Mister Darby

Not railway related but it’s so rare that I find a somewhat decent photo of something I’ve actually finished, I wanted to share it anyway.


“Mister Darby” is in fact the little model tug boat with the black and red hull, on the picnic table in this photo. At the time, I worked for a local hobby shop (Great Hobbies) and each year, in the summer, we hosted a model boat regatta. This photo was taken at one of these events.

The tug itself is based on a kit from Dumas Boats. The kit comes with a really nicely cast fibreglass hull and the balance of the parts were plywood with a few rough, white metal, castings. The owner had seen some of my modelwork and had asked if I would consider rebuilding the boat and by the time this photo was taken, I had finished rebuilding everything above the deck. The new superstructure had a somewhat full interior and I still shudder remembering making up the railings – they don’t show, but each stanchion was made to fit and lots of drilling to fit. While perhaps not realistic, we planked the deck with thin strips of clear-finished cherry wood and each window is surrounded by a custom frame. Where we started with die cut plywood, the finished boat was something of a detail and finish level to be well proud of. During the rebuild (refit?) we tried to adopt a more North Atlantic aesthetic and something more in line with a similar ocean-going tug made popular by the Billing Boats or Revell kits, the Smit Rodderdam.

The model was completely radio controlled. It had a working bow thruster and the water cannons could reach just about anywhere you aimed them – handy if you’re easily tempted by precocious behavior. It was powerful too and could easily haul a three man raft around the pond with three guys enjoying the ride.

Great memory. Glad I found the photo.


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