superglue on an ABS boat. 
All  the internal work is done before fitting the deck as this gives  you more  room to work with.  Bear-in-mind that access to 
the major internals gear will be necessary, for repairs and maintenance once the deck is glued on.  The motor and  battery mount 
sits  on the bottom of the hull which support the motor and  gives the  hull  extra strength.  The included motor was a 540 but a 
nice very low revving type and didn't require replacement. Power would be from a 6v  Nicad. 

Next fit the woodwork in the bows having water proofed it  first.  Install the shaft, motor and coupling making sure the  alignment
is as good as possible. The  plastic  KARDAN coupling ensures minimum power loss in alignment.... even with quite a poor installation!   
These  couplings  are not incredibly strong so are not to be used  on high power installations.  An oiler  tube was  added  to the shaft
and the pathetic looking two bladed   propeller  replaced with a brass four  blade brass one.
Make  the rudder and  lower support need to be made up carefully as  once it's  been fitted they can't be removed.  The lower support
is made up of   four  strips of ABS glued together was smoothed of fettled to allow for a bigger propeller to be fitted  if  required. 
A  brass  servo  mount bush was also  fitted to act as a bearing to  prevent wear on the lower stock. 

The radio was installed next and the link made to  the rudder.   I   didn't use the  included  speed controller but  fitted a  5 Amp 
'BOB's  BOARD'  controller   on  top  of a servo.  'BOB  BOARDS'   are my favourite   speed controllers for  electric  boats, as they 
are  simple &  quick  to  fit    and  provide good control at  low  speed. ( ESC still very expensive back then !)
With most of the running gear in place the deck can be fitted. Access through the deck  opening  is  limited  and getting at the
radio is possible but not easy,  so it   pays  to get the mechanical installation as good as you can now. As much as I tried I wouldn't
be  able to get to all the radio gear with deck in place.  I had a  brain-storm  and stuck down with clear silicon sealant so if I did needed
to  do major internal work the deck could be removed without ruining the   boat. ( NB. This lasted the life of the boat with NO ISSUES! )
A  SGH  rubbing  strip would strengthen the joint being  tacked  on  with  Superglue at regular intervals on the upper deck only.
The rubbing strip covering the join which could  be  pulled off and the joint opened with a knife in an  emergency. The  SGH rubbing strip
is thicker and more able to take knocks than the flimsy one  supplied in the kit.  The joint  has  proved  strong  despite how dubious
it sounds!
The    cabins  and  bridge were made up as per plan  with   the   railing  taking ages to make up. I used the supplied brass wire and
soldered  sanctions to the rail. ( I should have stretch it a little first to straighten it... ) Holes a drilled for the stations glued in with Stabalit.
A brass wire ladder was made up for  the crew  to  get  to the hydrants and fitted to the   starboard   side.  I painted  the  railings  and 
ladders  red,  they don't look too bad  when you  stand  back ...   quite  a  long   way.   The jib crane was made up  from   1/8  brass  tube  instead  of  the  supplied bamboo and bent it to a   pleasing  curve.     The  funnel in the kit made the boat looked  too  "American",
so I  made up a new one  from  balsa and Isopon which  was filled   and  sanded until  I had a more European funnel.  This was quite an
achievement for me, scratch building something that actually looks like what it's meant to look like!

I didn't bother with the masts and rigging as I  felt   that I would  quickly damaged with rough handling,  only  a   spring  steel  aerial
for the radio was fitted.   
The superstructure only sits  on the  deck and the  plan shows the towing gear was to be  fixed to the rear of it,  this was not going to
be strong enough to tow heavy loads so a modification was required. I had  bought a Aeronaut metal  towing  hook  from   Midway Models,
Leicester [ ]  and made   up   a   right  angle  stainless steel sheet bracket to sit  on  the  platform   between the   engine room  hood  and   the  cabin.   A block of  wood  raised  the  towing  hook support 
ring  (? nautical name ? )  to a level where it  would  not  foul the engine cowling.  The hook   is  then  bolted  to the top of  the  bracket,   
the bracket was screwed down to  the block,    the  block screwed  and Stabalited down to the deck. The  cabin then sits right up against
the bracket and doesn't look too bad.

