Haagse Modelboot Club - HMBC



Dave Brumstead reviews Artesania Latina'a Ocean Going Tug

reproduced with the kind permission of John Cundell, Editor Model Boats Magazine

The Amsterdam was built in 1971 in Hamburg at the Johan Alkers Shipyard. This model is the second version to be issued by Artesania Latina: the original produced in the 1980's featured a plank on frame hull. This version, to the same scale of 1:50 features an ABS hull, so construction time is considerably reduced. The model has an overall length of 1060mm and a beam of 250mm. The kit is supplied in a cardboard box, complete with several colour photos of the finished model taken from various angles which are a great help during construction - so keep the box (or at least the pictures!)

Photo 1. In addition to the ABS hull, the kit contents consist of several sheets of die cut ply. Photo 2. Two plastic boxes containing fittings, various dowel and stripwood, a full size plan and both a written instruction book with parts list and a book of colour photos showing the building sequence. Photo 3.
Incidentally no information is given about finishing the modfel with reference to paint colour or numbers and no drive motor recommendations are made. I spent some time comparing the written instructions with the photos and plan before commencing construction. I also made a stand from 12mm MDF with 1 1/4 x 3/4 spacers, taking the profiles for the stand directly from the hull. Photo 4. Hull
The hull was washed inside and out with warm water and allowed to dry. Construction commenced by removing the frames and false keel from the die-cutting. This die-cut is 6mm thick and the parts only needed easing with a sharp knife before they fell out. These parts were assembled using PVA adhesive. Photo 5. I left part 6 off at this stage so that when the frame assembly was placed in the hull, I was able to see where contact was made between the frames and hull. Part number 5 and also 6, when offered in position, didn't contact the hull. I studied the instruction photos closely and they didn't appear to contact here either, so I assumed this was normal.
I sanded part 1 slightly to ensure good contact with the hull. The assembly was removed from the hull and reinforcements, part 8 glued in place.
When dry I opened out part 1 for the prop tube. To determine the position of the prop-tube in the ABS hull, masking tape was placed inside the hull where te hole would be. I then placed the frame assembly into the hull. Wax crayon was rubbed on the end of the prop-tube and pushed in through part 1 until it made contact with the hull. I removed the frame assembly and where the mark was on the masking tape, I drilled a 1 1/2 mm pilot hole through the centre. The frame assembly was then glued in place with thick Superglue. Photo 6.
The next stage was to reinforce the afterdeck prior to fitting. After this was done I decided against fitting any decks until I had completed the drive motor installation. Instead I jumped forward to instruction number 10, the fitting of the stern post base. The two parts 19 were stuck together and parts 21 added.
These were offered into position and held with masking tape. The parts 20 were stuck together and positioned on top of part 19. The propshaft hole was measured up from 19 and its position transferred to 20. A pilot hole was drilled in 20. Part number 20 when placed on 19 now had a pilot hole in it which corresponded with the pilot hole previously drilled in the hull for the propshaft. Parts 19, 20 and 21 were now stuck to the outside of the hull with Aradite epoxy adhesive.
A pilot hole was drilled through 21 for the rudder tube. A corresponding hole was drilled through part 6 on the inside of the hull. A piece of thin wire was passed through the two holes to check alignment. The holes were then opened up with the correct size drill and the rudder tube epoxied in place.
The hole for the prop tube was opened up and the prop tube with bushes fitted was slid into position. The shaft and prop were added at this stage, prior to the tube being glued in position, and the rudder was dropped into its tube. All tubes were filled with grease from Boatworks.
Part number 23 was offered into position and was some 6mm below the level of the keel (with hull upside down). It also fouled the rudder and propeller. I added 6mm ply scrap packing and epoxied the prop tube in place, and glued 23 to the packing after shaping it to fit around the rudder The assembly was filled and sanded to shape as necessary. Photo 7.
The boat was then turned the right way up on its stand so that the drive motor could be installed.
Drive motor installation
I chose to use a Decaperm as I had one taken from a boat I had just disposed of. This motor is about 12 years old and it gets swapped from boat to boat. Since building the Amsterdam I have seen one propelled by a 545 motor quite satisfactorily, so you don't need an overdraft to buy a suitable motor, and if you invest in something like a Decaperm, it will give you years of service .
As I stated earlier the manufacturer gives no advice as to which type of motor to fit, although the plan shows a box about the size of a 545 in the motor position. Interestingly, the motor and shaft on the plan are nowhere near being aligned to each other!
The manufacturer provides two ply parts in the kit, one for the motor base; the other for the rudder servo and receiver. To achieve accurate alignment with the shaft, the motor needed to be mounted between parts 3 and 4, below the level of the motor plate.
I bought a length of 15 x 15mm aluminium angle from B&Q and cut it to fit the gap between 3 and 4 plus 1in (2.5cm). The angle was cut so that 1/2in each end could be bent to form mounting lugs for bolts to pass through into 3 and 4. Photo 8. The motor was mounted to these angles and offered into position. It became clear that although 
the motor was as low as possible, it was restulg on the keel, a double coupling would be required to assist alignment. Photo 9. With the motor in position, holes were marked and drilled into 3 and 4 and brass 3mm nuts alnd bolts used to hold the angle brackets in position.
