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Old Aug 22, 2014, 11:22 PM
Valiant Poultry
Gimpdiggity's Avatar
United States, MI, Jackson
Joined Apr 2012
772 Posts
Question
Zipp Tugster vs Vac-U-Boat Tug Jr for First Kit Build?

Hi everyone.

I've kit bashed a couple of RTRs, basic painting and detailing, along with hacking some wood and such.

I've got some extra RTR electronics from a few trucks laying around (ESC with reverse, 540 size brushed motors, and receivers) and I figured I'd give a little boat kit a go.

I like "scale" looking boats, but I also like them to be fun. For instance, I just finished a ProBoat Volere that I kit bashed with the passengers all characters from Scooby Doo, and the boat is named Mystery Marine...so, although it's a pretty scale looking boat for an RTR, it's got an element of just plain fun to it.

Anyways, I found the Zipp Tugster and was all set to make that purchase, when someone mentioned in a thread the Vac-U-Boat Tug Jr. I started looking at that, and now I'm in a bit of a conundrum.

I like both of them quite a bit. The Vac-U-Boat Tug Jr ends up looking a bit more realistic to me, but the Tugster looks like it would just be a plain fun boat.

Both kits with the shipping come out to well under $100, and that's probably including finishing supplies that I don't have on hand, so price isn't really an issue.

I'm a bit concerned about the Zipp being wood. I know you're supposed to seal it and all, but I'm worried that for my first build if I don't get that spot on I'll end up with a boat that gets some rotten wood in it. The Vac-U-Tug doesn't have that issue because it's all plastic.

Both seem like they can have a ton of accessories added to them in order to make them unique. I feel like I might be a bit better at painting the plastic on the Vac-U-Tug.

Anyways, I was just wondering if anyone can offer any insight into which build would likely be a better build to start with if I eventually wanted to progress to more complex boats in the future?? Is my worry about the wood on the Tugster even a valid issue, or is it something that I'm being a bit overcautious about?

Finally, does anyone have any input as to which is more pleasant to drive?? I use them on a large lake that can get a bit of waves going, but I generally use them in the evening so it's not a big deal. My Aquacraft Bristol Bay handles anything the lake throws at me just fine, for whatever that's worth.

Thanks!
Jeff

P.S. I know there's a HUGE thread about the Springer class tugs, and I'm in the process of going through it...but as of right now, I haven't run into anyone that's directly comparing the two in there.
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Old Aug 23, 2014, 01:52 AM
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I'm still working on my Zippkit tug, I bought it a week before I saw the vacu tug and I like the vacu tug alot also, I know how you feel.Since both kits are priced nice, and the cabin can be changed on the Zippkit I think I'm eventually going to build a Vacu tug and turn my Zippkit into a powered barge.They would look nice together that way and it would be handy being able to build hooks/booms that quickly detach from the barge to do utility work like recovery or running out bouys to make a speed boat course.

With building the Zippkit you can use any glue you wish, superglue, epoxy, water proof wood glue, etc.I'm using Titebond3 waterproof wood glue on the hull to make sure I have a gap free seal, superglue everywhere else to speed up the build and I plan to use Rustoleum clear coat to seal inside the hull, paint will obviously seal the exterior.

If you haven't built a wooden kit then you should try it.I'm also working on a Dumas Ace Sloop and that little kit has been very fun to build.
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Old Aug 23, 2014, 02:36 AM
Portland Oregon
United States, OR, Tigard
Joined Apr 2014
58 Posts
Greetings,

Either boat would be a great choice for a first boat. I would not turn the Zip Kit tug into a barge, I would keep it just as it is, something to go out and have fun with.

When it comes to sealing a wood built boat nothing seals it better than epoxy! What I would do is when I got the basic hull done is give the interior a coat of thinned epoxy, I use denatured alcohol at about a one part alcohol to two parts epoxy. This will allow the epoxy to soak into the wood fibers real well and water proof the inside quite nicely. On the out side I would use a straight coat of epoxy and think about laying a layer of 2oz glass cloth on the bottom at least to protect the bottom from scrapes and scratches. You can then leave the interior natural coloring without any other kind of paint, on the out side sand smooth, fill any small problems and then paint any color you choose. Remember to put CA in any screw holes, this will do two things. First it will harden the threads so they will last a long time and also seal the wood so no water can soak its way in around the screws. What I do is run the screw all the way in during the initial assembly and then when I get ready to do the final assembly I pull the screws out and then put a drop of thin CA down the hole.

