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New England Stonington Dragger by FriedClams - FINISHED - 1:48 POB

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Thank you Keith A and Keith B.


16 hours ago, KenW said:

When you use these dry transfers, do you cut out each letter in order to place it properly?

Your transfers look so perfect.

Hi Ken, thanks for the nice words.


No I don't cut them out as the carrier is helpful in locating the character.  The horizontal rows of letters can be used as a reference for level against letters already placed or against the edge of a plank, etc.  Holding the carrier by its edges allows for easy orientation vertically, horizontally and even in rotation.  For example, after determining character spacing for the boat name displayed in an arc, I position a letter so its bottom center rests on the arc equidistant within its allotted space.  I then place the point of a dressmakers' pin at that bottom center point (not really penetrating – just holding the placement.)  This is now used as a pivot point and I rotate the carrier film until the letter orientation pleases my eye.  I then place a finger somewhere on the film to keep it from shifting, let go of the pin and rub the letter down.  After a few minutes messing around with these transfers, you'll have it down.  I've seen people rub transfers on like they were using a pencil eraser, fast and unexacting.  I've learned slow firm pressure, moving deliberately over the entire surface of the character produces the crispest results.


Hope that helps.


15 hours ago, mtaylor said:

thanks for pointing out the dry transfers as I haven't seen or used them in years.

Hi Mark,  Yes they are rather old school, but often - they're just the ticket.  I understand that a few companies will now print custom color transfers of any text or software generated artwork.  But last I checked, it is crazy prohibitively expensive. Thanks for stopping by.



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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks to all for your wonderful comments.  And thanks for the likes and to those watching quietly.



Some Final Odds and Ends


These boats almost universally used a 3 or 5 blade right-handed propeller in the 26” to 30” range. The prop I'm using scales to about 26” and is from Bluejacket Shipcrafters.  I had intended to scratch my own, but I found this prop in my stash box and my inner lazy-slug voice talked me into using it.  So I cleaned it up with file and sand paper.





And then added some evidence of use.




My understanding of prop walk is that the dynamics of a right handed propeller will hook the vessel to port as it moves forward.  The effect is more pronounced in reverse but still evident going forward.  So I have this question that I have found no definitive answer to.  Is this prop walk the reason all these boats drag off the starboard side - to counter this hook to port?  At least it's not adding further to the tendency to pull to port as it surely would if they were dragging off the port side.  Or is this prop walk insignificant compared to the other forces involved here?  What do you think?




After looking at a couple of dozen rudders, I drew up this one.



Prepared some bits and pieces.





Then assembled. Acrylic paint and pigments are applied.





Glued to the boat.





I then prepared parts and pieces to assemble a coal scuttle.  The scuttle diameter is approximately 5/16” or 15 scale inches.





The lid is painted and held captive within the brass ring with a dab of epoxy.  Holes for the bolts and lifting ring are drilled and the bits glued on.





Scale 4” fuel fill deck plates are punched from brass shim stock and painted.  The paint is mottled to suggest detail that isn't there.





A engine cooling water discharge pipe is cut from brass tube and the end is reamed to reduce the pipe wall thickness.





In the image below, all three of these items are shown; the scuttle, one of the fuel fill plates and the cooling water discharge.  There also would have been a fresh water fill plate, generator cooling discharge and other items, but  . . .





Some time ago back on page #9 of this log, I built the Otter Boards for the boat.





So it is time to hang them off winch chains. They are lightly glued to maintain their position.





The hull is painted with acrylic Tamiya Hull Red (XF-9).  I don't have a lot of Tamiya paint so I forget how nicely this paint lays down, how well it covers and how smoothly it brushes on.  It's like painting with thin mayonnaise.  The surface of the hull was then scraped and India ink/alcohol was washed on top. I then added a water line stain with thinned white acrylic.  And then some sanding.  I played around with simulating barnacles, but I was never really happy with my results to where I thought it added in a positive way to the model.  So I'm leaving the hull in this pre-paint prep state where the marine crud has been mostly removed.  I think this will work as the model will be displayed in dry dock in the process of getting new bottom paint.





Here on the starboard side the bottom painting has begun.





Old tires were often used as fenders on these boats and still are on modern F/Vs as well.  I found some vinyl 1:48 tires on ebay that have hollow interiors and raised lettering.  I put these tires in my portable drill and stripped off all the tread with a needle file.  These tires were already black, but they were too black and shiny, so I re-painted them with my own dull charcoal mixture that looks more to scale.  I then gave them a white acrylic wash.  Because they are hollow, I was able to place a piece of blackened copper wire inside to form them into a slight out-of-round shape.





