Eric McNaught - Banckert

Hi all,

Here's some photos of my  project Billing Banckert, which is currently 99% complete.
This was built literally on the kitchen table!
 I chose this kit, due to the relatively small scale, 1:50, and due to the fact it would accommodate the electric's I had.

This is now the third kit I've tackled, the first being a basic pilot launch, and the second, model slipway's Conserver, which unfortunately never made it on the water. The Banckert has taken me two and a half months of work, mostly odd evenings and weekends when I had spare couple of hours.
The kit is very good, comes with full fittings kit, and ABS two piece hull, which although feels a little fragile to touch, is tough enough. The wood parts are superb, and this was a big bonus to me, as I do not have the benefit of a fully fitted workshop. All plywood is precisely laser cut, and popped out of the sheeting with the minimum of fuss and finishing.
I tried as best possible to go with the photos on the box, and I think I've done it justice. I had a bit of a disaster with the gluing of the anchors to the hull, which left nasty epoxy marks. However, with a bit of artistic licence, I put some fendering on the bow below that supplied. This also gives a bit of protection from bumps, and a good bow wave. I also put fendering at the waterline, not to disguise a poorly finished line though!
I have built many 1:35 and 1:72 kits over the years, but I wouldn't say I was experienced in this field, so I was pleased that the plans supplied were something like I was used to, and also full scale drawings showing the position of each part.
I used mainly 2 part epoxy and PVA in the construction. The radio gear is 2 channel, digital speed controller, via Tamiya 7.2v nicad cells. I had these from my previous models, and the good thing is they lie flat in the hull, and also provide stability and ballast, helping to keep the centre of gravity low.
I had to put a further 2.5kg! of weight into the hull to get it to sit on the waterline. This was done by buying a box of bolts from the local DIY shop, laying them out in tens on duck tape, and then sealing them up. A simple solution, which worked well in the volume of the tug's hull.
The hull has six coats of car primer on it, then three coats of satin coal black, all sanded and finished several times, but the overall effect is not bad. The superstructure was not entirely plain sailing, the plastic card for the main front panel below the bridge was very difficult to get bent to the right angle. I eventually gave up, and used a piece of card from a cereal box, cut to the same size.
Similarly, the kit came supplied with copper rod for the fire monitors' hose line. This was too easily flattened by careless pliers, and I've yet to finish this part. I've found some small diameter rubber tubing which will look better anyway.
Many of the fittings are brass, and of a high quality, including the winch and railings.
There were no areas of the build where I was completely stopped in my tracks by a poorly finished part, or unclear instruction.
 In the end, the model is a fair representation of a tug from that era.  I've not stuck 100% to the plans, however, I am pleased with the general finish, as an inexperienced modeller at this scale. If this represents the overall quality of Billings kits, then I would certainly recommend them.
On  the water, the kit sits perfectly on the waterline, and is stable. The overall weight is 3.8kg. The battery life is very, good, from the two nicads on board, you can get well over an hour of run time.
The fixed Kort nozzle and twin rudders make for very precise steering ahead, at all prop speeds. Astern, there is a tendency to prop-walk to starboard, and steerage is not great. I'm led to believe this may be due to the nozzle and rudders being optimised for forward propulsion.
I just need to fit the wooden storage boxes next to the funnel, the fire monitors, and the railing around the fly bridge to finish. It's been out on the water twice now, and has attracted some interest, albeit not yet from the critical eye of fellow modellers!
It looks good at rest, or at speed, and if someone is looking for a basic two channel tug model to tackle, I would certainly recommend this one.

Here's a couple of photos showing the workings...
The starboard nicad can be easily seen, the other is not visible. The white area next to the servo is the stern ballast. The electronic speed control lies in a plastic tray, on it's side in front of the receiver. It's a tight fit to get it all in, but gives good centre of gravity, and nothing moves around inside. The motor is mounted on rubber bushings, which are screwed into the plywood base to 3/4 of their length. This gives a small amount of play, enough to act as a shock absorber, reducing the vibration and making it quieter on the water.
I've also included a photo of the extra detail to the superstructure, nearly finished now!!!
Eric McNaught.