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After finishing HMS Conn I was looking for a reasonably quick ‘filler’ project while I gather together my research and bits and pieces for the next long term build. I decided that this would be the filler project. I bought the Caldercraft ‘Milford Star’ about fifteen years ago, took one look in the box, saw all the wooden bits, and decided that it was beyond my then current capabilities. Laying models down in a stash is a bit like having a wine cellar and waiting for things to mature. In the case of models though its not the kit that gets better with age, its (hopefully!) the modeller. Anyway, I took this out of storage in March, and wondered why I had waited so long to build it. Caldercraft first released these kits in either the late 80s or early 90s, and they have gradually improved the parts and buildability. Mine must be one of the first to have had the original diecut plywood parts replaced by CNC, and they are very good, straight, accurate and easy to put together once you have worked out what goes where. The fibreglass hull is good too. Letting the side down somewhat are the white metal fittings, as clearly the moulds were getting a bit tired when this kit was produced. The instructions would not be helpful to someone new to this sort of kit as they assume a level of understanding and experience, an ability to measure, and some problem solving ability to fill in the blanks or come up with better ways of assembling for a trouble free result. Yes, the plan isn’t to scale, but measuring should get you where you want to go. This isn’t a work in progress but feel free to contact me if you are interested in avoiding some of the traps. I mildly backdated the kit to better represent a pre-1939 Trawler, with an absence of radar and Decca. The Star of Orkney, built in 1936, was the prototype for the ‘Round Table’ class of minesweeping trawlers, but differed somewhat from their appearance, even when they were converted to civilian use post war. The engine room casing and galley is shorter, the wheelhouse is smaller, there are additional deckhouses with skylights fore and aft. The space under the whaleback forward is open, but with a slightly different layout to the later ships in the class. I also rigged the shrouds with deadeyes rather than the kit supplied turnbuckles, to add to the vintage flavour. I improved the least usable of the white metal fittings by replacing them - brass stanchions and portholes for example. I could have done a lot more for greater accuracy, but decided enough was enough. Although I did this as a quickie, I did some experimenting with wood finishing techniques. While I used a traditional sanding sealer on the main ‘steel’ deck, I used superglue to seal and finish smaller wooden parts that were meant to depict steel. This actually worked extremely well, and three coats of ‘heavy thin’ superglue sanded with 400 grade built up a very hard surface ready for priming. The trick here is to do the sealing/ filling before you assemble the parts so you don’t build up unwanted fillets in corners and keep the surfaces nice and flat. I will be using this technique, borrowed from wood turners, more extensively on my next build. Star of Orkney is depicted in the livery of the Walker Steam Trawler company of Aberdeen. I have completed the ship in ‘Biscuit Tin Lid’ pristine condition as a change from my usual weathered builds. Why? Its good for me to occasionally go back to the basics of good finishing and painting just to ensure that laziness hasn’t crept in under the guise of weathering. All paints used were enamels, either Colourcoats or Revell, except when it was easier to just blast fittings with Mr Finisher 1500 black from a spraycan. Properly ballasted, she has turned out to be an excellent sailer, and was handling the choppy and gusty conditions on the maiden voyage with aplomb. The big funnel and masts catch the wind, but she doesn’t heel to any extent, just gets pushed sideways when there is no way on. Its my new favourite heavy weather boat! Now, back to my research for a V&W. cheers! Steve
Ta-Daa! Only 11 years in the making, I started this in 2009 (When HL brought out the Panzer III) and got disillusioned 6 months later when they produced the StuG. The recent lockdown prompted me to revisit all the half-finished models, and this was the oldest. It's based on the HL Panzer. All the superstructure forward of the engine cover was removed, and the StuG crew compartment, gun and schurzen scratchbuilt. I also gutted the interior, stiffening the hull sideplates with 3mm styrene for full metal suspension and tracks, and fitting an aluminium plate in the front to take Mato metal gearboxes. It also has the Asiatam recoil system and the new fan powered smoker. Due to it's vintage it is still running the TK-13 main board. I also fitted a bigger speaker, moved the battery to the inside of the hull and added a charging port under one of the rear engine hatches. The left hand main engine hatch is hinged with access to volume control, off/on and smoke on/off. It's very crowded inside the hull! I also added some aftermarket (tiger) parts that were suitable, reskinned the mudguards and hinged the ends. Lots of clips and brackets were fabricated from brass, the MG shield is completely made from brass. Basic hull layout Gun location and recoil Switch panel With all the bits and pieces on it (and the lack of Zimmerit) it dates to about May 1943 production. It will get weathered slightly, I just need to find some muddy puddles. Hope you like it!
Wonderland Models would like to say a big thank you to everyone who came to see us at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford. RIAT is always a highlight in the summer events calendar, and this year did not disappoint. It is always great to see so many familiar faces. We hope you all had a fun weekend at the show, and took advantage of some of our bargains while you were there. If you missed us at the show, don't worry, we still have many great sale items available on our online store, as well as our usual wide range of plastic model kits, diecast models and radio controlled toys.