Model Boats

Clyde Puffer 2019 Sternwheeler push tug 2015 Iron paddle Tug  2018
Clyde Puffer ____________ Sternwheeler Tug __________ Paddle Tug

River tug 2020 Dingy 2014 Amphibian 2013

River Tug ________ Dingy ______ Amphibian

Matchstick Model Boats

Matchstick Oil Rig Support Vessel 2009 Matchstick Tug sideview 2014 Matchstick Puffer stern 2011
Oil Support Vessel _____________ Iron Paddle Tug __________ Clyde Puffer

mistral _________ Model barge 2022 _______ Model barge 2022

Mistral __________________ Barge ___________________ Lightship

Matchstick Models

I started making matchstick models when I was the Local assistant at Point of Ayre,in many ways an ideal hobby as you glue relatively small sections before finally assembling the whole model.
So you could easily work on small sections and still fit in,winding the machine up,weather reports,etc.

The first model that I built,so I followed the plans and instructions,later models incorporated some of my own ideas and eventually my own designs

Fairground Traction Engine

Matchstick Model Traction engine 2005
Matchstick Model Fairground Traction Engine (Kit)
Length 13 inches (33 cm)


Matchstick Model windmill 2005
Matchstick Model Windmill (Kit)
Height 21 inches (53 cm)

Hansom Cab

Matchstick Model Hansom cab 2005
Matchstick Model Hansom Cab (Kit)
Length 17 inches (44 cm)


Matchstick Model Omnibus 2005
Matchstick Model Omnibus (Kit)
Length 17 inches (44 cm)

Some of the following matchstick models are my own design

June 2006 I bought the kit for the Rocker Horse,since that turned out quite well I used my own design to build the horse to go with the Hansom Cab.
Rocker Horse_________________________Horse_____

Matchstick Model Rocker Horse 2006 Matchstick Model Horse 2006
Matchstick Model Rocker Horse (Kit)_______Matchstick Model Horse____
Length 11 inches (28cm)___________Length 9 inches (23cm)

Hansom Cab with Horse

Matchstick Model Hansom Cab with Horse 2006
Matchstick Model Hansom Cab with Horse

Matchstick Model Sopworth Camel 2007 Matchstick Model Sopworth Camel 2007
Matchstick Model plane based on Sopworth Camel 2007
Wingspan 10½ inches (27 cms)

Matchstick Model Landrover 2006 Matchstick Model Landrover 2006
Prototype Matchstick Model Landrover-2006
Length 9 inches (23cm)


Matchstick Model Landrover 2007 ______ Matchstick Model Landrover 2007
Matchstick Model Landrover 2007 Matchstick Model Landrover 2007
Matchstick model based on Landrover-2007
Length 9 inches (23cm)

Dump Truck 2007

Matchstick Model Dump Truck 2007 Matchstick Model Dump Truck 2007
Matchstick Model Dump Truck 2007 Matchstick Model Dump Truck 2007
Matchstick Model Dump Truck based on Caterpillar 797
Length 10 inches (25cm)
Full size Height 7.5 meters,Tyres 3.6 meters in diameter

Hispano Suiza Car2008

Matchstick Model Hispano Suiza Car 2008

Matchstick Model Hispano Suiza Car 2008 Matchstick Model Hispano Suiza Car 2008 Matchstick Model Hispano Suiza Car 2008

Modified Matchstick Model Hispano Suiza based on Matchbuilder Kit
Length 15 inches (38cm)

Matchstick Model Excavator 2009

Matchstick Model Excavator 2009

Matchstick Model Excavator 2009 Matchstick Model Excavator 2009

Matchstick Model Excavator 2009

Matchstick Model Excavator Driver 2022

Driver added in 2022

Matchstick Model Excavator based on Caterpiller 312
Track Length 8 inch (20 cm)


Oil Rig Support Vessel 2009

Matchstick Oil Rig Support Vessel 2009

Matchstick Oil Rig Support Vessel 2009 Matchstick Oil Rig Support Vessel 2009

Oil Rig Support Vessel 2009 Matchstick Oil Rig Support Vessel 2009

Matchstick Oil Rig Support Vessel 2009

Matchstick Model Boat of Oil Rig Support Vessel
Length 24 inch (61 cm)

The model is a highly modified Matchmodeller Kit.
Model is based on various vessels I saw working out of Peterhead port in the early seventies and is of no particular vessel.

