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Mountfleet Models Clyde Puffer Sealight

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Petr Osipov11/04/2018 15:54:31
19 forum posts
4 photos

After I got an idea to build an RC ship, I spent days on searching for a good kit. It had to be under 1 meter long, have a fiberglass or plastic hull, and be a classic steamer from around 1900, be it a coaster, drifter or tug. I had a budget constraint of 200 Euro. I read many kit reviews, all candidates were somewhat off my ideal. Today, I stumbled upn the Mountfleet models, and realized that I just HAVE TO get one of their ships I got the opportunity, and obtained the 1:32 clyde puffer Sealight kit. Classic steamer, just under 1 meter, and great detail level. Over my budget by alot, so I will have to improvise a bit, and salvage as many components from my never finished and 10 years abandoned Revell Snowberry, and from my crashed RC plane.

This way, I am now planning which equipment to use, and what to do. I would be happy at your comments and suggestions, as it will be my first RC ship except the student times snowberry conversion which was never finished.

As the RC control, I own FS-i6 2.4 Ghz set with a 6 channel receiver, now still used in the remains of my RC plane.

My Snowberry had a 6V Lead battery (I think 7.2 Ah or so) inside, it was used 2-3 times and left disconnected for over 10 years. Do you think it is still usable, or should I get a new one?

ESC, motor, cardan motor adapter would all come from Snowberry.

Servos - which torque would you recommend to use for rudder? I have alot of china made 9g servos from my Arduino railroad projects, which have a bit more then 1 kg torque. Would these suffice, or do I need a stronger one? Eventually I can salvage one from the Snowberry too...

In such a big ship, I want to have a smoke generator. I dont want any hot oil inside, so thought about MBB "Steamer" which uses tap water ( Any experiences with it? I would probably need a DC-DC Step Up adapter, which is just a few cents from Aliexpress...

Switching channels of RC - my idea was to use a Horn sound module from the snowberry, and the LED lighting.

Do you have suggestions what I could put on the channels 3 and 4? Swinging the cargo boom around with a sail winch? Anchor winch? Any more ideas?

For my Snowberry I made an automatic sensor driven bilge pump for safety (after I had 2-3 cm of water inside through an untight anchor hawse, causing the short, luckily activating the ship horn first ) Do you think it makes sense to reuse it?

I also would like to make a steam engine sound while "driving around", probably using the Micro Steam Engine from here - . Any experiences with it? Would it be loud enough, or would it need a selfmade amplifier?

Dave Milbourn11/04/2018 17:07:43
4002 forum posts
282 photos


A lead-acid battery needs a top-up charge about every month so I would say that one which has been left for ten years will be very dead indeed. Once the plates are sulphated they can't be resurrected. I suggest you look for a suitable 12v motor and buy a 12v battery.

I wouldn't use a 9g micro-servo; go for a standard-size one (20 x 40 x 40mm approx). They are usually the cheapest and will have plenty of torque for the rudder.

The ACTion P64A Micro-Puffer has a very small (1W) amplifier on board as it was designed for a much smaller Puffer (1/72 scale). If you fit a separate amplifier and speaker (e.g. ACTion P97 + 10W speaker) you will be spending quite a lot more, and you'll really need a 12v power supply for the amplifier in order to get any reasonable volume.

As regards the other matters you mention then the choice is yours. An automatic bilge pump sounds like a good idea as does re-using sound and lighting equipment from your Snowberry.

Dave M

Petr Osipov11/04/2018 18:47:30
19 forum posts
4 photos

Thanks! Sounds not optimistic for the battery. Will have to check it, but sounds like a new battery.

I think snowberry had a larger servo inside, lets see... it is stored at my parents place, will get it when i will bring my daughter to them next or overnext weekend

I have a few 8 and 10w speakers in my electronics drawer (being an IT guy and an electronics engineer in the past, i have agreement with colleagues that they bring their dead electronic stuff to me for scrapping) and enough strong transistors for a simple amplifier to do it myself. Just need to mill a simple board for that.

Gareth Jones11/04/2018 19:55:07
791 forum posts
1067 photos


I suggest it would be worth spending some time having a look at Banjoman's build of a Mountfleet Puffer kit. There is a link to the thread here:- **LINK**


Petr Osipov12/04/2018 10:30:19
19 forum posts
4 photos

Thanks! Reading it right now! Very useful!

As I am coming from the diorama maker area, I am going to crew up the ship. There are lots of 1:35 civilians around in resin. So the question is:

What would be the usual attire of the crewmen? Usual working class clothing? Overalls?

If I understand right, the usual crew would be captain plus 3-5 men in addition. How many would be working "down" in the engine room?

Would it be realistic to place:

Captain's family/children on board

Some civilians like local farmers taking a ride to the market? Would it be legal to assume, that while coast hopping or going on the channels, the captain would offer a ride to the civilians for an extra penny, or was it prohibited in the 30es?

Which books would you recommend on the coasters and puffers except the Charles Wayne Merchant Steam series, which I just ordered from the local library.

Banjoman12/04/2018 11:37:32
1142 forum posts
2414 photos


There are sometimes issues with researching Puffers, given their place in popular culture due to the Vital Spark stories and the subsequent films and TV series based on those which has, I think, led to a certain amount of myth forming over the years.

