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Jun 11, 2011, 07:33 PM
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Lightship Nantucket (LV 112) Build Thread


I'm going to start a thread to document my conversion of the Lindberg 1/95 scale Lightship Nantucket to RC. The kit was originally a Pyro Plastics mold, now owned by Lindberg. They seem to release the kit every 15 years or so. The kit is in shops now, for the first time since the mid 90s. (Before, they were selling for $40- $50 on eBay, now you can get one for about $25 in the shops.)

Here's the kit:


The box art shows the same seriously over-weathered finish that seems to adorn several of Lindberg's boxtops these days.....!
The color scheme is also wrong-- the deckhouses should be white, not spar.
Last edited by RCBoater; Jun 30, 2017 at 05:57 PM. Reason: fixed typos
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Jun 11, 2011, 07:51 PM
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I usually use a disassembled servo to my plastic model conversions, but in this case, I decided to use something a little bigger. The Nantucket hull is 18 inches long, and fairly tubby in form. So I decided to go with a Graupner MultiSpeed 140 unit-- it includes a 140 motor, a 2:1 gearbox, shaft, and 30mmm prop, all in one box.

I started construction by gluing the hull halves together. Like many of the old Pyro kits, the hull has the rub rails and portholes, but no other detail at all. No plates, seams, or rivets are are on the smooth hull. Because I'm building this as an RC model, one that I'll run (hopefully) at night, I'm not going to do much to improve on the detail level of the plastic parts.

The Graupner unit fits in the hull like it was made for it. All I needed to make was a couple of small wood beams to provide a mounting point for the Graupner unit's mounting flanges.
Last edited by RCBoater; Jun 30, 2017 at 05:59 PM. Reason: Fix photo link
Jun 11, 2011, 08:11 PM
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I replaced the kit's rudder with a scratchbuilt one from sheet plastic. I use a 1/16 inch diameter brass rod for the rudder shaft, with a matching tube for the stuffing tube.

I don't like to use tillers with set screws-- that is always a potential failure point that is a real pain to get to once the model is finished. Instead, I make the rudder shaft long enough to bend into an integral tiller. The pushrod from the servo will be attached using an RC airplane "Snap-r-Keeper", for a permanent, no-slop connection.
Last edited by RCBoater; Jun 30, 2017 at 06:00 PM. Reason: fixed photo links
Jun 11, 2011, 08:22 PM
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Here's a link to more info on the history of the Lightship LV 112.

http://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=805
Jun 11, 2011, 09:40 PM
Towing for a living
I towed that lightship last year, I can email you a bunch of pictures of the deck and what not if you would like.
Jun 12, 2011, 10:01 AM
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I had the honor of being a tour guide on LV 112 when she came into Newburyport harbor several years in a row. One thing not mentioned in the above article was that the ship was built double hulled with the voids between hulls used as fuel tanks. Her propusion was diesel and the steam jenny was used to raise the very heavy mushroom anchors.
Jun 12, 2011, 11:32 AM
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LV 112 was launched in 1936, and finally decommissioned in 1975. During WW2, she was painted gray, armed with a couple of guns and used as a receiving ship in Portland harbor. After the war, she was disarmed and went back to her peacetime colors. In 1962, she was converted from steam to diesel power- that is when the taller stack was replaced by a new, shorter one. The Lindberg kit represents the ship as she appeared before the conversion to diesel in 1962. Given that the original Pyro kit dates from the early-mid 60's, I'd guess that they based the kit on the ship as she appeared in years just before her big yard period in 1962.

LS 112 was the largest Lightship in USCG service. She was built in 1936, paid for by the British government, after her predecessor (LS 117) was rammed and sunk in a dense fog by the RMS Olympic (Titanic's sistership). She was purpose-built for the job, and given extra bulkheads and compartmentalization, like Charlie said, to make her more likely to survive a collision.
Jun 13, 2011, 12:00 PM
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Some more data:

I did a displacement test-- the model displaces about a pound-- 16.something ounces.

I also did some tests with the Graupner unit-- on the bench, the motor draws .5 amps at 4.8 volts. In the water, the draw goes up to about .75 amps. I'm planning on using a Speed Control from Action Electronics -- their little PF-52A 1 amp unit is a good fit for this model.
http://www.action-electronics.co.uk/speed.php

Originally, I thought about using a 3.4 AHr 6 volt gel cell for the boat, but the Action speed control documentation specifically says not to use them-- they have a 6 volt limit, and those gel cells are closer to 7 volts when fully charged. I also didn't like the way the motor buzzed like a blender at 6 volts-- it sounds much better at 4.8, and still seems to put out plenty of thrust.

So now, my plan is to use a pair of 2.1 Ahr NiMh batteries-- which simplifies the powerplant installation. The Action Electornics speed control is used the same way as a disassembled servo would be. That should give me almost 3 hours of running time.

