Sunday, August 9, 2015

The "Santa Maria" In Plastic - A List

There are plenty of models purported to represent Columbus' flagship for the 1492 voyage. I haven't taken a count yet, but I do believe there more wooden kits than plastic of the “Santa Maria” have been produced. That might be a subject for another time. Here, though, is a list of all the plastic kits I am familiar with of the subject. Scale is listed, as well as the interpretation it represents. This is by no means exhaustive. 

Aoshima (formerly Imai) 1/60 – Guillen
Heller 1/75 – Guillen
Zvezda 1/75 – Guillen (similar to Heller dies, if not identical or in fact the same)
Revell 1/90 – Guillen
Artesania Latina 1/110 – Martinez-Hidalgo
Lindberg 1/136 – Guillen
Aoshima (formerly Imai) 1/208 – Landstrom I (from “The Ship”)
Lindberg (formerly Pyro) 1/220± - Duro
Heller/Smer 1/240± - Guillen
Airfix 1/384± - Guillen
Gowland & Gowland 1/350± - Guillen
Zvezda 1/350 – Serrano

It becomes immediately apparent that the most common version is based on Julio Guillen y Tato's studies from the 1920's.  This version is unique in that it represents the “Santa Maria” as a caravel, a belief that was not only held by Guillen y Tato but his predecessor Raphael Monleon as well. One of the models listed, the Artesania Latina, is a composite kit, using a molded wood/epoxy hull and wood. While not in keeping with the true spirit of this list, it is included as it represents one of the very few versions of the ship as a “nao”, as well as the only model of the renowned Martinez-Hidalgo version.
The oldest model on the list is Gowland & Gowland's, which was molded waterline and was apparently last available as a ship in a bottle from Addar. While based somewhat on Guillen's design, it has a flat stern. The smaller of the two Heller kits (now Smer) has proportion problems and would probably be a good basis for a conversion to the Martinez-Hidalgo variant.  
I could go into more detail on the relative strength and weaknesses of each kit, but that is probably a subject for another entry.
ADDENDUM - 21st August, 2015 - It turns out that the Airfix kit is derived from the Gowland & Gowland kit, and both are much closer to 1/350.
ADDENDUM 2 - 29th August, 2015 - The Airfix kit is almost 1/384 scale. List has been updated to reflect this. 

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