Monday, September 12, 2011


SMN report:
The latest vessel from DeAgostini’s Model Space arm is the 1:48 scale HMS Surprise, a ship made famous as the nautical star of the 2003 movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

Make sure you have room
At this scale, the model has ginormous stats that reveal she is much more than a simple shelf-filler - 1334 mm (52.75 in) long, a beam of 480 mm (18.9 in), and height from keel to masthead of 950 mm (37.6 in).

Purchasing HMS Surprise
As usual with DeAgostini’s kits, there is a choice of purchase options. You can choose whether to buy outright or break the purchase into monthly instalments to spread the cost. This latter includes a set of expanded step-by-step instructions for online download, plus a monthly magazine revealing the story behind the ship, plus features on sail and sailors. 

Working together
DeAgostini and the Spanish model company Artesania Latina worked with the National Maritime Museum, London, to create Surprise, so authenticity should not be a problem. The model designers have worked hard to make construction reasonably easy, with pre-cut keel and main frame parts, plus components made of high-quality woods such as mahogany, walnut, beech and lime. Many fittings are white metal or diecast brass, while sailmaking has been simplified by supplying pre-assembled units in fully-set form. All the modelmaker has to do is rig them at the masts.

The real thing
The original ship was built in the French shipyards at Le Havre in early 1794 and launched as the 350-tonne corvette Unite. However, she didn’t stay a French ship for long, being captured little more than two years later by the Royal Navy. After being rearmed and renamed HMS Surprise she went into British service as a sixth rate frigate. Interestingly, the ship seen in the movie was built in 1970 as a replica of HMS Rose. She is currently on display at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. 

Free extra for subscribers
Monthly subscribers receive a free bonus with the fourth issue, a useful tool kit that includes these items: Modellers drill and bits, pliers, cutters, nailer, metal files, tweezers, plank bender, cutting tool and blades.
Images courtesy DeAgostini.

Visit Artenasia Latina here.

Visit the Maritime Museum of San Diego here.

DeAgostini HMS Surprise here.