Pat's Texaco Tanker Page - RC Groups
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Nov 14, 2009, 11:38 AM
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Pat's Texaco Tanker Page

I used to have a Yahoo Geocities site about the famous Texaco Tanker. Geocities recently shut down, so the site is no more. A recent request for info has spurred me into action... well, just a little action. I'm too lazy to build a new website, so I'll just post the content here. You're welcome, Jerome!

The "build photos" are dated, but please don't ask for newer-- this is the tanker model I lost in rough weather in a local pond, it is no more either!
Last edited by patmat2350; Nov 14, 2009 at 02:26 PM.
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Nov 14, 2009, 11:40 AM
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Pat's Texaco Tanker Place

Here's a page dedicated to those famous Texaco tankers- the same ones we lusted after as kids in the 60's- now gone from the seas, and only found on the pages of ebay auctions.
Over a hundred and eighty ships carried the Texaco star, and the fleet came to have a capacity in the millions of dead weight tons... but only five of these vessels, at a tiny 18,000 dwt apiece, are represented by the beloved Texaco Tanker toy ship... North Dakota, New York, California, Connecticut, and Florida. Read on, these ships are rare but worthy!

Pat Matthews, 8/2004
This site is neither sponsored, approved, nor endorsed by ChevronTexaco nor any other holders of registered trademarks depicted herein. Depiction of such trademarks is by "fair usage" in order to tell this story. So there.
Nov 14, 2009, 11:52 AM
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This is all about that toy, isn't it?

OK, my brother had one and I didn't, and now they cost a small fortune. In 1961, you could get a 27" Wen-Mac Texaco Tanker ship for $3.98 with an eight gallon fill up at your local Texaco station. Today, a clean example will fetch a few hundred bucks, though enterprising restorers are taking well used examples and replacing the easily broken parts with reproductions.

For a toy, the Wen-Mac was a remarkably faithful reproduction of the North Dakota class tankers… I'd have to say the mold makers worked from the Newport News drawings, which I have copies of myself. Certainly there are simplifications, but the shape of the hull is almost correct, as is the layout of the superstructure and most of the deck piping and fittings. Heck, this thing is almost a model!

Texaco proudly offered the tanker toy as a symbol of their technology, emphasizing their stature as a large international corporation. Of course this was before the Torrey Canyon and Exxon Valdez. Now it’s hard to take a model tanker to the pond without enduring oil slick jokes, a publicity angle not lost on the oil companies… I doubt we shall see a toy tanker again any time soon! (See the notes on Texaco’s tanker renaming).
I'm still waiting for the right time to latch onto one of these (i.e., when the wife isn't looking)... in the mean time, here are a few shots borrowed from recent auctions.

Wen-Mac Dolphin

Chris at Red Venom Repros (look for the Wen-Mac link) shared this about a Wen-Mac variation on the North Dakota:

"The Wen Mac Dolphin Tanker is the "sister" ship to the North Dakota (in the toy world only). The Dolphin is an exact copy of the ND, but with white masts, chrome deck accents (pipes, etc.) red smokestack, prop, and gray rudder, but no booklet, and actually came disassembled... more of a model type kit. It has only 2 stickers (smokestack and fantail) vs. the ND 3 stickers ( 2 plus forward hull). The Dolphin was issued by Wen Mac in 1964 only...they re-used the molds when Texaco cancelled the contract for the ND".
Last edited by patmat2350; Nov 15, 2009 at 10:38 AM.
Nov 14, 2009, 11:58 AM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar
I'm sorry you lost your site, Pat. I learned lots of good stuff from your postings.
Nov 14, 2009, 12:00 PM
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Pat's TT Drawing

Pat's Texaco Tanker Drawing:
It's really my brother's, Jeff Matthews. He had the toy tanker, and later got into drafting, then ship modeling and hull building. It was only natural that he'd research and draw up plans for the Texaco Tanker. He had an article and plans published in the June 1986 Scale Ship Modeler.

The original plans, on microfiche prints, came from a helpful source at Newport News. Don't bother asking them now, they don't support requests anymore... though they say all their old unclassified material has been handed over to the Mariners' Museum. A few photos were also provided. Jeff got a few more from Texaco, nice detail shots.

I've done some further work to fill in missing details, like figuring out the radar antenna, lifeboat davits, crane rigging, and deck top piping. I'm in process of creating a new set of CAD drawings with a details sheet; here's a taste of what's to come...

My intention is to offer a plans set along with a high resolution photo set, examples below. A lot of detail can be pulled out of these photos. See the grab rail attached to the lower part of the lifeboat?
Stay tuned!
(edit: Don't hold yer breath!)
Nov 14, 2009, 12:05 PM
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Pat's Texaco Tanker Model

Don't hold your breath!

I have a bunch of other models to finish first. But I WILL build a big Texaco Tanker model... someday...
Nov 14, 2009, 12:12 PM
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Pat's R/C WenMac Texaco Tanker

Decided to convert a WenMac tanker to radio control.
Bought an old crusty one on Ebay, so I wouldn't mind hacking on it for the conversion.

