Lynn's Modelling Tips



These great tips and images are from Lynn C. Leaich


LED Flasher Circuit
Here is a one of the drawings I've worked up for the electrics for my boat but it can be modified to suit other voltages. My boat has 12 volts for the main power source. I found a great source for circuits for nifty things, like flashing lights, horns, dual tone siren or horn. There are a couple of books by Forrest Mims, one called "Getting Started in Electronics" and another called "Engineers Mini-Notebook". If your restricted to the use of two or three channels. It's a great way to expand the capabilities of their usage. I found some ultra tiny switches in an old VCR that had given up the ghost and also in an old answering machine of the cassette type. They're nice when you're restricted to space in the hull, and can be worked off a cam on one of the servos.
Horn Circuit
This circuit and the one for the flashing LED's can both be put on the same board, as the circuits are small. The board I found useful is one put out in a twin pack by Radio Shack (#276-148) and ends up being 2" square, great for small places. It's an experimenter's board, so no printed circuit, but there are soldering spots on the backside for running wires. I used one when I worked up my forward/ reverse relay for my boat.
Radar Scanner
  1. Bass wood carving of antenna.
  2. Brass tubing slightly larger than pulley on motor.
  3. Flat plastic disc to cover existing holes in top of motor (can be made from plastic material from margarine tub lid).
  4. Motor and pulley from answering machine (3v).
  5. Basswood disc for mounting purposes.
  6. Dowel for standoff.
  7. Basswood disc for standoff flange.

Use contact cement for mounting upper plastic disc and lower basswood disc to motor

Use epoxy cement for mounting dowel, flange to lower disc, also for brass tubing to antenna.

Use epoxy cement to secure top of pulley to bottom of antenna.

Note: voltage reduction is required for scale like rotational speed. This could be done with the right resistor or possibly a pulse generator.

Lifeboatman Figure
To make a lifejacket, use an epoxy type marine putty, which can be picked up at your local hardware store or Walmart store. Start with the front areas on both sides of chest, then the back and around the belt area. Work with some speed, as the putty takes about 20 minutes to cure. Smooth out the joins at belt and shoulders with a toothpick or exacto knife. The Seaman's cap is made from the same material. The brims of the caps are nothing more than card stock, pushed into the putty and let cure. The cap in the top photo opposite is an Officer's. The cap shown in the other photo is very much like a baseball cap, except the brim is shorter. My reference for 'work uniforms' was found on the Internet under U.S.C.G. uniforms, as to color and style of caps and uniform color. I used flat paint for all the items, which is an enamel paint.

Raised Cabin Floor
This is the raised anti skid area of the cabin, which is made from plastic cross stitch fabric form a local arts and crafts store. The frame is basswood strips glued to the deck to form a grid work for the anti skid panel. This should be painted, except for the top surface, where the panel goes. The panel should be spray painted on one side only, leaving the opposite side for gluing. I used a spray type waterproof adhesive, which was like a watery contact cement. Then I placed the panel and weighted it down on the grid work. After drying, I painted the edges of the panel. This counter cross stitch fabric can be bought in various grid sizes, with scale in mind.
Rope Ladder
This rope ladder was some junk jewellery I scabbed the links from and with the aid of some braided fishing line, constructed the ladder. After knotting the links in place, I super glued the knots.
Mast and Lights
  1. Brass tubing (size to suit).
  2. Brass tubing to suit.
  3. LED's (3) size to suit.
  4. Brass tubing to suit.
  5. Brass tubing to suit.
  6. Solder lead wire to base of mast. Also solder the negative leads on the LED's to a running wire. Both leads run through a small hole in the cabin roof.

For best results, use the bright type LED's in white. It's more visible at night. All joints should be low temp resin core solder found in places such as Radio Shack. I painted the mast and LED's as shown after all assembly was done.

Port and Starboard Lights

  1. This is a small piece of flat basswood material, cut to fit the inside of item #3. Drill 2 small holes for the led leads to pass through.
  2. This also is basswood, cut to the size of the open side of #3.
  3. This part is a little unusual, in that it is the clear plastic blister found as part of the packing for over the counter pharmaceuticals, such as tylanol or anti-diarheals. Cut away from cardboard backing with care.
  4. Using epoxy cement, glue item 1 and 2 together.
  5. These are LED's in the appropriate colors and sized for scale, to some extent. Cut the leads on the led to about 1/8" or shorter, push through item #1 and solder on some fine wire leads. For ease of replacement of an LED, you could cement the base to #1 using rubber cement. Also use this type of adhesive to affix #3 to #2.
  6. After everything is dry and ready to install on your boat, paint assembly, as shown, leaving the area at the led unpainted. You might also use rubber cement to secure assembly to the boat, for easy LED replacement.


The photo opposite shows the handrail on the front of the doghouse. I saw it on another boat on this website and decided to add it. It's made from a piece of coat hanger wire, 2 short pieces of brass tubing and 2 small brass hollow rivets, all soldered together.



Fire Extinguisher
  1. Using a hardwood dowel and depending on size, turn up as shown. I used an electric drill and small wood file or rasp. Drill a hole in the "valve" end, depth is not important.
  2. Make a small hardwood block and drill 2 small holes through the narrow side.
  3. Using dowel rod, cut to length proportional to what a real extinguisher would have for a gage.
  4. Cut very thin brass shim stock to configuration shown, so that cross arms will wrap completely around dowel with extra for the area that would have the release for the extinguisher. Bend the bottom forward at
    90 degrees for a rest area.
  5. Using a paper clip or similar soft wire, bend the "hose" as shown. One leg of this will go into one of the holes in #2.
  6. Using the same type of soft wire, bend the handle. Then using a soldering iron and solder, fashion a trigger onto the handle.
  7. Using a small hardwood dowel, turn the nozzle, much like a pencil point, but leave an area large enough to drill a small hole for the hose, then cut to length. Epoxy all parts together, then paint to suit.

