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Found 7 results

  1. 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 for the propeller shaft, which can of course be an integral part of building Fifie as an RC model, should you wish. 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 Amatifor 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
  2. 1:100 Santa Maria – First Step Amati Catalogue # 600/03 Available from Cornwall Model Boats for £55.99 Santa María was built in Pontevedra, Galicia, in Spain's north-west region. She was probably a medium-sized nau (carrack), about 58 ft (17.7 m) long on deck, and according to Juan Escalante de Mendoza in 1575, Santa Maria was "very little larger than 100 toneladas" (about 100 tons, or tuns) burthen, or burden, and was used as the flagship for Columbus’ expedition. Santa María had a single deck and three small masts. She was the largest of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first voyage. Her master and owner was Juan de la Cosa. Courtesy of Wikipedia The kit Everyone has to start somewhere in this hobby, and few manage to build a fully rigged Man ‘O War or clipper without at least some experience of how to work timber etc. Of course, being any sort of modeller who can think on their feet is always an advantage, but there a whole demographic who would like something just to kick-start their passion, whether they are of our generation, or a whole new generation of younger modeller who may progress to the lofty heights you see here on Model Ship World. For that latter group, Amati have their First Step range, and today we take a look at the first of three of these kits that they’ve sent to us for review. Santa Maria is packaged into a small and attractive box with an artwork of a finished model on the lid, and some vessel history on the side. As you can see from the box, this particular model has a length of 28cm, a height of 24cm, and a width of 6cm. So, it’s still a reasonable size. Lifting the lid reveals a set of plans, instruction manual, sail cloth and printed paper sheet for flags, two pre-carved wooden hull halves, a bundle of strip wood, a packet with two MDF laser-cut sheets, a wooden display base, and a whole box of fittings. Unlike your traditional model ship/boat, where you either plank over a series of bulkheads or frames, the Santa Maria comes with two pre-carved hull halves. Looking at the other kits in this range, these halves appear to be of the same shape, but it’s what you add that really makes these models look very different from each other. Note the two holes. These are used to align the halves, and also peg through a centre plate which forms the keel. Instructions will show you how to paint and stain your model when complete. Here you see the main 4mm MDF sheet that contains the main keel/profile with the alignment holes and mast sockets, plus a deck section. Parts are all laser-cut and are clean and precise. Of course, you will need to ensure that any sanding that’s to be done with these parts means you will wear a face mask. Wood dust isn’t great for the respiratory system, but MDF can be particularly bad. Important that youngsters are aware of this. The second and last sheet is also MDF, but 10mm thick. There are ten parts here, for raising up the fore and aft decks, creating the correct shape of this ship and totally transforming the shape of the basic wooden hull halves. When your model is complete, you’ll want to display it properly, and this kit includes a neat wooden base. Nicely turned pedestals are also included that will glue to this and into which the keel will slot. A small bundle of timber is included for masts, spars, wales, bulwarks etc. Timber quality is excellent, as we have come to expect from Amati. These plastic fittings boxes are very common to Amati releases, and even these First Step kits get one, stuffed with goodies to adorn and detail your model. All parts are bagged and compartmentalised, and the clear lid holds tight, keeping everything in place whilst in the kit box. Unlike other kits, this one has a brown plastic-moulded grating which you will need to cut to the required size. Note the mast top/crow’s nest is manufactured from a piece of turned walnut and is silky smooth to the finish. Some white metal parts are included too, such as doors, windows, and the ship’s launch. Casting is very nice, and with a lick of primer/paint, should look very good once installed. Remember, this is a very small model when complete, and therefore these parts are also small. We also have a packet of nails for general construction. Of course, you will also need an anchor or two. A packet of two is included with this release, complete with wooden stocks and brass ring fittings. The anchors themselves are blackened and ready for use. A couple of small packets contain the decorative shields for the upper, rear exterior bulwarks. These are designed to be painted. Also, we have some small copper and brass fittings, such as rings and eyelets. There are a few small staircases on Santa Maria, and these are cut from these pre-formed lengths of timber. Note also some parts for the windlass and rigging blocks. There are only a couple of the latter, as the model is designed to be simple to build (and rig). Here are the aforementioned turned walnut pedestals onto which you will mount your completed model. These are high quality and require no extra finishing apart from some varnish, perhaps. Only two spools of rigging cord are included, one being in black for the standing rig, and the running rig being in natural colour, as a general rule. You will need to make your own sails, but this is fully explained, and is very simple. Plenty of material is provided for this. For the flags and pennants, a sheet of colour-printed paper is included. You can also go to town with fabric paint and add the familiar Maltese cross to the main sails. Again, this is shown so you can copy from the illustration. One large plan sheet will show you everything you need to know for your build, and everything is simple to follow. Several 1:1 scale images are shown for you to measure against, including the masting diagrams. Amati’s instructions tend to be well illustrated and easy to follow, from my personal experience, with many of the very new kits having the best I’ve ever seen in any of the modelling genres. This kit also has a nicely illustrated manual that takes the construction through in a series of easy to follow steps complete with English text. I can’t see anything here that would thwart even a young modeller, with the various drawings. A handy parts list is also supplied at the end of the manual, which is handy for you to check your supplied parts against. Conclusion These kits fulfil several roles on the market. For me, the first is to introduce a young modeller to our hobby and initiate them with a number of the skills required to advance a little and create more complex results. Another is to allow a modeller who may never have used timber before, to build a very nice replica of a ship and to help them also pursue a line of attack into a more challenging project. Lastly, these could well appeal to a seasoned modeller who fancies a little fun between larger projects and may want to build something they could gift when complete. So many possibilities. The kit itself is actually a high-quality product that is well thought out and executed. There are also some classic vessels in this range too, with something that should appeal to most ship builders, or soon-to-be ship builders. Price-wise, these kits are also relatively inexpensive and will provide a good number of happy hours at the modelling bench. Wherever you are in the hobby, or whether you’re starting out, give one of these a try! I have already given this model kit to a young man who will send me some photos of his progress. I will post them here as he builds this model. My sincere thanks to Amati for the sample reviewed here. To purchase, click the link at the top of this article.
