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ENDURANCE by OcCre

1/70 scale

MSRP €159.95

 

Endurance

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.)

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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The walnut sheet includes parts for a display cradle.

 

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The shrink-wrapped bundle includes an etched brass sheet that includes ladders, recessed door panels, trailboards, and ship’s name.

 

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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.

 

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Fittings

 

A single, compartmented plastic box contains the fittings. The box was taped to prevent its contents from spilling during shipment.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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The rest of the fittings box is filled with garden-variety wood and metal parts: blocks, deadeyes, mast hoops, belaying pins, eyebolts, nails, etc.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Image courtesy of OcCre

 

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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.

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1 hour ago, CMBurns said:

What do you think about the scale of the model...?...And what about the level of detail / quality of the kit elements?

 

I have no opinion on the scale (1/70). The finished model is 754 mm (roughly 30"), so it's a fairly large model. As I described in the review, the wood elements are very good, but I would say that the fittings are average. Were I to build it, I would definitely want to upgrade some fittings. But, as the prototype demonstrates, a straightforward out-of-box build can produce a striking model.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The 1959 book, Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing, is a gripping tale of survival and I have been hoping that someone would make a kit of the Endurance. There are so many wonderful ship models with fascinating histories and I'm happy to see that Occre has made a kit for the Endurance.  I'll have to add this one to the queue.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/20/2021 at 1:15 PM, Keith Black said:

 The way this piece is cut I'm not surprised, it's almost like it's asking to be broken off. I'm sure it's fixable but it is a pain in the backside. 

 

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That damaged keel wouldn't have happened if they left the keel in its sheet, rather than removing it from the sheet and packing it in the box. I guess it's a weight saving measure. Plus, as they shrink wrap all the laser cut parts together, it should be fairly well protected. But, clearly, that's not always the case.

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1 hour ago, catopower said:

That damaged keel wouldn't have happened if they left the keel in its sheet, rather than removing it from the sheet and packing it in the box. I guess it's a weight saving measure.

 Left on the sheet would probably have required a larger box. 

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  Ahoy mates!  I've just received my Endurance kit, and all is in excellent condition (no breakage).  I'll follow the current build log elsewhere on our forum and will do additional research before building it with more detail and correctness than just 'out of the box'.  It seems a great starting point and the kit is well thought-out, plus the youtube videos by the manufacturer show some 4 hours of the process.  An advanced project might be to use a similar approach and cut another set of hull components to build the 'other' ship involved in the ill-fated Shackleton expedition - the S.Y. Aurora.  The steam yacht was built in 1876 as a whaler, and was a three masted, steam powered vessel a little larger in specifications then the Endurance, but of similar appearance seen from a distance.  The Aurora had an165' overall length exclusive of bowsprit (estimated 144' between perpendiculars), 30.5'beam. 18.75' draught, and 580 gross tonnage.

 

  The Endurance was 144' overall hull length, 125' between perpendiculars, 25' beam and 348 gross tonnage.  Modeling these two in the same scale would make for an interesting pair - linked forever in an historic effort to cross the continent of Antartica.  The crew of the Aurora had their own harrowing story of separation, ship damage, survival and rescue.  There are a number of photographs of the Aurora, and a very good profile/plan view - enough to build a pretty good replica.  The lines would be different - something to work out as a close approximation since I've not been able to locate a surviving fore/aft profile drawing.  Much of the design and building technique used in the OcCre Endurance can be transferred to an Aurora replica, but designing the parts, etc. would be a step-up from the intermediate execution of a straightforward kit build.   It might be thought of as a 'kit bust' where one ends up with TWO ships - the original out-of-the-box (enhanced or not), and another ship linked top the first.  Once can learn a lot in the process.

 

The Aurora in dry dock.

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  Ahoy mates!  The OcCre Endurance kit (source: Age of Sail) arrived a couple weeks ago, and apart form verifying that the stated scale is OK (the distance between perpendiculars between the center of the rudder shaft and the forward water line at the front of the keel measured about 21.25" on the kit materials - compared to 1,500" on the Endurance, so that's about 1:70.6), I was curious to see how close the kit's bulkhead profiles matched what can be found on the original ship.  The available 'fuzzy blueprint' and pencil fore/aft split profile (both original) appear combined in another post, and I had to keep altering the image scale (in pieces due to the size limitation of my printer) to come up with an image that was the same between perpendiculars as the kit.

