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1:85 Scale H.M.S. Pandora by Constructo


CraigC63
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Hi all, I'm a new member. I've been building scale models now for about 45 years. This is my first attempt at a plank on bulkhead wooden model. I purchased the kit way back in 1997 and worked on it about 20-30 hours a week for roughly 9 months to get it to where you see it in the photo below. After moving into a small apartment I had to shelve the project, but I am now ready to begin the final phases of assembly.

 

During the initial phases I did some research on the vessel, and discovered that the configuration of the actual figurehead at the bow was not known, (at that time the wreck was being surveyed off the coast of Australia). The metal figurehead that came with the kit didn't have much detail so attempted to etch some of the lines and facial features before painting. The resulting mess I made left the piece unusable.

 

I was wondering if anyone here knows if the actual figurehead was ever uncovered. Secondly, I would be very interested in purchasing a similar figurehead in the appropriate scale. I did contact Model Expo to ask if they could help locate one for me, but the manager there informed me that Constructo has since gone out of business. In his response John suggested that I visit this site and ask around. I'm glad he did. Looks like there will be lots of useful information available to me that I previously did not have access to.

 

I am really enjoying the site so far. Lots to see and learn.

 

Regards,

 

Craig C.    

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Hello Craig, and a warm welcome to the forum.

 

I'm pretty sure that the Pandora's figurehead hasn't been recovered.  Only about a third of the ship remains and of that third, only a small portion has been excavated.  The Queensland museum currently have no plans to continue excavation of the wreck.

 

John

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Update - The following text regarding the Pandora's figurehead is taken from the website of the Queensland Museum.

 

John

 

"No one knows what the Pandora's figurehead looked like. Unfortunately, no sketches or drawings of it have come down from the 18th century. 

Stylistically, the figurehead may have resembled the one depicted in the Pandora Foundation's logo. Museum designer Robert Allen, who created the logo, was inspired by sketches of figureheads of 18th century Royal Navy frigates built by the Pandora's builders after they had transferred their yards from Deptford on the Thames to a new location at Buckler's Hard in Hampshire. 

Many late 18th century figureheads on RN ships depict bare-breasted women in flowing robes, each carrying an object popularly associated with their mythical persona. So, it is quite probable that the Pandora figurehead was carved carrying a box-this being the only instantly recognisable object associated with her name. 

However, unless some new illustration is found, it is unlikely that we will find out what the Pandora's figurehead really looked like. Unfortunately it probably has not survived the harsh environment underwater at the wreck. But, it cannot be ruled out that maybe some day a sketch will be discovered in an archive somewhere. 

Reports of a figurehead, said to be based on the original from the Pandora, reached the museum in 1995. This stirred up some excitement at the time. Located in the stairwell of the Pandora Inn near Restronguet Creek in Cornwall in the UK, the reported figurehead was said to be a copy of the Pandora's, based on the original. However, upon seeing a picture of the figurehead, some doubts arose about its authenticity as a copy of the original. To date, the claim that it is based on the original still appears somewhat fanciful. 

Enquiries museum staff made about it have determined that the inn's figurehead was probably carved around 1965. The claim that it is based on the original is probably as doubtful as a text on a publicity brochure-published by the Inn's owners in the late 1980s-informing visitors that the Inn was once owned and managed by the Pandora's Captain Edwards, after he had retired from the Royal Navy. Unfortunately for this piece of creative advertising, an association between Captain Edwards and Cornwall cannot be established historically"

 

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Jim, thanks so much for the warm welcome and a very intriguing article. I have a book, The 24-Gun Frigate Pandora 1779, from the Anatomy of the Ship series by John McKay & Ron Coleman. It gives a brief history of the ship, the fate of it's crew, captain, prisoners, and a glimpse of the wreck being explored. Also there are very detailed schematics of her hull, masts and rigging, along with photos of a model that included a replica of the actual make-shift holding cell that sat on her aft deck. Quite an adventure!

 

The only part of the model kit I am disappointed with is the cast metal stern sections.  I was thinking of maybe using some thin sheets of bass wood to build out the sides and back. It would be relatively easy to add the window frames, and far more detailed. Some clear plastic painted black on the inside should do nicely for windows. I do have extra mahogany veneer and enough trim scrap to do a decent job I think. Keep you posted.

 

Thanks again.

 

Craig  

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  • 6 months later...

Bill,

 

The figurehead would be greatly appreciated.  

 

Constructo, from what I was told, has either gone out of business or has changed hands/names. The latter is more possible IMO.

 

Where did you purchase their new kits?

 

I really liked Constructo's kits. The scale seemed well suited for intermediate skill level modelers like myself, transitioning from plastic to wood models.

 

I built two smaller Midwest wood ship models first, a Chesapeake Bay Flattie, and a Sharpie Schooner.

 

Craig   

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I bought them from an online store on eBay.  I forget their name but they constantly have new Constructo kits, including HMS Warrior.  I bought the HMS Prince and La Flore from them several months ago.  They currently have the Artesania Latina French Frigate Hermione at a sale price.  Please send me a pm with your mailing address and I will send the Pandora figurehead.

 

I just checked eBay.  The seller to whom I refer is called trainz.  There are other shops selling Constructo products as well.

 

My only concern about the Pandora kit is the shape of the bow and forecastle.  It seems too sharp. The AoTS diagrams show a more rounded appearance based on other British designs.  However, with no evidence to the contrary, I would challenge anyone to say categorically that the kit design is inaccurate.

 

I, too like Constructo. Their kits are fun to build.

 

Bill

Edited by ccoyle
Don't openly post your private email in the forum.
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  • 1 year later...

Hey guys,

 

As I stated earlier today I have this kit with the blueprints, (see Phil's photos). I also have an 8 1/2" X 11" sheet showing drawings of just the bulkheads. I will make copies of whatever you need. The blueprints are larger than what an ordinary printer could reproduce, but I could take them to Staples and inquire about having scans done. Please let me know exactly what each of you need or want. I'll do my best to help you both out.

 

Regards,

 

Craig C.   

Edited by CraigC63
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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 years later...

hi purchased the constructo pandora model kit it's missing the manual and I'm not able to put the model together. I have tried numerous sites and forums to see if someone has a manual but I have had no success. Would there be a chance of getting the pdf file of the manual file from you? And how much would you charge for a copy? It would be extremely appreciat 

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