  3. James Hatch

    1:20 Dorade – 1931

    1:20 Dorade – 1931 Amati Catalogue # 1605 Available from Cornwall Model Boats for £274.00 Dorade is a yacht designed in 1929 by Olin Stephens of Sparkman & Stephens and built 1929–1930 by the Minneford Yacht Yard in City Island, New York. She went on to place 2nd in the Bermuda Race later that year. The crew for its first race received the All-Amateur Crew Prize. However, it would be a win in the Transatlantic Race that would bring the boat its name. She completed a race that takes an estimated 3–4 weeks in just 17 days, earning her crew a parade upon the ship's return and a reception for Olin Stephens hosted by the mayor of New York. Olin Stephens, the designer, was skipper through 1932 when he handed the boat to his brother, Rod Stephens. Led by Rod, Dorade sailed to victory in the 1932 Bermuda Race. From Bermuda, Dorade sailed back to Norway, down to Cowes, England, and finally back to America after winning the Fastnet Race. The victory of the 1932 Fastnet Race was of substantial significance given the unusually severe weather, several ships feared missing as well as one recorded drowning among the events that unfolded. Dorade was completely restored in 1997 at the shipyard of Argentario, in Porto Santo Stefano, Italy. In 2013, Dorade took first place (after applying her handicap) in the Trans-Pacific race that she had won in 1936. Edit courtesy of Wikipedia For further information on Dorade, check out this excellent page at Dorade.org The kit The size of this box (and it’s huge!) certainly belies the weight of it. You’d expect something as heavy as the Vanguard that we looked at a couple of months ago, but that’s certainly not the case at all. The reason for this will be seen in a moment. The box itself is beautifully presented with a super-glossy lid depicting a finished Dorade model, and of course in a portrait format due to the shape of the vessel. The model itself, at 1:20 scale, has given measurements of 85.6cm long, and 103 cm tall. More images of the completed vessel adorn the sides of the box. Now, lifting that lid reveals an open top lower box, unlike the complete and enclosed boxes of other large Amati kits I’ve looked at. Immediately, your eyes are drawn to the reason why this box is relatively light, and that is the inclusion of a complete ABS hull, and hence the reason why this model is stated as being suitable for RC conversion, although the modeller will have to fathom that themselves, as no instructions are given for that particular path. Internally, the box has a number of card inserts to stop the various contents from jangling around loose. It’s only the components tray itself that seems to be a little freer to move, but thankfully, mine hadn’t spilled open or become dislodged. That ABS hull is very nicely moulded, is fairly thin, and super-light in weight. It has a glossy external finish and will just need some buffing and polishing to remove some very minor surface abrasions. The upper edge will need the fuzziness removed from, but again, this is something that’s very east to do, and not a reflection of the quality, which really is excellent. First, we take a look at the thick, clear sleeve and the paper contents within. Quite a few Amati releases have a glossy instruction manual, and this has one too, well…at least the cover is glossy, with Italian text giving a short history of the vessel. Inside, the instructions are given in line drawing format, with shading for clarity. All stages have a reference number which can be cross-checked with the written assembly instructions. For these, a glossy Italian manual is provided, with standard A4 sheets provided for both the French and English versions. Going back to the main illustrative instructions, there is some annotation given in all three set languages also. Parts are also clearly identified, whether they be wooden, or one of the many fittings that are supplied. Please note that the timber parts themselves aren’t actually numbered, and you will need to refer to the component identification plan sheet. Construction tips are also given, such as how to mark the waterline. As for the fittings etc., these can be identified against a comprehensive parts list that is provided in each language, which gives the part number, name, and specific number of included components. I suggest that each packet of components be put in a zip-lock wallet with the kit identifying code written on, to make it easy to locate the parts needed during construction. FOUR large plan sheets are included in this release, printed on relatively thin paper. The first three sheets provide large scale drawings of the Bessel, from profiles, to upper elevations and sectional material, plus those all-important fitting positions etc. Annotation on the main plans appears to be in Italian, but the illustrations are clear to see, so