Cruise Ship Matsonia - RC Groups
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Jul 21, 2010, 06:17 PM
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Cruise Ship Matsonia

Hi Captains,

Recently I acquired a very special but very old ship. Her name is Matsonia. This ship is 80” long, 11” wide, 22” tall without the mast was scratch built in the 1950’s. After going over the construction, I have to give Kudo’s to her builder because she is solidly built and it is easy to tell that her builder cared for this ship.

Once I unpacked her I began going over her electronics. The Motors are Kroker and the TX receiver and Servos are 6 channel Kraft gold series. The Kraft TX’s were the “goods” from way back when..The speed controls are duel Dumas 12V. The 12V Kroker motors are connected to the shafts via a ladder style pulley belts. The Kroker’s aren’t too shabby either!

After carefully going over and hand moving the motors I looked over the electrical to see how everything looked. All looked good. I saw where the owner had the battery hook ups and learned how he had this behemoth set up before doing anything. I hooked up wires from a Hangar 9 12V 7AH battery to the terminals on the ship fired it up for a few seconds to see if the motors and the speed controls worked.

I held my breath as I turned the port speed control by hand and the portside motor suddenly came to life. I stopped that motor and started the starboard side….Nada. I disconnected the battery and went straight for the pos-negative terminals on the starboard motor and it quickly came to life….good. Now for the speed Control… I opened the old Dumas speed control and found that there was no fuse…it must have blown out. I happened to have a couple of old Dumas speed controls in the parts bin so I quickly grabbed a fuse and put it in. The battery was hooked up again and this time the starboard speed control and motor woke up. Easy fix, problem solved.

So, I noticed that the port prop shaft was ever so-slightly bent and the ladder belts were shot and the starboard fuse was blown…. By the looks of it her last time out at sea wasn’t a good cruise…

As mentioned above, her radio is an old Kraft. It’s a really nice looking radio but the battery is an internal chargeable jobbie that needs a special charger to plug into it. The charger is missing so I would have to find one and replace the internal battery to get the tx to work again. To boot, it is 72MHZ so I’m not going to reuse it for the ship. Shame that it wasn’t 75MHZ! The owner has his last name and entire SS number inscribed on the radio…So you know this has got to be old because no one in their right mind would dare do that in today’s world! The ship was part of an estate sale so I think his identity is safe…(OK, bad joke, LOL.) Once the radio is running it will find its way to an airplane collector.

So far, 3 of the 4 Kraft servos were removed and replaced with Futaba and the receiver and tx will be my spare 75 MHZ Hi-Tek TX for now. The original Kraft servo’s will stay with the receiver/TX.

On the floor of the hull are chambers between each bulkhead. Many of them say 2 pounds 3 pounds ¼ of 3 pounds ETC. So, I am guessing that he had lead weights that went into each chamber for ballast. The funny thing is that there must be lead imbedded in both the bow and the stern because this thing is HEAVY as is. I will have to do a float test and see but I think I will have to make up the additional ballast according to his specs. A float test will also be done to test how seaworthy she is. She can’t fit in a bathtub so I will set up cinderblocks in an 8’ X 20” wide rectangle and put a tarp down. Then fill it with water and float her in my yard. I will also use this to re-fit her for ballast as she will probably need some.

The decks are a bit weathered and will need to be restored. In order get inside the hull you have to remove 70” of cabins/deck space to get inside. This is a very delicate process because the decks are so old. I think that removing the entire structure to get inside is a bit unnecessary. Once the restoration begins, one of the things that will be done differently is set up the cabins so that only one of the cabin tops and possibly one funnel will need to be removed to access the battery, switches, etc. This will also enable more details to be added on deck because the structure doesn’t have to be taken apart all the time.

I am currently finishing up a very detailed Dauntless build so Matsonia’s restoration will take place after Dauntless is finally complete. For the time being, I am going to get Matsonia up and running so that she can be slipped into water for some initial trial runs. In the short term a large transporting case will be built for her so that she can be safely taken from my home to the lake and be stored.

I have already begun researching/ documenting and accumulating information on the full sized vessel. This way, when the time comes, I can get started without having to fill in any blanks. I am looking forward to getting started on her.

Once the process begins, it will be documented here.
Best regards,

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Jul 21, 2010, 06:25 PM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
Xlnt review and report Rich! She sounds like she is a wonderful old ship.

Now all we need are photos to go along with your descriptions.

