By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Dremel

Caldercraft Sir Kay

Build issue

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
David Crewe19/12/2021 04:59:58
7 forum posts
9 photos

Hi, I am just into the build of Sir Kay from Caldercraft. My last build was the Jotika Victory, so seemed time for a change. Can't say I'm impressed with the kit so far, stuff doesn't seem to fit without much modification and the instructions are all over the place. However. I am puzzled by the arangement of the rear platform and its coamings. The solid platform supplied doesn't reach the coamings from the stern, leaving a gap. Is this correct? Or do I need to add a piece to the platform?

Richard Simpson19/12/2021 09:55:40
1027 forum posts
256 photos

Hi David and welcome to the forum.

The Caldercraft range of kits were sold to Jotika a long time ago now and have changed very little in the meantime. Consequently in many areas they can show their age. This can mean a little bit more thought and effort has to be put into the building but the results can be very rewarding. I once had a conversation with the gentleman who started the company regarding a fault I identified with one of his later kits. His response was "Well you're the modeller aren't you?"

While I was a little put out at first after a while I did come to realise that he was actually right. I didn't buy the model to "Shake the box and a boat would fall out", I bought the model to enjoy stretching myself to learn new things and achieve a model that I could then be proud of. I'm still building it 20 years later but I'm very pleased with it.

I do think vendors could do a better job of setting the expectations of certain kits a bit more accurately but, having said that, we are dealing with a market that has been diminishing now for many years so the luxury of funds to upgrade and improve old kits simply isn't there anymore. I think it is better that the manufacturers continued to distribute these models rather than remove them from their catalog but modellers also have to expect to put a bit more into the build.

Hopefully someone here can help you with the platform on this one.

If you put "Caldercraft Sir Kay" into Google and set the results to 'images' you will find a lot of useful links to existing examples.  Those on other forums may also be able to provide assistance such as this one:

Caldercraft Sir Kay link.


There is one also owned by a member here who may be worth contacting with a PM:

Sir Kay Picture


You might be able to contact these chaps as well as this is a more recent posting:

YouTube Sir Kay


Edited By Richard Simpson on 19/12/2021 10:08:19

David Crewe20/12/2021 19:07:04
7 forum posts
9 photos

Hi Richard,

Thank you for your reply. I have made about 10 ship models of various sizes and agree that they all require a certain amount of grim determination. I did the Artesania Bounty some time ago and had to translate the French instructions the English version was so bad. And also bought the John McKay Anatomy in order to get the model shipshape.
Even the very good jotika Victory had its issues. But as you say that’s the joy of modeling!

having looked at few pictures of the Sir Kay I have decided to get on as I think it should be as long as I looks the part. Thanks again,


Richard Simpson20/12/2021 19:25:41
1027 forum posts
256 photos

You're welcome David. Feel free to keep us updated with progress. It's always good to follow a build.

neil howard-pritchard23/12/2021 20:40:10
2260 forum posts
2759 photos

Frank Hinchliffe was a personal friend of mine and when he started up Mountfleet Models some years after selling Caldercraft to John Wright at Jotika, he was still of the same opinion that his models were for model makers, not airfix construction kit makers, and we soon fell out for a while,

the reason being that as an "associate" partner to begin with and was designing the prototype first 3 kits for and with him.....the Alfred tug, the Danny Boy Drifter and the early stages of the St Nectan, which i had designed as a "veranda bridge" trawler we would produce full size plans and more comprehensive instructions........and his slant on it was....if modellers couldn't build from what they were given in the kit, they shouldn't be building his kits............and this was his methodology from the first model kit he produced......and he never changed.

and because they had sold in their hundreds over the years because they were a light year away from the old aerokits models such as sea commander, Queen and other basic kits, he didn't see why he should change his ways..........and his favourite phrase was to modellers...."bullsh*t baffles brains."......and because of this we parted company as i didn't want my test model desighn of the lifeboat kit yhat i was working on, going the same way.

but volume of sales in the past shows what was needed in the modelling kit world, as his kits sold hundreds world wide, if no thousands, and contrary to what he used to say about theres no money in model boat kits.......he certainly proved differently..........but then again he was a true yorkshire man............but a brilliant modeller.

but hopefully like so many others before you and i, these little foibles in his kits will give you the experience and confidence to build more difficult ones along the way, and even your own scratch builds or even designing kits as i progressed on to doing so.

Richard Simpson24/12/2021 10:07:04
1027 forum posts
256 photos

I once had a lengthy argument with Frank regarding the rudder on the Ben Ain. The foot is actually stepped out slightly so the lower pintle is not actually in line with the other rudder pintles. When I pointed this out to him that, in theory all the pintles must be in line for the rudder to rotate his response was simply that it works so it must be OK. The only reason it worked of course was because there was so much slack in the bearings that the misalignment of the lower pintle was absorbed but he simple would not accept that there was anything wrong with it.

