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Revell Germany 1/700 scale Container Ship Colombo Express

Models of modern cargo ships are few and far between, which makes Revell Germany's Colombo Express especially welcome. And it's a fun build, too!
Revell Germany 1/700 scale Container Ship <i>Colombo Express</i>
Kit: No. 05241
Scale: 1/700
Manufacturer: Revell Germany, 49-5223-965-0
Price: $40.95
Comments: Injection-molded, 229 parts, decals
Pros: Unique subject; good fits; large model; container part numbers and orientation clearly marked on trees and parts
Cons: Color callouts for Revell paints only
Issue Published: February 2010
Revell Germany 1/700 scale Container Ship <i>Colombo Express</i>
Revell Germany 1/700 scale Container Ship <i>Colombo Express</i>
Revell Germany 1/700 scale Container Ship <i>Colombo Express</i>
Revell Germany 1/700 scale Container Ship <i>Colombo Express</i>
Merchant ships are an oft-neglected segment of the maritme modeling world, but Revell Germany has chosen to fly the flag with a 1/700 scale model of one of the world's largest container ships. At 1,100 feet long, Hapag-Lloyd's Colombo Express-class vessels are longer than the USS Nimitz. With 103,800 deadwight tonnage, the ships have room for 8,749 20-foot containers, The instructions helpfully point out that that many conatiners laid end-to-end would stretch almost 33 miles.

Revell's white plastic is nicely detailed considering the scale. The two-part hull includes the keel, bulbous bow, and bow maneuvering thruster. The hull and deck fit together well with careful gluing and clamping to eliminate gaps. I used a little putty along the hull seam to ensure it disappeared.

The superstructure came next. The fit of the tower parts is nearly perfect; I only had to lightly sand the corners to make the joins disappear. It's possible to paint the decks green after assembly if you have a fine brush and a steady hand. Otherwise, I recommend painting them before building.

The heart of any merchant ship is the cargo and Revell provides a full compliment of containers to fill the deck.

The good news: The containers are not molded separately, so you don't have to lose your mind assembling more than 8,000 boxes. Instead, you build 23 blocks of containers. The only negative is it will be harder to model a more realistic uneven load without some serious cutting.

Revell makes assembly easy by molding parts numbers on the trees adjacent to the pieces and on the backside of the parts. There is also an arrow to aid correctly orienting the parts. The fit is good, so the only problem is boredom. I broke construction up into several nights and watched TV while working.

I gave the ship a coat of Tamiya spray-can dull red. The water line is marked with a faint raised line that makes masking easier. I masked the lower hull and shot the hull with Tamiya semi-gloss black. I airbrushed the deck Polly Scale Pacemaker red.

Decals provide marking for the Colombo Express as well as six other ships in the class. They needed a little Solvaset to conform. A one-part stand locks onto small locators under the hull.

The instructions call for all of the containers to be Hapag-Lloyd orange (Polly Scale D&RGW orange is a close match) and decals are inlcuded for all. I decided to make mine more colorful and closer to reality by painting individual containers.

This kit offered a change-of-pace from my usual armor and aircraft and I had fun building it. More than 18" long, Revell's Colombo Express makes an impressive display. There are few wrinkles in construction but the model rewards careful painting, so I recommend to intermediate modelers.

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