This is SS Palo Alto, a ferro cement ship built at the end of WWI for the Emergency Fleet Corporation as EFC Design 1100. Palo Alto was designed as a freighter,
modified while building to be a tanker. They kept the machinery amidships, rather than moving it aft like a conventional tanker. Back then they didn’t say “tanker”, it
was “tank ship” and they just said concrete instead of “ferro cement”, so
Palo Alto is listed in the various information pages as a “concrete tank ship”.  

There were several ships built to this design in an effort to conserve ship building steel for the War Effort.  This design did work, but they were heavier than a
conventional steel hull of the same size. As this translated to less cargo capacity, and therefore less profit per trip, they were just not competitive in the postwar
economy and were soon laid up. Being made of concrete instead of steel, they did not rust away. The derelict hulls continue to decorate various mud banks around the
USA today.
Palo Alto was beached on the California coast, a pier built out to her and the hull converted into a dance hall. Several years later a storm broke her in two
and the wreck remains to this day. I’ve been interested in
Palo Alto ever since reading about her in Plastic Ship Modeler many years ago. I found the drawings on the
internet when I discovered the large website of EFC ship drawings.
I primed the kit parts with  auto supply store gray spray primer, Vallejo black-gray for the black in scale effect,  Colour Coats Teak Enamel for the wood decks, Model
Masters Flat White enamel for the superstructure, and a bit of Testor’s enamel here & there for the other details. I undercoated the inside of the vents with white so
the red would stand out.  The concrete decks were left in the primer gray. I’ve never had much luck with acrylic paints, but the Vallejo went down with no problems
over the gray primer. I thinned it by 1/3 with the blue Windex glass cleaner. I am pleased with this Vallejo paint and will plan on using it on future builds.

The model went together with only a few problems, mostly with the fit of some of the photo-etch. I intentionally made the boat deck about .030” over long, since
allowing for shrinkage in resin casting can be an inexact science. All the trimming to fit must be done at the rear of the boat deck, or the rear of the bridge will interfere
with the fit of the funnel. Ask me how I know this….. The rest of the resin parts fit well and went together with no problems. The photo etch bridge face and side
panels worked out very well, and the bridge levels were easily bent down at the ends to match the arc of the railings, giving that characteristic “frowning face” look to
the bridge.  Most of the rest of the photo etch was slightly over long and needed some trimming to fit. I had drawn  most of railings with at least one extra stanchion
section to ensure they wouldn’t be too short, so trimming them was expected. The catwalk railings & ladders were a good fit as is, but the forward most & rear most
supports had to be shortened to let the catwalk meet the forecastle deck and rear deck house.  The bridge awning frames were a tight fit inside the railings and needed
some effort to get in place.  For rigging I used some extra PE shrouds from the
Californian kit. I had tried using some thin copper wire but couldn’t get the tension of
the individual wires correct to get the wire to stand without sagging & curling. It took me about a week to build the model & I’m happy with the finished product. I’m
looking forward my next build.     
David Angelo
Loose Cannon East
The Philippines