Everything    above  the deck was then painted light gray  as   I   don't  know what  the real colour should be ( I had no internet back then). 
I knew I would make a hash  of   cutting  out  portholes and windows so I cheated,  the portholes,  doors  and  vents   are drawn on with a
fine waterproof fibre tipped  pen and  matt black painted.  The  funnel  was   painted  black,  wire   was   striped  of it red coating and applied
to the  edge  of   the   wooden   screen   in front of the bridge.   Two  Graupner   fire   hydrants   were   fitted  above  the  bridge.   
I did plan to made  these monitors functional but never did....   
False     navigation   lights  were  also   fitted  above  the    bridge.  Bollards   were  Superglued  in place around the deck where  they 
looked about right and   the same goes for the vents. Other fittings are  life  rafts,  life belts,  hawser,  capstans,  extinguisher,  piping etc.
Some  of  the parts  are  taken  from unmade plastic kits of roughly  the  same  scale. Large   areas  with  no detail gives away scale boats
so break  up  these  expanses  with some sort of detail which draws the onlooker in  and   the  model then becomes larger in the minds eye.
The  Plimsoll or water line needs to drawn on the hull.  The waterline is  taken  from  the plans and transferred to the bow and stern of the  hull.
Sit  the hull in it's stand and on a flat table and adjust the height  of the boat stand so that the bow and stern marks are level. Set a pencil
on a  block  of wood or in a third hand vice to meet the marks  then  simply  trace  the pencil around the boat to meet the two marks and 'Hey  presto'  you  have a half decent Plimsoll line (fig b).  The  hull was painted   satin black  above  the waterline and matt  red below. 
The  white  waterline is Model  Technics sticky coach line and just wide enough to cover the wobbly paint join. The same coach line is also
used around the  funnel.   I  wanted my boat to gain a weathered and used look so I didn't  varnish or fuel proof the paint work,  if you want the paint work to stay   the same as when you finished it then some sort of varnish is essential. ( It turned in to just a " banged up model" in the end, rather than weathered! Plastic doesn't rust... )

The  lettering  is of the rub down type and the shiny anchor is stuck on  with  Superglue.   The  "Speedbird"  on the funnel  is  sticky-back-plastic.  The  cabin,   engine  hatch and  rudder gear  hatches  are all  tied  together  below  decks  with  plastic string to prevent loss at sea. 

The kit was easy to put  together taking only 8 hours to build and another 10 to paint and "detail".
I  tested the boat in the houses "internal heated test tank".  I  was  running   without  any ballast  and so the hull was more sitting  on the 
water  as opposed to in it,  and being naive, I didn't  think  that this  would matter much.   I had built the tug in the same manor as all my
speed boats ie. building  as  light  as possible and using polystyrene and air  bags  for buoyancy.

Down at the lake on her maiden voyage  I   soon found out why scale boats do need to be properly ballasted! It sat upright, very high but
when I  opened the throttle all the propeller cavitated and just produced fizzy water!
The boat did work, sort off and looked OK but wasn't able to tow the  skin of a rice pudding.
Back in the bathroom I pressed down  the  hull with both hand and was surprised how much effort it took to get  the boat down to the
waterline. I was even more surprised to see how much lead  it  took to achieve the correct waterline!  I  used car  wheel  balance weights
begged off a car tire shop. 
There are several different schools of thought about distributing ballast   around  a  scale boat; 
1) a central bulk weight low and central  in  the  hull,  even underneath like a yacht's keel,
2) two ballast boxes fore and  aft &
3) ballast distributed evenly around the hull. 

Method 1) makes for a very stable ship but is not always practical as the motor usually needs  sit on the hull bottom and external keels on
ships look silly.
2) Is much  more  widely used as it is the simplest to install and adjust to get  the  correct  waterline. 
3)  Follows full size practice as the majority of  a ships weight is spread over the entire vessel but concentrated around the  bottom, 
     this  method might make your model roll around a little too much if the wind get up.
Ballasting  the bow was difficult because of the bulky woodwork so strips of  lead sheet are laid against the hull walls next to the  battery.
Care with hull loading. Not too much load over a small area! 

