Another Hellen Build - Sort of...rather kit bashed - RC Groups
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Jul 18, 2012, 06:45 PM
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Bob SF's Avatar
Build Log

Another Hellen Build - Sort of...rather kit bashed

Hi Everyone,
I've had a kit for the Hellen for a couple of years now and I'm finally getting around to building it. One of the members of the San Francisco Model Yacht Club (SFMYC) finished his and it inspired me to get mine built. This kit has been out for a long time, but I've only seen two of them finished at our local lake....which I find rather interesting since the model is really pretty when done. Our SFMYC member did a really good job with the build, and his is actually prettier than the boat on the kit box cover (which says a lot for his building ability and why I was so inspired to get started). Our good buddy, Tim B., has supplied a bunch of photographs of Hellen style boats and I've found one that I'm going to copy....with a few modifications. When I got the kit, I was looking it over with another boating buddy, and we both agreed that the hull was really thick and we didn't think it needed all that frame work inside. If you leave out most of that framing, you will be left with a lot of room inside the 34" by 9.25" hull. The motor and the battery holder will be mounted to a keel, glued to the inside of the hull, while the rudder servo will hang from a plate off the deck structure. The rudder post will be supported by a block glued to the hull....and that is about all of the internal structure that the boat should need. The deck has a framework that is tied into the hull (glue joint...wood to plastic). The plastic at all the wood/plastic joints is cleaned and scratched up with 100 sandpaper, followed up with hatch marks made with a model knife. The deck frame will be sheeting in door skin and then planked. The rub rail will be pegged through the hull and will tie into the 1/8" X 1/4" spruce that makes up the inner frame rail at the deck line, hence capturing the hull between the rubrail and the inner deck frame. That should be tough enough. The kit will be used to supply some of the wood, but there will be a lot of scratch building and design changes to make the boat more serviceable. Changes include adding a curve to the deck, moving the main hatch, and adding a bolted-in hatch over the motor area. The rudder servo will have its own maintenance hatch cover. The boat will be powered with a Graupner Speed 720 Torque motor, turning a 55mm brass four-blade prop. The battery will probably be a 12 volt PS 1270 Gel Cell (7 amp/hour). I want to try a new painting technique, where the hull is painted in primer, then a shade of light brown, then dark brown, then the final color satin black. The bottom of the boat will be satin red. At the waterline, the hull will be scuffed and sanded to allow some of the brown paint to show through to give the illusion of wear and tear. Finishing off the color scheme, the boat will have a white boot top, medium green bulwarks, lt. cherry varnished handrail, and natural deck planking. The house will be a combination of natural wood and the lt. cherry varnish, windows framed in green, and the masts topped in white. The sails will be tan bark. The guiding idea is to produce a work boat from a previous era, leaving off the modern safety gear and radio antennas. One of Tim B's photos ended up in a paint program and I did a quick and dirty rendering of what the finished model might look like. I hope you enjoy the build. The boat will probably be named Saffron, after the last picture included. The guys in the photo look like they are having a great time....and that plays right along with how this build is progressing. I'll have to work some yellow into the paint scheme. I hope you enjoy the build. Bob SF
Last edited by Bob SF; Jul 18, 2012 at 09:45 PM.
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Jul 18, 2012, 07:29 PM
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Tim B.'s Avatar
Sweet !

The bowed deck is a first for this kit I think, that will add to the realism big time.

The guys in the last picture are Hammered, thats all.
Jul 18, 2012, 08:44 PM
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Wow Bob, dern shame you don't have enough screw drivers.
Jul 18, 2012, 09:31 PM
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Bob SF's Avatar
Hi Tim,
I thought the guys in the last picture were smuggling beer! We could both be right - quality assurance testing.