for a competent modeller, there shouldn’t be any problems encountered. If the worst comes to worst, just use an online translator tool. The last of the large plan sheets is the parts guide for the wooden sheets, with all parts being easily identified against the instruction booklet. I’m sure I once read that the Dorade kit provided no parts reference for things such as the internal hull framework etc. and that everything was in Italian. Well, if that was the case, then it certainly isn’t now. Remember that companies like Amati revise their kits from time to time, in instructions as well as parts, so maybe that referred to an old issue. A sandwich of timber is now provided as two long plywood sheets are taped together, with the thin ply deck hiding between them. These main sheets are the thickest timber components in the box and provide the modeller with the various internal hull frames and bulkheads, as well as the parts that make up stand (note that no main plinth is supplied, as shown on the box lid). All parts are cleanly laser-cut with very small tags to cut through to remove them from their sheets. The deck is a full-length piece of thin ply with mast holes in situ, and the rear panel for lower deck access, just needing removal. As this is a stylish sail yacht, you need some decent sail material, and a packet of this is included here. You’ll need to cut and stitch these yourself as per plan. Another thick, clear sleeve contains more timber components, plus a number of other items. One of the timber sheets is a smaller, thin ply sheet with parts associated with the various deck structures, to name but a few. Cutting is again nice and clean, and timber quality is excellent. Parts here are for the various stringers, cockpit sides and edges, funnel flange and deckhouse roof etc. Two thicker walnut sheets include parts for the rudder, gunwales, belaying pin rack, ventilator tops, skylights, doors, winch steps. Mizzen mast coaming and crosstrees, plus other coamings and side elements. As a number of these parts will be varnished and the wood generally seen, you will need to remove any charring from the laser cutting. One packet contains some good quality acetate for the various deck structure windows, and also a piece of what appears to be a glossy dark green card. I can’t identify that as of yet. Timber strip quality is high and also cleanly cut. This first bundle, held by a thread and paper wrap, is for the deck planking. Remember, no hull planking here! This creamy coloured material will need to have a nice deck caulk effect set between them. Another bundle of timber includes circular and semi-circular dowel lengths, and more strip timber in Ramin and walnut. Several lengths of brass section strip are included, as is a length of thick copper rod. Amati has included a reasonably sized sheet of brass photo etch. This really must be the shiniest, most polished PE that I’ve ever seen. Totally mirror-like in quality. Here you will find parts that include mast collars, shelves, trolleys, flanges, portholes, jib brackets, sheave boxes, rails, and turnbuckle and ventilator parts, again, to name but a few. Production quality is first rate, with narrow, thin tags holding the components securely until you need to remove them. A separate, smaller piece of PE contains the external and internal hawseholes. Lastly, we take a look at the plastic tray of components. This tray is a typical Amati storage box in vac-form plastic, with a clear lid. This is compartmentalised to accommodate the numerous packets of fittings within. Dorade’s fitting tray is certainly weighty, with NINETEEN packets of fittings, nails, decals and rigging cord. Fittings include cleats, portholes, winches, eyebolts, ventilators, boom parrels, turnbuckles, snaphooks, rings, pulleys, sheaves and side lights. Where those parts are cast, the finish is very good, with just a buffing needed before priming. Conclusion If you want a project that is a little different from the norm, then Dorade me be just what you are after. With the hull just requiring some remedial finishing before use, plus cutting out the scuppers, you should also find that it’s a relatively quick project that will take a few months instead of running into years. Dorade is a beautiful yacht, and Amati have very much caught her lines here. There is of course a little jigging around between the parts plan, materials and the instructions, and of course with any model this size, you’ll need a reasonable working space, plus some intermediate skills when it comes to tackling the various task required. For the price, she’s also a very attractive subject and will doubtless be a real centrepiece when on display. Quality is typically Amati, and I’m sure you’ll really like this one! My sincere thanks to Amati for the review sample seen here. To purchase, click the link at the top of this article.
