Vac U Tug! By Paul M. Lalli

Hello Mayhem,
I'm enclosing several pictures of my RC tugboat.

It is made by "Vac-U-Boat" as a simple kit for beginning modellers. It's a sort of generic, semi-scale model of a harbour tug, very simple and easy to build. If you can get your shoes on the right feet at least half the time, you can build this boat with no problems at all.

I've had some experience building RC aircraft as a teenager and wanted to find something to do since I retired, having 'worn-out' all my other hobbies. While I enjoyed building airplanes I could never fly them so decided that boats had to be easier. My first attempt was a 'Billing's "Banckert", which was not the smartest choice. Nice boat, but not for a beginner who only thinks he knows what he's doing. I decided I needed to do a (few) 'beginner's boats before completing the 'Banckert' model and found the tug by "Vac-U-Boat" on the internet. The price was right, the reviews were encouraging, and I bought one (actually bought two of them but that's a different story!).

The kit is very complete, has lots of 'extras' included, and the instructions are very well thought out. Except for the glue, all the required tools are what anyone would have around the house. The "Vac-U-Boat" web site,, has complete instructions, hints, pictures of all stages of construction, and answers almost any question you may have. The only 'tense' part of construction, assembling the hull and inner tray, is explained in detail and really isn't 'bad' at all. (Just be careful not to CA glue your fingers to your forehead!!) Including painting, the kit took 4 days to complete and most of that time was waiting for the paint to cure.

While the 'Vac-U-Tug Jr.' is a very simple (and plain) boat, it can be modified to your hearts content. There are several options for the boat. One is to carry a camera of several types, 35mm, digital, and wireless. One that I would recommend is the 4-bladed prop instead of the usual 2-blade. It does make a difference if you plan on doing any towing or pushing. Any two channel radio will work/fit, and there are several battery combinations that are possible for longer endurance. This would be a very nice choice for children or club projects.

Paul M. Lalli

PS - At my age, spelling and grammar is optional !!


Here are a few pictures of the 'Vac-U-Tug's inner workings, such as they are.

The black thingy on top of the forward ballast in one of the pictures is a water pump for a fire hose. You can see the inlet just aft of the pump, obviously none of it is completed yet. These pictures should give you a good idea of how simple and roomy the tug is. Lots of room for extra 'stuff'.

The lower middle picture is of a completed tug showing access through the cabin roof. All the usual parts in about the usual places.

Please feel free to correct any spelling, grammar, formatting....... and you could pay my electric bill while you're at it...

( I Like this bloke! - Mayhem )

The fourth picture is of my finger which I did NOT superglue to my forehead!