Our Lass II

TERRY SMALL reviews the Nautix A.R.T.R. model, supplied by Deans Marine



A bit of history.......
Yorkshire trawler owner Arnold Locker of Locker Trawlers Ltd, owns and runs the 21.5 metre long Our Lass II built by Parkol Marine Engineering designed for catching whitefish in the Norwegian and EU Sectors of the North Sea. Many of this type of modern trawler are now being built, but often with slight design differences.
 
Our Lass II was built at a cost of around £1.6 million and went into operational service during August 2007 and was initially based at Whitby. She has a crew of eight and at that time was the largest trawler to be built for some years in the UK. For the first two trips fishing for Ling, Pollock and Saithe (Coley), she was based in Peterhead and she returned with 820 and 700 boxes respectively, proving the vessel’s capability. The fish prices were good and an income on that very first trip of around £75000 was attained. Later voyages to fish for prawns were also made as the trawler was designed to be adaptable and if need be she can sail long distances including up to Norway as well as around Holland.
 

Fishing boats are by their nature hard working, and once they leave the builder’s yard with an initial pristine appearance, they never quite look the same after a few months at sea.

The model

Our Lass II has been modelled at an approx. 1:32 scale, giving a length of 700mm, beam of 230mm and an overall height of 485mm with a sailing weight of around 11kgs (approx. 24lbs), so it is no lightweight! The model falls in to the popular Almost Ready to Run (A.R.T.R) range of models from NAUTIX, distributed in the UK by Pocketbond Ltd. and retailed here by Deans Marine.
 
These models have to arrive at the purchaser in excellent condition, so packing and shipping is very important and this model was no exception. It arrived in a very strong cardboard box with an internal wood framework surrounding the boat, Photo 1. A quick inspection for breakages revealed nothing amiss.
 

Removing the model from the packing case requires care as there are a number of ribbons and coloured cords anchoring it to the wooden framework. The first task is to remove the white polystyrene box containing the mast, antenna, crane and other small parts, Photo 2. A very nice stained plywood boat stand is supplied already assembled and which just requires the retaining ribbons removing to release it ready to receive the model. Removing the model requires a bit more work as there are lots of ribbons and cords holding it securely in place. There were a couple of minor scuff marks on the hull where these had gone around sharp corners, Photo 3, but are easily removed with a cloth and white spirit.

Access to the inside of the hull is via openings under the wheelhouse and beneath the stern gantry which is held down by small securing hooks as part of the rigging, Photo 4. A close look at the gantry unit, Photo 5, demonstrated the first class paint finish.
 

Internal inspection of the hull revealed a very high standard of build quality including a resin moulded motor mount glued to the inside of the hull retaining a 550 type motor coupled to the propshaft via a very strong brass and nylon linked coupling, Photo 6. The motor is secured with a pre-shaped aluminium bracket clamped over its top with two self-tapping screws. Thus, the motor can be easily removed if required. The supplied motor is wired to the included, but unmarked for power rating, electronic speed controller.

The main wheelhouse superstructure is of laser cut plastic with a robust internal framework. All the joints are neat and clean, Photo 7.
 

The fittings are of the same material, but some are of metal. The overall paint finish is satin and comparing the model to pictures of the real boat on the internet, it would appear to be a very good match indeed. The decals are of the vinyl stick-on type, Photo 8, and are perfectly printed. Those on each side of the model, are matched perfectly for position, which is a good sign of attention to detail. The windows are of black plastic and therefore are not clear, which you won’t actually notice too much. The hull stern openings are also just blanked off in black.

Detail fittings

The easy to assemble detailed high quality fittings that need to be attached are supplied packaged in a separate polystyrene packing tray and are designed to just slot into their respective positions as indicated by the instructions and pictures supplied. Photos 9 and 10 show how they just plug in to pre-drilled holes, a small amount of adhesive being required for additional security.
 
The radar tower is a little different requiring it to be screwed to the cabin roof using the two supplied crosshead screws, Photo 11. The mast is simply inserted into four pre-drilled holes in the deck, but make sure it is upright! It can be glued permanently or if the model owner wishes to keep the model in a custom made storage box, it could be left removable thus reducing the size of it all.
 

