Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Sailing ship enthusiasts can climb aboard here for this big model of HMS Endeavour, ‘the ship that discovered Australia.’

First thing to note is that, when assembled, this ship is BIG. She is 916mm (36in) long, with a beam of 337mm (13.3in) and height from keel to mast tops of 765mm (30in). And it gets better, for the Endeavour is made to the kit-standard 1:48 scale.

What this means is that ship-lovers can build an excellent display model, but the rest of us have a diorama piece ready and waiting. And for steampunk-fantasy fans like us, the Endeavour is ripe for a makeover.

Imagine replacing the sails with gas bags, adding propellers to either side, a tall funnel from a midships steam engine, and you have the makings of a splendid steampunk Sky Trader vessel. Great stuff… But away from parallel-universe land, and back to James Cook’s era and the kit as it is intended to be built.

The weekly publication supplies a bunch of components, and a background 16-page colour magazine with each issue. Eventually - after 126 copies - you should have a museum-quality display piece. That’s if you have the patience to keep going for more than two years, of course - we’d rather buy it in fewer episodes and get on with the build in bigger chunks.

As usual with these partworks, the first couple of issues are lavish and low-priced - after that, the settle-down price is higher. Still, that’s the way the partwork market has always worked, so we won’t knock it here.

The kit has had a lot of careful attention in its creation, with structural timbers pre-cut in plywood. The outer hull and decks are made of hardwoods such as ayous, sapele, and walnut. Ayous is a new one on us - apparently it comes from West Africa and is also used to make guitars and picture frames. So now you know!

The Endeavour is a multi-material kit, with other parts in cast-metal, hand-sewn cotton, and thread. Free gifts for subscribers include an A4-size cutting board, a plank-bending tool, a clamp workbase, and - this is fun - a ‘Built by Your Name’ personalised ship’s nameplate.

Plenty more information at the Eaglemoss Endeavour site here.

Other sailing ship kits here.