Kurt Van DahmShip Model Project Photos 

Have modeled all my life and started model boats when I was looking to fill time at the fire house on slow nights. I like work boats and tugs but model anything except big steel navy ships. Have been an NRG member since the late 80's and an NRG Director since 2003. 

Chaperon - Sternwheel Steam Packet 


1:48 - Model Shipways Kit

34 1/2" long and 12" high

Model Completed in 2010

Great kit that only needed some enhancements to make a great model. The pilot house front window area was modified for accuracy.  Added missing support ring backing pieces to each sternwheel segment.

African Queen

1:12 scale _ Billings Kit

28" long and 15" high

Model Completed in 2012

This kit was built with many modifications for a more realistic appearance.  The kit featured Basswood sheets with printed plank seams for the deck, seats and interior floor.  I used the kit pieces as templates for thinner sub-decking and planked the decks, floors, etc. with individual planks.

Harbor Tug

1/2" - Hartman Fiberglass Kit

42" long and 15" high

Model Completed in 2007

Hartman made a semi-kit of hull, cabins, stack and deck of fiberglass.  Molds were in poor shape and a lot of work was needed to each part. Scratch-built portholes, pilot house windows, bitts, bollards, capstan, water tight doors.  Applied an accurate plate pattern to the deck.  Life boat was meant to be upside down but I detailed the interior.  I was able to add a lot of detail as I had access to a twin tug to the prototype used for the model.  Model is radio controlled - but now retired.

Lackawanna - Steam Coastal Tug


1/8" scale - Bluejacket Kit

17 1/2" long and 10 high 

Model completed in 2012

A great kit with only a few modifications needed to make a very good model.  "Plated"  the hull in the in-and-out plating pattern by building up the "out" plates using auto body filler.  Added a detailed pilot house interior and replaced the kit bitts and bollards with scratch-built pieces.  Added turnbuckles to the rigging made from hypodermic needle tubes and wire eyes.

Picket Boat No. 1


1/2" scale - Model shipways

24" long and 10 high 

Model completed in 2013 

Replaced the decking material with cherry. Added gun tackle from information from the NC Maritime Museum as there was no information in the kit.  Used .5mm hex bolts/nuts to secure the spar torpedo bracket pieces instead of rivets (from small nails in teh kit).