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  1. The Orel kit of the Solferino looks very nice, and very detailed, especially considering the scale. I got mine off Amazon, and it got slightly roughed up in transit, but nothing major. It came in a bound magazine style booklet. There is a laser-cut set, a sail set and a dowel set that you can buy as an option. The construction appears to be a modified version of plank on bulkhead: The hull covering is similar to the method used by Ab Hoving in his tutorial, with vertical planking pieces, attaching directly to the frame. There is a nice description of the ship in the beginning of the booklet, but it is in Russian (at least I think it is Russian), which I do not know. The instructions are pretty good. They come in Russian (I think), English and German. The diagrams are very useful and detailed, but scattered throughout the booklet. The parts are printed on good quality paper. Most are printed on normal paper, with the intent to layer them on card, some are printed on cardstock and ready for use. On the whole, I am impressed with the quality of the kit. Orel makes a large line of steamers, including the Great Western and multiple Pre-Dreadnoughts. One of the things that I like about their kits is that they can be built full-hull (I do not particularly like waterline models). One thing I do not like is the scale of this particular kit. However, even considering the scale, I am impressed with the level of detail in this kit. Also, for the larger warships in this series, 1/200 is perfect.
  2. 1:32 Fifie – The Scottish Motor Fishing Vessel Amati Catalogue # 1300/09 Available from Amati for €220.00 The Fifie is a design of sailing boat developed on the east coast of Scotland. It was a traditional fishing boat used by Scottish fishermen from the 1850s until well into the 20th century. These boats were mainly used to fish for herring using drift nets, and along with other designs of boat were known as herring drifters. While the boats varied in design, they can be categorised by their vertical stem and stern, their long straight keel and wide beam. These attributes made the Fifies very stable in the water and allowed them to carry a very large set of sails. The long keel, however, made them difficult to manoeuvre in small harbours. Sailing Fifies had two masts with the standard rig consisting of a main dipping lug sail and a mizzen standing lug sail. The masts were positioned far forward and aft on the boat to give the maximum clear working space amidships. A large Fifie could reach just over 20 metres in length. Because of their large sail area, they were very fast sailing boats. Fifies built after 1860 were all decked and from the 1870s onwards the bigger boats were built with carvel planking, i.e. the planks were laid edge to edge instead of the overlapping clinker style of previous boats. The introduction of steam powered capstans in the 1890s, to help raising the lugs sails, allowed the size of these vessels to increase from 30 foot to over 70 foot in length. From about 1905 onwards sailing Fifies were gradually fitted with engines and converted to motorised vessels. There are few surviving examples of this type of fishing boat still in existence. The Scottish Fisheries Museum based in Anstruther, Fife, has restored and still sails a classic example of this type of vessel named the Reaper. The Swan Trust in Lerwick, Shetland have restored and maintain another Fifie, The Swan, as a sail training vessel. She now takes over 1000 trainees each year and has taken trainees to participate in the Cutty Sark Tall Ships Races to ports in France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Ireland as well as around the UK. Extract from Wikipedia The kit Fifie is packed into a large, heavy box that certainly hints that there’s a good quantity of material included to build this historic fishing vessel in all its glorious 1:32 scale. I do admit to particularly liking this scale, having built plastic models for many years and indeed for magazine publication. It’s definitely something I can relate to when eyeing up the various dimensions and features. Amati’s presentation is flawless and certainly stands out, with its large, glossy lid that captures an attractive view of the Fifie. It has to be noted here that the hull is usually fully painted, with green being common above the waterline, but this model was finished to show off the beauty of the walnut timber supplied in the kit. And why not! For those that don’t know, this kit, under the Victory Models label, was designed by Chris Watton. Many of you should be familiar with that name and his design pedigree. At 1:32, this kit is no shrinking violet in terms of size. Fifie is 700mm long, 470mm wide and with a height of 230mm (sans masts). Lifting the lid does indeed show a box crammed with materials. Inside, we have several bundles of timber, plus a packet of timber dowel/strip/metal rod/tube, a thick packet containing numerous laser-cut sheets, another packet with plans and photo etch, and underneath the main timber, we have sail cloth and fittings packs. Thick foam is included to stop the main materials from banging around in the box. Strip wood Fifie has a double-planked hull, with the first layer being constructed from 1.5mm x 7mm lime strips. These, like many of the other bundles, are 600mm long, and very cleanly cut with no fuzzy edges Sixty-five of these are supplied. The same quality goes for the second planking layer, which is supplied as 90 strips of 1mm x 6mm walnut which is some of the best I’ve seen in a kit. There is little colour variation in these, and they look pleasantly uniform. I’ve always found Amati’s timber quality to be exceptional and this is no different. As well as elastic to hold the bundles some labels are also included to help identity the material. Other strip wood is included (beech and walnut) for such things as deck planking, caulking (yes, caulk plank!), lining the various deck hatches, sheathing the deckhouse structures, rubbing strakes etc. These bundles are both taped and bound with elastic, with the deck planking having an identifying label also. Cutting is clean and precise. Dowel and tube/rod Various lengths of dowel is included for masting, false keel strengthening pins etc. and thicker strip wood for the timberheads. All is supplied in a nice uniform walnut colour….no nasty walnut dyes/stains in this kit! These latter lengths are also packaged into a thick clear sleeve, unlike the others. Note also various lengths of brass and copper wire, as timberheads well as some copper tube. Some mounting parts are included for RC conversion, but you will need to purchase other items to complete the model for radio. MDF sheet items Again, Amati has made extensive use of 4mm MDF for the hull false keel and bulkheads, and all are laser-cut, as are all individual wooden items in this kit. Cutting looks very precise with very little in the way of scorching, apart from very localised discolouration. I know many don’t like MDF as a material for our models, but MDF sands easily and is also warp-free, lending itself to a nice, true hull. You won’t see any of this when you start to lay planks. There are FOUR sheets of this material, and you’ll notice that there aren’t any parts numbers engraved on here. You will need to refer to the first two sheets of plans which contain the parts references. A single sheet of 2mm MDF contains parts such as the four-piece deck, cleats, and the bulkheads and keel for Fifie’s single launch vessel. There is also a single 6mm sheet of MDF (sheet 2698-B) which contains the four parts needed for the cradle. I’ve seen numerous sites which now sell this model claim that no stand is included with this model. Well, this sort of proves that statement incorrect. This is the same cradle shown on the box lid images. Of course, you’ll need a suitable MDF primer for this, and some nice coats of gloss lacquer to get the best from this. Ply sheet parts SIX sheets of thin ply are included for just about every other timber construction elements of Fifie, including the deckhouse, deck superstructures, keel sheathing, and bulwark capping strip. Again, all parts are laser-cut and will require minimal effort to remove any edge char. Fittings Two boxes of fittings are included in the very bottom of the Fifie kit box. Some of the weight bearing down has caused a small crack in the two vac-form fittings boxes, as you can see, but all parts within are absolutely fine. The first box contains the cast metal propeller, deck buckets, ship’s wheel, rigging blocks, life preserver rings and a whole load of beautifully smooth wooden balls for making the many buoys which sit on Fifie’s deck. These are perfectly circular, yet the ones on the box image are slightly shaped. Instructions show these as the balls, and you could perhaps opt to use a little putty to add some shape to these. The second fitting box contains seven spools of rigging cord in both black and natural colours, nails, various cast fittings such as bollards, plus rudder pintles, anchors etc. Copper eyelets, chain and ferrules etc. make up the set. Sail cloth Should you wish to add sails, then enough material is supplied for you, in bleached white cloth. Photo-etch Very few kits come without photo-etch parts these days, and this is no exception, with TWO sheets of 0.7mm brass with a very high number of included parts. A quick scan around the sheets will easily identify parts for the mast bases, steam winch, engine skylight, capstan, deck hand pump, wheel assembly, herring shovel, tabernacle, mast rings, etc. Acetate and card I have to say I’m not entirely sure what the card/cartridge paper is for except for maybe general use, but the thin acetate is obviously for the cabin windows. Instructions and plans Without a doubt, Amati produce some of the very best instruction manuals to come with any model kit. For reference, check out my Orient Express Sleeping Car review and that of Revenge. Fifie is no different with a luxurious and fully-pictorial, 64-page publication. Whilst this isn’t perfect-bound as with the previous reviews, it is in full colour and produced to a standard that’s still far higher than many contemporary manufacturers, with each stage being shown under construction so you get a perfect idea about what is required at that point in construction. Text is also in English, or at least in the sample I have been sent. The rear of the manual contains a complete components list. Backing up this publication is a set of seven plan sheets. The first two of these are for identifying the various timber and PE parts. The others show general profile and detail imagery, as well as masting and rig drawings. Remember that the hull itself is built entirely from the photographic sequences so everything you see on these drawings is for external details. Conclusion I have to say that you get a lot of kit for your money with Fifie, and when I first asked Amati what they envisaged the RRP to be, I was quite surprised at this. Everything about Fifie is quality, from the packaging and presentation, to the beautiful, photographic manual, fittings, sheet and strip timber, all the way to the superbly drawn plans. I’m very surprised that the gestation period has taken so long for them to bring this excellent kit to market. It’s also a Chris Watton thoroughbred. If you’ve seen his previous designs, then you’ll be familiar with the format of Fifie, which was quite the different vessel for Chris to tackle, when everyone seemed to think he would only design fighting vessels, armed to the teeth with cannon. I must admit that Fifie did take me quite by surprise too. The very shape of this iconic and historic vessel is so homely and welcoming and for me, invokes images of those times when fishing communities were happy and thriving. Whether you’re a fan of Chris’s work or not, Fifie is most certainly a kit that you should consider dropping into your virtual shopping cart next time you visit your favourite online model ship/boat retailer, and of course, if RC is your thing, then this kit will also suit your genre! VERY highly recommended! My sincere thanks to Amati for sending out the sample kit you see reviewed here. To purchase directly click the link at the top of the article to take you to Amati’s online shop or check out your country’s local distributor. Plans are also available from Amati, for €21.00
  3. 1/72 Brockley Combe, 1938 Cargo Ship Navarino Models Catalogue # B721 Available from Navarino Models for €299,00 Brockley Combe was a British cargo shop which was built by Hill Charles & Sons in their Bristol shipyard, in 1938. She was a typical example of a dry load cargo ship of the age and was 56.2m long. Her power came from a diesel engine. Information on Brockley Combe is scarce at best, with me only being able to pull a single image from an online search. Her career came to a sad end on 15thDecember 1953, when she broke up and sank after running aground south of Jersey, on the islands known as Minquiers (known as "the Minkies" in local English). Thankfully, no one perished in the sinking, with all of her crew being rescued by the Jersey lifeboat. The kit Navarino Models generally produce models of ancient and traditional Greek vessels (being a Greek company), so this particular model stands out a little in their catalogue. Their instruction manual says that the lines of this vessel were found in a book that ironically deals with scratch-building ship models without kits. Navarino took the lines and developed this 2016-release kit of this little-known vessel, sharing her with us and allowing us to recreate a 1930s cargo ship. This is no small venture either, with the model being roughly 730mm in length when complete. Navarino’s kit is packed into a very sturdy, single-piece corrugated box with a colour image of a completed Brockley Combe model on the lid. The lid is tabbed so you just pull this out to unlock the contents within. After removing the two instruction booklets and two plan sheets, your construction materials are uncovered. What you’ll immediately notice is that there are no actual sheets of parts from which to remove the individual components. Instead, all the various bulkheads, false keel, bulwarks etc. are pre-removed and, in some cases, bagged for a little extra security. Unlike many kits these days, the parts in this have been routed on a CNC machine, so there are no black/char edges to clean up before use. There are some slightly fuzzy edges on some parts, and you will need to tickle them with sandpaper to sharpen them up, but that, and regular hull/frame sanding is about the only waste material you’ll create when building this model. No empty wooden frames to dispose of at all. The false keel in this model, like the bulkheads, is machined from a good quality 6mm ply. It also comes in two parts that you will need to glue together and reinforce with the supplied pieces. A quick text of the fit shows that I’ll need to remove a small amount of wood from one joint, so the keel bottom and deck height are even. All slots are evenly machined and also very, very accurate. Test fitting the bulkheads shows not only a very snug fit, but also that they fit at the correct 90° angle to the keel parts. Note also that the bulkheads also have other slots too, into which two 4mm x 4mm longitudinal stringers locate, further helping keep things true and rigid. As an aside note, all parts in this kit are numbered with what appears to be a laser. There are a wide range of 1mm ply components in this kit, and they are all bagged in a clear sleeve. These include the bulwarks with their pre-cut portholes and scuppers, cabin fascias, doors, various deck parts (5 main sections), bulwark cap strips. Also worthy of mentioning are the marked positions on some decal parts, for the deck structure locations. Deck parts are also accurately notched to receive the 6mm bulkheads. Another bag of ply parts contains some 6mm ply sections that glue into the stern and bow areas to create a solid block that you will then sand to profile before planking commences. More 6mm ply forming the false keel reinforcement plates, and forecastle and main loading hatch structures. This little bundle are the parts for the loading hatch profiles, with their curved roof sections. All nicely machined and held together with elastic whilst in the box. When it comes to planking this hull, 60 strips of superbly cut limewood are supplied, each measuring 500mm x 1.5mm x 8mm. You may feel the need to halve that width when you plank around the fairly tight curve that exists on some of the bulkheads. Timber quality really is very nice, with this material being creamy and homogenous in appearance, with nice, sharp edges. Another bundle of wood contains more Ramin and lime strip wood, as well as Ramin dowel. Again, all materials here are of high quality. This material is for the deck planking and to me, it looks like Sapele due to the grain pattern and resin spots. Some edges are a little fuzzy, so it would be an idea to gently sand each edge before fitting to the decks. A smaller bag of ply parts are included for the rudder, and numerous other structural and superstructure areas. No matter how smooth you get that hull, the final planking will be achieved using 0.15mm aluminium sheet, cut into 20 strips of 25mm depth. It would appear that these need to be divided further into their correct lengths and then a riveting tool used to add that important detail to them. This material should form well around the hull but check how this would be laid out in pattern with regards to the bow and stern. You’ll need to fit these with cyano or contact adhesive. A small cardboard box contains various fittings and rigging. In there, you’ll find two small plastic launches with a clinker hull, brass and copper wire, rope, copper and brass rod, brass tubing, brass nails, stanchions, portholes, anchors, rigging rope spool, and other various fittings. Two plastic sleeves hold the parts for the staircases (pre-machined), rigging blocks and copper eyelets. A set of ship name decals is supplied, as are flags, printed on stiff paper. The last bag of components are all cast from a creamy yellow resin, save for one metal cast part for the mast. Here are all of those important detail features that you will scatter around the decks and superstructures. These include funnels, life preservers, bitts, winches, cleats, hatchways, doors, boxes and the single, large funnel. Most parts will need some form of clean-up, as you would expect with resin, and I would also recommend that you wash them first to remove any traces of mould release agent that could prevent paint adhering properly. A set of simple but useful colour illustrations are included in one of the manuals, but the text is in Greek. Another copy of this is included in black and white, but with English text. It also has a table of parts to reference. I think the instructions supplied are adequate for the model as most of it is straightforward and can be referenced on the two plan sheets. Both plan sheets have the charm of being hand-drafted and annotated. This takes me back to my days of school woodwork, but the illustrations are easy enough to follow and should provide a competent builder with no problems. Conclusion This is the first Navarino kit that I’ve seen, and I do really like the way things go together, the quality of materials and those little quirky things like not having to remove parts from frames. Brockley Combe is truly a multimedia kit, with not just timber, but also metal, resin and a little plastic too. Materials quality is excellent. Whilst I couldn’t recommend this kit to a raw beginner, I do think that someone with a model or two under their belt could do this some real justice. Some experience with resin could be useful, but not necessary. In all, a lovely model of a classic cargo ship of yesteryear, and one with character too! My sincere thanks to Navarino Models for sending this kit for review on Model Ship World. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of this article.