Note: The conversion includes carving a lot of plastic out of the hull, including a free-flooding ballast compartment.
(see captions below)

Red deck: Rustoleum Colonial Red
Black, white & hull red are generic enamels.
Wet block-sanded all the lettering, which is heat stamped in.
Filled the depressions with several layers of primer-surfacer and spot glazing putty.
Final wet sanding, painted the red; masked the waterline and painted the black.

Other hack jobs:
Chopped out the self filling ballast tank and sealed the holes;
Ditto for the old motor mount, and a few other projections and webs that were in the way.
Last edited by patmat2350; Nov 14, 2009 at 12:20 PM.
Nov 14, 2009, 12:14 PM
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Other's Texaco Tanker Models

Newport News Builder's Model of the North Dakota

This model was built by Boucher-Lewis Model Builders for Newport News and Texaco. It was on display at Texaco's headquarters in White Plains NY until Texaco's merger with Chevron. With the closure of the White Plains office, the model was moved to the Boston Marine Society. These photos are courtesy of BMS member Steve Fox.
Nov 14, 2009, 12:19 PM
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Other's Texaco Tanker Models, II

Edward Wyatt, Malta
Mr. Wyatt is an Ohio fan, like many Maltese... he's built five (5!) Ohios in 1:96. One is in the Naval Museum of Monaco, others can be found in the Maritime and the War Museums on Malta... these show Ohio in her wartime colors. Edward also has a peactime Ohio at home, in her original Texaco colors. In 1:96, these models are about 5 feet long.

(Note: The Ohio was famous for her heroic Malta run, see elsewhere here... but is not a sister to the North Dakota class).
Nov 14, 2009, 12:27 PM
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The FAMM Models

The FAMM Models
There are two different desk-top models packaged under the FAMM name. FAMM is a joint venture set up in 1998 between Chevron and Texaco to market marine fuel and lube oil products, and which continues to operate today under the merged ChevronTexaco company. These are heavy "cold cast" resin models of reasonable detail, nicely mounted on wood bases with brass name plates. The wood base is about 17" long. The maker was Claytown in Davie, FL, but as of Sept. 2004, their phone seems to be disconnected and their e-mail bounces, even though the website is still up (but not updated since about 2000).

I've been told that these models were intended primarily for internal consumption- offered to employees, and probably as gifts for customers. Production was limited- 3300 OHIO's, of which only 1000 were offered for sale through external channels, and 4750 NEW YORK's. They can be found on ebay.


The Ohio model is the first in the series, issued in 2000.

Ohio of course is famous for her Malta run, in Operation Pedestal in August 1942. Only 5 of 14 merchantmen survived the run, with the Ohio being the most critical, with her load of av-gas for the British fighter planes on the island. The convoy is known to this day on Malta as "Il convoy ta Santa Maria", for it's fortuitous arrival on the feast of the Assumption. Read more about it:

Edit: Think this wasn't a tough run? The Brits lost an aircraft carrier, a destroyer, and two cruisers pushing this convoy through... Ohio was bombed and torpedoed... she made it into port with decks awash and the remains of a Stuka embedded in the focsle, towed in by two destoyers. Her American welded hull is credited with her survival.

Merrald Porter tells me there was also a run of 200 special OHIO's for company execs only... these had extra rigging and nice green felt on the base, where the standard base is finished wood with pads.

New York

The New York model is second in the series, and was issued in 2002. The box art dedicates the model as a tribute to those lost on 9/11/01. FAMM is headquartered in White Plains, just outside of NYC.

Sister to North Dakota, the famous gas station Texaco Tanker. In some documents, including the box art here, I've seen reference to the "New York" class, even though New York was the second hull started and the second ship launched in this series, after the North Dakota... both in 1953.
Note that the cargo booms are rigged at 45°, which is typical of display models, but wrong for any vessel heading out to sea! And the deck color should be red.
Last edited by patmat2350; Nov 14, 2009 at 12:52 PM.
Nov 14, 2009, 12:36 PM
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The North Dakota Class

The North Dakota Class

The five vessels of the North Dakota class must have been a proud addition to the Texaco family. Just six years before, the Newport News shipyard started launching civilian ships again after the frenzy of WW2 production. Then came these handsome ships, a clear break from the utilitarian design of the pre-war T2 tankers. Almost streamlined, the North Dakota was as different from a T2 as a '49 Ford was from a Model A, and like the '49, reflected the upbeat spirit of a nation newly emerged from war and literally on top of the world.

At first, four sequential hull numbers were built for the Texas Company, with Florida being added three years later: (sorry, RCG doesn't do tables)

N.N. Hull No.

