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Dusseldorf Fire Boat by ir3 - Robbe - Radio


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While waiting for some parts to finish Project X I started my next project. It is the Robbe Dusseldorf Fire Boat. I was lucky enough to find an old Robbe kit with almost all of the extras one could acquire for this model. It came with the Robbe Navy-Kompackt geared motors, the two accessory kits to embellish the model and animate the Fire Monitors, that were not supplied with the kit, the water pump, the miniature motors for the radar and anchor, and all of the sound generators. The condition of the rest of the contents is immaculate, no plywood warpage and in excellent condition. If I were to make one criticism, the die cut plywood sheets have just been lightly embossed with no cutting action at all. These parts are easily removed using the scroll saw. A real pleasure to become the owner. This will be a complete build with all the bells and whistles (LOL). For those who are familiar with the Fire Boat, the finished model is quite impressive. Most of the functionality is controlled using Robbe Multiswitch devices of which I still have a nice assortment. My F-14 has been converted to 2.4GHZ using the RIPMAX TM-24 module but I am disappointed with it in that there are very few receivers that will work with it. I am going to convert to the JETI TU2 TX module which is a perfect addition to the F-14. It will also be fitted with a JETI Box. It will work with most of the JETI R# receivers. Looking forward to this.

 

To get started, the hull was drilled with all the necessary holes for the anchor tubes, the rudders, motor stuffing boxes and water intake for the fire monitors. The usual deck support strips were added and 2 x 2mm strips added to the outside of the hull. These will hold the rubbing strips which have a 2 x 2mm groove cut in them for mounting. The two motors have been bolted to the support bulkhead and it has been placed into the hull for fitting only. Permanent installation after the hull is painted. Painting will be done in the next few days. With all of the detail and animation, this is going to be a fun build.

 

Until next time,

 

IR3

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Starting the installation of the water pump and rudder servo. Barely visible between the tow motors is the water pickup tube for the pump. The tube exits at the bottom of the hull. This is how Robbe designed it and so I have to believe it works. But considering the water monitors are operating when the boat is standing still or moving slowly, it shouldn't be a problem. The board needs sanding sealer. This board is glued in but I am thinking of bolting it in just in case the motors have to come out for some reason. 

 

Until next time,

 

IR3

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The cradle for the boat was finished this morning. It will be needed for the rest of the assembly and getting the water line in place. At the moment it has been sealed with sanding sealer and will be painted at a later date. Now it's time to sand the hull and get a waterline in place for painting.

 

Till next time,

 

IR3

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Count me in on following this.   Should be impressive to see on the water.    

 

As a side note.. I gather this RC and not "fire and forget" that goes on a preset course?  If it is, I'll be glad to add "Radio" to the title.

Mark
"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me

Current Build:                                                                                             
Past Builds:
 La Belle Poule 1765 - French Frigate from ANCRE plans                             Triton Cross-Section   

                                                                                                                       USS Constellaton (kit bashed to 1854 Sloop of War  _(Gallery) Build Log

                                                                                Wasa (Gallery)

                                                                                                                        HMS Sphinx 1775 - Vanguard Models - 1:64               

 

Non-Ship Model:                                                                                         On hold, maybe forever:           

CH-53 Sikorsky - 1:48 - Revell - Completed                                                   Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0 (Abandoned)         

         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

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Hi Mark,

 

Thanks for looking in. Yep, full RC with all the bells and whistles. Operational Radar, Anchor up/down, fully animated fire monitors. It will be quite enjoyable implementing all the goodies. I was just commenting that with the boat moving at some speed, there may not be any water pickup.

 

I need to get back to Project X. The rudder servo just showed up.

 

Until next time,

 

IR3

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had to step away from the shop for a while but now back to it. I decided to do more work on the Fire Boat and hold off on Steaming Project X for a while. I want to get the running gear installed in the Fire Boat first. The hull is painted and the rubbing strips are installed. The white stripe is Pactra striping tape. The hull will be getting several coats of Clear Coat today. Then off to running gear installation.