  4. I just received the Joy Yard Missouri kit. A cursory inspection shows that the advertisement hype is no exaggeration. Even the packaging is first class. The PE is in a separate box wrapped like a piece of jewelry. The details are really outstanding. The instruction manual is full color and appears very complete. The directions for bending a PE part specify which direction and how many degrees of bend to use. I only hope I can do this kit justice, it will be a challenge in deed. I have to finish my Indianapolis first. Here are some pictures to show some of the kit highlights. Enjoy, Harley
  5. 1:120 USS Susquehanna WoodyJOE Available from WoodyJOE for ¥ 43,000 (approx. $400/£335) USS Susquehanna, a sidewheel steam frigate, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the Susquehanna River, which rises in Lake Otsego in central New York and flows across Pennsylvania and the northeast corner of Maryland emptying into the Chesapeake Bay. Her keel was laid down by the New York Navy Yard in 1847. She was launched on 5 April 1850 and was commissioned on 24 December 1850, Captain John H. Aulick in command. After completing her trials, which she began in January 1851, the side-wheel frigate sailed on 8 June for the Far East to become flagship of the East India Squadron under the command of Commodore John H. Aulick. Aulick's orders included instructions to visit Japan and negotiate a treaty opening diplomatic relations with that country. After presenting demands and an official letter from President Millard Fillmore to the Japanese government on 14 July, the American warships departed on 17 July. On 12 February 1854, Susquehanna returned with the squadron to Japan as part of Perry's show of force, resulting in the signing of the Convention of Kanagawa on 31 March 1854. During the American Civil War, the ship was assigned to the Atlantic Blockading Squadron and sailed for Hampton Roads. Late in August, Susquehanna participated in the joint Army-Navy expedition to Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina, which captured Fort Clark and Fort Hatteras on 29 August. During September, she captured two British schooners: Argonaut on 13 September and Prince Alfred on 28 September. In the same month, she also took two Confederate schooners as well: San Juan on 28 September and Baltimore the following day. Following the end of the American Civil War, Susquehanna brought American delegates to Veracruz bay in Mexico during the destruction of the Second Mexican Empire in order to open up relations with the United States backed Mexican president Benito Juárez. When the Susquehanna found out that the acting imperial ruler Maximilian I of Mexico had decided not to abdicate, the ship turned around to head home 1866. The ship ended her active service as flagship of the North Atlantic Squadron. Decommissioned at the New York Navy Yard on 14 January 1868, Susquehanna was laid up until she was sold for scrapping on 27 September 1883 to E. Stannard of New York City. The kit This is the very latest release from Japanese company, WoodyJOE. For those of you with Facebook, WoodyJOE has shown some of the development of this kit over the last months, with their finished model designed to show a finished ship on one side and the construction on the other…presumably for model fair display purposes. The box itself is sort of average in size for a model with these dimensions, but it is certainly heavy! Packed into an attractive but generic nautical-themed box, a product label for Susquehanna is affixed to the lid in a way that it looks printed on. Upon opening the box, the first thing to check out is the colour-printed instruction manual. This 32-page, stapled booklet breaks the construction down into 36 stages, but most of those have many sub-stages, effectively creating well over 200-300 sequences. Rigging illustrations are supplied too, and they are beautifully clear to understand. Photo annotation also refers to the specific part number, whether it be strip wood, sheet parts or metal elements. A full parts list is supplied at the beginning of the manual, as well as suggested paints etc. All of this is in Japanese though, befitting a kit that’s probably aimed for their home market. A series of sheet plans is included for just about everything you will need, such as hull profiles, fitting positions, masting etc. WoodyJOE kindly popped the Tamiya gearbox unit into my sample. This isn’t a standard part in this kit, but it is of course designed to specifically fit this unit, should you wish to purchase it extra. As with Tamiya products, you are expected to build this itself, and it is supplied as a mini-kit, complete with electric motor and a small tube of grease for lubrication. Another item to be purchased separately is this battery box. A relatively inexpensive item costing only a £/$ or so. Now, onto the various fittings. These have been supplied stapled to two sheets of card and certainly keeps everything neat and in order. Each packet of parts is also neatly labelled (in Japanese). Here you will find that parts are generally cast in white metal, but with very good definition in the most part. There are a few lines on the cannon that look like an original 3D-printed master wasn’t fully cleaned up, but this is easy to deal with. Instead of white metal, WoodyJOE have opted to include the belaying pins as cast-brass items which must be removed from their casting block and cleaned up prior to installation. Other bagged items include wire, ferrules, varying chain sizes, pins, rigging pins, etc. A number of parts in this kit are labelled in the same fashion as those on the card sheet but are bagged instead. This is where you will find spools of rigging cord that are clearly numbered in reference to the rigging drawings. Ughhhhh!! I really don’t like these! Here are the plastic rigging blocks. For me, there’s only one place to store these. However, if they don’t bother you, then they are actually very nicely moulded, but you will need to paint them appropriately. Plastic also features on the ship’s launches, with the basic hulls being supplied. These are painted though, and will be fitted out with timber, so it’s not a deal-breaker. The mouldings are also superb. You will find numerous timber elements also individually bagged and labelled too, clearly referencing their use within the instruction manual. This applies to the various lengths and diameters of dowel and strip. A quick look at these shows the superior quality of all timber. Some of the finest I’ve seen in a kit. Another sheet of card has several packages stapled to it that contain various sheets of laser-cut timber parts. Notice parts here for the launches, mast tops, cannon bases, channels. A second and third packet of laser-cut parts contains the clearly identifiable paddle wheels and stern rails amongst other parts that are spread over numerous sheets. Now we come onto the sheet materials, with this first sheet containing the parts for the stern. Note the engraved bevel marks to help you shape these properly. A large sheet of high-quality ply contains the hull bulkheads. In my opinion, there should be more of these, especially on a single-planked model. Laser cutting is excellent. An equally large sheet holds other key hull components. Here, as well as more bulkheads, you can see the false keel and long ply parts that will further help align the bulkheads and provide further rigidity. It will come as no surprise to see that there are a few sheets of photo-etch (PE) parts in this release. These contain everything from gratings to deck structure elements, and also those large gun swivel mount circles that you see at both bow and stern areas of the ship. Conclusion Of course, this is such an unusual subject to tackle and in many ways has some unusual construction techniques that aren’t typically seen in today’s kits, such as the stern that is built up from slices. It would have been good to see the Tamiya gearbox kit added as standard, as it’s generally a very low-cost item to purchase by itself (around £11 at time of writing), but of course, not all modellers would want to use this anyway. Personally, I think this model is aimed at those with some experience, and I wouldn’t recommend a single-planked hull for anyone without the prerequisite skillset to tackle it. As the bulkheads are perhaps spaced a little too far apart for my liking, you’ll need to ensure that you don’t create any sag between them when planking, giving an uneven finish to the hull. Another thing I would have liked to have seen would be copper plates supplied for the lower hull instead of notes on painting it in that colour. Even a roll of self-adhesive copper tape would’ve been a nice touch. A real oddity is the inclusion of plastic rigging blocks. This is probably my biggest single gripe with this kit, and I guarantee those will be thrown away and replaced with something more suitable in timber, possibly from Master Korabel. Now, that’s the gripes out of the way, and in no way do I want you to think that this isn’t a lovely kit to look at. It genuinely is. At 862mm long, it’s certainly not a small model, despite the 1:120 scale, and it definitely has to be the best thought out model I’ve seen in ages with regards to material identification and presentation. Everything is designed to make the modeller’s life as easy as possible. The drawings are also excellent, as well as the photographic instruction manual. Of course, all text is in Japanese, which does sort of indicate that their primary market is Japan. There are ways of translating this, such as with smartphone apps that will translate the image when you hover your phone camera over. With regard to the instruction manual stages, I do think many of them are fairly self-explanatory anyway. But…the smartphone translator app is free! In all, a high-quality package with excellent timber and some very nice fittings. The whole lot will build up into an outstanding finished model that is most certainly very different from your regular sail ships. If you get the chance to get one, I doubt you’d be disappointed. My sincere thanks to WoodyJOE for sending this new release out for review here on Model Ship World. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of the article.
  6. 1:60 H.M.S. Beagle OcCre Catalogue # 12005 Available from Ages of Sail for $209.00USD HMS Beagle was a Cherokee-class 10-gun brig-sloop of the Royal Navy, one of more than 100 ships of this class. The vessel, constructed at a cost of £7,803 (£613,000 in today's currency), was launched on 11 May 1820 from the Woolwich Dockyard on the River Thames. In July of that year she took part in a fleet review celebrating the coronation of King George IV of the United Kingdom, and for that occasion is said to have been the first ship to sail completely under the old London Bridge. There was no immediate need for Beagle so she "lay in ordinary", moored afloat but without masts or rigging. She was then adapted as a survey barque and took part in three survey expeditions. The second voyage of HMS Beagle is notable for carrying the recently graduated naturalist Charles Darwin around the world. While the survey work was carried out, Darwin travelled and researched geology, natural history and ethnology onshore. He gained fame by publishing his diary journal, best known as The Voyage of the Beagle, and his findings played a pivotal role in the formation of his scientific theories on evolution and natural selection. The kit Hot on the heels of their H.M.S. Terror kit, reviewed HERE, OcCre have hit the ground running with H.M.S. Beagle, of Charles Darwin fame. Both Terror and Beagle are of course well-known for very different reasons, and their familiarity shows OcCre not straying too much from that comfort zone. As with Terror, Beagle is packaged into a standard-type OcCre box with a cut out to display the nice fittings box that is a feature of these kits. A large, printed product label is affixed to the lid, and the kit itself is packaged in shrink film to protect it. For your information, the finished model’s dimensions are given as: Length: 720 mm Width: 230 mm Height: 480 mm Lifting the robust lid reveals a protective lower box through which you can see the instructions, and this box then splits open to access the contents. One half of the box holds three substantial bundles of very nicely cut timber, held together gently with elastic bands. The most obvious bundle is the lime, which is used for the first layer of hull planking. This creamy-looking material is super sharp with no fuzzy or split edges and is consistent in size. Our next bundle holds all of the remaining strip wood of all persuasions and sizes. There is more lime here of course, but also the Tanganyika for the second layer of hull planking. Colour is consistent too. Lime is provided for the deck planking. The last bundle contains both strip and dowel. All of the remaining timber parts have been packaged onto a wrap of heat shrunk and sealed clear plastic. I do think this approach actually aids warpage as the boards have a curve induced in them due to the wrapping. Once the plastic is cut away and removed, we get to look at the false keel and assess it. This ply part does indeed have a warp along its length, so this will need to be steamed and left flat on a sheet of glass or similar. \ There is no warp in the next sheet. This one contains the fo'c'sle deck, main deck, poop deck, transom, windlass mount and various interlocking structural elements. All laser cutting on this kit is excellent, with only minimal scorching. This sheet is also, thankfully. Warp free, and it contains all of the hull bulkheads and bow profile parts. Three inserts are also included which fit perpendicularly to the false keel and provide mounting points for the masts. We have a mixed bag with this sheet, with parts from all over the ship, plus elements to help build the four wooden launches/supply boats. Note parts here for the mast tops, trestletrees, cannon carriages, forward cannon rotating ring, channels etc. As an aid to the modeller, the upper outside of the hull sides are produced as shaped ply parts, with the grain running short-ways to allow them to bend properly around the hull. These are cut with the cannon ports in situ, so there’s no awkward fumbling to try and locate the positions of these. The second planking will of course lay directly over these ply faces. This sheet seems to deal solely with parts needed for those timber launches, and contains jigs, false keels and bulkheads. Our last timber sheet is walnut-stained ply. Many parts on this are for the display base, but you’ll also find keep, stem and stern parts, as well as mast steps. My sample does have a slight warp in this sheet. A single fret of bare brass photo-etch (PE) is included with this release, containing such parts as chainwales etc. Manufacturing quality is excellent with good parts definition and small tabs to remove the various elements. If you like your models to be fitted out with sails, then you’ll be happy to know there are a full set included in this release. These already look a little antique in appearance and are quite neat. A little fuzziness can be seen on the edges in some places, but that is easily fixed with some trimming and dilute PVA. You will need to attach your own bolt ropes though. There’s plenty of rigging cord included, in both natural and brown, of various sizes. All is neatly spooled with the diameters clearly given. Cord quality is also very good with no fuzziness being apparent. All OcCre kits come with these snazzy fittings boxes which are well worth keeping even when the model is complete. They are a great way of keeping organised. Eleven compartments contain all kit fittings, plus four more spools of rigging cord that have been placed there to stop the metal fittings rolling around. The metal parts are made from a zinc alloy (Zamak) which gives the parts are real nice definition, as can be seen from the gear teeth on the windlass. There are some slight seams to remove, and a jeweller’s file will do that nicely. Note that the anchor stocks are also cast in metal instead of made from wood and these just slip over the anchor stem. There are also davits here for the launches, and a whole rake of brass wire in different diameters. A set of printed flags is also included. All belaying pins, deadeyes and rigging blocks are manufactured from a pale wood (box?) and are not at all shabby. A few of the blocks may need a drill passing through them to make a totally clean exit hole. The brass pins are fine, sharp and with no deformation. Quite happy with those. Here you see the parrel beads, closed heart blocks etc. Here we can see the various pintles, gudgeons, chain, rigging pins, all made from brass. As well as more blocks (this time single hole) and deadeyes, and more metal fittings, such as the cleats, figurehead, wheel, and strangely enough….the quarter galleries. An odd choice of material for a couple of things here, but they are manufactured with good definition. The last items here are also zinc alloy. Thee cannon do look excellent. Just a few minor seams to tackle. There are two sets of sheets that involve construction of Beagle. With the first, you see a series of drawings that concern the masting of the model, and there is also a comprehensive parts list. For the second set of sheets, a series of clear, colour photos take you through the build. These are pretty self-explanatory and shouldn’t provide any problem. Some drawings are interspersed with the photos. Thee last pages are taken over by rigging and masting illustrations, and also a deck plan for reference. Conclusion You get quite a lot of kit for your money with H.M.S. Beagle, and most certainly a lot of good quality material. My only real gripe is the packing of the ply parts and the ply they are specifically made from as there is warpage present. I know some modellers aren’t keen on MDF for these parts, but it sure doesn’t warp. Maybe they’ll consider this in future. Apart from that, there’s nothing really to criticise for a kit of this level. It’s also good to see that instead of packing white metal launches into this, all are made as separate projects in their own right. The use of zinc-based metal parts also lends itself to a far sharper end result, although the very minor seams will just take a little more work with a jeweller’s file. OcCre continue with their tradition of providing colour-photo driven instructions with accompanying text sheets, and these seem very simple to follow. All in all, this is a kit which could well provide an in-road for a modeller who wants to try their hand at wooden ships, or even as a nice subject for a more seasoned modeller. Another very nice release from OcCre. My sincere thanks to OcCre for the kit reviewed here on Model Ship World. To buy this kit from Ages of Sail, click the link at the top of the article.
  7. An Introduction to Seahorse Kits (photos Courtesy of Seahorse and the author) Regular visitors to MSW may recall having seen some delightful, scratch-built card models made by a member who goes by the username “0Seahorse.” The real name of the man behind the username is Tomasz “Tomek” Weremko, a resident of the small town of Ulanów in southeastern Poland. Happily for us card modeling types (and those who are intrigued by the medium), Tomek not only designs and builds card models – he publishes them, too. At first his designs, mostly coasting craft but which also included the brig HMS Badger, were published by WAK, a well-known Polish publishing house, but like some designers, Tomek got the itch to publish his own work. His first effort, the Dutch exploration ship Duyfken, came out in 2019, and that first effort has now been followed by four additional offerings. Tomek’s earlier designs are still available both at his own website and at WAK. Ever eager to get enterprising card model designers some time in the MSW spotlight, I asked Tomek if he would be interested in having his latest kits reviewed. He agreed to the idea and said he would be sending “sets of models with accessories.” Expecting these to consist of one kit or perhaps two at the most, I was very surprised when the package arrived from Poland containing four Seahorse kits along with their laser-cut accessories. As I have found to be pleasantly normative for packages coming from Poland, everything survived the three week journey in fine shape. Because the Seahorse stable of designs are the products of a single designer, they have similar attributes. As for the earlier review I did of Paper Shipwright, I will treat the Seahorse kits as a collective. The kits we will look at are : · Nr. 1 DUYFKEN 1606 (1:100) · Nr. 2 SAO GABRIEL 1497 (1:100) · Nr. 3 LEUDO VINACCIERE (1:72) · Nr. 4 ARMED VIRGINIA SLOOP 1776 (1:100) The first thing you’ll notice is that there are no steel warships in Tomek’s stable of designs. Tomek says he enjoys older ships, both military and civilian. You’ll also notice there’s no example of Wasa, Sovereign of the Sea, etc. Says Tomek, “I rather focus on smaller ships, so that they are within the reach not only of top modelers, but also to encourage those who do not have a cardboard sailing ship in their collection yet.” Once you get a peek at Tomek’s work, I think you’ll agree that the temptation to try out a card model sailing ship can be great indeed. You might also notice that most of Tomek’s designs are in 1:100 scale. This might cause you to panic a bit, but have no fear. 1:100 scale is considered small for wooden models, but it is actually on the large end for card models, which are most often rendered in 1:200, 1:250, or 1:400. Still, because these are sailing ship models, the finished items will in fact end up being small models. None exceeds 41 cm in length. Another thing worth pointing out is the cost of these kits. This is a strong selling point for card models in general, which I have pointed out elsewhere. The basic Duyfken kit, for example, is only € 6.67, which is pretty darn cheap. Compare that to the same subject offered in a wood kit from another manufacturer at € 209, and you quickly see what I mean. Of course, card model kits usually cry out for after market accessories, which I’ll describe later, but even with those goodies added in the Seahorse Duyfken still only comes in at € 31.51—a real bargain for modelers on tight budgets. And if one has a really tight budget and a lot of time available, the aftermarket accessories are of course only optional, and the kits can be built without them. So, what do you get when you crack open a Seahorse kit? Let’s flip through some pages and have a look. As is typical for card models, each kit comes as a bound, A4 size booklet (American builders will need to keep this in mind if they want to scan any parts pages before building). Covers feature fore and aft views of the prototype models. As much as I appreciate artwork on kit covers, I like to see what the model actually looks like when it is built (assuming of course that I’m half as talented as the prototype builder). Flipping to the first page, one finds the instructions in both Polish and English. Again, card model instructions are usually not very detailed, mainly because there are only so many ways one can say “stick part 1 to part 2,” etc., etc. But