Model kit: Gorch Fock

Once again a short model kit review: This time it’s the German navy’s training vessel Gorch Fock (II). She had been docked for a long time because they pretty much messed up the necessary repairs. But finally, she is back in service and cruising the oceans again. Follow the Wikipedia link above to learn more about the ship’s complicated history.

The model kit

The kit is an older Revell at a scale of 1/150, which is probably the same as the one from Heller. It has been out of production for at least twenty years now, Revell has (or had) only a kit in scale 1/253 or smaller, the same as for her sister ship Eagle.

You can see the model’s age from the painting instructions, which reflect a state from about the 1980s. Interestingly the box show yet another variant. Given the abundance of photos of the ship, it would be easy enough to paint her in the current setup, but I liked the idea of building that old state.

The quality

Well… usually those older Heller and Revell kits are pretty decent. However, this time I was really disappointed. Where the general fit was okayish and the parts weren’t skewed more than usual and also didn’t have too many superfluous edges, the instruction manual didn’t really match. It was okay for building the hull (I just needed a lot of creativity and filler), but the rigging was really problematic. Deadeyes at completely wrong positions, shrouds that were obviously intended for a completely different kit (luckily I built them myself anyway), the davits distributed just randomly, etc.

The painting instructions were a mess, too, but they always are for those old kits.

Light and shadow

My kit had a couple of duplicate frames, which was actually nice since the masts and yards were made from extremely flimsy plastic. I guess it would be wiser to rebuild them with wood, but I could reuse parts from the second frame whenever I messed up. I have no idea whether this was only for my kit or just in general.

Also on the plus side: A nice instruction set for the rigging, once you got the problems mentioned above out of the way.

Not so great: While there were some blocks in the kit, it was nowhere enough. So after all I had to buy about 100 wooden blocks from Amati. Unfortunately, they don’t match perfectly, since you’d need metal blocks, but you can’t get those anywhere in that size (at least for a decent price). Maybe I should get a 3D printer…

As usual, I have replaced the ugly plastic sails with cloth, which did require a lot of time.

Overall I needed a lot of work until I was happy with the results. Especially the many errors in the instructions were absolutely frustrating.