I love tugboats. These hard-working boats come in all different shapes, sizes and configurations and because of this they are a lot of fun to model. The steam
tugboat
Simla is a prime example of a classic tugboat from the turn of the 20th century, with the tall funnel and stout hull. Built in 1898, she had a very long career,
operating mainly along the Thames, serving until 1964. During World War I and II,
Simla was requisitioned by the Admiralty, During World War I, she served in
Scapa Flow, Kirkwall, Rouen and Le Havre. During World War II, she participated in the evacuations at Dunkirk and took part in preparations for the D-Day
invasion. In 1898, she was escorting the iron barque
Blengfell when the ship’s cargo of Naphtha exploded. Simla rescued the crew from the stricken ship and the
tug’s skipper and crew were awarded the Sea Gallantry medal for their efforts. Before she was broken up in 1964,
Simla was the oldest tugboat operating on the
Thames.

3D printing has really taken hold in the scale modeling world. There are numerous replacement and upgrade parts now available and designers can make them readily
available through outlets like Shapeways. There are also many ship models offered using this method of production, usually in much smaller scales but some in 1:350
scale. One example is this model of the tug
Simla designed by PetrOs Modellbau and printed via Shapeways. This kit is a straightforward affair, comprising of only a
few parts that are joined together on sprue. The parts are printed is a matte translucent plastic, which makes some details difficult to see in the photos.
The largest part is the one-piece water-lined hull which has an impressive amount of detail printed into it. The part has the forward superstructure and pilot house
integral into the hull, At the bow you will find a rope bumper and along the bulwarks are various drainage scuttles. There is a hull strake running the length of the hull
and around the nice undercut stern. The deck has well done wood planking and what appears to be coaling hatches just aft of the superstructure. There are various
hatch coamings and skylights along the deck as well, A pair of cowl vents at the aft end of the upper deck broke off during shipping but there should be no problem
reattaching them. There is a slot to accommodate the tab at the bottom of the funnel.

The remaining parts include the tall funnel, towing bitts, anchor winch, a pair of boats and several tires used as bumpers along the hull. All parts all look well done and
while there is some evidence of the striations that are a by-product of the printing process, it is not a prominent as I have encountered with other 3D printed
offerings. Still some effort to smooth out the surfaces is needed, When you purchase this model through Shapeways, you can contact PetrOs Modellbau to receive a
single written sheet of instructions and a packet of reference materials comprised of photos, a reproduction of a color postcard and some plans, As the instruction
sheet explains, you will have to raid your box of spare photo-etch for some railings, an inclined ladder, an anchor and a steering wheel and davits as well as using
some brass rod/wire for the mast and tow rope arches, The reference material will help your build greatly and the color postcard image acts as a painting guide.
This is a fine little kit and will look great in a diorama scene or as a standalone model, How far 3D printing has come is astonishing and the Simla model is an excellent
example of what can be done with this method of production, If you want to give a 3d printed model a try, this is a very good kit to get into it, You can order it from
Shapeways (
http://shpws.me/PG7j) in 1:350 scale as well as in 1:200, 1:600 and 1:700 scale, A template tool is also available for purchase to help bend the brass wire
for the towing arches. My thanks to PetrOs Modellbau for the review sample. I will follow this review up with a build-up version soon.
Felix Bustelo
_________________________________________________