  4. Planet Working Bench Amati Catalogue # 7396 Available from Cornwall Model Boats for £10.58 Having worked in plastic modelling for a while now, where I’m having to remove casting blocks from larger components but doing that either on my cutting mat or between my fingers, a tool like this appears to be very useful. When it comes to ship modelling too, the ability to be able to lay some small timber sheet flat whilst you use a fine saw on smaller components, without sawing tracts into your worktop (ask me how I know!), definitely helps. Amati’s Planet Working Bench is a tool that is designed for work on small components and materials, helping you hold items whilst you saw, file and drill. Let’s take a closer look. Amati’s Planet tool is packed into an attractive, sturdy and glossy box with an image of the tool clamped to a desktop. The back of the box is a little more illustrative, with examples of how this tool can be used with your work. All writing is in Italian, but we can grasp what’s happening fairly easily. Although Amati are generally known for their wooden model ships etc. this tool can of course be used for other areas of modelling where basic tools such as saws, files, and drills, are used. Inside the box, two thick plastic sleeves contain the components. In the largest is the Planet Working Bench itself, complete with two small aluminium bollards plugged into it. These bollards have a rubber O-ring fitted to them to prevent the metal scuffing any delicate work that you will use with the tool. The main part is moulded from a very tough plastic that still does have a little give in it, but it certainly rigid enough for the tasks that it’s designed for. It also has various channels moulded within in as well as holes to reposition the bollards, and a series of small, numbered holes which I’ll come back to very soon. The front slot is there to help you cut into materials, without a risk of cutting into your actual workbench. Just be careful not to start sawing into the Planet itself. The second wallet contains the two clamps which will secure the Planet to the desk. These are formed from two angled, threaded rods onto which a locking nut and the part which forms the lower side of the clamping jaw. To fit these to the Planet, you insert them from the underside and lay the angled part of the metal rod in the moulded channels. Slacken the nut off and then fit to the edge of your workbench, securely tightening the nuts to lock everything in place. Now, those small numbered holes. These refer to a moulded sleeve in the underside of the Planet, into which you will fit a wooden dowel or metal rod into which you wish to drill a hole centrally within the diameter. The hole of course aligns with the dead centre of the sleeve into which you will plug the wood or metal rod. Conclusion This is a very handy little gadget for working on those small model parts, but sold as it is, the full potential of the tool isn’t realised. To really get your money’s worth from it, I really do advise that you also purchase the small clamps which are designed to plug into it. These is called the ‘hand vice’ on Amati’s catalogue page and contains one single unit. Better still, a couple of these would be immensely useful. The Planet itself is very reasonably prices, nicely constructed and is a cinch to fit to your bench. I’ve already started to use it whilst building my Amati Orient Express Sleeping Car. My sincere thanks to Amati for sending this tool out for review. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of this article.
  5. 1/32 1929 Orient Express Sleeping Car No.3533 LX Amati Catalogue # 1714/01 The Orient Expresswas a long-distance passenger train service created in 1883 by Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (CIWL). The route and rolling stock of the Orient Express changed many times. Several routes in the past concurrently used the Orient Express name, or slight variations. Although the original Orient Express was simply a normal international railway service, the name became synonymous with intrigue and luxury travel. The two city names most prominently associated with the Orient Express are Paris and Constantinople (Istanbul) the original endpoints of the timetabled service. The Orient Express was a showcase of luxury and comfort at a time when travelling was still rough and dangerous. On June 5, 1883, the first Express d'Orient left Paris for Vienna. Vienna remained the terminus until October 4, 1883. The train was officially renamed Orient Express in 1891. In 1889, the train's eastern terminus became Varna in Bulgaria, where passengers could take a ship to Constantinople. On June 1, 1889, the first direct train to Istanbul left Paris (Gare de l'Est). Istanbul remained its easternmost stop until May 19, 1977. 1929 Sleeping Car shown from 4.00minutes (new upholstery) The onset of World War I in 1914 saw Orient Express services suspended. They resumed at the end of hostilities in 1918, and in 1919 the opening of the Simplon Tunnel allowed the introduction of a more southerly route via Milan, Venice, and Trieste. The 1930s saw the Orient Express services at its most popular, with three parallel services running: the Orient Express, the Simplon Orient Express, and also the Arlberg Orient Express, which ran via Zürich and Innsbruck to Budapest, with sleeper cars running onwards from there to Bucharest and Athens. During this time, the Orient Express acquired its reputation for comfort and luxury, carrying sleeping-cars with permanent service and restaurant cars known for the quality of their cuisine. Royalty, nobles, diplomats, business people, and the bourgeoisie in general patronized it. Each of the Orient Express services also incorporated sleeping cars which had run from Calais to Paris, thus extending the service right from one edge of continental Europe to the other. The kit