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Kit Review - Mayflower 1/65 by Constructo


yvesvidal
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Folks,

 

I was exploring what are the options for building a Mayflower at the scale of 1/64th. The Model Shipways with the excellent practicum by Chuck passaro would have been the perfect candidate but it is unfortunately, built at a less than standard scale of 1/76th or something around that.

 

I like my ships to be all of the same scale so that comparisons can be made and proportions appreciated. Finding a Mayflower at the scale of 1/65th or 1/64th was only leaving me with two choices: Artesania Latina or Constructo which may in fact be the same kit, since both are built in Spain.

 

The Artesania Latina kit is rather expensive in the USA and although procurement in Europe would not have been too much of a problem, I stumbled across a kit on E-Bay for less than $100 and decided to give it a try.

 

may01.jpg

 

The top of the big box is presented above. The box is much bigger than the Model Shipways box and that could be explained by the fact that the model is slightly bigger, but much more logically by the way the parts are presented inside:

 

may03.jpg

 

A large plastic tray with compartments, presents all the detail parts in a neat and attractive way. There are wood, metal, and plastic parts in that kit, which may be an heresy for some of us. In full honesty having blocks and belaying pins made of plastic can be a great time saver in the overall construction of the kit. Besides, one can always fabricate or procure the blocks and pins from wood and accessories suppliers.

 

The Mayflower does not need to be presented and a nice replica (Mayflower - II) rests in the harbor of Plymouth Massachusetts. I remember seeing this ship some 20 years ago, while living in Boston and I was sincerely impressed by the courage and desperation that must have fueled these immigrants to start such a long and dangerous trip across the oceans and to an unknown land, on such a small vessel. And small is that vessel when you see it with your own eyes, and docked next to you.

 

The Mayflower II was built by William Baker in England in 1955 as he tried to replicate as faithfully as possible, a vessel which plans or detailed information no longer exist. Mayflower II was later on sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and given to the Mayflower Historical Society.  In that regard the interpretation of Mayflower by Constructo and Model Shipways are quite different in color, decoration, and arrangement of the transom and bulwarks among many other things.

 

The following picture shows an exquisite model based on the Constructo kit made by a skilled Canadian modeler:

may15y.jpg

 

The interpretation of Model Shipways is presented below:

may16w.jpg

One can see quite a few differences between the two models. The Model Shipways kit designed by Chuck Passaro is based on Mayflower II, and therefore is perfectly exact as it replicates the .... replica. The model designed by Constructo is probably more based on what could have been the Mayflower and brings elements of "marine romanticism" that may not be completely accurate. The most notably different parts are the transom in which the Constructo version is romanticizing the vision of a vessel of the 17th century, with a lantern, two flower emblems and large round windows on the transom. The presence of guns is also a matter for discussion as Mayflower was first and foremost a merchant vessel before the "big adventure" to the new continent. Knowing how packed that vessel was with 102 crews on board, supplies to rebuild a new community, food supplies and live stock, once can wonder where they could have found space for guns and ammunition.

 

Below is the Constructo vision of the transom:

may14.jpg

 

......versus the more stern and probably realistic version of Model Shipways:

may17e.jpg

 

 

Let's move to the Documentation side. Constructo provides two sheets for the plans and one flimsy manual translated in 5 different languages for the European and North American markets. Besides a list of parts, the assembly instructions are almost non-existent. When you compare their manual with the fantastic Practicum provided by Model Shipways, once can understand why European kits are so difficult and the perfect recipe for discouraging new modelers. The Constructo Mayflower is not that difficult to put together but the quality of the instructions and the lack of details of the plans, make the construction a true challenge for the neophyte. As far as I am concerned, I will simply ignore the Constructo instructions and build the kit as recommended by Chuck Passaro.

 

My kit did not include a color pictorial describing the various phases of the construction. Newer kits may have it and these additional pictures may help the beginner modelers. However, no explanations or directions provided by Constructo comes even close to the excellent practicum published by Model Shipways.

 

may10s.jpg

 

The following pictures attempt at showing the two sheets provided in the Constructo kit:

 

may11.jpg

 

may12x.jpg

 

One question jumped to my mind: How can you do a decent and realistic rigging job with the plan above? Constructo provides five different sizes and colors of lines and thread as well as these nicely detailed (although made of plastic) blocks. They also provide the fabric to make your own sails. However, the lack of instructions and directions will be a repelling factor for a lot of builders, and most likely a large number of kits will never be completed by lack of proper instructions. It is a pity. Again, the Practicum from Model Shipways comes to the rescue as it offers all the detailed information to turn that model into a very realistic and accurate model.

