The Ship: Arcadia was built on the Clyde in Scotland for P&O S.N.Co
and launched in 1953. She had a capacity of 29500 gross tons,
capable of carrying 1400 passengers and 710 crew at 23knots. She
sailed on the London to Sydney, Australia route, with some cruising.
The model depicts the ship after mid 1970 when the rear mast had
been removed, as it happens I think the ship looks better with this
later rig. Len Jordan does not give any notes for modifying the ship
model to the early configuration, which might well be as simple as
drilling a hole and fitting a rear mast and a taller foremast. She
was sold for scrapping in 1979. There is a good photo-essay online
The Scale: 1/1200 and 1/1250 scale miniature ships have been made
and collected since at least the very early 20th century. Most
models in this scale are to the waterline (vis. not full hull) and
metal cast, but there are some resins and a few plastic kits (see
Hobbyboss and Revell on mm). There are many websites related to this
hobby, one of the best is www.steelnavy.com/1250home.htm which has
lots of useful articles and links.
The Maker: Len Jordan has been making resin 1:1200 scale ship models
since 1988. He now has a list of well over 100 freighters, 42
liners, 9 tankers and also some wartime armed variants of these
models. He sells the models as unpainted kits, most of the models on
his list are still available although some of the earlier ones have
been withdrawn pending improvements to the masters and moulds. He
can be found at a few UK "miniship" meetings and also contacted by
mail at Len Jordan, Sunny Home, Whitchurch Hill, Reading RG8 7PG
The kits and fully finished painted models can also be purchased
from "Wirral Miniature Ships" who can be contacted by email
firstname.lastname@example.org will happily send lists, photos and other
These Wirral models are available vis. other model dealers
specialising in 1:1200 scale ships, a web search (especially via
steelnavy) will probably turn up a few other sources.
A resin hull and separate funnel, a metal pin and a resin
"cross-tree" together with a paper plan and colour information is
supplied in a sturdy corrugated cardboard box. (Len Jordan does not
provide any material for the derricks or yard arm - the
to make these himself ). The box should be kept to contain the model
after it has been finished to protect it if you are moving house, or
indeed if you want to post it. The hull is finely detailed, with
only slight visible flash, no pin-holes or bubbles, with
exceptionally sharp and deep undercuts - a most impressive example
of resin casting, it has a flat bottom at the waterline. The hull
has integral ships boats and kingposts, these are not as fragile as
they might appear, since they have a metal wire inside as
reinforcement, however because the resin is quite brittle and the
details thin modellers need to be careful when handling and working
on the model.
In the case of Arcadia, Len Jordan's printed notes include
references to two books and a magazine article.
I should mention that, on request, Len gives out (well he did in
1996) a couple of pages of printed notes about how to make and fit
masts and derricks for his models, painting hints and also good
sources of supply for tools and materials in the UK.
I measured the hull at 178mm long, which gives a scale of about
1:1235 which will be quite a nice compromise for many collectors who
have both 1:1200 and 1:1250 scale models for this one to sit
First I checked the bottom of the model was flat by placing it on a sheet of
sandpaper and lightly rubbing it: on inspection there were no obvious high
spots and no further work was required.
I tested my model for paint adhesion, by applying a few dots of "deck colour"
in some of the less visible corners, this seemed to be okay, so I did not
wash the model, as it happens I later found that the interior of the boats
did resist paint a bit, so with the
benefit of hindsight I should have given
at least the boats a bit of a de-grease. I inspected the resin for any
flaws. In this case I found a few areas of roughness and some very small
"flash", a needle file and a small piece of fine sandpaper was all that I
needed to clean up the casting. I also checked that the funnel fitted neatly
on the hull, and trimmed some resin flash to achieve this, also that the
hole for the fore-mast was able to take a pin for a mast without needing any
Len Jordan provides a pin for a mast - the idea being that the head can be
snipped off and it can be installed point uppermost to give the impression
of taper, I prefer to use a nylon bristle - the benefit being that nylon is
easy to cut with scissors and it is flexible if it is brushed against. I
also selected some thinner bristles to use for the derricks illustrated on
The only real "modelling" is to sand the resin cross-tree down, check the
pre-drilled hole is clear and glue it to the mast. I filed a slight groove
in the mast above and glued on a thin piece of nylon as the "yard-arm" near
the top of the mast.