Amati had been publishing videos and photos of this then-upcoming kit on Facebook for a few months, and even though trains aren’t really my thing, this one looked intriguing with its 1920s/30s wooden opulence, so when Amati said they would ship one out to me to look at, that was very exciting. I knew this was going to me one large kit, but I had no idea! The model itself is 1/32 and the box is the same size as their1/72 HMS Vanguardthat I recently took a look at. Whilst the box doesn’t weigh as much as that kit, it’s certainly packed out with some heavy metal. The box lid itself is decorative, depicting the finished model and some period imagery. You will also note that this model has a section of track on which to display the sleeping car. Lifting off that large lid uncovers a complete box with a tabbed, lift up lid, adorned in the Amati logo as standard for these large releases. Chassis parts Inside the box, we have plastic trays full of parts, two smaller Amati boxes, a large thick plastic sleeve with paper/wood/metal components, and sleeves full of timber strip and brass section strip. There are also a series of folded plans and TWO perfect-bound, full colour instruction books which look sumptuous. Lifting all of these out uncovers two card covers that when removed, show a whole swathe of photo-etch brass and nickel-silver sheets, and a bag holding three sections for the base onto which the rail tracks and sleepers will mount. Amati’s 1/32 Orient Express Sleeping Car kit consists of: 1x gloss card for carriage ceiling mouldings 1x decal sheet for carriage signwriting and stencils 2x gloss paper sheets with printed interior wood panelling and carpets. Also contains illustrations of exterior coach work for reference 2x laser-cut ply sheets for the carriage chassis 5x laser-cut ply sheets for all side and internal walls/construction of the carriage. 1x tape of yellow self-adhesive trim of different widths 2x white trays of cast and turned components, chain and wire. Parts include radiators, tissue dispensers, towel rails, wall mirrors, bottles and holders, soap racks, door handles, coat hooks, locks, eyelets, cabin lights, ventilation panels, electrical sockets, decorative cast exterior crest, spring-leaf shock absorbers, nuts, bolts, boiler, etc. 2x boxes of components, contains parts such as sofa/bed carcasses and cushions, cores for the armrests and hanging headrests, rolling stock wheels and axles, sink units, stools, carriage entry tunnels, etc. 1x pack of brass strut sections Various timber lengths of varying size and type 3x MDF track base sections and stirrups 4x sheets of photo-etch nickel-silver parts (internal main carriage wall panelling and hinges etc) 17x sheets of photo etch brass parts (chassis, bogies, roof and roof sheathing, exyerior main carriage walls, etc. 1x sheet of pre-cut acetate for windows 6x parts and plans sheets 2x full-colour instruction books Now, a little about the model itself. Whilst the Orient Express is known for its amazingly high standards, these sleeping cars only had a single WC for the whole carriage. Amati has created an entire, accurate interior to this model kit, of which the toilet and small boiler closet are also included. To be able to see all of these details, the lid, constructed from photo-etch and rolled brass, is removeable. White card inserts for she shaped interior ceilings are included, and this would provide an amazing opportunity to add some soft lighting which would set off each of the cabins. Each of those cabins is intricately detailed, and whilst have no per-cabin toilet facilities, each cabin does have facilities for passenger ablutions. These come in a stylish curved-door unit which contains sink and other things which you’d expect to see in this area, all intricately reproduced in this kit. The walls of the cabins are wooden panelled, and all of the cabin creature comforts are present, including seats, cushions for arms and head etc, and ceiling racks for storing luggage. Remember, these cabins were pretty compact as passengers spent the day in other areas of the train too. An access corridor runs alongside the cabins, and of course, these are fitted out with radiators etc. In all, an impressive piece of rail history that Amati has gone to pains to recreate here. The sleeping car is based on two lengths of laser-cut timber which sit atop each other to produce the main frame of the carriage. On the real thing, this would of course have been metal, so bear that in mind when building and ensure you seal any timber and rub down before filling, priming and painting in black. Added to the metal framework are lengths of heavy-gauge photo etch that create the authentic appearance of the carriage chassis. Other plates etc. are fitted out with miniature nuts and bolts. Brass section strips are also fitted to the entire length of the exterior frame, adding authenticity and some rigidity to the model. There is also a main bolt towards both front and rear of the carriage, onto which the moveable, wheeled bogies will mount. After all, your train won’t just roll in a straight line! The underside of the sleeping car is incredibly complex with some superbly engineered and cast leaf-spring suspension for the buffers, couplings, photo-etch battery housings, compressed air tank, etc. Assembling the rolling stock/bogies themselves is broken down into over EIGHTY separate stages in around 20 pages of the first construction manual. Of course, all of the parts for this are manufactured from either photo-etch, cast or turned parts, and a photo-etch bending tool really should be mandatory if you wish to tackle this model. After all, if you are willing to shell out 890€ for a kit, then it’s foolhardy not to progress with the required tools. For the base, Amati has supplied three parts on dovetailed MDF which is profiled for display purposes. The positions