(NB. The motor had already been suppressed and had its supply leads in place.)
The motor mount supplied - part number 41, was trimmed to fit around the motor and 6mm square strip glued on it to hold a 6v 10 amp battery in position. Photo 10.
Part number 42 was offered into position. I intended to fit the rudder servo into this as shown on the plan, but I decided to cut a slot in the rear edge ot this plate to locate on the rear part of the keel to give it a more positive location. A suitable hole was cut in the plate and reinforcement (1/2 in sq wood) stuck to the underside to hold brass wood screws which I would use to hold the servo in place. The rudder tiller was fitted.
I now reverted back to the instructions at the point where I should have glued on the afterdeck. This was now done using PVA on the tops of the frames, and Superglue around the edges. Photo 11.
I then stuck the reinforcement onto the foredeck and while this was drying, I stuck parts 13, 14 and 15 into place on the after deck. I filled and sanded these parts as necessary before fitting the foredeck so that I was able to get to them without the foredeck in the way. Photo 12.
The foredeck was glued in the same manner as the afterdeck and taped and weighted in position. When dry any gaps were filled and the hull edges rubbed down flush with the decks.
I drew a centreline down the foredeck to ensure parts 38, 39 and 40 were central. Parts 36, 37 were shaped and glued in position with Araldite. I roughened the ABS hull to give a good key for the adhesive, and used PVA to glue the rest of the wooden foredeck parts in place (43 and 44) ensuring 44 favoured the curve of 43 by sanding when the glue was dry. Photo 13.
The stern bulkheads fit together like a jigsaw. Ensure the locating slots in the deck are clear of glue and dry fit assembly in place. When satisfied, glue in place. When dry, offer into position "roundhouse"!, Part 48, which fits over spigots on part 46. Ensure hatch 49 drops through hatch opening and glue and tape 48 in place.
Mark centreline on 49 and glue 50 in place. Glue and clamp the rest of the hatch assembly together. Offer parts 52 and 53 into position before gluing to ensure alignment. When satisfied, glue into place, adding reinforcements 54 to 53. Clamp and tape assembly together until dry. Photo 14.
Fit hawse pipes 55 onto scrap wood and file to reduce thickness so that part 55 doesn't protrude too far through bulwarks. The same applies to the hawse pipes which will be fitted to part 43 later. Glue in place with Superglue.
As parts 56 are painted a different colour to the rest of the previous assembly, they are Ieft until later.
The capping strip, 57, is glued in place and the whole assembly sanded and filled as necessary.
Incidentally no bulwark supports are supplied with the kit, and these may be items the builder may wish to fabricate for himself from scrap ply.
58,59 and 60 are fitted. The tow bow 60 is (coincidentally?) the correct curve and just needs its ends bent over to fit through 2 1/2mm holes drilled in the deck. Glue in place with Superglue. Photo 15.
The foredeck hatches were fabricated next from 2 x 61's and 2 x 62's glued into box shapes and sanded smooth. The tops, 63 and 64 were left until later as they are a different colour. Do not glue these parts in place until after the superstructure is fitted. If the position is taken from the plan, they are too close to the superstructure position.
The anchor hawse - holes Part 65 were offered into position; I wasn't too happy with the compound curve required for the ply but none the less I glued and taped them into place, but this proved to be unsuccessful as the ply sprang away from the huil and I decided to remove it completely and used replacements made from 1mm Plasticard.
The extensions to the rubbing strakes, 66, were shaped and glued in place. Photo 16. When dry, these and all wooden parts were rubbed down and treated with sanding sealer. I used two coats 50/50 followed by a further two coats unthinned rubbing down between coats.
The ABS hull was lightly sanded with fine glass paper, washed down and allowed to dry. (No rubbing to prevent static build - up) This took the shine off and provided the key for the paint. I sprayed the hull with four coats of Halfords Satin Black, put it to one side at this point, and started work on the superstructure .
I used an old shelf as a building board for the superstructure.
The sequence followed the instruction photos supplied. Check 107 is the correct way up by offering part 108 up to it. Part 110 was fitted, gluing along the bottom edge, but as the top edge has a common joint with part 124, glue this top edge later. Photo 17.
When fitting 119, be careful as this may put the sides 106 out of position, preventing the bridge deck 123 from fitting. When fitted to the lower half of the superstructure, the strips 126 must be cut to fit halfway onto 112 to allow support for the upper 126's. Photo 18.
Glue 2 x 127's and 128 in position, supporting with right angle blocks as necessary. Cut 2mm square brass bar to length and bend to shape around suitable former. Glue into position using Araldite. Photo 19. Build up using strips 130. When dry, mark out position of navigation light boxes and cut out using razor saw. Photo 20. Make up navigation light boxes as shown in instructions.
Dry fit 135,136 and 2 x 137's together. When satisfactory, glue together and glue in place. Photo 21. Add 138, followed by 139 and 140. The roof, 141, locks the assembly together . The roof edging, 2 x 142, 143 and 2 x 144 were fitted next. The part 143 was curved by gently drawing it over the edge of the bench. Parts 144 were trimmed to fit.
To complete this stage of construction I sanded the front of the superstructure before forming 147 to fit. This was cut to Iength, the centreline marked on it and the superstructure. It was clamped and left to dry for 24 hours, before gluing in place.

