"We're holding our own."
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Great Lakes Ore Carrier
Edmund Fitzgerald
Iron Shipwright
1:350 Scale kit

In-the-Box Review
by
Rob Mackie


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 until 1971.

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.

Fitzgerald350longview.jpg (7361 bytes)The Iron 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.

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Aft profile
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Bow
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Bow and cargo holds
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Aft details
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Small resin parts
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Deck levels and navigation bridge
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Funnel and aft deck level
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Edmund Fitzgerald flanked by Milo, my miniature poodle
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Instructions
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