To build a barge you can take 1/8" door skin plywood to form the hull to have fun with. When you build the barge remember to seal the inside and make it free flooding so that you don't have to ballast it down every time. How you make it free flooding is to seal the inside and cut holes in the bottom that the water can get in with and vent holes in the top so the air can get out. Then glue some Styrofoam insulation to give you the proper floatation. Umi can chime in on this topic much better than I can, she has built many barges over the years.

Andre
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Last edited by Andre Anderson; Aug 23, 2014 at 02:47 AM. Reason: Forgot something, wrong word
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Old Aug 23, 2014, 03:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Andre Anderson View Post
Greetings,

Either boat would be a great choice for a first boat. I would not turn the Zip Kit tug into a barge, I would keep it just as it is, something to go out and have fun with.

When it comes to sealing a wood built boat nothing seals it better than epoxy! What I would do is when I got the basic hull done is give the interior a coat of thinned epoxy, I use denatured alcohol at about a one part alcohol to two parts epoxy. This will allow the epoxy to soak into the wood fibers real well and water proof the inside quite nicely. On the out side I would use a straight coat of epoxy and think about laying a layer of 2oz glass cloth on the bottom at least to protect the bottom from scrapes and scratches. You can then leave the interior natural coloring without any other kind of paint, on the out side sand smooth, fill any small problems and then paint any color you choose. Remember to put CA in any screw holes, this will do two things. First it will harden the threads so they will last a long time and also seal the wood so no water can soak its way in around the screws. What I do is run the screw all the way in during the initial assembly and then when I get ready to do the final assembly I pull the screws out and then put a drop of thin CA down the hole.

To build a barge you can take 1/8" door skin plywood to form the hull to have fun with. When you build the barge remember to seal the inside and make it free flooding so that you don't have to ballast it down every time. How you make it free flooding is to seal the inside and cut holes in the bottom that the water can get in with and vent holes in the top so the air can get out. Then glue some Styrofoam insulation to give you the proper floatation. Umi can chime in on this topic much better than I can, she has built many barges over the years.

Andre
That's great advice thank you I actually found 3m epoxy for 99cents a tube at my local hardware store today.Does it matter what kind of epoxy I use?I have a few tubes of 2 part 5 minute 3M already but I can buy more if the 5 minute sets to fast.
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Old Aug 23, 2014, 03:18 AM
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PDX, OR
Joined Dec 2002
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Yes, the type of epoxy matter.
3-5 minute epoxy is really not water proof.
It has something to do with the fast cure.
30-45 minute epoxy in 4.5 ounce tubes is a better choice for sealing if that is all you can find.
Otherwise West systems, or Tap plastics Marine epoxy would be a better way to go.

Just plain laquer is also useful for sealing wood, and is available at a local Home Depot,
Lowes, or hardware store. Deft satin laquer will seal and fill wood grain. You can sand
between coats and get a great finish this way.

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Old Aug 23, 2014, 03:36 AM
Portland Oregon
United States, OR, Tigard
Joined Apr 2014
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I use System 3 epoxy just like you would use for building a full size boat. On You-Tube Chesapeake Light Craft have a series of videos on building their 16' kayak, the process of glassing the out side is the same for both a model boat and a full size boat, the only difference is that on the scale boat you can use a much light weight glass cloth (2oz) and that for a scale boat there is no need to glass the interior. Short of using the System 3 epoxy's, the ones that I prefer are the ones that most hobby shops sell by Bob Smith Industries. I use these for assembly, gluing the ballast in and the the through hull fittings. They will have the hobby shops name on the front but some where on the bottle will say "Bob Smith Industries" or "BSI", just ask they should be able to tell you. You don't want to use anything less than a 20 to 30 minute epoxy for two reasons, first you won't have enough time to get the job done and second the shorter cure times are not as strong as the longer cure times. The only place I use the 5 minute ones are for some assembly type of jobs
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Old Aug 23, 2014, 12:50 PM
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Prior Lake, MN
Joined Jun 2004
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If you have spare motors and such it sounds like the Tugster doesn't come with a motor. The Vac-U-Tug does come with a motor. No clue if that's a deciding factor for you.
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Old Aug 23, 2014, 02:04 PM
Valiant Poultry
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United States, MI, Jackson
Joined Apr 2012
772 Posts
Andy, thanks for pointing that out.

I do have spare motors and ESCs, but the inclusion of a motor in the Vac-U-Tug kit was something I had overlooked.

That brings the prices, realistically, to almost dead even. $90 for the Vac-U-Tug with a motor shipped, $80 for the Tugster with the hardware, Kentucky wheelhouse, shipping, but no motor.

This is a tough decision for sure!!
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Old Aug 23, 2014, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Gimpdiggity View Post
Andy, thanks for pointing that out.

