by Bob Brown/photos by the author
Deerfield River Laser sells an extensive line of laser-cut O scale structures, rolling stock, and boat kits. They have 8 boat kits plus the Mad River Paddle Boat I assembled for this review. The paddle boat is a scale 72-foot-long model and sells for $135.00. It is made-up entirely of laser-cut wood parts except for a styrene smokestack and mast, wood dowel Jack shaft and some thread for rigging.
The hull is made up of a bottom sheet with a keel and outer keels and a top sheet covered with a deck, these parts are tab and slotted together and assembled with a nice snapping sound when tapped into place with a spot of glue. I left my hull under weights all night to make sure it had the correct up and down curve. Then I added the thin plywood sides by placing a weight on the deck and pushing weights against the sides after adding some glue. The result was a neat and easily assembled hull.
The cabin has exterior and interior walls. The window frames come off for painting. I painted my outer walls white and the big side doors, inside the windows and their frames green. This made for a very neat paint job. My kit did not have acetate for the windows, so I added some. I also added a pre-painted scale 1×2 strip of wood along the base of the cabin, so no crack showed where it met the deck.
I had sprayed the hull and cabin roof with Rust-Oleum Primer Gray but did not like the look of it on the cabin roof, so I covered the roof with some paper “tarpaper” giving the boat some texture. After painting them, I added the smoke-stack and mast. They lined up perfectly in their laser-cut holes. The mast was used for towing cables allowing them to pass over the paddle wheels and needed to be wired down to withstand the strain. The kit comes with a laser-cut piece of wood with holes for the cables that attaches to the top of the mast. There are also two laser-cut wood strips with holes that glue across the roof. You are to use the thread to run guy wires from the top of the mast to the strips on the roof. I just could not get the thread to behave so substituted brass wire, and all was perfect.
The wheelhouse has a nice big steering wheel that shows off through the windows. The paddle wheel was easy to assemble using the jig provided. I painted the three wheels and paddles red using a spray can and assembled the paddles. The wheels are held together with a styrene shaft with cranks at each end. The shaft is mounted to the hull with bearing blocks, and main rods reach into little enclosures on each side of the hull.
Instructions consist of several pages of step-by-step instructions with two pages of illustrations. I enjoyed assembling this kit. All the parts fitted, the instructions were clear, and my new paddle wheel steamer looks great nestled up to the wharf on my Shoehorn Harbor scene.
Deerfield River Laser
92 Parkview St.
Ludlow, MA 01056