PT-61: Elco 77 Footer with 3D Printing

PT-61, Summer of '42

PT-61, Summer of ’42

My latest completion, PT-61 in 1:24 scale. At almost 39 inches length, the model is large enough for R/C, and is designed as a potential kit for such. However, this build is for display only.

The hull is dual-diagonal planked in 1/32″ basswood over laser-cut bulkheads, but virtually all other parts are 3D printed in acrylic plastics: the cabin shell, turrets, weapons, deck details– all 3D printed. A complete build log can be found on RC Groups:

Design references include the original Elco drawings, several excellent books on PT boats, and numerous photos found only online at websites of dedicated PT fans. PT-61 is famous for surviving a direct hit in the bow from a Japanese destroyer’s 5 inch gun while operating near Guadalcanal in late 1942.

The model sits on a replica of Elco’s A-Frame shipping cradle, constructed primarily of wood. The paint scheme, overall 5D dark gray, depicts the boat as-built and as shipped to theater.

Please click on the photos to see larger versions!




Artist's fairly accurate rendition of the damage to PT-61. It's not clear if she carried this camouflage though.

Artist’s fairly accurate rendition of the damage to PT-61. It’s not clear if she carried this camouflage though.

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Model Ship Repair


The repaired model in its new case.

Pat repairs model ships, too!

A customer of a well known barge firm received a 1:48 towboat display model with shipping damage. I was contacted about repairing the damaged model, and was able to respond with a quote and offer to work to a P.O.

The model was unlabeled and undocumented at this point in time, but was likely built at the same time as the original vessel in the 1980’s. It sustained relatively minor crushing damage to masts and railings, and the mounts were fractured.

All was put to right, and a new acrylic display cover was fabricated to replace the damaged one.


Damaged wheelhouse top




Damaged brass railings


Brass railing straightened and resoldered.

Feel free to drop me a line with your repair questions!

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New Business Cards

To highlight my focus on technology in model ship building, and 3D Printing in particular, I “printed” some business cards. Moveable anchor chain and a cable-laid hawser for a border (no mean feat in CAD, I can tell you)… but some nice nautical themes, it was worth it!



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Model Ship Stud Link Anchor Chain


Matthews Model Marine’s model stud link chain is 3D printed.

I continue to work on a feasible 3D printed stud link anchor chain suitable for models as small as the new 1:200 scale battleships– I’ve been successfully making and supplying larger sizes for some time. I have more to do to perfect it, but I now have a small quantity on sale at ebay ( ; link will die before long, but just search for “Model Ship Stud Link Anchor Chain”– if I have any available, it will show up).

The 1:200 battleship chain is 13.5 links per inch (LPI), and is fully articulated. But it is tiny– the “wire diameter” is 1/2 mm, or 500 microns– about the size of a sewing pin’s shaft!


Various sizes of MMM stud link chain. The new 13.5 LPI chain is in the foreground.

One successful development is the use of a dry tumble deburr process to knock off the 3D printing’s rough layering effect, and which also removes the last traces of processing wax from the parts. The chain can now be painted without further cleaning, yay!


Raw chain, as delivered from the printer.



After an early tumble deburr trial– much smoother surface, and almost wax free. Finer tumbling media take care of the rest.




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Pan American Seaplane Tender PANAIR XX-P


PANAIR XX-P, a 1940 build from Julius Petersen for Pan American Airways.

Just completed, another 3D Printing exercise. This is one of a fleet of 36 foot seaplane tenders ordered by Pan American Airways in 1939. The boats were sent to PAA stations around the world, and tended to the big Martin and Boeing seaplanes– the Pan American Clippers. The boats were equipped search lights, towing and rescue gear, but rarely left the harbor except to “sweep” the landing areas for any floating debris.

This boat though, PANAIR XX-P, was stationed at Honolulu, and became a war veteran on December 7, 1941. Her fire fighting gear was put into use in several locations around Pearl Harbor; the photo below shows her (along with the famous tug HOGA) assisting at the West Virginia.

The model is 27 inches long in 1:16 scale, and is almost entirely 3D printed. Even many metal fittings were investment cast from 3D printed wax patterns. Read all about my discovery of these boats, and the construction of the model, at my RC Groups build log:



Hull and cabin were each printed in two parts to fit in the printer.


Assisting at the West Virginia


PANAIR XX-P was stationed at Honolulu


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“Firefighter” on the cover at Model Warships


“Firefighter” of the FDNY

My Firefighter build, which features many 3D-printed parts, was featured on’s 11/22/2013 “What’s New” page. Now in their Gallery at:

The entire cabin and many details are parts of my design, printed at Shapeways.

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Sovereign of the Seas Update, November 2013

I continue to provide a running “in box” review of DeAgostini’s “Sovereign of the Seas” parts work kit at “A Yankee Builds DeAgostini’s Sovereign of the Seas”. We are up to Part 60 (of 135!) with this November 2013 review. The mass of material is impressive, as the kit is loaded with white metal cast details. Information on obtaining the kit at:

Sample installment of DeAgostini’s Sovereign of the Seas kit.



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Mirage 29 “Wolverine”

Mirage "Wolverine"

Mirage “Wolverine”

My latest completion, a 1:9 scale model of a 29 foot Mirage, the S-793 “Wolverine”. The full size boat has recently been restored by her owners, but was originally campaigned in the 80’s by Pete Smith, of the well known Smith Brothers Offshore Racing Team.

The unorthodox scale comes from building the model on an available fiberglass R/C hull of about 39″ length. The entire cockpit and coaming were built up to match the subject. Almost all details, from the instrument bezels to the bolster and the outdrives, were made with 3D Printing technology. Markings are a combination of custom printed waterslide decals and multi-layer cut vinyl.


z_8113 z_8115 z_8116 z_8118 z_8119

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Snowberry on the “Cover” at Model Warships


Model Warships, Oct. 26 2013 “What’s New”

My HMCS Snowberry is today’s “cover girl” at Model Warships. The 1:72 display model is super-detailed with GLS’s kit, which in turn is loaded with fine white metal and resin castings, and oodles of photoetched brass. The Revell Snowberry model is often converted to R/C operation, though I’d think twice about putting so much fragile detail on an operating model!


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Private Robertson V.C. : 3D-Printing Project for a Hero

Private Robertson V.C. in 1:72

Private Robertson V.C., lead ship in the “Hero Class”, in 1:72

Latest completed model. Private Robertson V.C. is the first of nine ships in the Canadian Coast Guard’s “Hero Class”, based on the Damen Stan 4207 design.

This project was completed almost entirely with 3D printed components. Basic CAD layout and part design was done by myself, based on hundreds of photos and a small amount on intel found on the web… the owners of the drawings were not willing to share! More info on the build can be found on the Model Warships site:

Regarding the feasibility of 3D Printing for models: Yes it can work! But the cost in design time and materials probably excludes it from consideration from the average modeler’s budget. The technology did allow me to create parts that would have been extremely difficult to manage with traditional methods, such as the complex mast assembly. This was actually printed as a single component.


Mast assembly


A Police unit is embedded with the ship.


Foredeck details


Overall, aft quarter view


Controlled-pitch props drive the boat


Pilot house detail


Display case


CAD design and freshly printed cabin parts.

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