Length: 21.5 in. Beam: 6.5 in. Draft: 1.6 to 2.0 in. Displacement: 4.5 to 6 lbs.  

1:48 Scale (1/4 inch = 1 foot) 

Model Towboat Kit

( Model Pushboat Kit )

For Radio Control, Manufactured by Vac-U-Boat

The Vac-U-Tow™ is an easily-built styrene "Trip Boat" Class towboat kit for builders new to the hobby or for our young boating friends who want to learn about workboats on our rivers and waterways. 

VacUTow57.jpg (19934 bytes)

Now available in two TOPLESS TOWBOAT versions. Click HERE for details.

  The Vac-U-Tow kit comes complete with a 545-type 5-pole motor, a single-screw drive system, flanking rudders, and a system for installing, aligning, and controlling them that will work for you. You install your own 2-channel radio, electronic speed control, ballast weights, and battery.

This towboat kit now comes with the new Vac-U-Boat 3-Blade Scale Bronze Metallic Plastic prop.


Pull Chart
Boat Prop Cruising Amp 6 cells 7.2v Pull 6 cells 7.2v Cruising Amp 7 cells 8.4v Pull 7 cells 8.4v
Stock Towboat Vac-U-Boat 3-Blade .94 amp 8.5 oz. 1.13 amp 10 oz.

Although engineered to be easy to build, it has features that you may only see in more expensive kits. The brass and stainless steel drive system is very durable and should provide years of service with very little maintenance. The H.I.P.S. “High Impact Poly Styrene” hull is lightweight and strong. It is trimmed by a rubber rub rail that will greatly reduce the chance of damage during a collision. At full throttle, it runs at a normal walking pace making it easily controlled by inexperienced operators while retaining the realistic properties of full-sized towboats. This is an ideal "first kit" for anyone new to scale model boating. At club meetings it makes a great visitor's boat because of it's long run times, slow speed and low maintenance.

There is plenty of room inside for your radio gear and batteries. The motor is pre-installed in the motor tray. At 7.4volts, it draws only .95 Amp cruising at full throttle. With a two channel radio, electronic speed control and average servo use, the total draw can average 1.3 Amp. With a new, fully charged 2,000mAh 7.4 volt rechargeable battery, Vac-U-Tow will run for 1.5 to 2.0 hours. With this setup, about 42 ounces of ballast weight is necessary. This means that you can substitute heavier batteries or add electronic gear without overloading the hull. Oilite® sintered bronze bushings support the precision stainless steel prop shaft in a custom-drawn brass stern tube. A syringe of non-toxic, plastic-friendly Synco Superlube® synthetic grease is included for filling the stern tube. The brass motor-prop shaft coupling uses an acetal plastic dogbone that has self-lubricating properties to minimize wear. The injection-molded rudder and flankers are formed over solid brass shafts and are supported at the rudder arm with Oilite® bushings. Screws are stainless steel. DU-BRO™ E/Z Connectors are provided to attach the stainless steel pushrod to the servo and rudders. The boat can be painted with plastic-compatible hobby spray paints or plastic-friendly paints like Rustoleum® Painter’s Touch 2X or Krylon® Fusion For PlasticsAvoid lacquer or standard enamel paints as they may damage the plastic. The kit includes vinyl decals for doors and windows. White vinyl decals frame the clear window openings of the pilot house.


TowCatch4.jpg (25369 bytes)

Towboat Magnetic Barge Catch/Release Kit. Click the photo for more information.



Click the photo below to view the instructions.

TowInsThm1.jpg (52669 bytes)

Get Adobe Reader

What comes with the kit? See page 3 for details.

The kit does not include railings, deck equipment, or scale fittings. 

Tool box for storing and transporting your Vac-U-Tow & Vac-U-Tow2.


Scale14a.jpg (30231 bytes) Click HERE for details! Scale4a.jpg (28504 bytes)

Find out how much your Tow Boat Tows, or your Tug Boat Tugs! 

Pull-Type Spring Scales Manufactured by OHAUS. 

Click HERE 

to see the development of the Vac-U-Tow over the past several months. 

Click HERE

to see one of the real towboats that inspired the design of the Vac-U-Tow.


Click to access a tribute copy of Old River Bill's website.


Click to access a tribute copy of Towboat Joe's website.