Whoops, you beat me too it!
Last edited by Kmot; Jul 21, 2010 at 06:25 PM. Reason: Rich added photos as I was typing!
Jul 21, 2010, 06:31 PM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar

The White Ships: 1930's Matson Hawaii Cruise Lines on BITV (5 min 10 sec)
Jul 21, 2010, 06:43 PM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
Jul 21, 2010, 09:14 PM
Registered User
Thanks Kmot,

This is all great information!!! It is stuff like this that will be needed for the restoration!

Many thanks!

Jul 21, 2010, 11:44 PM
Registered User
Jerome Morris's Avatar
The only way to go... Have fun Rich.
Jul 22, 2010, 01:46 AM
Taking care of the pond.
I'm watching.
Jul 22, 2010, 04:28 AM
Registered User
HeavyCruser9's Avatar
Rich you have found a beauty there Mate! What scale do you think she is??

EDIT: she is 1:76 scale, 00 scale railway size figures should be perfect for her

check out this site

Cheers Bruce
Last edited by HeavyCruser9; Jul 22, 2010 at 04:38 AM. Reason: researched her!
Jul 22, 2010, 10:55 AM
Registered User
Thanks captains!

Here are some more pictures of the full sized and the model.

Jul 22, 2010, 11:13 AM
Registered User
Hi Captains,

So far I've learned that the Matson lines was very loose at naming their ships. It seems that as time went on, they would play musical names with thieir own vessels. This ship was launched as Monterey, then in 1956 was renamed Matsonia while still at the same company. She sailed with a ship called Lurline which looked similar but not exact. Later, Lurline had some mechanical meltdown and was taken out of service completely. Then, Matsonia was renamed Lurline... I find it odd... a ship should keep its name...Damn it...

So, when I research her, I find many overlaps between her and Lurline. Lurline was also called Matsonia at some point as well.. When I research this ship, I make sure to look for the ship without the aft mast and the bridge design varies between the two ships. This model doesn't have the aft mast.

Later, when she was sold to another company she was relaunched as Britanis. Years later, she was sold again and renamed as Belofin-1. That company sold her to the scrappers and while being towed to India, she decided it was a good time to sink rather than be scrapped.

Here is her history from Wiki:

Last edited by RICH404; Jul 22, 2010 at 11:20 AM.
Jul 22, 2010, 11:41 AM
"day ain't over yet-"
der kapitan's Avatar
Now all you have to get are some of those loud Hawaiian camp shirts to wear when you sail her---.
Jul 22, 2010, 01:52 PM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
I dig this shirt!
Jul 22, 2010, 02:40 PM
GILL RC's Avatar
Nice catch, I believe that I bid on her at one time, went a bit over my budget. I just wanted the Krokers.
Any way looks like your going to have a great time bring her back to life. I do hope that you get rid of the Dumas speed controls and install 1 or 2 good ESC's. And lots and lots of lights (LED's)
Looks like a fantastic model. I still would use gear belts.
Jul 22, 2010, 06:20 PM
Registered User
I agree guys, I will have to sail her with a Hawaiian shirt!

Hi Gil,

The Kroker’s seem to be well made but I still don’t know much about them. When I was bidding, I didn’t think too much about the motors but was more after the cruise ship because of its originality.

What makes the Kroker’s so special?

Also, would you happen to know how much these motors would fetch If I decided to part with them?

I’m going to run some tests on the drive train. Once Pat showed me where to find the original Posi-Drive belts I ordered them. The minor difference between the belts I ordered and the original one is this time it is steel reinforced making it stronger. This is just to see how the ship runs in its original form. I also want to see how efficient those Kroker’s are because they are 10,000+ RPM motors greatly reduced. I'm guessing that those motors will tax any battery..but who knows..Then, I will install a pair of Pittman’s and see how they do. At this point, I will try out different drive systems. The goal is to maximize runtime while maintaining the ship at respectable speeds.

The ship already has lots of lights, but I agree more will be added. There are 4 lights at each stack, the wheel house has lighting and to boot, the wheel house has a ships wheel, captain, helmsman & officers inside! Each of the cabins and the covered walkway and pool has lights too. I just have to hook them up.

Once the ship is painted, wood planked, and add the railings, mast rigging, etc, more lights will be added on deck as well as in the hull. It should display nicely. The swimming pool actually has 1 light on each side. The resin in the pool looks pretty bad so that will be replaced.


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