 

  I was amazed that the 'false keel' kit piece lay right over the patched-together elevation (not including keel) pretty much like a handprint - so the side view (elevation) is true to the ship.  The top view (plan view) of the weather and quarter decks corresponded to the kit's deck pieces, although the fore deck's area appeared to go further out than another old published image in the public domain (showing several decks, including the forecastle deck).  I noted that the location of the kit bulkheads (numbered A2 through A12) do not correspond to the locations of the original profile locations, although some are very close.  This is not surprising since there is a different number of each - 11 for the kit and 13 on the old drawing.

 

  What I did was to redraw the entire thing using 'old school' techniques (pencil straightedge, French curve and the like) on a length of paper taped together from 8 1/2 x 11 sheets (what I have) to improve on the misalignments of the first attempt.  The second drawing is pictured below (I stood on a chair to get the entire image into the camera's field of view):

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  The kit bulkhead locations are numbered A2 - A12 (the same as the parts) and the original 'slices' are labeled 1 - 13 fore to aft.  Someone mentioned (perhaps our moderator) that this is a big model, and they weren't kidding.  However it will be a joy to work with something my less-dexterous old fingers can manipulate with ease, and can bear any amount of upgrading or added detail that can be gleaned from the many published photos of the Endurance before she met with her famous demise.  I believe the kit to be a good value.  Now let's take a closer look in critical areas.

 

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  The right side of the above fore/aft profile view labels the original lines 1 - 7, and I made paper cut outs from the kit's bulkhead's A2 through A7 to lay on the drawing and used dotted lines for those of the kit.  The elevation image also shows the 'slices' of the original as solid lines and the kit bulkhead locations as dashed lines.  There is no kit bulkhead at #1 - the kit has some pieces to glue-in so the builder can nail the first planking to, but I believe that a piece of filler wood added in this area would be very helpful to 'fair' and then to plank against.  A2 is slightly forward of #2, and the location of A3 & #3 match up.  Yet I see that the dashed liners of A2 & A3 on the fore/aft diagram are wider for A2 (when it should be slightly narrower) and flared more at the top for A3 (the rest of the profile matches).

 

  Several contributors have noted the very wide flare on the upper bow, (not seen to be as extreme in photos of the Endurance) and the dotted line I've labeled 'ship line' on the top view represent the extent of the fore deck that conforms better to original data.  This represents no problem to achieve, as its easy to trim a little off the exterior of the provided kit bulkheads (and trim the periphery of the fore deck to match.  Another piece of filler wood would likely be a good idea to install between A2 and A3 before fairing.

 

  The location of A4 and #4 (as well as A5 & #5) are close enough on the drawing that one would expect them to be quite similar ... and they turn out to be !  Also A6, #6, A7, #7 and #8 turn out to be very similar.  Frame location variation along the hull will make less difference in the 'middle area' on a well-faired ship - and the model appears to be an excellent representation of the Endurance lines in this area.

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  Now we'll have to have a look at the stern.

 

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  A12 is a little forward of #13, and A11 is also forward of #12, so the A frames would be expected to be a little 'fuller' than their counterparts - and indeed they are as seen on the left half of the fore/aft profile diagram.  So far, so good.  But with A10 a little forward of #11, it should also have slightly more width (but not much) - yet on the diagram it is narrower.  The same effect can be seen comparing A9 with #10 - but less so comparing A8 with #9. 

 

  The logical explanation is that these frames have been decreased a bit to ease the planking/fairing task - which it likely does.  Although in this area it may represent the greatest departure form lines that can be established by surviving documentation, I hardly think its worth quibbling about in a kit designed for the intermediate builder (like myself).  Even then (as with the bow) it can be corrected by either adding additional wood to the exterior of the frames in question or simply cutting new frames from stock of comparable thickness.  A jig saw is very useful for this (and there are relatively small, budget-friendly saws available - otherwise use a hand-held coping saw).