where instructions are needed, it is certainly helpful when they are legible. English-speaking modelers will be pleasantly surprised at the quality of the English instructions. Tomek has a much superior grasp of English than the average English-speaker has of Polish, and this shows. You will not need someone to translate the English instructions into real English, as sometimes seems warranted with the instructions in Italian kits. There are plenty of diagrams—the key element in card model instructions—to cover every phase of construction. Some of the construction stages even include photo illustrations. One very nice touch in the rigging diagrams is that the various lines are printed in different colors, which makes it easier to visually untangle multiple lines where they cross each other in a two-dimensional representation. Turning to the parts pages, we see that everything is printed on good quality stock, either regular bond or card as appropriate. Colors are sharp and registration is excellent. Decks and other unpainted parts are shaded to imitate natural variations in wood tone and texture. Each kit includes extra color swatches so that any gaps can be filled in with matching card. Hull construction begins with internal formers, covered with three layers of skins. The first layer produces the basic shape and provides an underlayment for the additional layers (Fig. 3 in the image below). The second layer finishes the hull shape in sturdy laminated card (Fig, 5). The seams of the first and second layers are at roughly right angles to each other to strengthen the hull structure. The third layer (Fig. 10) is a veneer consisting of the outer planks. Of course, any sailing ship model done in card stock has a lot of cutting to do as well as a multitude of small, repetitive structures, such as blocks and gun carriages. An ideal and inexpensive way to deal with these issues is to purchase aftermarket laser-cut sets. The Seahorse sets include structural pieces such as hull formers, the second set of hull skinning, and other pieces that otherwise require lamination onto thicker stock before cutting out. The laser-cutting is superb, and parts are laser-engraved with their parts numbers, either directly on the parts or, in the case of small parts, adjacent to them. Hull formers also have laser-engraved lines to indicate the proper locations of joints between mated parts, e.g. between longitudinal profile and bulkheads. Additional laser-cut sets produce blocks, hearts, deadeyes, gun carriages, and other small items. The blocks are made from layers, which when glued together eliminate any need to drill holes into the finished items. Having used similar laser-cut blocks for my build of Wütender Hund, I can attest that these are not as difficult to assemble as they might appear at first glance. They can, of course, be replaced with wooden blocks, but the card blocks are a perfectly viable option. Also available are printed sets of sails. These are single-side printed on fine linen and show panel lines and seams. Each sail set also includes a set of flags. For modelers who want to save a bit of money, each printed kit includes full-size sail patterns. In addition to sails, sets of dowels for spars are also available. These are made of either linden or beech, are cut slightly longer that the spars to be turned from them, and must be tapered to the desired dimensions. Tomek did not send any of the dowel sets for review, since as he pointed out they are “just dowels” (you have to love candor!), can easily be locally sourced, and would have added unnecessarily to the shipping costs. Nevertheless, they are available if one wishes to purchase them. There are a few non-kit-specific items that builders will need to source for themselves, such as rigging cordage and chain. Tomek does sell some of the former at the Seahorse website. At this time, there are also no aftermarket cannon available as kit-specific sets. One can find cannon in 1/100 scale if one searches around a bit, though finding the correct patterns for the older kit subjects, i.e. galleons, might be a challenge. All in all, I find the Seahorse kits to be delightful additions to the card modeling side of our hobby. The quality of the materials and design at their price points make these outstanding values. It is also apparent from reading through the instructions and diagrams that Tomek has indeed put much thought and effort into making these kits manageable projects for intermediate-level modelers. Each kit will produce a finished model that is comparable in appearance and detail to any wooden kit and moreover will not take up a huge amount of space to display. Not one to rest on his laurels, Tomek has already released a new kit for 2021, the galleon Meermann 1627, a participant in the defeat of a Swedish flotilla at the Battle of Oliwa. As mentioned earlier, Tomek confesses a love for older ships, particularly Dutch vessels, so it is likely that we will see additional offerings of these attractive subjects in the not-too-distant future. Meermann, now available in 1/100 scale from Seahorse Thanks again to Tomek for sending out these examples for review. If you would like to purchase a Seahorse kit, you may do so at the Seahorse website. Be sure to tell Tomek that you heard about Seahorse at Model Ship World! MSRPs: Duyfken: € 6.67 Sao Gabriel: € 10.58 Leudo Vinaccieri: € 7.82 Armed Virginia Sloop: € 7.13 Meermann: € 10.12 CDC
  8. 1:65 Santa Maria – 1492 Artesania Latina Catalogue # 22411N Available from Artesania Latina for €149,99 La Santa María (The Saint Mary), was the largest of the three Spanish ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492, the others being the Niña and the Pinta. Her master and owner was Juan de la Cosa, a man from Santoña, Cantabria, operating in south Spanish waters. Requisitioned by order of Queen Isabella and by contract with Christopher Columbus, whom de la Cosa knew previously, the Santa María became Columbus's flagship on the voyage as long as it was afloat. Having gone aground on Christmas Day, 1492, on the shores of Haiti, through inexperience of the helmsman, it was partially dismantled to obtain timbers for Fort Navidad, "Christmas Fort," placed in a native Taíno village. The fort was the first Spanish settlement in the New World, which Columbus had claimed for Spain. He thus regarded the wreck as providential. The hull remained where it was, the subject of much modern wreck-hunting without successful conclusion. The kit I’ll always have an affection for Artesania Latina as those were the kits that started me in this hobby, and I built a small number of them before moving onto things like Panart, Model Shipways, Amati, and the sort of projects I’m building now. In fact, my first ever kit was their San Francisco, bought from a shop in York. Although there are of course other very fine entry points into the hobby for the raw beginner, there is obviously still a real place in that market for AL, who seemingly came back from collapse in the recent past. The re-emergence of AL kits has also seen then getting a revamp in terms of some materials, packaging and instructions. I’ll come to the latter, later in the review. AL’s original Santa Maria was first released in 1992, and now we see a ‘revitalised’ kit. The new release is packaged into a much different style of box than I’m used to seeing with Artesania, with it still being a rigid and glossy affair with many images of the finished vessel. Inside the box, the contents are packed a little differently too, and not quite as tight as they used to be, with some space for things to rattle around a little. All strip and dowel is packaged into bundles tied with elastic cord and shrink-wrapped, whilst the sheets of parts are presented in a tough shrink-wrap film. Also included in the kit are the pre-stitched sails and some masks to paint the crosses onto them, a sheet of photo-etch parts, flags, a plastic storage box containing all the fittings, and an instruction manual on DVD. Why a DVD? I think it’s more to do than with me being a traditionalist, the reason why I am not a fan of manuals on a DVD. The only place I can see these is on a screen, and I won’t take my MacBook into a dusty workshop while I work on a project. To me, there is no substitute for an actual paper copy to work from. This model has no plans either…absolutely everything is done from the images on the DVD. Don’t get me wrong, Artesania have done an incredible job of showing every stage, including rigging, in photographic form, but unless I print this out, then I will need to keep referring to a computer. I suppose it’s understandable that they won’t want to supply one though, as the manual is a hefty 164 pages long! All done in the most brilliantly pictorial fashion. There is also another 12-page manual showing every single sheet of material and strip of wood, fitting etc. in high resolution. In all, the DVD contains the manuals in both PDF and JPG format. As well as those, six videos are also included which show a few tips and how to use some of the tools that you might want to purchase. Generally, I have to say that I would prefer the older style instructions AL used to supply, along with plans. Timber! The ship’s hull is built up from 3mm ply, which is all cleanly cut, with part numbers engraved on there too. On the false keel, all bulkhead positions are also engraved with the bulkhead number which slots into there. That’s all easy enough. Also included on the 3mm ply sheets are parts for making the cradle for the kit, shown on the box as a ‘bonus’. In all fairness, the original release of this kit didn’t have a cradle for build/display, so that’s fair enough. The deck sections are supplied in a combination of both 1.5mm and 2mm ply. There is no camber in the decks on this kit. It’s perfectly flat across its breadth. The 2mm sheet also carries parts for the jig used to build up the ship’s boat. I’ve definitely seen that approach to ship’s boats featured by another manufacturer somewhere (!) It is a big improvement over Artesania’s original practice of including poorly cast boats in their kits. Also found on the 2mm sheet are parts for the mast top. Also in 1.5mm ply are the hull sides/bulwarks, extending from their lowest point on the main deck, up to the very top of the forecastle and poop deck bulwarks. The ply used on this kit is verry reminiscent of the stuff I used on the Artesania kits I built all those years ago, but maybe a higher quality than it was back then. Other parts are supplied on 1.5mm sheet. The ply itself is of a very reasonable quality, and definitely a step up from the AL kits I built when I started in the hobby, although there is still warping present, perhaps exacerbated by tightly shrink wrapping the sheets up with parts. Strip timber is verry reasonable in quality and it’s of a nice consistency. As the strip material is also coded, you can clearly identify this with the parts plan which has images of the various material types and thicknesses. Photo-etch One fret of photo-etched parts is included in this kit, containing the stand nameplate, cabin door, inside edge of mast top, lantern body etc. Production quality is very good and generally on par with like materials I’ve seen in some other kits. Fittings All fittings are supplied in the same style plastic compartment box that I remember when I first bought AL kits. Many of the parts in here are generic, but the quality of them seems to be perfectly fine. You’ll find eyebolts, turned brass cannon, cast anchor, swivel guns, cleats etc. as well as turned wooden windlass, barrels etc. I have to say the larger barrel size looks unfeasibly large for this scale. Other wooden items include buckets, parrel beads, deadeyes and riggings blocks. Flags, rig, sails and masks The included flags are nicely printed and come as either foldable or parts assembled from a front and back. Flag parts will need to be cut out of their master sheet. Rigging cord is of a verry reasonable quality and certainly better than I remember it being in the old days where it was full of fuzz. I mean, it’s not Gutermann, but certainly better than I remember. Five pre-sewn sails are supplied with this model, and they already have a nicely aged effect to them. Of course, one thing this ship was famous for was the large cross on the sails. This is something you will need to paint onto the sails, and thankfully, Artesania has supplied some cardboard templates to help you with that task. Instructions The Santa Maria is actually a very simple model to build and follows many of the conventions and techniques that I remember were prevalent when I began in this hobby. The breakdown of the model is quite straightforward and is depicted admirably throughout the 164 pages of the manual. There really is nothing left to any doubt with the sheet number of photos suppled, showing the various steps from so many different angles. The photos are superbly clear and will guide a builder like as if virtually holding their hand. I have to say the method of planking the hull is certainly bizarre! As this model comes with no plans, the instructions also come with a step-by-step to adding every single rigging lime on the model, and all off it is very, very clear. Conclusion I do have a lot of affection for Artesania Latina. As I’ve said before, if it wasn’t for their San Francisco, I may never have made the step into this hobby. There is quite a different feel to the actual product now, but with most familiarities remaining. There has been an improvement of sorts in the overall quality of things, or that’s certainly the way it feels/appears to me. A big change has been the instructions and their format. I’m not sure about the price point for this kit. On one hand, it seems a little high, but then again, I suppose if you even that among the number of hours it’ll take to build, it’s still a relatively cheap hobby. Definitely a nice build for a beginner. My sincere thanks to Artesania Latina for supplying this kit for review on Model Ship World. I do think it’s nice to see their name back in the hobby after that short break. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of this article. …lastly: Set of 10 x 1:65 Metal Figurines for Caravels and Galleons Catalogue # 22411F Available from Artesania Latina for €19,99 This is a set of white metal figures designed to be used with kits such as this, especially as Christopher Columbus himself makes a guest appearance in the line up! The figures are listed as: Christopher Columbus. Juan de la Cosa. Martín Alonso Pinzón. Vicente Yáñez Pinzón. Rodrigo de Triana. Sailors 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 I have to presume a couple of the sailors are boys as they do seem to be smaller than the other protagonists. Metal casting is quite nice and these should paint up nicely with the prerequisite skills. Various poses are included so you can have men climbing up rig etc. The figures are supplied in a slip box and held in a plastic tray within.
  9. ENDURANCE by OcCre 1/70 scale MSRP €159.95 Image courtesy of OcCre All images by author except where noted. Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance scarcely needs an introduction to nautical history enthusiasts. Launched in 1912, two years later she set sail for Antarctica with Shackleton and 27 others aboard for what was intended to be a transcontinental crossing of Antarctica via the South Pole. Instead, Endurance became stuck in pack ice in January of 1915 and eventually sank the following November. In April of 1916, Shackleton and several crew members set off for South Georgia in one of Endurance’s boats. They reached the island two weeks later and crossed a mountain range to reach the island’s whaling station. A rescue party was sent to fetch Shackleton’s remaining crew. Miraculously, everyone survived. Endurance trapped in the ice. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia (public domain). Over the years, this forum has seen numerous folks pine for a kit of Endurance, and now OcCre has responded. The kit is in 1/70 scale and carries an MSRP of €159.95, which in today’s market has to be considered a bargain. I was very interested in doing this review because of the striking look of the prototype model, the fame of the subject, and the fact that the ship is not a man-of-war (hence no tedious cannon to rig) and carries a barkentine rig, which is one of my favorites. Let’s dive in, shall we? First Impressions Endurance was shipped by FedEx Economy and made the trip from Spain to South Carolina in one week. I was a bit alarmed to see that the exterior shipping box had one corner completely stove in – it had obviously been dropped from some height and landed directly on that corner. Opening the box revealed that the kit had been shipped sans packing material, which is not the greatest way to do business, IMO. However, the kit box was not damaged during transit, despite the smashed corner. I’ve never built an OcCre kit before, nor even seen one in person, but I liked the look of the kit box, with a nice shot of the prototype model and a window through which one can see the fittings box. On closer inspection, I discovered that the “box art” is actually a printed sheet that is glued to a generic box cover. I suspect that this is why OcCre kits aren’t built to any standard scale; like the old “yellow box” kits from Model Shipways, OcCre kits are probably built to whatever scale will allow the kit to fit into a standard-sized box – 1/70 scale in this case. Opening the box revealed that although some of the contents could slide around a bit, they had been taped, shrink-wrapped, and compartmentalized in such a way that any potential for damage was really rather slight. Paper Stuff: Plans and Instructions Someone unfamiliar with OcCre might initially be alarmed upon reading the instructions – there essentially aren’t any, at least not in written form. Apart from a single paragraph about what to do before starting assembly, the written instructions consist of one sheet (in a choice of languages). (Apologies for the purplish tint -- I'm limited by the capabilities of my photography equipment.) But have no fear! What the kit lacks in written instructions, it more than makes up for in photo instructions. And in addition, OcCre provides a series of online video tutorials for the kit, which you can preview here. Let’s look at some examples from the photo instructions. BTW, the instructions, as well as the drawings, are bound with only a couple of staples. It’s not high-quality binding, but it does allow everything to easily be laid flat by simply removing the staples. Here you can see that the photo instructions are very detailed; no step is left uncovered. You can also see that the construction method is typical plank-on-bulkhead, but there are some nice touches. The deck is planked in such a way that small slots are left on the underside; these fit over the ears on each bulkhead, so that the entire structure is strengthened and locked in place. The directions for planking present a Mastini-like simplified method, which can be forgiven considering that the hull is intended to be painted. Of note on this sheet is the kit’s method for dealing with the ship’s round stern; it is built up bread-and-butter style and sanded to the correct shape. Apart from decking and planking, nearly all of the ship’s upper works are built from laser-cut parts, rather like a large jigsaw puzzle. I believe that this, along with the simple rig and lack of armament, makes the kit doable for an intermediate builder. A last shot of the hull instructions, mainly to show the construction of the chainplates, which, surprisingly, are made from brown rigging cord. Drawings The kit includes a complete set of 1:1 masting and spar drawings, as well as a 1:1 set of sail drawings. The instructions for rigging consist of a separate set of drawings. Fine points of mast and spar construction are covered, with different drawings depicting standing rigging, running rigging, and belaying plan. Finally, the paper bits include a parts list, a key to the parts billets, and a color code for use with Vallejo paints and OcCre stains. Parts The various parts billets come in a shrink-wrapped bundle and consist of parts cut from walnut, plywood, or MDF. All of the billets arrived perfectly flat, the wood is of good quality, and the laser-cutting is very well done, with fine, sharp lines and minimal reverse-side charring. The walnut sheet includes parts for a display cradle. The shrink-wrapped bundle includes an etched brass sheet that includes ladders, recessed door panels, trailboards, and ship’s name. Two bundles of good-quality strip wood and one of strip wood and dowels are included; the strips are nicely dimensioned and free of fuzzy edges, and the dowels are straight. Fittings A single, compartmented plastic box contains the fittings. The box was taped to prevent its contents from spilling during shipment. The largest compartment contains a fret of PE brass parts, three spools of 0.50 mm brown cord, various diameters of brass wire, a flag, a sheet of acetate for glazing windows, and cast metal davits, anchors, and stocks. The castings are free of flash. Other wood or metal fittings include cast metal bollards, fairleads, cowl vents, rudder hardware, binnacles, ship’s wheel, propeller, wood and metal capstan and windlass parts, and brass chain. Again, the castings are of good quality. The rest of the fittings box is filled with garden-variety wood and metal parts: blocks, deadeyes, mast hoops, belaying pins, eyebolts, nails, etc. Finally, a sealed envelope contains the remaining seven spools of rigging cord (one brown, six tan), which I was surprised to discover were all of the same diameter (0.15 mm), and a full suit of pre-sewn sails. The sails have the usual sort of heavy seam stitching typically found on such items. I don’t particularly like them and would probably opt to replace them, but for someone not inclined to put in that sort of effort, they will certainly suffice. Overall Impressions The new OcCre Endurance is not what one would call a great kit, but it is by no means a bad kit either. OcCre have economized here and there, as evidenced by such things as off-the-shelf fittings, providing only two diameters of rigging cord, and supplying less-than-convincing pre-sewn sails. Cost-cutting measures such as these succeed in making the kit affordable -- after all, top-end kits usually fetch top dollar – or Euro – don’t they? In other respects the kit is quite good, e.g. the thorough photo instructions, good quality wood, and excellent laser cutting. As I said earlier, I believe this kit can be built by an intermediate builder, and it will undoubtedly produce a nice-looking model right out of the box. However, with a bit of extra research and some kit-bashing, I have no doubt that the kit could form the basis for quite an excellent model. For the price and for the generally good quality (not to mention the unique subject), if not for the level of detail, the OcCre Endurance can be recommended to any interested builder. Image courtesy of OcCre Image courtesy of OcCre Thanks go to OcCre for sending out this review example. Endurance may be purchased directly from OcCre or from one of their regional distributors.