of the sleepers is also engraved onto the top. I have to say that the fit of these is so precise that virtually no joint can be seen when they are put together. If you flip them over, you’ll note that there is a pencil mark to show you which part is the best match. Two MDF splints are then to be glued into the underside channels. Now, I don’t think that MDF is a strange material for the base, as you may wish to paint this, but one omission, for me, is any material that can be used to infill between the buffers, such as the gravel/stones. This would have been a nice addition so as to hide the MDF. The tracks themselves are supplied as brass sections which need to be cut to length. As per the real thing, the tracks are attached to the sleepers by the correct hardware. I would use an assembled wheel/axle section to properly ensure that the tracks are equidistant at both ends, as well as traditional measuring. I would also look at either painting the tracks in an iron colour, or if you can immerse them in a shallow bath of burnishing fluid, then that would also fit the mark. With the base of the model now built, the time has come to assemble the carriage itself. This initially starts with the Head A and Head B bulkheads, followed by the fitting of the interior corridor wall. Onto this are fitted the interior compartment walls, creating the cabins. Please note that a lot of paper cutting will be required as the internal walls in their antique finishes, are printed matter and will need to be fixed to the pre-sealed internal plywood walls. This will also be enhanced with actual timber framing too. The printing of the wooden walls is very, very nice and should look as good as trying to emulate this using precious timbers. Besides, this approach means we all stand a level chance of success. Actual timber will be used to line the panels, adding to the realism. The carpets are also to be cut from paper. You will need to pick up some paper-crafting skills too as the numerous head rest and arm rest cores, sofa/bed chassis and stools, will need to be wrapped in the same matching paper and neatly fashioned around corners. There are some good techniques to be found online, such as dampening the paper to make it easier to mould around corners etc. Each cabin will also have its own wash locker, and these are constructed separately and then installed. As well as having all the mod-cons, for the 1920s, the doors on these will actually hinge open and closed. You won’t have this option for the cabin doors though, but these can be posed in any position using the nickel-silver etched parts. The main carriage exterior walls are sheathed in photo-etch brass which will be painted, and the trim/decals added. Internally, those same walls are plated with the nickel-silver panels. I don’t know the reasons for change in material from brass, but the panels are superbly produced. Remember, there’s no actual silver in those parts. Instead, it’s an alloy of zinc, copper and nickel. To construct the carriage’s roof, a series of photo-etch frames are interlinked with longerons that have raised pips. Once the basic frame is assembled, a series of individual brass panels are then rolled into shape and the holes in these used to lock over the raised pips of the longerons. Whilst you can use CA generally, I would suggest that the pip areas are soldered and filled before then being filed back flush to the roof. The roof is then painted white. Internally, the card mouldings are then shaped and sealed/sprayed white before decorative wooden edging is applied. Instruction manuals Two full-colour instruction manuals are included, showing the various stages using photographic images and clear text in English, with Italian also. Each step is very easy to understand, in the way that magazine part-works are designed to be straightforward. There’s nothing here that should catch any modeller out, meaning that the only thing you need to have some experience with is photo-etch. Each manual is landscape in format, and perfect-bound, as a novel would be etc. Paint references are used where necessary and supplied in FS codes. Plans A number of these sheets are simply for helping the user to identify the various PE parts and wood parts, with a couple of others showing the rail carriage in various plan formats. All line drawings are clear to understand shouldn’t provide the modeller with any issue. Decals A single sheet of waterslide decals is included for the exterior livery signwriting etc. Print quality looks excellent. It could be worthwhile trimming any of the clear carrier film as close to the actual decal as required. Conclusion This isn’t a cheap kit by any stretch of the imagination, but it is an epic one in every sense. The Orient Express kit is a sort of crossover between vehicle and doll’s house building, with some beautiful period features in the mix. It’s certainly a project that will command a lot of time from you in order to achieve the very best outcome. You really do have to be reasonably adept with photo-etch metal in bending, curving and folding, and although you don’t strictly need to, some elements would be better soldered than glued. A lot of attention to detail has been made here, from the kit detail itself, down to little things like the cut-out paper décor not lying across folds in the sheet paper. The instruction manuals are also a work of art and should be a cinch to follow. Projects like this are usually once in a lifetime, so if you fancy doing something pretty unusual, then this has certainly got to be a major contender. These kits are hot off the press, only having being released within the last 2 weeks, so get them whilst their fresh! My sincere thanks to Amati for sending this kit out for review on Brexitmodeller. To purchase, check your favourite Amati shop or online retailer. Tell them you saw the review here on BxM.
