Model ship kits - sailing ships

Here is a sampling of some of the sailing ship models--both plastic and wood--that WSMS members have in their unbuilt inventories. Some of these kits may turn up at our annual auction!

American cup racer

1:96 1/8"=1'-0"

Life-Like

plastic model

Same as Lindberg; also Pyro Gertrude Thebaud. This is really a model of the Grand Banks fishing schooner Bluenose. This vessel did not race in the America's Cup races.

Bluenose

1:75

Billing Boats

plank on bulkhead

Columbia

1:120 - 1"=10'-0"

Authentic Models Holland

solid wood hull

Dapper Tom

1:76.8 5/32"=1'-0"

Model Shipways (vintage)

solid wood hull

Great Republic

1:240

Megow

solid wood hull

Antique kit from 1935?

Kate Cory

1:64 3/16"=1'-0"

Model Shipways (vintage)

solid wood hull

Roger B Taney

1:54.8 7/32"=1'0"

Dikar

plank on bulkhead

Sovereign of the Seas 1852

1:96 1/8"=1'-0"

unknown wood

solid wood hull

Thermopylae

31 in. long

Scientific

solid wood hull

USS Constitution 1798

14-1/2" ling

Scientific

solid wood hull

Vasa

1:144

Airfix

plastic model

Series 9, Classic Historical Ships (1972) . Said to portray the ship in 1628.

Atlantic

1:96 1/8"=1'-0"

ITC

plastic model

Editor's Note: A 3-masted yacht. Said to be 28.5 inches long.

Bluenose II

1:135

Constructo

solid wood hull

Cutty Sark

1:96 1/8"=1'-0"

Revell

plastic model

Editor's Note: Said to be about 36 inches long when complete. The mold dates back at least to 1960 or so.

Dos Amigos

22-1/2 in. lomg

Scientific

solid wood hull

HMS Victory

1:180 - actual 1:173

Airfix

plastic model

Series 9, Classic Historical Ships (approx 1967)

This kit is said to be about 22 inches long when complete. It is said to portray the ship in 1765.

New Bedford whaler

1:200

Academy

plastic model

poorly detailed

Sea Witch

1:96 1/8"=1'-0"

Lindberg

plastic model

Extremely detailed; requires drilling out blocks. Editor's Note: Kit is about 33 inches long when built. It was issued around 1979. Probably an old Pyro kit.

Sovereign of the Seas 1852

22 in. long

Scientific

solid wood hull

USS Constitution 1798

1:196

Revell

plastic model

Editor's Note: Kit dates back to about 1955, as kit H-319. In production in 1997, as kit 05404. (DRW)

GOOD. Clearly from the same design concept/designer as the Victory kit. Comes in two plastic colors - black hull and guns; light tan masts and deck. Gun deck is open with 'platforms' along inside of hull to mount detailed guns on carriages. I tried and tried to look inside upon completion and never found the lack of an actual gun deck to be apparent. Builds up nicely. Nice engraved hull and copper plating detail. The ratlines are thread glued into the shape, to be cut out and attached to the masts. Vac-form sails, look a bit hollow. Basic rigging instructions, two colors of rigging thread included. As I recall comes with the Andrew Jackson figurehead, not appropriate for Barbary Pirates or War of 1812 eras.

USS Constitution 1798

11 in. long

Sterling

solid wood hull

Volante

1:96 1/8"=1'-0"

Model Shipways (vintage)

solid wood hull

Editor's Note A re-issue of the old Pyro Thebaud kit perhaps?

Atlantic

1:65 about 3/16"=1'-0"

Scientific

solid wood hull

Bluenose

24 in. long

Scientific

solid wood hull

Cutty Sark

23 in. long - 1:146?

Scientific

solid wood hull

Gertrude L Thibaud

1:96 1/8"=1'-0"

Pyro

plastic model

This is really a model of the Grand Banks fishing schooner Bluenose. This vessel did not race in the America's Cup races, AFAIK. (WLM)

HMS Victory

1:100

Heller

plastic model

EXCELLENT: This is probably the most accurate plastic kit of Nelson's H.M.S. Victory of Trafalgar fame. It is a huge model, 43.3 inches (110 cm) long and 27.5 inches (70 cm) tall. The box is so big, it has a handle. With 2107 parts it is a kit not for the faint of heart. Some of the 104 cannons are composed of as many as eight parts.

The kit's accuracy compares very favorably with numerous authoritative sources, including the actual ship which rests in drydock today beautifully preserved (http://www.cix.co.uk/~flagship/Victory.htm or www.hms-victory.com/home).

Despite its amazing accuracy, large size and that the manufacturer is foreign (usually expensive), the shrewd builder can find it from some retailers online for as little as $79. A similar kit of Victory in wood at this scale or the more common 1/96 costs several hundred dollars. See the Mantua or Corel wood kits for comparison.

The history of the original ship is well known and documented. Builders should take note that the ship was already old by the time she fought at Trafalgar and has been modified extensively throughout her history appearing differently at different battles. The kit documentation states the kit as Victory appeared at Trafalgar on October 21st, 1805. The kit is very close to how Victory appeared at the battle and can be built straight from the box into a masterpiece.

The actual ship is under renovation which will restore her to her Trafalgar appearance by 2005, the 200th anniversary of the battle. At this writing, her current rig and details are accurate to her appearance after Trafalgar, circa 1812.

