RCMP St. Roch

by Carl Aspler
(Toronto, Canada)

This is a Billings Boat kit, 1:72 Scale. The St. Roch was built in 1929 as a patrol boat. In 1940 it started its mission to accomplish a complete crossing of the Northwest Passage. It was the first ship to accomplish this in both directions. This kit attracted me because of its historical connection - I have always been fascinated by the arctic explorers - Barentsz, Ross, Franklin and others, and as a Canadian, this boat held a special interest in that regard.

This was my first model ship. I had done previous model locomotives and trams, but for me this was quite a learning curve, especially the planking of the hull.

This is a static wood kit, with a single layer of planks on bulkheads. I basically followed the kit's instructions with a bit of customizing here and there. For example the lifeboats were cheap plastic, so I added wooden planks and oars to make them more realistic. I also added a home-made searchlight and other small features.

The main problem with this kit was the very poor instructions. The written instructions were 4 short paragraphs. There were a number of pages showing how things were assembled, but very sparse in detail. Identifying the various (mainly small) parts and where they belonged was a big issue. There was a 1:1 scale drawings, and many times I had to look all over the drawings, holding the part up to try and locate where it belonged.

Despite this, I managed my way through and did quite enjoy building this. The parts and pieces were well made, and of good quality. I would certainly recommend this kit, but not to a complete novice (as myself), unless you don't mind the frustrations of figuring things out.

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