Model tug ready for its first regatta

Best work yet . . . Don Speden is excited to take him 1/24 Tid Tug model boat at the Riverstone Regatta tomorrow. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

Don Speden is preparing to show off his ‘‘best work so far’’.

The Oamaru man has spent the past two years working meticulously to bring his 1:24 Tid Tug model boat to life.

The boat, a World War II hard chin steam tug, started life as a semi-kit from Sarik Hobbies, in England. The kit came with the bare bones of the boat and Mr Speden had to follow the plan for the rest of it.

Looking at photos online, Mr Speden followed them and took his time to make the boat, based off a real-life boat called Tid 172, in England.

‘‘I tried to get as many details correct as I could,’’ Mr Speden said.

The electric-powered boat had 6kg of lead on board and was complete with mini figurines — made from 3D printers — he hand-painted for the boat.

‘‘Some people just build the model boats, but I tend to go into a little bit more detail.’’ 

He was ‘‘incredibly’’ proud of the how the fifth boat he had made had turned out.

‘‘It’s probably my best work so far and that’s probably because I took so long,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s quite realistic. When you look at it [in the water], it could be a real boat.’’

Mr Speden got into model engineering about four years ago, but his father Laurie made live steam models for the South Canterbury Model Engineers Club.

‘‘Maybe I got some of Dad’s skills there somewhere.

‘‘It’s quite a good hobby, because it teaches you to follow a plan and I guess it teaches you to be patient.’’

Mr Speden had continued with the South Canterbury Model Engineers Club and was excited to take his 1/24 Tid Tug boat to the Riverstone Regatta tomorrow.

The regatta, held at the Riverstone Castle moat, is in its third year and attracts boats from Nelson, Dunedin, Canterbury, South Canterbury and Waitaki. The event was free for people to enter and watch.

Mr Speden, who was the Riverstone Regatta assistant manager, helped regatta manager Robin Jacobs bring the idea to life and it had been successful ever since.

He looked forward to another great ‘‘family fun day out’’ at the regatta.

The event runs from 10am to 4pm. For more information about the Riverstone Regatta, people can visit the website at