Rebuild of Late 1920's Electric Launch - RC Groups
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Aug 27, 2011, 04:03 PM
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Bob SF's Avatar

Rebuild of Late 1920's Electric Launch

Hi Everyone,

Here is a quick picture of my latest project. This belongs to a friend of mine and we are going to make it run again (with a little will have RC gear hidden inside). The story on the boat is that it belonged to my friend's father (who built the boat when he was in high school....which should bring the boat to around 1928). The boat was originally built as an electric powered model and does not appear to have any rot (nice change). Anyone out there in RC Groups seen anything like it before?

The model is 36 inches long and 8 inches wide. It was carved and hollowed out to what you see here. The plan is to to a basic rebuild that captures the essence of the original intent of the builder....but with a little bling. Since this is a rebuild for the family, we don't really care about harming its value by rebuilding it. The important thing for the family is that it pretty to look at and she runs again.

So far, the plan is to redo the model in its original color scheme (white hull, green bottom, varnished deck), add a few bits of trim wood (rubrails), install a new stuffing box, make a new rudder, power it with a 12 volt Dumas motor, install a new prop and shaft, hide the rudder servo and all linkages below deck (leaving the rudder arm and rudder sequencing device on deck), and go with a modern 2.4 receiver so that no antennae shows. The guiding principal is to keep as much stuff as the Dad originally built and build a Sunday afternoon cruiser. I'll post pictures and text as the rebuild comes along...

Bob SF
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Aug 27, 2011, 08:41 PM
Mmm, tugs...
patmat2350's Avatar
Any hint if it was a kit? There was no shortage of plans for model boats in boys' mags and Pop Mechanics, for example... the fittings may have been sourced separately- companies like Boucher were selling fittings way back when.
Aug 27, 2011, 09:16 PM
Registered User
definitely an interesting model, the raised focs'le fascinates me. Looking at the pics I would say that you may have to replicate a couple of more cleats. The last pic with the motor (and shaft?) shows that it definitely won't take a lot of motor to get her moving at her former speed. The shaft (if that is what it is?) looks very small, and I doubt you will be able to find a prop for it. Looks like a fun project.
Aug 27, 2011, 10:27 PM
Mmm, tugs...
patmat2350's Avatar
The form was common in the 20's - 30's, known as "raised deck". You can get some of Atkin's plans for similar models at, for example:

Aug 27, 2011, 11:01 PM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
I dig that motor! Any brand name on it?
Aug 28, 2011, 12:01 AM
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Bob SF's Avatar
Hi Kmot,

The motor is a K&D No. 35. It has what looks like a forward and reverse switch on the back. I haven't tried to run it. The wiring looks a little suspect and its not my motor, so I'm probably not going to even try to run the motor.

Hi Pat,

I don't think that this is a kit. I'd bet that it was built from plans. The quality of the build is really good. Thanks for the link to the Atkins plans.

Did three and a half hours of power sanding on the hull today. Looking good. Ordered the shaft, prop, motor, and a servo. I'll have to make the stuffing box since it is on the long side (around 14 inches). If any of you are wondering, the novelty of sanding has worn off {grin}.

Bob SF
Aug 28, 2011, 12:44 AM
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Predreadnut's Avatar
Kinda looks like someones freelance version of a 1920's Blanchard.
Aug 28, 2011, 12:52 AM
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Bob SF's Avatar
Now that's a pretty boat!!! Thanks for the picture...
Bob SF
Aug 28, 2011, 01:31 AM
Spreckels Lake, GGP, SF, CA
craig_c's Avatar
This thread added to WOODIES: Wooden Pleasure Craft Build Logs listing.

Path: RCGroups -> Boats -> Scale Boats ->"WOODIES..."

Hey Bob!

That's a scratch/woodshop build from a shop textbook, almost certainly the Cavileer, Model Boat Building for Boys...

The cabin has been simplified, but everything else, right down to the shape of the cabin windows, placement of the port holes and choice of the K&D powerplant is straight out of the drawings in the book for the 36" cruiser.

Monetary value not with standing, I'd recommend changing as little as possible to preserve her intrinsic look and feel. Keep her as period as you can. Check the motor, if it's ok, I'd use it. Remember, some of the fittings and most of parts for this boat would have been fabricated by the student.

One note, be careful of the paint dust. Cavileer recommended (and the schools used) lead paints for the hulls.

There is BTW, a copy of the Cavileer book in pretty nice condition over on eBay right now, if you want it let me know and I won't bid against you.
Last edited by craig_c; Oct 09, 2011 at 10:34 PM.
Aug 28, 2011, 03:07 AM
Registered User
Bob, here is an idea, just to preserve the looks of the old setup, scrap out the old motor casing (it looks pretty good size), and find a modern motor to fit.....but like I said that is just an idea.

I was looking at the pic of your sanding efforts (better u than me), is the cabin wider fore than aft? or is that just the angle of the pic?
Aug 28, 2011, 11:23 AM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
I searched high and low last night for information on the K&D motor and turned up zip!
Aug 28, 2011, 11:30 AM
Registered User
Aug 28, 2011, 01:10 PM
"day ain't over yet-"
der kapitan's Avatar
I was cleaning out my desk trays yesterday, and by coincidence came across a folder with drawings for an ELCO 26' cruiser from about the same period, 1928 I think.

It's similar to the model in this thread, and I'd forgotten that I had collected this info.

Has me interested all over again---.
Aug 28, 2011, 02:51 PM
woodybob's Avatar
Wow...what a cool project.
Aug 28, 2011, 03:32 PM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar

Boats,Airplanes, and Kites by Armand J LaBerge

Your boat looks a lot like the photo of the 32" speedboat in the above 1935 book, pg 48. There is also a 38" model in the book: similar hull, some superstructure differences. Several motors are recommended, including one salvaged from an automobile horn.

LaBerge was "instructor of manual arts Bryant Junior High School, Minneapolis, Minn."

I got my copy from Lindsay Books, but I see some on Amazon also.

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