Steamboat Models Page

John Shonder's Models


About John's Modeling

I started building model boats 25yrs. ago after a trip to New Orleans where I fell in love with the Natchez paddle wheeler. I purchased a kit and built the boat.

Later I figured out that one does not need a kit or plans, altho plans do come in handy. I am now working on my 14th. model. Of the 14 models only 3 can not be radio controlled. My wife and I lived in Natchez, Ms. for a number of years. It was there that I started in earnest building my models .

I build only early Mississippi steam boats dating from the late 1800's to the early 1900,s altho I have in my collection, a Chinese Junk, A sailing ship, A radio controlled sailing ship and a model of the Air Craft Carrier I spent 4 years on, the U.S.S Point Cruz- CVE 119.

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About The Models

The J.M White is 38 in. long and has a beam of 6in. (This is the Hull Only) The lower deck is 12 in. wide. The decks and Hull are all made from, Popsical Sticks. with the rounded part cut off. The rest of the boat is made from various woods. This model can be radio controlled as it has working paddles and rudders.

The U.S.S Cairo was built using Red Oak which I cut on a table saw. This model is 44 in. long with a beam of 12 in. This model also can be radio controlled as it has a working paddle wheel and rudders.

The Carneal Goldman was built using various woods. The boat was photographed in Natchez, Ms. during the late 1800's and was, as the other models, built from photos. On the Goldman I built a Boiler to show how these boats really looked. This model also can be radio controlled.

I also have a model of the steam boat, Portland. This model was built with Popsical Sticks like the J.M White. The boat has an operating Walking Beam Engine. Altho the Walking Beam Engine does work, it does not power the boat.

I started out building Airplanes in my early years but after crashing a few I started building boats as they do not crash. They do sink however and I almost lost my large sail boat.


Gunboat U.S.S. CAIRO
Civil War Gunboat
One of seven Pook's Turtles

Gunboat U.S.S. CAIRO
The most famous of all Columbia River sternwheelers


I had to take certain liberty's with the boat due to it being radio controlled. The model is 52 in. long with an 8 in beam. The upper deck and paddle wheel cover are removable. The 2 hog chains you see at the rear of the boat are , Brass Rods. This was done so the floor could be removed for motors, etc.

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