musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Modelling the Union-Castle Line (2)

Continuing where we left off, my newest additions have arrived and I am about ready to transform them into members of my ever expanding fleet  

(This page is undergoing reconstruction)

The available affordable UC models had more or less dried up by now, although some were available from Convoy Models in military garb so I decided to get at least one for the collection, and I chose Stirling Castle. The model was outstanding, and it is hard to believe how much detail is on her. She is easier to paint because you only really need 2 colours: grey and black.

Here is my Stirling Castle and her sister Athlone Castle together. Stirling is in front. (image from 10/2017)

Union Castle also had a large fleet of cargo ships, many of which served in the war. I decided that I needed at least one representative of that fleet and I chose one of  “fruit ships” namely MV Rochester Castle,  Built in  1937, she took part in Operation Pedestal during WW2, and was broken up in 1970. There were 4 sisters in this class: Rochester Castle, Roxburgh Castle, Richmond Castle and Rowallan Castle. I think Convoy has them in military garb too. 

The fleet as at 26/11/2017:

(L-R) Pendennis, Pretoria, Capetown, Stirling, Athlone, Reina, Dunnottar, Durban, Llandaff, Rochester Castles. (back row) Victoria and Victoria

The two ships behind the fleet are both called “Victoria” The right hand ship being the former Dunnottar Castle, that had a very long life. First operated by the Incres Steamship Co and later by Chandris Lines under the names Victoria and The Victoria. In 1993 she joined Louis Cruise Lines as Princesa Victoria and was finally scrapped in India in 2004. 

The model I have is by Mercury I believe, and here she is with her UC iteration. 

The other Victoria on the left is amongst the many ships that I like. She is the former Sea Princess (built as Kungsholm), and she called in South Africa on a number of occasions, although mostly in Cape Town.

My usual source for UC ships also had her available in a resin cast, and she was easily adaptable to Sea Princess or Victoria, a name she carried later in her career with P&O. It was as Victoria that she did the Union-Castle 100 year centenary voyage in the year 2000.

I decided to make Sea Princess in the P&O livery

This sublime model above was in the window of a travel agent in Salisbury. How I coveted that model! 

I am considering repainting her in the Union-Castle livery so that she can join the fleet. 

At this point things dried up for awhile and I worked on other projects, the biggest one being my St Helena project and I also looked at scratch building a Carnarvon Castle, but shelved that idea when I realised that I did not have the eyesight or skills to do it successfully. However, another thought crossed my mind and I did some thinking and reading and decided on a new project. 

SA Oranje.  23/02/2018.

I have since added another Capetown Castle to my collection and it is the same as my other Capetown Castle. The reason I bought it was to convert it to SA Oranje. Theoretically I should have converted my Pretoria Castle model, but it is a commercial model and there was no way I was going to stuff it up. 

This is what I was aiming for…

SA Oranje in Cape Town (Postcard)

The only real work I had to do on her was remove the aft deckhouse and lifeboats and raise the funnel. I then modified the deckhouse and reglued it so that it was only a docking bridge, I also added a pool between it and the next deckhouse and used the top of the original funnel in my newly constructed funnel. I also have to fabricate a new mast for her and of course expend lots of white paint. So far she looks like this: 

I really like how she turned out though, and will make an interesting addition to the fleet which now stands at… 12!  I have since drilled out the area between the lifeboat davits on her and on Capetown Castle and Dunnottar Castle, now to retouch the paint. I am kind of ashamed at how many area’s I did not paint on the UC ships though and touching up shall be done! (30/03/2019, work has ceased on the ship as I am liable to damage her more than enhancing her. Make space in the showcase!)

Update 29/03/2018. 

Managed to snag myself a Transvaal Castle by CM. She is not in a mint condition, but makes a good addition to my collection. Unfortunately her signal mast was missing so I fabricated a new one, although it did not turn out too well and really needs to be remade. I always thought her conversion to Festivale enhanced her looks, she never really appealed to me. 

30/03/2018.  The Fleet now stands at 12 (plus 2 cruise liner versions).



I managed to buy a Windsor Castle this week, and she is made by Albatros and is really nice. Looking at her signal mast I definitely need to relook the signal mast on my Transvaal Castle and Oranje.

Hopefully this weekend I will get pics of her with the fleet bringing my collection up to 13.


