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Apr 14, 2017, 04:59 AM
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Build Log

Artesania Latina Hellen

This is my second model boat project, the first being a Billings Boats "Flying Fish" Danish Patrol Boat (that only took me 18 years!). I have a few more complex builds lined up, however a fellow club member was selling his Artesania Hellen kit (now out of production) at a good price so I couldn't resist it.

Compared to many of the builds on this forum the Hellen is a quite simple project, but will be a nice model anyway. There are a few references to Hellen projects on this forum but many are quite a few years old.

I learned a lot from the BIllings kits in that the construction can always be improved and that the documented build sequence may not be ideal and can cause one unneeded difficulties later on. On that note I'd like to say that I think the Artesania kit is a much better quality than that of my previous Billings cruiser. Namely the hull material and its robustness, the laser cut plywood, the plan diagrams and the build photos.
Last edited by downunda; Apr 14, 2017 at 05:42 AM.
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Apr 14, 2017, 05:38 AM
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Artesania Latina Hellen - Build Log 2

Although I've been working on the Hellen for about 5 weeks I've just started this build log today and am belatedly creating log entries to catch up so as to reflect the current status of construction.

I've been building RC model aircraft for most of my life and the big difference that I'm finding in boat construction is that the time taken in thinking through what needs to be done then planning to do it is perhaps more than half the total time spent on the model. Now is this just because I've not had boat building experience or is this just the way it is with marine models?
I'd like your opinions on this thought.

Power Plant:-
I needed to decide upon a power plant and decide how best to install it. I did pick up a few good ideas from forum entries of previous Hellen builds, so thanks to all who came before.
I am fortunate to have a great model boat store locally (Float-a-Boat) and went to seek Adrian's advice on motor selection. I bought a MFA/Como Drills 919DLN motor/gearbox combo which should do nicely. My plan is to use a HobbyWing 1060 Brushed ESC, it's priced right and is quite compact and based on the specs it should be more than capable for the job. I'll probably be using 2S or 3S LIPO batteries of 4000Mah capacity along with an Orange receiver.
Apr 14, 2017, 08:30 AM
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Apr 14, 2017, 09:34 AM
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Tim B.'s Avatar
A fine sort of boat to model ~

Apr 15, 2017, 06:19 AM
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Excellent choice of kit, back when we had a shop I had no problem recommending the Artesania kits, both the Helen and the Amsterdam have a really nice thick hull.
Billing's do a nice kit also but I always felt a little underwhelmed by their hull thickness.
If I can make one more suggestion, next time your'e talking to Rhonda and Adrian do replace that prop with a nice brass one, you won't be dissapointed

Apr 16, 2017, 02:49 AM
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Artesania Latina Hellen - Build Log 3

Exterior Hull Work
I rubbed down the hull with wet and dry to ready it for painting. The next step was to fit the Keel which is made from a nice piece of Ramin, this was attached with epoxy and held in place with tape.

The rudder needed to be fitted prior to fitting the keel as the keel extended under and beyond the rudder. I was a little nervous about this as I thought this was one of those "no going back moments" as there was no way to remove the rudder afterwards. Of course as you would expect I hooked up the rudder to the servo and a servo tester and verified that it operated without any binding before fitting the keel.

It later turned out that my nervousness about the above step proved to be a bad omen of things to come!

After doing this I filled all of the gaps around the keel and the driveshaft exit with the "Deluxe Materials" product, Perfect Plastic Putty. It's a product new to me and I found it easy to apply and reasonably good to work with when it comes to smoothing down and removing any excess.

Control Placement
Now after a little thought about where control components would be placed, it was back to inside the hull where I fitted two removable Lexan battery trays above the motor, and a removable electronics tray (forward of the battery trays). The electronics tray would be used to hold an electronic controller for the lighting system.

Ballast Placement
In my previous build http:// I had no idea that I would need ballast (hey, don't forget I'm a boat novice!) and fitting it after the launch of the boat proved a little problematic.

I'll talk a little more about my ballast plans for the Hellen later on.
Last edited by downunda; Apr 16, 2017 at 03:19 AM.
Apr 16, 2017, 08:29 PM
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Artesania Latina Hellen - Build Log 4

More Exterior Hull Work
I positioned and fitted the ramin rubbing strakes to each side of the hull and thought that now was a good time to undercoat the hull. Using my airbrush I applied two coats of Vallejo acrylic grey undercoat with a gentle wet and dry rub down in between coats. I'm sure that it will get marked as I continue building and will probably need touching up prior to the top coat finish.