  10. 1:250 Destroyer Escort USS ENGLAND (DE-635) HMV Available from Fentens Papermodels €24.99 Photo courtesy of Fentens Papermodels (All photos by the author except where noted.) Fresh off the presses from Hamburger Modellbaubogen Verlag (HMV) comes the Buckley-class destroyer escort USS ENGLAND (DE-635), famous in the annals of anti-submarine warfare for her unmatched feat of sinking six Japanese submarines in the span of only twelve days in May of 1944. You can read more about her exploits here, including how she survived a kamikaze strike in 1945. Public domain photo courtesy of Wikipedia Designed by Darius Lipinski, this exciting new release from HMV is in their usual scale of 1/250 and produces a model 372 mm in length (14.6 in.). The first thing one notices is the striking packaging -- the kit comes in booklet form, the cover shows several views of the completed prototype model, and the back cover features a montage of other HMV kit covers. You might also notice several interesting numbers -- the parts count on this one is a hefty 1567 (up to 1875 if all optional parts are used) printed on 11 sheets. England is printed in 1944's Measure 21 uniform dark blue-grey. The printing is sharp with excellent registration. A lot of parts in this kit end up visible on two sides, and these parts are all given reverse-side printing. A nice touch on this and other newer HMV kits is that the fold lines are no longer printed directly on the parts but rather adjacent to them. The instructions consist of a whopping 28 diagrams that cover every facet of construction. A brief introduction on how to interpret the symbols used on the diagrams is included in six languages: German, English, French, Japanese, Spanish, and Russian. Parts marked "A" can be replaced or enhanced with alternative parts that raise the level of detail. Parts marked "L" can be replaced with optional laser-cut details. A departure from previous HMV kits is that the "egg crate" hull construction has been significantly beefed up, with many more transverse bulkheads added and some parts doubled for additional strength (as indicated by a block-style "=" sign). The internal formers also do not include the typical gluing tabs that are normally used for attaching the hull sides. Overall, this method is more in line with that used by most Eastern European publishers, and I anticipate that this will make for easier hull construction and a more rigid substructure. As you can see, this is an incredibly detailed kit with a lot of very small parts, making this kit deserving of its schwierig (difficult) rating. Potential builders should definitely have a few completed card models under their belts before attempting this project. One way to simplify construction is to invest in the optional laser-cut detail set. This €29.99 option includes five frets of parts, including railings, ladders, davits, and other small parts. Replacing the railings and the multitude of "fiddly bits" with parts from the laser-cut set eliminates the tedium of cutting those delicate parts out and improves the finished look of the model. Personally, I feel that the time savings and the inherent neatness of the laser-cut parts makes them well worth the additional cost. The level of detail of this model, coupled with the fantastic appearance of the finished product, show again why HMV are considered a top-shelf card model publisher. But despite the kit's complexity, it is apparent that HMV have taken pains to ensure that a reasonably skilled builder is given every possible advantage toward finishing a very impressive, medium-sized model. The kit's wealth of detail and great choice of subject will no doubt make this kit a big seller. This author hopes that HMV will soon follow this design up with additional small warship subjects. If they do, we'll be sure to let you know! Thanks go to Fentens Papermodels for providing this review copy, which was securely packed to survive the journey across the pond and arrived in excellent condition. To purchase, visit the Fentens Papermodels website via the link at the top of this post -- they have a lot of really neat models in stock. If you place an order, be sure to tell them that Model Ship World sent you! Photo courtesy of Fentens Papermodels Photo courtesy of Fentens Papermodels Photo courtesy of Fentens Papermodels Photo courtesy of Fentens Papermodels
  11. This my review of AFV Club’s 1/35 scale AEC Matador, early variant. I actually did a YouTube video of the review which can be seen in the following link; Although I am familiar with the manufacturer AFV Club, a Taiwanese model manufacturer, I was unfamiliar with any of their kits until I saw a Youtube build video of the later variant and was impressed with what looked like a highly detailed kit. The early variant was the only one available from my usual sources so purchased this one.. My interest is more towards support vehicles rather than the typical fighting vehicles. The kit itself was released I think around 2014 but the part details are comparable with any of todays kit releases. There was no flash on any of the parts with all parts being very sharp and crisp. There were the odd injection pin marks on a couple of components, but these were located in out of the way areas and were very slight and will be easily cleaned up if needed. In the review I couldn’t really detect any mould seam lines which will make clean up a breeze. Even the round tube exhaust pipes didn’t have any I could find with the fingernail test. The kit would have you make several assemblies to bring together at the end with the chassis being the most detailed and ‘busy’. This will require careful planning for breaking down to sub-assemblies for painting before final assembly although the colour schemes available would allow you almost build it complete and blast on the base colour. However I want to try various paint and weathering techniques so will paint as I go. The kit allows things like doors and windows to be positioned either open or closed. The kit comes with a small photo etch sheet with the item of note being the radiator grills which will sharpen up the front no end. What is surprising is the one of the main sprues contain the cab roof and cab front from the later ‘Mid’ variant with a small single sprue containing the roof and cab front for the early version which this kit is sold as. I am not sure if the roof and cab front for both versions are the only differences between them. If so you may be able to build either or with a little research for markings etc. One of the things I don’t like is the tyres are vinyl and I would much prefer plastic ones as the vinyl may be difficult to paint and weather although I am speaking from ‘inexperience’ so might be wrong. I might check to see if resin ‘weighted’ wheels are available. I have included a few crop shots from the instructions to give a taste of the level of detail. I was pleasantly surprised at just how detailed and nice the parts in this kit is and there is now another of their kits with a full interior I have in my sights. I look forward to building this when time allows or for a break from paper ship modeling. Cheers Slog
  12. 1:250 Steam Harbor Tug WARATAH 1902 HMV Available from Fentens Papermodels €8.99 Photo courtesy of HMV (All photos by the author except where noted.) The steam tug Waratah was built in 1902 for service in Sydney Harbor, Australia. She is presently part of the Sydney Heritage Fleet and is used for harbor excursions. You can read more of her history at the Sydney Heritage Fleet website. Fresh off the presses and designed by Carsten Horn, Hamburger Modellbaubogen Verlag (HMV) now offer this eye-pleasing vessel as a card model in their usual 1/250 scale. At that scale, the finished model is a mere 133 mm in length (5.23 in.), which may not seem all that small until the kit is actually seen in person! The kit consists of only 246 parts on two sheets, but because of the many tiny pieces, the kit is marked schwierig (difficult), so some prior experience in card modeling is desirable. The printing is up to the usual high standards of HMV, with sharp colors, excellent registration, and a good amount of detail. Reverse-side printing has been done on parts that will be visible on two sides. Parts marked with an "A" indicate alternate parts to provide additional detail, such as doubling doors. An "L" indicates that the part can be replaced with an optional laser-cut piece (available separately). Longtime builders of HMV models will notice that fold lines, which used to be printed right on the part to be folded, are now printed adjacent to the part instead, which is a nice improvement. Directions for construction consist in the main of a series of 13 diagrams. A very brief description of how to interpret the various markings on the diagrams is provided in six languages (German, English, French, Spanish, Japanese, and Russian). The diagrams appear to be very thorough; part numbers are plainly marked, and alternate and laser-cut optional parts are indicated as well. Also included is a rigging diagram, which, for such a small model, is thankfully very simple. The hull is built in HMV's usual "egg-crate" style, based on a longitudinal hull profile piece and a number of transverse bulkheads. Hull sides are attached to tabs that fold up or down from the base plate and deck. With an MSRP of only €8.99, this nice little model won't make a big dent in anyone's budget. The laser-cut detail set, at €12.99, costs a bit more, but in my opinion it is money well-spent, since the set includes nearly all of the "fiddly bits" pre-cut in colored card stock. This spares the modeler a lot of time and nerve-wracking effort spent cutting out tiny and delicate parts, and also greatly enhances the look of the finished model. Waratah's detail set includes a whopping 11 frets of variously-colored parts. With or without the detail set, Waratah should build into a very detailed and attractive small model, one that satisfactorily captures the certain elegance that workboats of a bygone era possessed. This kit is thus a welcome addition to HMV's fleet of civilian vessels. Thanks are due to Fentens Papermodels for sending out this review example. If you enjoyed this review, you can show your appreciation to Fentens by visiting their website. If you make a purchase, be sure to mention that Model Ship World sent you! Photo courtesy of Fentens Papermodels
  13. 1:10 Blériot XI Amati Model Catalogue # 1712/01 Available from Amati for €284.43 “England’s isolation has ended once for all!”, so was written in an English newspaper, on the day after Louis Blériot flew across the English Channel from France. The French aviation pioneer, in his modified type XI monoplane, took off from Les Baraques near Calais at 4.41am on July 25th 1909, and landed at 5.17am in Northfall Meadow, near Dover. The Bleriot XI made its debut at the Paris Salon de d’ Automobile et de l’ Aeronatique in December 1908, along with two other Bleriot planes; the type IX and the type X. In October 1908 the London Daily Mail had offered a prize of £1,000 to the first aviator to cross the Channel in either direction. Bleriot’s exploit was proceeded by the unsuccessful attempt of another aviation pioneer, namely Hubert Latham. Designed by Louis Blériot and Raymond Saulnier, the Bleriot XI was a light, sleek monoplane built using oak and poplar wood with cloth-covered wings and was powered by the very reliable but simple Anzani 3-cylinder 25 HP engine. The plane's sporting achievements, robustness, functionality and piloting ease contributed greatly to its commercial success, and it was actually the first aircraft in the history of flight to be used in war, when Italian Capitano Piazza piloted a Bleriot during the Libyan campaign between 1911 and 1912. Sourced from Amati and Wikipedia The kit This kit is certainly not a new release, but it is one for which you can’t really find an unboxing/summary/review. After talking with Amati, we thought we’d redress that issue and bring you an article on this kit, in the style of our regular ship reviews. As you would guess from a 1:10 aeroplane, the box for the Blériot isn’t too small, with it taking up a reasonable chunk of my worktop real estate. Whilst being fairly average in weight, it’s a little top heavy with the parts packing, so careful if you prop it up against a wall like I originally did! Amati always ship in beautiful boxes, and this sturdy and glossy crate is no exception, with a very nice photo of a finished Blériot model on the lid, along with a period photo and detail image. You’ll also get a good idea of the size of this project when completed, with the given sizes being: Wingspan: 84cm Fuselage length: 80cm A note of course that the timber parts within are all laser cut, as we’ve come to expect from this and many contemporary manufacturers. The box sides contain more imagery of the finished model at various angles. Lifting the lid, you can see why the box is top heavy. Most of the parts are sitting on a card plinth within the base of the box, designed to stop the various elements rolling around within. Right on top is a large and thick cellophane sleeve containing all of the laser-cut wooden sheets, plus the two sheets of plans. We’ll look at the latter in a short while. The fist 3mm thick ply sheet contains parts for the fuselage and tail frames, plus some jigs for creating those spoked wheels. Jig parts are also included for creating fuselage sections, ensuring that the various frames etc. are correctly aligned. As you can see from the sheet, none of the parts are numbered, as you wouldn’t want that with a model whose frames are very visible timber. These can be checked off against the supplied parts sheet. Laser cutting is also excellent with very minimal scorching. Being quite light, you will be advised to stain the frames when the time is appropriate. This second sheet, again in 3mm ply, contains mostly parts for creating the wings and horizontal tailplane. Here you can see the various ribs with their notches for wing spars etc. We have another ply sheet here, but this time in a much thinner 1mm material. The larger curved parts here are the enormous wingtips, with the thin material designed to be able to create the curved underside of the thin wing. The smaller parts are mostly infills, which will then sit on top of the moulded wingtip and pack its thickness up to a more realistic 2mm. This small slip was packed into the sleeve, and it depicts the cut-outs needed in both dowel and strip for the main fixed tailplane section. This is supplied at full size for easy reference. There are three trays of components in this release. This first tray is the most obvious as it contains the large propeller/airscrew. These are standard Amati trays and the packets and parts inside are held in situ by a clear plastic lid. The prop/airscrew is finished in a dark varnish. Not sure how accurate this is, and I may consider stripping this and making it look laminated, along with a lighter varnish. The prop hub is a series of PE parts which need to be fitted. We now have several frets of photo-etch, all individually packed in thick plastic sleeves. All PE is of different gauges, but the connection tabs are quite small, so it won’t take long to remove them from the frets. A small file can then we used to smooth off the connection points. You will note parts here for the engine and engine framework etc. These are the cylinders, comprised of parts which stack upon one another, creating a cooling-fin effect. That should look quite nice when done, and beats using plastic where you’d need to remove an awkward seam. This is the material for covering the wings, tail and part of the fuselage. After being cut to size, this is applied with PVA and CA before being painted all over in dilute PVA. This will give it a smoother and more drum-like surface and of course, pull it taught. For a model which at first glance, appears to be mostly stick and string, there’s a surprising amount of photo-etch. The second fittings tray. Let’s take a look… As the aircraft has numerous pivoting surfaces and pipework, we are supplied with a range of both brass and copper tubes of various lengths and gauges. You will of course need some nails too, and some eyelets for things such as rigging. As well as brass eyelets, a bag of copper eyelets are also supplied. The bag of copper rods you see here are actually the wheel spokes, and they have a flat end on them to secure them in the jig whilst you assemble the wheels. Yet more brass nails and also brass strip parts which appear to be undercarriage related. Our last components tray. In here, we have various brass eyelets, engine components such as cylinder heads, large turnbuckles, undercarriage suspension springs, brass rod, riggings cord, plumbing parts etc. Quite a few parts here are cast in zinc alloy as they are stronger and hold detail far better than white metal or Britannia metal fittings. This little pack of curios contains parts in both timber of plastic. The cones form the ends of the large fuel tank for which you’ll need to construct a planked drum. Parts here exist for the control stick base, cylinder bases and the engine crankcase etc. Some minor clean-up of the plastic parts will be needed. Injection moulded rims are supplied for the wheels, with two per wheel. These will be assembled on the jig, and along with the brass hubs, they will be spoked just like the real thing. Minor clean-up will be needed to remove the sprue attachment gates. Large rubber rings are supplied for the tyres, and these will sit neatly into the recess between the two rings that make up each wheel. Yet more brass and copper tubes/rod. Of course, we can’t have a wooden model without timber strip. This will be used for some frames, wing/tail spars, leading edges etc. Timber quality is Amati standard, as always. Some flexible pipe is also supplied for plumbing the engine, fuel tank etc. As always, Amati’s instructions are excellent and productions all of their own. This 62-page A4 (landscape format) manual is produced in full colour with photographs that describe the various stages, step by step. Whilst the text is in Italian, there is an English translated sheet for those who need it. As well as photographs, a series of illustrative drawings helps the modeller throughout, and everything is also annotated superbly. A parts list is supplied here, as it on the English translation. Two plan sheets are included with one of these depicting various views of the Blériot for constructional reference, and also a sheet with plan parts supplied. These can be married up against the unnumbered parts on the laser-cut sheets. Conclusion Despite the minimalistic look of the Blériot, this isn’t a weekend project, by any means. There is still going to be a concerted effort needed, as with any model whose main assembly is in timber. Overall, the skeleton of the model is actually straightforward and only minimal tools will be required. Some care will be needed in covering the wings and tailplane, and you may opt to use an antique style material which is used for covering flying model aircraft wings and applied with an iron. Overall, the timber parts are superbly cut with little scorching, and the numerous PE sheets/frets will keep you entertained for many hours, as will those wheels which are built up from individual spokes. If you are a super-detailer, then you could also rig the fuselage with wire and use reproduction turnbuckles, instead of the supplied rigging cord. There are many possibilities, should you wish to deviate from an already excellent kit. You will need a large area to display this model, or it could hang from the ceiling in your study, recreating those stylish days of yesteryear. This kit is also very reasonably priced, so if those memories of the Flambards TV series or the original books by Kathleen Peyton etc. are what fire your imagination, give this kit a shot! My sincere thanks to Amati for sending the kit you see under review here. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of this article.
  14. Hello! I have mentioned Paper Shipwright (https://www.papershipwright.co.uk/) in other content strands, so I considered it appropriate to do a review. This will be slightly different than a normal review in which a single kit is examined. Because of designer David Hathaway's consistent design philosophy, what is written about one of his kits is generally applicable to all of them. So we will look at two of them for this review: the ferry TSS Earnslaw and the Russian turret monitor Smerch. First, a couple of words about Paper Shipwright in general. David has been designing kits for as long as I have known about card models, which means that he is now in at least his third decade of doing business. His kits are done in 1/250 scale, waterline only, lean towards somewhat small and obscure subjects, and are typically moderately difficult, with good levels of detail and relatively small parts counts. His catalog contains both civilian types and warships with diversity enough such that just about anyone should find at least one subject they consider tempting enough to try. I recommend that those who are sufficiently intrigued should have at least some experience with working in card; our V108 tutorial is an excellent introduction to the basic skills and techniques for working in this medium. Each Paper Shipwright kit is self-published by David and is a high-quality laser print on good-quality paper. The cover typically has full-color plan and profile views of the kit subject. The instructions are minimal due to low parts counts, often consisting of a single sheet, but they are adequate for completing the model. A parts list is included, along with instructions for making thread railings (more on the railings later). Good diagrams are essential for card modeling, especially when the builder doesn't speak the publisher's language. Happily, this isn't an issue with Paper Shipwright for us English-speakers, but non-English-speakers should also find the diagrams clear and thorough. The printing on Paper Shipwrights kits is sharp and reasonably detailed. There is no printed weathering, but naturally that shouldn't impede anyone who wishes to attempt weathering with non-water-based media such as weathering chalk. As for the laser printing, I have never had any issues with the ink cracking or flaking. Because David designs in 1/250, that means that the simplified elements in each kit, e.g. ladders and railings, can be replaced by readily available laser-cut or PE after-market detail parts if the modeler wishes. As you can see, David uses interlocking profile and bulkhead formers, a design technique we card modelers refer to as an "egg crate hull." This is a technique that does not require major hull structural components to be laminated onto thicker card; kits from Hamburger Modellbaubogen Verlag (HMV), which are in most cases larger, more detailed, and more expensive than a comparable Paper Shipwright kit, are also built in this fashion. Some detail parts may be doubled, and each kit typically includes parts to double things like doors and skylights to give the model an extra bit of three-dimensional depth. In the image below, parts to be doubled are printed on rectangles meant to be scored down the midline, folded, and glued, creating parts that are twice the original thickness of the cardstock. Reverse-side printing is included, where necessary. A unique feature in Paper Shipwright kits is the inclusion of a template for making optional thread railings. The template is glued to a stiff piece of cardboard, then thread is wrapped onto the template to create rails and stanchions; afterwards these are stiffened with glue, then painted. The template is unique to each kit, because of course each subject has a unique railing configuration. The finished railings can be very convincing. David also offers a free, downloadable generic template at his website. A printed nameplate is included with each kit. A Paper Shipwright model, thanks to its size, does not entail a lot of time investment. I have built one in as little as two weeks, which is a blistering pace for me. The finished models are small jewels. Another great thing about Paper Shipwright kits is that they are inexpensive, costing anywhere from £4.50 to £15.00. At that price you can buy several kits, booger one of them, and not be greatly troubled by it (ask me how I know). These are charming little kits, very well designed, and the finished products are worthy of a spot or two (or more) on any card modeler's shelf -- also a great step up from relatively simple models like V108. Get one or two of these under your belt, and you'll be well-prepared prior to tackling something larger and more complex. Highly recommended! CDC
  15. 1:48 HMS Granado ‘Cross Section’ CAF Model Available from CAF Model for $325.00 The Granado, a bomb-vessel that was originally fitted out as a sloop (and ended her life as a sloop, also) was thought to have been designed by Thomas Slade. She is definitely a subject which has proven quite popular over the last 20yrs, with POB kits of this released by Amati etc. CAF Model’s intention to create a POF of this model was met with much interest, but before an eventual release of a full hull model, they have released a cross section kit in the same 1:48 scale. For only a section of a complete vessel, the box for this release is quite heavy and still of a reasonable size. Packed into a slimline corrugated box with a Granado label affixed to the lid, the kit reached me in the UK wrapped in a thick layer of extra card to protect it and reached me unscathed. Tom at CAF Model sent this kit minus two small sheets of parts which are now en-route to me, as he wanted MSW to be able to feature this as soon as possible. When those parts arrive, I’ll update this article with those extra photos. I quite like innovative features in model kits, and we’ve certainly got that here with the unique (at least I’m pretty sure!) building jig that accompanies Granado. Remember, that like all my reviews, this is an ‘in-box’ review and is designed to show you the contents of a kit as it comes, with any observations etc. How a model builds will be dependent on various other factors, but I will be featuring this as a build log on MSW in the coming days. CAF kits now have a break seal on them that needs to be cut through before opening, and when the lid is up, this quite heavy box can be seen to be totally chock-full of parts and other components. This kit has four heat-shrunk packs of timber in both laser and CNC cut types, a pack of strip wood, a box of detail components, a box containing the build jig, two sheets of rolled plans, and an instruction manual in a sleeve, also containing a small fret of photo-etch parts. I’m not too sure what timber this model is made from, but it has a nice pale-yellow hue and a very fine grain that’s certainly akin to some of the fruit timbers I’ve used over the years. As stated, all the parts sheets are sealed in shrink wrap. This is quite thick and needs a sharp knife to break through. Many of the parts sheets are just a few inches long, ranging from some quite thick sheets, to one which is just a veneer. Most are CNC cut and also pre-shaped on a multi-axis machine. Two similar packs to this are included in the parts total, and all contain exclusively CNC-cut/routed parts. The steel rule in the photo will give a good idea of the size of these sheets. Here you can clearly see the CNC routing and the extra shaping on some parts. Also note the laser engraving too, for the bevelling lines. These lines are also engraved on the rear of some of these sheets. All sheets are clearly numbered with laser-engraved marks too, but the actual parts numbers will be checked against a part plan in the manual. This helps to save precious production time as engraving the sheet would doubtless add extra expense to the modeller. The fames for the model (18 in total), are constructed in the same manner as their real counterparts, and also include the ‘bends’ in them that were typically seen in vessels of this period. This is where the CNC routing comes into effect, producing those complex shapes for the modeller, saving not just time but also the complications that result from recreating such parts by hand. To be able to position these frames against each other accurately, a series of temporary resin inserts are also included. We’ll see those shortly. Here you can see the breakdown of the frames into the various components including futtocks and chocks. A nice enhancement would be to use something that would represent fastenings in the complete frames…maybe black fishing line/filament which would look like nail heads. Deck beams are pre-cut to shape, including rebates for deck support timbers etc. More frame timbers with their engraved position/bevelling parts. Here you can also see the frame sections (top) which form the bottom of the frames that sit upon the keel. These photos give an excellent idea of the CNC shaping of the most complicated timbers, allowing this to be a nice introduction into POF modelling, whilst removing what would be the most frustrating elements. Two longer packs include more CNC-machined/routed parts, but also a series of laser-cut sheets. Clearly seen in this photo are keel parts, knees and parts for the gun mount. And now some laser-cut wood! One thing you won’t need to worry about is shaping any planks, especially internally, where that is a little more complicated. Granado is planked internally and externally, on one side only, giving the viewer the ability to see a complete hull on one side, and skeletal on the other. You will also see cannon carriage parts here too. This is the last pack of timber parts, again comprising both CNC and laser cut elements. More planking here, and also parts comprising the gun deck and hatch covers. Sheet 1A is a veneer. These appear to be facing parts for at least two frames. This is a highly prefabricated kit, making it perfect for that intro to POF, as can be seen from more pre-shaped planking etc. Whilst a gentle sanding of all laser parts is a good idea to remove any surface heat marks, you would need to see how the edges look when together as far as the char goes. Instead of using this for ‘caulk’, it could be a good idea to remove this char and simply use a pencil to represent caulk, as it’s less stark. The largest box inside this kit contains that unique feature I mentioned earlier. That is a clear acrylic building jig. Not only does this take over from the traditional ply jig we are used to seeing, but it’s also engraved so you can check alignment from every conceivable angle. This is assembled using short screws which also fasten into a series of specially cast resin blocks which keep everything square. The jig itself is a work of art. It’s a shame it’s disposable. However, more acrylic parts are included for a final display stand, engraved with the ship’s name. All acrylic parts are protected with a layer of peelable film. The second and last box contains all the various fittings etc. These are the resin blocks which are used to construct the clear assembly jig. I mentioned earlier about resin inserts which temporarily sit between twisted frames, to help with their positioning in relation to each other. These are those. When the frames are set, these are disposed of. Screws for assembling the acrylic building jig. These parts are very obvious. Here you see not only the main mortar with its beautiful detail including royal crest, but also the two cannon for the framed side of the hull. The other pack contains the capsquares for the mortar, and these are actually workable! Casting really is very nice and there’s minimal clean up. As these are brass, that aspect will be very simple with a nice set of files. More packs contain eyebolts, bombs, deadeyes, eyelets, swivel gun mount, rigging cord etc. There isn’t too much strip timber in this kit, but there really doesn’t need to be. A small length of brass wire is also included. A single fret of PE is included. Production is excellent, with small connecting tabs. You’ll find cannon and hull fittings here etc. Plans and instructions Two sheets of plans are included. One of those covers all the frame assemblies, whilst the other also has various illustrations of the completed hull to help with overall assembly. These are quite long sheets and need double rolling to remove the curl in the sheets as they are quite tightly rolled. The instructions are line drawing format but also contain colour. These look pretty easy to follow and the writing is clearly understandable. Conclusion As well as being an interesting subject of a popular vessel, this is going to be a perfect introduction to the world of POF. Being 1:48, this is also a nice size too without being too large for your shelf. I know some modellers would like to build in 1:48 but could find it restrictive when it comes to displays. This should alleviate that problem! Overall, this looks a very nicely designed and produced kit with some very nice and innovative features. Most importantly too, it looks to be real fun to build! Head over to CAF and snag yourself one. My sincere thanks to CAF Model for the review sample seen here.
