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Mike Maynard
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U.S. Coast Guard 36' Motor Lifeboat

August 4, 2013 · in Ships · · 8 · 5.7K

It's Coast Guard Day, August 4, 2013!

I almost forget to honor the founding of my Service's birthday, August 4, 1790.
As one might imagine I do build a lot of Coast Guard subjects (most are kitbashed or scratchbuilt) there are very few CG models availible. The model in this entry is the 36' motor lifeboat. Originally issued by ITC models in the late 1950's, Glencoe has resurected a number of old kits, the Coast Guard 36' mlb is one such model and a favorite of mine. Motor lifeboats differ (self righting and built for heavy seas) from ship carried lifeboats (ocean liners come to mind) and are shore based at coastal rescue stations.
I've built six different "mods" of the 36 footer, all derived from the Glencoe model.
The earliest type was the blue hulled version with sails and oars as an auxillary power, and was part of the US Life Saving Service. Two of the types had motors and sails and the red hull version served in the Canadian Coast Guard. Finally, the grey 36' was built to be carried on CG icebreakers in WWII as a survey boat, and were used until the 1960's(painted in CG white). First fielded in 1900, the last wood hull CG 36' was decommissioned in 1986. The American taxpayers got their money's worth from this design and many a sailor owes his life to this boat and their intrepid crews. Semper Paratus!

Reader reactions:
5  Awesome

11 additional images. Click to enlarge.

8 responses

  1. I vaguely remember getting one of these kits from a friend and after looking at it threw it out. If that is the kit I am remembering you have done some incredible work here no once, not twice but six times! WOW very nice collection.

  2. Very nice work. I'm envious. I wish I could do boats & ships at your level.

  3. Mike...Nice job. Are you aware of any kits of a buoy tender out there? I served on the USCGC Spar and would like to build a model someday.

  4. Thanks guys for the kind words. The 36535 in the top photo represents the last 36' MLB in service. In 1986 the 36535 was stationed at Coast Guard Station Depoe Bay in Oregon. I was really surprised by this, I thought the USCG had replaced all these old wooden rescue boats by the 1960's. Think of it this way: imagine the USAF still flying P-51's in front line service in 1986!

    Jack, there are no plastic or resin models of a 180' that I'm aware of...CG models makes a 180' hull in fibergalss, you'd have to scratchbuild the rest in wood or sheet plastic. I think the scale is's made for radio control.

    • said on May 7, 2014

      I used to work on the 36535 when I was stationed at Depoe Bay from 82-84. I was her engineering boat keeper. In fact I still have her plans.

  5. Great modelling, Mike, and very interesting as well.

  6. Hey Mike, it only took me three years to reply! I cobbled together a rendition of this recently and posted it yesterday.
    I really like what you have done with these. You have to just love this hull design. Great modeling Mike
    California Steve

  7. Hi-Ho Steve-a-reeno!

    Well, what's three years in modeling circles, a mere bag of shells? I've been studying the USCG 36' MLB (motor life boat) since 1973, and, for a retired coastie like me, it's a natural fit. Did you see the movie "The Finest Hours" about the MLB CG 36500? A true rescue, so incredible it looks like a movie plot dreamed up from Hollywood.

    The Glencoe model lends itself to a variety of scales, the hull design could fit any type of diorama or "need for a small boat". Here in New England I've seen one actual 36 footer converted to a lobster boat and another into a motor- sail boat. By the way, I've actually had the privilege to crew the Chatham 36500 in the mid 1980's. Cheers!

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