Thursday, July 01, 2010
Laker Bob Vogel spent last winter creating a scale model of Smith Mountain Lake’s most recognizable vessel
Whenever the Vogels venture to SML from their home in Fairfax, the couple enjoys watching the Dare motor by on its tours around the lake. While they watch, another Virginia Dare boat, a scale model built by Bob, pays tribute to its much larger twin from a window of the Vogel residence.
“When we decided to decorate our townhome with scale models of our favorite lake boats and couldn’t find the Virginia Dare, Bob decided to build it himself,” said Janet Vogel. “As far as we know, Bob’s model is the first and only scale model of the Virginia Dare.”
Accustomed to passing away the winters constructing model kits, the Virginia Dare replica project was Bob’s first attempt at building a model from scratch.
always had a fascination with paddlewheel steamboats,” he said. “The view of
the Virginia Dare from our deck brings back memories from living in
The project was a feat that required both creativity and resourcefulness. To start, Bob took photos of the boat cruising by the townhome and collected magazine photos of the Dare to use as a blueprint of sorts. The next challenge was figuring out the right materials.“It was more challenging than model kits with pre-cut parts,” he said. “Using raw materials required some imagination. I struggled with how to make the paddlewheels, but finally came up with the idea to start with a round jar top.
Determined to find the correct scale size, I strolled food store aisles until I found the right size. I guess you can call me a perfectionist in my modeling.”
approximately 100 tedious hours, his perfectionism paid off and the
mini-Virginia Dare cruise boat was ready to join Bob’s other models, including
“The Virginia Dare model was my winter hobby project this year for about 10 hours per week over the coldest 10 weeks. I finished it in mid-March, just in time to venture back outside in the spring,” he said.
And just in
time to place the model at their
“We found a perfect spot for it on a table in our Bernard’s Landing townhome, in front of a lakeside window,” Bob said. “When sitting in my family room, I can see the real Virginia Dare cruising in the background behind my model.”
Janet said their friends and family were so impressed with the model they suggested Bob turn the hobby into a career.
“They are just absolutely amazed that it wasn’t a kit,” she said. “People always ask how he knew to build it so perfectly. Even people who haven’t even seen the Virginia Dare think it’s fabulous.”
For both Bob and Janet, the replica is full of meaning, representing many fond memories of SML.
“I was around when the lake was filled,” said Janet. “I remember the Army Corp of Engineers driving stakes into the ground of my uncle’s property and telling us that was where the lake would come to. It was hard to imagine. Our daughter was married here. It’s our favorite place on earth.”
Bob added, “I feel a sense of pride that the model closely mirrors the real thing. Our familiar family phrase is, ‘There goes the Virginia Dare.’”