The construction of the funnels was quite straightforward. Ensure all joints are at right angles using blocks as necessary. Clamp side pieces 153 to the base until glue is dry, then glue and clamp to internal frames. Check against part 154 to ensure correct profile. When dry, glue 154 in place, followed by stripwood 155 to give curvature to front of funnel. When completely dry, fill and sand to shape. Photo 22.
Before fitting the funnels to the superstructure, construct stern top part 156.
Make up mast by fitting 164 into 156 (do not glue at this stage). Glue 2 x 165's to 164 and remove from 156. When dry, sand mast to taper as shown in the instructions.
Sand superstructure to a smooth finish (impossible after funnels have heen fitted) and offer funnels into position. View from different angles to ensure funnels sit identically and lay 156 into place. If satisfactory, glue funnels and 156 in place.
Using 18mm scrap wood for spacers, glue 2 x 167's in place. Glue supports 168 in position. Clean up and glue exhausts in place with Araldite. Photo 23.

The hatch covers 56 were stuck in place where the colour was the same as the funnels. The others were left off to be painted separately later.
The superstructure doors were stuck on; I used a brass rod to align the porthole in the door with the corresponding hole in the superstructure.
The parts were now stuck to 174, the bow top. Photo 24. Parts 180 were sanded to the cover profile and fitted, taking care to ensure equal angles of both sides, with the bow top in position. Photo 25.
The mast, 181, was profiled and left to one side.
At this point, the entire superstructure was rubbed down again, and filled as necessary.