  6. James Hatch

    1/72 HMS Vanguard 1787

    1/72 HMS Vanguard 1787 Victory Models/Amati Catalogue # 1300/04 HMS Vanguard was a 74-gun, third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 6 March 1787 at Deptford. She was the sixth vessel to bear the name. Vanguard was built as an Arrogant Class vessel. Arrogant-class ships of the line were a class of twelve 74-gun third rate ships designed by Sir Thomas Slade for the Royal Navy and were designed as a development of Slade's previous Bellona class, sharing the same basic dimensions. During this period, the original armament was the same across all the ships of the common class, of which the Arrogant-class ships were members. The first of the twelve ships of this class were HMS Arrogant and HMS Cornwall, both completed in April and September of 1761, respectively. The kit I apologise if we seem a little late to the show with this release, with the kit originally being release around 2007, give or take a year or three.. However, unlike the world of plastic modelling that I usually frequent, these sorts of kits are pretty timeless and stand the test of time far, far better. It’s also a pretty premium product and it really does make sense to be able to see a full review of it before you shell out not an insignificant amount of money on it. There are numerous builds of this online, with a good number here on Model Ship World, but there are no actual reviews that I can see anywhere, so I thought I’d try to redress that here. If you order this kit, you really need to make sure that you have bench space for it. Sounds obvious, but this is a very large box and weighs in the region of 14-15kg (30lbs+). Thankfully, the box is also of a pretty rigid construction to hold all the weight contained therein. Amati/Victory Models’ presentation is flawless with a port side profile of the completed ship on the lid, adjacent to a bow and stern image of the same model. Text says that the model can be finished as either Vanguard, Bellerophon, or Elephant. More colour images adorn the sides, plus some small captures of some of the plans. Lifting the lid off shows that this is merely a decorative lid and the actual corrugated box has a built-in lid that’s locked into place with three large tabs. At least if you sit another kit or two on this one whilst in stash, it shouldn’t crumple under the weight. Inside the box we have all of the strip and dowel timber that is bundled together and bound with small lengths of elastic string, three large boxes of components, one smaller box of components, several packs of various flat timbers with laser-cut parts, king-size instruction manual, and a whopping 20-plan pack with a heavy gauge photo-etch fret of embellishments for the stern quarters etc. The first and smallest of the boxes I come to contains some thick rope for the anchors, a bag of grating pieces, a sheet of what appears to be thick tin foil, and a large bag of cast metal gun carriages that have an antique finish to them. I find the inclusion of the latter quite a puzzle as kits of this standard would normally have these parts given in timer, which would be my preference. Detail on the carriages is actually quite nice, but they also have staggered sides, and I’m not 100% sure how accurate these would be. I think I’ll replace these when my build begins. Onto the next box. I know it’s not the done thing, as we say, to add sails to this sort of model, although many do and make a superb job. If you do wish to go down that avenue, then a large piece of sail cloth is included for you, as are two sheets of plans which pertain to adding these. We have two laser-cut pieces of timber in this box, notably with parts for the masts and bitts. I’m sure all will become clearer when it comes time to build this. Of course, there are no parts numbers on any wooden components, and you will need to refer to the five sheets of plans that identify what these elements are numbered as so you may locate them to the construction sequence. ELEVEN sheets of brass photo-etch parts are included too, with everything apart from the stern decoration and quarter details. Notice that the launch oars are provided as photo-etch too, but you may want to replace the oar bodies with something less flat in appearance, such as dowel. Two sheets have the ships name included, as well as other décor, and the ships stove that will be mostly hidden below deck. These sheets also include the stern and quarter windows, lanterns etc. Many hundreds of parts are included here, such as the cannon port hinges, hammock frames, channel brackets, chain plates, boom irons et al. If that’s not enough metal for you in this box, then add to that the two packets of copper hull plates that are presented as sheets. These can easily be gently scored and snapped off before fitting. These contain the nail fastening details too. I believe there are around 2500 plates which are needed, and you should, in theory, have some to spare too. Two patterns are included, for port and starboard sides. You’ll need to consult with the plans to determine which is which. A sheet of black paper is also included. At the moment, I’m unsure as to what this is, but I’m thinking it could be something to do with the interior of the rear officer’s quarters. A sheet of acetate is included for the stern windows too. Our second large box of fittings contains two trays of components. One tray contains some wooden components, deadeyes and rigging blocks, plus some small anchors and carronades. I believe the latter may be for use if you choose to build HMS Elephant as some weaponry was slightly different to Vanguard and Bellerophon. The next tray is given over exclusively to the many rigging cord spools you’ll need, in various sizes and in two colours. Some rope is also supplied. Onto the last box of components. The first tray of parts are all cast white metal, including the figureheads for all three versions of this model, plus some trim, main anchors and the stern decoration for Vanguard, cast in three pieces. Now, whilst Bellerophon is in