Launched in June 1958 at River Rouge, Michigan, the 729' Edmund
Fitzgerald was built to carry iron ore from the northern Great Lakes ore
fields to Chicago and Detroit area steel mills. Long and narrow to navigate the many locks
in this region, and sporting the unmistakable "cab forward" configuration of a
"Laker", her 13,632 gross tons made her the largest ship on the Great Lakes
The Edmund Fitzgerald met her end on
November 10, 1975. Fierce storms whip the northern Great Lakes at that time of year.
Carrying a full load of taconite (small iron ore pellets), the Edmund Fitzgerald was
encountering 30 foot waves when her two radar systems failed. Compounding the problem, a
nearby shore beacon experienced a power failure. Battered and "blind", she
fought her way through the storm. Another freighter, the Arthur M. Anderson, was
10 miles aft and offered navigational help. The Edmund Fitzgerald responded that she was
listing, but "We're holding our own.".
This was the last that was heard from the Edmund Fitzgerald. The 729' ship disappeared
from radar. Searchers found bits of wreckage a few days later. She had foundered and
broken apart, probably after taking on water via open cargo hatches torn loose by fierce
winds and waves. Her entire crew of 29 men went down with her.
Shipwright kit of this famous ship, immortalized in song by Gordon Lightfoot, is very
impressive indeed. Over 25" in length, the one piece full hull casting's length is
accentuated by the narrow beam. Make no mistake, these ships were industrial tools, with
few embellishments and external details. The kit captures the laker's distinctive lines,
and it should look spectacular when assembled and painted. The Edmund Fitzgerald's
form, not its details, will be the focal point. Nothing else looks quite these huge ore
carriers. Take a look at the amazing Fine Art Models 1:144 Edmund Fitzgerald
model for detailing ideas. At $8,000 it is a bit more expensive than the $249 Iron
Shipwright version, but it will give you something to shoot for.
Assembly should be easy. I doubt whether you'll find an easier 1:350 model of a 729'
ship. There simply isn't much to add, and the kit includes decals, paint and etched brass,
none of which were available when I prepared this preview. Casting quality was excellent,
with only a few minor flaws. You'll also need to remove the casting overpour from the hull
bottom, but otherwise cleanup should be minimal. The Model will be available early April.
See the Iron Shipwright web page for ordering info
and take a look at the parts and instructions below.