RMMV Carnarvon Castle by Albatros. And she is a real beaut, although some spars and masts got bent in transport. I can’t believe I wanted to try scratch build her. Good thing I broke her up on the stocks.  

I am very fond of the Carnarvon, she just looked “right” although she was much better looking after she was upgraded to a single funnel with a proper bow.  There is a really stunning model of her as an Armed Merchant Cruiser at the war museum in Johannesburg. It is not an easy model to photograph because it is quite large and the glass case reflects something awful.

My newest acquisition is the Albatros AL-148 Dunnottar Castle. It is much better than the resin cast version I have already.

The list of additions to my collection also lives on my More Small Ships page, and of course there is a master list of my collection too. What else is available? it really depends on what pops up on ebay, however I would like to add one of the wartime fruit ships to my collection, I am steadily building up a nice collection of freighters in wartime garb and she would fit in quite well. 

With a bit of digging I can now report that the following existed/may still existed/was available (my own models are in bold):

  • Albatros AL-173A Saxon
  • Albatros AL-177A Carnarvon Castle (single funnel)
  • Albatros AL-177 Carnarvon Castle (2 funnel)
  • Albatros AL-121 Carnarvon Castle (single funnel AMC)
  • Albatros AL-180 Windsor Castle
  • Albatros AL-151A SA Oranje
  • Albatros AL-31 Winchester Castle (2 funnel)
  • Albatros AL-31a Winchester Castle (single funnel)
  • Albatros AL-79 Windsor Castle (2 funnel)
  • Albatros ALK-117 Windsor Castle (2 funnel wartime)
  • Albatros AL-137 Roslin Castle
  • Albatros AL-148 Dunnottar Castle
  • Albatros AL-151 Pretoria Castle
  • Albatros AL-55 Arundel Castle (4 funnel)
  • Albatros AL-145 Norman
  • CM CM-213 Capetown Castle
  • CM CM-214 Stirling Castle
  • CM-KR CM-KR-50 Edinburgh Castle
  • CM-KR CM-KR-51 Pendennis Castle
  • CM-KR CM-KR-52 Windsor Castle
  • CM-KR CM-KR-53 Transvaal Castle
  • CM-KR CM-KR-53A SA Vaal
  • CM-KR CM-KR-76 Festivale
  • CM-KR CM-KR-54 Southampton Castle
  • CM-KR CM-KR-56 Bloemfontein Castle
  • CM-KR CM-KR-57 Rhodesia Castle
  • CM-KR CM-KR-440 Kenya Castle
  • CM-KR CM-KR-441 Reina Del Mar
  • CM-KR CM-KR-442 Athlone Castle
  • GLR-10 Norman (1894)
  • Hein Muck HM-261 Capetown Castle
  • Hein Muck HM-262 Capetown Castle (wartime)
  • Hein Muck HM-289 Dunnottar Castle
  • Hein Muck HM-290 Dunnottar Castle (troopship)
  • Hein Muck HM-345 Durban Castle
  • Hein Muck HM-346 Durban Castle (Wartime)
  • Hein Muck HM-375 Festivale
  • Len Jordan LJK-31 Rochester Castle (Operation Pedestal)
  • Len Jordan LJK-38 Athlone Castle (troopship)
  • Len Jordan LJK-39 Stirling Castle (troopship)
  • Len Jordan LJM-35 Rochester, Roxburgh, Richmond, Rowallan Castle
  • Len Jordan LJL-7 Llandovery Castle
  • Len Jordan LJL-18 Stirling Castle/Athlone Castle
  • Len Jordan LJL-29 Reina Del Mar (as built)
  • Len Jordan LJL-29 Reina Del mar (Union-Castle rebuild) 
  • Mercury MY-456 Victoria (ex Dunnottar Castle)
  • Risawoleska RI-219 Amerikanis (1967) (ex Kenya Castle)
  • Risawoleska RI-219a Amerikanis (1997) (ex Kenya Castle)
  • Rhenania GLR-10A Norman (Peacetime)
  • Rhenania GLR-10B Norman (wartime)
  • Rhenania Balmoral Castle
  • Nelson Capetown Castle (metal version of HM-261)

A great place to see what is out there is

And there you have it for now. Not an exhaustive list by any means and always a work in progress.

Keep visiting here to read about more of my UC ships. They aren’t spectacular, but are nice to have. 

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