Sea   trails showed that I hadn't got it quite right yet as when I applied full astern the propeller could still break the surface and loosing it's
pulling power.  An  ABS  stern bulkhead was then fitted over the prop  shaft  and  Stabalited  in  place.  Some  lead  was lost from the  main  ballast  and  re-positioned  behind  the  new  bulkhead  and  over  the  propeller.  The  propeller  now stayed in the  water all the time. 
At  full  throttle, it must  be  doing a scale speed of about 60 mph ... but the extra power was useful when  pulling  in heavy waterlogged
IC boats.  I first fitted a Nicad 6v 1.2 AH which  could provide enough  pulling power for a couple of hours but  has later upgraded to a 6v  4AH Lead acid battery (SLA) that lasted all day long..... and   most of the week as well. 
And  that's  about it,  an easy to put together kit that didn't make me feel  that  I  had  taken on too much  half  way  through  construction!
Building  was  easy and swift taking only about two weeks of spare  time. The hardest job was the reshaping of the funnel and painting. 

Rescuing and towing is achieved by an attaching a line of about 2 or 3  metre to the tow hook and a small  brightly painted buoy  on  the
end,  a   small plastic  bottle or the like.  I then circle the dead boat  with  the  float  trailing  behind,  eventually snaging the line  on  the 
dead  boat's propeller or rudder as the line passes under the hull,  circle the boat once more to make sure then tow the dead boat in backwards!
With a little practice this can be  done quite quickly,  first time and at great range.

 Just for fun I entered a local model club's steering competition and came  third  in the stand-off scale class scoring 96 from 100.
I think I came third because there was only three boats entered in this  class,  but you never know there could have been some others
that I hadn't  seen.... I hoped!    I had lost the points on the reversing gate and was told that if a  KORT  nozzle would facilitate much better
handling when going.  One  was easily made   out  of a plastic top of an aerosol can that  just   happened  to   be  the  right  size for the propellor.  It was cut up and shaped  to   fit  around   the  rear   of  the  hull  and  lower  rudder  support  and  Superglued in place. 
Handling is but much better astern now but not perfect as very  few single screw boats are.
The  radio did show some interference problems, this was solved by removing the whip aerial and the receiver wire connected to the long
rudder linkage, that was almost as long as the whip aerial anyway.  The rudder linkage had plastic clevises on each end and I had had no problems after that. After a while, I  stripped   out and maintain the radio gear.   The gear was second hand and I hadn't properly serviced it
before installing it.  This was rectified by a good clean out with safety solvent and covering the bottom of the receiver PCB and servos PCB
and gears with  silicon   grease.  DON'T ATTEMPT THIS IF YOU ARE THE LEAST BIT UNSURE  OF   WHAT YOU ARE DOING, but it will help
protect the gear if it gets drowned.

I   had  to  split the hull join to remove deck and get the radio  out so
I was glad of the silicon deck join which made this possible.
The ORTON moves very stately, if not a little fast. There is a  great shot of a swan getting rather annoyed that I should dare get  close
to   him   on his lake and gives a clearly audible hiss to warn me   off,   ORTON  didn't  argue and backed off at full astern. 

Because this boat is nice and slow it's the only boat that I feel safe to let my  wife  when  she used to come boating.   
Why  is it that when you give your  wife  a  transmitter and tell her "Don't  go  near  the reeds,"  that's the  first  place  she heads to boat to?
Maybe she's trying to tell me something....! 

  'Slow' 3-pole 550 motor
  Brass 4 blade 40mm propeller
  KORT nozzle
  5 Amp Bob's board speed controller
  YUASA 6V 4AH battery
  Accoms 2 channel radio
  PERSONAL RATINGS (out of 10)
  Value ..................... 9 (Motor, controller included)
  Kit Quality .............. 8 (A few parts need to be replaced)
  Kit Design .............. 7 (Layout has been well though out)
  Ease of Building ...... 8 (No real problem)
  Finished appearance .6 (Lets not kid ourselves here)
  Handling ................ 8 (Difficult to revers without KORT)

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