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Looking for info on some old ship kits (Heller etc.)

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  • Member since
    January, 2006
Looking for info on some old ship kits (Heller etc.)
Posted by EPinniger on Wednesday, July 26, 2006 3:29 PM
I'm currently compiling a database of existing plastic model kits of sailing ships (I'm also working on a database for large-scale warship kits, but that's another story!), which will include information on scale, accuracy, availability, re-issues by other manufacturers, etc.
Amongst other references I'm using Rajen's Ship Kit List (http://www.quuxuum.org/rajens_list/rajen.html) to find out what kits are out there, but this list has very little information on most sailing ship kits other than the name and (usually) scale/size. Hence there are quite a few kits which I need more information on.

Starting with the Heller kits, here are some which I've never seen, know nothing about and would appreciate more information on! I believe the first 5 are 19th century clippers. The La Reale is listed as a galleon in the aforementioned kit list.

1/150 Amphitrite
1/150 Alcyone
1/150 Le Tartane
1/200 Epervier
1/250 Belle Etoile
1/75 La Reale de France

I actually have the Belle Etoile kit, but unfortunately the kit's box and instructions has no information at all on the ship, and I can't find any information via searching the Internet. This makes me wonder whether it might be a fictitious ship along the lines of the La Sirene, Gladiateur etc.? It's a 4-masted barque with a very streamlined hull shape.

There are also 4 (relatively) recently released kits produced by the Russian manufacturer Ogoniek (may also have been re-boxed by other Russian manufacturers). Again, all I've seen of these kits is the box art, so I'd appreciate any information on them (accuracy, quality, scale etc.). They are:

1/200 Tovarisch (same ship as the Gorch Fock, could be a copy of the Revell kit?)
1/200? Kruzenshtern (19th-century barque)
1/100? Orel (18th-century frigate?)
1/100? God's Predestination (18th-century ship of the line)
  • Member since
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  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Wednesday, July 26, 2006 4:26 PM

The only one I can discuss on the basis of personal experience is the 1/75 La Reale.  It's not a galleon; it's a beautiful model of a seventeenth-century French galley.  In my opinion it's just about the best sailing ship kit Heller ever made.  I believe it's in the current Heller catalog.

I haven't seen any of the Ogoniek kits, but I have seen a ship named Kruzenshtern.  (The spelling varies a bit, due to different systems of transliteration.)  She is an enormous, steel-hulled, four-masted barque, the current training ship (or at least she was the last time I saw her) for the Russian Navy (or maybe it's the Russian merchant marine).  I imagine the model is of that ship - but there may have been other vessels of the same name.

Good luck.  It's certainly a worthwhile project.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    March, 2006
Posted by jwintjes on Wednesday, July 26, 2006 5:26 PM
 jtilley wrote:

Good luck.  It's certainly a worthwhile project.



I definitely second that! If you want, I can dig up the information I collected over some time (which is of a fragmentary nature, but might be useful anyway) over the weekend (when I'll finally have some time for doing anything as the term comes to an end...).

As for the Krusenstern, she's actually the former German Flying P-Liner Padua; she went to the Soviet Union after WW2.

Jorit
  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, July 27, 2006 5:55 AM

1/150 Amphitrite
1/150 Alcyone

I have these two. What do you wish to know regarding the kits?

 

 

  • Member since
    January, 2006
Posted by EPinniger on Thursday, July 27, 2006 9:49 AM
Any information would be handy -  ship type and era, quality/accuracy of the kit, whether it's a modification of another kit in the manufacturer's range, etc.

There are a number of kits from Pyro, Lindberg etc. I'm also looking for info on, but I'll sort out a list of these later.
  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, July 27, 2006 11:21 AM

I have the God's Predestination model.  This is not new, maybe I bought it 15 years ago, I'll try to take some pictures and show you.  It seems to be a nice, large model, but I do not know its origin.  Also, it would be good to find her Russian name (Predestynia, or something like that) to type a search, I remember I saw plans of this vessel available somewhere.

I could see Kruzenshtern in 2004, here are some pictures of her :

http://gallery.drydockmodels.com/Kruzenshtern

Somewhere in this forum, there must be a topic about La Tartane.

