Sir R. Ropner & Co., of Hartlepool, was founded in 1874 and operated one of the largest fleets of tramp ships under the British flag. One of the ships in that fleet was
SS Clearpool, which was built in 1935 by William Gray and Company of West Hartlepool. She measured 425 feet in length, 55 feet in the beam and a draught of 26
feet 3 inches with a gross tonnage of 5,403 tons. On June 4, 1944, while sailing out of Hull, England,
Clearpool ran aground on Skitter Sands. Despite efforts made to
free her, her keel was broken when the tide lowered and she was a total loss.

The Kit - The kit is a the latest release from Loose Cannon and an addition to their growing fleet of tramp steamers and cargo ships that may now rival Sir R. Ropner
& Co. The main part is the waterline hull which has some deck housings, the cargo hatches and basic fittings cast into it. The casting is generally adequate but looking
closely at the foc’sle deck edge it looks like there is some kind of warping or deformity. Whatever you call it, some careful sanding will be required to correct this
issue. There is some excess resin along the waterline which will also need to be removed and cleaned up.

The upper and lower pilot house decks and the boat deck are all cast as separate pieces and will need to be cut out of casting wafer. There is a slight depression in the
boat deck that will need to be filled in and smoothed out. The funnel is ok but solid with no opening. The smaller resin parts include large and small cowl vents, life
boats, large winches and anchors. Missing are some davits for the boats, so those will be need to made from wire. The casting is generally good and the life boats have
a fair amount of detail to them. All of these parts will need to be removed from casting blocks and will probably need some attention with a file or sandpaper to clean
them up.
The photo-etch provided with the kit is a general set that is included in the majority of the Loose Cannon merchant ships. It provides 3 styles of railing, vertical and
inclined ladders, a catwalk, an assortment of ratlines, doors and other fittings. There are enough parts to detail a couple of ships depending on size, so it looks like
there will be some left over parts after this model is finished. Two lengths of brass rod are provided for the kingposts and cargo booms. No decals are provided with
this kit.

The instructions are printed on a single double-sided sheet of paper and are very basic. The first page has a very simple drawing of the model showing the locations
for the resin parts and the different booms. Measurements are provided to cut brass rods for the two main kingposts and booms but not for the smaller booms. The
flip side of the page has a copy of a detailed blueprint of
Clearpool that will help with finishing the kit.
Overall, this is a fair kit that is a tad under-whelming in my opinion when compared to some of the other offerings I have seen from Loose Cannon. I would
categorize this kit a basic offering that will need some extra effort to build into a more detailed model. How much you wish to put into it is up to you, but you do have
a good basis for work with. My thanks to
Loose Cannon for the review sample.
Felix Bustelo