The ropes wrap around a cleat and hang over the rail.  A subtle rubber abrasion against the hull is added with pigment.  I haven't decided yet how many of these tires to place on the model.  Just a couple maybe – after all, it's not a tugboat.  I guess I should add some rope abrasion to the rail as well.







I've begun working on the diorama base, so in a couple of weeks I'll have one more posting to share with you.


Thanks for taking a look. Be safe and stay well.





Edited by FriedClams
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I'll answer your prop walk question, or confuse you.


I crew a 1902 steam tug named Waratah, she has a right hand prop and the tow hook wasn't generally used because they had been deemed dangerous so a line was made off to the port towing bollard and the wear from the towlines is very evident.


The reason the port bollard (which is mounted directly behind the cream coloured superstructure and about 1mtr off centre) was used is because the prop walk wanted to turn the boat to stbd and the tow line to port helped correct it.


When coming into our berth if the master orders the engine go astern the stern starts walking out to port straight away. 


This all seems somewhat contradictory because you'd expect her to turn one way going ahead and the opposite going astern and to confuse you further, when going ahead without towing she tends to want to go to port and she needs about 3 degress of stbd rudder but that may just be because the indicator isn't calibrated properly.


I wonder if when dragging the net they steer the boat to stbd to run a large sweeping circle? 




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On 10/17/2020 at 5:05 PM, kurtvd19 said:

A tip for the tires.  There are usually some holes drilled in the bottom of the tire to let water drain out.  About 1-inch diameter.


That's something I hadn't even considered, but it's a nice easy detail to add as the tires are not glued down. In fact I won't even need to untie them. Thanks Kurt.


23 hours ago, wefalck said:

.. but I was wondering what a coal-scuttle was doing on such a boat ?


21 hours ago, Keith Black said:

A coal fired galley stove would be my guess. 

5 hours ago, Keith Black said:

Because of coal's jagged edges it can easily hang up if a scuttle is too small. Hauling out the coal ash would be a tight dirty job. 


Hello Wefalck.  Hello Keith.  Thank you both for your comments.  Yes the coal is for the galley stove as Keith has stated.  The stove provides not only the means of cooking, but obviously it provides heat for the crew, the berths and also the wheelhouse.  And New England winters can be quite cold, especially 100 years ago.  The size of my scuttle is about 15” diameter (dictated by the tubing it was cut from) and is slightly larger than the 14” diameter of the Thomas Laughlin Co. coal scuttle that I used as a size reference.  Of course that is the outside diameter of the deck flange and the actual usable opening would be smaller.  I don't know how the coal was delivered – shoveled out of a cart, sacks?  But the size of the scuttle doesn't strike me as being overly generous considering the material.  The alternative would be through the wheelhouse and down what can only be considered a glorified ladder.  It is interesting to think through how ordinary tasks were accomplished in a much different time.  Thank you both again.



18 hours ago, Bedford said:

I'll answer your prop walk question, or confuse you.


Hello Bedford.  Thanks for the very interesting reply.  I am surprised that the tug pulls to port with no tow and to starboard with a tow.  I would not have guessed that and it convinces me that even things that seem simply on the surface usually are not.  It could very well be that the boats trawl in an arc or as you say a sweeping circle (actually, that vaguely rings a bell.)  And boy that has to be fun to crew on a 1902 steam tug!



Druxey, John, Bob, Paul, Richard and Allen - Thanks for the nice comments.



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  • 3 weeks later...

I found this log this evening and have read the entire post, much better than watching election returns. 

The model is great and I very much enjoyed reading about it. I learned several techniques I want to try.


I suggest the dory is not a life boat, but rather part of the fishing gear. It can be used to come alongside the net and help its hauling out.  I don't know any class of fishing boats that carry lifeboats, beyond inflatable liferafts.





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I can chime in on the coal port question as well, given my work on Waratah. She has a main coal hatch on the deck forward of the wheelhouse which is about 3 x 6 feet but also has side bunkers which have round hatches of approx 20 inch diameter at a guess. These hatches have surrounds of about 4 inches in width so the overall diameter is in the order of 28 inches. I'd imagine that's about the right size for dumping a bag of coal into.

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  • 2 weeks later...


Thanks to all for the comments and the likes – it is always greatly appreciated.


On 11/3/2020 at 10:38 PM, RonGinger said:

I suggest the dory is not a life boat, but rather part of the fishing gear. It can be used to come alongside the net and help its hauling out.  I don't know any class of fishing boats that carry lifeboats, beyond inflatable liferafts.