The HIAB crane is a lovely little model in its own right and by adding a little netting, of the sort the sort you get with oranges from the supermarket, and draping it over the drum does help bring the model alive, Photo 12.

Radio control

The model comes equipped with a neat metal cased fully proportional forwards and reverse electronic speed controller with an on/off switch located under the stern access hatch. The rudder servo is also factory fitted (manufacturer not known) but appears to be of good quality, Photo 13. The internal wooden framework is all included and fixed into the hull, so it’s just a matter of installing your own two channel r/c, drive battery and away you go, well almost!
 
Provision for the battery in the form of a storage tray is not supplied as it’s up to the owner to decide what type and size of battery they wish to use bearing in mind it has to fit through the access opening under the wheelhouse. For this model I decided to use a 6 volt 4 amp SLA (Sealed Lead Acid ) battery which fits comfortably through this forward opening and then locates in a tray constructed from spare 3mm styrene sheet, Photo 14. This was glued centrally along the central keel line of the hull and just in front of the motor.
 

The model is designed to function using a basic two channel set, so a 27MHz Futaba bottom of the range set was used, but any reasonable quality budget set will do. The receiver is located on top of the plywood box section inside the stern that also houses the rudder servo. A Robbe large diesel engine sound unit, No. 8276, was also installed to add operational realism and the speaker unit inserted into that internal stern wooden box to help magnify the sound, Photo 15. You will note that the power switch was then moved to a more convenient position just under the deck and an on/off switch for the sound unit was also added. The receiver is powered by a BEC (Battery Elimination Circuit) within the electronic speed controller. The supplied propeller and propshaft turned easily, but a spot of light lubrication can never do any harm.

Ballast

This is the killer, as you will need a lot! Before the model can be successfully sailed it will need ballasting. The SLA battery helps with ballast, but much more will be required to achieve the correct waterline, but I thought that having the model a bit ‘bow-up’ a fraction would look best. The easy way to ballast, is insert lead shot in easy seal freezer style bags and distribute these around the bottom of the hull interior. The benefit of this is that they are removable, but will also mould themselves to the hull internal shape. If done sensibly and wedged in position, the bags should not move and if you make a note of which goes where, this means that the bags can be removed to make the model lighter to carry. Alternatively lead sheet flashing can be used. This may be purchased in a large toilet roll form from a builder’s merchant. Ballasting Our Lass II will take some time and as I wrote earlier, the quantity of lead required is substantial.

Storage box

This is not essential, but useful for safely moving the model to and from the pondside and protecting it at home when not in use. My example is shown in Photo 16. This is made from plywood and strip. If you can determine the ideal size for the box, most DIY stores and timber yards will cut sheet plywood to size. 1/8th inch thick plywood is probably adequate for the box sides, top, bottom and back, provided internal stiffening is included.

On the water

A calm day beckoned, the battery was charged and a range check performed before placing it on the water and with the sound system working, off she went, Photo 17. The propeller certainly ‘gripped’ the water very well driving the model forwards and astern very easily and with minimum revs, thus indicating that the motor and esc combination was about right. The rudder motion was positive, both forward and unusually for a single screw model, not at all bad when going astern either. The displacement of the model made it very stable. The motor was well up to the task with approx. 25mins on the water from the 6 volt 4 amp battery. Once retrieved, the model proved to be bone-dry inside.

Conclusion

ARTR models are here to stay and they get better each time I see them. For many readers they may not be what they want, but if you have not got the time, tools and inclination to build a model, but just want to sail, then these are the answer. The build quality of Our Lass II was excellent. It is colourful and a stable boat on the water and is easily assembled and sailed within a weekend. There is of course plenty of scope for adding extra realistic detail in the form of a crew, wear and tear (if you wish) and cordage, nets, fishing boxes etc. The documentation supplied was good as the model and its packaging. Price at time of writing in early 2011 was £460, available from Deans Marine, tel 01733 244166, website: www.deansmarine.co.uk