125′ USCG Active Class Cutter


The USCG Active Class Patrol Boat was built by American Brown Boveri Electric Corp., Camden, NJ. These cutters served from 1927 until well into the 1970s. They were 125 feet long, with a beam of 23 feet, 6 inches. They displaced 232 tons and had a maximum speed of 13 knots. Usual complement was 3 officers and 17 men. Armament varied from a full late WWII  armament of a 3”/23 deck gun, two depth charge racks, and two mousetraps to a 1960s armament of one 40mm/60 gun. War-time depth charge racks, K-guns, paint and 20mm gun platforms on special order.


These are handsome ships that can fit in even small harbors. They could maneuver in shallow waters, along rivers, and upstream far away from the coasts. They were effective patrol boats with good seakeeping but, with a top speed about about 13 knots, wouldn’t chase down many fleeing bootleggers or drug runners.

These are small ships, only 9.4 inches long, but feature exquisite detailing. They are as detailed as museum-quality ships but simply cannot be built entirely at that standard, which would increase the cost by a factor of 10 or more.

First run of eight ships (W125 through W132) available immediately. Every ship is handbuilt, and therefore slightly different, depending on available photos of each ship. Various small details will vary according to era modeled or parts supply, which is sometimes spotty. Substitutes are of equal value and quality, and are accurate for each ship.

Paints are according to published Federal standards, or railroad colors as established by Floquil. Decals are matched to published RGB standards on a calibrated monitor/printer combination. I started in the printing industry in 1967, and, in the mid-80s, wrote some of the seminal articles for computer graphics about color renditions, grayscale, and resolution.

Price is now US $775, and can be ordered now by contacting me at peterknolan@gmail.com.

More Specs:
•    Made in the USA by Pete Nolan
•    Specific ships and eras built by special order; allow 8-12 weeks for building and shipping if not in stock. Other scales (1:87, 1:220, or other) are available by special order.
•    The forward gunwhales changed considerably over the life of these ships. Most prevalent is the fuller “half” gunwhales of Atlantic and Northwest US areas. The scantlings show gunwhales that extended nearly to the bridge; other early photos show minimal gunwhales of perhaps two meters length(about six feet); still others show a sharper bow with nearly vertical gunwhales and no flare.
•    Portholes (scuttles) varied over the years. Early photos show a full row of scuttles evenly space from bow to stern. The engine room scuttles were plated over early, probably during WW II. I based the scuttles on mid-1950s and later photos, which show different configurations on both hull and superstructure
•    The master was built from from the designer’s hull scantlings (the plan). The hull was drawn from the original plans with Adobe Illustrator. The superstructure was scaled from numerous photos. The parts were refined for tolerances, material thicknesses and fit across three dimensions, a geometry challenge since, according to the old adage, nothing on a ship is plumb. The parts were then cut with a digital cutter.
•    All details anchored in drilled holes via museum practice
•    Custom photoetch railings derived from photos.
•    Forty-four hand applied micro-grommets
•    Eight scratchbuilt three-layer doors with rain shields
•    Hull and superstructure from resin. Styrene superstructure (see-through bridge) available on special order.
•    Scratchbuilt winches, towing bitts, ventilators and other details.
•    Searchlights, anchors, 3” gun, life rafts and rescue boats from Bluejacket Shipcrafters. 40mm gun is custom built.
•    Rescue boats varied greatly over time but were generally between 16’ and 20’, usually motorized.
•    Six bitts and four open chocks from Amati
•    Custom decals for pre-1967 or post-1967, when the USCG adopted the “racing stripe”
•    Hand-applied exterior wiring and grab rails
•    Rigging is the finest thread available
•    Masts, posts and booms are telescoping brass rods, usually three-part
•    Four whip antennaes (two each 10 and 8 meter) in antenna mounts
•    Mid-50s SC radar installed; others (or none) available by special order
•    Custom-built stern railing
•    Full hull model available.
•    Shipping and insurance in the US is about $100 for waterline models.

4 thoughts on “125′ USCG Active Class Cutter

  1. Hello,
    I work at the USS Silversides submarine museum in Muskegon Michigan. We have WSC-146 the USCGC McLane. I was wondering how much the waterline version of a 125′?
    Thank you, Thomas “TJ”

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