125′ USCG Active Class Cutter

Price Reduced 55%—Completed models now $350—Kits now Available

Available in N and Z



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.

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 now $350 and can be ordered now by contacting me at peterknolan@gmail.com. Kits are now available for $175. Online ordering is coming.

More Specs:
•    Made in the USA by Peter Nolan—only eight are available, with perhaps a dozen hulls for kits or new projects. So the supply is limited.
•    Specific ships and eras built by special order; allow 8-12 weeks for building and shipping if not in stock. There is an up charge of $60 for custom details and decals.
•    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.
•    Custom photoetch railings derived from photos.
•    Hull from resin. Styrene superstructure (see-through bridge).
•    3D printed winches, towing bitts, ventilators and other details.
•    Rescue boats varied greatly over time but were generally between 16’ and 20’, usually motorized.
•    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
•    Full hull model available.

12 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”

    • Yes. I have four completed models available at a reduced price. I’m not sure how many waterline hulls I have available for kits and that mold is no longer suitable for casting. I still have a few boxes to unpack to look for more hulls. I do have two full hulls available, and that mold looks OK, so I can cast a few more full hulls and probably a few more more waterline hulls. The full hulls will cost more than the waterline hulls.

  2. I like your ships. I am looking to acquire a model of the USCG Cutter Legare WSC-144. It was an Active Class Patrol Cutter. My father was a PO2 in the USCG. He served on the Legare in the 1950’s. In that era WSC-144 was painted with a white hull and forecastle. With light brown deck and engine exhaust stack. There was a 40mm deck gun on the fore deck and a 20mm gun on the aft deck of the ship’s superstructure. Is a model of the Active Class Patrol Cutter with that paint scheme and weapon configuration possible? I want to present as a gift to my father. He is an 87 year Korean Conflict Era veteran.

    • Absolutely! It’s best if you can find a photo of the ship in the exact era but I’m also glad to research it at no charge. I have the color schemes for the eras.

  3. My last duty station in the Coast Guard was on a ‘buck-n-a-quarter, the CARTIGAN (WMEX-132, NRLF) out of Panama City, Florida (1966-1968). We did SAR & 10 day Campeche patrols. Decommissioned late 1968.

    • I’ve always thought that this class of ships would be suitable for smaller harbor scenes, even as converted private yachts. They certainly lasted a long time in service.

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