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You call-We haul! USCG 41′ Utility Boat 1976

May 23, 2014 in Ships

In retirement I’ve been catching up with building models of units I served on while on active duty. My latest build is a 1:16th scale model of a typical USCG 41′ utility boat. Found at every Coast Guard station, the 41′ UTB was state of the art when fielded in 1973. Designed as a fast response boat, the 41′ could top speeds of 28 knots in a calm sea and had an extended endurance range on 500 gallons of fuel. Powered by 2 Cummins diesels, the aluminum hull boat had a 300 mile radius at 18 knots. The boat was usually crewed by three men but in the law enforcement operation, carried up to seven men. When utilized as an escort for US Navy vessels (security zone), the boats were equipped with two M60 machine guns. One hundred forty-eight boats were designed and built at CG Yard in Baltimore, MD between 1973 and 1978. In addition, two dozen were built, under license, in Canada for the Canadian CG. In 2004 the Coast Guard began to replace these boats with a 46′ fast response craft, similar in mission but far advanced in electronics and engineering.

The model

The boat is a Dumas kit from the early 1980’s. Constructed of wood, utilizing the plank on frame method, it is designed as a radio control model for water operation. I built a similar kit in 1985 with an electric motor and radio equipment installed. It wasn’t as detailed as my current model and didn’t perform on the water very well. I sold it but ended up purchasing another kit with the intent of constructing as a display model. Much of the cabin interior is scratch built as is most of the deck detail. The fire monitor on the bow is scratch built from brass as are the safety railings, towing rail, radio antennas, and radar. My favorite part of the build was the scratch built M60, built from brass and plastic, (I was too lazy to build two of the M60’s and spent the time building the fire monitor instead). It’s painted with rattle can Krylon paint as well as airbrushed with USCG “Spar” paint for the decks. The 41 footer under went a number of changes over it’s service life but my model depicts the “delivery scheme” ( the decks were painted gray almost immediatly after we received the boat, spar paint on decks always look dirty!) The last photo is yours truly at the 41’s helm wheel in 1977, just before I ran over a water logged piece of wood in the water. It made a heck of a racket being pulverized by the boat’s props, one reason I didn’t get to drive very often!

9 additional images. Click to enlarge

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11 responses to You call-We haul! USCG 41′ Utility Boat 1976

  1. A nice piece of modeling, Mike….hey – a new moniker for ya …”Modelin’ Mike” (no?). You certainly do have a knack for ship-buildin’, though. Good work!

  2. Another fine build of a boat but who is that young stud at the helm?
    I have a couple of Dumas run-a-bouts that are meant to be static models but have never gotten around to them.

  3. Mike, amazing build, though the more I see of your work, I guess the less amazing it is. More like it is expected! Anyway, very well done, and a nice story to go with it. This looks like a very capable and powerful little boat. How large is the model? Many thanks for posting.

    • Rob
      Thanks for the kind words. The boat measures 32″ in length. The new 46′ replacement boat the CG purchased doesn’t even have propellers, they’re water jet powered and self righting. The old 41 footer was not self righting and we lost a crew in the late 1970’s in a capsizing during a storm. Still, for the time, they were great boats.

  4. Another great build, Mike. I like photo 7 of the series. I know the finished model is more appealing for a different reason, but as a modeller I can get the feel of the project in the stage captured in the 7th photo.

    • Rob
      Thanks for the nice words. At the stage you mention I always almost “give up” and want to build a plastic kit as the wood kits seem to take forever to build. But I guess perseverence pays off, the wood model gets completed ( but I usually start a plastic kit at this stage so I feel like I’m accomplishing something in a timely fashion!) Cheers.

  5. Nice looking 41. No shackle or chain on the Danforth anchor? Will the crash pumps start on the first go?
    Really a very nice job!

    • Bryan
      Thank you for your kind words. As I mentioned in my description the 41 footer “evolved” over the years both in appearence and mission. As delivered the anchor was stowed behind the engine room “tower” air vents. But the shackle, leader chain, and anchor line was stowed up forward in the bow. It was a pain to “monkey” that danforth up to the bow, open the forward hatch, bend the shackle to the anchor and lower it over the side. Sometime after we received the boat the Coast Guard brass hats, in their infinite wisdom, had all anchors stowed in a bracket on the forward cabin roof. Apparently some crewman fell overboard carrying the anchor forward in bad weather…
      As to the drop pumps…I could relate many stories about their reliability under “adverse” conditions, some amusing, some not…ours ALWAYS started on the first pull. Our Chief made sure of that!

  6. another great job mike

  7. You’ve obviously put a lot of your own experience into this build, Mike, and it looks fantastic.

  8. Mike,
    I am truly impressed with this model as I am of all your work. I not only see this as an outstanding homage of your service but also an extreme compliment to the USCG.

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