Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sail the Bismark!

Mention a partwork publication on any forum and within 3 replies, an “expert” will tell you that the things never complete their run and that no-one ever builds the models.

This will of course be based on absolutely no facts, but it won't stop them.

Well, just to prove the experts wrong, here's my dad's Bismark hull on the water a couple of days ago. Made from the “Build the Bismark” partwork that was out a few years ago, we've finally got paint on and gubbins in.

Progress has been intermittent as he's done other things along the way. Work takes place in fits and starts and there is more than you see here with most of the superstructure assembled and in boxes.

Anyway, the hulls is leak free and sails very nicely. Top speed is slightly higher than scale but not much. Quite a bit of lead was required to get the buoyant hull near waterline – a pound in the back and more in the front, with more to come when the model is ready for final weighting.

Steering is good with a reasonably tight turning circle of between 6 and 10 feet. Even at full lock, the narrow hull doesn't heel over much, although I'm sure this will change a bit once the upperworks are on.


Huw Griffiths said...

OK then. How many thousands of parts was this "first part" work over - spread over how many decades - and at what exorbitant cost?

Seriously though, I thought I'd better complete the set of clichéd questions / jokes, before somebody else does - especially since I'm not convinced that anyone's really looking for answers.

Anyway, I'm sure that a lot of people don't have much to do with partworks. Even if they do, many are most likely to "cherry pick" the bits they want.

Here, I'm thinking about one cheap, red, model railway coach a few years back - which led to bulk buying, jokes about a "strategic coach reserve" and (whisper it quietly) some modellers actually doing some modelmaking.

I know - an alien concept - it'll never do - and some people probably expect me to wash my mouth out with soap.

Returning to the "Bismark" model, what I can see in the photos looks the part (pun not intended) - and I'd expect the completed model to be good.

Since this series was not for me, I'm not in a position to comment about value for money - which only leaves two obvious questions:

* What was this model like to build?

* Were the instructions / magazine articles any good?

Phil Parker said...

I think the partwork ran over just under 3 years and the cost was around £700 but don't quote me on that.

For the money you get an awful lot of well designed etched brass, wood and plastic plus step-by-step instructions. These are the bit most modellers think appear by magic but having done a lot of this, I know they cost a lot to produce!

The build seemed to go well. My dad hadn't done a planked hull before but the results are great and he's very pleased with it. The etched bits are the best I've seen, and I've seen loads!

Nick Brad said...

I am coming up to issue 100 now of the Mallard partwork, I haven't started construction yet though as I realised within a month or so, that this probably wasn't the ideal first kit built loco, despite the excellent instructions, purely due to the cost. Having said that, I am still glad I decided to buy it and I'm sure construction will go smoothly next year.

Phil Parker said...

A big 7mm scale loco is never going to be cheap. Hattons have just announced they will be producing a few A4's RTR, cost £750. You simply can't do this stuff on the cheap.

I'd take the time to watch threads on RMweb and anywhere else you find people building the partwork. That way you spot any pitfalls and avoid them.

The thing to remember is that once done, there is imense pleasure in a loco you have built yourself. You can't put a figure on that.