Hello Ron.  I'm glad you found my log and thank you for the kind words.  Thanks also for the comments regarding the dory, but I'm going to respectfully disagree on the dory's purpose for the following reasons.  First, as I researched these small western-rig boats, I found references to the roof mounted dories as indeed being lifeboats.  I agree with you that present day F/Vs mostly do not carry lifeboats, only inflatables.  But even as late as the 1970s they did. In Peter Prybot's book, White-Tipped Orange Masts: (Gloucester's fishing draggers in the 1970s), the author states that the eastern-rig boats carried two life boats atop the pilothouse and smaller boats carried one.  Here is an image of eastern-rig boats in Boston in the 1960s/70s all carrying dories painted in the same high visibility color.




The image above doesn't prove anything by itself, but it shows that the boats were common in an earlier time.  As the decades passed and the dories became increasingly rare, it must have been due to the movement toward CO2 canister inflatables.  If the dories were part of the fishing gear, they would not have vanished because the basic method of trawl fishing during this period didn't change.


A second reason I believe the dories on these small draggers were not part of the fishing gear is that I have never read where auxiliary boats have ever been used in conjunction with otter trawl gear.  I don't see how the dory would assist in that process or what it could do that the winch or boom hoists could not, especially considering the weight of the gear (wire rope, otter boards, roller gear, etc).  And my final thought is that without a davit, getting the dory down off the roof and back up routinely seems impractical.


Of course I could be totally wrong about all of this, but certainly without some way out of the frigid New England water, a person would quickly suffer from cold incapacitation followed by hypothermia in short order.


Thanks again Ron.





This simple diorama base has been a painfully slow slog.  I re-did it several times with each version being tossed into the trash.  But I have surrendered and it is done.


I began with a framed platform that measures 7.5” x 13.5”. Like the model, it shows signs of wear.





I then made a landscape foundation of Hyrocal.  This is great stuff – mix with water and it cures hard as a rock, doesn't shrink, crack or flake apart.  I poured this mix onto a piece of waxed paper so I could work the stuff away from the base in anticipation of do-overs.  The rock out-crop is also Hydrocal that I formed in a flexible mold manufactured by Woodland Scenics.  Trailer tire tracks are laid in.





I glued the slab onto the base with crazy amounts of PVA and filled in around the perimeter with a fresh batch of the Hydrocal. There is an interval of time before it has cured (hours) where the stuff is “green” - hard, but very workable with carving tools. I then cut and glued down the wood blocks that will support the boat.





Slide switches and a battery holder for the LED lighting are mounted to the underside.





The Hydrocal was painted with a brown gouache and then landscaping materials are added on top.  The rock out-crops are also colored with gouache.  The “dirt” is pulverized cat box absorbent (unused mind you).  It's placed into a plastic zip bag, smashed with a hammer and then sifted into piles - powder, fine and course.  The scant vegetation is dry bits of things from the flower garden that were then painted with acrylics.  And the scattered rocks are, well - small stones.


Once things were arranged to my liking, I sprayed wet water (more like a heavy mist) over everything until good and wet.  This helps the adhesive to flow.  Before it had a chance to dry, I used a craft style syringe/eye dropper and applied a 50/50 PVA/wet water mix over the entire diorama.  A lot of this mixture was applied- everything soaked but no puddles.  Below is how it looks when dry.  I can shake it vigorously upside down and nothing falls off, but that's not a recommended practice.





I make up a few details. An extension ladder colored with acrylics and pigment powder.







And a step ladder.





A 55 gallon drum filled with scraps.  The drum is injection molded plastic from Tichy Train Group.  It is based painted rust enamel then over-painted with acrylic, chipped and pigments applied.




So I grab the boat and bring it over to the base for final mounting.  Before I make it to the base, I sneeze violently and the boat jumps from my hands like it was possessed.  I watched in slow motion horror as the model pitchpoled end over end and landed on the floor like a cat, right side up and flat on its keel.  I could barely believe my careless stupidity or my undeserved good fortune.  The model remained in completely undamaged condition with only the engine stack having been slightly loosened.  Sometimes the gods smile upon you.


The LED wiring is run down through holes in the wood blocks and the boat is attached to the base.  Details are glued on and boat stands are added.









A worker in a pensive moment contemplates the world and his place in it.  The figure is by Arttista.  And at the last minute I decided the scene needed saw horses and a couple of planks.




And some other direct lighting shots.










Some indirect lighting photos.












Well, this model is finished and it has been a pleasure sharing it with you.  I thank everyone who looked in on the build and all the folks that clicked the “like” button.  And to all of you who have generously given comments of support, suggestions, information and expertise – I thank you so very much.




Be safe and stay well.




Edited by FriedClams
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OK, you almost gave ME a heart attack with that incident; I have a new something to be thankful for. The base and final display match the rest of this peerless model. So glad you shared it with us.


As a geologist and former model railroader, I was often fairly critical of peoples' presentation of rocks, soil, and landforms as rarely did modelers put as much effort into getting these right as they did their actual models. I'm happy to say that your base looks excellent! 

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