 

Let's review the parts provided in the kit:

 

may09j.jpg

 

The bulkheads and the keel are pre-cut with what looks like water jets. This technology allows some precision and prevents the burning of the wood often found in laser cut kits. The parts are for the most part made of plywood (3 plies), with some precious wood of darker colors. Unfortunately, there are no sheet to compare the cuts with the plans and one will have to spend some time fairing carefully the hull before planking it.

 

may02.jpg

 

The decks and some other parts of the masts are die-cut, making them relatively difficult to detach. A sharp blade will finish the poor job of the factory. A base is even provided in the kit, to display the ship.

 

may04.jpg

 

The wood provided in the kit allows for double planking of the hull. It is nice to have different varieties of wood and colors. It is a nice departure from the basswood trend used by some model manufacturers. Overall the quality is nice and special care and a lot of heat and moisture will be necessary to bend the Bokapi wood strips for the hull.

 

may05.jpg

 

Various wooden parts are provided in the kit, including a pre-shaped boat. Most parts are already cut and (apparently) ready to be glued.

 

may06.jpg

 

Nice brass parts and plastic blocks are provided in the kit. The presence of guns is a question  as I do not believe they belong to the Mayflower during its trip to religious freedom.

 

Yves

Edited by yvesvidal
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Hi Yves, this review of the mayflower is to me realy interesting,as and when i have completed the Constructo Bounty,this will be my next build, I have also been wondering about wich make of model ect, Looking forward to your next update,Thank you,Ross.

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Continuing our review of the Constructo Mayflower kit:

 

may07.jpg

 

More of the parts provided with the kit. Here, we have plastic, wood and metal. I like the ladders parts being pre-cut as it is always difficult to make a good looking ladder with that many rungs. I also like the presence of barrels, pails and other small parts to decorate the decks. The use of the belaying pins is somewhat left to the wish of the modeler, as many historians have demonstrated that lines were not attached to these pins until the second part of the 17th Century. If building Mayflower II, then the pins will be useful. The gun ports provided in the kit are made of metal: What a strange idea. These are definitely parts that will be discarded.

 

may08l.jpg

 

Finally, some wooden parts, brass wires, metal cast anchors and another useless set of doors and windows made of metal. Again, these will be discarded and replaced by wood panels.

 

That concludes our pictorial tour of the Mayflower Constructo kit in the scale of 1/64th.

 

My personal take on this kit (and it is just an opinion) is that it is a good kit if you can find it cheap. For $300.00 which is the traditional price seen in the USA for this imported kit, it is not worth it. If you can find this kit for a third or half of the value, it starts to be a good compromise.

 

The instructions are, let's put it plainly, BAD and POOR. The new color pictorial edited by Constructo may help a little bit, but overall the manuals are not what someone can expect of a kit in the 21st Century.

 

The wood made of up to five different varieties of "precious" woods is a nice proposal and is all in favor of Constructo. Special care will have to be deployed when bending strips as these woods are stiffer and less flexible than the traditional basswood. I personally do not like the dark colors and will replace some of the strips with basswood when building the kit. Spanish culture enjoys dark and massive wood pieces. One has only to look at Spanish furniture to understand that attraction for dark panels and models. In this case, some planking of the hull could be substituted with basswood or some other lighter color woods to make the model more attractive. Same goes with the deck planking.

 

The details and historical accuracy of the kit can be argued. I am not an expert and will not even venture on how prototypical the kit is as compared to the real Mayflower. There are probably not too many people who could claim to be an authority in that domain. I would say that the kit offered by Model Shipways is much more realistic and prototypical than the Constructo kit, because it depicts an existing ship: the Mayflower II.

 

Mayflower II is most likely the best attempt at replicating the legendary Mayflower ship that allowed the first pilgrims to come to America. Mayflower II was built in England by experts and historians and we know how precise and thorough British people are with their past and History.

 

At the end of the day and with the kit in your hands, what can you do? You can build it the way Constructo designed it and end up with a very nice and romantic model, made of dark woods and fictitious features or you can use the kit as a platform to build the Mayflower II at the scale of 1/64th, replace some of the dark strips with basswood and use the precious Practicum written by Chuck Passaro and generously provided by Model Shipways to complete your kit and turn it into the exact model of a real ship.

 

And this is exactly what I will do.

 

Thank you for your attention.