Michel

 

  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, July 27, 2006 11:53 AM

Amphitrite- Genuine vessel. Links to info and models.

 http://www.modelarstwo.org.pl/_OLD/szkutnicze/zestaw/heller

http://www.segelschiff-amphitrite.de/amphitrite.html/amphitrite/index.html

 and http://www.jasper-moeller.de/galleries/Schiffe/Amphitrite/index.html

Feast yourself in the gallery http://www.modelarstwo.org.pl/_OLD/szkutnicze/zaglowce/galeria.html for other plastic sailings ships and some wood.

Alcyon- Box says Slaver Hunter from 1820s. I will email you an image of the box art and components if  you like. Looks like Capricorne but with recessed gunports & different masting arrangment. Capricorne = Slaver, Alycon = Slaver Hunter. Convenient.

Neither appears as anything but genuine Heller products.

 

  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, July 27, 2006 12:27 PM

I created an album to show you what is in the "God's predestination" box.

All the instructions are in cyrillic language, unfortunately the figurehead (a lion) was missing in my box.

Maybe I am wrong, but I think I can read "ogoniek" as manufacturer in the instructions.

http://www.hmsvictoryscalemodels.be/GodsPredestinationVRTG/index.html

Note, that I'll just leave the pictures during some weeks in my website, so feel free to download them, while they are there.

This is not a small model, it is at least as large as the "series 9" Airfix HMS Victory.

Michel

 

  • Member since
    January, 2006
  • From: istanbul/Turkey
Posted by kapudan_emir_effendi on Friday, July 28, 2006 5:20 AM
Hello,

I think I can give some informartion about Kruzenshtern and Goto Predestinatsiya.

Both are products of "Model Russia", a soviet era company which produced some hallmark ships of Russian navy. There is a third model, the Orel which completes the series. The scale is not 1/200 but 1/96 for both predestinatsiya and orel.

Orel was the first "modern" warship of russia. She was built by dutch shipwrights in 1667 for service in Dinyeper river. She was a pinnace, a small kind of a war galleon.

Goto Predestinatsiya was a more significant ship. She was ordered by Peter the Great in 1699 and was built by venetian shipwrights at Azov. She was identical to a venetian nave da secondo rango, second rate battleship of the line and carried 58 guns. She was the first ship of the permanent russian navy and served throught azov campaigns of the great tsar against the Ottoman Empire. However, with the treaty of passarowitz in 1718, Tsar Peter was forced to give azov back to Ottoman Empire along with whole of the Azov fleet including Predestinatsiya. I tried to trace the fate of the ship from Turkish archives thereafter but I failed.

Those models are rather simplistic in detail but proportionate. I once had the Predestinatsiya but had to sell in a time of direness when I was well broke Smile [:)] Maybe I should rebuy one.

best wishes
Don't surrender the ship !
  • Member since
    January, 2006
Posted by EPinniger on Friday, July 28, 2006 9:35 AM
Many thanks to everyone for the help!

More information on the Heller Alcyon would be useful. What type of ship is it (i.e hull and rig type)?
I've never heard of the Capricorne before, I wonder how many other old obscure Heller kits there are out there which I also don't know about!
  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, July 28, 2006 1:27 PM

ok. I will email you some photos.

Here is something funny. Alcyon has the same hull as Fauvette. Alcyon looks like a 22gun schooner and Fauvette is a turn of the old century steam yacht. Same hull. Different bulkheads.

Hey, I have a number of photos to post or send but do not know how to do so within this FSM forum.

What to do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by Surface_Line on Friday, July 28, 2006 8:45 PM
Yup - they reused that hull.  Alcyon, Fauvette and also the clipper Belle Etoile.  You really have to marvel at using the same hull for a small schooner like Alcyon and a large clipper.  Like you say, they just used different bulwarks above the waterline.

None is a terribly accurate representation of a type of ship, but the boxart on each was gorgeous.

I still haven't fished these kits out of my storage room to re-examine, but I remember them well.

The Epervier was just plain junk.  I think it dated from the 60's, while the hull-sharing group dated from early 70's.  A different set of artisans were responsible.  Epervier was so old it didn't have the spiffy loom for shrouds & ratlines.  They were injection-molded plastic.

The early 70's were the time that heller gave us a TON of beautiful boxart - and I can't remember exactly which bigger ones shared hulls.

There were three or four smaller ships including the Galion and a cople others that I don't recognize at http://www.quuxuum.org/rajens_list/rajen.html#Heller.  I think Aurora only picked up one of those in 1976.