The only inaccuracy worth mentioning is how Heller advises the modeler to paint the ship. Modelers should check other sources to determine a more accurate color scheme. The official H.M.S. Victory website (http://www.hms-victory.com/modelmakers.htm) contains excellent color scheme notes for the modeler regarding how Victory appeared at Trafalgar. The most obvious kit error is the location of the yellow-ochre stripes which roughly correspond to the three gun decks. Trafalgar-era paintings of the ship and others show yellow-ochre to be more buff than yellow. The real ship's boats are also painted differently than the simplistic style of those in the kit.

Two great sources for painting other than the official website are the books "Epic Sea Battles" by William Koenig (ISBN 0 7064 0445 9) which shows a beautiful two page print of Victory on pages 44-45, and "The 100-gun Ship Victory" by John McKay (ISBN 0 87021-890-5) includes exhaustive detailed drawings.

I find that a kit of this scale and complexity is never really done, especially since more information about the actual ship is being discovered and published regularly. There is always some detail to accurize or improve! And since the fun is building the model, a kit like this is sure to provide a long time of enjoyment.

In summary, this kit is for the ambitious builder who truly desires a large, museum-quality model. The one word which best describes this kit is "magnificent".

Phantom

1:96 1/8"=1'-0"

Model Shipways (vintage)

solid wood hull

May not be the Model Shipways kit

Sea Witch

27-1/4 in. long (1:40?)

Scientific

solid wood hull

Stag Hound

1:216

Revell

plastic model

POOR. This kit is basically the Flying Cloud kit, with some arbitrary changes to the main deck arrangement to yield a slightly different looking ship. The hull is the same as the Flying Cloud kit- you could take the left half from one kit and match it up with the right half form the other kit.

The changes made to the deck arrangement make no sense. Instead of the raised foc'sle of the Flying Cloud, there is a new, small deckhouse forward of the foremast. This layout is very unusual- almost all of the US clipper ships had raised foc'sles, including Stag Hound. The layout just simply doesn't match Stag Hound (or any other clipper, for that matter) at all.

My Stag Hound kit is in a 1977 box, (H-361... ed.) and has the molded plastic ratlines. The box says that the model is 1/150 scale, but if the model is really Stag Hound, then it is really 1/221 scale.

USS Constitution 1798

1:96 1/8"=1'-0"

Revell

plastic model

In production in 1997.

EXCELLENT: This is probably the most accurate kit of Old Ironsides ever commercially produced. This kit compares extremely favorably with the Smithsonian Institution Museum of American History's 1/48 scale Constitution built from period plans and exhaustively researched. Surface detail is amazing for a 1970s kit though there is much flash.

The kit is of the ship as she is believed to have appeared during the War of 1812, much different in detail than she appears today or even as first built. Howard I Chapelle, in his reference book The History of The American Sailing Navy shows a drawing of the ship as built between pages 121-122. Her original as-built coloring is reported to have had unpainted all natural wood (brown) sides rather than black. There was also NO white stripe along the gun ports. There were narrow red and blue stripes above the gun deck gun ports. The ship was repainted with her now-familiar black sides and white gun deck stripe at a later date but prior to the War of 1812.

The kit's color scheme as shown on the box cover and in the instructions is not consistent with the Smithsonian model. The Smithsonian model has red bulkheads and gunwales, not the white shown in the kit. Red was commonly seen on American and Royal Navy ships of the period to lessen the psychological affect of bloody decks and bulkheads on the crew. Testors Model Master "British Crimson" is a close match. The white gun deck stripe on the Smithsonian model is buff, not white. Testors Model Master "Radome Tan" is a close match. The ship's boats on the Smithsonian model are uniquely colored, presumably to make them more easily identifiable at sea at a distance. The Smithsonian model's two whale boats suspended at the stern are red and blue. There are five deck boats on the Smithsonian model. The largest and the whale boat stored on top of it are black. The two long boats are white and hunter green. The smallest boat, also a whale boat, is buff, the same color as the hull gun deck strip. The masts are also colored differently on the Smithsonian model. Lower masts are white, upper masts and yards are natural wood.

A builder could modify the kit to show the ship as she now appears but much surgery and scratch building would be required to alter her decorations, gun port lids and gunwales.

The plans are very clear and easy to follow. The parts fit pretty well but be prepared to tape the hull halves tight against the decks until the glue is dry to ensure a snug fit. Many of the yards were warped but can be easily straightened under warm water.

Although the rigging looks to be rather overwhelming, the plans make it easy. The rigging plan compares very favorably to the Smithsonian model in layout and rigging the ship is actually very straight-forward given the miracle of CA glue. I recommend replacing any plastic eyelets, particularly those to be glued to the deck, with metal cotter pins or metal eyes as the kit's plastic eyes will break under the tension of the rigging.

Put your Constitution under glass to protect it from dust, kids and guests too tempted to touch. Mine is in a Plexiglas-sided case made by Gemo Displays and it has survived intact for quite some time and shows no dust contamination which would spoil the appearance. In conclusion, a terrific kit which builds into an impressive model of museum quality looks.

USS Constitution 1798

24 in. long

Sterling

solid wood hull

Young America

1:192 1/16"=1'-0"

Model Shipways (vintage)

solid wood hull