Model Ship Clubs of the USA

Model Ship building is a craft that has been around since water transport first began. Every boat ever built has a unique story to tell. The model ship clubs of the United States have an important part to play in continuing the skills and tradition of the art of model ship building. Here we have compiled a list of the model ships clubs that are situated across the United States.

California Model Ship Clubs

Ship Modelers Association

The Ship Modelers Association (SMA) is the largest ship modeling club in California, and one of the largest in the nation. They seek to foster research and interest in the nautical heritage of the United States by researching and building scale ship models. 

Sacramento Model Shipwrights

The Sacramento Model Shipwrights, are a club of radio-control model ship enthusiasts, who sail at the lake in Elk Grove Regional Park in Elk Grove, California. They are known for building civilian and military models, which are powered by electric motors, steam engines, or sail.

South Bay Model Shipwrights

The South Bay Model Shipwrights is a club to learn and share info on shipbuilding techniques using a variety of materials.  Member’s projects include model ships from plastic and wood from commercial kits and scratch built vessels in resin and wood. 

Club members have built ships ranging from 3’ to 56” in Over All length.  Members have built vessels from all timeframes in human history.  This includes rafts, Viking Ships, Galleons, Clipper Ships, Japanese and Chinese Sailing ships, Steam Ferry Boats, and modern era combat ships.

At club meetings they discuss maritime construction, current events, history, and archaeology.

Channel Islands Maritime Museum Ship Model Guild

The Channel Islands Maritime Museum sponsors a Ship Model Guild, an active club of local model builders, who meet once a month at the Museum.  The public is welcome to the monthly meetings, third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 PM and all are welcome to join the Guild.

Learn Maritime history by building models of ships that made history.  Techniques for wood, plastic or metal construction are addressed at the meetings.  Every meeting is different as members discuss their progress during the “show and tell” sessions.  Interesting bits of information are exchanged about the ships of adventure on the high seas. 

Inland Nautical Society

Inland Nautical Society is a club for Radio Controlled Model Boaters. The club have beginners who have never built a model before, to the experienced modelers who have built museum quality models. The club has a reputation of friendly and knowledgeable members who are eager to share a wealth of their knowledge and expertise of radio controlled modeling.   

​San Diego Ship Modeler’s Guild

The San Diego Ship Modeler’s Guild welcomes people of all ages with an interest in preserving maritime history through the art of ship modeling. Membership ranges from new ship modelers to experienced master modelers. Ship model projects include period sailing ships through to contemporary steel navy.

Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights

The Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights are associated with the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, a unit of the National Park Service, and have a model shop aboard the historic ferryboat Eureka berthed at the Hyde Street Pier.

Anyone interested in model shipbuilding is welcome to attend their meetings. Members can offer advice and support on all stages of model shipbuilding, from selecting a kit for your first model to advanced layout and scratch building.

San Francisco Model Yacht Club

The San Francisco Model Yacht Club (SFMYC) is devoted to the building and sailing of model yachts, both power and sail. Whether you are a builder, power boater, sailor or just curious about this interesting and beautiful hobby and sport, all are welcome. The SFMYC includes 160 members both local and throughout the U.S. The SFMYC sponsors a formal race and event season from March through October for freesail, radio control sail, and power boating, plus winter events and informal sailing and running of power boats throughout the year.
Spreckels Lake and the SFMYC are special parts of San Francisco’s long and colorful maritime history. Established in 1898, the club is believed to be the oldest such organization in the United States. Spreckels Lake, specifically designed for model boating, was built in 1904 in Golden Gate Park. A clubhouse for model boaters was added near the lake in 1937 as a WPA project. If you are in the area and the doors to the clubhouse are open, it is well worth the visit.

Colorado Model Ship Clubs

Rocky Mountain Shipwrights

The Rocky Mountain Shipwrights group of model ship builders in Colorado dedicated to promoting, developing, and furthering scale model shipbuilding. With about 50 members, building many types and sizes of model ships – from Egyptian barges to WWII destroyers, ships in bottles to all-paper models, miniature liners to four-foot men of war. Several members and their creations have won national and regional awards, and some have built models now on display at maritime museums nationwide.

