A number of scale R/C boats and ships have been completed.
Questions? Leave a comment or send a note via the Contact form, below.




I’ve dabbled with scale models since I was kid, but this modified Midwest “Seguin” was my first foray into R/C model boats as an adult. Kits are a great way for any new modeler to start… after trying a few, it is much easier to then jump into modifications, super-deailing, and even scratch building.
“Sanguine” has seen numerous modifications over the years, and remains one of my favorites. She’s also one of my keepers.




In 1:20 scale, this entirely scratch built model of PT-41 is almost four feet long. She represents the early Elco 77 footer class, and was the boat which ferried General MacArthur out of the Phillippines– one of “The Expendables”. She’s shown in her as-delivered colors… one of the few times you would ever actually see a PT with those big shadowed bow numbers. Launched in July 1941, she was burned on Mindanoa in April 1942 to prevent capture.
Model is powered by three props, and features a custom micro-computer controller. The computer uses simple two-channel radio operation, yet allows for power saving single-motor cruising, three motor “power runs”, and turning in place with counter-rotating wing motors… slick.
PT-41 won 1st Place, Military at the 2006 Toledo Weak Signals R/C Show. More about the model build, its computer conrol, its unique display cradle, and PT history can be found at my old PT-41 Yahoo site. Or, just look in Writings for my full PT-41 article!





Is it a boat? Is it a truck? Yes! The Army’s DUKW was a GM 6×6 2-1/2 ton truck with a hull wrapped around the chassis.
“She’s not very fast but she’s better in water than any truck, and she’ll beat any boat on a highway!”
This 1:12 scale model is about 31″ long, and is entirely scratch built, including the suspension and driven and steerable axles. A prop moves her along at a leisurely speed.

This model discussed in more detail at my old Yahoo pages: oops, that’s gone… see some more at my posting on RC Groups.






The Valdivia was a Swedish schooner built in 1868 on the lines of a Grand Banks fisherman.  Restored and living in Germany, she still sails today.
A beautiful kit offered by Robbe, she has fully functioning sail control and real teak decking. The build appeared in a four-part article in Ships in Scale.
See the build story here in Writings.






The infamous Yamato… the largest and most powerful battleship of WW2. And obsolete the day she was launched, when the Japanese themselves proved that the big guns were no match for air power. And it was air power that ended her.
Built from the Chinese Tian Jie 1:144 kit, but it required extensive modification to make a presentable model. Six feet long and fully R/C’d, the model was featured in a multipart build article in Ships in Scale. She now resides in a glass case. 2nd Place, Military, 2008 Toledo Weak Signals Show.
An extensive build log can be seen at RC Groups: Yamato Build Log



Bertram 38 Competition



The Bertram 38 Competition was an early Kevlar-hull offshore racer. A few 52″ fiberglass models were made available to the original team owners. This one came to me in a very sorry state, with the new owner wanting to fix her up to represent his private boat– an original racer converted to a very fast “pleasure boat”, but bearing her original racing colors.
I was only able to reuse the hull. A new deck was constructed, along with all the details– including the outdrives, trim tabs, and graphics.



Chris-Craft 19′ Racing Runabout


Constructed from a Dumas kit, this model was the subject of a step-by-step book. “Mahogany in Scale” shows beginning modelers how to get that beautiful mahogany finish, and how to carry out a few simple customizations to help their model stand out from the rest.

See the book! At Amazon and other online booksellers.





“Dearborn” was built for Ford Motor Company in 1932 for use in working the big ore carriers at the Rouge. The model was completely scratch built from original plans and photos, and won 1st Place, Working Vessels, at the 2008 Toledo Weak Signals Show (scroll way down)
At 42 inches length, the 1:24 scale model offers a spacious interior. I took advantage of the opportunity to build in lacquer-finished “cabinets” for the equipment, allowing for a particularly clean installation.

dearborn2 The Interior, Dearborn

An extensive build thread can be found on RC Groups:
Dearborn Build Thread

Now part of the Dossin Great Lakes Museum collection.




Based on the humble Army 45 foot ST tug of WW2, YTL-710 represents one of the few to wear Navy colors. This is an immense model in 1:10 scale, 54 inches long. The large scale allowed for features not often found in smaller sizes– real glass in all openings, animated ship’s wheel, working lights, etc. Built from original drawings and photos, the big model took 1st Place, Working Vessels, at the 2009 Toledo Weak Signals Show.

An extensive build log may be viewed at RC Groups: YTL-710 Build Log




Offered as a kit by Model Slipways, the “Envoy” is a WW2 Admiralty tug in 1:48 scale– about 43″ long. The kit can be built into a handsome R/C model, but requires significant modification in certain structural areas. A number of detail features were also upgraded in this build.
An extensive build log may be viewed at RC Groups: Envoy Build Log


Foundation Franklin

Built on a Microglass hull in 1:32 scale, this beast is five feet long and quite heavy. This commissioned job was finished in Michigan, crated, and delivered to Georgia- in one piece!

See my build log at RC Groups: Foundation Franklin build log


Rescue Boat No.12

Baywatch Rescue Boat No. 12

The LA County Fire Department’s Lifeguard Division is the REAL Baywatch. Their Rescue Boat Section runs a number of lifeguard boats which can perform near-shore rescues. The model is built in 1:12 scale, and features a new technique for me– lots of shiny nickel plated brass details.

See the build log at RC Groups: Baywatch Rescue Boat build log

1st Place, Working Vessels, 2011 Toledo Weak Signals Show.

Private Robertson V.C.

Private Robertson V.C. in 1:72

Private Robertson V.C. in 1:72

Midshore Patrol Vessel with the Canadian Coast Guard. Model is built in 1:72 scale, almost entirely with 3D Printed parts. More info at the build thread in Model Warships:


29 ft Mirage “Wolverine”

Mirage "Wolverine"

Mirage “Wolverine”

See the build log at RC Groups!

This is a 1:9 scale model of a boat campaigned by Pete Smith (Smith Brothers Offshore Racing Team) in the 80’s, and recently restored by her newest owners. Everything below the gunwales is a Dumas fiberglass R/C model hull, and everything above is rebuilt to simulate the Mirage. Most all details were designed in CAD using dimensions from the original boat, and then 3D printed in the highest possible resolution.



3D Printed outdrives

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All content © Patrick Matthews 2009

3 responses to “Models

  1. What a great collection of boats 🙂 Love your blog. I have my own blog for boat projects too. if you want to see. But I am still a rookie 🙂

  2. Brooke Robbins

    Stumbled on to your website while looking for a vintage schooner (RC) to build from a kit. I hope the Valdivia kit is still available because it was exactly the classic, beautiful lines I was imagining. Grew up on the shores of Lake Erie back in the 50s-60s, got my 1st little (12′) sloop when I was 12.
    Now, 55 years later, been trying to scratch that “classic” itch for awhile and the Valdivia suits the bill. There’s a Ship Modelers Association Club in Fullerton, CA that’s only 30 minutes from where I’ve lived for the past 30+ years, so they’ll be able to bail me out from time to time. I saw a LOT of useful tips from your 4 part story of your build that can only be learned by doing it (sometimes wrong). I’m definately going to be going back into your site for other insights.

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