View Full Version : custom balsa tugboat

07-20-2011, 08:31 PM
ok guys I recently acquired a balsa wood tugboat that is made of all flat boards. it seems to have some potential for a good retrieval boat especially with the Proboat duck gaff.
it has a small brushless motor in it so it does go pretty good and also has alot of torque. but at speed it seems to push water.
Anyone have a suggestion on how to modify the front so that it isn't flat and might actually cut through the water?

07-20-2011, 09:26 PM
perhaps shaping the boat like a vee will help displace the water to the sides, since tugs are not built to get on plane.
Is that a water pickup i see?

07-20-2011, 09:53 PM
thats what i was thinking since even real tug have a v shape usually. any idea how best to do that over a flat surface though?
and yes it is a water pickup and I just added another since the esc and motor are both water cooled but seem to run hot though with an x440 i am probably way over proped for this small of a motor. I am looking to get a better smaller 3 blade prop maybe.

07-20-2011, 11:13 PM
what is the shaft size? I might be able to send you a prop.
it will be really hard to make a V shape unless you cut away part of the corners to make a vee shape, although that would be pretty major surgery.

07-21-2011, 07:21 AM
Thats a springer! they are supposed to look exactly like that, and push water over the deck when they are running.
Do a search for springer tugs, there are hundreds of sites out there about them, even organized competitions!
I have a few plans for them, planning eventually to use one as a rescue barge.
Don't ruin the hull, it's built exactly like the plans call for and sounds like it runs exactly like it's supposed to, they are built for power not speed!
They are a very popular boat among the tug boat crowd!
You are getting bad advice! You need to find a couple of scale boat forums, people there will know far more about these kind of boats.
Do a youtube search for springer tugs and see how they run.
You have to be careful with advice on these forums you never know if the person offering it even has a boat! Some people offer advice on things they have never seen or on setups they have never used. Some people I swear are just out to screw people over!
I don't know that much about those boats but at least I can point you in a direction for some better advice from people with experience with this type of boat!

07-21-2011, 08:01 AM
Depends on what McDragon2 is willing to do with the tugboat. It seems he wants to use it as a retrieval boat for hi speedboats. Well, in that case, to speed it up some serious changes to the design need to take place. No, that's not scale, I know! :-)

07-21-2011, 08:42 AM
I know what a springer is, I was trying to give recommendations so that he can speed it up.

07-21-2011, 08:44 AM
I understand what he wants to do but thats not the hull to do it with by the time he got the shape he wanted he might as well download one of the free tugboat plans and build one from scratch. Just move the hardware into the new one. I've got I think 3 set of tug plans I'd gladly email him if he's interested. I don't think those guys who compete are to concerned with scale, the nicest built one I've seen had an outhouse on it!
With that one I'd be happy with what I've got, or use the hardware to build something that suits my needs better. Unfortunately the design is one little step up from a powered barge.
He could try glueing a vee shaped foam block to the bow, would give a little more floatation and a bit of drag reduction, you're pretty much stuck with the big flat bottom and tons of rocker though. Without a major redesign it's pretty hard to make a hull that was designed to do only one thing do the exact opposite of that. Kinda like trying to convert a hydro into a submarine!

07-21-2011, 08:50 AM
I agree it would be a shame to cut that boat up. I have a Vac-u-Tow that we use as a rescue boat that also plows through the water. But it makes a great rescue craft and has a ton of power.
An option might be to sell that boat and look for an Aquacraft Atlantic tug or a different type of boat for rescues. As Siberian said those types of boat seem to be very popular.


07-21-2011, 08:56 AM
Kinda like trying to convert a hydro into a submarine!

I don't know about that my hydro and several others I've seen seem to make GREAT submarines at times! LOL


07-21-2011, 09:27 AM
ok thanks guys I remember hearing about there being a big thing with these tugs so I won't modify it externally anymore but I might be interested in some plans to make a new boat since most of the fun i've had with this one is modifying it slightly. I am using it as a rescue boat. it had rubber tires on the front until I decided to paint it a few days ago.