But they are 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 their work.

Connecticut Model Ship Clubs

Connecticut Marine Model Society

Connecticut Marine Model Society are a group of enthusiastic ship model builders from Connecticut. They meet on the second Saturday of the month from September to June in West Haven, Ct. They build models from scratch or from kits; both wood and plastic. The subjects range from wooden sailing ship to present day ships of steel.

Florida Model Ship Clubs

Southwest Florida Shipmodeler’s Guild

The Southwest Florida Shipmodeler’s Guild purpose is to provide and promote a forum from which its members can share their model ship building knowledge, skills and techniques, personal experiences, nautical history and any other related maritime interests that might benefit its membership. Their goal is to learn and grow in competence in pursuing the construction of ship models in an atmosphere of constructive fellowship, assistance, and active participation.

Their members come from all walks of life and represent all levels of ship modeling skill from novice to expert. Meeting in a friendly and informal environment at the beautiful Fort Myers Riverside Community Center.

Tampa Bay Ship Model Society

The Tampa Bay Ship Model Society brings together model ship builders, both newcomers and veteran builders, for the mutual benefit of expanding their knowledge of ships, research, techniques, and further develop their abilities in all areas relevant to ship model building and maritime history.

Members model in all materials; wood, metal, paper and polymers, from plans only, or commercial kits, vessels from every era and purpose; Exploration, Steel Navy, Submarines, Yachts, Tugs, Commercial, Fishing, Liners, Working Small Craft, Coast Guard, River/Paddle Wheel, Racing Power and Sail.

Georgia Model Ship Clubs

Atlanta Model Shipwrights

Atlanta Model Shipwrights aim to educate and promote model shipbuilding through fellowship mentoring and instruction in a non-competitive environment. Meetings are held the second Saturday of each month from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM.

Illinois Model Ship Clubs

The North Shore Deadeyes

The North Shore Deadeyes primarily focused on static scale ship models with an emphasis on the Great Age of Sail, but builders of models from all eras and at all levels of skill welcome.

Midwest Model Shipwrights

The Midwest Model Shipwrights was formed in 1982 by individuals who had a common interest in model ship building and maritime history. Goals of the club are to discuss and share modeling ideas and concepts while making new friends.

Vessels built by the Shipwrights represent a variety of types and eras. Sizes range from miniatures a few inches in length to radio control warships over five feet long, and from basic to amazingly complex. Their membership includes beginning through to advanced modelers, some of whose works can be found in museums, galleries and private collections.

In spite of all these accomplishments, the organization’s primary focus remains the interaction between expert, intermediate and novice.

Indiana Model Ship Clubs

Admirals of Indianapolis

Admirals of Indianapolis club’s members build and operate scale merchant ships, pleasure craft, work boats, military ships, sailboats, and just about anything that floats or submerges (in the case of submarine models). Many boats are built from kits and some are scratch-built from plans and photographs. The models are powered by electric motors, steam engines, or wind power in the case of sailboats.

Kansas Model Ship Clubs

Kansas City Square Riggers Modeling Association

The Kansas City Square Riggers Club are a model ship building enthusiasts club based out of the greater Kansas City area. They welcome builders of all skill levels and interests. If you are into naval research and model building they would love to hear from you.

Massachusetts Model Ship Clubs

USS Constitution Model Shipwright Guild

The USS Constitution Model Shipwright Guild are the largest model ship association on the East Coast. Meetings overlooking Old Ironsides at the USS Constitution Museum are well attended.  In addition to monthly meetings the Guild takes part in the annual meeting of model clubs from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. They also attend the annual Salem Maritime Festival and the Antique & Classic Boat Festival, as well as the biennial Woods Hole Model Boat Show.

Novices and experienced model builders alike can have fun developing resources, experiences, and skills by joining us. SS Constitution Model Shipwright Guild

U.S. Vintage Model Yacht Group

The US Vintage Model Yacht Group is a Special Interest Group of the American Model Yachting Association. Their organizational goals are the preservation, building, and sailing of older model yacht designs and the study of the history of the sport of model yachting.

