Kestrel Designs make a range of N plastic structure kits.Address
Kestrel DesignsAbout the company
Unit 9, the Old School, Station Road,
Narberth, Pembs. SA67 8DU
I know virtually nothing about Kestrel other than theyve been around for at least a decade or so. I have some old models made by them, under the name Kestral Designs. All their current advertising has the name Kestrel, so I assume they realized the spelling error at some point and corrected it. But you might see them listed under the old name.Catalogue
They dont have a catalogue so far as I know, but do have a printed list available for an SAE. I havent got it. Since theyre distributed by Pecos PPP agency you can see the complete list in the PPP catalogue, along with a few sketches. (not photographs of finished models - at least, not in the catalogue that Ive got.)What I think of their products
Kestrel make an assortment of injection-moulded styrene construction kits, mainly buildings. They have some trackside items - signal box, small stations, etc. And models of terraced shops, etc.Summary
Unfortunately the standard of tooling is not particularly brilliant. Doesnt even begin to compete with the quality of, say, Ratios products. The lines are handcut and sometimes of inconsistent depths. The smooth portions lack a convincing texture. Thick pieces (eg: chimneys) tend to be bowed inwards, as though there wasnt enough pressure forcing the plastic into the mould. A fair bit of flashing youll need to trim off. In all, it reminds me of the kind of stuff that European makers like Pola produced - back in the 1960s. Annoyingly, they package their products by taping the components to a piece of card. This is a problem because if you buy a kit thats been sitting around in a shop for some time the glue on the transparent tape turns into this thick yellow resinous grot thats difficult to remove from the models surface.
Now, to be perfectly fair, I have noticed that newer Kestrel products are of a higher quality than their old merchandise. But they still suffer from three basic problems - fairly crude lines, thick windowframes and so on and inwards bulging of components such as chimneys that should be thick.
Mediocre quality aside, the chief value of Kestrels product line is that they produce very generic buildings that serve as useful raw material. It can be a big timesaver to buy a handful of Kestrel terraced houses, throw them together, add some reasonable detailing and there you go. It wont stand up to close scrutiny terribly well, but for filler models at the back of the layout theyre great. Scratchbuilding is necessary if you want to produce the museum-quality models youve always wanted.
If youre interested there are photos of a Kestrel small station and some terraced houses on the N Gauge Society pages.
OK as a source of parts for building (what American modellers call kitbashing - taking pieces of a commercially available kit and producing new designs with the components). Mediocre mouldings.
Because we live in an absurdly litigious world, please note the following. First, I have no personal financial interest in any companies mentioned here, one way or the other. Second, all trademarked names are owned by their respective owners and are mentioned here purely for identification purposes. Third, no guarantees, express or implied, are made regarding the accuracy, fitness, whatever the hell about any of the information or opinion presented here. And finally, much of this is opinion of the author; nothing more.
Text copyright © 1997-98 tela design.
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