There's a "Traditional Phrase" used on rivers, when a Captain excepts a request from one of his crew, asking to be his - Newest Student Pilot. If the crewman's request is excepted, the Captain replies - "I'll Learn You!"
And So, It Shall Be Here! Because I'll - Learn You" all about Inland Rivers & Workboats, Barges and "How to Model Them = FROM SCRATCH!"
Rule #1 ...... "Never Feel - Dumb, Asking Questions." ...... The Only Dummy .... "Is The Guy = "THAT DON'T ASK!" So choose - any model building subject from my page buttons - Above. There's tons of helpful tips, ideas, photos, drawings & details to help you. Regardless of whether your a Novice or Experienced Builder in this hobby, you'll find something here to assist you. And even "Free Plans" along with "Direct Web-Links" to other great sources and websites that cover both "Real & Replica" for additional research material, or where to find hobby parts, kits, plans and A WHOLE LOT MORE!
"Who Am I?"
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"I Modeled R/C Towboats, Back When They Weren't Even = COOL!" Hatched in 1951, I grew up in a small rural Missouri town called New Florence. And I lived also on a Farm, thanks to my grandparents and my folks that raised me up - Right. As a kid, I used to drag homemade wooden blocks, shaped like boats, through every rain-swollen ditch in town after a heavy thunderstorm. And on weekends, watched real tows on the "Missouri & Mississippi River" aboard my families small pleasure boat. So I grew-up loving the outdoors, in the 50's around heavy equipment and animals and naturally wanted to be a part of it all. Heavily influenced by B/W TV Shows like the Beverly Hillbillies, John Wayne - Movies & Lionel Trains, and of course = Tonka Toys. And I wore out my fair share of "Plastic Bricks & Erector Sets" too. Spending my youth learning how things worked or how to Operate, Repair or Make Things. And when I broke a toy, I'd take it apart to fix-it, while folks complained - "That I'd just torn-it-up to see what made it go!" But my toys somehow managed to work pretty good - afterwards ...... For A While Anyways! Then around the age of 9, I started hanging out with my uncles on my Mothers side of the family - Real Bad influences On Me, because they ran their own "Open Pit" Clay Mining Company. And that's where I started learning how to run "Heavy Machinery", as a wet nose kid. Which my mother didn't know about for a while thankfully. Cause imagine a kid = age 12, drilling dynamite holes with a drill truck = "All By Himself?" My hip pockets full of Dynamite ..... And my T-shirt Pocket loaded with "Blasting Caps". "If Mom had seen me - like that, she'd of had "Heart Failure" and whooped me good. And likely as not, with me packing all that explosives .... "We both would have gone off with "One Hell-Of-A-Bang!" Real Bad influences On Me, because they ran their own "Open Pit" Clay Mining Company. And that's where I started learning how to run "Heavy Machinery", as a wet nose kid. Which my mother didn't know about for a while thankfully. Cause imagine a kid = age 12, drilling dynamite holes with a drill truck = "All By Himself?" My hip pockets full of Dynamite ..... And my T-shirt Pocket loaded with "Blasting Caps". "If Mom had seen me - like that, she'd of had "Heart Failure" and whooped me good. And likely as not, with me packing all that explosives .... "We both would have gone off with "One Hell-Of-A-Bang!"
Fortunately I survived after mom did find out and she calmed down - years later. But for a while there, I was walking on egg shells. But as i grew older I took over as my uncles company = "Powder Monkey" ( That's the Guy That Does The Blasting! ), which was just one part of my duties. So I was also one of the dump truck drivers - which also meant I pulled dump trailers and also ran the pits = skid loaders, dozers and other equipment. Generally, I was capable of doing most anything they needed done. And later I got into "Over-the-road = 18 wheelers and ran all 48 States, plus Canada. But in my spare time, I modeled plastic car & trucks & trailer- kits, usually from AMT or Monogram. So anything mechanical, I naturally wanted to know all about or Operate, whether it was the real thing or just a miniature version - didn't matter. I was Interested, but was forced into early retirement after a truck wreck in Feb. of 1980. I'd broken my back in three places, thanks to a "Wrong-way Driver." that was never caught and I was forced off the road on I- 55, right under the overpass at Lincoln IL. After that, I spent over a year "In & Out" of hospitals ( in therapy ), while trying to re-learn to "Walk & Chew Gum", as they say = AT THE SAME TIME!"
From that point, I modeled - full time and got into r/c airplanes, but quickly grew bored with planes. The high expense of rc fuel, plus the crashes & repair costs, being mainly why I quit rc airplanes. But mainly it was because = "You can do just so-many "Loop The Loops" before your bored and = I WAS! .... To the point, I was even doing Knife-edges - down Corn Rows, playing chicken or "Follow The Leader" with friends. Our biggest fun, was playing r/c combat, with some rather expensive rc model airplanes. But I always wanted to do stuff = Nobody Else Did, or only a few had tried. Then one day as I glanced through a friends old issues of model boat magazines, I realized = "Nobody's Building R/C - TOWBOATS!".... Well, hardly anyone, back then. So from that point, things lead into years of study and research on towboats, their designs, shipyards and their steamboat history. And because this was so - unusual a subject for modelers, "I was asked to write articles covering "Real Towboats & My Replica's" for model magazines, one was "U. S. Boat & Ship Modeler". You may recall my work and if you still have back issues - in your collection, check the last few issues = "Fall 1992" to the last Addition. Cause Joe E. Brown whose been my buddy - for many years, also helped write many of those articles too. And we took turns covering Small & Large" Towboats and had a very large reader response.
Since then, I've been asked to write for other magazines, but declined, while still very honored - they keep asking. And like my friend "John L. Fryant", Joe E. Brown & I, were all somewhat pioneer's - in this field. We chose to give our full attention to model towboats and barges and then I created - this website. Building it, has helped provide others with full details, photos & drawings that show how I create a model. So this site, is an "On-Line Library Book" = SO TO SPEAK. "Literally a written modeling book that continues to help others, along with hobby companies to design new kits and develop them. All this naturally helps widen our choices in kits and parts, and some think = I'm kinda nuts for doing this all - FOR FREE! ..... But I learned all that I know, by listening & following examples of others that gave their info = Freely. "So why should - I Charge You?" And to be honest, "I simply couldn't do this, without the support of my -"ISP" = KTIS. NET and You. KTIS helps me to run & maintain this site, and your continued visits, emails and support, proves its all been Worth-it.
So Thank You for all your support.......Old River Bill