  16. Muscongus Bay Lobster Smack: A new Shipwright's Series kit. Skill Level 3 Scale 1:24 Kit #MS1472 Overall length 14 1/2 inches – Width 3 3/4 inches - Height 14 inches - Baseboard 4 inches x 10 inches Completed model - Photo Courtesy of David Antscherl This kit is the third in the new Shipwright’s Series of progressive model tutorials designed by David Antscherl for Model Shipways a division of Model Expo. These kits fill a void in our hobby for simple but good kits that teach the new model builders the necessary skills to enable them to move on to build bigger more complex kits. For many years, Midwest Model Products manufactured a great series of kits that were designated as Level 1 through Level 4 and designed to teach the beginner wood boat modeler the basic skills a wooden boat modeler needs to learn. New ownership cancelled the line several years ago and the hobby has needed replacements which Model Shipways is now providing with the new Shipwright’s Series. The instructions for this kit like all the instructions for Model Shipways kits are downloadable as a pdf from the Model Expo website. https://modelexpo-online.com/ If you are curious about this or any other Model Shipways kit downloading and reading the instructions is worth the time. The typical MS blue box Instructions and parts list The Muscongus Bay Lobster Smack kit is labeled as a Skill Level 3 kit both on the box and in the instruction booklet. The first two kits had information on experience needed (or helpful) to have before starting the kits. The level one was simple; “No experience needed.” The level two kit was more specific: “Some previous knowledge is necessary in order to be successful.” The first paragraph on the first page of this level 3 kit has the following advice from the kit designer. “This is not a ‘first time’ beginner’s kit. I want you to be successful, so strongly recommend that you build the Model Shipways dory or pram kit first. You will learn the basic skills and techniques needed to successfully complete this kit.” The author thought this important enough that red ink was used for the entire paragraph. As in the previous series kits the tools needed are called out as well as some that are nice to have but not necessary are listed for the benefit of the newer builders these kits are aimed at. Unpacking the box finds a full color 38-page full color instruction manual, a list of all the parts contained in the box, 16 sheets of laser cut Basswood, cloth for the sail, a plastic bag containing two diameters of nylon rigging line, a plastic bag with Britannia castings: six cleats, two oarlocks and four turnbuckles. Two pieces each of 1/32-inch x 1/16-inch and 1/32-inch x 3/32-inch Basswood strips and a six-inch piece of 3/16-inch dowel complete the kit contents. Overall, the materials are good for the kit’s intended purpose as a learning experience. This kit is a fitting follow up to the Level 1 and Level 2 kits previously reviewed. I recommend it as a good learning experience that will prepare one for the challenges of a multi-masted model. Model Shipways has provided another step in the learning process that is needed in our hobby. Laser cut sheets - 16 total Blocks, nails, eye bolts, rings Cleats 24 and 18 Ga. Copper wire, Brass strip and Brass rod Oarlocks Sailcloth and rigging line
  17. 1:64 Revenge 1577 – Elizabethan Race Built Galleon Amati/Victory Models Catalogue # A1300/08 The Elizabethan Navy Royal warship Revenge was built at Deptford and launched in 1577. Revenge was a new type of warship, a ‘Race Built Galleon’. She was built following the direct ion of Sir John Hawkins and supervised, it is thought, by the master shipwright, Matthew Baker. Revenge was about 500 tonnes and carried a crew of around 250 men. Contrary to popular belief, the new race-built galleons were not dwarfed by the Spanish galleons but were of equal or sometimes larger size. It is very easy to see the lines of Revenge as a precursor to the Prince Royal of 1610, the Sovereign of the Seas of 1637, or even the Prince of 1670. The armament of ships of this period varied greatly; guns might be added, removed or changed for many different types of reasons. Revenge was particularly heavily-armed during her last cruise. On this, she carried 20 heavy demi-cannon, culverins and demi-culverins on her gun deck, where the sailors slept. On her upper decks were more demi-culverins, sakers, and a variety of light weapons, including swivel-mounted breech-loaders, called ‘fowlers’ or ‘falcons’. She was considered the best all-round warship in the fleet, and in 1588 she served as the flagship of Sir Francis Drake, and was involved heavily throughout the Armada campaign. In 1591, Revenge and her captain, Sir Richard Grenville, both earned their place in history when the Revenge was overtaken by a Spanish fleet off the Azores. Sir Richard Grenville fought the Spanish fleet for 16 hours, crippling and sinking many Spanish ships before being forced to surrender. The kit Revenge 1577 is an Amati/Victory Models joint venture, as was the HMS Vanguard 1787 that I reviewed recently. However, this particular kit was only released in 2015, having been designed by Chris Watton. Like Vanguard, Revenge is packaged into the same monster-sized box so will look pretty imposing when it arrives, plus it will really please your postman who will have to bring it to your door! If you are remotely interested in this particular kit, you will have doubtless headed to Amati’s website for information on this release. That is given as thus: 20 sheets of plans 96 pages full colour building manual with step by step instructions Laser cut plywood, hardwood and MDF Double planked hull Highly detailed photoetched brass parts Precious paper decorations Brass culverins and burnished metal casted cannons …now it’s time to look deeper at this kit. Amati’s artwork for the box is perhaps a little more restrained than that of Vanguard, but still looks equally as impressive, with images of the completed model on the sides of the box. It’s also a fairly weighty box too. When you lift off the lid, you’ll note that the lid is merely decorative, with a single-piece rigid corrugated card box underneath. The lid is secured via large tabs and lifts up to reveal contents. The box is designed to hold large weights within and is very robust. Inside, we have several packets of laser-cut MDF, ply and walnut, a heavy pack with 20 plan sheets, a full-colour perfect-bound instruction manual, bundles of strip wood and dowel, printed flag set, and three large boxes of fittings/components. Everything is packed so as to minimise any movement of items within, and indeed, my sample looked like it had just been packed at the factory. Opening the first components box, we see a pack of sail cloth, just in case you wish to fit them to your model. I know the convention is to leave sails off, but at lease the option is provided for you here. The material is very pale and would benefit from some ageing using whatever your preferred method. Two thick clear bags are now seen, and these include parts for the cannon, in two sizes. The main bags themselves contain some beautiful cast guns with decoration on them, and these have an antiqued finish. I would personally paint these in iron, and the embellishments should look excellent if you then buff them up. Unlike Vanguard, this kit provides wooden gun carriages, machined as a single piece. Again, I am more than happy with this inclusion, and they appear to be walnut. A long piece of thin, narrow copper sheet is included to make the straps from. Two further packs include the eyelets, plus wooden wheels and axles. Very happy with those. Underneath these bags lie a few clear sleeves of photo-etch parts. Here you’ll find parts for the chain plates and for deadeye securing, doors, grates (maybe they were cast iron on these ships?), and also the Royal crest that adorns the transom. This is built up from two layers of PE and will require some painting. Two name plates are also supplied for the base. You will need to paint the lower relief and then drawn the part over fine abrasive paper to remove anything on the upper relief. The second box contains rope, rigging cord, anchor set, culverins, pre-shaped rudder hinges, brass pedestals to mount the model to the base, brass pins, copper eyelets, etc. Our last box has more goodies for the rigging, such as various-sized deadeyes, blocks and belaying pins etc. You will also find here some brass wire, cast figurehead ornamentation, barrels, stair kit, and parrel beads. All components are securely bagged within their own compartments. Amati include some nice timbers in their releases, and here we have bundles of strip wood for the double planked hull (lime for first plank), deck etc. The deck planking actually has a paper identifying tag. Dowel is of walnut, and again, quality is excellent. A single sheet of laser-cut ply contains the channels and rear gallery doors etc, and a further three sheets of ply are taken over with more channels, facings for the cabin access bulkhead, and the unusual Tudor circular mast-tops. Two small sheets of wood (not ply) contain rudder and windlass parts, chain knees, and the lower keel. All parts are finely cut and will of course require any charring to be removed, although this is a fairly quick job. Two reasonably large sheets of ply contain the beak grate platform, transom, and more bulkhead walls with pre-cut windows and doors. These will of course be individually planked, and various timber fittings and rails added to them. Smaller parts can be found here too, such as cannon shot garlands and rigging cleats. A further two thick ply sheets hold parts for the various decks, with the exception for the lowest main deck. The largest ply sheets are fairly thin and for good reason, as they contain the upper bulwarks and sides with the gun port positions pre-cut. These will need to conform to the concave curvature of the hull at that point, hence the thinness of them. They are also joined by an interlocking pattern, so you achieve the correct placement of them. More laser-cut ply here, with garlands, rudder and forward bow keel section etc. Five MDF sheets contain all main constructional components, such as the false keel, bulkheads, lowest main deck, deck beams etc. Whilst the curved sides of the bulkheads look very fragile, several builds here on MSW show that there shouldn’t be any real concern as long as you exercise some care and attention. You will doubtless have noticed that instead of the carved embellishments we see on later and Spanish vessels etc, this Tudor warship has coloured panels along the outer bulwarks etc. Thankfully, you won’t need to paint these at all as they are provided as pre-printed items. Now, the paper they are printed on is heavier than writing paper and is of a type which means that the printing won’t fade. I’m presuming it’s all acid-free paper etc too. Printing is super-high quality and against a wooden texture background for a reason I can’t fathom. Still, these look amazing when added and really bring the vessel to life. All paper parts are numbered, and sections of the sheet listed as for right/left side. There are 20 sheets of plans for this model, but as well as parts maps which cover several pages, the remainder generally looks to contain information for masting and rigging the ship, plus adding the sails, if you wish. There are other illustrations of the model too, but the hull and fitting out is mostly done using the instruction manual. When it comes to instruction manuals, Amati really do go to town. Their latest releases, such as the Orient Express Sleeping Car, contain glossy, full-colour photographic instruction booklets with clear English text (Italian also shown). Each stage of the build is clearly shown, and nothing should be ambiguous with this particular presentation. Lastly, unlike most model kits, this one does include a base, as previously mentioned. This is machined from MDF and will need sealing and rubbing back before painting. The edges of this are profiled too. With the brass pedestals and name plates, this should look very nice when complete. Conclusion This model was released in 2015 and comes from the stable of those designed by Chris Watton. Unlike his Nelson’s-era kits, this little gem doesn’t seem to get the recognition is deserves, although as I say, we do have some logs of the build here on MSW. Tudor warships, for me, really are beautiful in their style and execution. I’m a big fan of the Mary Rose (for which I also have a kit), but this particular vessel is more ornate than the Mary Rose and has the galleon-style features that we expect from a ship of this period. Timber quality is excellent, as are the various fittings, and of course, the instructions means that you shouldn’t go wrong during your build. The pre-cut gun ports and jigsaw bulwarks will also ensure a trouble-free project. Cornwall Model Boats currently lists this model for £364.99, and I think that represents really good value for money for a ship of this size (Length: 885mm, Width: 380mm, Height: 655mm) My sincere thanks to Amati for sending out this kit for review here on Model Ship World. To purchase, head over to your favourite Amati-stockist of online retailer)
  18. Hello All, I just wrote up an out-of-the-box review of the Sir Winston Churchill kit that Woody Joe revised and re-released last year. I posted the review on my blog, but though I'd go ahead and put it here too. I was originally going to write this for Seaways' Ships in Scale magazine, but I've already written three Woody Joe kit reviews for them, and I figured people might get tired of reading them in the magazine. So, I put it here. Of course, I don't get any money when I post articles online (and I could really use the extra income), but I was going to write it regardless. Hope you find it useful! The sail training schooner Sir Winston Churchill is a beautiful looking 3-masted, steel-hulled schooner that was originally launched in 1996 to compete in the Tall Ships Race. Woody Joe's revisted kit was released in 2015. The model is 1/75-scale and measures 24" long and just over 20-1/2" tall. Like other Woody Joe kits, the model features plank-on-bulkhead construction, using Woody Joe's box-frame structure, which is designed to help the modeler more easily achieve good alignment of the parts. The kit features lots of laser-cut wood parts, with a healthy supply of both cast metal and photo-etched brass parts. The only plastic parts in this kit are the lifeboats and rigging blocks. It no longer surprises me to look inside the box of the Woody Joe kits. Their ship model kits fit well in the box, and everything is plastic bags, so that the box is full, and the bags are so numerous that they provide a certain cushion, keeping items from getting knocked about and damaged in shipping. One sheet of styrofoam fills the remaining space underneath, keeping things from bouncing around in the box. Small parts are organized into separate bags, with each bag carded and labeled with the part numbers, descriptions (though in Japanese) and quantities in the bag. Small bags are stapled to a cardboard insert that keeps the box nice and neat. A small coardboard tray at one end seems to be a standard packing feature of Woody Joe kits, and contains any loose packages of parts as well as the spools of rigging line. The plans consist of 7 sheets of A3 sized paper, 13" x 19" each. Six of these sheets are pairs, so that they make up 3 larger drawings. Registration marks are provided, allowing you to align the sheets properly. Some of the older Woody Joe kits have larger sheets, but I expect that there is a cost-cutting move to these smaller sheets as they can be printed on a large office laser-printer instead of a dedicated plotter. Given the alignment guides, this shouldn't be a problem for the builder. There is one oddity, however, in that the models is about 1/4" too long for the plans. The result is that the top of the jackstaff at the stern is cut off. This is a minor issue, but it's a little odd to look at. I don't it will create a hardship for any builders. Instructions The instruction book is extremely well illustrated with steps clearly identified, and lots of color drawings and photos. Being that this is a Japanese kit made for the Japanese market, all the text is in Japanese. This may put off many potential builders outside of Japan. However, if you are an experienced ship modelers, you shouldn't have any trouble with the instructions. That may not be true of complicated kits of non western-style ships like Woody Joe's Higaki Kaisen kit. But, for the schooners, galleons, clipper ships, yachts, and sailing ships and barks that Woody Joe makes, there's probably nothing out of the average ship modeler's experience. Most of the text in the instructions and plans are labels. There are some instructions, but most are pretty simple in nature. If you look at the example below, Step 8 tells you to use a strip of wood to help you determine the correct bevel of the bulkheads. A close-up of a frame edge highlights the beveled edge. In another example, Step 11 shows you to use alignment marks laser-etched onto the bulwarks piece to get the position correct. Woody Joe does a good job at "dummy-proofing" the process by putting two alignment marks, one for each edge of the bulkhead, so you would have to go to extreme measures to mess up the step. The same step also shows you to pre-bend the bulwarks piece with a photo illustrating how you can bend it over a curved surface, like a large bottle, to apply the curve. One suggestion though, make sure you dampen the wood before you try to bend it. Another piece of advice. Look ahead a step or two, particularly when you see red text in the step your on, to make sure it's telling you not to glue something in place yet. Sometimes, a part, like the deck in this case, is just used temporarily to aid in alignment. If you look at the next step or two, you'll notice that the part is no longer in place. That's a good clue that you're not supposed to glue that part. Also, in any red text, look for a step number. If you jump to that step, you may see where the part does get glued into place, helping you get a better handle on the big picture. Being that this is a model of a steel hulled vessel, Woody Joe's method of hull construction is particularly well suited. The stern, in particular, requires a stack of laser-cut blocks that you must file to shape. This works just like bread-and-butter style hull construction, with the blocks pre-defining your contours for you, making it very easy to get exactly the right shape. My steel-hull comment above refers to the fact that with some models, you want the lines of planking to show. But, this method used the stern block un-planked and flush with the hull planking. On a model of a steel-hulled ship, this is a non-issue, as you want a good smooth surface anyway. And the method results in an accurate hull shape. On this model, the deck is not planked. Instead, you are provided with a single laser-scribed sheet, with all the deck planking and waterways already marked for you. Wood The wood in the kit is made up of at least three types. The frames are made of some type of plywood that resembles birch; the remaining laser-cut parts and most of the strip woods are Hinoki, or Japanese cypress, a very pleasantly aromatic wood that is stiff and slightly brittle when dry, but bends easily when wet; and some structural parts, such as the stern blocks, are a fine-grained, grayish wood called Ho (I don't know the western equivalent name). The laser-cut parts are interesting in that there is almost no char. Either a lot of care has gone into the manufacturing of the kits, or the woods used are