North Star Models has produced many specialized photo-etch sets to add extra details and this interesting pair is another good example of these offerings. Pre-dreadnought era warships typically had
deck openings for inclined ladders leading down into the interior of the ship. Around these openings a safety railing and canopy frame was fitted. The frame would be used to support a canvas canopy
which could provide some cover to the ladders or if pulled down all the way close off the access way. If you look at the photos included in this review you can see examples of these railings/canopies.
Each set provides different styles of these fittings – two styles in the French set and three in the Russian set. Both sets have very good relief etching. A simple set of instructions are provided which
contains an image of the fret identifying the style and the reverse showing how to bend the parts into shape.  The French set is designed for the
Danton and Hoche Combrig kits but it could also be
used on the
U-Boat Laboratorium Dupleix and YS Masterpieces Bouvet. The Russian set is also designed for various current and future Combrig kits but the Wake Models Admiral Ushakov and
Zvezda Borodino class and Varyag kits would benefit as well.
Are these sets absolutely necessary to build your model?  Well it all depends how much detail you want to have on your model. Each set costs $10.50 USD based on the North Star Models pricelist,
which is very good considering that you get enough to equip several ships. Having these fittings will enhance your model so I would recommend getting the one that would fit your needs. These two
sets can be purchased directly from
North Star Models or from Freetime/Pacific Front Hobbies and White Ensign Models.
Felix Bustelo
Legend of Long Island