 

  This will increase the difficulty of planking, but that can be aided by the use of wood inserts between frames and/or using traditional planking method other than those shown in the will-illustrated (and video documented) instructions.

 

  WHEW !  Old Johnny has had a mental workout with all of the above, but I'll admit to a certain satisfaction at having done the exercise.  Yet this sort of planning is useful when thinking about a scratch-build, like I've considered for the Aurora (noted above on this thread).

 

  Fair sailing and a fair wind to all.    Johnny

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/23/2021 at 12:37 PM, Snug Harbor Johnny said:

 

  WHEW !  Old Johnny has had a mental workout with all of the above, but I'll admit to a certain satisfaction at having done the exercise.

Indeed!!

 

I hope you will start a build log of this historic ship.

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9 hours ago, BobG said:

Indeed!!

 

I hope you will start a build log of this historic ship.

  There is a log underway (the first) for the OcCre Endurance by HakeZou, and I'm following his build first before doing much more.  I may work on a bash of the lifeboats to make them conform to the photos of the three used in the survival/rescue part of the expedition - as well as making better sails (there are a couple of posts on these topics I made elsewhere).  Dealing with sundries like blocks, deadeyes, serving shroud lines and/or making my own scale rope might do as well.  Hmmmm - might be like producing a 'deluxe' version of the kit.

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10 hours ago, Snug Harbor Johnny said:

  There is a log underway (the first) for the OcCre Endurance by HakeZou, and I'm following his build first before doing much more.  I may work on a bash of the lifeboats to make them conform to the photos of the three used in the survival/rescue part of the expedition - as well as making better sails (there are a couple of posts on these topics I made elsewhere).  Dealing with sundries like blocks, deadeyes, serving shroud lines and/or making my own scale rope might do as well.  Hmmmm - might be like producing a 'deluxe' version of the kit.

  I overlooked an important feature of the new kit ... the etched (or lasered) brass stanchions for the railings.  They happen to be pretty flat, while the originals were cylindrical with bulged joints where the horizontals went through.  I found some suitable 3-D brass stanchions in the component market on line, but the the cost with shipping (about 80 double-rail verticals, and about 16 with one rail) would exceed $100 - more than 1/2 the kit cost ... some upgrade.  If cost is no object, then OK - so let's look at the provided stanchions more closely.

 

  Below a flare at the base of the flat upright, there is a 'spike' to go into the wood of the model.  (Obviously a cylindrical sub-base would be much better.)  To prevent a tendency to 'wobble', a fillet of glue (epoxy?) on either side of the stanchion would be needed to secure the flat ones with the kit.  The 'out of the box' construction uses rigging rope as the horizontals, so care is needed not to stress the stanchions while 'rigging' with rope ... but then then the original ship had metal guard rails (everything painted white).  Trying to 'thread' wire will be difficult indeed.

 

  If one purchased 3-D uprights, then the best way for every 'run' of railing would be to determine the exact spacing of the verticals (and they vary), make a holding jig for that spacing, then run straight brass railings through everything and spot solder with fine circuit board solder.  Then the 'run' would have the bends or curves applied per a plan view (1:1 drawing needed), the locations to drill pilot holes 'dinked' into the deck using the formed railing itself ... then the soldered run of railing would pop into the drilled holes and the soldered nature of the railing would resist deformation and be relatively strong.

 

  OK, so why not make a jig to hold the flat stanchions at the required spacing configuration, run correctly sized brass wire (rod) through and solder at all the joins in the same way?  The result would look better than using rigging rope, would be stronger as well (due to the soldered joints) and would resist casual deformation - one could tie things to the railings (as was done in history) ... and would not cast another $100 plus dollars.    Johnny

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Posted (edited)

 John, I used white coated craft wire for the railings. I bought my stanchions from Cornwall Model Boats. I glued the stanchions in first and then ran the wire. One thing I learned, it's impossible to pull wire around a corner. I left the corner stanchion loose and only when the wire was run did I glue the corner stanchions into position. It's hard to paint railing (wire) and have a even clean look. For this reason I also left the stanchions unpainted. 

 

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Edited by Keith Black
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