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HMS Surprise by Palladio - Scale 1:48, as she may have appeared 1805 -1810

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Please not another „HMS Surprise“ :(
I thought this international forum literally crowded with them, but when I looked through the pages, there were not so many examples, at least they didn´t show up to me jet.

Well, there are a few possible approaches to that specific frigate:

The real HMS Surprise ex Unité , which was sold (and broken up? ) in 1802
The fictional Frigate from the novels of Patrick O´Brian, beautiful but hopelessly over rigged and, over guned (which was the exact thing I did)
The “Movie Surprise” (ex Rose) which played the role of the famous ship so well, that it almost dominates the public impression of the small frigate.
When the book "The frigate Surprise" of Brian Lavery, Karl Heinz Marquardt und Geoff Hunt came out, I finally found my personally image of the beloved Surprise.
In 2011 I started the project as a classic PoB build, scaled the plans of KH Marquardt to the dimensions of the existing NMM views of the real Surprise, took many details from the various novels of POB and finally the colors and overall appearance from the artwork of Geoff Hunt.
As the Surprise is not jet finished, it is too early for the gallery and somewhat too late for the build log. If you are interested, I show some pictures from “the past” and start rigging up the yards and sails, which will hopefully come to an end this year.




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Hello Greg, the scale is 1:48




Well the pictures above represent more or less the actual status, meanwile shrouds and stays have partly been rigged.




It all started with a quite conventional framework from plywood. The depicted laser measurement of the completed hull was just a joke, but it turned out quite helpful to fix the waterline...



instead of clumpsy carvings I invented a more "impressionist" way of applying plausible looking, but rather indefinite details, using wood putty and photo etched oakleafs. The whole area is painted anyway.






Miss "Unité", the figurehead was created from a mixture of materials, using plastic bodyparts, copper and putty. She tured out to have a (late) 19th century look rather than representing the 18th but frankly, I like her ;)





Edited by Palladio
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Thank you for your kind welcome contributions :)


Indeed I found some almost forgotten pictures from the early beginning of ths project.




Building the bow section I felt inspired by the plank on frame guys ;)  Surprises stern is rather unpretentious, she is a french corvette of under 500 tons.




Miss Unité as she appeared before make up...    and in full dress



Most of Surprises metal parts are not brass but alluminium.


The Guns :pirate41:




The 12pounder guns are too big for such a small frigate, but I followed POB  in this detail. Despite the weight, it is empirical obvious that you can´t handle them properly.


The barrels are tin casts in silicone molds, the carriages constist of some 50 pieces each :(









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HMS Surprise,
"a trim, beautiful little eight-and-twenty,
French build with a bluff bow and lovely lines,
weatherly, stiff, a fine sea-boat,
fast when well handled,
roomy, dry…"


(Patrick o´Brian)



Roomy indeed ;) ...with a max headroom of about 150cm under the forecastle...


One of the most important features for the common sailor must have been the pantry.

The galley stove was a giant thing concerning the little availlable space.




This oven is more or less in working condition but most of the different brass parts are glued together.




You don´t see much of it now but at least you know it is there.....




Not far away and of similar importance is the waste management system. :piratebo5:

roomy and definitly not dry...



Edited by Palladio
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Lets have a little surprise gathering tonight ;)




a litle tribute to Capt. Marryat, the almost (al least in Germany) forgotten godfather of naval storys.


Ther are a lot of thíngs that make a quarterdeck looking "authentic", the capstan, the wheel and of course the binnacle.








... and aft of the wheel the (one and only) ships lamp.



Edited by Palladio
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Good idea, the problem is, a lot of the "how-to-do" pictures drowned, when a german forum suddenly "capsized" and sank deep in the heard of the internet nirwana... :(


post-23096-0-73884900-1453322872_thumb.jpg have a look through Jack Aubreys rear windows...


Well there still are a few examples to be found in my personal data nirwana....


The Lamp



The asymetrical head was formed using copper foil, the base is a ordinary silver bordure from a goldsmith shop. Very useful especially if you don´t like to carve such horribly small parts. Its even better than a photo etching because it´s three dimentional and more convincing. I used it again for the portside galleries.




The glas is no glas at all. I employed a conventional laminator (bureau) without putting a sheet of paper in between. This material turned out to be very resistent using cyano acrylate glue ( clear plastic often tents to get "milky")




Before the lamp finally became decorated with oak leafes, it looked somewhat "chinese".




The side galleries



What the hell is that? A part of the original sketch of Mr. Marshal from 1798


post-23096-0-22949900-1453324370_thumb.jpg and this is my, a little bit flamboyant design...


You may have noticed that my HMS Surprise is not symetrical, the starboard side is coppered, the guns are runed out and it features the shown side gallery.


The port side...






is looking more conventional. (despite the nice Sofia Aubrey portrait of course)





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I greatly appreciate the how-to on the lamp as well  as the different views in the photos.  I agree with Dirk, your building style really conveys a life-like warmth. I look forward to more photos and how-tos as your time allows.


Best, Gary

Edited by GDM67
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Thank you all, this is lionfish poetry ^_^


I found some "how -to´s" concerning two important topics "guns" and "boats".




Most of the guns for model ships are either purchased or made, using a machine and brass tubes.


(please don´t care for the nickel silver tank tracks,  Merkava3D ) More important is the use of master patterns for the various types of gun barrels. In this case the 12pounder long gun....


post-23096-0-35610300-1453846622_thumb.jpg and the 24pounder caronade. This masters are made from simple epoxy putty, intended for car repairs.


I choosed a very low temperature bismuth tin alloy to cast the guns (you can use normal silicone for the moulds) and didn´t mind to use resin parts for the wheels of the carriages.


The colour of the barrel is an experiment, in the end I prefered a dull black paint and a drybrush with "gun metal".




This is the complete layout of guns for Jack Aubreys Surprise  18punder caronade for the boat, 24 pounder for the upper deck, 12pounder longguns for the main battery and 9pounder longguns for the chasers.



Same thing with the boats:


I tried to simplyfy the whole procedure for the holiday "workbench".


cardboard replaced more elaborate methods:




The jollyboat took me three or four days hard holidaywork





When the boat was completed, I could´nt withstand to place it in front of the famous church tower of Coullioure (as a tribute zu POB ;) )

My dog "Queequegg" was not amused though...






The pinnace is carvel planked but was build the same way.

Edited by Palladio
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Hello Paul,

thank you :D  I mentioned it because Patrik O´Brian used poor Captain Pym and his ill fated HMS Sirius when he portrayed that disastrous grand port frigate raid in one of his books ("The Mauritius command") virtually through the eyes of his fictional charakters.

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