Midwest Liberty Tug - Fun to build! - RC Groups
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Jun 02, 2009, 09:14 AM
SSMA #01M9382, AMA #137824
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Midwest Liberty Tug - Fun to build!


I am mostly an airplane guy, but I've gotten more and more into r/c boats the last few years. Some of it is just a new found enjoyment and much of it is being a member of a great club, the Indianapolis Admirals R/C Boat Club (www.IndyAdmirals.org). I really enjoy the camradarie and enthusiasm of this club. Great bunch of guys.

The club owns 4 Midwest Liberty Tugs that we use for public events and to give spectators/kids something to run at our events. I have always liked them and bought a Midwest Liberty Tug kit on ebay a couple of years ago so that I could build one.

I've had a Midwest Boothbay Lobsterboat for about 20 years and I've built a number of Midwest's R/C airplane kits. Always a pleasure.

The sad part is that Midwest has announced that they are getting out of the R/C airplane kit business and they have quit producing many of their R/C boat kits, including the Liberty Tug! Very sad.
Last edited by HelloScott; Jun 02, 2009 at 10:05 AM.
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Jun 02, 2009, 09:16 AM
SSMA #01M9382, AMA #137824
HelloScott's Avatar
The woman that I spoke with at Midwest who told me that they were stopping production of most of their kits, said that, the other part of their business, "the educational kits used for schools and camps, is doing just great."

I assume the chinese ARF's have eaten them up on producing kits. In the r/c airplane world, its almost the same price now to buy a perfectly constructed airplane imported from China as it is to buy a U.S. produced kit. Sad, but true.
Last edited by HelloScott; Jun 02, 2009 at 11:19 PM.
Jun 02, 2009, 09:52 AM
SSMA #01M9382, AMA #137824
HelloScott's Avatar
The cover of the box calls this a "Beginner's Kit." Which I guess it is. But, getting things straight and true took a little doing I thought. The deck is die-cut, but the access hole in the center was a little off center in my kit. About 1/4" which I compensated for.

Also getting everything to bend around the stern and bow and align right would be pretty frustrating for a rang beginner. Someone with some kit building experience or wood working shouldn't have any problem.
Last edited by HelloScott; Jun 02, 2009 at 11:21 PM.
Jun 02, 2009, 01:03 PM
Sweeper Nut
Sweeper Nut's Avatar
Nice work on the tug scott. I started in RC aircraft too, I'm gettin the itch to start up again.
Jun 02, 2009, 03:40 PM
SSMA #01M9382, AMA #137824
HelloScott's Avatar
Start up again in boats or planes Mike?

My son got me interested in RC car racing a couple of years ago. So we've been doing that too. Its a blast! But, it is NOT relaxing, that's for sure! We run at www.HCRCracing.com in Danville, Indiana. I had no idea how techical cars are. You have to enjoy working on them and repairing.

Its all good!

{:>)
Jun 02, 2009, 05:29 PM
Registered User
Come on, Scott, post the pictures you sent me of the finished boat in and out of the water! You've done a superb job on the Liberty!

John
Indy Admirals
Jun 02, 2009, 07:28 PM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
Steam or electric power?
Jun 02, 2009, 10:37 PM
SSMA #01M9382, AMA #137824
HelloScott's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swift16
Come on, Scott, post the pictures you sent me of the finished boat in and out of the water! You've done a superb job on the Liberty!

John
Indy Admirals
I only had those few shots at work today. So, I had to wait until I got home to post the rest. Started this thread when I was eating lunch at my desk John!

John is the best club Newsletter writer east of the Mississippi and a dang great modeler! One of the Indy Admirals' best! (How's that for sucking up?)

{:>)
Last edited by HelloScott; Jun 03, 2009 at 10:39 AM.
Jun 02, 2009, 10:38 PM
SSMA #01M9382, AMA #137824
HelloScott's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kmot
Steam or electric power?
I used the standard Midwest MEPS motor. This is the MEPS III. Too much power with double packs. I'm going to run it with a single 7.2v pack.
Jun 02, 2009, 10:46 PM
SSMA #01M9382, AMA #137824
HelloScott's Avatar
These are some further construction photos.

In them you can see that I've finished the bumper around the perimeter of the hull and also the cabin. I used Rustoleum "Painters Touch" white sandable primer from Menard's for the prime coat on the hull. It sands easy.

For the cabin, I wanted wood. I love the look of stained wood and used regular coffee stir sticks that I got at my local BP Quickie Mart station. They were a pain to get on! One of those ideas that was really cool until I was about halfway done!

You might notice that the rear of the boat structure on the deck is actually curved slightly. So, each one of those little slats had to be cut to a special length and fitted to the one previous...ugh!

After all were on and sanded, I used stain and then an coat of Bullseye Amber shellac to get that nice warm color.
Jun 02, 2009, 10:53 PM
Registered User
Looking good!!!
Jun 02, 2009, 11:05 PM
SSMA #01M9382, AMA #137824
HelloScott's Avatar
I wanted to make sure that the tugboat sat properly in the water. In the instuctions, they tell you to ballast early on. I didn't do that because I didn't know the weight of all the batteries, radio gear and motor.

As it turns out, with the weight of double 7.2 packs, the Liberty sits just about at the waterline that is molded into the hull. Close enough for me anyway. I have a little correction to do side to side you can see in one of my bathtub test photos.

I used velcro instead of rubber bands to hold the battery packs in place as the plans showed. Velcro is a much better choice. The bands dry rot pretty quickly.
Jun 02, 2009, 11:16 PM
SSMA #01M9382, AMA #137824
HelloScott's Avatar
She took her first real run on Sunday morning May 31, 2009. It was one of those beautiful mornings with a light breeze in Indiana.

There is a little neighborhood lake down the street and I went there to run it. What a treat to see it finally underway!

With double packs, the MEPS motor is seeing 14.4 volts. That's fine for the motor, but too much speed for this boat. It would be ok in a straight line, but a hard turn by an inexperienced skipper and it might swamp. So, I've now cut it back to 7.2 volts.

I am using a dead pack on one side for ballast to counter the good pack. With the included Midwest wiper-type speed control, that gives me two speeds. Slow and slower. There is also reverse.

I've used the Midwest wiper style speed control in my Boothbay Lobsterboat for 20 years. Its worked fine. Occasionally, I had to clean the contacts, but other than that, its been carefree.

I'm really happy with the finished Liberty Tug!
Jun 02, 2009, 11:29 PM
SSMA #01M9382, AMA #137824
HelloScott's Avatar
Just to prove that there really ARE orange tugs out there, I found these photos on the Internet!

Go Big Orange!!!!


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