“Vintage” primarily means any older model sailboats no longer sailed (or never raced) in serious competition. These encompass free-sailing model yachts, older designs converted to R/C and pre-1970s R/C sailing models. This includes class racing yachts, non-class sailing models, and commercially-built toys of the past. There are also replica models built to the older designs and new designs recreating older sailboat styles.

The group also support those who sail traditional sailing craft models, such as Schooners, Skipjacks, and other scale models. The hulls are generally made of wood, with some fiberglass models, and range in length from 1 to 6 ft. The rigs are usually constructed from wood or aluminum, with cotton or dacron sails.

Marine Modelers Club of New England

The Marine Modelers Club of New England have about 50 members, based in the greater Boston area.  They meet monthly, usually pond-side, when the weather allows it.  Meetings are rather informal, with little time spent on business, and lots of time talking about RC boats. 

Their members are a creative bunch, and there is usually an interesting array of models at gatherings. Their modelers are a creative bunch and there is usually an interesting array of model at their gatherings. Their interests include tugboats, warships, pleasure craft, sailboats (both scale and racing) and pond sailors.  

Merrimack Valley Ship Model Club  

The Merrimack Valley Ship Model Club are an enthusiastic and friendly group of model ship makers who share a particular interest in the naval history of Newburyport, and the Merrimack River Valley area.

Maryland Model Ship Clubs

Maritime Model Guild & Sailing Club

CBMM’s volunteer Maritime Model Guild supports the curatorial needs of CBMM with exhibition models and building kits that are available for purchase online and at the Museum Store. In addition, the Guild offers classes for building scratch models, and the annual Maritime Model Expo featuring “live” steamboat models, skipjacks with working sails, speedboats, tugs, and other radio-controlled miniatures.

The group also hosts children’s model-making activities at CBMM’s signature events, and other outreach and educational programs throughout the year.   

Washington Ship Model Society

The Washington Ship Model Society (WSMS) was founded in 1929 and is the oldest continuously active ship model club in the United States. The organization is composed of active ship model enthusiasts from the Greater Washington, DC, Metropolitan Area. Its purpose is to provide a socially enjoyable means for serious shipmodelers to meet, share, and expand upon their common avocation through the exchange of ideas and knowledge.

The society draws its membership from all walks of life and many different occupations. The modelers’ skills range from absolute beginners to professionals who have constructed models for maritime exhibits in the Smithsonian Institution and other museums throughout the United States and Europe. Over the years, members have written numerous articles for nautical research and ship model publications. Society membership has included such notables as President Franklin D. Roosevelt, then Major (and later General) George Patton, Howard I. Chappelle, and Paul E. Garber.

The interests of the modelers are as varied as their occupations, ranging from 17th century sailing vessels to radio-controlled models of modern powered craft. All types of ship models have been constructed, in static display and operating versions, and in wood, brass, plastic, and card media. 

The society conducts monthly meetings, alternating between Virginia and Maryland locations. The meeting format consists of brief society business, informal discussions of members’ model projects and a program or presentation relating to a nautical or ship modeling topic.  Society members also form subgroups to focus on common modeling interests, such as steel (modern) ship modeling or plank-on-frame modeling. Subgroups are open to all members and meet on a periodic basis, generally in members’ homes. The club’s newsletter, the Lynx, is published monthly.       

Maine Model Ship Clubs

Down East Ship Modelers Guild

The Down East Ship Modelers Guild is an active group of static and R/C modelers, ranging from novice to experienced. They meet on the second Thursday of each month from 1pm – 3 pm at the Legion Hall in Bath, Maine. The group has a long history of association with the Maine Maritime Museum, also in Bath, ME.

Michigan Model Ship Clubs

Great Lakes Nautical Society

The Great Lakes Nautical Society is a club consisting of model ship builders, who are interested in persevering Great Lakes history through model ship building, model ship shows and educational seminar’s put on by the club members. The club is open to anyone with an interest in model ship building and the Great Lakes.