He was certainly a typical forthright Yorkshireman was Frank but, when you got to know him a little you realised that there was a lifetime of modelling experience there that you could learn a lot from. As long as you didn't question anything! I even used to paint Hinchcliffe Models Napoleonic figures when I was a teenager and was simply in awe when he showed me his collection of some of his earliest figures painted up in a glass cabinet in his lounge.

neil howard-pritchard24/12/2021 15:57:53
2260 forum posts
2759 photos

he certainly was a man who took no prisoners, Richard.....he showed me some figures also..........might have been the same, as he told me that they had been the ones that featured in the cinema film "Callan" staring Edward Woodward.

I had watched it once but next time it came on tv i specifically watched it to see his figures.............but i was also surprised to see in the car chase where he was persuing the chap that he was to have a war gaming session with in his blacked out range rover, around the countryside of Berkshire, the actual pub that i lived in for two years whilst teaching in Maidenhead..........couldn't believe the chance.....the pub was and still is called "The Bell" and is in a little village called Waltham St Lawrence, and claims to be the oldest pub in Berkshire, and once put up Charles 1st whilst hiding from Cromwells army.

i ran the bar most nights for a big reduction in my rent when the landlord was out chacing his lady friends lol.

my bedroom was the top left hand window looking out over thevillage triangle and the 1000 year old Yew tree

THE BELL, Waltham St Lawrence - The St - Updated 2021 Restaurant Reviews,  Menu & Prices - Tripadvisor

neil howard-pritchard24/12/2021 16:10:15
2260 forum posts
2759 photos

he also taught me all about white metal and resin casting, and i eventually bought a centrifugal caster and melt pot to do the fittings with for my first kit, the Ann Letitia Russell that dave metcalf bought off me many years ago and now produces.........i dont think that without Franks knowledge and selfless instruction, there ever would be that and other lifeboat kits and semi kits around.

Colin Bishop24/12/2021 18:17:28
5194 forum posts
6120 photos
421 articles

Back in the early 70s (I think!) I was in a London pub one evening together with, (If I remember rightly, Dave Sambrook and Steve Kirby), and found myself being introduced to Frank who had brought along some of his latest figurines. Among the usual soldiery was a very nice set of ladies in various states of undress, painted and exquisitely detailed in all respects. We were all very impressed!

As far as accuracy of parts in kits is concerned it is regrettably the case that it is not uncommon for parts not to fit properly sometimes. It is certainly not a problem confined to Caldercraft, there are other examples. There is frequently a reluctance to address these problems as it can mean changing patterns and tooling etc. so you do get the reactions described above.

Notable exceptions were Model Slipway (now bought by Mounfleet) where Lawrie White did genuinely have a policy of continuous improvement and, more recently, the SLEC Fairey Powerboat range designed by the late lamented Dave Milbourn which were cleverly and meticulously designed to fit together with an exactness that would not be out of place on a plastic kit.

Badly fitting parts are an indication of the degree of quality control and should not be confused with the simplifications kit manufacturers often have to adopt with scale models to make them commerically or practically viable. Dave's compromise with his Faireys was to make the deck flat to facilitate manufacture and construction whereas the original boats had a degree of sheer. It is only noticeable if you are particularly knowledgeable about Faireys though.



Edited By Colin Bishop on 24/12/2021 18:18:31

David Crewe24/12/2021 23:02:01
7 forum posts
9 photos

It's Christmas Day here in New Zealand and I have halted construction for a few days now, having been driven potty by the Sir Kay locker. I tried one one just to see how it goes and I think I took it apart at least four times and still not happy with it. At least another ten to go!

As for the kit, I can put up with half the measurements being in metric and the other half in Imperial, although it is a bore, but the wood supplied doesn't meet the described measurements which is pretty basic and not really good value for the price (in addition to the shipping costs to the Antipodes).

I get what you are all saying about the attitude some model-sellers have or had about their products and their attitude to model-makers themselves, but I am really trying to manage my expectations about the level of quality in this kit.

By the way, I can't seem to upload any pictures, the system doesn't seem able to find any of my albums, any tips, please?

Best wishes for the season,

David (ex-pat)

All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Boats? Use our magazine locator link to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Boats!

Support Our Partners
Premier March
Shopping Partners
Social Media

'Like' us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Pin us on Pinterest

Member Contributions
Distributors of Model Boats for our overseas readers

Make sure you never miss out on the latest news, product reviews and competitions with our free RSS feed

Make your own contribution to the Website

We welcome well written contributions from Website members on almost any aspect of Model Boating with a particular emphasis on practical hints, tips, experience and builds.

In order to maintain a consistent standard and format, all suggestions should first be sent to me by Personal Message for approval in principle. Only a very limited amount of time is available for editing contributions into a suitable format for placing on the website so it is important that the material is well presented, lucid and free from obvious spelling errors. I think it goes without saying that contributions should be illustrated by appropriate photos. I shall be happy to give advice on this.

The Member Contribution area offers space for short informative mini articles which would not normally find a place in Model Boats magazine. It is an opportunity for Website Members to freely share their  expertise and experience but I am afraid that virtue is its own reward as there is no budget to offer more material recompense!

I look forward to receiving your suggestions.

Colin Bishop - Website Editor