white metal, Vanguard and Elephant are cast in grey resin and they look spectacular! I believe that initial kits had all of these in white metal but coaxing the parts to fit the curvature of the stern proved tricky, so resin was substituted. Strange that this wasn’t included for all three options though. My original intent was to build Bellerophon, but I think this will now be Elephant because firstly, I haven’t seen one yet done, and secondly, because I can use a resin stern décor and add some amazing colouration to it. Two stern fascias are supplied in this kit, with Vanguard being shallower than that of Elephant and Bellerophon, so as to accommodate the carvings. The last tray contains PE parts, more rigging cord, brass nails, brass wire, cannon and gun carriages, cannon shot, and a number of other metal castings. All metal castings here are antique in finish. Being a large kit means you need plenty of strip wood stock, especially as this is a double-planked model. First planking timber is lest numerous that second because of the upper bulwarks being supplied as plywood parts. Timber quality is excellent with no stringy or split wood. Bundles are kept together with elastic string. I used a little extra tape on some of the thinner stock, to stop them bulging out in the middle. Various diameters of down are included and of different hues. As these will generally be painted, I think the colour is inconsequential. Again, quality is superb, with no splitting or roughness. All of the various packages of flat sheet components are stored in thick plastic sleeves, and the first here contains three sheets. One of these is for the various keel parts, plus the rudder. Another of the same material is included with various rigging bitts and anchor stock parts etc. A ply sheet is also included with the strips to mount the false cannon on the lower deck and parts for the stern quarters. Moving onto the next packet, we are presented with a laser-cut sheet of MDF for the ship’s launches. Here we have the keels and bulkheads for these vessels, all cleanly cut and with minimal effort needed to remove. I’m a little surprised to see this material for this purpose, but the homogenous nature of it is perhaps better suited than plywood and should provide an excellent basis for these miniature builds. More sheets of thin ply provide the main deck components, stern fascias (two options), bow gratings, upper bulwarks with cannon openings, and formers for the quarter galleries. Moving onto heavy material, several sheets of MDF provide all of the ship’s bulkheads, false keel (broken down into two parts) etc. Another sheet of timber contains laser-cut channels, carved mouldings etc. Some of these would benefit from a little carving in themselves to profile them a little better. Flags? You definitely need them for a ship like this. A set of silk-screen printed flags is included and these appear to have a self-adhesive backing. Lastly, for parts, we have a relatively thick-gauge photo-etch sheet what holds all the parts for the stern and quarter decorations, including railings, arches and other ornamentation. Under a coat of primer and paint, these look very good in place, as seen on numerous building logs on Model Ship World. When it comes to paperwork, this kit won’t leave you wanting. Inside the box, as well as a large assembly manual, is that pack of 20 plans. Most of these are A1 in size with one plan being a whopping A0, so make sure you have some wall space to mount it to for reference. Out of these plans, 5 provide parts maps and identification for the materials supplied, 2 plans deal with the optional sails, at least three deal with rigging Vanguard, 3 concern masting, and the rest for the hull and details etc. Two building instruction books are supplied. The first one deals with the main areas of construction using line drawings and text. This is quite a large book and has 32 pages. Accompanying this is a smaller A4 book of 20 pages which is generally text-driven and deals with construction in more detail, plus finishing etc. Some very nice history of Vanguard, Bellerophon and Elephant is included. Conclusion It must be 10 to 12 years since this kit first hit the shelves, and here we are a decade or more on, and I finally get to take a glimpse at Chris Watton’s masterpiece. I remember him designing this at the time and saw a few online photos, and I have to say that the contents of this kit are pretty much what I expected, save for the inclusion of the cast gun carriages. I really like the inclusion of MDF for the main structure (bulkheads, horizontal former and false keel) as this has almost zero tendency to warp. Indeed, mine are die-straight and will form the basis of an accurate and trouble-free build. All timber stock is first rate (for this third-rate ship!), and fixtures and fittings are high quality. Having the upper bulwarks as pre-cut parts with their jigsaw fit and pre-cut cannon port is also a time saver and a big help in ensuring that all guns will mount in their correct place and the correct height/elevation. A comprehensive plan pack ensures that every constructional angle is covered, and with 20 plans, Amati haven’t cut any corners. This isn’t a beginner’s model, and I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase many times before, but in this case, you really must have a number of builds under your belt and be able to exercise a degree of project management and prerequisite modelling skills to cater to and overcome the challenges that a complex model like this will demand. In all, a super kit of a formidable class of ship and with all the bells and whistles to build any of three vessels. You can’t do better than that! My sincere thanks to Amati for sending this kit for reviewing on Model Ship World. To purchase directly, check out your local Amati model stockist or online Amati retailer.
  7. 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. My sincere thanks to Amati for sending this kit out for review here on BxM.
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