Welcome to the official website of the Rocky Mountain Shipwrights


We are a group of model ship builders in Colorado dedicated to promoting, developing, and furthering scale model shipbuilding. As of March 2015, we are about 60 strong, building many types and sizes of model ships – from Egyptian barges to WWII destroyers. Several members and their creations have won national and regional awards, and some have built models now on display at maritime museums nationwide.

2015 exhibit ad for website

But we’re not all expert modelers. Some members are working on their first models. They get advice and encouragement from those who are more experienced, and the goal is for everyone to enjoy the hobby of building model ships and to get the satisfaction of completing and displaying a model(s).

Contact our Skipper, Erik Collett, with any questions at 303-708-1386

Rocky Mountain Shipwrights usually meet every third Saturday at Rockler Woodworking on South Colorado Blvd, Denver CO.
But this month (October) we will meet on the second Saturday.

Saturday, October 10 2015  (9:30 am.)

The October meeting will feature a silent auction and the set up
for the annual ship model exhibit which begins right after the meeting.

At Rockler Woodworking and Hardware
2553 S. Colorado Blvd.
Denver, Co 80222

Anyone interested in model ships is invited to attend and participate in the fun, watch the featured presentation and the “show and tell”, and chat with the members. If you’re having any problems in constructing your model, you’re sure to get plenty of advice here. There’s a “mini-workshop” after the meeting,so bring a model you’re working on if you like.

Monthly workshop, too:

In addition to our regular monthly meeting, we host a monthly workshop where members (and guests) can work on their builds while enjoying the company, the coffee and goodies, the tips and tricks, and the conversations in an informal three-to-five hours. Questions about the workshop? Call Ralph Buckwalter – 303-914-0897.

Workshops are held on the first Saturday of the month
The next Rocky Mountain Shipwrights workshop will be:

October 3 (9:00-to-2:00)

Arvada City Hall (Police Station entrance)
8101 Ralston Road, Arvada CO.

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Ship-board Battle Station

Sorry, no photo available

Jon Sorensen modified a kit to create this navel battle station out of hardwoods.

Cannons and carronades were the “heavy artillery” of fighting ships well into the 19th Century. They recoiled fiercely, their barrels grew hot enough to burn the gunners, and once in a while, explode. They were heavy enough that a crew of seven usually man-handled them back into position once they were fired. Cannon balls were rammed down the barrels, powder poured into the breech, then lit with a match, or later, a flintlock. They were deafening when fired.

Period: 1700-1800                   This model is 10” x 10”                         Scale: 1:23

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H.M.S. Beagle

HMS Beagle - John Walsh

John Walsh built this model from a kit over a span of seven months. It’s a limewood plank-on-bulkhead type.

HMS Beagle was a10-gun brig-sloop of the Royal Navy. She was launched on 11 May 1820. In July of that year she took part in a fleet review celebrating the coronation of King George IV of the United Kingdom in which she was the first ship to sail under the new London Bridge. She was adapted as a survey barque and took part in three expeditions. On the second survey voyage the young naturalist Charles Darwin was on board, and his work would eventually make the Beagle a most famous ship.

Period: mid-19th Century            Model length: 27”, height: 21”            Scale: 3/16”= 1ft.

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Oseberg skipet

Oseberg skipet - Eric Collett

Erik Collett spent 150 hours building this Norwegian Viking Ship model.
The hull is built from oak planks, glued together and then glued to the
ribs. The wood was then sealed with flat varnish. The sail is cotton.

The original ship was built in 815AD and was used as a burial ship after 20 years of icoastal trading. It was discovered on an Oseberg, Norway farm in 1904. It has been restored and can be seen today at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo. The ship was 71 feet long, 17 feet wide. The mast was 40 feet tall and carried a 30feet wide, 15 feet long sail. Square homespun wool was used for the sail. The squares were sewn together with strips of leather. There are 15 oar holes on each side. The rudder was an enlarged oar fitted on the aft starboard side.

Period: 815-834, now restored           Model length: 17”, height 10”             Scale:1:50

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Seguin – Jim Blackwell

Seguin - Jim Blackwell

Jim Blackwell modified a kit model of this tugboat. It is wooden throughout.

The Seguin was built in Maine in 1884. She spent her first years towing sailing vessels in the Kennebec River and barges along the Atlantic Coast. In the early 1900’s, she became a New York harbor tug. She was retired in 1967.

Period: 1884-1967                      Model length: 26”               Scale: 1/4”=1ft.

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PT-109 42 EP

PT 109-42-EP
Jon Sorensen built this model from a plastic kit which he modified to add more authentic detail. This is a radio-controlled model.

PT (short for “Patrol Torpedo”) Boats of World War Two were called “Devil Boats” by the Japanese, and “the mosquito fleet” by the sailors who manned them. They were fast, elusive and harassed Japanese supply ships as well as smaller war ships. They were small (30-75 tons) and fast (35-40 knots).

Period: WW II
Model length: 40”
Scale: not provided


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Norske Love

Norske-LoveErik Collett is building this Danish warship  from a kit he is modifying. It boasts four different woods – birch, pine, walnut and cherry. So far he has invested about 500 hours in her construction.

The Norske Love was built in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1764-1767. It was named after the Norwegian Royal Coat of Arms. Her ornaments represented daily life in Norway. It was mostly a guard ship in Danish waters. She carried 70 cast iron cannons and a crew of 667 sailors and soldiers. She was converted to a shelter for homeless in 1795. In 1798 she was deleted from the naval registry. The model is based upon original construction drawings.

Period: last half of 18th Century
Model length: 40”, height: 36”
Scale: 1:64

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USS Cairo

USS Cairo -Dub SwadleyW.C. “Dub” Swadley estimates he spend 600 hours building this model from scratch. It is fashioned from white pine and basswood.

The Cairo was an iron-clad river gunboat in the Union’s Western Gunboat Fleet before becoming a Navy gunboat.. She served in several battles on the upper Mississippi River. She was sunk by a mine on the Yazoo River in 1862. The Cairo was recovered from the river bed in 1964and partially restored. She is on display today in the Vivksberg Military Park.

Period: American Civil war
Model length: 26”, width: 13”
Scale: 1/8”=1 ft.

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