 

Until next time,

 

IR3

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  • 2 weeks later...

The original position of the rudder servo and water pump were OK as long as they did not need any maintenance. With the rear deck dry fitted there was no way to get at either the servo or the water pump. They have been repositioned. Because of the way the rudder servo was mounted I was lucky enough to find a vendor nearby that had some that would work just fine. The mount is held to the board through two T-nuts so removing the rudder servo will not be a problem. The water pump was moved so the mounting screws are accessible but with fender washers under the bolt heads, not easy to replace of the pump has to come out. With all 4 bolts quite loose, it just may come out without too much trouble. Of course, since the rudder servo was moved, I had to make a new pushrod.

 

Now that I have enough confidence that I can service these parts, next job is to glue in the aft deck.

 

Until next time,

 

IR3

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On 10/9/2020 at 5:08 PM, ir3 said:

I was just commenting that with the boat moving at some speed, there may not be any water pickup.

If you install a tubing pick up trough the bottom of the hull, or that extends under the hull from the transom back by the rudders that is in the propwash you will have no problems with picking up water even at speed. 

Lou

 

Build logs: Colonial sloop Providence 1/48th scale kit bashed from AL Independence

Currant builds:

Constructo Brigantine Sentinel (Union) (On hold)

Minicraft 1/350 Titanic (For the Admiral)

1/350 Heavy Cruiser USS Houston (Resin)

Currant research/scratchbuild:

Schooner USS Lanikai/Hermes

Non ship build log:

1/35th UH-1H Huey

 

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I have not been idle this last week. I am in no hurry to assemble the decks to the hull as there are a lot of little issues to settle about the various animated parts of the boat. I assembled the rear crane and am almost finished with the fore deck water monitor. The biggest problem is the Robbe miniature DC motors. There are none to be had anywhere. I had two in the kit. Unfortunately it was the only two. There was a 1000:1 motor and a 250:1 motor. The 1000:1 motor is used to rotate the crane and the 250:1 is used to raise/lower the boat hook. Well, the instructions call for a 500:1 gear ratio to raise and lower the hook. The 250:1 motor is described at 50RPM and I assume that is at 6V. I can reduce the voltage to reduce the RPM. It looks like the 500:1 motor is probably about 25RPM. There are a lot of miniature motors available of various RPM's but they will need some retrofitting to get them to work. It can all be done but it will take time. Especially getting the parts which take weeks to deliver. There are 3 or 4 other places for 500:1 motors in the model and they will be done as parts arrive.

 

I also started on the Water Monitor for the Fore deck. Robbe did a very nice design here but it is not without its minor problems. There is a spring in the water line that keeps the hose from kinking when attached to the water nozzle. There is a spring on the top of the unit that holds the nozzle up. There is a fine nylon thread the runs down the inside of the support tube for the Monitor. Unfortunately with the spring in the water line, the spring on top of the unit is not strong enough to fully elevate the water nozzle. I will have to look for some other stiffer springs and see if it helps. For the most part, though, there is enough elevation change to make it look realistic. I have the servo installed for rotation but need to install the servo for controlling the elevation of the nozzle.

 

There are also going to be issues installing the electronics. The call outs are for old Robbe parts that are no longer available. I do have two Multiswitch Decoders and several Multi Switch modules to I can implement all the switchable items and rotation controls. The relays will be a problem but there is a good market in the robotics world for these kind of items.

 

So, a lot of work ahead with a lot of head scratching. If anyone know of a source for the Robbe miniature DC motors or Relay modules, please let me know.

 

Until next time,

 

IR3

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Always waiting for parts. Most of the pieces needed for the animation are not available at one's local hobby shop. The general layout for the anchor winch is finished. The motor is a 30RPM 6V miniature DC motor. This should closely match the Robbe 500:1 unit. My 250:1 unit is 50RPM at 6V so I figure it will be close. The anchor will not fly out of the water at 2 seconds per revolution. The motor is held on with M1.6 x .35 screws which are not available at your local Home Depot so it's order from a metric supplier as close to home as possible and wait. They came in today so the anchor winch is just about complete. I need to wire the motor and put on a suppression cap. The base is a sandwich assembly with the removable motor base sandwiched in. There is a clever latch that needs to be made to lock it into place. Just operating the latch will allow the motor assembly to be removed for maintenance. A final picture to follow.

