Tug Alfred alias HMS Corona!! – Built by Tony Richards 

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A PBM Model

(Patrick and Blunt Models Ltd) built from the plans and materials that I had around the house plus items purchased through Cornwall Model Boats. An interesting challenge made more challenging by the fact that I did not have the “Vacuum Formed Parts” eg Cabin, Funnel etc etc. However, the biggest benefit has been that it has kept me busy over the past year during the Corona Pandemic.  

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Phase 1 – The Hull is built around a keel mostly exploiting balsa wood blocks and a simple plywood skin. A Work Zone Profiling Tool purchased from Aldi UK proved very useful to achieve a symmetrical shape on what was quite a complex hull profile.  

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Next challenge was the brushed 600 motor drive assembly, propellor shaft and rudder. The propellor is fitted below the waterline meaning that the propellor must be watertight solved with a Raboesch Waterproof Propellor Shaft. New one to me! The drive end of the propellor shaft is in the bottom of the boat requiring an offset belt or geared drive solved by using RC Model Car drive gears and bearings mounted on a fabricated drive plate.  The propellor and rudder was a compromise. In hindsight I should have fitted a torque tube!!! 

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Phase 2 – Deck and Superstructure. The deck is fairly straightforward. The vacuum formed superstructure I was supposed to use but didn’t have probably represented the biggest challenge. Fabricating the cabin and funnel in plywood and balsa wood took some patience. Essentially it is a 2mm plywood frame finished with 0.5 mm plywood on a 3mm plywood base. The funnel is solid balsawood somewhat easier!  

Phase 3 – Deck Finishing 

Oh boy I had a lot to learn about the workings of a Tug Boat. What is a “Gobeye” well I know now that it is the strong frame with a hole in it through which the tow rope passes!! What are the Navigation Lights required for a Tugboat shown to the front, side and rear!! Plenty of Internet searching to find all the answers!!! 

Most of the deck fittings were unobtainable. I will mention a few interesting items on the deck. 

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Lifeboat – The Lifeboat is a solid piece of balsawood covered in fine hessian, the lifeline ropes are sail rigging chord and the lifting frame cut as were all the boat components on 1930s A1 Hobbies Pedal Fretsaw. The ropes are 2.5mm copper wire.  

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Description automatically generatedWinch and Towing Gear – Once again plywood cut on the fretsaw and copied from internet images. The towing frame is 3mm brass rod soldered. The bollards round headed bolts and brass tubing.   

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Description automatically generated with low confidenceRope Recovery Winch – As Winch and Towing Gear. 

Masthead and Aerial Masts inc lights – Fabricated from 3mm brass tubing and 1.5mm brass strip. Bonding is a mix of solder and araldite. I cheated with the Billings Lamp Holders!! The Lamp Holders have been modified to take 3mm LEDs earthed through the mast and powered by a single wire fed through the brass tube. Mast top light was fabricated and fitted with a flashing 3mm white LED. Quite challenging but now very effective at night.  

In summary the components of this model would have been difficult to fabricate without the use of the Vintage Hobbies A1 Fretsaw. Ironically there are a few for sale on E-Bay. The Model is nearly completed now and awaiting a chance to take it down to King Lears Lake. Hopefully in the not too distant future.   

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