Dwight Brooks Ship Models

This collection of 32 boat and ship models was built by Dwight F. Brooks in the 80s and 90s, Brooks was one of the most skilled modelers of his time.

All of Brooks’ boat and ship models are scale models built to look like an actual full-size counterpart and they are all fully operational and radio controlled. There are 20 gas-powered speedboat models, over half of which are hydroplane racers. Hydroplanes are high-powered racing boats that are designed to skim across the surface of the water. The other speedboats are mostly cigarette boats, developed for offshore racing in the 60s. The smaller speedboats are powered by modified model airplane engines fueled on a blend of methanol, nitromethane, and lubricating oil, and the larger speedboat and PT boat models sport two-stroke gas engines. The large boats, Toot-Toot, Gulfstreamer II, Nordkap, and the submarines, are powered by electric motors.

The larger models not only run, but have interior functions as well, such as the model of Gulfstreamer ll, which has complete interior lighting and sound systems. Built between 1988 and 1991, Brooks planked its decks in teak and modeled the mahogany furniture after the furnishings on the real vessel. It weighs 334 pounds and is ten feet long. Nordkap was built in 1981 and is a replica of a 68-foot Norwegian fishing trawler used in the North Sea. This model operated like a fishing boat, with a troll winch for raising objects over the side of the boat, and could even catch live fish. If the fish was too large the model would automatically release the net and line. It is over 8 feet long and weighs 285 pounds. T

dwight brooks toot toot
The Ranger Ship Model - Close-up of Anchor Section

Toot Toot is loosely based on the tugboats of the San Pedro area, and the model was built in 1978. The radio-controlled vessel has a complete lighting system, as well as ringing bells, a tooting horn, and a functioning fire hose that can shoot a stream of water up to six feet. One day, while testing the model out on Gull Lake in Northern Minnesota, he had Toot Toot tow a woman in a rubber raft, as well as a 14-foot outboard boat with a woman and two children inside. Toot Toot weighs 100 pounds and is 6 feet, 3 inches long.

Many of the models can be viewed at the Museum, in the Dwight Brooks exhibit or on the main floor, but the full collection can also be viewed online.

Learn About Our Other Museum Exhibits

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum has several other fascinating exhibits, and there's something fun for everyone in the family. Come learn about 13,000 years of human history in the Santa Barbara Channel, including the Chumash Indians, deep sea divers, shipwrecks, commercial fishing, and so much more. We also have several contemporary exhibits about the evolution of surfing, oil spills, whales, and marine life. There are several fun and interactive exhibits and activities for kids too.