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Modelcraft 1/500 Oriana Cruise Ship Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2005 Manufacturer Modelcraft
Subject Oriana Cruise Ship Scale 1/500
Kit Number 500-001 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Inexpensive Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $24.00

First Look


The Oriana was a cruise ship build by Vickers Armstrong in 1959 for the P&O Lines. She ran the Atlantic lines early in its career until civil aviation replaced the cruise ship as the primary trans-Atlantic carrier, then she took the US to Australia trans-Pacific routes which remained safe through most of its operational service. Even this route would eventually replaced by the Boeing 747 and the Oriana became a tourist center in Japan in 1986 where she sits today.

This kit has been on the market for a few years now, but we've only seen this kit in its early stages prior to decals and instructions being available. This is not a re-release of someone else's tooling, this is Modelcraft's own project.

Molded in white styrene, the kit is presented on four trees and a one-piece hull. At 1/500 scale, you may not be able to find aftermarket railings available in photo-etch, but the kit provides some nice detailing in this scale. I, for one, would not care to replicate lounge chairs or any other furnishings in this scale!

At the ship's stern, there is a nicely enclosed multi-deck observation area replicated with fives decks provided to provide the eye something to see aside from empty hull.

You'll also notice that this kit is set up to be motorized. There is a twin-screw gearbox driven by a DC motor powered by a pair of AA batteries (not included). If you have a pond or swimming pool handy, you can take your ship out for a cruise.

If you opt float your model, keep in mind that this is one of those times when Acrylic paints or Future gloss coats are a bad idea. Consider using enamels or Tamiya's spray can lacquers to finish this kit.

While the serious modeler might be put off by the motorization, aside from the switch hole on the foredeck, you really can't tell from the outside of the model. The battery box is accessible by removing a section of the superstructure.

Modelcraft provides markings for the Oriana but the instructions are less than helpful on decal placement.

A clear display stand is also included to display or drydock your model.

This kit will build up into a nice model of a 1960s era cruise ship. If you're a ship builder that likes the color and variety of civilian vessels on your shelf, this a nice alternative to the numerous Titanics out there.

At the price, this would also be a fun project for dad to team up with the kid(s) and get their interest in modeling.

My sincere thanks to Modelcraft for this review sample!