Model West Highland Coaster - Clyde Puffer 2011

Matchstick Puffer general 2011

Matchstick Puffer winch 2011 Matchstick Puffer ships boat

Matchstick Puffer bridge 2011 Matchstick Puffer ships boat-winch 2011

Matchstick Puffer stern 2011

Matchstick Model Boat of Clyde Puffer
Based on Harold A Underhill plans for "Sealight"
Length 22 inch (56 cm)

The rigging shown is a trial run and needs to be updated.
ie.Tidied up

Model Iron Paddle Tug 2013

Matchstick Tug sideview 2013

Matchstick Tug frontview 2013

Matchstick Model Boat of Iron Paddle Tug
Based on Harold A Underhill plans
Length 34 inch (87cm)

Still very much a work in progress,but progress is being made June 2013

Matchstick Tug sideview 2014
April 2014
Some progress,but paddle wheels plus ancilliaries still to construct

Matchstick Tug frontview 2014
April 2014

Matchstick Tug winch 2015
More detail of winch 2015

Matchstick Tug paddlewheel 2015
One paddle wheel completed March 2015

Matchstick Tug paddlewheel 2015
Paddlewheel complete

Matchstick Tug paddlewheel 2015
Paddlewheel and dinghy

Matchstick Tug dinghy 2015


. Some of the hows and whys of my way of building

When I built my first matchstick model I used craft knife hand fretsaw and sandpaper result sore fingers?
Later used the following cutters.

cutter cutter-2

I have a few adjusted to give half and one third sizes and one variable if I need quite a few of one size
The other cutter is usefull for repeated angle cuts

After building sections cutting/trimming to size I usually used a fretsaw
These days a powered fret or band saw or a Dremel type machine with
miniature circular saw blade

Another essential tool is sanding blocks,one with 80 grit to rough sand and flatten the
protruding matches which not only looks better but gives a good surface for glueing

When it comes to glueing I use a small brush to ensure anything that needs to stick
has glue on it with such small glue areas miss a bit and it might well open up later?

Bending matches I recently aquired a bandsaw and built the bender
I soak matches in hot water for 15 minutes then clamp them,
leave for a few hours,they have to be dry or will return to original shape fairly quickly
you can then tweek them with gentle pressure with your fingers to suit.


If you have unusual gaps to fill leave a largish space glue two or three matches together
a lot easier to hold and shape to fit.

Working matchstick model based on Vic Smeeds "Mistral" 2021

Lenght aprox 18 inches (45cm)


I first built this of balsa wood well over 60 years ago
Came across the plans recently and looked ideal as a matchstick model

I have a sheet of dense cork about an inch thick ideal to accept pins.

Cut a pattern to shape wax the edges and use greaseproof paper
position and glue matches.


When building my boat I screwed some blocks to some wood and clamped the keel
which left both hands free to position and glue chines


Keel,bulkhead and chines in place


With deck well in place


One of the places I used wood was for the motor mount
might even be the motor that I used in original model


First layer of planking

I made mini planks two or three matchsticks wide

Planked in the order shown which gave maximum glueing area
An extra layer of matches on middle chine


Matchsticks on keel gave somewhere to glue planks and give extra water ingress protection



Since it is a working model I roughly sanded the planking and covered with tissue and
applied water based varnish,I would have used cellulose dope but could not get hold of any


With the second layer of planks I did the bottom first which means
when the upper part is planked it covers the edge of lower planks


The first layer of planking gives the strength which means you can sand
the second layer to give the finish you want



Showing some progress




Captain at the helm


Crew taking it easy


On the water

Building the rudder
I built the two sides roughly to size ,then used double sided tape
so both sides were identical then positioned the wire rudder arm squeezed together
in vice to give impression then used cutter to form a channel before gluing together

I used boxwood to form rudder mounts,lot stronger than matchsticks
Since it is a working model


Matchstick Model Dumb Barge 2022

Based on Dumb Barge "Fairway" by Jim Pottanger

Model barge 2022

Model barge 2022

Frames etc built from 5mm foamboard

Model barge 2022

Partially planked

Model barge 2022

Hull planked Model barge 2022

Winch Model barge 2022

Cabin with steering gear when being towed

Model barge 2022

Bucket grab

Model barge 2022

Anchored fore and aft cable around winch pulled boat along

Model barge 2022

Bucket grab control housing

Model barge 2022

General view


Matchstick Model Lightship 2023

Loosely based on Lightship "SULA" with modifications
Lenght 24 inch(60gm)

Lightship 2023

Lightship 2023

Lightship 2023

Lightship 2023



The boat below is a wooden plank on frame model,in about 1972 a friend had cut out a couple of the frames and decided it was not his ideal hobby and gave it to me.I built it as a non-working model and it sat around until 2005 when I installed a motor and radio control,so it now goes for the occasional sail on the local lake.
Model fishing boat 2005
Model Fishing Boat
Length 26 inches (66 cm)


Model Sternwheeler push tug 2013
Vaguely based on an article in "Model Boats" magazine.
Sternwheeler push tug 2013