thin enough or possess some other quality that makes the laser cutting process easier. Probably, it's a combination of both, as Woody Joe tends to use parts that are a bit thinner than other manufacturers All laser-cut sheets are also laser-scribed so that part numbers are clearly identified on the part or next to it. Woody Joe also makes good use of scribed lines to create alignment guides and beveling guides or, in the case of the deck sheet, the outlines of the planking. Fittings As I mentioned before, fittings are well packaged and identified. Each pack is carded, includes the part number and quantity. Note that Woody Joe's quality control is very good, and I've yet to hear of missing pieces. But, if the model calls for 20 turnbuckles, as shown below, that's exactly what you'll get. There's no extras thrown in, so make sure not to lose anything, as it's not going to be very easy to claim that the kit was just missing a piece. Those who don't like plastic, can easily upgrade these few parts using commercially available fittings. My preference for wooden blocks would be for those made by Syren Ship Model Company. Being that this is a 1960's steel-hulled schooner, perhaps metal blocks such as those sold by BlueJacket Shipcrafters might be more appropriate. Cast metal parts are plentiful and the castings are of excellent quality. I've had someone ask me about them before and I'd send them photos, and after getting the kit, they told me the photos didn't do justice to the high quality of the castings. They're very good. There's also a nice sheet of photo-etched brass parts, some turned brass parts, etc. Rigging and Sails The kit includes three sizes of black line for the standing rigging, and one size of tan line for the running rigging. These are provided on plastic spools, so there's no worry about your line getting tangled and knotted. The sails are a stiff cloth, possibly, this is pre-stiffened in some way, as the cloth comes rolled, not folded. The material is printed on one side, and the ink used is a beige color, so the lines of the sail are subtle, as they should be. Weaknesses in the Kit Really, this is an excellent looking kit. I think the detail is better than the Kanrin Maru kit that was the first Woody Joe kit I'd ever reviewed. I was actually pretty excited by what I could see of this revised kit when it was released, and I haven't lost any of my enthusiasm for it when I looked it over in detail. Wood Joe kits are, however, designed to be relatively easy to build, and there are sometimes simplifications that experience ship modelers might not like. But, these seem to be pretty minor in this kit. In fact, some things that I might consider a weakness, are just a matter of personal taste, like the use of a plastic for the blocks and dinghies. There is really just one weaknesses that I can see in the Woody Joe kit, and that is that the laser-scribed deck sheet is thin and a little delicate, and will require some care to work with, as I've discovered in working with the kit. In particular, the deck is weak along the laser scribed planks. If you run into any issues, I recommend reinforcing the deck by gluing some short wood pieces underneath. Just make sure that they don't interfere with where the deck rests on the framing. You might even want to do this before you run into any issues. Less of a weakness, and more just a simplification, is that the way the mizzen sail attaches to its mast. The use of mast hoops are shown, but I believe the real ship doesn't use mast hoops there, because the spreaders on the mast would interfere with the raising and lowering of the sail. Instead, I believe there is some internal track inside the mast to which the sail attaches. I don't know how a kit manufacturer would design this in a kit thats supposed to be a fairly easy build. Certainly, just using mast hoops is simple. Another simplification are the yokes on the ship's squaresail yards. These are simply made from stamped brass in the Woody Joe kit. This is the same thing they do in their other kits as well. I've tried to catch a glimpse in photos on the Internet of what these look like on the real schooner, but I've had no luck. I'd probably replace this with something that looks a little more realistic, even if it's not accurate. Woody Joe versus Billing Boats The Woody Joe kit's of scale of 1:75 is the same as the Billing Boats kit of the same ship. I had hoped to find the Billing Boats kit to do a comparison, but it's been hard to come by. However, I'm pretty familiar with the Billing Boats offerings and their instructions and plans. Pricewise, the Woody Joe kit lists for ¥30,000. At this time, that's about $300. The Billing Boats kit, by contrast, lists for $280 at Ages of Sail, which is the U.S. distributor for Billing Boats. Having seen other Billing Boats kits, the main comment I can make here is that the packaging of the Billing Boats kits doesn't even come close to the care taken with the Woody Joe kit. Most Billing Boats kits are put in oversized boxes that are sturdy, but leave the parts to slide around inside, often allowing the heavier wooden parts sheets to potentially damage the bags of fittings. I've seen this in many cases, where the parts bags get torn in shipping and small parts fall loose in the box and either slip out of the box or end up damaged. Also, the parts in a Billing Boats kit are usually just all piled into one bag, requiring you to sift through them to find out what's what, and to make sure you received everything you're supposed to. Both the Woody Joe and the Billing Boats kits offer laser-cut wooden parts, stripwoods for planking, dowels for the masts and spars, rigging line, etc. Both offer turned brass fittings, photo etched brass, as well as some plastic parts. But, one difference is that the only plastic parts in the Woody Joe kit are only the blocks and the two dinghies. The Billings Boats kit provides quite a few detail parts in plastic, including the props, cabin doors, fife rails, binnacles, ladders, boat chocks, anchors, etc. Most of these are either cast metal or laser-cut wood in the Woody Joe kit, which certainly adds to the cost. However, the Billing Boats kit does have the advantage of including one page of instruction in English. You can check the Billing Boats instructions out for yourself, as they have the instructions on their website and you can download them here. As for the Woody Joe instructions, simply from the images I posted above, you can see that with any experience, you should be able to build this model just from the numerous color photos and illustrations. And comparing the two brands, Billing Boats gives you 9 pages that have a large black and white, labeled instructional photo or diagrams, many of which simply show you where things go, plus 3 pages of illustrations of the included parts. Woody Joe provides 33 pages that are packed with color photos and illustrations. That said, I actually do like Billing Boats kits. They seem to do a nice job on overall accuracy of the basic structure of the subject. Where they may be a little lacking in detail, they can be enhanced by a good modeler. And, I for one, am the kind of person that will buy a kit and replace the fittings with ones I like better. So, a cheaper, but accurate kit isn't necessarily a bad thing. But, if your expectations are high for a kit, and you appreciate quality and want something that will build into a beautiful model with a minimum of fuss, the Woody Joe kit is hard to beat. To purchase the kit, you might be able to find it on Ebay or Amazon, but I recommend the Japanese online seller Zootoyz. I've worked with the owner, Mr. Kazunori Morikawa, for the past couple years and his service is very good. He stopped selling Woody Joe products for a while, but resumed a couple months ago. Ω
  19. 1:48 Le Coureur 1776 CAF Model Catalogue # SSL07 Available directly from CAF Model for $342USD plus shipping Le Coureur (1778) was a French lugger that Jacques and Daniel Denys built at Dunkirk and launched on 8 May 1776. HMS Alert, under the command of Lieutenant William George Fairfax, engaged and captured her on 17 June 1778, in advance of the declaration of war. In the engagement, Coureur, under the command of Enseigne de Rosily, had five men killed and seven wounded out of her crew of 50. Alert had four men wounded, two mortally. The British took Coureur into the Royal Navy under her existing name, as HMS Coureur. She was under the command of Lieutenant Christopher Major on 21 June 1780 when two American privateers, the Fortune and the Griffin, captured her outside Bonavista Bay after an action that cost her three men killed and four wounded. The Americans put Major and 30 of his men aboard Griffin, which fell prey the next day to HMS Fairy. Wikipedia The kit Le Coureur is split into two kits, Parts 1 & 2. To make things a little easier to understand here, this article will look at the contents of each individual box. Each box is a shallow, corrugated affair with a lid flap and folding edge with tabs that lock everything closed. Each box is also very full of material, so much so that when removing items to review, I had the devil’s own work in trying to get it all back in there! Still, that’s certainly nothing to complain about. Instruction manuals are nicely printed and in clear plastic sleeves, and the plans and photo-etch are also nicely packaged. All parts are also sheathed in a sealed plastic covering to stop anything moving about in transit. In the main photo, please ignore the inclusion of the Salamandre cutter. This is separate and will be reviewed soon. Pack 1 There are items within Pack 1 which pertain to Pack 2, such as side view plans with the interior, photo-etch etc. but for the sake of this article, we’ll look at them here as this is where they were found. Pack 1 is essentially a kit which produces the building cradle and the hull framing/keel etc. That’s it. So, you won’t find any embellishments, cannon or other fittings in here. What you do get are numerous ply frames that build the cradle, complete with a side plan engraved on one side, plus twelve panels of laser-cut cherry parts. This looks very easy to build and of course provides all positive locations for the keel, frames and stern timbers. CAF recommend the cradle base parts are screwed down onto a plat surface. I’ll use some high quality blockboard when my time comes, as this was excellent for the flying models I used to build, many moons ago. The latter are produced with rounded edges, and I think this is because they needed to be able to flip the parts over to add the engraving to the opposite side, plus some CNC machining……yes, CNC on laser-cut sheets! I know it’s the first time I’ve ever encountered it. As far as the engravings go, these frame parts really do require it as they mark out the bevel for this clinker-planked hull. That’s why some sheets have the engraving on the reverse too. One thing you will see on the reverse is some heat scorching. This varies from sheet to sheet, but the one I show here is the worst of them. These parts will need to first be bevelled to the engraved lines before removing the char as we don’t want to lose the engravings by simply sanding the whole sheet first. There doesn’t appear to be any loss of surface material with this, so it should clean up just fine.Each panel of parts is clearly numbered, and the part numbers are referenced with a map of the panels that’s provided in the manual for Pack 1. So, you will have a part on panel 2, for example, shown as 02-8-a for part 8a. Very simple. All frames are constructed on the series of drawings which are supplied on the rolled-up sheets. As these frames are built from parts on top of parts, the drawings also show where the overlaying frame elements sit, and you’ll need a metal setsquare to confirm things before you commit to glue. All parts will also need to be bevelled before any frame construction. Some parts panels, as mentioned, also have some CNC machining. This is to create things like the rabbet on the keel, and the bevel for deadwood bearding line. The machining itself will need to be cleaned up to smooth it out, but the majority of the material is already removed for you, so just the cosmetics will be required. Taking of CNC machining, CAF also supply some stern parts which are fully machine-shaped. These just need cutting from the blocks they are a part of, and then cleaning up. As these are naturally verry complex shapes, it’s nice to see these prefabricated for the modeller. Also in this pack, but for use with Pack 2 are two photo-etch frets, produced in brass. The larger one contains everything you would imagine you need, such as hinges, stove parts etc. An acetate sheet is included for glazing the stern windows. Pack 2 This box is identical in size to that for Pack 1, and again, contains that much material that you’ll actually struggle to put it all back properly! All items, including fittings boxes, are wrapped in a single covering of clear film. Included here are three sheets of ply, four sheets of maple (deck), and over 35 sheets of cherry wood. Ply parts are included to modify the building jig as your model progresses, and also for a display stand, although I would be sorely tempted to use the parts as templates and build a display cradle from a more suitable material. The decks are supplied as individual planks, laser cut into the maple sheets, and in the layout order in which you will install them. That’s a nice touch. I expect the laser char between them could be a good caulk representation, but I’d need to test that first. When it comes to planking, CAF supply the materials to complete the whole hull interior and exterior. The exterior is clinker, and all planks are provided as laser-cut parts over a good many of the included sheets. The instructions clearly show how this much be approached. The tricky internal planks are a godsend, especially with the taper that’s required, so the inclusion of those is also very welcome. CAF’s approach to other planked areas also follows that of the decks, where a specific area is laser cut in the order of application. It’s a no-brainer! Other parts, where applicable, are also engraved with bevel lines. Not all parts are laser cut. Three parts panels are CNC cut. These also include machined notches, and they appear to be deck beams. There are TWO fittings boxes with Le Coureur, and they are brimming with parts. The first I look at contains pins, rings, chains, lead sheeting, rigging blocks, leather, cord, clay stove parts, and a myriad of machined wooden items. First of all, the rigging blocks are machined from a dark timber and are supplied in chains that you need to cut up and clean the block ends. The machined wooden parts include the capstan and hawse, stern windows and stern embellishments. Some of the latter looks a little rough when photographed, but actually looks perfectly fine to the eye. Some very fine sanding sticks could be used to tickle anything you aren’t too happy with. To remove these fragile parts, you need to grind the backs of them over some medium abrasive paper, and they will be released. The second parts box contains numerous metal fittings. I’m not sure if these are brass or bronze, but the casting is excellent. The cannon emblems are very nice, but I was unable to get a clear pic on the bare metal. Other metal parts include anchors, hooks, triangular eyelets, hinges etc. Also in this box are various spools of rigging cord, and these also look very good quality. I was lucky enough to receive the Le Coureur nameplate, carved in pear wood, as part of their initial free gift promotion. This isn’t now included, but is available from CAF for $15. Brass wire is supplied on a wooden spool. A bundle of strip wood and dowel is included and is of high quality. Lengths are identified for size. Sail cloth is also included, but you will need to make these yourself using the plans as reference. Manuals The manuals are very good, with English that is certainly easy enough to understand (having been proof-read and corrected by our very own Kerry Jang), and especially in context with the illustrations which have coloured elements to show what’s happening. The Pack 1’s 15-page manual focuses solely on the construction of the building cradle, preparation and assembly of the frames, and of course the basic building of the hull. Hull construction ends with the fitting of the keelson, and with the skeleton still within the building cradle. The manual supplied with Pack 2 is a thicker publication, with 50 pages. Here we see the external planking, interior of the hull being fitted out with interior planking, interior bulkheads for the various compartments, floor, cabinets, sleeping berths, stove etc. The hull is indeed fully detailed within. This model is also fully masted and rigged and this is all shown in superb detail, rope by rope, rigging block by rigging block. As with the previous manual, you will need to cross identify each part with the parts map in the back of this manual. Numerous sheets of plans are supplied either rolled up or folded, and in full size. The largest, showing rigging and masting, is printed in A0 size, so you'll need a large place to hang this up! Drawings are superbly done, and to my eye, look easy to understand, but then again, I am used to studying technical and engineering drawings. Cutter This type of cutter was very typical for the time, hence the reason for its inclusion with this kit. CAF have packed this into its own little box, and it presents a project in itself. As with the main hull, this is built up using a box jig into which seventeen individual frames sit on the keel, followed by the keelson. My only criticism of this is the use of ply for the frames. I feel these should’ve been made in cherry or preferable pear. All planks are laser cut into a thin veneer and need to be handled carefully. When built up, this should look a very attractive little addition to Le Coureur. Accessories This kit includes a small box containing barrels, crates, small crates, beds and also four crew. The barrel staves are produced in thin veneer, and photo-etch for the hoops. The crates are of simple construction and the parts look great with their laser engraving. Four resin crew figures are supplied too. Conclusion This is the first time I’ve seen a CAF kit ‘in the timber’, so to speak, and I very much like this release. Production quality is high and I think it sells for a very reasonable price for the amount of work and time you will invest in the build. CAF have tried to make the dark art (for some of us!) of POF, as simple as they can with engraving lines for bevelled frame parts, machined chamfers and also pre-cut planks. Still, this will be no walk in the park if you’ve never attempted such a project before, but CAF has done as much as possible to hold your metaphorical hand throughout the build. There is some clean-up required on the rear of some panels, to remove scorching, but this won’t be too difficult, and the inclusion of those machined stern timbers is a very nice touch. Kit fittings such as stove and cannon are also nicely cast and made, and the wooden barrel and crate set add an extra degree of life to the already nicely furnished hull interior. Of course, there’s those resin crew and beds too. In all, this is a very attractive and comprehensive kit of a very worthy subject. One beauty of this POF kit is that the frames have a natural spacing which means you can still the interior if you decide to leave a number of planks off the model. Head over to CAF Model and place your order. Looking forward to seeing some build logs of this on MSW. My sincere thanks to Tom at CAF Model for the kit reviewed here. To purchase, click the link at the top of the article.
