Jump to content

MY HMS Surprise Build


Recommended Posts

Hi Guys,


My name is John Callahan. I joined up as I wanted to share my completed AL HMS Surprise model with you. I worked on the model for 5-1/2 years. It is my first wooden ship construction. It is a faithful Reproduction of the MOVIE VERSION of the ship. The model has been significantly modified including rebuilding the entire bow and added poop deck as in the movie version. However, even in that where I found the Movie version to be historically inaccurate, I changed it to be period correct. Since no one knows exactly what the ship looked like, I tried to make sure that everything was a period accurate as possible. All of the ropes are hand made and to scale and all the rigging is as accurate as possible down to the knots used.


I Also hand built the display case, and the ship has both internal and external lighting. 


Below is a dropbox link that shows finished Photos, as well as over 500 build pics, and 3 volumes of build logs. You might find this all very interesting from not just a technical perspective, but also what my approach was to turn out the job that I did. Please feel free to make comments or ask questions.




Best Regards,


Edited by Johncal
added more wording
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You did an amazing job on your model!  What did you do before you did this for experience?  Beautiful work and welcome!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used to and still do plastic kits but this was a whole different level. I also used to design and invent electro mechanical arcade games so I have a creative streak I just take advantage of. I also have a philosophy that if it doesn’t look right work on it until it’s perfect and then move on. If you read through my build logs there is a ton of good info on how I conquered the beast. 


Thank you you very much for the kind words. I’d be happy to discuss my methods any time. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Welcome to MSW.   I'd suggest that your next project to open a build log. 

"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me

Current Build:                                                                                             
Past Builds:
 La Belle Poule 1765 - French Frigate from ANCRE plans                             Triton Cross-Section   

                                                                                                                       USS Constellaton (kit bashed to 1854 Sloop of War  _(Gallery) Build Log

                                                                                Wasa (Gallery)

                                                                                                                        HMS Sphinx 1775 - Vanguard Models - 1:64               


Non-Ship Model:                                                                                         On hold, maybe forever:           

CH-53 Sikorsky - 1:48 - Revell - Completed                                                   Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0 (Abandoned)         



Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Gregory said:

Very nice! 


The rope looks really good.

Thank you. I made all my own ropes to scale. All the thread used is Coats & Clark outdoor polyester. It is unbelievably strong and with absolutely no fuzzing. Also very resistant to atmospheric changes. It never loosens or tightens. It just stays right. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

John - really an amazing job.  I will soon start my Surprise by AL and will use your log as a guide.  Do you recall what size of Coats & Clark thread you used and the colors?  I have a rope walk I purchased from Domanoff and will be using that.




Brigantine Phoenix - Master Korabel 1/72 scale


HMS Victory - Heller/Imai 1/100 scale

Privateer Rattlesnake - Model Shipways 1/64 scale 

USS Arizona on Dec 7th 1941 - Trumpeter 1/200 scale

IJN Yamato - Nichimo 1/200 scale 

USS Silversides - Trumpeter 1/72 scale 

USS Missouri - Trumpeter 1/200 scale

English Carronade - Mantua 1/17 scale

English Gun Deck - Panart 1/23 scale


Check out my webiste:   www.bishophobbies.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...