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Jul 29, 2009, 01:37 AM
Nickel Belter
ZZ56's Avatar
Thread OP
Build Log

Great Lakes freighter build

Hi all,

I decided to crosspost this here from the ModelBoatMayhem forum for those interested.

The hull was built from plans for the M/V 'Canadoc', with some modifications to simplify it. The superstructure is built to scale, but to my own design. This is the first boat I've built.
The beginnning:

Where she's at now:

Currently waterproofed, didn't leak a drop during her flotation trials, waiting on radio. The center is a free-flooding chamber as suggested by MBM, just need to make air vents disguised as man-hatches
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Jul 29, 2009, 02:08 AM
Registered User
tweety777's Avatar
Hello ZZ56,

Have these ships got a double bottom?
If that is the case they're most likely to be used as tanks, and tanks allways have ventilation.
In the case of a double bottom you can build normal vents that are really working besides the raised center deck.

What kind of cargo will be transported by this ship?

It looks pretty good yet, can't wait to see her on the water.

Greetings Josse
Jul 29, 2009, 02:12 AM
Nickel Belter
ZZ56's Avatar
Thread OP
Thanks Josse

I don't know if all of them have double bottoms, most have cargo hold vents on the sides of the deck. Unfortunately, they are too delicate in this scale to work right- the force of air would cause them to blow out. The man-hatches are a little over a quarter inch square and can hide a fair size hole in the deck, allowing air out faster. I'll still put in the vents, i'll just make them out of solid rod.

This is a model of a bulk carrier, most of the trade on the Great Lakes is either metal ores, aggregates, or grains. Most package freight nowadays goes by truck or train.
Jul 29, 2009, 02:34 AM
Shanghai'd Expat
herrmill's Avatar
Very impressive for a first time build & will certainly make an imposing sight on the local pond!

Please post some more photos if you wouldn't mind.
Jul 29, 2009, 05:28 AM
Where's Pamela?
patmat2350's Avatar
Looking good! Don't forget to check out the Laker modelers at, if you haven't already (no reason to go so far afield as Mayhem, though they're a fine lot over there). There is info at GLMA about pumped ballast systems, especially useful for HO scale thousand-footers. With free flooding, not so bad on a smaller model... but don't forget, when you first pick the model out of the water, it's still fully ballasted! Bring your back brace.
Jul 29, 2009, 07:09 AM
"day ain't over yet-"
der kapitan's Avatar
ZZ56, your project looks good, and I hope you have a long mantlepiece to display it when it's finished.

Seeing as you intend to operate it, consider adding a bow thruster, as it will be a bear to control in a crosswind---.
Jul 29, 2009, 09:29 AM
no wings any more, just dust!
Ghost 2501's Avatar
For a first boat, not a bad effort, better than some we see on here, (mine included)

seeing it with its small super structure on really does give you an idea just how big a lakes boat really is!

Idea for the hatches, rather than have them as the vents, route via pipes the vents to the ships exhaust funnel, and have the quarter turn valves mounting the vent pipes on them. Inside the "free flooding area, it is important to fit baffles, otherwise you will find the sloshing around of the water, induced by turning and manouvring could capsize you, (hence why road going mosy big-rig tankers are now baffled and multi compartmented, so many roll overs caused by the sloshing around of the cargo) - a hole in Nordie's hull caused her to fill up and sure enough she almost capsized by half an inch of water sloshing in the hull. it was also only a few inches of water that rolled the car ferry herald of free enterprise when the car deck flooded. Your model could be just as vunerable

As for the crosswind problem, I dont think it will pose a problem, fully laden these things sit low to the water, and its partly that problem that scuppered the Edmund Fitzgerald, also bow thrusters are not meant for running for long periods of time, they tend to be better for short bursts.
Jul 29, 2009, 04:21 PM
Old wreck in Milwaukee
Prins Willem's Avatar
Great job! I went through my photos looking for any that might help you out. Problem is you can only get so close to a working boat. I did have some photos I took some years ago on the museum ship William A Irvin in Duluth MN. Those will give some details like the hatch fasteners, and the emergency steering tiller on the poop deck.

If anybody is interested I have more pics of other boats I can post. All are more distant shots so are no real good for detailing.
Jul 29, 2009, 10:00 PM
Nickel Belter
ZZ56's Avatar
Thread OP
Thanks for all the comments.

It's a little bit late for a bow thruster now. I considered it but the cost and difficulty (and nervousness over punching holes in my hull) turned me off. Perhaps next time. The real thing didn't have a bow thruster for all her life, so it must be possible to maneuver one without.

As for the ballast chamber, there are two layers of pink foam at the top of it, so when fully ballasted down it floods up to the level of the foam and stops the water sloshing around. When i take the weight out of it, the buoyancy of the bow and stern lift it up higher in the water so i can (hopefully) lift it out with only ten or fifteen pounds of water left in it. If that doesn't work out, I'll look at a beaching trolley.

EDIT: thanks for that link, Patmat. I'm glad the webmaster is maintaining the site again, it's a real treasure trove.
Aug 11, 2009, 12:20 AM
Nickel Belter
ZZ56's Avatar
Thread OP
Little update: paint is on, hatch covers are almost done. It went by faster than i thought.

Had her first true controlled run, although i fried the speed controller the night before so it was just a direct connection from the battery to the motor. Handled well, needs more power and more ballast, so im upgrading to a 12v battery.

Need to add a rub rail to each side of the hull and the anchor hawse holes.

Last edited by ZZ56; Aug 11, 2009 at 12:35 AM.
Aug 11, 2009, 05:13 AM
Registered User
Guard-Officer's Avatar
That is really looking awesome, a fine job you are doing there. the Laker Captains are very skilled ship handlers, with some practice you can have it pretty well mastered. I am curious, what scale did you build her at? a good friend of mine has a model of the CCGS Samuel Risley under construction to 1:50, would be pretty cool to see the two in a pond together!
Aug 11, 2009, 08:44 AM
Registered User
looks you need a little g tug
Aug 11, 2009, 03:28 PM
Nickel Belter
ZZ56's Avatar
Thread OP
Originally Posted by Guard-Officer
That is really looking awesome, a fine job you are doing there. the Laker Captains are very skilled ship handlers, with some practice you can have it pretty well mastered. I am curious, what scale did you build her at? a good friend of mine has a model of the CCGS Samuel Risley under construction to 1:50, would be pretty cool to see the two in a pond together!
Hi G-O

I built her at 1:96 scale (one-eighth inch to the foot). That was the scale the plans came at. At 1/50th she'd be just over 12 feet long... a bit too big, i think.

Maybe your friend can come break some ice for me, with this terrible wet summer plus mechanical difficulties, I'm probably going to end up having her running by november.
Aug 12, 2009, 12:29 AM
Registered User
tim slocum's Avatar
ZZ56, Great job!! She's looking really good.
Aug 12, 2009, 12:07 PM
Registered User
Guard-Officer's Avatar
if your closer to 1:100, i have you covered with my icebreaker then! November is better than not at all! you said you burned out an ESC? I use NOVAK ESC's and they have worked flawlessly under a lot of load, i would recommend them to anyone given the good experience i have had with mine. I let the smoke out of a pro-Boats esc for my Bowthruster, melted wires and stunk up the workshop. not cool!
Looks awesome though

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