Yves

Edited by yvesvidal
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This review of the Mayflower is realy good,the differance of the plans and instrutions to those of the Bounty are like chalk and cheese, (very good instructions and plans with the Bounty) i think the lack of these with the Mayflower will put me off purchasing the constructo kit,will have to enquire shipping costs to uk for the MS kit. Thanks again for the review,hope many more find it as useful as i have Cheers Ross.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Yves

     Thanks for your comments.

The AL was bought as a present but given a choice and based on your photos the Constructo kit looks the better option.The AL is very basic and the list off faults  as long as your arm. Waiting to see how you get on. 

 

 

Tony

 

current build  AL MAYFLOWER

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  • 1 month later...
  • 6 months later...

Dear Friends. I was so happy when I found this site that I donated before even reading. I am a beginner and I found instructions for Mayflower very not consistent, exactly like many of you are pointing this out. Still , I bought it and I want to finish it. I am sure from time to time I will have questions. One I have right now. I think the keel does not have cut opening for part#13, do  you agree ? I would like to be able to ask questions so specific like that one. Or the next one, where exactly should I keep 1 mm of sticking out wood ? This instruction is at the very beginning. You can see this 1 mm on the diagram. Who can help from time to time? I was trying to ask Hobby Linc (I sent them money) but they are helpless, I send questions to manufacturer and they do not respond too, by the way, contacts written in booklet for Mayflower are not actual and evidently nobody cares. Is anyone from you so familiar with Mayflower that I can asked detailed questions?? Please let me know. Thanks for nice review of that model. Thanks, waiting for responds. Rad

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Rad,

 

Welcome to MSW.  How about posting an introduction here:  http://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/forum/3-new-to-the-hobby-or-msw/  ?

 

Also, the best way to get help is to open a build log.  You'll find that you'll get help and encouragement as you go.  And, you'll be helping anyone building this model after you.

 

I did a quick search and found 9 Mayflower build logs. Is one of these by the same manufacturer as yours?  You might find your answer in one of them.

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Mark, thanks. I am still in process of understanding how this website is organized. I did not know that there is something like build log. Thanks for info. Sounds like very good suggestion, thanks. Let me figure out how does it work and I will try. Thanks again Mark.

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Rad,

 

Have a look here:  http://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/forum/10-kit-build-logs-in-progress/    The first topics that are pinned should give you an idea.  And the rest (all unpinned) are build logs.  :)

 

Here's the main page:  http://modelshipworld.com/  with all the various sub-forums and a brief description.

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  • 3 months later...

Mayflower scale......

Using Chucks plan sheets, for some reason, I have been thinking all along that I was working on a scale of 1:64....

Having built at that scale before, something just didn't seem right, so I did a simple calculation using the stated width of the Mayflower's deck being 26 feet.

Measuring the width of the deck on my plan sheet, I get 3-3/8"......or 3.375 converted to decimals.

Now, tell me if I am wrong here....

26 feet equals 312 inches.......

312 inches divided by 3.375 inches gives me a scale of 1:92

Am I correct?

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hello Sawdust Dave, building the Model Shipways Mayflower myself I would like to know also.There are several others building this Mayflower . The first post above on this topic by yvesvidal says the scale is about 1:76, the model says 5/32"=1foot. I`m sure someone from MSW can let us know for sure. drake1588

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Hi Dave, Drake,

 

I don't know about the stated width of the deck of the Mayflower, but I can tell you that 5/32"=1' scale is the same as the ratio of 1:76.8. So Yves is pretty  close in calling the Model Shipways' kit 1:76. Don't know if that helps you any...

 

 

Yves,

 

One question, and I'm sorry if I missed this in the posts. You stated more than once that the blocks are plastic. Are you sure about that? They certainly don't look plastic in the photos you posted. Also, Billing Boats and Woody Joe of Japan are the only current manufacturers of wooden ship kits that I'm aware of that use plastic blocks.

 

Thanks,

Clare

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 years later...

Hi yvesvidal I agree with you as far as the detail of the Constructo instructions are concerned. I printed the Chuck Passaro instruction manual for the Mayflower but I think I might have misunderstood your suggestion. I thought you meant that by following this Model Shipways instruction manual (by Chuck Pasaro), one can build the Constructo model. I got stuck at the beginning! Chuck mentioned that one must clue the "rabbet strip" along the bulkhead. My problem is that I connot find a "rabbet strip" in my kit. Neither any reference to that in the list of parts. Did I misunderstand your Kit Review?

Please help. I am not only new at kit building but also a total novice as far as ship building and technical  terms are concerned.

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