Minnesota Model Ship Clubs

The state of Minnesota currently has no model ship clubs listed. 

Missouri Model Ship Clubs

St. Louis Admirals Model Boat Club

The St. Louis Admirals R/C Model Boat Club is a group of hobbyists dedicated to sharing the knowledge and fun of the R/C model boat hobby. The depth and breadth of experience the club offers, combined with its laid-back atmosphere, attracts the beginner modeler and master builder alike.

Nevada Model Ship Clubs

The state of Nevada currently has no model ship clubs listed. 

New Hampshire Model Ship Clubs

Marine Modelers Club of New England

The Marine Modelers Club of New England have about 50 members, based in the greater Boston area.  They meet monthly, usually pond-side, when the weather allows it.  Meetings are rather informal, with little time spent on business, and lots of time talking about RC boats. 

Their members are a creative bunch, and there is usually an interesting array of models at gatherings. Their modelers are a creative bunch and there is usually an interesting array of model at their gatherings. Their interests include tugboats, warships, pleasure craft, sailboats (both scale and racing) and pond sailors. 

New Jersey Model Ship Clubs

The Ship Model Society of New Jersey

The Ship Model Society of New Jersey is dedicated to the pursuit and enjoyment of ship model building in all its forms. They welcome those who enjoy or would like to learn more about this fascinating hobby. Membership spans all skill levels, from novice or highly accomplished and from gadget guru to historical recreator.  Meetings aim to share collective wisdom and resources, and provide the opportunity to enjoy the company of other modelers.    

South Orange Seaport Society

South Orange Seaport Society is a group of folks of all ages who like model boating. They have boats from kits and scratch builds, electric and steam driven, quite a few fun electric race boats, and some eccentric things. A group of people from all walks of life who like RC boating. 

New Mexico Model Ship Clubs

The state of New Mexico currently has no model ship clubs listed. 

New York Model Ship Clubs

Buffalo Model Boat Club

Radio Controlled model boating is a fascinating hobby that can be as simple or as complex as one wants, and can be enjoyed by all age groups. There are as many types of model boats as there are full sizes ones: enough to satisfy all tastes and interests. Those who enjoy the excitement of speed will find plenty of thrills and competition in the fast electric field. Sailing enthusiasts will find that the racing of radio-controlled sailboats offers all the challenge and exhilaration of the full sized yachts. Builders of exact scale models get the added satisfaction of operating their craft under full radio control. 

The Model Shipwright Guild of Western New York

Upon a chance introduction at the Military History Society of Rochester New York in 2015 several like-minded individuals, working through the Nautical Research Guild, were able to form our group.  They quickly realized they were an enthusiastic collection of ship modelers and researchers interested in the history and preservation of our maritime legacy in the age of sail and more.

The Model Shipwright Guild of Western New York brings together members from near and far;  Rochester NY, Syracuse NY, Buffalo NY and even Lisbon Portugal. From all walks of life, experience, endeavors with varied nautical interests making for a very dynamic group.

They draw in subject matter experts to enlighten the club meetings in the historical nature of naval and maritime craft, and their accurate modeling.

Empire State Model Mariners

The Empire State Model Mariners club was founded in 1988, by a group of model boat enthusiasts. The club is a non-profit organization aimed at recreational RC boating and building, with emphasis placed on helping each other and welcoming new members.

We welcome all classes of modelers, from beginners to experts. Boats can be ready to runs, semi kits, kits and scratch built. Whatever your passion is, pleasure crafts, speedboats, workboats, fishing vessels or military replicas.

North Carolina Model Ship Clubs

Carolina Maritime Society

The Carolina Maritime Model Society exists to promote the production of high quality ship models and encourage members and the public to participate in this craft that is as old as shipbuilding itself. 

The society is the only such organization in the entire state and has become a major vehicle for widening public interest in North Carolina’s maritime history and culture.

Ohio Model Ship Clubs