South Goodwin Lightship 1:110 – Eastern Express Group
Review by Mike Ristuccia
This is quite an unusual offering by a model company called Eastern Express Group from Russia. I obtained the model via the internet from Rus-sel.com which sells a variety of models amongst other things from their country. This model is of the South Goodwin Lightship, originally built by the British ship company "Trinity House". The sole purpose of this ship was to provide light in the English Channel to ensure safer shipping near the coasts of Great Britain. The light was provided by 3 x 500w revolving lamps housed in the centre of the ship giving 3 ‘flashes’ every 30 seconds. The illumination of the lamps could be seen as far as 12 miles (7.5 km) away. The vessel had seven permanent crew members including the Master to oversee the continuous operation of the ship’s light.
The dimensions of the actual ship were: Length – 41.8m (137ft), beam – 7.6m (25 ft). The scale of this kit is an odd 1:110 and the overall length of this model is 385mm which is almost spot-on at the given scale.
The kit was received within a few weeks of ordering. The model’s box was a little crumpled upon opening, although the parts inside were in good order. Inside the pack was a sealed bag containing all the parts, moulded in grey, black and clear. There was also a large sheet of decals and a set of instructions.
Given the large scale, this kit offers a high level of detail including separate parts for railings, ladders, winches, and even the anchor chains (although they were molded in plastic). The hull is supplied in two halves (I’m sure we’re used to this by now) and features hull plating complete with raised rivet marks which don’t appear over-exaggerated.
There are 141 parts in this kit, although a lot of them had already come off their sprue’s, probably during transit. Although now distributed by Eastern Express, I believe the molds were originally tooled by Frog in the early 60’s and Revell-Germany also released it for a short time a few years ago. Due to the age of the molds, most of the parts had a bit of flash as expected - on some parts it was excessive, so be prepared to spend some time removing it. There were also some sink marks on the exposed sides of a few of the parts which required filling and sanding down.
The instructions for the kit were supplied on two separate double-sided sheets and also included a short description of the actual ship. There were seven construction steps, similar in style to Airfix or Revell instructions with exploded views for each step. At times it was difficult to determine where some of the smaller parts were located, especially on the upper deck. Special directions were given in both English and Russian languages. The instructions lacked a painting guide although the box artwork can be used as a reference for most parts and for the rest you will need to use a bit of ‘artistic licence’. There was very little information or photo’s on the internet or in books to refer to and I believe the actual ship was lost in a storm some years ago. I noted a few spelling mistakes on the instructions also such as "desk" instead of "deck", etc, but that’s just a minor quibble. Overall, the instructions are relatively clear and easy to follow in most of the steps.
Assembly of the kit was fairly straight forward with most parts fitting snugly into their respective positions. I changed the sequence of the hull & main deck assembly – the instructions indicated the main deck should be glued into one half of the hull and then the other hull half joined to that assembly. This was probably because it is a little difficult to insert the main deck into the hull once both hull halves are joined. However I wanted to paint the hull and main deck separately so I dry fit all the pieces which showed that it was actually possible to insert the main deck afterwards, so that is what I did. A word of caution - take care when doing this as the hull requires some bending and twisting which could potentially break the glue seam. The port holes in the hull were molded in but I drilled them out before the main deck was inserted and I also applied Microscale’s Kristal Klear for a more realistic appearance.
Interestingly, what you won’t find on this model are propellers! Lighthouse ships are apparently towed into position and anchored in situ where they remained, hence there is no need for these ships to have engines.
I wasn’t very happy with the railings that were supplied with the kit. They were made of very soft black polystyrene as they are intended to be bent into position around the various corners. They had a lot of flash and were quite chunky and uneven in parts. I discarded these and made my own using Evergreen stock. I also changed the plastic molded anchor chains to aftermarket ‘proper’ chains which gave a more realistic appearance. This kit has great potential for even more ‘super-detailing’. You could add extra detail to the lifeboats (rudders, oars, etc), rigging, and more.
The decals provided consisted of water-depth indicators, a company crest, several number 17’s (the number of the vessel), lifeboat markings and of course the large "South Goodwin" markings on the side of the hull. The latter are individual decals for each word; four in total. Due to the size of these decals you must exercise care when applying them. I used Micro Set to ensure a good application resulting in no signs of severe bubbling or cracking. I then sprayed the hull overall with dull coat to remove the shine from the decals and to give the hull a flat appearance consistent with the rest of the ship.
To conclude, this was overall a fine kit that was fun and interesting to build. So if you’re looking for something different you may want to give this kit a go. The model is priced at US$16.00 plus US$12.00 worldwide shipping (prices correct at the time of writing). You can order it online from http://www.rus-sell.com/item399.html.
Ratings (maximum score is 10):
Quality: 6 / 10
Detail: 9 / 10
Instructions: 6 / 10
Ease of construction: 7 / 10
Value for money: 7 / 10
Overall rating: 7 / 10
MR ~ 02/04