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68' STEAM FREIGHTER FULL HULL Built Up Model (no Base)
68' STEAM FREIGHTER FULL HULL Built Up Model (no Base)

68' STEAM FREIGHTER FULL HULL Built Up Model (no Base)

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Also available as a kit (Special Order $125)
Part Number: FMR112BU
Availability: OOPS! Too Late.... :^)

68' Freighter *Built-Up* Model "Model Railroad News" Review (Nov 1996)" Frenchman River Model Works (formerly JD Innovations  HO/HOn2/HOn3/HOn30

 Back in 1996 I wrote a Product Review for the "Model Railroad News" publication for this 68-foot steam freighter kits. By the time that I finished the product review and it finally made it to print, the manufacturer was forced to close the doors due to a serious personal matter. No one was more disappointed that I was at the time. Fortunately, the manufacturer has returned to the hobby and this kit as well as many more products are now available from Frenchman River Model Works (www.frenchmanriver.com).

  Many years have now passed by and I still have not found a use for this exquisite model. This model is available to purchase and images of this one of a kind model may be viewed on this page by hovering the mouse pointer over them. Additionally, the following is there written Product Review for additional information about the hows and whys discovered while constructing this model. Please read on.

Product Review by Richard E. (Ben) Bendever

 There are relatively few nice scale model boat/ships for model railroading. Unfortunately, most of the sea craft available are either plastic warships or boats of some 0ther scale that have to be severely modified. Then there are wooden boat kits that need so many modifications to make the ship model look realistic enough fur model railroading, the time for construction and extra effort may have ken better spent chiseling the darn thing out of a 2x4. Thank you JD Innovations [JDI). This company offers an HO scale freighter with such character and detail, it would be a crime to stick this model in the Back of a layout or display where its personality could not be appreciated.


  A brief history accompanying the instructions of this fighter. JDI tells us that "this rugged coastal freighter was built around the turn of the century to carry freight into and around coastal waterways." The prototype for this model is "based loosely on a type of ship called the Clyde Puffer." These early steam powered freighters evidently had a chuff-chuff action similar to the steam locomotives, only without the sound of power that we associate with steam locomotives. "The term puffer comes from the distinct puffing noise produced by [the Puffer's] steam engine." "Even though these ships were built around 1900, many were still in operation well into the 1950's and possibly some even later."


  This kit comes in a secure box with a nice color photograph to interest the buyer. Inside the parts are secured in typical plastic bags, bubble wrap, and 9 pages of instructions. The instructions are not difficult. Fortunately, the instructions start off with a list of definitions for "the landlubbers among us." Included are 4 pages of nicely illustrated photographs and drawings of this model in various stages of construction. The parts to this model are clearly labeled in the photographs, which is a big help in the assembly of this freighter. Although there are not a great number of parts to this kit. I recommend sitting down and reading through the instructions to familiarize yourself with the various parts.


  For the most part, this model is nicely detailed and it can be assembled and painted according to the manufacture's suggestions in a relatively short period. Preparation (sanding, fittings, painting, et cetera) consumes the majority of time for construction of this model. However, I made a few deviations from the manufacturer’s instructions that I feel enabled me to construct a model with slightly more detail and realism. Some of my deviations may clarify some assembly and construction questions that modelers may have during the creation of this model.

  Urethane kits Frighten most model railroaders. This model should not. In fact, most modelers who prefer wood may actually enjoy the diversity of this model. This is not exactly the urethane kit of old. First, this kit is not cast in the typical white color material that many urethane kits are cast in. This kit is cast in a rust color. This is great for modeling an old freighter. The problem that most modelers have in assembling urethane kits, is getting the parts to stick together without using 5 minute epoxy.

  Even then, sometimes after a long period, 5 minute epoxy will not hold. JDI suggests that you wash the parts first in warm soapy water to remove the mold release. Although there is not that much gluing to this kit, 1 suggest also removing the shine off of the surfaces that are being glued together. This will give the glue an opportunity to bite into the urethane without being repelled by the shiny molded surface. Any AC glue will then work with this kit. I use a Scotch Pad (fine grade for metal) to knock the shine off of the surfaces that are being glued or painted. As in the gluing method, this gives the paint a better bite on the urethane. I do not recommend using sand paper. Not only will sand paper leave a gritty substance that no matter what you do, always shows up in the paint, but it is also possible that sand paper will leave scratches that will show through the paint. It is not absolutely necessary to remove all the shine (for reasons I will clarify shortly), however, just like painting a real car or anything else, you risk the paint flaking off later. I use Floquil® Brand RR paints. I do something differently that would probably make the Floquil® paint manufacture cringe. I thin my Floquil® paints with lacquer thinner, rather than Dio-Sol. I do this for two reasons: 1. The lacquer thinner helps the paint bite into the urethane better. 2. There is absolutely no shine from the Floquil® paint when it is thinned with lacquer thinner. I have built a number of dioramas, and people are constantly sticking their noses up close to my models. One complement I usually receive is the absence of shiny surfaces.