North Dakota
6 Mar 1953

New York
31 July 1953

6 Nov 1953

5 Feb 1954

15 July 1956

Specifications are the same for all five ships:

Length overall: 562’-6”

Length, between perpendiculars: 535’-0”

Beam, molded: 75’-0”

Summer draft: 31’-0”

Displacement at 31’ draft: 24,750 tons

Deadweight tonnage (cargo): 18,075 tons

Capacity: 155,000 barrels

Service Speed: 18 knots

Normal Horsepower: 13,650

Maximum Horsepower: 15,000

Accommodations: 12 officers, 32 crew

These were “product” tankers, taking finished goods from Texaco’s refinery at Port Arthur Texas to the northeast US, as opposed to the larger bulk carriers that might be used to bring crude oil from the mideast to American refineries. The North Dakotas’ 33 wet compartments and a dry-goods hold forward could carry a variety of finished products- avgas, gasoline, kerosene, diesel, lube oil, and other petro-chemicals, earning them the nickname of “drugstore tankers”.

Four of the five ships were “jumboized” in the early 70’s, with new length added midship, and the bridge relocated to a completely new aft superstructure. The extra 158 feet more than doubled the dead weight tonnage to 40,000.

North Dakota was left in her original general configuration, but was converted to carry asphalt. Two photos in our collection show her post-conversion. While the top side is not visible, it’s clear that the cargo booms have been removed, the SPS-10 radar has been updated, the hose gantry has been moved midships, and the stack logo has been changed from the old Texaco star to the 60’s Texaco hexagon.

North Dakota suffered two serious accidents in her career:

3 October 1973: Explosion in aft pump room, with loss of three lives in the adjacent engine room. Report: USCG/NTSB-MAR-75-5

21 August 1980: Collision with unlit “artificial island” under construction off Louisiana coast resulted in a fire that burned for three days, destroying the forward section. Report reference. Sold to Sabine Towing & Transportation Co., who planned to rebuild and jumboize her; but due to declining shipping needs, the plan and ship were scrapped in 1984.

Notes on the tankers' markings:
1953-56: The five North Dakota vessels are launched, bearing unprefixed names, and no "TEXACO" hull marking. But the Texaco star is clearly present on the prow and stack at launching.

1959: All Texaco vessels have Texaco added as prefix to name, e.g., Texaco North Dakota. This coincides with a corporate name change from "The Texas Company" to a more familiar "Texaco". It's likely that the "TEXACO" hull marking went on at this time too.

1989: Exxon Valdez gains infamy for Exxon with a major oil spill in Alaska. Every news report, every night, mentions "Exxon Valdez", over and over...

1990: All Texaco vessels are renamed with "Star" prefix in place of "Texaco", e.g., "Star New York". Reason given: To better align with the “new” star trademark, which was introduced in 1981.
Last edited by patmat2350; Nov 14, 2009 at 12:58 PM.
Nov 14, 2009, 12:57 PM
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Texaco Marine

Texaco Marine

Almost from it's very beginning, the Texas Company was involved with tankers. The company was founded in 1902, shortly after the big gushers started coming through in the Texas oil fields. In 1903, the company purchased it's first barge to move oil from it's Port Arthur facilities to Louisiana for use as fuel by sugar producers. Subsequent additions to the fleet led to the formation of the Marine Department, to manage the entire ocean-shipping portion of the business.

The fleet grew, and became an important part of the merchant marine in both world wars. In WW2, numerous Texaco vessels were lost, and 202 men perished while serving on these vessels. One of the most famous Texaco exploits was that of the Ohio, which was chosen as the tanker best suited for a dangerous run to resupply the besieged island of Malta. The convoy was formed up, and found itself under almost constant attack, with the big Ohio receiving much of the attention. But Ohio and her British crew persevered, and even though other ships didn't make it, she managed to limp into Malta's harbor, torpedoed, bombed, rudderless, and decks awash, as part of Il convoy ta Santa Maria, with a much needed load of av-gas for the British fighters.

After the war, Texaco found itself with several T2's, but it must have been at this time that the new North Dakota class ships were commissioned. A bit bigger and slicker than the T2's, they would bring a new look to the tanker fleet.

From here, the story follows the ups and downs of the oil market. The Texaco fleet grew substantially up until the 70's, including the huge VLCC's (very large crude carriers) used to bring overseas crude to market. Four of the North Dakotas were jumboized in the early 70's, but after this time, market forces brought great difficulties to the tanker operations. By 1995, the situation had degraded to the point that Texaco chose to shut down it's marine department, after 93 years of operation. Henceforth, Texaco's oil shipping needs would be outsourced to foreign flag fleets.

Texaco House Flag
See the Flags of the World website.

Nov 14, 2009, 01:37 PM
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patmat2350's Avatar
I also have a longish article from the Nov. 1953 Marine Engineering magazine about the Texas Company's new coastwise tanker, with lots of photos and data. If someone is seriously interested, drop me a line.
Nov 14, 2009, 02:28 PM
Just Limin'
laser110's Avatar
I might be able to obtain a few of these models for those who are interested. Not sure which ship, but if there is interest, I'll pursue it.

Nov 14, 2009, 02:31 PM
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patmat2350's Avatar
Thanks. All day long on ebay...other ideas?

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