The Rudder Woes
In my previous entry I mentioned my concern about the rudder and now my worries had come to fruition... while I was rubbing down the undercoat I knocked the rudder and it turned, that shouldn't have happened as it was now connected to the servo (temporarily). I thought that perhaps the screw in the bellcrank was not tight enough enabling the rudder shaft to slip. Unfortunately that wasn't the case as what had happened is that the rudder paddle had rotated on the rudder shaft! Yes there were quite a few **%$#@ words uttered.
Drama 1
Ideally in this situation the rudder should be removed for repair but this wasn't an option. The material that the rudder was made of seems to be some sort of hardened rubber and it was probably just moulded onto the shaft during manufacture. Now if you or I was making one of these we would have put a bend in the lower part of the rudder shaft so that it was locked onto the rudder. The only thing I could think of was to bleed in a stream of thin cyano from the top of the rudder shaft. I'm not entirely happy about the repair but the result seems ok. However, I don't expect that it would take much to break the bond.
Drama 2
I thought that now was a good time to load the boat with ballast and float the hull. I wanted to establish the waterline for painting, test the motor and ESC operation under stress and finally to check for any leaks. I added ballast until the hull equaled the specified boat displacement weight (I'm assuming this is what I should do) and into the bath it went.

As I completed all of my tasks I noticed quite a lot of water in the bottom of the hull. I removed the hull from the water and water came pouring out of the hull where the rudder pipe (bearing/tube) exits. More *%$#@ expletives, this darn rudder installation again! When installing the rudder pipe one had to blindly drill a hole from inside the hull down through the wood frame backbone hoping that one's drill will exit in exactly the right spot. Of course the position of the hole was slightly out of place (Murphy's Law in action) so I needed to elongate it slightly to position the rudder correctly before gluing the assembly in place.

From inside the hull as best I could, I back-filled the gap (again blindly) down around the rudder pipe with epoxy. Unfortunately my water test later showed that this wasn't effective. Now that the rudder was fitted I couldn't really access the area outside the hull where the rudder pipe exited to press any filler in from the outside. I learned the hard way that I should have done my water test prior to fitting the keel and rudder and any required leak fixes would have been easier.

So what did I do? Working inside the hull I decided to fill into the space around the frame backbone in the rudder shaft area with SikaFlex SikaSeal (this was a smallish area sectioned off by formers). As the Sika was setting I continually pressed it down hopefully forcing it into every minute crevace.
Fortunately this was a success and an extended test in the bath showed that I no longer had any water ingress.
Last edited by downunda; Apr 16, 2017 at 08:33 PM. Reason: Clarity
Apr 16, 2017, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by downunda
Fortunately this was a success and an extended test in the bath showed that I no longer had any water ingress.
That's good news !

Hopefully no more setbacks.

Looking good otherwise ~
Apr 19, 2017, 06:10 AM
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Artesania Latina Hellen - Build Log 5

This will be my last entry for four or five months as we are going on our extended annual RV trip through outback Australia to escape the Melbourne winter. So there will be no further progress on the Hellen until September. However, I am taking all of the documentation with me to peruse from time to time. I will also have the documentation from my Billings Boats Smit Nederland and my Artesania Amsterdam kits with me to think about.

The Deck
It was time to do a little work on the deck, the two deck halves needed to be joined, I modified the kit instructions to make a stronger union.
When fitted to the hull, the deck will have a concave shape bowing about 1/2" in the centre. To simplify fitting this to the hull I dampened the deck and left it suitably bowed and weighted down on my workbench. Hopefully during my five month absence it will form nicely so as to meet the curvature of the hull making my fitting task easier.

The Masts
The instructions called for gluing small blocks under the deck to receive the forward and rearward masts. The holes in the blocks weren't very deep and I didn't like the whole setup as it didn't seem very substantial.
Although not exactly spelled out it seems that the designers intended that the masts would be permanently glued in place. I thought that although I had the rigging to deal with I could make the masts removable if need be for compactness of storage.

The timber supplied for the masts was longer than required so I installed brass tubes under the deck to act as mast receivers so that the masts would be correctly positioned and secured without being glued in place.
Last edited by downunda; Apr 19, 2017 at 05:45 PM.
Sep 11, 2017, 12:18 AM
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Artesania Latina Hellen - Build Log 6

Well I'm back from my RV escape and ready to progress the Hellen again. Although I took the plans and documentation away with me I found that its taken me a little bit to get back up to speed.

Deck Crew I would like to have crew on the boat and reckon that I need figurines of about 8cm (~3") in height as the boat is 1:20 scale. I am unable to find anything at all. Can anyone point me to a possible source?

Deck Preparation Before going away I left the deck (dampened and weighted) on my bench to induce a concave into it so that it would better fit the hull and be somewhat easier to glue into place. That worked well as the deck is now a pretty good fit onto the hull.

Lighting The next task I had listed was to address lighting. I purchased 3mm white, red and green LEDS for the job. The red and green will be fitted to the small cabin and the white to the bow. I may add additional white LEDS to fit as deck lights and a cabin light.