Then there were the beautiful and fanciful Royal Louis, l' Indomptable, La Sirene and le Phenix.  They shared two different hulls, but I don't remember which were the pairs.  Again, beautiful, inspiring boxart, but nothing particularly accurate for any real ship.  Aurora boxed three of those - all but l' Indomptable?

La Tartane was a much later kit (late 70's), and the built example I have seen looked very nice,  though it wasn't my cup of tea.

I loved those kits.  In the boxes.  And with the boxart visible, on the wall.

Rick

  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, July 28, 2006 9:14 PM

Phenix and Sirene have the same hulls. Stern castle decorations were different. Indomptable and Gladiateur(sp?), have the same hull.

Fauvette is a beauty. 

 

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Texas
Posted by Yankee Clipper on Sunday, July 30, 2006 1:34 PM
Curious as to what you are going to do with the data base. Is it for personal use or are you going to market it?
  • Member since
    January, 2006
Posted by EPinniger on Monday, July 31, 2006 3:11 AM
I'm just going to make the completed database available for (free) download when it's finished.
I thought it would be a useful resource to ship modellers, as the world of plastic sailing ship kits seems to be so complicated (many kits which are modified or simply renamed examples of other ones, and countless reboxings of one manufacturer's kits by another manufacturer), it would be handy to have some way of finding out exactly what is in a given kit box. It should also be useful as a guide to what kits are out there (I'll probably also include an indication of the kit's rarity/availability)

Your forum name reminds me of another kit question I had. Is the Revell "Yankee Clipper" kit a unique tooling, or a modification/reboxing of the Flying Cloud or Cutty Sark kits? I suspect the latter.
Another Revell question - is their "Elizabethan Man o'War" a modification of the Golden Hind kit? (Not to be confused with the larger "English Man o'War", which is a modification of the "Spanish Galleon" kit. You see what I mean about things being complicated...)

Anyway, thanks to everyone for the advice on the Heller kits. Is it really the case that Heller re-used the same hull for the large 4-masted clipper Belle Etoile in 1/250, and the small schooners Alcyon, Fauvette and Capricorne in 1/150? I thought the Etoile's hull looked rather strange, this would explain why!

  • Member since
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  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Monday, July 31, 2006 6:19 AM

It is indeed complicated.  I think (with help from Dr. Graham's book) I can sort out most of the Revell kits; when it comes to the Heller ones I give up.

The Revell "Yankee Clipper" was just the Flying Cloud in a different box.  (I think even the figurehead was unchanged.)  According to Dr. Graham, it was released in 1973.  (One little curiosity about that kit:  in its first appearance as the Flying Cloud, in 1957, it had a full set of vac-formed "sails" - except that, for some reason, the fore topsail was omitted.  A model built from that kit, with that huge gap in the sail plan, would look pretty silly.  I believe the fore topsail was included in the "Yankee Clipper" reissue.)

The Flying Cloud also, of course, was the basis for the several appearances of kits labeled "Stag Hound."  That was a Revell scam - not quite of the magnitude of the "Beagle" stunt, but close.  The Flying Cloud and Stag Hound bore scarcely any resemblance to each other in reality.

The Golden Hind kit (one of my favorites) got issued by Revell under two other names of which I'm aware:  "Spanish Galleon" in 1974 and "Pirate Ghost Ship" in 1978.  I never bought either of them, but here's what Dr. Graham has to say about them:

H-367 Spanish Galleon with sails.  1974-76....Modified H-325 [sic; should be H-324] Golden Hind with new figurehead, row of shields added to sides, two lanterns on stern, and new stern carving.  Cross, saint decals for sails.

H-519 Pirate Ghost Ship.  1978....Skull-and-crossbones decals for sails.  Glow in the dark paint.  This is the H-324 Golden Hind (1965).

Both those reissues obviously were marketing stunts.  The Golden Hind was no more a Spanish galleon than H.M.S. Cossack was a Japanese battleship.

The "Elizabethan Man-o-War" was a reissue of the smaller of the two Mayflower kits.  Dr. Graham says the following about it:

H-389.  Elizabethan Man-O-War with sails.  1975-77...."E.R." decals for sails.  String for rigging.  This is the Mayflower without its lifeboat and with twelve cannon added.  Reissue of H-327 (1966).