Sternwheeler push tug 2013
Length 26 inches (66cm)

Sternwheeler push tug 2015

New superstructure 2015

Sternwheeler engine room 2014
Engineroom (2013)

Sternwheeler engine room 2013
Engineroom (2014)
Rubber band drive was slipping and fraying so changed to chain drive
Same motors but cleaned and painted since they were corroding since I sail in salt water

Sternwheeler engine room 2015 Engineroom (2015)

Sternwheeler engine room 2016 Engineroom (2016)


Model Amphibian Vehicle 2013

Based on a model DUKW in a 1970 Radio Modeller article
Length 19 inches (48 cm)

Amphibian vehicle 2013

Amphibian vehicle 2013

2013 version

Amphibian vehicle 2015

Got a driver now 2015
Changed from smooth wheels to nobby tyres gave a better transit from water to land
This version sails very well in rough water

Amphibian vehicle 2015

Updated open top version for calm water sailing

Amphibian vehicle 2015 Amphibian vehicle 2015

Amphibian vehicle 2013

Amphibian vehicle 2013

Basic construction completed

Amphibian vehicle 2013

2013 Water tight and operational

Needs internal layout sorted out and a crew added

Originally used a 550 (7.2 volt) motor which was fine in the water but lacked power for on land
changed to a crawler 55 turn motor with a 9.6 volt battery

chain drive 2019

Using worm drive from propshaft to wheel axle was not really up to the job
Slight slope and motor did not have enough speed to develop any power and vehicle stalled?

2019 Changed to decaperm motor and pile gearbox with chain drive to axle
Now keeps moving until wheels lose grip and spin.

chain drive 2019

chain drive 2019

Decaperm motor and gearbox moved to Paddle tug
Modified gear box installed 2023

modified gearbox 2023

modified gearbox 2023


Model Dingy 2014

Length 18 inches (46cm)

Based on plans from :-
Dingy 2014

Dingy 2014

Dingy 2014

Dingy 2014

Dingy 2014

The original was clinker planked,but due I think to distortion when I enlarged the plank plans it was not very sucessful
So I changed to carvel planking which worked quite well

Dingy 2014

Dingy 2014

Masts,Sails and fitting out to complete November 2014

Dingy 2014

April 2015 Sails fitted and radio control added
includes perspex cover for sailing

Dingy 2014
Center board has extra weight added gives extra stability

Model Landyacht 2015

Landyacht 2015
I had the alloy rod and designed the model around that and built with what was in spares box
Length 39 inches (100 cm) Width 21 inch (21 cm) Height 39 inches (99 cm)

Landyacht 2015
Front end if the model works it can be streamlined?

Landyacht 2015
Sail control


Model Iron Paddle Tug 2018

Model based on Harold Underhill plan
Length 34 inch (87cm)

Since I have a decaperm motor with gearbox I wanted to try single motor with seperate drive to paddles - gives both paddles driven or just one.

Iron paddle Tug  2018
Model at September 2018

Tug braces 2018
The battens were there to support frames until subdeck was installed
The first hull I built without the battens the front end twisted later used for River Tug

Iron paddle Tug two pieces 2018
Built in two parts to allow development of drive system and also made ballasting easier

Iron paddle Tug drive 2018
Drive via two dog clutches,left side shows sliding part and right hand shows drive engaged

Tug drive 2018
Showing full drive to paddles.
With throttle stick held fully to one side the appropiate paddle disengages

> Tug new drive 2022
2022 With modifications to motor and gearbox managed to shorten
them to fit across boat now enables full independant paddle control

Tug paddles 2018

Paddles look a bit overengineered but were built from 3 mm ply and I preferred to play safe?
Original design was eight floats but using ply reduced to six floats - still drives well

Tug rudder 2018
Rudder control


Model Clyde Puffer 2019

Based on a Model Boats plan by James Pottinger
Length 25 inch (64cm)
Still a work in progress

Clyde Puffer 2019
Built with bulwarks on frames,extra work to fit deck and later cut off as they were wrong size and angle?

Clyde Puffer 2019
General view

Clyde Puffer 2019
Rudder with chain drive

Clyde Puffer 2019
Servo and chain drive

Clyde Puffer 2019

Clyde Puffer 2019

Clyde Puffer 2019
Drive motor


Model River Tug 2020

River tug/barge based on plans of MV Rayner by Vic Smeed

River Tug 2020
General view

River Tug Hull 2020
Modified Hull
The hull was first built for the paddle tug but the bow got twisted so was replaced by new hull

Part of bow removed and bread and butter bow built.

River Tug Stern 2020

River Tug Steering 2020
Steering servo

All photographs Copyright Fred Fox.