  20. 1:48 H.M.S. Alert 1777 Trident Model Available from Trident Model HMS Alert was a 10-gun cutter launched at Dover in 1777 and was converted to a sloop in the same year. On 19 September 1777, during the American War of Independence, Alert caught and engaged the American 16-gun brigantine Lexington in the English Channel. After two hours fighting, Lexington damaged Alert's rigging, and broke off the action, but Alert's crew quickly managed to repair the ship and caught up with Lexington, which was now virtually out of ammunition and unable to reply to Alert's fire. After a further one and a half hours bombardment by Alert, Lexington struck her colours, surrendering to Alert. Lexington had lost 7 men killed with 11 wounded, while Alert had two killed and 3 wounded. During the Action of 17 June 1778, Alert engaged the French 10-gun Lugger Coureur, and after 90 minutes, forced Coureur to strike. Alert was captured in the Channel by the Junon on 17 July 1778, and foundered December 1779 off the coast of America. French records show her serving as Alerte, a cutter of fourteen 4-pounder guns. Wikipedia The kit Alert is packaged into quite a large and heavy box, as befits the quantity of timber and fittings within. The box itself is sturdy and plain, except for the Trident logo and motto in the bottom right corner. When opened, you will see that the parts are broken down into different packages, labelled A, B, C and D. Each pack is protected with layers of bubble-wrap and all other parts within the box are also protected with infills of more bubble-wrap and foam. Cradle Pack As you’d imagine, this pack contains all parts to build the complex building cradle that a model like this really needs. In fact, this is probably the most unusual looking cradle I’ve seen for a POF model, but I don’t get out much really! Most parts in here are in thin MDF and are generally very flat. You will need to take exceptional care in making sure the cradle is 110% accurate as you work. A quick test of a frame sheet into a frame slot showed it to be very tight. I recommend you perhaps scrape away the laser char to make things better, but still snug. In my test, that worked for me. All the subsequent frame sheets from the other packs seem to be of consistent thickness, but you’ll need to assess each frame/slot in turn. Unlike convention, the individual frames aren’t built over a drawing. Instead, they are built within a series of MDF jigs which have plugs to stop the jigs from splaying outwards when the parts are inserted. This will keep everything tightly together whilst the glue sets. There is a risk of accidentally gluing the frames to the jigs, so I would use some clingfilm, as it used for wrapping sandwiches, and lay it over the jig before you fit the components in. As with many POF models, the frames are taller than they should be, to help with construction. These need to be cut to length later in the build. This kit provides a template which fits to the cradle, and this gives the height of every frame so you can just mark the hull with a pencil before committing to the saw. Another jig is also included into which you will assemble the keel stern prow and deadwood timbers. This should ensure you get things absolutely correct before you progress to the many frames. Pack A Each of the timber packs is labelled with the pack number, but also on the label are the numbers for the individual sheets, which is a nice touch. You can see from this one that Pack A contains 10 sheets of timber. All of these are in cherry wood. Some of the sheets in this packet vary a little in grade with regards to colour. More on that in a moment. The first thing you’ll note when opening is that all sheets are packed with cutting debris from the CNC router. A lot of this in my example is highly compacted and it takes far more than teasing it out to clean the sheets up. This material is substantial too, with both packs having enough debris to quarter-fill a small shopping carrier bag. Now, the sheet colours can vary across individual sheets and here is where I found a problem in debris removal. Where the sheets are uniform and slightly darker, the material came out fairly easily, although still time consuming. Where the wood was lighter, the debris was very difficult to remove and the edges of the machined parts were rough, and in my opinion, needed replacing as it’s likely some of that roughness wouldn’t all be sanded away during construction. One sheet in particular took a full afternoon to remove the debris, and the results highlighted lots of rough machining. As some sheets also had darker bands of timber, that is where the debris removal was quite easy, so the roughness generally seems to be limited to the lighter sheets or those with lighter bands on them. Of course, with CNC parts, whilst you get nice, sharp external corners, you do get rounded internal corners which then need to be cleaned up and the corner cut manually. You can see on these photos the rough surface to some of the part edges, some of it very jagged indeed: Aside from debris and the four aforementioned sheets, the CNC cuttings is actually very good, and each frame is constructed from around five timbers, plus chocks. Pack B A further ten sheets of cherry wood are included in this pack, again, all CNC-cut. As with the other pack, these parts, which make up more of the hull’s framing and the rest of the main construction, are simply removed from the sheets by cutting through the thin web of material that’s left from machining. A small number of parts actually dropped from the sheets as I tapped them on the bench to remove the last traces of debris from the CNC process, so I taped those back in place to protect them until build time. To contrast this, one part I removed from the sheet had a web of 1mm to cut through, so this varies. On the reverse of some sheets, there is more CNC machining for slots and channels etc. Timber grade seems to be very good, with a general consistency in the colour of timber and its finesse. All sheets are machined with the sheet number, making referral to the instruction parts plans, very simple. Packs C & D I could be wrong, but I’m fairly sure that the internals and barrels supplied with this kit (classed here as Pack D) are not standard, but for fairness, I’ve included them here as I see them as being integral to the kit review. If someone knows otherwise, I’m happy to correct this article. Both packs are wrapped into a single bubble-wrap covering, but with both labels denoting contents. Whilst C label has a list of materials, ‘D’ simply says ‘Compartment partition, Deck). For ‘C’, you will find all other constructional elements such as beams, knees, etc. Many parts have extensive slot routing as before, with the only real clean up being to square off the internal corners cut by the CNC router. Also of interest is the bowsprit. This is supplied on a flat sheet but milled roughly to shape. You need to fold the sheet and glue together before fully shaping the part to create the bowsprit. I admit that I’ve never quite seen anything like that before. Whether it saves time instead of just supplying quare timber stock that needs rounding, I guess I’ll find out. Another unusual feature are the pump tube casings. These are supplied on flat sheets and routed. You just need to cut along the outside edges and then fold into shape. I don’t know how well that will work, especially with the metal hoops. Not all parts in this pack are CNC cut. We have a number of laser-cut parts too, and some on walnut as well as cherry. Laser cut parts include the gratings, cannon cart pieces. Note how the gratings are also curved, as they should be. I have noticed how the wheels of the gun carts are devoid of any nail/bolt detail as I have seen on some of Trident’s own images. Looks like some sets were sent out without those details. Pack D holds two cheery sheets which contain various interior walls, all laser-cut and engraved. As I say, there are no instructions to help me with this and my emails to Trident haven’t been fruitful. A small number of barrels are included as their own kit, complete with photo-etch for the hoops. Another sheet of PE is included for the interior Strip Wood A small quantity of strip and dowel is included. The strip also appears to be cherry and is laser cut. The dowel looks like lime or Ramin. Some brass rod is also included in the dowel bundle. Materials quality can’t be faulted. Fittings A single box holds all of the various metal fittings, plus some laser/CNC cut parts too. The various fittings are bagged separately in clear sleeves. The timber parts include a mast base, winch gears and a stern piece. There is a little raggedness on the mast base. That is quite deep so it may need replacing. Rope quality is very good with no fuzziness. Castings are generally very good too, as seen here with the anchor and cannon. Details on the cannon are nice and defined. Many parts are provided on a casting block and will need to be removed from that before use. Some parts don’t have as good a definition as others, as can be seen by the swivel guns. Ignore the dirty appearance of the stove parts, as these are cast reasonably well and should be more than useable. Other fittings include copper eyelets, belaying pins, and deadeyes. Instructions and plans One large plan sheet is included with all the required elevations and details, including some part numbering too. This is printed full size to the model. A spiral-bound instruction manual is included which shows the various stages in line drawing format. The accompanying text is useable if not a little confusing. It definitely could’ve benefited from being proofread by someone who can speak English. An unusual addition is a sticker sheet with parts drawn on it. These are applied to the respective parts and the hashed areas are used as your guide to bevel these parts. In the absence of a multi-axis cutting machine at Trident, these will serve the job pretty well. Conclusion Trident have produced a really nice model here, with extensive use of CNC routing and innovations that aim to make this as easy to assemble as possible. That CNC does come at the cost of the bag full of waste material you need to remove from around each part, of which there are many. On my example, sheets were severely impacted with waste material, and dental picks etc. still struggled to remove it. When the material was eventually cleaned out, four of these sheets exhibited rough/jagged machining which damaged the surface edges of many parts. Despite several repeated requests to replace these sheets for this review, Trident haven’t answered emails for around 7 weeks now, and I have sent quite a few. PMs to them here on MSW also haven’t been answered. The remainder of the parts are superbly made, which is a real shame. When it comes to fittings, again, these are very, very good, being nicely cast metal parts such as the cannon and anchors, plus numerous other fittings. A small number of these are perhaps not as good as other, such as the swivel guns which look a little messy. In all, for the money, and providing you aren’t unlucky enough to get some rough parts sheets, Alert could well be a nice project to guide you into your first POF model. I’m led to believe that the interior parts and barrels aren’t included as standard, meaning another purchase. Those parts also don’t feature on any instructions, and to date, there are none I can talk of. Of course, H.M.S. Alert makes a great stablemate for CAF Model’s Le Coureur. However, if you wanted to choose between one or the other, then my money would be on the CAF Model kit, with its complete mast rig and interior. CAF, unlike Trident, also seem to be responsive to queries and correct any mistakes. My thanks to Trident Model for the sample reviewed here on MSW. To date, there is no website through which to order. When I know of one, I’ll amend this article.
  21. New Shipwright’s Series from Model Shipways NORWEGIAN SAILING PRAM - Kit #MS1471 Skill Level 2 Scale 1:12 Overall length 12 1/2 inches - Overall Height 15 1/2 inches - Baseboard 3 1/2 inches x 7 inches This kit is the second in the new Shipwright’s Series of progressive model tutorials designed by David Antscherl for Model Shipways a division of Model Expo. These kits fill a void in our hobby for simple but good kits that teach the new model builders the necessary skills to enable them to move on to build bigger more complex kits. Photo of finished model by Model Shipways For many years, Midwest Model Products manufactured a great series of kits that were designated as Level 1 through Level 4 designed to teach the beginner wood boat modeler the basic skills a wooden boat modeler needs to learn. New ownership cancelled the line several years ago and the hobby has needed replacements which Model Shipways is now providing with the new Shipwright’s Series. The Norwegian Sailing Pram kit is labeled as a Skill Level 2 kit and the instructions say, “For this second, intermediate kit, some previous knowledge is necessary in order to be successful”. The first kit in the series, labeled as a Skill Level 1 kit is a 1:24 scale Lowell Grand Banks Dory and the instructions say, “For this introductory kit, no previous knowledge is assumed or necessary”. (The Lowell Grand Banks Dory is reviewed separately here on MSW). A nice feature of the kit series is the listing of all tools needed to build each kit. This kit lists the same tools as the Dory kit with several additional tools needed and a couple optional tools that while nice are not truly needed for this kit. Unpacking the box finds a full color 43 page instruction manual, a list of all the parts contained in the box, nine sheets of laser cut Basswood, cloth for the sail, a plastic bag containing three diameters of nylon rigging line, a small sheet of photo etch, a bag of 16 Brass nails, a 3” piece of 24 gauge Copper wire, a 3” piece of 1/16” Bras rod, a 3” piece of 1/23” Brass rod and a 3” piece of Brass tube. Also included is a bag with four oarlocks and 3 rigging clips. These parts are of cast Britannia with the rigging clips being free of flash or mold lines and the oarlocks showing some very even and easily removed mold lines on the outer edges. Overall, the materials are very good. The instructions for this kit like all the instructions for Model Shipways kits are downloadable as a pdf from the Model Expo website. https://modelexpo-online.com/ I highly recommend the new Shipwright series of kits from Model Shipways. I recommend this kit for the second kit to build from the series. If you are asked by a fledging modeler to recommend a good kit to start with I have no hesitation in recommending that they be told to look at the new Shipwright’s Series and that this kit be number two right after the Lowell Grand Banks Dory kit. A separate paint kit is available from Model Shipways (#MS1471MS - Model Shipways Norwegian Sailing Pram Paint Set). The paint set Includes 4 1oz bottle of each color. Colors included are Warm White, Hull Bottom Copper Red, Primer and Clear Satin Protective finish.
  22. New Shipwright’s Series from Model Shipways LOWELL GRAND BANKS DORY - Kit #MS1470 Skill Level 1 Scale 1:24 Overall Length 10 inches Overall Height 1 1/2 inches Overall Width 3 inches Baseboard 3 1/2 inches x 11 inches This is the first kit in the new Shipwright’s Series of progressive model tutorials designed by David Antscherl for Model Shipways a division of Model Expo. These kits fill a void in our hobby for simple but good kits that teach the new model builders the necessary skills to enable them to move on to build bigger more complex kits. PHOTO OF FINISHED MODEL BELOW BY MODEL SHIPWAYS 27 PAGE INSTRUCTION MANUAL For many years, Midwest Model Products manufactured a great series of kits that were designated as Level 1 through Level 4 designed to teach the beginner wood boat modeler the basic skills a wooden boat modeler needs to learn. New ownership cancelled the line several years ago and the hobby has needed replacements which Model Shipways is now providing with the new Shipwright’s Series. The Lowell Grand Banks Dory kit is labeled as a Skill Level 1 kit and the instructions say, “For this introductory kit, no previous knowledge is as­sumed or necessary”. The second kit in the series, labeled as a Skill Level 2 kit is a 1:12 scale Norwegian Sailing Pram and the instructions say, “For this second, intermediate kit, some previous knowledge is necessary in order to be successful”. (The Norwegian Sailing Pram is reviewed separately here on MSW). A nice feature of the kit series is the listing of all tools needed to build each kit. Unpacking the box finds a 27 page full color instruction manual, a list of all the parts contained in the box, eight sheets of laser cut Basswood, two strips of 1/16” x 1/16” x 12” Basswood, one strip of 3/64” x 1/8” x 12 Basswood, one strip of 3/64” x 3/64” x 6” Basswood and a 12” piece of 2mm (0.08”) nylon line. Overall, the materials are very good. There are two versions of this kit available. The basic kit (#1470) and the basic kit with the addition of all tools, paint and glue needed to complete the kit (#1470CB). The tools and paint included are tweezers, 6 mini spring clamps, 3 paintbrushes, 2 pieces of sandpaper (150 & 220 grit), a Model Expo brand (Xacto type) knife and 3 blades (#11, saw and chisel), wood glue, Model Expo brand 1 oz. bottles of acrylic Ochre paint and Bulwark Dark Green paint. I highly recommend the new Shipwright series of kits from Model Shipways. I recommend this kit for the first kit to build from the series. If you are asked by a fledging modeler to recommend a good kit to start with I have no hesitation in recommending that they be told to look at the new Shipwright’s Series and that this kit be number one.
  23. 1/50 Viking Longship – Drakkar Amati Catalogue # 1406/01 Longships were a type of ship invented and used by the Norsemen (commonly known as the Vikings) for commerce, exploration, and warfare during the Viking Age. The longship's design evolved over many centuries, beginning in the Stone Age with the invention of the umiak and continuing up until the 6th century with clinker-built ships like Nydam and Kvalsund. The longship appeared in its complete form between the 9th and 13th centuries, and the character and appearance of these ships have been reflected in Scandinavian boat-building traditions until today. The particular skills and methods employed in making longships are still used worldwide, often with modern adaptations. They were all made out of wood, with cloth sails (woven wool) and had numerous details and carvings on the hull. Longships were characterized as a graceful, long, narrow and light, with a shallow-draft hull designed for speed. The ship's shallow draft allowed navigation in waters only one meter deep and permitted arbitrary beach landings, while its light weight enabled it to be carried over portages or used bottom-up for shelter in camps. Longships were also double-ended, the symmetrical bow and stern allowing the ship to reverse direction quickly without a turnaround; this trait proved particularly useful at northern latitudes, where icebergs and sea ice posed hazards to navigation. Longships were fitted with oars along almost the entire length of the boat itself. Later versions had a rectangular sail on a single mast, which was used to replace or augment the effort of the rowers, particularly during long journeys. Drakkar are only known from historical sources, such as the 13th-century Göngu-Hrólfs saga. Here, the ships are described as elegant and ornately decorated, and used by those who went raiding and plundering. These ships were likely skeids that differed only in the carvings of menacing beasts, such as dragons and snakes, carried on the prow of the ship. These carvings allegedly protected the ship and crew and warded off the terrible sea monsters of Norse mythology. It is however likely that the carvings, like those on the Oseberg ship, might have had a ritual purpose, or that the purported effect was to frighten enemies and townspeople. No true dragon ship, as defined by the sagas, has been found by archaeological excavation. Extract from Wikipedia The kit This isn’t a new kit, and in fact I know this was once released under the name Oseberg Viking Ship, again by Amati, some years ago. I know there to have been at least two boxings of this over the years. In fact, some vendors still have it listed as this, or may even carry that older kit in stock. I’m unsure as to when the kit changed its name to the current Drakkartitle. The kit itself comes in a high quality, glossy and attractive box, carrying a colour image of the profile of the vessel on the lid, and accompanying small detail photo. It can be seen on the lid that the 1/50 scale equates to 44cm length. Inside the box, Amati has given some strength to the packaging my adding a card shelf to make the interior shallower and preventing the contents from rattling around because there is surprisingly little timber by the way of sheets, than you might expect due to the way Amati has approached the design. A Plywood sheet contain the keel which incorporates the curved bow and stern, plus also the nine bulkheads that are notched to match their respective positions on the keel. As you see, the construction is quite traditional in this respect, and the shallow draught of the ship is the reason for a relatively low number of ply sheets. Now, whilst there is of course some strip stock in this kit, the ship’s planking isn’t associated with this. Instead of what would be a rather complicated method of planking, this particular model is provided with two sheets of thin, laser-cut planks which are perfectly shaped to follow the contours of the hull, and also sit within the stepped recesses of the bulkheads. These planks are produced from very thin plywood and just require the scorched edges of the parts gently sanded and then sitting into the recesses. Those bulkhead recesses will need to be slightly sanded for the planks to fully conform, and most definitely at both stem and stern. This is clearly shown in the accompanying instruction manual. It is also necessary, again shown on the instructions, to trace a curve to stem and stern, which sets the line against which to plank to. Also presented in plywood is the main deck, in two large main pieces, and three small sections. With the model planked and the tops of the bulkheads previously sanded to conform to the keel, these can be attached and then planked with the supplied strip stock. Deck planking is done in short pieces that only span between each former. I’m pretty sure that these sections could be removed on the real thing, and tools, weapons and food stored in the void below. Strip wood stock is included for the deck planking, and dowel for the mast and oars. Timber quality is excellent, with tape holding together the various bundles. A smaller piece of walnut sheet is also included, and this contains parts for the rudder paddle, oar storage frames, rigging blocks, belaying posts and bases etc. Laser cutting quality is nice and fine with only minimal timber to snip through to release each part. For protection, all timber sheets are placed in a thick, clear sleeve, as are the instructions manual and plans. Fittings Sitting on top of the timber sheet is a vac-form plastic box with a removable clear lid. The box has six compartments holding a few loose wooden pieces, rigging cord, as well as the metal fixtures and fittings for the Drakkar. The small number of loose wooden pieces are for the cleats. These just need a little final shaping before use. A large bag of metal shields is included, with their respective bosses and timber details cast in situ. I’m unsure as the metal for these, but they aren’t white metal, and possibly some alloy. They have also been given an aged finish, but I would carefully paint these to make them look more realistic. A single anchor is provided in metal, utilising a wooden stock, and a small length of brass chain is provided for this. A small number of cast white metal parts are included, and these are for the ship’s dragon head (with separate horns and tongue) and a deck bucket (slop outtoilet?), longbow, axe etc. The casting here is very nice and when painted, should really look the part. A bag of brass nails is included, and these are well-formed and sharp, unlike some I’ve used over the years. You are best drilling a small pilot hole before applying these, so you don’t split any timber when you drive them through the hull planks and into the bulkheads. As Viking Drakkar were of a very shallow draught, the mast needed something substantial to hold it in place. Under the deck would have been a keelson to locate the base of the mast, but above deck, this was achieved via a hefty wooden block. That had a wedge as part of its structure. As far as I can tell, these were called the mastfish and wedge, respectively. For some seriously interesting information on these vessels, check out this link: http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/manufacturing/text/norse_ships.htm As well as two sizes of rigging cord for standard and running rig, a piece of sailcloth is also included. You will need to make the sail yourself, including the diagonal strips that run at 90 degrees to each other. You need to sew along the edges after folding them in, replicating the looping stitch that should be seen. One thing you’ll need to do is to buy some fabric paint for the sail stripes. Aging the sail can be done with the age-old method of soaking in tea, should you wish. However, another method is to soak in a Potassium Permanganate (KMNO4) solution. Only a little is needed, and you can gauge the finish on a test piece as the colour develops when you remove from the solution. Also included is a chest that can be sat on the deck as extra detail. This is cast from a cream-coloured resin. Plans and instructions Amati include an 8-page basic instruction manual for this model, guiding you through the principle steps of the model and explaining the various key areas of construction. Illustrations are in line drawing format and are clear to understand, despite the Italian text. A separate sheet with English annotation is also supplied for those of us who haven’t grasped the rudimentary elements of that beautiful language. Of course, a plan is also included for the model which describes things in greater detail, including the rigging stages. This is also typically easy to understand and also contains the shapes for a good number of kit parts, so if you were to screw up, then with a little extra timber, you can right your wrongs. Conclusion As I originally stated, this isn’t a new kit, but it is one that has stood the test of time and for me, still ranks as the best-looking Drakkar you can buy in kit form, and certainly the most authentic in appearance. I know some people don’t like the plywood planking, but as you shouldn’t need to thin the planks much (if at all), then this doesn’t feature as an issue for me. Some timber edges will need to have the charring from the laser cutting removed, but again, this isn’t a problem as far as I’m concerned. Amati has designed this kit to be relatively straightforward and they have succeeded. As far as price goes, it can vary, but I’ve seen in in the UK/EU for around £90 to £100. I’ll start my own building log of this on Model Ship World very shortly. My sincere thanks to Amati for sending this kit out for review here on MSW.
