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  1. Welcome to my new build This was presented to me by NRG Model Ship World a few months ago as a retirement present, for which i am extremely grateful, my kit is the one that was reviewed i have been given permission by the reviewer to use this 1:20 Dorade – 1931 Amati Catalogue # 1605 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 may 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!
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