How to Make Boats from Foam Board

by FliteTest | May 29, 2019 | (4) Posted in How To

Here's how you can build boats and ships (with simple R/C control) using our favorite foam board!

We (obviously) love planes. However, that's not to say we don't also enjoy dabbling with other hobbies. R/C boats often require special hardware and materials to scratch build proper model ships, but this didn't stop us building probably one of the largest R/C ships out there at the moment! Using foam and R/C airplane electronics, we gave it a pretty decent shot. Watch the video to see what happened. 

The Video

When worlds collide - R/C boats meet R/C airplanes in spectacular fashion. How epic is this?

How to Build a Foam Board Ship

1. Establish a hull shape

The first thing you'll want to do is come up with a plan. Ask yourself these questions: what sort of boat do I want to build? By what means will I form the shape? What foam shapes will I need to craft. It might be a good shout to build a smaller mock up like Josh did. This way, you can encounter problems and form solutions early on.

Cut out your pieces and get stuck into building. This boat build used our thicker foam that we'll be releasing soon. Stay tuned. 

2. Test to see if it floats!

Before diving in (no pun intended) with you investing a ton of time into the build, take a moment to go check whether your craft floats. This is the equivalent of a glide test for a model aircraft. Even if it's the case of sticking your new model in a bathtub, make sure to check this essential step!

3. Install electronics 

The nice thing about modern brushless motors is that they're actually fully waterproof. You can submerge them, expose them to the elements, and generally put them out well of their normal comfort zone. Check out this video of a speed boat Peter Sripol made with exposed outrunner motors. Make sure to protect the rest of your electronics, though, such as the ESCs and receiver. This old video of ours might help.

4. Add detail

This is the fun bit. Go wild and customise your ship as much as you want. The great thing about foam is that it's super easy to make large shapes that can quickly populate the deck of a ship with superstructure boathouses and bridge towers. Want more info on working with foam?Here's an article - and here's Jeremy in his natural, foam-filled habitat.

5. Set sail!

With that, there's only one thing left to do: launch. Have fun, and let us know what you come up with using Flite Test foam.

More R/C Boat Action

If you like the idea of getting into R/C boats, check out this video our friend Peter Sripol made a while back about his 3D Printed R/C ship that took to the high seas! 

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to give it a thumbs up so others can find it too!

Share what you’re working on!

Write an article for Flite Test

Post on the Forums

Share on the Flite Test Fans Facebooks Group

Article by James Whomsley

Editor of


YouTube Channel: 


bperc on May 29, 2019
This was a fun project to watch. For your next battle you need to make the guns on the battleship rotate and shoot at the planes.
Log In to reply on June 6, 2019
You guys should set up fpv on the tails of your attack planes like you did with the mig-3’s! That might make it easier to line up the boat during your dive!
Log In to reply on August 24, 2019
People have been making full sized "stitch and glue" boats out of plywood for years. I designed and built a 55 foot motor yacht using this building technique with the help of software to figure out the shape of the panels. Doing this by eyeball invariably results in ugly or primitive hull shapes (often both). Anyone thinking about building a boat hull out of sheet foam should investigate one of the computer programs specifically designed for this kind of work. One good free one is Greg Carlson's Hull Designer. It's free
Log In to reply

You need to log-in to comment on articles.

How to Make Boats from Foam Board