View Full Version : LCVP WWII landing craft build

RC Mechanic
01-23-2008, 11:02 PM
I am considering starting a build on a WWII LCVP Higgins landing craft boat. This will be my first build. I started building a Wild Thing a while back but my mom mixed up all my plans all of which were different sizes so I stopped and never restarted. I figured this landing craft would be a good, yet easy first build. Its not going to be a speed demon or anything but more a scale boat that is still fast enough to putt around and a good back up boat for quick rescues.

For those of you who do not know the LCVP higgins boat can be seen here.
It was used in WWII as a landing craft for US troops and small vehicles. The bow is actually a ramp which opens up fully to allow the troops to exit the craft quickly. I think that would be pretty easy to rig up with a servo.
The rear of the boat would be an awesome place to store the electronics and a 6cell battery.

As far as the build of the main hull I started using cardboard to make some 3D plans if you will. Then my dad gave me the idea to use the cardbaord as a base and then fiberglass it over to avoid any wood dealings at all. Im testing a peice of scrap cardboard now to see how good the stuff dries and how hard it will be.
It has a wierd bottom to it though. THe front part is kinda a shallow V hull but then the rear is flat with the keel and the prop and rudder. Ill probably build the boat as a flat bottom first and then build the lower hull onto that. Figure that will be the easiest.

Well guys this is just the start. I have already cut out a sort of prototype out of cardboard but haven't assembled it yet, its just the floor, walls and the front ramp. WIll be about 18-23 inchs long after all said and done. Hope to power it with a 550 silver can motor cuz I have one laying around. LMK what you guys think of my plan, I just want to build a boat but need something easy to start out with because if I try to build something too complicated I will end up quitting.

BTW: I searched around but couldn't find this, has anyone done a build similiar to this b4?

Mich. Maniac
01-23-2008, 11:16 PM
There are many many more experienced than I but, I did the same thing trying to scratch build a catamaran hull. Cardboard in my opinion isnt the way to go even to build a mold. I would use either balsa or basswood. It bends nice and cuts even cleaner than cardboard. It will stand up to the resin's for the glass as well. A trick I learned is to coat your mold real well with wax, auto wax will work but i used wax from a wax ring for a toilet. NEW of course. I wish you luck with your build and just remember you WILL have some re-design issues along the way and you HAVE come to the right place for help. I know many that would be interested to see you complete this one.

RC Mechanic
01-23-2008, 11:26 PM
I figured cardboard doesn't cost anything and it would make for a cheap build. So at least if I start into this a decide it isn't the way to go, then im not out like any money at all.

01-23-2008, 11:50 PM
I would do a mock up with cardboard to get your dimensions down but then make the final rig with wood.

Sounds like a great plan and I look fwd to seeing the pics.

Stealth Assassin
01-24-2008, 12:11 AM
I guess you could allways cover the cardboard hull with a light weight mat glass and fill any voids and sand smooth. Prime and fill again If needed, spray a coat of gel coat, cut and buff for a smooth slick molding surface. as long as you get It firm enough to not loose It's shape while molding. Also use a Isophthalic Polyester resin for low shrinkage.


RC Mechanic
01-24-2008, 05:53 PM
Okay well I tryed the stuff on a small scrap piece of cardboard and left it to dry. WHen I get home from work Ill take a look at it and see how it is.

RC Mechanic
01-25-2008, 05:07 PM
Okay well the cardboard coating was a failure. One tiny leak and the whole thing fell apart in the water. I think Im just going to continue on with wood. I have began building the boat on google sketchup which is a free 3d design program. The boat on there isn't perfect but it did help me lay down my ideas. hopefully ill be able to start building the skeleton soon.

RC Mechanic
01-28-2008, 11:27 PM
I got the ribs cut out. Its an okay job, not everything is 100% straight but since this isn't a high speed precision boat I figure a few imperfections are okay. I have the ribs made but now what do I do? Should I do the floor first or the hull skin? The hull skin is going to have to be bent from straight to roughly 20-30 degrees and then back to straight so quite a bit of stress will be on this. Ive have heard of steaming the wood to make it bend easier. My mom has one of those steam cleaners. Would that work? If I just steam the wood a bit with that to make it a bit more flexible until its all glued down?

01-28-2008, 11:30 PM
build the frame work first then skin it
do the straight parts first then the part that will cause the most stress this way the boat has more structure to support the stress.
post up some pics I want to see the progress.


RC Mechanic
01-29-2008, 05:24 PM
Sure thing Il post some pics when I get home. Could a thin balsa wood be used for the hull if expoxy coated over later? or would that be too weak?

01-29-2008, 11:17 PM
epoxied balsa would be fine in my opinion. that is what my scratch built boats are check out my hydromite and predator threads

02-12-2008, 06:22 PM
RC mechanic have you made any progress on this build. I would love to see pics.

RC Mechanic
02-13-2008, 07:14 AM
no not really, Ive just gotten busy with other stuff. Ill get back to work on it soon though and be sure to post pics.

I have all the ribs cut out and glued the front and rear rib to a piece of wood that I was planning on using for the hull, but I have determined that it will be to stiff so I am going to pick up some balsa and use that instead.

02-13-2008, 10:39 AM
don't forget Micheals arts and crafts has a nice selection of balsa and lite ply and they have 40% off cupon in their weekly flyers this helps with a sheet of lite ply.

03-12-2008, 11:28 PM
Where are the updates on this project I would like to know how it's going and see some pics

Jimmy Sterling
05-03-2008, 12:30 AM
I'd love to see some progress pictures. I am also currently building a 1/35

RC Mechanic
05-03-2008, 09:30 AM
Well honestly and unfortunatly, i haven't made any progress past making the skeleton of the boat. I bought a 98 jeep wrangler and between fixing that, school, work, and other things. I really haven't got time to work on it. Im going try to wrok and finish it this summer though.

05-03-2008, 04:05 PM
I have not been able to get to any of my boats lately either don't feel bad

Jimmy Sterling
05-03-2008, 04:36 PM
I cant put mine down, It is currently getting more attention then the fast electrics.

Rex R
05-03-2008, 08:14 PM
have you tried nail polish remover? :)