 

Some parts to complete the forward Water Monitor are also on the way so that is close to being finished. I may start on the cabin. It is full of goodies including two Water Monitors, the radar, and a few other items. More on this coming.

 

Until next time,

 

IR3

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A bit more progress. The 50RPM Robbe Motor has been replaced with a 30RPM motor for the boat crane. The anchor winch power lead and capacitor are done. I started on the main servo controls for the two Fire Monitors on the cabin roof. They will both move at the same time and are controlled from two servos. The one with the pulley is used for rotation and the the other is used to raise/lower the nozzles of the Fire Monitors.

 

I started on the cabin and ran into a major problem. The cabin is completely racked. I tried some heat treatments and twisting to solve the problem but no help. It turns out, however, the cabin is perfectly straight when it is lying flat on the work table. To maintain the shape of the cabin and provide a good seating on the deck there is a frame around the bottom of the cabin to keep it straight. To solve the extreme warping of the cabin I decided to build a box structure that conforms to the shape of the bottom of the cabin. It has cross beams and a diagonal to help ensure the cabin will remain straight. After clamping the cabin to the box structure, the cabin is perfectly straight. I will have to cut some notches in the opening surround of the main deck to allow for the cross beams but it will work solving the warpage problem. I will be gluing the cabin to the structure and start installing the Fire Monitors.

 

Until next time,

 

IR3

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I trimmed the bottom of the cabin and fit it to the deck. The fit on the port side is quite nice up to 2/3 back. Then there is a gap. This is due to the aft portion being so poorly molded or removed too early and the aft part of the cabin assumed a non fixable shape. The starboard side has the same problem. Not sure how I am going to fix this as of yet. I might be able to add some polystyrene sheet and work in the correct shape and clearance. More to follow. suggestions would be appreciated.

 

Until next time,

 

IR3

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Nice work.

 

One thought to consider on the capstan motor/gearbox assembly is what happens when the anchors reach their limit of travel. if they are not stopped immediately those little motors are powerful enough to rip the assembly up or break the anchor chain. you may want to us some kind of friction coupling like a piece of rubber hose or something to prevent that from happening.

 

Nice work on getting the cabin straightened out. You may want to remember that part of the lip on the deck that the cabin fits over is not only to locate the cabin properly and prevent shifting but to act as a coming to prevent water coming over the deck and going down into the hull through the large opening under the cabin and getting into the electronics and running gear.

 

Great progress, looking forward to see where you go from here.

Lou

 

Build logs: Colonial sloop Providence 1/48th scale kit bashed from AL Independence

Currant builds:

Constructo Brigantine Sentinel (Union) (On hold)

Minicraft 1/350 Titanic (For the Admiral)

1/350 Heavy Cruiser USS Houston (Resin)

Currant research/scratchbuild:

Schooner USS Lanikai/Hermes

Non ship build log:

1/35th UH-1H Huey

 

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Thanks for the heads up on both the main deck opening and the anchor winch. Two more items on the long to do list for this model.

 

Some more work on the main cabin. Things like doors and hatches have been glued on and the cabin roof. The initial installation of the Fire Monitors is complete. I need to get this done so I can correctly locate the servo plate for rotation and elevation. More 30 RPM motors have arrived so I can also get the radar and rotating search light installed. Lots to do on the cabin.

 

Until next time,

 

IR3

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Spent most of the morning installing the rails and aligning the servo tray for the two Fire Monitors mounted on the cabin. Aligning the rotational shaft bearings was a bit problematical since I needed to maintain smooth rotation. They are both in and the rotation on the forward monitor is a bit tight so some light filing should work out just fine. The servo that raises and lowers the nozzles on the Monitors is interfering with the cross brace so I may need to hog out some of the brace to clear the servo horn. The servo tray is not yet glued in and I am thinking that once glued in, it may just be enough to keep the cabin straight and the cross braces will not be needed. There are two cross braces that should be installed in the cabin per the plans. More on this to follow.