I believe the original carved flower on the transom also was removed.  That one isn't quite as unreasonable as the others.  "Man-o-war" is such a vague term that it's meaningless; the ship in question pretty obviously is a merchantman, but plenty of ships of that description got pressed into service during the Armada campaign.  It's conceivable that a ship of the period just might have looked something like that.

Beware:  the Revell Flying Cloud, Golden Hind, and Mayflower all have appeared at one time or another in Heller boxes.  Our good friend Michel vrtg has alerted us that Heller reissued the Golden Hind under a particularly bizarre name as a "corsair," or something of that nature.  I sometimes wonder how the conscientious artisans who designed the original Revell kits felt when they saw their creations bowdlerized by all those reissues, which, in many cases, amounted to downright deceptive advertising.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    January, 2006
Posted by EPinniger on Monday, July 31, 2006 2:51 PM
Again, many thanks for the information.
I spotted the Revell Elizabethan Man o'War on eBay the other day at a fairly low price, if I'd known it was the Mayflower rather than the Golden Hind I might have bid on it (I already have the Airfix Golden Hind, but have been looking for a Mayflower for a while).

I never realised that there was a smaller Revell "Spanish Galleon" which was a modified Golden Hind! Drake must be turning in his grave - that's like reboxing a Spitfire kit with a sheet of Luftwaffe decals and calling it a "Messerschmitt Bf109" Big Smile [:D] or, more appropriately to the subject of ships, putting a Kriegsmarine ensign on a King George V-class and calling it the Bismarck.

One other question - not really related to the post topic but the description of the Spanish Galleon reminded me - did ships of the 15th/16th century actually carry shields as decoration? The Imai/Lee/Aoshima Spanish Galleon includes decorative shields, and I've heard this kit is quite accurate (certainly compared to the Revell one).
  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Monday, July 31, 2006 10:36 PM

I don't have a clear answer for that one.  In the famous color painting of Henry VIII's departure for the Field of the Cloth of Gold, which shows several English warships in quite a bit of detail, four of them have rows of shields (most of them white, with red crosses) hanging on the railings of their forecastles and quarterdecks.  The artist is unknown, but he gives the impression of having known what he was doing.  I just skimmed through the illustrations in what is, to my knowledge, the latest book on the subject, Arthur Nelson's The Tudor Navy, 1485-1603:  The Ships, Men and Organisation.  I couldn't find any other contemporary pictures that clearly show shields on ships.

My inclination is to think that the custom had died out by the time of the Armada, but I could well be mistaken.

Given that the Golden Hind (from what we can tell - which isn't much) was far too small to rate the label "galleon," Revell's stunt is more like reboxing H.M.S. Cossack as the Yamato.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, August 07, 2006 5:05 AM

Okay, I used to build the Tovarisch, Orel and God's Predesination as a kid in Russia, those were the most widespread kits in ex-USSR, a must for each kid who liked ships.

What I remember is:

Tovarisch is Gorch Fock, german schoolship build in the thirties and gone to USSR past WW. As long as I know, in 2003 it was bought back by one german company and is now in refurbishment. Will be sailing as leisure/historic ship soon (or maybe already?). The scale would be around 1:150. The kit is different than the Revell one.

Orel is a "trade protection" ship, built for Volga River and Caspian Sea lane, to protect the trading ships on their way to Persia in 166x. It was captured by insurgents during the Stepan Rasin unrest, and grounded. When it was recaptured by the govermental troops, it was not repairable any more. The model had a nice quality, was well tooled and good passing quality.

God's Predestination (Goto Predestinacia, actually a latein? or dutch? name, due to Peter I'st love to all european) was built around 1699, being the first russian ship of the line. It is rated as 64 gun ship in russian sources. It was one of the fastest ships in Azov fleet, but was scuttled or given to the turks after 1711, when Russia lost Azov. Kit was really one of fantastic quality in terms of fitting, and good quality in detailing.

Both Orel and Gods Predestination are in 1:96. Actually, does anyone know where it is possible to buy those kits in Europe/Germany? I really would like to build them both once more.

 

 

  • Member since
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  • From: istanbul/Turkey
Posted by kapudan_emir_effendi on Monday, August 07, 2006 6:05 AM
EP this will be an awesome source of reference indeed ! I thank you for this invaluable effort. When, approximately, this database will finish ?

