The big engines-aft collier was initially a special design used to build vessels to sail the Thames River.  They were built as low as possible with masts and funnels that could fold flat to pass under the numerous bridges spanning
the river.  They were used to carry coal up the river to the gas and light works that provided utilities to London.  This design was adapted to larger vessels used for coastal and short sea transport.  The
SS Louie Rose was one
such ship, built by John Fullerton of Paisley for Richard Hughes of Liverpool, and employed mainly in the South Wales and East Coast coal trade.  She was completed in 1924 and her dimensions were 250’6” by 37’ 1” by 16’
5” with a gross tonnage of 1,596.  In 1936 she was sold to foreign owners and converted to a wine carrier.

The Kit - Loose Cannon continues to focus on unique subjects that you will never see otherwise as a kit. You could say that this is their market niche. The Louie Rose certainly fits this description. The kit is simple affair
with a low part count.  The main part is the waterline hull which has some deck housings and fittings cast into it. The casting is good and requires the usual amount of clean-up. Looking closely at the hull sides you will see a
series of hatches which I believe were opened to shovel the coal out when the cargo was delivered. In the casting the hatches are not very straight and will need to be sanded down and replaced. The deck hatches and winches
are cast as separate pieces, one for the well deck forward which is slighted tapered and one for the raised quarter deck. The upper deck is also a separate piece with such details as the boat cradles, skylights and other fittings
The bridge housing/deck and the flying bridge deck round off structural parts. The smaller parts include the cowl vents, boats, kingposts, funnel and anchors. The funnel has a casting flaw at the top which will need to be dealt
with. A small bit of brass rod, which I neglected to photograph, is provided to make the cargo booms.
The photo-etch provided with the kit is a general merchant ship set that is used for 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 I will have a good addition to the spares box when I am done building this model. A small decal sheet is
included with the ship’s name in two sizes, one size for the bow and the larger for the hull sides, the ship’s name and homeport for the stern and the Red Ensign. The decals look well done but as a precaution I applied a coat
of MicroScale Liquid Decal Paper to seal them.

The Build - This is not a complex model and it all went together rather easily. The first thing I did was to sand down the cast on hatches on the sides of the hull and replace them with bits of styrene strip. As mentioned above
the, the funnel had a casting flaw. Rather than try to repair it I decided to replace it with brass tubing, with some brass wire as the vent pipe, using the resin part as a template. I also replaced the resin kingposts with brass rod
and bits of styrene again using the kit part as a template. The cast on boat cradles and a cable reel on the foc’sle were replaced with photo-etch versions. The painting instructions are largely based on a color profile in “
Steam
Coasters and Short Sea Traders
” by Charles V. Waine, which also has some basic plans. The latter helped me with the placement of photo-etch doors. I found it easier to paint the main hull part first because when the upper
deck is glued into place you will not be able to get to the decks and housings underneath it. I also found it easier to paint the deck hatch sections separately and then gluing them to the painted deck using some epoxy, which
allowed me to position them correctly before they dried in place. I cut down the height of the photo-etch davits as they are too tall for this ship.
The only real criticism I have with the kit is with the photo-etched inclined ladders.  They are all the same size and in some spots they were either too tall or too short, so I used some ladders from the Gold Medal Models
merchant ship set where required. The rigging was done using .004 inch steel wire painted black. I am really a klutz when it comes to working with stretched sprue which would have probably been more in scale. The
decals went on without a problem and reacted well with MicroScale solvents. The seascape was done using my usual method of acrylic gel medium and paints sealed with two coats of Future.
This was my first experience with a Loose Cannon kit and I was quite pleased with it. It was a simple build that turned in a good looking and fairly detailed model. I can honestly say that I am now hooked on Loose Cannon
kits and I am looking forward to my next merchant ship build. My thanks to
Loose Cannon for the review sample.
Felix Bustelo
Varlet of Valley Stream
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