That said, when I was looking into these things for my Eilean Mòr build, I found what seemed reasonably reliable information that claimed that the standard crew for a Puffer, at least up until the 1960's, was a total of four men: in order of rank on board the skipper, the engineer, the mate and the deck hand.

The engineer was normally the only one in the engine room.

I found nothing about skipper (or other crew member) families being regularly on board, which is logical enough, given both the limited and rather cramped quarters available, and the fact that the crew would usually be able to spend time at home on a regular basis, as the voyages made were short and they were mainly local to the area.

Local people hitching a ride, on the other hand, is more likely to have happened.

As for clothing, from what one can see in photos it seems likely that the crews wore whatever work clothes they happened to own or found useful, or in other words any kind of period workman's clothing. From what I've understood, the Puffer trade was not only very much a working class kind of job, but also a not very high status one at that: it was frequently dirty, heavy (including unloading bulk cargo more or less by hand out on the islands), not all that well paid and with unsociable hours and schedules.

For more information, the autobiographical Last of the Puffermen (**LINK**) by Keith McGinn is perhaps not the best-written book I've ever read, but there are quite a few nuggets of information to be gleaned from it.

Puffers (**LINK**) by Guthrie Hutton is mainly a collection of photos, but does also contain a certain amount of interesting information.

And although fictional, and concerned more with the crew and their shenanigans than with Puffers as such, the Para Handy tales (**LINK**) by Neil Munro are agreeable and entertaining reading ...

The Scottish Maritime Museum has also put up a very interesting collection of photos on flickr: **LINK**

Finally, a very informative website is Alisdair MacKenzies Puffers and Vics one: **LINK**.

Good hunting and have fun with your build!


Edited By Banjoman on 12/04/2018 11:37:59

Edited By Banjoman on 12/04/2018 11:44:01

Petr Osipov13/04/2018 11:01:34
19 forum posts
4 photos

Thank you very much! Reading your build report right now, very useful!

Petr Osipov13/04/2018 13:51:23
19 forum posts
4 photos

So, being a hobby electronic freak, and also over budget, I thought I will try to do the steam control myself. I found this guide for this:

I will replace the potentiometer with arduino nano using impulse control with power mosfet (IRF840) and optocoupler (I have several at home). Arduino will then readout the trottle from the receiver, and control both the steamer fan and the mini pump for condensed water. It will also protect the steamer from the out of water condition by using a sensor.

DC-DC step up, vaporizer, 25mm fan, arduino nano - all coming from aliexpress, for less then 5 Euro total. My wife and daughter will make sure I get an empty icecream box in time

I found a dirt cheap 320A Brushed ESC two way controller for less then 10 Euro on Ali, and ordered it too. This way, I can steer any motor I would wish.

Petr Osipov15/04/2018 15:43:23
19 forum posts
4 photos

Today I located the good old snowberry, and salvaged the usable components from her. Lots of them to reuse. 40Mhz receiver to make a small RC boat for my daughter, big buehler DC motor, fitting ESC for it, big powerservo, 2 different horns with speakers and selfmade amplifiers, automatic pump, multimode lighting concept. All done extremely bulky with transistors and logic ICs, no programmable microcontrollers

The battery from the snowberry was dead - its case got a gap a year ago, and it was dumped by my mom.

One question - how big is the hatch of the Sealight, and how much displacement it has? I need to get a new battery, and a 12V 12Ah unit is around 3.5 kg and is sized at 151x98x99 mm... Would it fit?

Banjoman16/04/2018 07:19:16
1142 forum posts
2414 photos


The Highlander kit that I built did of course have a slightly larger hull, but not all that much (838x235 mm as opposed to the Sealight's 813x203 mm), and in addition to the 1,9 kg battery and 1,3 kg worth of white metal fittings, I had to add some 8 kg or so of ballast (mainly in the form of lead shot).

However, unless I've misunderstood your initial post, you already have the Sealight kit, don't you?

If that is the case the easiest way to get a good enough estimate of how much weight the hull will displace is to temporarily mark out the line at which you wish the hull to sit in the water (a simple line of e.g. masking tape will do nicely), put the hull in the bath tub and then weight it down with whatever you find to hand (I used tins, jars and even flour bags from the kitchen) until she sits at the desired line, then add up the weight of those tins, jars or whatever.

Given the basic shape of a Puffer hull (to all intents and purposes a square box, slightly rounded off), you'll find it very easy to ballast, and not particular to a few hundred grams or even half a kilo more or less; however, when budgeting for ballast, don't forget the weight of the white metal fittings! The rest of the construction materials should be light enough that they're almost neither here nor there, but the white metal does have enough of a bit of weight to make a difference.

Likewise, if you have the kit, you should be able to get the dimensions of the hatch off of the plan. Looking at the photos on Mountfleet's website, though, and taking into account the known total dimensions of the hull, I'd guesstimate the hatch opening to be somewhere in the region of, say, 140x420 mm or so, which should give you plenty of room to fit even a large battery like the 12V/12Ah that you mention.


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