These are Round Two’s re-release of the Lindberg company’s re-release of three old Pyro molds that appeared under many guises, such as the Nina was once boxed as a Barbary Pirate and the Santa Maria appeared as the Mayflower. They were part of a series of kits called “Historic Sailing Ships” that included twelve ships, many actually duplicates with different names. When first released, the kits were of a standard box scale, but “The Ships of Columbus” are touted as being 1/144. In reality the three ships varied in size yet the kits have all the same dimensions, so the scale issue is “iffy” as each ship has a hull about 4.5 inches long. As to accuracy, they are as accurate as just about any other rendition of Columbus’ ships as there are no pictures nor plans nor very complete descriptions of any of the ships beyond the fact that the Nina was the smallest and was originally lateen (triangular sails) rigged, however even that changed as she was re-fitted with square sails before the voyage.
The kits have a similar breakdown of parts, some even being used in all three kits, and there are injection molded sails that don’t look too bad. No rigging is called for, but it is plain that in some previous release it must have been as the sails have holes in them at the bottom corners where lines would have been attached. One oddity is the ratlines. That’s those webs of ropes that go from the sides of the ships to the tops of various masts. In the Nina and Pinta, you are given injection molded ratlines, but in the Nina, there is nowhere to fasten them to the hull. In the Santa Maria, the deadeyes (the ratlines’ attachment points) are molded into the hull sides in the greatest detail of the three ships, but yet no ratlines are provided!
There is a very nice decal sheet with flags and pennants as well as the crosses for the sails. They are done by Cartograf and went on very well. The three ships all sit on identical stands and have nicely molded nameplates.
Assembly is easy, but repetitive as the three kits are so similar. Fit is as you would expect from 50-year-old molds, but with care the ships go together pretty well. What can be tedious is that the painting on the kits is pretty elaborate, so you need to time when you work on what so you don’t wind up waiting for color “A” on part “1” to dry before you can apply color “B” so you can glue the whole thing onto part “2”.
I took on the ratline issue in the Nina and Pinta. The injection molded ratlines provided are way out of scale thickness, so I made replacement ratlines from black thread. While not difficult, it was tedious, but did look a lot better. I did not even try on the Santa Maria as there were no injection molded ratlines to use as a pattern and quite frankly, I was growing weary of these little devils.
One note on the crosses that go on the sails. There are raised locators on the sails. I chose to remove these from the Nina and Pinta. On the Nina to cover the marred surface, I used an old trick of laminating single ply tissue onto the plastic with liquid cement. It adds no thickness, yet imparts a texture to the surface more like cloth. When painted and washed, it looked nice but there were a few creases from the compound curves. However, I didn’t think it worth all the work, so I just smoothed out the Pinta’s sails as best as I could and they looked fine. Since the decals went on so well on the first two, I decided to see how they would do over the raised locators on the Santa Maria. Much to my satisfaction, they settled down quite well making all that other work in removing the locators un-necessary.
When done, these three little ships actually look pretty good together, if you took the time to replace the ratlines on all the ships and did some basic rigging, they would make a nice display piece. I could see them being used in a classroom for discussion of the various parts of the ships and they are easy enough to assemble, so a younger modeler could take them on and produce satisfying models.
Thanks to Round 2 for supplying the sample kit and to IPMS/USA for the chance to review it.
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