I came also with questions :) I finally have the aurora's big three: Bonhomme Richard (special thanks and praises to Mr. Millard), Wanderer Whaler and USS Hartford. They are "2 feet" long but no scale is given. I learned that Wanderer is about 1/90 but for others, I don't have any idea. May you help me please ?

cheers
Don't surrender the ship !
  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, August 07, 2006 6:13 AM

Actually, I just ordered the Goto Predestination. It seems to be now in production by the manufacturer Alanger in Russia. Listed scale is 1:72, but I suppose it is the same kit. I bought it from http://www.hobbyterra.com

They also have Orel, Krusenstern and Tovarisch too. The delivery to germany is rather expensive with 16 euro, but its ok.

also, the plans for the ship, as well as the scans of the original gravures showing this ship are free available on

http://www.shipmodeling.ru/draw/predestinacia/

Page is in russian, but the drawings are at the top of the page and easy to locate.

Have fun!

 

  • Member since
    January, 2006
Posted by EPinniger on Monday, August 07, 2006 9:47 AM

Two more Heller kits I've spotted recently: "La Stella" and "HMS Elizabethan". Both look like 16th century galleons, the latter obviously English and the former French (I think).
The two look suspiciously similar from the box art, so are these another example of Heller's hull recycling?

I'm probably going to release an incomplete "work in progress" version of the list fairly soon. If I wait until it's totally complete it could never be finished, and this way I can get feedback from other modellers on what information needs adding or revising.
As mentioned before I'm also compiling a list of warship models in larger than 1/350 scale (my other ship modelling interest). Don't know how much interest in this there would be.

Another manufacturer I'm looking for more information on is Imai, their range of 1/350 sail training ships to be precise. I don't know a huge amount about these ships so would be interested to know which of them are sister ships (hence the kits are presumably identical other than decals and flags?) and whether the kits are all accurate representations of the vessel in question.

The ones I know of are:

Amerigo Vespucci
Eagle
Esmerelda
Gorch Fock
Kaiwo Maru
Juan Sebastian de Elcano
Mircea
Nippon Maru
Sagres II
Tovarisch

I'm fairly certain there are a few more, however.
  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Monday, August 07, 2006 10:09 AM

I think I vaguely remember buying a Heller kit called "La Stella" (or maybe it was "La Stella del Norte") when it was sold in a Minicraft box.  (The Heller sailing ships made their first appearances in the U.S. under the Minicraft label.  For a while some of them were sold in Aurora boxes - just before Aurora went belly-up.)  I think it was supposed to be Spanish - but it wasn't really a scale model of anything.  My recollection is that it was a typical early Heller kit - i.e., awful.  I think it had one of those oft-recycled hulls, with a couple of sprues full of neatly executed but highly-dubious "carved" decorations.  My recollection is that it had a row of oars, as well as a three-masted sail rig.  The thing bore only a faint resemblance to anything that ever floated.

"H.M.S. Elizabethan" obviously is an oxymoron.  (I haven't seen a definitive explanation of when the term "H.M.S." first was used, but it most emphatically wasn't used during the reign of Elizabeth I.)  I think the kit is another of those recycling jobs of which Heller was so fond - maybe the same hull as the "Stella."  For a while back in the seventies those things were coming out so fast, each one outdoing its predecessors in silliness, that I long since lost track of them.  (I have no idea, for instance, how many times Heller reused the hulls of the Nina, Pinta, or Santa Maria, or that disastrous mess that was originally supposed to represent the Oseberg Ship.)  It apparently wasn't until the very late seventies that the people at Heller figured out what a scale model of a sailing vessel was supposed to look like.

Regarding the 1/350 Imai kits - I'm fairly certain that the Eagle, Tovarisch, and Sagres II were essentially reboxings of the same kit.  (The three original ships were near-sisters; all varied in length, but model companies in general didn't catch that.)  The Gorch Fock presumably was intended to represent the second vessel of that name, which was built in the 1950s but was externally similar to the first one (which dated from the thirties).  I suspect Imai may have used some, at least, of the same parts for that one, but I don't know that for a fact.

I think the Kaiwo Maru and Nippon Maru probably are the same kit - but again I'm not sure. 

 

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    January, 2006
Posted by EPinniger on Monday, August 07, 2006 12:35 PM
Thanks for the information!
What Heller kits re-used the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria hulls? I don't think I've ever seen a Heller kit which used a caravel or carrack hull.