There was a recent thread here on RCGroups about using two of these batteries in parallel, to create a 4.2 AHr battery. The concensus seems to be that it is OK to connect them in parallel for running, but the batteries need to be charged separately. I haven't decided what to do there-- I may use one battery for the propulsion, and leave the other one in separate circuit to power the lights. (I expect the model may spend a fair amount of time at rest, with the beacon energized. )
Jun 13, 2011, 11:26 PM
Towing for a living
Some photos of the real deal
Jun 14, 2011, 08:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tug Jaguar
Thanks for posting those!
Jun 14, 2011, 09:52 AM
Grumpa Tom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tug Jaguar
I towed that lightship last year
This forum is awesome!

Cool photos, thanks for showing them.
Jun 14, 2011, 09:59 AM
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Guard-Officer's Avatar
cool stuff,
should be interesting to see, will the anchor be functional if its to be a light ship on station?
Cheers
G-O
Jun 14, 2011, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guard-Officer
cool stuff,
should be interesting to see, will the anchor be functional if its to be a light ship on station?
Cheers
G-O
I'm considering a couple of options for that:

Option 1: Mooring Line Release. A retractable pin is mounted somewhere, usually up forward. The model can then be connected to a mooring buoy, and there is a small eye in the end of the mooring line, that goes over the pin. The pin is connected to the rudder servo, so that full rudder, plus full trim, is enough to retract the pin and release the line. I've done this on a number of other models-- it is a lot of fun. You can moor the model to a dedicated mooring buoy out on the pond, where it sits at rest. When you want to get underway, full rudder will release the line, and then you back away, the mooring line falls away, and you then sail away.

The advantage of this system is that it can be implemented on just about any boat, and doesn't need an extra channel or servo. The disadvantage is that it is a one time thing-- you have to hook up to the buoy manually.
But it is easy to set the buoy-- even if you don't want to go wading. (Connect the model to the buoy. Put the buoy's anchor on deck, with a recovery line that will run to shore. Back the model out into the pond. Tug on the line, pulling the anchor off the model.)

Option 2: Add a small electric winch, and use it to set and retrieve the anchor. Advantages: Much more flexible-- Model can can drop and raise anchor anytime. Disadvantages: Cost, complexity, weight, and space needed. I'd need a 3+ channel radio, plus a small geared motor. I'd have to find or cast a suitable mushroom anchor- one that is heavy enough to hold the model, but not so heavy that the model rides too high when it is on the bottom, or too low when it is raised. The amount of anchor line I could carry would be limited, too-- I'd only be able to anchor in shallow water.

Option 3: Combination of options 1 and 2. Instead of droping an anchor all the way to the bottom, have a permanent mooring buoy-- maybe ring shaped. First, set the buoy where you want it. Then, to anchor, all I'd have to do is drop the anchor a few inches, inside the ring. This solves the weight and amount of anchor line problem, but not the cost/complexity.

I haven't decided what to do yet-- a factor to be considered in will be how I control the lights. I need to be able to switch between three modes: (1) Beacon on (moored); (2) Beacon off, running lights on (underway); (3) all lights off.
Last edited by RCBoater; Jun 14, 2011 at 01:52 PM. Reason: Mr. Typo strikes again!
Jun 14, 2011, 01:38 PM
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Guard-Officer's Avatar
My vote is on option 3!
if you wanted and had the time for the complexity, you could have the anchor position out when the beacon light comes on. When the nav lights come on, have the anchor in the up position. Maybe since the purpose of the boat is to sit on station you can have it just the two options and then an off switch for shutting down the power when its on display.

I think you could get a servo programmer that would allow you to operate all three positions including the anchor on one, three position channel. but i havent the faintest idea how.

Best of luck!
Cheers
G-O
Jun 14, 2011, 04:21 PM
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I found a great little solution for the masthead beacon.

Most LEDs have a limited viewing angle-- you need to look at them end-on to get the full brightness. Thirty or 45 degree LEDs are common.

www.superbrightLEDs.com has an all-around white LED- they call it a 360 degree LED, though it is really more like 350 degrees because of the base. It is perfect for this application-- a 5mm white LED, that I can mount as the beacon on top of the mast. I've tested this LED--- it throws a lot of light.

I also found a great flasher circuit-- Bakatronics makes a unit designed to drive an LED to simulate a lighthouse beacon in an HO or N scale Lighthouse. It came as simple little kit-- it took me about 15 minutes (max) to assemble. Here's a link to their webpage-- they have a little video that shows it in action: http://www.bakatronics.com/images/lighthouse.wmv


Here's the lighting solution, at least for the Beacon. The LEd looks yellow, but it shines white:
Last edited by RCBoater; Jun 30, 2017 at 06:01 PM. Reason: typos, what else?


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