420TEE, three generations of screwdrivers - wife's grandfather's, my father's, and mine. I wonder what my son will inherit? Bob SF
Last edited by Bob SF; Aug 09, 2012 at 07:43 PM.
Jul 20, 2012, 02:28 PM
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Bob SF's Avatar
Hi Everyone,
The keel is on the boat and it is only mildly tortured to make the bend at the bow. The keel wood was soaked in really hot water for about an hour and then slowly formed around a pipe and then transferred over to the hull and taped in place. The keel was allowed to dry over night and then glued in place with 5 min. epoxy. Automotive spot putty was used to fill the gap between the curved edges of the plastic hull and the square edged keel wood. The hull was wet sanded to get it ready for the rub rail installation. I hope to receive the prop and prop shaft soon (listening for the brown truck) and get the mechanics of the hull built before I get too far along in the project. Here is a picture of the hull w/keel and a picture of the proposed rudder that I will build out of brass. Bob SF
Jul 20, 2012, 02:46 PM
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Tim B.'s Avatar
Excellent !

Looks like you are using the potential of this nice hull to its max.

Cool pic of real boat there Mate....

Is that a can of WD-40 next to that rusty rudder ???

Jul 20, 2012, 09:33 PM
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Bob SF's Avatar
Hi Tim, see what kind of mischief I can get into when you help me with pics? Yes, that is a life size replica of a real can of WD-40. You'd think they would need a bigger can to get that rudder loose. Bob SF
Jul 20, 2012, 10:00 PM
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Tim B.'s Avatar
Who, Me ?

Aug 06, 2012, 08:55 PM
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Bob SF's Avatar

Hellen Project - Motor, internal keel, shaft installed

Hi Everyone, the brown truck arrived and the nice man delivered a shiny brass prop and the prop shaft - so the Hellen Project is back in business. Using the plan sheet, an interior keel was created out of pine, and sanded down to 1/2" thickness. A slot was cut in the pine keel using a router, so that the stuffing box and grease tube could be installed. A motor mount was made from aluminum "L" stock and was screwed to the keel. The battery box was also screwed to the keel. Once all of the parts were lined up, a long drill bit was used to cut the hole in the plastic hull and the wooden shoe, using the interior keel as a guide. Five minute epoxy was used to bond the interior keel to the hull. A masking tape dam was placed around the prop shaft, as it leaves the hull, to prevent any epoxy leakage onto the hull. I was looking at the plans for the Hellen, and she has a pretty deep hull that might be suitable to motor sail. I'll be fitting a sail winch servo into the hull, along with a couple of strakes below the curve of her bilge. This should be a fun experiment. The rudder servo comes next. Bob SF
Aug 07, 2012, 01:28 AM
Taking care of the pond.
Nice looking prop.
Aug 07, 2012, 01:56 AM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
I see you use the best connectors. Great choice.
Aug 07, 2012, 01:02 PM
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Bob SF's Avatar
Hi Millertime, I just can't use the plastic kit prop. The brass ones look so much better.

Hi Kmot, aren't sermos connectors great? No failures, no hassle...they just work. I switched over to sermos connectors when I noticed that the Kyosho/Tamaya connectors started to fail from use. This was in electric planes, so failure is not an option. I have a couple Kyosho connectors still in service, but they are on boat lighting systems...not as critical. Bob SF
Aug 07, 2012, 01:32 PM
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Tim B.'s Avatar
The job you are doing on this one is the best I've seen on this kit.

is that a Prop Shop Prop ?

Sermos ?

I thought those were Anderson Power Poles connectors at first glance ...
Aug 07, 2012, 02:36 PM
r/c ships and workboats
Originally Posted by Tim B.
is that a Prop Shop Prop ?...
Propshop Props are imported from England and are the finest cast props to be had any where. Worth the money for looks, durability, and getting the job done!
Aug 07, 2012, 05:49 PM
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Bob SF's Avatar
Hi Tim, you are correct. I've heard both names used to describe those connectors. The prop I used is a 55MM, 4-blade Raboesch. I agree Propshop Props are beautiful. The sail winch servo arrived today and I made a visit to Cliff's and got the Dubro quick link for the rudder...back into Engineering mode. The plan is to hang the rudder servo off of the deck and mount the sail winch servo to the keel near the grease fitting. There will be a small platform mounted in front of the drive battery for the sound module to sit on. The receiver will go in the cabin. There will be a separate battery pack for the sail winch and that will go on either side of the keel near the grease fitting. All of that empty room is filling up quickly! Bob SF

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