Although I could have driven the LEDS directly from the receiver I had decided to use a Hobby King Multi Remote Switch (MRS) which has eight switched outputs. The switch itself is activated from a nominated receiver channel. The MRS gives me the flexibility to sequence the various switched channels plus I can also use it to activate sound later if I wish.
I'm sure someone will tell me that I'm doing this the hard way, I'm sure there must be an easier way.

The photos show the Multi Remote switch mounted on a bulkhead. One close up and the other not so close. You can see that the internals are now rather busy with one battery, other components and the wiring in place.

Next step Fit the deck... I hope I haven't forgotten anything inside as fitting the lid will reduce my options to retrofit stuff..
Last edited by downunda; Sep 11, 2017 at 12:23 AM. Reason: spelling correction
Sep 11, 2017, 07:25 AM
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Tim B.'s Avatar


Originally Posted by downunda

Deck Crew I would like to have crew on the boat and reckon that I need figurines of about 8cm (~3") in height as the boat is 1:20 scale. I am unable to find anything at all. Can anyone point me to a possible source?

Try Here:
Sep 12, 2017, 12:37 AM
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Thanks Tim, it could be a good source.
Sep 16, 2017, 01:30 PM
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love this hull..have had this one for 8yrs or so.still working on my outrigger for the masts I made a base for mine to slide/push down into from some plastic block off cap from p/s pumps and such..any local auto shop will have some of these leftovers floating around...I used a dumas 6v running direct drive with a 55mm 3 blade brass prop with an mtronics micro viper 10...I cut the lower skeg and mounted it with 2 screws so the rudder can be replaced....only thing I recommend is renforce the bow area where it rolls up as it is thin..after 8 yrs I hit something and it cracked at the transition from thick keel tothin side hull..was a pain to reah up into the bow with the deck fixed on..fixed that on my 2nd hull im converting...going to go with a 2 to 1 belt drive instead of the dumas direct drive due to the moter on "Freya's gold gets very warm after 20 min of running at 3/4 throttle or higher swinging the big brass prop..she weighs in at 14lbs .. as for lighting I used surfacemount leds mostly 1206 package sizes and surfacemount resisters and magnet wire and set my resisters to run of straight battery pack voltage..the big deck lamps were done with 5050 plcc chip led's(a 3 led's in 1 package and 100mv per led..also needs 3seperate power and ground wires soldered on to each chip but the effect was worth the time and aggravation.. (note I used 3/4 watt resisters for the 1206's and 1 watt resisters on the plcc5050's..and yes the masts are removeable for service.but I always have to unsolder the leads from the dip switches as the switches wont fit through the mast hole....cant wait to see how yours turns out...also I found and fitted a beckner rudder from ebay on the 2nd hull and fits perfect
Last edited by roadrunner440; Sep 16, 2017 at 01:40 PM.
Sep 17, 2017, 07:49 PM
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Artesania Latina Hellen - Build Log 7

Fixing The Deck - I fitted the deck over the weekend, I was unsure whether to use Cyano or epoxy to fix the deck in place, however, I ended up using epoxy as I wanted the extra curing time to allow time to ensure that all sections of the deck were properly seated. I used a combination of weights and foldback clips to hold the deck down firm while the epoxy cured.

Removing Hull Excess - The construction is such that the deck is seated into the hull and rests on a ledge which is about 4mm below the top of the hull so that after fitting the deck the exposed top edges of the hull need to be removed. The kit instructions say to remove the excess with a file, I tried a little and no way was this practical as the hull material is around 1.5-2mm thick and it would have taken hours this way.

I ended up using my Dremel with sanding bands (drums), first with a course one then finishing with the fine. The Dremel made this a very easy task. I had always been reluctant to use the Dremel sanding bands as I figured it would be to hard to control but that wasn't the case. After sanding there were a few gaps between the deck and the hull that I filled with DELUXE Perfect Plastic Putty, this is a great product.

Preparing for Deck Planking - Being unsure how to proceed here I trolled through this forum and picked up a few hints... one was to colour the deck before planking so that gaps between the planks would look like pitch or calking. I thought this was a good tip so I mixed a black wash and applied it to the deck.

Roadrunner440 - Thanks for your photos and tips, your model is very impressive and you have set a very high standard. I wish I had known of the articulating rudder as I would have bought one and fitted it... too late for that in my case, as is your suggestion to strengthen the hull.

Next Steps -
1) I expect that I will plank the deck next.
2) I'm thinking that perhaps I should then paint the hull but I'm not sure whether to do that next or fit the bulwarks and stanchions beforehand. I'm not happy with the strength of the bulwark fittings as when I was trial fitting one of them the tiny fixing extension on one of them broke off, so I need to consider some modifications here.
3) I'm also wondering if I should pre-paint the bulwarks and/or stanchions before fitting them as I see that it could be too hard to paint them separate colours later on?

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