  Another secret for making this model look more realistic, is the painting and weathering process. As I mentioned earlier, this model is molded in a rust color. After I scuffed off the shine from the molded metal areas, I sprayed all metal surfaces to represent weathered rusty metal with Floquil® Rust and allowed this to sit for 2 weeks. I then taped up and sprayed the different colors on the hull. This process only took an hour because 1 use lacquer thinner to thin the Floquil® paint.

  After the hull colors had dried for another hour, I took regular 3/4" masking tape and using a 6" strip of tape, I worked the tape into the cracks and seams of the plating and details of the hull. I then pulled the tape back off the model. The tape pulls tiny patches of paint off of the hull, allowing the Floquil® Rust and the rust color of the hull to show through the colors on the surface of the hull. I then used Dr. Ben's Realistic Rust as a rusty weathering wash. The effect is fantastic. The real trick here is to wash the rust on, with the model upside down, and allow the rust solution to dry. I could elaborate on this theory and method if there were enough interest. Write to the editor of this magazine.

  I also deviated from the instructions for this model when I fit the decks to the hull. The front "2/3'sU deck does not fit as nicely as the manufacture probably would have liked it to have fit. The instructions suggest that the builder fill in the gap with CA glue. This would probably look acceptable from 4 or 5 feet away, but not up close. Instead I found that an HO scale 2"x12" fills the gap between the 2D's deck and the inner surface of the hull. At the same time, this adds additional detail to the interior of the deck, which looks very natural to the viewer. Also, there is an unexplainable gap between the aft-deck and the deck bulkhead, which is easily filled with an HO scale 6"x l0".

  Both of these deviations are rather insignificant and should actually pose no problem to construction of this model. The rest of this model falls into place and most of the time spent constructing this model is in the preparation.

  Other changes that I made were the anchor chain and lifeboat. The chain that comes with the kit may be fine for G-scale, but not for this model. There are a number of scale chains that would substitute without much difficulty. The lifeboat provided is satisfactory. I chose to mount a smaller lifeboat on the roof of the cabin rather than lay the lifeboat on the deck or drag it behind the freighter. This was simply my preference.

  There are probably a hundred additions and details anyone could add to this model, I did add a couple of Grandt Line lights to this model to give it the appearance that the operators of this freighter might work at night. I also added a Vimex Industries clam-shell bucket. My plans for this freighter is to haul coal. Some may want to use a patch of panty hose to represent a burlap tarp and stringers at the comers. This could be prototypical where men would shovel coal onto the tarp and load or unload the freighter by this method.

  One last point to mention was the scale emphasis of the hull plates. Initially, 1 was concerned that the thickness may be over exaggerated. However, after the freighter was completed, the weathering and rust neatly disguised what prototypically would be several inches thick. This is something that we would notice in real life as well as not very functional. Fortunately, there are those times in building models when slightly exaggerated looks better than prototype. I have shown this completed model to a number of people and no one has noticed.


  Many modelers may not feel that an article pertaining to a freighter has any real relevance in model railroading. However, if you think about it, many modelers have begun to add a significant amount of water to their railroad layouts. I always add some sort of water to any of the dioramas that 1 build. i.e. Hooker's Point Lighthouse, voted Most Photogenic, by the editors of the model railroad magazines at the 1995 NMRA Convention in Atlanta. Adding water to a layout or diorama has become much easier and safer in the past few years with the two part urethanes from Envirotex and other companies. The really neat thing is that without much effort, this freighter could be modeled to represent N, S. and 0 scales. Now more than ever, the model railroad hobby is now lacking relative sea power that is comparable to the quality and detail of typical model railroads. This freighter from JDI is a nice addition.

  The image at right is of the "Model Railroad News" Product Review in 1996. MRN now has a new owner and I don't use Floquil® products any longer. My my how times change!

  Want to have a model built custom for your layout empire? Just Ask!

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