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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.
Please welcome and thank "Navarino Models" for becoming a new sponsor of MSW. Navarino Models produce model kits of ancient and traditional Greek ships as well as commercial vessels. Visit their web site and check them out. I am happy they contacted us to become a sponsor. www.navarinomodels.com