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Allison

HMS Surprise kits

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I see that Artesania Latina and Mamoli both make an HMS Surprise kit. Other than the scale what are the differences between these two kits in quality, instructions, detail, etc.? 

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Shortly:

neither of these resembles any "Surprise" once existing:

 

AL - huge kit that would look great just because of its size, if you have a room for it. If looking as you say for details, what details do you mean? If it does not represent any real ship, we can speak only of factographical errors and AL is really weak when it comes to historical accuracy. Still, finished must be eye catcher.

 

Mamoli - nasty cheat on customers IMHO, nothing more. If you search for Mamoli's model of "Gloire", does not it look like 100% copy of their "Surprise"? I would say so. What is cheaper than to repack the old kit, put there a new, popular name on the box and behold, we have a new kit to sell.

Bottom line: Both kits appeared shortly after famous "Master and Commander" movie, both companies tried to make the best money out of the popular "Suprise" ship, not taking any care for poor modellers wanting an accurate replica. So the kit were produced, were produced as fast as possible and this is the result.

 

If seeking for Surprise, check Jotika's web page. Unfortunatelly, they were never able to finish the kit and probably never will :/

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Juhu is correct. If you're looking to model HMS Surprise because you like the film or the Aubrey/Maturin novels, then you're in a bit of a quandary. Surprise in the film is played by the real-life HMS Rose; if you look closely and count the gunports, you'll see that HMS Rose is pierced for 24 guns, not the 28 of the fictional Surprise. The real HMS Surprise, upon which the fictional ship is based, began life as a French frigate, L'Unite. After her capture by the British, she was classified as a 28-gun frigate but rearmed with twenty-four 32-lb carronades. So, your options are to either build one of the not-really-HMS Surprise kits (which resemble neither the real Surprise nor HMS Rose, of which there is no kit), scratch build a model based on her admiralty drafts (which do exist), or wait for the Caldercraft kit (which has already been a very, very long wait).

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Thanks juhu and ccoyle for the info. I seen from the forum poll that AL and Mamoli both had poor ratings. I had only been considering ships from Model Shipways, Caldercraft and Syren who all had great ratings in all categories but a build log by first time builder Rossi46 got me interested in the HMS Surprise. But I think I'll wait for the Caldercraft version. So now I'm back to figuring out my first build and the Model Shipways Bluenose looks appealing or the Caldercraft HM Brig Supply. Time for more research of build logs and YouTube vids. Thanks guys!

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8 hours ago, Allison said:

Thanks juhu and ccoyle for the info. I seen from the forum poll that AL and Mamoli both had poor ratings. I had only been considering ships from Model Shipways, Caldercraft and Syren who all had great ratings in all categories but a build log by first time builder Rossi46 got me interested in the HMS Surprise. But I think I'll wait for the Caldercraft version. So now I'm back to figuring out my first build and the Model Shipways Bluenose looks appealing or the Caldercraft HM Brig Supply. Time for more research of build logs and YouTube vids. Thanks guys!

Hi Allison,

just a remark: waiting for Caldercraft's Surprise could mean you will wait forever. Seems they stopped the development of the kit years ago. Remember, Surprise became popular only because of that famous movie - and this is now almost forgotten in the past, hardly can be a selling point for the kit, if finished. Also, Suprise IMHO is not the best looking or interesting ship that one could buy. If you want to stick with Jotika and have some really beautiful Frigate, why not to gof for their Diana? I have never build it, I know it may require considerable skills I do not have, but her lines and overall appearance are outstanding. The best english frigate replica one can buy now possibly.

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Nobody ever wants to take a crack at the HMS Polyphemus, lol.  She was an entirely fictional experimental double-ended frigate that Patrick O’Brian made the primary vessel in the second or third novel in his series. Our hero is given her as a command simply because virtually nobody else wants it. It’s sailing qualities are so bizarre it sometimes moves backwards. Still, a good subject for a scratch build in my opinion. 

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Posted (edited)

Just to clarify, the fictional Surprise was based on the real ship of the same name, L'Unite, as CCoyle suggests. The ship was real, and Patrick O'Brien had copies of the NMM plans when he wrote his books about her fictional adventures. But the real L' Unite had 12 ports per side on the main deck. Her class carried 22 or 24 long 8-pounders in broadside, in French service, exclusive of the bridle ports. To this, the class added eight 36-pounder brass carronades and/or long 4-pounders to the quarterdeck and forecastle, mounting 30-32 guns in total. The British usually substituted carronades on one or both decks when they became available.

 

Four identical ships of the L'Unite Class were built: L'Unite, L'Republicaine, Tourterelle and Cornellie. They were designed by Pierre Alexandre Forfait . All four were taken or destroyed by the British early in the war, and the plans of the Tourterelle also survive in the NMM. They are just beautiful. I like the looks of Tourterelle much better than the Surprise, and they are less faded. Tourterelle put up one hell of a fight against an 18-pounder British frigate, HMS Lively, before she struck. Tourterelle even used a hot shot furnace that she carried aboard her, but to no avail.

 

Here's a link to the Tourterelle plans at the NMM. Note that they have deck-plans, both as taken, and as fitted, for RN service:

 

 

https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections.html#!csearch;searchTerm=tourterelle

 

Edited by uss frolick

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