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Author Topic: Caldercraft Puffer "Northlight" restoration project (completed photos)  (Read 4877 times)

Edward Pinniger

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This is a Caldercraft 1/32 scale Clyde Puffer "Northlight" which I acquired second-hand earlier this year. The previous owner built it at least 20 years ago (probably not long after the kit was first released!) but not much work was needed to get it running - I replaced the old mechanical speed controller with a Viper Marine ESC and rebuilt the rudder arm (originally white metal) from brass, as well as adding more ballast, but most of the working parts (including the motor) are unmodified. Here's what it originally looked like:







The original builder of the model made a very good job of assembling and painting it. 20+ years later, though, the model was looking a bit dusty and worn, with chipped paint on the hull and slight damage to some of the fittings and rigging. Of course, many of the real Clyde Puffers were not in great condition, but (in my opinion) real-life wear and tear on models rarely looks convincingly like "scale" weathering.

My original intention was just to repaint the hull and repair the rigging + some of the fittings, but as many of you probably know, once you start a project like this you keep finding more things that need fixing or improving... I ended up more or less repainting the entire model (following the original paint scheme), as well as completely re-doing the rigging, and modifying or replacing many of the fittings.

Most of the metal fittings + parts had been glued on with a rather rubbery "impact adhesive" type glue which did not give a particularly strong bond, and some of the parts had already fallen off before I started restoring the model. I removed all the fittings and glued them back on with CA/superglue, and at the same time took the opportunity to repaint them and add some weathering + detail painting.

The white metal deadeye/turnbuckle assemblies for the shrouds also broke when removing some of the other rigging; rather than attempt to repair them, I drilled out the "chainplates" and added brass eyebolts, then rigged the shrouds with brass turnbuckles. I replaced all of the other white metal eyebolts on the model with brass ones. The rigging plan was altered slightly, based on plans + photos of real Puffers.

Most of the stanchions on the aft railing had similarly broken (some were broken before I got the model) - rather than replace these with expensive brass ones, I drilled holes in the bases of the stanchions, inserted brass wire pegs then glued these into holes drilled in the deck.

I made some other minor improvements to the model along the way, including replacing the printed ply woodwork on the companionway + head with individual wood planks, replacing the white metal ship's bell with a turned brass one (including a rope pull made from rigging thread!) and scratchbuilding a new stern grating (which covers the rudder arm) from wood, replacing the original metal casting. This reduces topweight as well as looking nicer! Finally, I added clear glazing to all of the running lights.
I originally had plans to replace the printed plywood decks with individual planks, but decided against this in the end - the printed decks don't look too bad when weathered.

The ship's boat also received some improvements, with new stained wood thwarts and floor planks to replace the rather tatty painted plywood ones originally fitted. The stowage method (on wooden cradles and held down by ropes) is based on guesswork, I couldn't find any photos clearly showing how the boats on Puffers were usually stowed; many models (including this one, originally) just seem to have the boat glued onto the cargo hatch, with nothing to support it or hold it in place.

The two crew figures (and ship's cat!) were included with the model - I repainted them as well.

I painted the model with Revell and Lifecolor acrylics, oil-based varnish being used on the lower hull for added waterproofing + protection from wear. The upper hull is Revell satin black, the lower hull is Lifecolor Raw Sienna, the deckhouse, bulwarks etc. are Revell matt Earth Brown, and the mast is Lifecolor Sand.

Weathering was added with a mixture of oil washes (artist's oil paint heavily diluted in white spirit), drybrushed acrylics, and chalks (the latter being used for soot).

Here's the finished article:
























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Edward Pinniger

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Re: Caldercraft Puffer "Northlight" restoration project (completed photos)
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2009, 03:21:10 pm »

Finally, here are some photos of the model on the water (Black Park):
















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shıp110

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Re: Caldercraft Puffer "Northlight" restoration project (completed photos)
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2009, 03:54:02 pm »

Looks well on the water.Nice looking model.

 O0 :-)) :-))
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Corposant

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Re: Caldercraft Puffer "Northlight" restoration project (completed photos)
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2009, 05:08:28 pm »

Edward

Brilliant job! - and thanks for the pictures.

Mike
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awvs

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Re: Caldercraft Puffer "Northlight" restoration project (completed photos)
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2009, 12:15:57 pm »

Hi Edward,
what a nice job, well worth the effort. Looks great on the water!
Regards
Wilhelm
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Jim

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Re: Caldercraft Puffer "Northlight" restoration project (completed photos)
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2009, 07:22:42 pm »

Edward, Superb restoration. The model as you acquired it looked pretty good, but your repainting is excellent, particularly the subtle weathering and your fine choice of colours and tones. The overall matt appearance is just right (well, in my opinion anyway).  I note the white masts, fo'csle davit and handrails
are not weathered (well, not that I can tell) so I presume these have just been given a fresh lick of paint by the crew whilst delayed in port awaiting the last cargo  ;)
Cheers, Jim
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Angusc

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Re: Caldercraft Puffer "Northlight" restoration project (completed photos)
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2009, 04:52:01 pm »

She looks great. I will certainly try to at least approach the standard you have achieved as I'm building mine.

AngusC
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bubbles

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hi edward great pics looks good, like yourself I also bought a second hand northlight,
also in a bit of a state, if you go to rebuild of this section there are a few pics that i put on of my finished model,
but there will be some more when the weather gets a bit better.
geoff
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