Boys' Vintage Toys

Beautiful toys from yesteryear

Sutcliffe Warships.

Sutcliffe warships span all the sizes of hulls from 9" to the earliest boat Sutcliffe made , an 18" hulled battleship, and all the motive power types , heated coil , clockwork and electric. The clockwork 12" Valiant released in the 1970s was the company's attempt to recapture the glory days in the face of declining sales with the lure of video games etc. building. Unfortunately , it was not a great seller , and there are, relatively speaking, quite a few of these around today in excellent condition.


The 12 inch unnamed battleship from the 1920's. This uses a very simple copper coil system to drive the boat along. It can travel for about an hour on one filling of methylated spirit , but at a very slow speed. I would estimate that it travelled at no more than one mile an hour maximum. Only suitable for very calm boating pools. I have seen this boat in all grey , all khaki colour schemes as well.

Sutcliffe Pre War cw Valiant 001

Pre-war clocwork driven 12 inch Valiant.Shown with stand , but this was not supplied with the boat. It was borrowed from the later 'seventies' Valiant that was supplied with one. Unlike the later Valiant it did not have a flag either. It was also wound down the forward funnel unlike the later Valiant that is wound between the funnels.

Sutcliffe grey Nelson 001

Sutcliffe Nelson. 16 inch hull. Pre war.

Sutcliffe Electric Valiant 001
Sutcliffe Nelson Black  Grey 001

The rarest of all Valiants ,and one of my favourite Sutcliffe boats. There were between 6 and 11 built by Mr. Ken Sutcliffe using an electric motor instead on the more common clockwork. As you can see the box simply had a hand written sticker placed over the word clockwork.
The two bladed prop was replaced with a three bladed prop allowing for the greater rotational speed of the prop , but less torque than from the clockwork motor. The superstructure is modified to hold the one HP11 or 'C' size battery as it is now commonly known in place.
Being powered by one cell , it gives a realistically slow speed.

Sutcliffe Electric Valiant 002

The 16 inch Nelson battleship from the 'twenties' is in my opinion one of the most impressive looking Sutcliffe boats. With two extra gun turrets than the Valiant.
It has what I think is the original large winding key.
The box is also the original. The Nelson was also produced with dark grey below the water line instead of black.

The electric Valiant showing the electric motor inside , and the battery (cell) holder.
Note the modified superstructure with a 'U' section soldered to the underneath to hold the battery in place.

Sutcliffe Snappy Pre War 001

One of the rarer Sutcliffe boats.
The Snappy Submarine chaser dates from about the mid thirties.Wound down the funnel , and it has a motor brake . This allows the motor to be wound without one having to hold the propeller with your finger.This example was supplied in a plain brown boxed stamped Sutcliffe in red ink on one end.

Sutcliffe Post war Grenville 001

Post war Sutcliffe Grenville about 1948. Identical to the pre-war Grenville except for the obvious colour difference and , as pointed out by Claude Heurte from France , the stamping 'SUTCLIFFE MADE IN ENGLAND' is turned 180 degrees from the pre war black version.

SutcliffeGrenvilleBlack 001

Pre-war Sutcliffe Grenville about 1939. The most expensive of all Sutcliffe boats to produce due to the detailed superstructure. The box is detailed too , giving details of the many deck components. The two masts are removeable. The four deck screws allow access to the motor.

Sutcliffe Early Fury 001
Sutcliffe Victor Blue 001
Sutcliffe Victor Red 001

The Fury torpedo boat is one of the rarer Sutcliffe boats .
The artwork on the box showing Sutcliffe's diversity not just in its design of boats , but in the artwork style of the boxes.

The Victor torpedo boat was made predominantly with the blue hull. The earliest versions were supplied with a mast that was not folded over at the ends . This had to be changed to the design with the folded over ends when a child unfortunately put its hand on the upright mast.

The less common red hulled version of the Victor. identical in every other respect to the blue hulled version.