  24. HMS Enterprize (1774) CAF Models Review by Dr. Kerry Jang HMS Enterprize was the lead ship of the Enterpize class of 1770. The class was designed by Sir John Williams with a gross dimensions and tons of 120’6” (gun deck), 99’6” (keel), 33’6” (beam), 11’ (depth of hold) and to carry 200,men. Armament was 24 x 9 pound guns on the upper deck, 4 x 3 pound guns on the quarter deck, and 12 swivel guns. She was ordered in January 1771, Keel laid on September 9, 1771 at Deptford, launched August 24, 1774; hulked in 1791. Twenty-seven ships composed this class. A pair of paintings of the ship by Joseph Marshall in 1775 is held by the Science Museum in Kensington and the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Enterprise served as a cruiser and convoy escort. Her most notable action occurred on June 7, 1780 whilst at Gibraltar when her crew spotted six Spanish fire ships drifting into the harbour toward the fleet at anchor. A warning salvo was fired to alert the fleet and the Enterprize’s cables cut to allow the ship to drift away from the hulks and opened fire on the hulks in an attempt to sink them. The Spanish fleet lay outside the harbour for any British ships trying to escape so the British seamen boarded the small the fire ships to attach lines to away from the fleet and burn themselves out. On April 27, 1782 near the Leeward Islands she captured the 22-gun American privateer Mohawk which was later taken into Royal Navy service. Mohawk was sold in1783. Enterprize was decommissioned in May 1784 and from 1790 she served as a receiving ship and hulked in 1791. In 1806 she was taken to Deptford and broken up in 1807. Lines, profile and decoration drawings of Surprize as built can be purchased from the Royal Museums Greenwich (National Maritime Museum). The Kit CAF MODELS of Shanghai, China has created a stunning 1/48 scale Admiralty model of HMS Enterprize. Before reviewing the kit a few words about wooden sailing ship kits from Chinese producers is warranted because they are not all created equal. In 2001 China was allowed to formally join the World Trade Organization (WTO) which meant the country had to abide by international trade agreements and practices such as copyright protection. Prior to 2001, China was the largest source of counterfeit goods that focused on covered luxury goods, cosmetics, sportswear, and appliances. As a result of joining the WTO, far fewer counterfeit goods are no longer produced or available in China, but remains a problem because copying has become a way of life and normal practice for many manufacturers. This problem is endemic among many wooden model kit producers in China who readily use copyrighted drawings to produce their kits without acknowledgement or licence, and these kits are readily available on shopping websites. They will continue to do this as long as it is profitable so do not buy these unlicensed and counterfeit kits. A concerted effort by Model Ship World and the Nautical Research Guild to highlight these practices and alert model makers to the counterfeit products is having success and has gone further to lend an open and willing hand to any Chinese producers who wish to abide by the WTO and international agreements. One of these companies is CAF MODELS located in Shanghai, China. CAF MODELS first came to attention for producing unlicenced kits of French vessels from the ANCRE collection of drawings and monographs. With the help of members of the Model Ship World community, proper agreements between ANCRE and CAF MODELS are being negotiated and to CAF MODELS’ credit, has stopped selling any models based on ANCRE material until an agreement is signed. These kits will return once the agreement is finalized and signed. In the meantime, CAF MODELS has a number of original kits for sale such as HMS Enterprize, with several more under development. CAF MODELS kits are designed and manufactured by Mr. CAO Feng, or in English -- Tom Cao. Tom is an engineer by profession and used CAD to design kits from Admiralty drawings and other references. His CAD designs have become very precise and is able to detect and correct draughting errors in commercially available plans and well-known sources. I had the pleasure of meeting him and his lovely family in Shanghai in 2018 where he kindly took me to his home to show me how he designed model kits and his extensive reference library. On a funny note, I am a third generation Canadian Chinese and speak Cantonese Chinese. Tom speaks Shanghaiese Chinese and our dialects are mutually unintelligible. The two of us had to use an English translator on his phone to converse! Tom is a talented and keen modeller and with his engineering training tries to design kits that are faithful to the actual construction practices of the actual ship or model with an eye to ease of construction for the modeller. The kits are continually upgraded to take into account improvements in design and materials or to correct errors. All kits are manufactured in house and Tom builds the lasers to cut them out. For his latest designs he is building a series of CNC cutting machines to avoid laser cutting char marks. Carvings for figureheads and relief carvings are done using CNC routers guided by 3D renderings. The wood used for the kits are cherry, boxwood, pear, and maple imported from North America and Europe. He experiments with other traditional materials such as ox bone for window frames to replicate materials used by traditional craftsmen of the 18th Century. Tom is in the white shirt and myself in the black t shirt. Note that the phone with a translator is open so we could chat and that the kit is the French bomb ketch SALAMANDRE based on the Boudriot plans. This kit is off the market until the licence agreement with ANCRE is finalized. The kit provides the parts to build a fully framed Admiralty style model of the ship that measures 33” in length with a beam of 8.2”. The kit arrives in a shipping carton containing 6 large boxes chock a block full with wooden parts and fittings, and a bundle of wooden strip stock. The boxes in total weigh in around 20 kgs! The parts in each box are well protected in foam and sealed in bags or cello wrapped to prevent damage and loss. The CAF kit is packed in six large boxes and a bundle of strip wood stock. Each box is numbered and along with the parts are numbered sheets that lay out the assembly steps and identifies all of the parts contained in a box. By way of example, the contents of box #1 contains several laser cut sheets of ship’s frames, instruction booklet, and 1:1 scale exploded view of how each frames is to be constructed. A closer look at the wooden parts show that each piece is neatly cut by laser with no excess burning and the bevel lines are etched into the wood. The wood on this kit is cherry, and it has a nice warm brownish tone and is very fine grained. The char marks left by the laser cutting on the edge is relatively light and most of it is sanded away during the fairing of the hull. All lasers cut parts on a slight angle (has to do with beam deflection as it burns through the wood) so some mating faces are not 90° degrees and must be gently sanded square using a disk sander. Typical contents of a box. Laser cut frame parts. The plans in each box contains 1:1 scale drawings to identify each part. A close up of the laser cutting. Parts are attached to the sheet using small tabs that are easily cut away with a sharp hobby knife. The kit contains thousands of laser cut parts. Deck beams, knees, dowels for stub masts, building jig parts, drawings and the first box of fittings made from a multitude of different materials. Some of the stem and keel parts and building jig pieces to construct the cant frames. The kit also contains some interesting some CNC cut parts that are cut in three dimensions to capture their unique double curvature shapes that cannot be cut using a laser. In other kits, such parts are provided as a metal or resin piece that must be painted to look like wood but in this kit it is wood. CNC cut wooden parts in three dimensions. Strip wood is labelled, clean and straight and cut by a saw. The Building Jig The model is built in an elaborate plywood jig that holds the keel, stem, stern and frames in the exact locations and square to one another. The building jig is also designed to hold the cant frames in the correct orientation so they can be built up and faired in place. The jig itself is made up of several parts and is a major project in itself. A selection of the framing jig parts. The jig parts are provided in good quality birch ply and slot together neatly with little or no sloppiness to the joints. Despite the care taken by CAF MODELS, the jig should be assembled carefully and one must ensure all joints are correct. Any misalignment will be transferred to the hull as it is constructed. An illustration as to how the cant frame bow jig is used. Fittings With box after box full of laser and CNC cut parts, there are also smaller boxes of fittings in wood, metal, glass, and bone. Of particular note are that the carvings and sculptures that adorn large ships of the line have always been difficult to reproduce for modellers who are not experienced at carving. Often kits provide a heavy metal or resin figurehead or carvings that must either be gilded or painted. Model makers have often wished that the carvings were provided in wood, just as seen on Admiralty models. CAF Models have done this by providing the carvings in wood. This is not pressed fiberboard but an actual 3D CNC cut set of sculptures as shown in the photos. Ships guns are in cast brass and are fully detailed with the royal cyphers. Anchors and other metal parts also provided as brass castings. All other of the required fittings are provided in brass, glass, wood and good quality cordage. Each is neatly labelled and packaged. Note that the spokes for the ship's helm are individual parts. Glass cover slips for microscope slides is provided to glaze the windows. The ship's stove is a miniature photetched brass kit, Instructions The instructions are contained in a series of booklets and plans. The instructions are pictorial in nature so that modeller does not have to rely on a working knowledge of Chinese at all. There are some English instructions which in some cases makes little sense because something got lost in translation - but with the picture the meaning becomes clear. Running the Chinese text through Google Translate provides a good sense of the Chinese instructions. The drawings and plans are crisp and the parts match the drawings precisely. Drawings are colour coded to keep things straight and are neatly and cleanly printed. Future kits will have better English instructions included. All parts are labelled and construction fully illustrated so no need to know how to read Chinese to build the model. Each booklet has several illustrated steps to construction. Full size profile and lines are provided. Frame plans to help align all of the separate futtocks. The kit also provides a full sheet of waterslide decals to reproduce the painted friezes adorning the ship’s side and stern. The modeller can paint these friezes if desired, but the decals provide a neat option. My advice for applying the decals is that the designs are cut close to the printed colours as possible, and applied to a glossy surface by sealing the wooden hull sides with a gloss varnish. The designs are later sealed with a coat of matt or satin varnish as desired. Conclusions If you want to build an Admiralty style model and don’t have the tools, access to wood stock, skills or inclination then CAF Model's Enterprize is an excellent way to build one. All that is required is included in the boxes that saves you from having to source materials and tools. All of the materials are top notch and having seen the prototype model at Tom's home, is well designed and goes together well. It is rare to find a kit this well produced and the innovation and constant upgrading CAF MODELS does on its kits ensures improves ease of construction, and quality of materials and design continually improves. The sheer complexity of the kit will keep the modeller busy for a long time and especial care and fitting of the many parts is the order of the day -- this is no different that scratch building so your skills will be challenged and honed over time. The kit is excellent value for the money. CAF MODEL's next kit is Le Coureur based on drawings from the National Maritime Museum, and a set of figures is being designed to crew the ship. The review kit was purchased directly from CAF MODELS courtesy of my wallet. Payment was by PayPal and China Post delivered it to Canada Post in excellent shape and in good time. Tom Cao stands by all his products and should you find a faulty part or broke something, he will help you with replacements. If you have an earlier kit and want the latest upgrades to it, you can contact him and he can supply it at a nominal cost. Tom is responsive to e-mail within a day or two in my experience. With scratch building, masting and rigging can be added to really make the model stand out even moreso. That is what I plan to do in due course. Happy Modelling! Kerry Jang Vancouver, Canada
  25. 1:8 Ferrari Timossi Racer ‘Arno XI’ (Special Edition) Amati Model Catalogue # 1610 Available from Amati for €319.67, excluding tax The Arno XI is a hydroplane inspired by Achille Castoldi in the early 1950s and built by the Cantiere Timossi boatyard, located in Azzano (a frazione of Mezzegra) on the Lake Como. Castoldi wanted to establish a world water speed record so he persuaded then Ferrari racing drivers Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi to influence Enzo Ferrari to supply him with a 4.5-litre, V12 Ferrari engine; the same engine that gave Ferrari his first Grand Prix victory with the Ferrari 375 F1 at Silverstone Circuit in 1951. The engine was installed in a Timossi three-point racing hydroplane hull. Castoldi managed to further increase horsepower by attaching two superchargers. The result was a 502 bhp speedboat, which he used to hit a 150.19 mph top speed in October 1953 on Lake Iseo. This world speed record for an 800 kg boat still stands today. Arno XI was later sold and raced in numerous competitions, finally retiring in 1960. It has since been restored and as of December 2019, is expected to go for up for sale by RM Auctions for up to €1.5m. Information and photo taken from Wikipedia The kit The Arno XI is far from a new release, with the original kit first seen around the 1990s. That specific release is still available and has a traditional built-up hull that the modeller must plank with the supplied strip wood. I have seen one of these built up in a model shop in Manchester, UK, a good number of years ago, and it was outstanding! When Amati asked if I would like to take a look at the newer version of this kit, in Special Edition format, I really couldn’t refuse. What makes this kit different to the original is that the entire hull is pre-built in glass fibre. If that’s not enough, then it’s also pre-planked in mahogany and polished too! With the cockpit superstructure already being a fibreglass composite component, then this model is as close as you can get to the hard stuff being done for you. It’s also suitable for Radio Control (RC), and measures in at an impressive 79cm. Now, this box is large and reasonably heavy too. A glossy sleeve envelopes the box, with a large image of a completed and mounted model, resplendent in the famous Ferrari red. The box sides show images of the box contents, and most impressively, that pre-built hull. But, what does it actually look like? OK….here goes. Removing that sleeve is amazingly difficult as the fit is so tight. It took both myself and my wife to extract it without causing it damage. With that carefully removed, the tabbed box lid was opened to reveal the contents. Of course, I knew what I was going to see, but actually seeing it was something else! The pre-built hull is absolutely stunning. Amati has carefully packed this so that the other elements such as boxed components and manual, cause no damage to the beautiful finish of the main model. The cockpit/engine superstructure, is also sat in situ, giving a real impression of how this model will look once complete. With all of the packing components removed, the hull is now lifted from the box. There’s quite some weight in this, but probably not much different to how the traditional construction hull would weigh. In fact, this could be a tad lighter, dependent on the thickness of the glass fibre moulding. A quick check around the exterior showed that there were no real causes for concern regarding the finished quality of this and the safe shipping of it to get to me in the UK. Hull planking is extremely high quality, with nice, tight grained mahogany creating that famous finish. The whole surface is also very smooth. In fact, the only thing that you might do to finish that aspect is to give it a final coat of high-gloss varnish instead of the satin/low-gloss finish the model comes with. There will be some smaller details to add to the timber finish such as metal edging and brass nails. We’ll look at those soon. For the moment, I now remove the superstructure and look within the hull. The is secured by two nuts which fit to bolts that are secured into the bottom of the hull. One quick note here is that the hull interior or quite dusty from the manufacturing process, and I suggest the use of a mini keyboard hoover and a damp cloth to totally clean out the interior before you continue with any sort of paint or varnish work. That extremely nice mahogany planking extends to the undersides, despite the fact that some of this will of course be sheathed by large pieces of photo etch metal. The superstructure is also comprised of glass fibre sections which have been carefully assembled and have a very smooth external finish. The external details include nicely even engraving for panel lines. The bare cockpit will be fully fitted out in some superbly sumptuous fittings, as we’ll shortly see. Here, you can clearly see the fibreglass box which forms the bottom of the cockpit. The superstructure itself is also quite weighty. Some very minor clean-up will be required before work commences. Here, you can see the interior of the basic cockpit, with the holes/washers that fasten the superstructure to the lower hull. The box units that are built into the walls, will support the upholstered chair. You will need to make the seat removable, should you every wish to be able to remove the superstructure for the RC model version. For static, it isn’t necessary. Also of note here is that this release doesn’t detail how you would fit this model out for RC, but for an enthusiast, I can’t see it being too much of a problem as the interior of the superstructure and hull are quite easy to work within, being very accessible. An instrument panel is also fitted into the cockpit as a base for the detailed unit which will sit atop this. You’ll see that the vents just in front of the cockpit will also need to be cleaned up before you start to paint the superstructure. Now, if you know someone who works in an automotive garag and can persuade them to give a perfect Ferrari red finish to this unit, then that would be even better than using hobby paints, as a good two-part epoxy paint finish would really set this model off. Lying underneath the tail of the hydroplane hull is a touch cellophane sleeve that contains three sheets of material (MDF and mahogany veneer). This first sheet contains a couple of cores and frames for some cockpit detail work, but also has a number of parts for what will form a cradle for holding the completed model. These will need to be secured to a long wooden plinth, set 300mm apart, but this plinth is not included in this release, so you’ll have to check out your favourite hobby outlet. Laser cutting is very good, within fine cuts and minimal scorch. This next sheet contains parts that will be fitted within the hull, around the box area for the cockpit. The idea here is to provide mid-hull rigidity and stop the modeller from over-tightening the superstructure mounting nuts and compressing the fibreglass/timber hull too much. The last sheet of timber is this mahogany veneer. These parts are for the lower cockpit side walls, cockpit floor and also the rear of the pilot’s pedals. Laser cutting is excellent and provides to cause for scorch concern on these decorative parts. Tucked away in the main packaging jigsaw is this box of components. Whilst not actual leather, the seat, headrest and upper cockpit sidewalls are comprised of cores that are hand-stitched with faux-leather and actually look superb! After all, this is a Ferrari! There are standards to maintain… A good number of metal trim parts are supplied, with their chrome finish. The twisted part you see here is actually for the spine of the superstructure, also running down the back end of the tail. You are advised to check these against the unpainted unit and adjust if necessary. You really do need these to be fit-perfect when it comes to the painted model. A length of brass rod is also supplied. Another bag of parts contains a number of chrome plated metal elements. Here you see the steering wheel and parts for mounting the long propeller shaft on the underside of the hull. All parts are superbly made and have perfect plating. No extra work is needed with these. And here is the propeller shaft with integral prop. These will look stunning against the mahogany of the lower hull. In another bag we have a whole series of parts which will be dispersed around the model. Here, you can see blisters for the upper engine cowls, mounting stirrups for the long exhaust units, pump/syphon unit, and also a small number of cockpit parts. There are a lot of screws supplied with this kit, for various tasks, such as fitting the chrome trims etc. Not only do you get the screws, but there are numerous drill bits supplied to do the job too, ensuring you don’t drill anything with too large a diameter. This nifty little unit is the rudder and mounting unit. Constructed from various components, this ready-assembled unit does actually move with a nice, smooth motion. It looks like it’s been made in a Swiss watch factory! All chrome trims have been pre-shaped. All you need to do is to check them against the hull and superstructure, and tweak if necessary. They are also pre-drilled to accept the fastening screws. These are the exhaust units, and they are both long and heavy, made from brass and chrome-plated, these units screw to the superstructure engine cowls and also rest on the stirrups that are mounted to the top of the hull. The ends are also hollow for realism. More trim and décor here! Yes, there’s another box of parts with a relatively small part’s count. A photo-etch instrument panel is included, complete with the authentic, vintage finish that’s been pre-etch. Onto this will fit the metal bezels, and acetate/printed instruments will fit from behind. The mahogany hull will need to be drilled and fitted out with brass pins. These are scattered everywhere along the various planks on all sides of the timber unit. Whilst this is immensely tedious, the finish that it will provide will look amazingly authentic. If you want an RC model, I suggest you can the pins short, so they don’t protrude too far within the hull. When inserted, you really need to give the hull a delicate, overall sanding to ensure nothing stands proud of the surface. You can also see the cowl latch tensioning springs here and some fastenings for the model mounting brackets. This packet contains printed instruments, a roll of rigging cord for which its inclusion still eludes me (!!) and also a few more brass parts that I still need to identify. In another packet we have some dowel for constructing the foot pedal tube, and other material which would be used for syphon tubes etc. I think this part represents the rear of the fuel tank, possibly. It protrudes into the cockpit and is located behind the pilot’s seat. This is a vac-form part that needs trimming and painting in aluminium before installation. A sheet of decals is included for the superstructure exterior, with the race number, pilot name and also the iconic Ferrari logo and badges. Again, not too sure about some stuff here, but I’m sure the acetate is included for the instruments. This LARGE photo-etch sheet is finished in nickel-silver and contains parts for the sides/undersides of the hydroplane wings, as well as for the cockpit floor. Another, smaller PE sheet contains finishing plates, latches, foot pedal plates, instrument bezels etc. The instruction book for this kit is superb, being printed in colour photograph format, and with clear annotation. The only problem for uncultured types like me is that it’s in Italian. Things are pretty self-explanatory, but should you need a translation, then it isn’t too difficult with stuff like Google Translate etc. There are twenty pages in this manual, and I’ve photographed numerous here for you to get a feeling about the manual and the kit itself. Two large plan sheets are included, one with several views of the actual vessel, and one with images of parts sheets etc. Conclusion This is quite an extraordinary kit, not just in subject choice, but also in the quality of the prefabricated parts. This is very much designed for someone who wants to either sail under RC or display in their cabinet/office, without too much of the fuss of spending countless hours in building, planking, sealing and polishing. The whole package is quite sumptuous, including the numerous fittings, photo-etch and of course that hand-stitched upholstery on the pilot’s seat. I do also think that the price of this kit, for what is offered, is very good value indeed, and yet still presents the modeller with a reasonable amount of work to do to create that famous Italian hydroplane. Amati’s instruction manual, albeit in Italian, is still straightforward to follow with its clear photographs and annotation. If this subject has ever tickled your fancy, get some Christmas money spent on one and create a truly iconic vintage vessel. My sincere thanks to Amati for the kit reviewed here on Model Ship World. To purchase, click the link at the top of this article, or contact your local Amati importer/distributor.
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