From "Rajen's Ship Kit List", the other 1/350 Imai kits are:

Cutty Sark (no idea why I forgot this one)
Dar Pomorza
Danmark
Winston Churchill

The Dar Pomorza is a Polish sail training ship, no idea what the last 2 are, though presumably the Danmark is Danish.

I'd presume that the Eagle, Gorch Fock, Mircea, Sagres II and Tovarisch kits are all identical other than the box art, colour scheme, decals and flags. The Juan Sebastian and Esmerelda are sister ships (both built in Spain in the 1930s) so these kits are probably also identical to each other.


  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Monday, August 07, 2006 1:23 PM

The Heller Nina and Pinta used the same hull - along with many other parts.  (I have to admit the designers did a rather good job of camouflaging the family resemblance.)  The Santa Maria hull turned up at least one other time; it was supposed to be a carrack, and I think the box had the name "Conquistador" on it. 

I want to emphasize again that I make no claim to a thorough familiarity with all those old Heller kits.  I was in college when they initially appeared, and I figured out fairly quickly that they weren't scale models.  (I vividly remember making a trip from my home town in Columbus, Ohio to Cleveland - about a 2 1/2 - hour drive in my '68 VW Beetle - for the specific purpose of buying the "Drakkar Oseberg" at the Cleveland branch of the Squadron Shop.  I got really upset when I got the thing home, compared it to a couple of drawings, and discovered that it bore virtually no resemblance to the real Oseberg Ship.

The Danmark is (at least I assume she's still in commission) a handsome, three-masted, full-rigged ship, the training vessel for the Danish Merchant Marine.  In a sense she was a predecessor of the Eagle.  When Denmark surrendered to Germany, the Danmark happened to be on a visit to the U.S.  Just after Pearl Harbor the captain placed her at the disposal of the U.S. government, and she spent the Second World War as a training ship at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.  She was returned to Denmark right after the war

The Sir Winston Churchill is a sail training ship for the British Merchant Marine.  She's an extremely modern-looking schooner with, I believe, three masts and a steel hull.  I imagine some British members of the Forum know a lot more about her than I do.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by Surface_Line on Tuesday, August 08, 2006 1:44 AM
I loved those Imai "Operation Sail" kits.  They represented a great percentage of the large ships that participated in the sailing ship get-together on the Atlantic in - was it '76 or '77?

First, it's odd that Cutty Sark has appeared with the line - she wasn't part of the original dozen kits.  The Cutty Sark is a valid clipper ship model (in this tiny scale, and to my eye; not necessarily to Prof Tilley's standards, I guess), but the rest were all real sail training ships of the late 1970s.   I'm pretty sure that the original clump of Operation Sail ships were waterline models only.  Later, when Cutty Sark appeared, she had a hull bottom option, and the later releases of the Eagle also had a lower hull half, I believe.

Harold Underhill's "Sail Training and Cadet Ships" is a great aid for studying these ships.  David MacGregor's "Square Rigged Sailing Ships" was very nice with great photos, but nothing like the copious drawings in Underhill's book.

I do not believe Dar Pomoza was one of the kits released.

They took advantage wherever possible of sister ships that could re-use models.

From memory -
The Spanish Juan Sebastian de Elcano shared molds with the ?Argentinian Esmerelda, and I think the sisters' hulls were different by 20 odd feet in length. 

Amerigo Vespucci, Winston Churchill and Danmark were the only one-offs, I think.

The following shared molds - Eagle, Sagres, Tovarisch II and Gorch Foch.  (They blew an opportunity to also kit the Romanian Mircea, another near sister built in 1938).  The real ship's hulls ranged from 203' length (Tovarisch II) to 293' (Sagres), with no two the same, but a standard 39' beam.  The rigs were similar except for different arrangements of sails and handling gear on the mizzen.

Nippon Maru and Kaiwo Maru shared molds.

That's eleven - weren't there a dozen?  I still have them tucked away - they're going to make beautiful models when I finally get around to building them.

Thanks for letting me muse a bit.
Rick



  • Member since
    January, 2006
Posted by EPinniger on Tuesday, August 08, 2006 3:17 AM
Again, thanks for the information, I'll add it to the list.
I've never seen the Dar Pomorza kit either, but it's shown on the aforementioned list - http://www.quuxuum.org/rajens_list/rajen.html
Imai definitely produced a kit of the Mircea - I've seen it for sale on eBay a number of times recently.

