Length: 22.5 in. Beam: 7 in. Draft: 2-3/8 in. Displacement: 4 lbs. Decals not shown.


1:48 Scale Model Tugboat Hull Kit

For Radio Control

Manufactured by Vac-U-Boat

You can now purchase this hull in two configurations:

TG100 Vac-U-Tug Complete Hull Kit.  A complete hull kit described below.
TG102 Vac-U-Tug Builder's Hull Kit. Eight-piece High Impact Poly Styrene replacement hull & stand, rear hatch window, two pieces of hook&loop strip, rubber Rub Rail, Rudder/Skeg/Rudder Arm package, rudder arm set screw and wrench, two boxes of clamps, 5 paper clips, injection-molded skeg reinforcement, motor base, clamp & screws and a black 1:48 decal set.  A complete "exterior" for you to install your own drive system and radio gear and a motor base you might find handy. 

It is easy for the novice to build the Vac-U-Tug in just a few hours. The 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 to other boats during a collision. At full throttle, it runs at a normal walking pace making it easily controlled by young children without the risk to the "adult toy boats" in the area. 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.

Pull Chart
Boat Prop Cruising Amp 6 cells Pull 6 cells Cruising Amp 7 cells Pull 7 cells
Stock Tug Vac-U-Boat 3-Blade .64 amp 4.5 oz. .75 amp 6 oz.
Stock Tug with upgrade drive. 2-blade 1.25in Dumas plastic prop 2.3 amp 10 oz. Test with new prop to follow.  

There is plenty of room inside for your radio gear and batteries. The pre-wired motor is easily installed in the injection molded motor base. It draws only .45 Amp cruising at full throttle. With a two channel radio, electronic speed control & regular servo use, the total draw can average .76 Amp. With a new, fully charged 1,500mA 7.2 volt Ni-Cad battery, Vac-U-Tug will run for 1.5 to 2.0 hours! With this setup, about 29 ounces of ballast weight is necessary. This means that you can substitute heavier batteries or add electronic gear without overloading the hull. Oilite® bearings support the stainless steel prop shaft in a custom drawn brass stern tube. A syringe of non-toxic, plastic-friendly synthetic grease is included for filling the stern tube. Our exclusive brass motor-prop shaft coupling uses an acetal plastic dogbone that has self-lubricating properties to minimize wear. The injection-molded rudder is cast over a solid brass shaft and supported at the rudder arm with another Oilite® bearing. The injection-molded servo tray & skeg screws are stainless steel. A DU-BROE/Z Connector is provided to attach the stainless steel pushrod to the servo . The boat can be painted with standard "hobby enamel" short spray cans available at discount & hobby stores. To finish the boat, a set of outdoor sign-quality vinyl decals are included. 

Recent changes.

Click on photos to enlarge.

  A new look inside with easier access to fasteners.  
The motor is moved to the hull bottom. Motor's new injection molded mount base. Plenty of room for ballast in the stern.
Servo tray is easier to install. Servo tray screws backed with reinforcements. New injection molded skeg reinforcement.


To save a few trees, printed instructions are not included in the kit. To view or print the instructions, click the thumbnail below. You will need Acrobat Reader on your computer to open the file.

If you require printed instructions, just ask!

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Complete Hull Kit Contents: Eight-piece high-impact polystyrene hull assembly (marked for trimming), "385" type Johnson electric motor pre-wired with leads and capacitors, injection molded motor and servo trays, Motor-Shaft Coupling Assembly, scale 3-blade Prop, custom drawn brass Stern Tube assembly with stainless shaft and Oilite® bearings, shaft alignment tool, synthetic Stern Tube Grease, brass Skeg, injection molded Rudder assembly with solid brass Shaft & Oilite® upper Bearing, stainless steel Pushrod with Du-Bro® E-Z Connector, stainless steel Screws, rubber Rub Rail, Hook & Loop fastener for mounting the Hatch & Cabin Roof, sandpaper, a vinyl decal set, and 24 gluing clamps for assembly. 

TugJrHdwe.jpg (32832 bytes)     TugJrRudder.jpg (30880 bytes)

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



To complete this hull kit, you will need: ADULT SUPERVISION, 2 ounces of 30-minute or "2-Ton" Devcon epoxy, medium CA glue, (Regular or non-toxic model cement will work fine but CA "super glue" is needed for the end joint of the rubber rub rail) electric drill with bit assortment, screwdrivers including a tiny Phillips screwdriver for servo screws, scissors, hobby knife or Xacto® knife, 29 ounces of ballast weights (a carton of 5,000 BB’s or lead shot work well), pencil, masking tape, light sewing-machine oil, two short cans of model spray paint or non-toxic type brush paints compatible with plastic.

To complete the radio-controlled boat, you will also need:

Still not sure what you will need? Common build parts discussion shown HERE.

A two-channel AM or FM radio, (rudder & throttle), with one servo,

2.4 ghz radios are nice because there are no frequency conflicts with other transmitters. This is important if you are rescuing disabled boats.


You can use a two-stick model or a pistol-type radio like R/C cars use,


An Electronic Speed Control (ESC) with forward and reverse,

A 7.2 volt rechargeable battery (six cells),


For a 20% boost in power, a seven cell 8.4 volt pack, (Recommended for tugs used for towing or recovery work.)

A 2s Lithium Polymer 7.4 volt battery will work well.

Or try a 3S 11.1 volt LiPoly battery for more power. Make sure your ESC can handle this higher voltage.

LiPoly batteries are dangerous to use and charge if you don't know how to work with them. Learn about them, use proper chargers, and use them in this boat at your own risk!

A Battery Charger. Inexpensive wall chargers will work


but "Peak Detection" chargers are best for your batteries.


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.