 

Until next time,

 

IR3

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The glue for the servo tray has set over night and I removed the diagonal brace. The cabin remained solid with no flex in any direction. I removed the two cross braces and had no problems with flexing. The interior cabin cross braces were installed to maintain the spacing so the cabin will fit on the main deck opening. It appears, in hindsight, that the bracing used to square the cabin allowed the servo tray to maintain cabin rigidity. The slots in the main deck hatch coming were filled and now no worries about water leaking into the hull. One big headache avoided. I am in no rush to get the main deck in place for now. The kit has a board that is used to hold all of the RC electronics but it is based on having the components that were available at the time the kit was produced. Not having the old components, I need to collect all the relay modules that are usable and come up with new layouts. It may take two boards to hold the parts and location within the hull will have to be worked out. More on this in the future. For now, I will be working on everything associated with the main cabin.

 

Until next time,

 

IR3

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The radar, search light/loud speaker, and the horn are installed in the rough. The radar rotation motor is in the cabin and the search light/loud speaker is ready to install. There is a mechanism within the cabin to move the search light which needs to be installed. The horn base needs a bit more shaping. Drilling vertical holes through the cabin roof and the internal top of the cabin is quite difficult. Getting verticality requires drilling the holes close to the right diameter and finishing with a round file. Very tedious. I had to fill a bunch of holes with Sprue Glue and re-drill. 

 

Next update will have the rotation mechanism installed for the search light.

 

Stay safe,

 

IR3

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Continuing work on the cabin accessories. The mast with lights and antennas is finished in the rough. It needs light bulbs installed and paint. Note: the picture shows some distortion but all the parts are square. Photography is not one of my strong suits.

 

There is an issue with the platform for the top Fire Monitor. The plans call for rail stanchions to pass through tabs on the platform and through the cabin top. I tried various methods trying to keep the drill perfectly vertical while drilling but no luck. The roof is not flat anywhere so the drill tends to wander. I tried using a scribe as vertical as possible to make a center punch hole for the drill but with my eyesight this was a no go as well as making a jig to keep the drill vertical. If I had a suitable machine shop I could make a thick metal plate with the exact outline of the tabs on the platform and get the holes drilled but I don't. The box art shows the rail stanchions do not pass through platform tabs. In fact, the tabs do not even appear on the platform in the box art. I will do the same. Since the platform is bolted to the top of the cabin, it will make it a lot easier to repair the Fire Monitor if needed.

 

Now its off to a few more cabin details including vents and other goodies.

 

Until next time,

 

IR3

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Today it was adding a few more lights, the towing hook, and a load of ventilators. Of course, all in the rough. There is a lot of painting (UGH) coming up. One of the pictures shows a patch from an error. I drilled a hole a bit to big for on of the ventilators. It is patched but the filler needs to harden. That will be remedied in the next session. The cargo hook is very cleverly spring loaded to keep it closed. Better pictures on the next update.

 

Now it is off to railings. Lots of railings.

 

Until next time,

 

IR3 

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Thanks John, this Robbe Kit is a pleasure to work with. Excellent instructions and plans. The parts are superb.

 

The main railings for the mid cabin deck are finished. The biggest problem is drilling the holes in the cabin wall to steady the railings. The railing on the port side of the cabin is straight, just bad camera angle. Two new pictures showing the tow hook and the repaired mushroom ventilator. Next job is to make the safety railing for the lower Fire Monitor.

 

Until next time,

 

IR3

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The railing for the aft Fire Monitor is now complete. This was not an easy job with all of the bends and curve and fitting to the cabin. The picture shows the first holes drilled into the sloping section of the rear cabin which were in the wrong place. A bit of filling and sanding before painting. I found that the rear fire monitor was not centered and the problem went way back to the start of working on the cabin. There was a picture showing where some areas of the cabin needed to be removed. I misinterpreted the picture and cut out the mount for the rear fire monitor. The fix shown in the previous post but the monitor is off center. I need to cover this hole and re center Fire Monitor base. Read the instructions three times, look at the pictures three times, look at the plans three times and don't cut!☹️.