Where is the Winston Churchill currently based? I've never even heard of this ship before, let alone seen it, despite living in the UK.


  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Tuesday, August 08, 2006 5:03 AM

Surface_Line's recollections of the Imai 1/350 kits match mine.  The big Operation Sail celebration took place in 1976 - to coincide with the U.S. Bicentennial observances.  I was nursing a sunburned forehead on a highland overlooking Newport, Rhode Island when the ships came in at the end of their voyage from the West Indies.  I'll never forget the sight of those masts and sails appearing out of the mist on the horizon.  For the next few days the Newport waterfront was like a massive carnival.  I thought about going to New York for the "Parade of Sail" the following week, on July 4, but the traffic was too much for me.

My recollection is that the sail training ships were strictly waterline kits throughout their time under the Imai label.  I believe Imai offered a "waterline display mat" - a large piece of flexible plastic with "waves" molded in it, that came on a roll - separately for displaying several of them at once.  They were indeed lovely little kits - inevitably simplified due to the scale, but basically sound models.  Most of them (not quite all) seem to be available currently through Academy and Revell Germany; they're definitely worth seeking out.

The 1/350 Cutty Sark was indeed the "odd man out."  I think it appeared a year or two after the school ship series; I don't remember whether it got its underwater hull while still in its Imai box or not.  It's currently being sold by Revell Germany.

One of our Forum members some months back built a very impressive model of the Eagle from the Imai/Academy 1/350 kit.  He made some photo-etched parts for it - including a set of shrouds and ratlines for the lower masts.  In 1976 photo-etching was just making its appearance in the arsenal of scale modeling.  It works pretty well on 1/350 scale; it would be nice if somebody were to produce a generic set of parts that would cover all those Imai/Academy kits.  Given that the number of actually different kits in the range is actually pretty small, it seems like that wouldn't be impractical.

I'm a big fan of Harold Underhill's work.  Unfortunately he seems to have been - completely unwittingly - the source of the confusion regarding the four ex-German barques.  His book contains a nice set of plans for the original Gorch Fock (later Tovarisch).  In the accompanying text, Underhill explains that the four were all different in length.  Unfortunately, though, that set of plans has been sold many times over the years as representing all the ships in the class - including the Eagle.  Virtually all the manufactured Eagle kits - including the old Revell one and the Imai 1/350 version - have been based on them.  (The one notable exception is the 1/200 Imai kit, which seems to be based on accurate modern plans from the Coast Guard Historian's Office.)  The big problem with the Imai/Academy kit is that it's based on those plans.  As I remember (and I may not have this quite straight) it represents the Gorch Fock I's original configuration pretty accurately - but not the Eagle as she appears now (or, for that matter, as she appeared in 1976).  We took this up in another Forum thread some months back; the various transformations the Eagle has undergone during her 70-year career make for a rather interesting story.

I haven't seen the Imai/Academy/Revell 1/350 Cutty Sark outside the box, but on the basis of the photos on the box it does indeed look like a fine kit - subject, of course, to the limitations of the tiny scale.  I imagine it, like the beautiful Imai 1/125 version, is based on the George Campbell plans, which are among the finest I've ever encountered.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    January, 2006
Posted by EPinniger on Tuesday, August 08, 2006 10:07 AM
Just two more kits I have questions about: the sailing yachts Opty and Polonez produced in 1/50 scale by the Polish company Mirage. I believe these represent modern Polish racing yachts.
These kits are quite recent releases (certainly by sailing ship kit standards) and are widely available in Europe and here in the UK.
Has anyone here built one, or has one in their kit "stash"? I'd be interested to know what they're like.
(As they're a fairly large scale they look like they might even be suitable for conversion to a sailing model if the hulls were weighted + sealed.)

I'll try and get a semi-finished version of the list available for download some time next week.

  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, August 09, 2006 11:04 PM

1/100? Orel (18th-century frigate?) by Ogoniek

I got this kit at the IPMS nationals last week in KC for $1.00  (really!)

There doesnt seem to be any refrence to what scale it is, in the instructions, but then again, they are  not in English. I do have a digital camera, so if you want pics, or have any questions, please let me know.

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