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The Corps of Engineers Tug Forney
by Richard Jenkins
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Photo added 6/17/03
Forney takes a break from her sea trials at Mission Point, 6/30/02. (Neil Schultheiss photo from Boatnerd.com)

This is my rendition of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tug Forney, built from the Lindberg "Diesel Tug" kit and inspired by Neil Schultheiss' model tug pages on Boatnerd.com. As the photos show, I have made some modifications to the kit to represent the Forney more accurately. These include lengthening the cabin, shortening the smokestack, and increasing the number of windows in the pilothouse, as well as the addition of other details with many more to come. The model will also be radio controlled, using a modified servo for a motor. Eventually I'll post a more detailed explanation of the work I am doing on this model. For now, here are some photos of the model in progress...

NEW 7/1/03 Amidships details updated. Red band on stack has been painted and decals applied for the silver bands and castle emblem. Pilothouse has also been painted, but there's still some touching up to do on the main cabin and sides of the engine room skylight.

NEW 7/1/03 Close-up shot of the masts. After locating some .010" brass wire, I decided to replace the steps on the aft mast since the old ones (.020") were too thick. A few of the old steps are shown next to the mast for comparison. Forward mast has yet to be painted, showing how it was made from aluminum tube and brass rod.

Added 6/18/03 Work on the model is once again underway. Newly-installed cap rail was made from .030" x .100" styrene strip, stock kit piece (on the left) is far too thick. Details on the bow are also new, and the pilothouse roof has been painted.

Added 6/18/03 Amidships details - Damaged catwalk sections have been removed, new edging has been added to the engine room skylight roof, and bitts have been added on the gunnels.

Added 6/18/03 Close-up of the damaged catwalk taken about a week ago. Over half of the catwalk supports are broken and much of the grating is crumpled. One of my major priorities for the model is going to be a proper carrying case for her, to prevent this kind of thing from happening again.

Added 6/18/03 Crack in the rear corner of the cabin wall also taken about a week ago. When these photos were taken I hadn't made a whole lot of progress on the model since her sea trials at the Soo last year (notice the dust on the skylight roof). However, work on the model is underway again. The damage to the cabin walls has since been repaired, but the cabin will need to be repainted.

Added 6/17/03 Posing with Kilkenny on the pond at Mission Point, 6/30/02 (Neil Schultheiss photo from Boatnerd.com). The Forney's main deck is now glued down, and deck and hull have been painted. The hull will get a flat clear coat after decals are applied. Masts have also been added, though much detailing and painting remains to be done. The Forney performed flawlessly on her sea trials, and even when the wind picked up and things got choppy out on the water (some water even got on deck through the scuppers), her bilges remained dry. However, despite what I thought was a careful packing job, her cabin suffered some damage during the flight to the Soo, and much of the catwalk will need to be replaced.

Added 4/2/02 Machinery installation. Top picture shows her with the main deck in place, lower picture shows the deck removed. I kept everything as compact as possible so it will be accessible when the deck is glued down. I used a commercial pushrod for the rudder linkage, which should be robust enough that hopefully (knock on wood) I won't need to access it. The propeller is held in place with a set screw so that it can be removed and the shaft pulled through the interior of the boat, after removing the servos. This allows the shaft and stern tube to be serviced without disturbing the rudder. The radio receiver plugs and crystal are always accessible, but the receiver itself is also mounted with velcro onto a sliding shelf, so that can be easily removed if necessary.

Added 3/29/02 Portrait shot showing progress on the model. The new pilothouse roof overhangs have been added, along with the red edging on the front catwalk.

Added 3/29/02 Some of the deck details including towing capstan, and bars in the scupper openings. The raised coaming around the access hatch is also visible through the door openings - this is to keep any water that gets onto the deck from entering the hull.

Added 3/5/02 Portrait shot of the model coming together. Pilothouse and main deck are not glued down at this point, but she's starting to look more like the Forney.

Added 3/5/02 Another portrait shot

Added 3/5/02 New pilothouse windows installed. Third time's a charm I guess, compare the new windows to the ones in the older photos to see the improvement. Why didn't I try it this way earlier? The new roof (cut from a spare upper deck piece) has been glued in place and the rear edges of the visor trimmed to shape, but the side overhangs are still to be added.

Added 3/5/02 Cabin doors before and after. One problem with this kit is the toylike thickness of some of the detail parts. I have begun to modify the cabin doors by sanding down the back of the door to a more reasonable thickness, removing the molded-on dogs (handles) and drilling locating holes for new wire ones. Also, only one door on each side of the Forney's cabin has a porthole in it, so the molded-on portholes on the rest of the kit doors are being filled with Squadron green putty.

Added 3/3/02 Pilothouse windows (version 3). After some trial and error in attempting to rearrange and reshape the pilothouse windows to make them more accurate, I ended up replacing them all with new ones cut from sheet styrene. Here are the new front and side windows ready to be installed, and the modified kit pilothouse ready to receive them. Also note the filled-in scuppers on the model - only the fourth one on each side remains open, just like on the real boat.

Added 2/17/02 Catwalk grating installed (about 65% complete). Pilothouse is temporarily fitted for this photo, and still needs a lot of work. Pilothouse roof is cut from an extra cabin roof piece since the visor on the kit pilothouse roof is too small. The overhangs at the sides will be made from thinner styrene sheet.

Added 2/10/02 Main cabin painted. Gray stripe on the side of the engine room skylight is where the masking tape took some of the paint off with it, because I waited too long to remove it. The skylight top has not yet been painted or glued in place, but the stack and ventilator have been given a coat of black. Cabin doors will be painted separately and added later. Red trim on the edge of the front catwalk will be added after the deck grating is installed.

Added 2/10/02 Another view of painted Main cabin. Scale Scenics brass micromesh will be used for decking the front catwalk. Also visible are holes drilled in the cabin side where brass wire handrails will be installed to replace the original molded-on ones.

Added 2/10/02 Fantail overlaid with Plastruct diamond plate textured styrene

Added 2/10/02 Underside of fantail made watertight. Also visible is the access hole I cut in the fantail deck before I overlaid it with the Plastruct diamond plate. That way if I ever need to access the rudder linkage, I can cut away the thin fantail overlay rather than trying to remove the whole main deck, which will be glued and sealed to the hull for seaworthiness.

Original photos 1/22/02:

Portrait shot of the major components of the model pieced together

Port side of the cabin with catwalk supports being installed

Starboard side of the cabin with catwalk supports in place

Starboard broadside view of the cabin showing lengthening

Port broadside view of the cabin showing lengthening

The real Forney as seen on the Boatnerd model tug pages