The various mast crosstrees are made up and drilled and glued to the masts as required. Photo 26.
The inflatable lifeboats are sanded and glued in place and the entire superstructure treated with sanding sealer, two coats 50/50 followed by two full strength, sanding between coats. Photo 27.
I decided to change the sequence slightly at this point. I would paint the superstructure white mat before drillillg the holes for the various fittings, and to allow access I left the davits off until later. After the paint had thoroughly dried, masking tape was stuck in place and the positions of the handrail stanchions marked and drilled.
The handrail material, brass wire was supplied in a coil and required straightening before use. I found the easiest way to do this was to clamp the wire between two pieces of scrap wood in the vice and pull it through with pliers. This method worked quite satisfactorily. Photo 28.
The various positions and dimensions were taken from the colour instruction photos supplied. The handrails on the wheelhouse roof gave pause for thought - the photo supplied showed a stanchion directly under the "bow top" - a position almost impossible to drill at this stage. I made up a template to suit the area required and marked this out to give suitable stanchion positions which were equally spaced and accessible for drilling. When all the rails were completed, the superstructure was sprayed with Humbrol Satin white 130 for finish colour.
A little research showed that when the Amsterdam was built in Hamburg in 1971, her owners were Wijsmuller of Amsterdam. Wijsmuller's funnel colours were predominantly blue, however the colours adopted by the kit manufacturers, although not stated, are very close to Humbrol 60, Mat Scarlet. As this is a review of "what comes in the box", I followed the kit colour scheme.

The superstructure parts were therefore painted Mat Scarlet, with the deck areas Humbrol Mat light Grey, 64. Photo 29. I continued painting the other areas of the superstructure, such as the exhausts, Humbrol Mat Black 33.
The next task was to tackle the handrails around the bow top and stern top. A Plasticard template was made up from the plan to get the correct angle for the stanchions. This was then used in conjunction with the drill held in a pin vice. Photo 30. The stanchions were painted Humbrol Mat Black 33, and when dry Superglued in place. The brass handrail wire was fed through in two parts, joining in the centre of the side stanchions. These were then painted by hand. Photo 31.
I left the superstructure at this point and turned my attention to detail items.

I removed all the parts from the die-cut sheet and lightly sanded them. The sequence of construction followed the photos in the instruction book, however one point to bear in mind is that the deck is below the level of the top of the sides, so if the lifeboat is assembled as shown in the manufacturer's photo 85, pack up the deck before gluing on the sides. When complete, fill and sand as required. Photo 32.
The lifeboat davits were assembled at this stage and prepared for painting. Photo 33. The bent wire shown was to prevent the holes from being filled with paint.

The rear hatch (deckhouse)
The assembly of the rear hatch is quite straightforward with only a couple of points worth mentioning. It may seem obvious but the side bands 227, 231 etc. are parallel with the top of the hatch, not the base, and because part 233 is stamped out of 6mm ply, it is very open grained on its edges. It is much easier to fill and sand this prior to gluing it in position. Photo 34. Treat the assembly to three or four coats of sanding sealer, rubbing down between each coat, before painting Humbrol Satin White 130.
Pick out the other colours - I used Mat Black 33 for the bands, and Humbrol Mat Grass Green 80 for the deckhouse door.

White metal and brass flttings
Before the remainder of the work to the superstructure could be carried out. I prepared the remainder of the fittings for painting by brushing with a brass suede brush and mounting them on scrap wood with double sided tape. Photo 35. All parts were sprayed with Halfords White Primer before finish colour was applied. For the grey fittings I used Humbrol Mat Steel Grey, 87, the green and black have been mentioned previously.
Incidentally, the box art shows many of the fittings left natural brass. As most of these items would be manufactured from cast iron or steel, brass is unrealistic for a model of a working vessel. The fittings were now stuck in place on the superstructure with the exception of the winches, derrick and lifeboats. Photo 36.

The superstructure and deck winches were assembled as individual units. All parts were dry assembled prior to painting and any necessary trimming carried out. The base for the afterdeck winch was cut to match the profile shown in the supplied photos. All parts were stuck together with thick Superglue.