 

Now it's off to repairing the big hole and getting the railings around the forward fire monitor.

 

Until next time,

 

IR3

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Thanks John, much appreciated. I made a jig to build up the railings for the upper water monitor. This is not an easy task. The first step was to layout the holes and drill them.

 

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Next, fit the stanchions and the railing then solder.

 

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Then the jig was bolted to the top of the cabin.

 

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Finally the railing was inserted to mark the spots on the cabin roof where it needed drilling. When I then inserted the railing, nothing was aligned properly. There are several problems doing this operation. The first is that bolting the jig to the top of the cabin, while maintaining proper alignment, the cabin roof is so thin that it is almost impossible to stabilize the jig. So drilling straight down is still very problematical. The top of the cabin is slanted in the areas where holes needed to be drilled and even with the jig in place, the drill tip tends to wander. The only solution to get the stanchions vertical was to enlarge the holes slightly and re solder the tops to get them vertical. It is pretty close now and the flaws are not obvious.

 

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The platform is very flexible and getting the railing height is a bit of a nuisance but I'm gaining on it. All of the stanchions are actually vertical. The picture doesn't show it. Mounting this platform was not one of ROBBE'S best efforts. I can see why the box art shows the railing in place without the tabs. 

 

So now I need to form the front end of the railing where it goes into the cabin roof and the back end which forms into a grab rail when climbing up the to roof. Then its off to the other side which should go a lot faster since I know all the pitfalls.

 

Until next time,

 

IR3

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The other half of the railing took less than 2 hours. There is still a bit of tweaking to be done but that will happen when the permanent installation takes place. The exact height of the railing can be set and the two aft stanchions be cut to length. Now it's off to setting up the grab rails around the main cabin doors and the along the sides of the cabin. It's getting close to painting time and final assembly.

 

Until next time,

 

IR3

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The end is near for the main cabin construction. All the railings, grab handles, steps, and mounting goodies are all collected. One example of the railing installation is shown in the pictures as well as all the other goodies. The Mission Models Grab Handler came in very handy.

 

Next update will be with all the holes drilled for the railings and steps for the cabin railings. Getting close to painting this puppy!

 

Until next time,

 

IR3 

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All the holes for railings and other items have been drilled and backed with some scrap wood. The last part of the animation for the cabin is the mechanism to rotate the searchlight and loud speaker assembly. This was not as easy as the plans and instructions show. I probably spent about 8 hours working out the geometry. If you were able to position everything as per the plan and get the lengths exactly the same it would have worked out just fine. If there is any error in the positioning and length of the parts, the mechanism will bind somewhere in its travel. So several hours of experimenting finally got me to the point where the searchlight goes through about 145 degrees of rotation with no binding. Glad to have that out of the way.

 

Now it is time to prep the cabin for painting as well as all of the pieces that get attached to the cabin.

 

Until next time,

 

IR3

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It's a great kit. I will be glad to help in any way I can. Please post pictures of the kit. You can use this thread if you wish. Krick might be redistributing this kit but I do not know what they have. Once I see all the parts you have I can help with sources to find the rest.

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Colin, I suggest you go ahead and start a log of your own.   That way it won't be divided up into two places.

Mark
"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me

Current Build:                                                                                             
Past Builds:
 La Belle Poule 1765 - French Frigate from ANCRE plans                             Triton Cross-Section   

                                                                                                                       USS Constellaton (kit bashed to 1854 Sloop of War  _(Gallery) Build Log

                                                                                Wasa (Gallery)

                                                                                                                        HMS Sphinx 1775 - Vanguard Models - 1:64               

 

Non-Ship Model:                                                                                         On hold, maybe forever:           

CH-53 Sikorsky - 1:48 - Revell - Completed                                                   Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0 (Abandoned)         

         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

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