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Deck scow by Canute - American Model Builders Laser Kit - 1:87 scale - New York Harbor craft

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Harbor areas were a big lure to railroads for sending and receiving merchandise. The major US seaports along both coasts hosted a number of railroads.  The New York Harbor had 6 railroads approach it through New Jersey and one via the east shore of the Hudson River. The railroads on the New Jersey side carried the lion's share of the freight into the NY metropolitan area. There was only1 railroad with a tunnel from NJ into Manhattan, but it was only used for carrying passenger traffic So, in order to get the goods from the west side of the river into New York City, the railroads had to float their cargoes across the Hudson.


The railroad "navy's" developed a wide variety of watercraft to move their tonnage, referred to as lighterage, around the harbor. They developed car floats, some with a loading dock central to the float, where cargo could be worked. The floats carried cars back and forth from the Jersey side to a number of stations in Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island. They also used covered barges, some self-propelled, to move cargo they had to protect, from the railroad wharves to other stations and ships in the harbor, These barges carried their cargoes inside the hull of the watercraft.  The scows carried cargo on their decks. Some had a cabin on the deck for a "captain", actually more of a watchman. These were Cabin Scows.  Others, like this kit, just tied their cargo on the deck. And they were all conveyed around the harbor by railroad owned tugboats. I found a deck scow kit for use on my Harlem Transfer.


Some deck scows had a mast and boom setup to haul deck cargo and winch it to a receiver. These were called stick lighters. I'd like to do it up as a stick lighter, since my modeled railroad had a number of these craft.

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Since this is a laser cut kit, there isn't a lot of fiddling required for the build. Most parts are pre-cut and also have double stick tape for fastening together. I started by staining the exterior parts with a Monroe Models black creosote stain. I waited overnight to let the stain dry and then started the hull sides.685051570_creosotedparts1.thumb.jpg.bb0892ba164206ae7fa8ab35d87970a0.jpg

Pictures via my phone, so sorry for the blurry left edge. You can see how dark the stain got.



I got the hull sides done fairly quickly and forgot to take any in progress shots.



Here's the transom parts.  There are two; there is no bow or stern on these craft.



Completed transom.


Have to build up the hull frames/bulkheads. The scow hull will look like an egg crate when we're ready for the deck.

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Well, more work done and I found a real prize buried in my RR cache: a pile driver barge. Could become the follow on to this little scow. On to the current work.


The framework is pretty basic: floor, five bulkheads, some stringers and 2 end braces.

2063917668_Hullbulkheads1.thumb.jpg.7417690388d28a5403b041fb07ccadf9.jpgThanks to the laser cutting this craft has sheer and camber built in.


The ends are identical, with buffer wood added in. Have to go back and add some creosote stain to these buffer boards. And this shows the camber, too.


The stringers are added to support the deck and everything is left with the glue drying.



I need to go back and touch up a few spots and fill in some gaps in the side strakes.


Thanks for reading.






end bracing 1.jpg

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Well, the little box is about done. I have the deck on and am installing the end railings. Have to make sure the side railings don't pinch the end pieces. Bollardsand cleats are next. Just have to paint up the resin parts. Also have some old tires to drape over the sides. These acted as fenders.


 On deck is another harbor work boat, a floating crane/pile driver.



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It'll be for a layout model, Edward. I'm working up a small NY City harbor station of the railroad I model. It was a vest pocket yard on the Bronx Boro side of the Harlem River. Right now it's a foundation with a few tracks and a float bridge. Kind of novel station, since it had an oval freight house.

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Hi Ken,


This is great. I am interested in (and working on) NY harbor scenes especially Harlem Transfer/ DL&W facilities.  I have seen your post above for the stick lighter.

Please keep the pics coming.


I cannot believe I missed this as I have been hanging around here for months.




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I got waylaid with other projects and this went on a back burner. I do have the bitts installed, but must still paint the chocks. And I did acquire some items for deck loading. Those will need some paint and fine wire details. I also purchased a 3' long car float kit, but I have to perform surgery to the deck to get it to mate with my float bridge. Rails to the single track don't line up. The gantlet track is fine.


The car floats have 3 tracks on them, but the float bridges have a novel way of conserving space for these approach tracks from the land to the barge.


My railroad, the Lackawanna, used the right side of the diagram.

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Been brush painting the cleats yellow. They're molded in a yellow/tan resin, so I'm seeing how good my Mission Models yellow paint (an acrylic) covers, without priming. I'll add them and attach some wire loops on the corners to hang the rubber tire bumpers. Then weather the scow.

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