Given such a complete resin hull, the bulk of the work on this model is
It might be a good idea to spray the entire model with a matt white
undercoat. I decided that the very light "straw" coloured resin would
provide a suitable base without undercoating. I use acrylic paints, in this
case applied with a brush.
I decided straight away that I was not going to paint a waterline, the
photos I have all show a prominent (red) waterline at the bow, disappearing
towards the middle of the ship. I do not know if the ship always looked like
that, or why, but I thought that it would look peculiar and decided the
model would look better with no waterline marking at all, which is of course
also much easier than applying one, even if it "should" be a slanting or
I painted the decks with a matt patent mix that is similar to Badger
Modelflex "Concrete" or Games Workshop "Bleached Bone", in other words much
the same as the colour of the resin, but matt not glossy. I feel that this
is a good representation of sun-bleached deck planking, however I know that
lots of modellers use a rich brown - like furniture colour - which would
perhaps be correct for wet decks.
I painted the hull sides with Badger Modelflex semi-gloss "Reefer White" -
this is my "standard" colour for merchant ship models, it has a nice sheen
very suitable for this scale - a high gloss would look unrealistic. A second
coat was required.
The two swimming pools were painted dark blue (Revell matt blue 56) - this
choice is based on the tones of a black and white photo in the McCart book,
however it is possible that this photo was a retouched publicity shot, a
light blue would look "prettier".
The interior of the boats was painted with a semi-gloss patent mix of Gunze
orange, matt base, and various light browns - this was based on the World
Ship Society cover photo Sep 2007, where the boats look quite orange, but
The buff colour for the funnel and masts, derricks, hatch covers and
kingposts was another matt patent mix based on Aeromodeller RLM Gelb with
white and a dash of brown added to taste.
The funnel top was painted Badger Modelflex gloss "Engine Black", the photos
all show the funnel top gleaming. The actual exhaust orifice and adjacent
area was painted Badger Modelflex matt "Grimy Black".
Len Jordan says that the sign boards alongside the funnel are red, in photos
they do not stand out boldly, they would have been covered in light bulbs on
the real ship, I used a matt Gunze red (label disappeared from paint jar)
applied lightly with a fine brush to just pick out the name boards.
The monkey island on the top of the bridge and the top of the "house" on the
foredeck was painted Testors "leather" to give the effect of varnished wood.
After the first round of painting I went back with the Reefer White,
touching up the lifeboat sides, tops of deck fittings and so on to give a
The funnel and mast were attached with superglue. The derricks were attached
to the base of the mast and kingposts with superglue, following the layout
in Len's plan. I let the ends of the derricks fall on the decks, but in the
real ship they rested high up off the deck held by metal brackets that would
be almost impossibly fine in this scale.
There was a final round of touching up the paintwork and she was finished.
A super model kit. Because of the high quality of the resin hull this model
would be a good introduction to resin miniature ships. Probably not an idea
"beginners" model, simply because I doubt that the fine detail would take
rough handling. There is some challenge to paint the small details, but an
acceptable model could be made by adopting a simplified colour scheme and,
if necessary omitting to make up the fiddly derricks, so modellers or
limited ability could certainly consider this kit. There is the potential to
do more detailing than I did - pe railings are available for this scale, so
it could be a basis for a "high-end" model project.
McCart , Neil, "Famous British Liners 3 Arcadia and
Iberia", Fan Publications 1993, ISBN 0 9519538 3 4
World Ship Society, Marine News magazine, cover photo Sep 2007
http://www.simplonpc.co.uk/ search for Arcadia