Steamboat Models -The Rare Investment

Rex Stewart

Rex Stewart is a professional artist and craftsman that specialize in rare wood collectibles that reflect the American maritime with timeless subjects in various genres such as shadowboxes, dioramas, miniatures, woodsculptures, shipmodels and fine paintings. Forty years experience has given him national and international acclaim.

The Hudson River steamboat model and other such works are highly sought after in the collectible market, primarily because of its rarity. Very few collectibles in this genre exist and there is a place where they can be realized and collected to enhance the Bard paintings that are now favored in the maritime.

Damaged Van Ryper Models -The Great Investment / Rex Stewart

  • Maritime artist and shipmodel specialist Rex Stewart restoring Van Ryper T2 Tanker

    Rex Stewart at his studio restoring a WWII T2 Tanker that was worn and discolored with many parts missing.


  • Worn and chipped stern of T2 Tanker

    Many parts were missing from this piece and had to be studied and evaluated using online images from Sherbak Ship Models and the South Street Museum Collection in New York City.


  • Completed Restoration of WW II Van Pyper T2 Tanker Model

    Many of Charles Van Ryper models were intricately detailed, yet simplistic. His work was deemed 'Deco-Art' when he established his model business in Vineyard Haven, MA in 1933. Nearly 80 years later, I shadow this noted builder by presaerving his work thr


Some years ago it was suggested that I build waterline models for profitable sales, similiar to the work of noted builder Charles Van Ryper. At that time I was not familiar with his work, nor did I know the history about his contemporary "Art Deco' style which emerged when he produced his Travel Series prior to the Second World War.

Today, in the maritime arts, especially in the Collectible market of ship models, there seem to be a strong resurgence of collectors sprouting up in America and across the atlantic relative to the antique shipmodels of Charles Van Ryper. This is due, in part, because of the history this artist established when he started his Cape Cod business 80 years ago.

The model ship miniatures that he created were produced as momentos for those who travelled on various oceanliners of that period between 1933-1962. However, Mr. Ryper's work lineage did not solely rest with liners. His reputation caught on in maritime circles, especially with the American military who commissioned his services to produce Fletcher Class and T2 Tanker models to assist their operations in the Pacific and Atlantic Theatres of WW II. He later went on to produce freighters and ferries -especially those ferries that operated around his Cape Cod Region between the mainland and islands in Massachusetts.

Since 2006, I had the opportunity to view the Ryper Models, in part, because of my miniature line of sailing ships I introduced at the onset of being inspired by British artist Donald McNarry. It was a chance encounter for me to come across Mr. Ryper's work, but more intriguing was my finding his pieces in prolific categories on the web where these small ships were featured -both nationally and internationally. Meaning, his work was broad and he acquired a broad audience of collectors.

Over time proposals came for me to restore his models, but I had no viable knowledge of his techniques or methods -not until a few Cape Cod collectors requested my services to re-evaluate several badly damaged miniatures. In many of these restoration projects I found lots of missing detail. Such was evident in the rigging (especially the larger 1/16 scale work). Then there were missing mast/crane systems, lost winches and vents; non-existant flagpoles, lifeboats, and davits. Also, either some or all of the railings were gone from the structure. Most importantly, the models were in grime condition, weathered and worn with chipped, damaged hulls which did little to make a clear impression as models to be salvaged.

However there was hope for these priceless works and I made it a priority to study and re-study Mr. Ryper's applications of build so to mirror his techniques and methods. By shadowing his proceedures I not only brought back the model, but gave it an 'original' mint appearance as seen in the accompanying photos. Over thirty Van Ryper models have been restored at my studio -avoiding the demise of the trash bin. Therefore, I urge any collector who may feel his model is not salvageable to rethink discardment and contact me. These, regardless of what state they are, are highly sought after, sold, auctioned and traded.

For more information about repair and restoration of your Van Ryper Model(s) either contact me by email : or call 1-774-757-7137.

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