I do have spare motors and ESCs, but the inclusion of a motor in the Vac-U-Tug kit was something I had overlooked.

That brings the prices, realistically, to almost dead even. $90 for the Vac-U-Tug with a motor shipped, $80 for the Tugster with the hardware, Kentucky wheelhouse, shipping, but no motor.

This is a tough decision for sure!!
Thanks again for your help everyone.

I had alot more experience working on plastic models, I'm glad I chose the Zippkits just so I can learn to glass these hulls like mentioned above.Its fun trying new techniques if I take the time to plan it.

Last night I needed to order some balsa wood and I was $15 short for Amazons free shipping so I ended up buying Revells Harbor Tug model.I collect micro and mini sized boats 10"-20".Once I saw the fiberglass hull that's available for the Revell tug it was a no brainer for me since i boat out of a backpack alot.Itll look perfect with my 10" boats.I'll probably have the price of the Vacu Tug invested in the little Revell kit though after I buy the fiber glass hull and electronics.
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Old Aug 23, 2014, 08:43 PM
Portland Oregon
United States, OR, Tigard
Joined Apr 2014
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Micro,

Why do you think they call this hobby a " disease". You never can have to many boats and there is always one that will catch you eye that "You just have to build"!

Andre
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Old Aug 24, 2014, 09:15 AM
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United States, CA, Orange County
Joined Aug 2011
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***CAUTION!, the "DEFT," now being sold at "most"(all, "big box") hardware stores in CA, and probably elsewhere, is a "Water Based Acrylic" version. It work's, sorta, but "nowhere close," to the Laquar based version.

As far as the two boat kits, the Zipp Kit is a push boat, and the Vac-u-tug, is a "pointed bow" tug. You can be a more "reckless," with a pointed bow, and not flood the deck. Truckable Pushboats, run to fast/hard, "without a barge", will burry the bow. Been there, done that, as this photo of a friends boat proves. Hope this helps answer your question.
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Old Aug 24, 2014, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Umi_Ryuzuki View Post
Yes, the type of epoxy matter.
3-5 minute epoxy is really not water proof.
It has something to do with the fast cure.
30-45 minute epoxy in 4.5 ounce tubes is a better choice for sealing if that is all you can find.
Otherwise West systems, or Tap plastics Marine epoxy would be a better way to go.

Just plain laquer is also useful for sealing wood, and is available at a local Home Depot,
Lowes, or hardware store. Deft satin laquer will seal and fill wood grain. You can sand
between coats and get a great finish this way.

I think I found the lacquer you sugguested.The directions on the can aren't the best, do I need to thin this stuff or just use my thinner for cleanup?

Also those are really cool fenders/buoys on your page, do you have a thread about your accessories anywhere? Nice work
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Old Aug 24, 2014, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptCB View Post
***CAUTION!, the "DEFT," now being sold at "most"(all, "big box") hardware stores in CA, and probably elsewhere, is a "Water Based Acrylic" version. It work's, sorta, but "nowhere close," to the Laquar based version.

As far as the two boat kits, the Zipp Kit is a push boat, and the Vac-u-tug, is a "pointed bow" tug. You can be a more "reckless," with a pointed bow, and not flood the deck. Truckable Pushboats, run to fast/hard, "without a barge", will burry the bow. Been there, done that, as this photo of a friends boat proves. Hope this helps answer your question.
This video made my jaw drop, I'm with you on the way the bow will dive.I'm just curious if its the length, or ballast that made this possible?Who ever built this did a great job, I'm only a hour from the Indy Admirals and I'm hoping I can make it to some of their events in the future.


TURBO TUG Indy Admirals R/C Model Boat Club Vac-U-Boat FAST Hoosier Burn Camp Tugboat (1 min 45 sec)
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Old Aug 24, 2014, 04:39 PM
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THAT, is what we call, a "WATER SKIING TUGBOAT."
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Old Aug 24, 2014, 11:07 PM
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PDX, OR
Joined Dec 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micromodder View Post
I think I found the lacquer you sugguested.The directions on the can aren't the best, do I need to thin this stuff or just use my thinner for cleanup?

Also those are really cool fenders/buoys on your page, do you have a thread about your accessories anywhere? Nice work
Depends on how quickly it is drying.
And I often do sand between coats. The satin filler acts like
sanding sealer, so as you build up coats, and sand back, the
wood grain will fill and eventually disappear.

I ran across a water based "laquer" once, and will never use it again.
I think it was a PARKS brand.

Here is a thread that shows some of the parts I make, and how to make them if you want to challenge yourself.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1427447

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