Completing the superstructure
With the various small fittings glued in place with thick Superglue, the winches were stuck in place for the derrick. The latter was manufactured from the dowel supplied, fittings attached and painted mat black before fixing in position. Photo 37. The cotton thread supplied was used for the winches and derrick. The davits and lifeboats were now fitted in place.
The goniometer aerial rings were fabricated around a solder tube, and soldered together. After painting, the assembly was positioned on the forward mast, with the other aerials shown. The aerial wire shown was made up from thinner cotton thread than supplied, as I felt it inappropriate to use the same thickness tlhread as the derrick cable.
With the superstructure now complete, Photo 38,I turned my attention back to the hull.

Completing the hull
The next major task to tackle was to accurately position the portholes. These consist of plain brass rings which are stuck to the exterior of the hull, and the enclosed centres painted white. The first objective was to make a jig to accurately mark the positions required. The portholes were at 16mm centres, 25mm down from the deck, so a simple jig was made up from Plasticard to these dimensions. The lateral positions were taken from the plan and masking tape used to mark the extreme righthand edge of the right-hand port hole of each pair.The jig was positioned against this and the portholes position marked with pencil. Photo 39. Masking tape was punched out with sharpened brass tube to the same centres as above and the masking tape aligned with the pencil marks on the hull and the centres of the portholes painted satin white. Photo 40.
When dry, the brass porthole rings were stuck in position, with thick superglue, ensuring the white painted area was central to the brass rings.
The remainder of the deck fittings were now stuck in place. As with the superstructure care must be used when handling the white metal stanchions as the material is quite hard and will break if bent!
Use pieces of offcut wood or Plasticard to make spacers to ensure equal spacing between the fittings on the port side and fittings on the starboard side. The anchors were placed in position and secured with Silicone Bath Sealant from inside the hull.
Model Technics Trimline was used for the white lining on the hull.

Radio installation
With all the fittings now in place and the hull all but finished, it was time to install the radio control equipment. I used a Futaba 2 channel 27MHz. set, with a Fleet Speed Controller - this is a combination I have used many times before with complete success - and the ply mounting tray accommodated all the radio control gear satisfactorily. Photo 41.
A 6v 10 amp Yuasa battery was placed in the battery tray forward of the drive motor and the boat placed in the bath for ballasting. Approximately 16 lbs of lead later! the boat was on its waterline. All very well, but lifting it out of the bath and carrying downstairs led me to the conclusion that a future project will be to make the ballast removable.
Before taking the boat to the club lake at Brentwood for water trials, I gave some thought to the fitting of the superstructure to the hull. Six small wood lugs locate in six slots in the deck to position the superstructure. Now this would probably be fine for a static model, but the wind tends to blow a bit at our lake! So I glued a piece of dowel across the opening in the hull, ensuring the battery was capable of being taken out. A screw eye was fitted to part 107 in the superstructure and an elastic band with a hook fitted to it attached to the screw eye. Photo 42. When hooked on the dowel this has sufficient tension to hold the superstructure firmly in piace.

On the lake
After carrying out the appropriate radio checks that we all do with a new model (don't we?) the Amsterdam was gently eased away from the quay towards the centre of the lake.
The turning circle was quite large but acceptable for a large vessel. The combination of the Decaperm drive motor and the Fleet electronic speed control gave very satisfactory progressive control both ahead and astern, but as with all single screw vessels, going astern with any directional control was difficult.

A kit that combined modern ABS with traditional ply, very crisply produced which assembles in a quite straightforward manner. Priced in the £200 price range, the Amsterdam has to compete with many home produced kits which do tend to provide more detail.
An impressive vessel on the water, the Amsterdam could be enhanced by the addition of extra fittings, and I was surprised to note the lack of glazing material in a kit at this price.
The full size Amsterdam is no more: Wrecked in 1986 when the towing hawser fouled the prop in heavy weather, damaging both prop and gearbox, the Amsterdam was beached and sold for scrap.
The Artesania Latina Amsterdam is available from good model shops, priced about £200. Importers are Richard Kohnstam.

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