Fairlead and Bow Mast

  1. To make the fairlead, I used 3/8" soft copper tubing and a flaring tool from the hardware store. I do a lot of of my own plumbing, so I had one.Cut to length after flaring and drill cross hole for mast.
  2. A piece of brass flat stock, about 1/64" thick. Solder to fairlead tube.
  3. A white LED, with the leads shortened. Using low temp solder, attach small gage insulated wires.
  4. Soft plastic tubing, around base of LED and down mast. If carefully done, heat shrink tubing could be used.
  5. Brass tubing of proper length, soldered into fairlead top. Wires can be fished out the rear of the fairlead, and run, one on each side along the deck edge trim and into the cabin.

Vent and Fill Tubes

  1. Plastic flex type drinking straw.
  2. Hardwood dowel.
  3. Part of plastic straw mentioned above.
  4. Small disk of thin plastic flat stock, 2 required.
  5. Epoxy marine putty, the same as used in another of my tips.

Vent Tube
Bend flex straw #1 back on itself so as not to kink it. Cut to the approximate length you need, but leaving room for error. Using 5 to 10 minute epoxy cement, push as much as you can into the bent area and try to keep the bend area as shown until cement inside has cured. Then, using marine putty, mould around the 'flex' area to make it look like a pipe connection. Let cure (about 20 minutes).

Fill Tube
Using a small ball of epoxy putty, push partially into #3. Mould it to look like a pipe cap. Let cure.

Epoxy vent tube and fill tube onto the #4 disks, to look like a pipe flange. Let cure. After cure, paint both the fill and the vent the appropriate shade of orange. I used Dean Nimax' actual lifeboat photos to get what I needed as far as color. I've put two options as far as vents, as I've seen them in both configurations of shape.

Stuffing Box

  1. Cut two lengths of tubing about 1" or more in length, making sure there are no burrs inside either end. The inside diameter should fit closely on the prop shaft.
  2. Cut the centre piece to the length needed, minus about 1/2". Temporarily push one of the #1 pieces into #2, leaving about 1/4" sticking out. About 1/8" beyond the end of #1, drill a small cross hole, about 1mm in diameter. Then using #1 push it carefully beyond cross hole to deburr cross hole. Remove and clean out the inside of #2. Then insert both #1 pieces, leaving about 1/4" protruding from each end, and sweat solder the 3 pieces together.
  3. Purchase a small plastic syringe, either from a medical supply house, hardware store in the lube area, or a hobby store. Size the #3 tube inside diameter to the syringe. Many times the syringe is tapered on the end (all the better). Then cut about 1/2" of this tubing and solder carefully for a 'no leak' condition at joint. If you find that your prop shaft is a little snug after soldering, apply a small amount of polishing compound to it and run it in the stuffing box, with an electric drill or Dremel tool until it's free. Then rinse off all the compound with paint thinner or kerosene from the tube i.d. and shaft o.d. Use a good grade of lithium grease or axle grease for the lube. After the first run with the boat, there may be a black secretion out the ends of the stuffing box. Wipe off, relube with the syringe, until there is no more black secretion. This black gunk was just the metal from the initial run in period and should not be a problem with frequent lubing, maybe every 2 or 3 times out running the boat. This is a great thing for lower RPM electrics (about 1500 to 3000 RPM).

Coxswain's Chair

The coxswain's chair in the cabin was kind of a stickler, as to how to approach it. Once I got my thoughts together, it wasn't too bad. Parts 1, 2, and 6 are made of .010 inch brass shim stock. Parts 3 and 4 are made from hard balsa. Mine were made from some trailing edge stock from my days in model airplanes. The forward part of the seat cushion ends up about 3/16" thick, as does the top of the back cushion. Part 5 is a common washer, with clearance for a 3/8 screw, in this case a 3/8 post. Dean Nimax' photos again proved to be a valuable asset. Everything was done proportionately to his model pictures. When you have part 1 and (2) part 2's cut out, deburr all edges and round off the corners, then make the bends at 90 degrees. Part 7 is the oddest of all, in that it is a lady's dress snap. This will be the swivel on the bottom of the chair seat. The snap is a 2 piece assembly, the flattest of which will be epoxied to the chair seat underside when ready place the whole assembly on the post. Part 6 is the same thickness of brass shim stock and about 1/8 across and the length to suit. Part 6 will take some playing with to get it correct, what with the compound angles involved, so that the bottom of the seat is parallel to the washer, when soldered in place. I did it on the 3rd try. Solder the arm rests onto the chair frame (1 and 2). Then solder 6 to bottom of seat, then to the washer. A small amount of bending and tweaking will help get what you want. When you get ready to glue the snap to the post, you may have to grind or drill an indentation for the snap to sit flat. For this, use epoxy. Then put some epoxy on the seat bottom for the other snap half, place the snap segment, lower partial assembly onto post and align and let cure. Use a fairly fast curing epoxy for this, as holding in place is tiresome. When this is cured, epoxy the seat cushions in place. Paint to suit. This seat, when done correctly, will snap in place and swivel as shown in the photo.