This is not a week-end project. No, it's more like a year-long investment in the joy of reconstructing in miniature the greatest sailing warship in naval history and leaving a legacy of fine model building.
There are other HMS Victory models available in the world marketplace but in my opinion none matches this one. Here's why and at the risk of boring my readers I have a story to tell ... Please humor an old man and read on.
I am an American from Denver, Colorado. While in college I was struck with WanderLust and wanted to travel and work in foreign countries. Luck smiled upon me and in 1968 I found a job with the Mattel Toy Company in Italy. In 1971 a customer who owned hobby and toy stores in Rome asked me to become his partner. We struck a deal, I left Mattel and became an Italian business man. It was November of 1972 when a short, red-headed man with a huge smile walked into our office carrying a big box with a photo-label reading HMS Victory by Sergal. And that's how we met Sergio Fabrizi, the designer and original producer of this fine kit.
Sergio was alive with passion for his kit and convinced us to place his built up prototype model of HMS Victory in our flagship toy and hobby store. His kits sold out in a hurry and he could not make enough to keep up with our orders. And then we discovered that this was the first kit Sergio ever designed and produced.... his real trade was designing up-scale bathrooms for rich Italians with big villas. But ship modeling was his passion and he had been a scratch builder from childhood. The friendship grew and Sergio inspired me to start the Model Expo company in 1974 advertising Sergal kits in the U.S. and shipping to modelers from Rome, Italy. Sergio went on to design and produce some of the worlds' greatest kits ... Soleil Royale, Sovereign of the Seas and many others. One day he tired of it all and sold the rights to Mantua Model who continues to produce his kits to this day.
I've seen them all ... HMS Victory kits from other manufacturers ... and although this kit was designed in 1971 I've yet to see a better design nor better materials. Plywood is the finest available and the laser cutting is perfect. Planking is limewood (basswood in Europe) and walnut. Castings are bronzed white metal, there is an abundance of machined brass, photo-etched brass. Instructions in English, Italian, French and German are beautifully illustrated in 34 pages and accompanied by 8 giant sheets of plans. Even the flags are made of delicate cloth designed to drape realistically.
Scale is 1:78 (78 times smaller than the real HMS Victory, which you can visit in Portsmouth, U.K.)
Length of the finished model is 52" ..... if you need a display case visit Model Expo's site.
Size of the kit box is 36 x 13 x 3-1/2" . Weight is 13 lbs 3 oz. ... shipping weight will be about 18 lbs.
Skill Level? If you have never built a wood ship model before I hesitate to recommend this one. On the other hand I once met a skilled carpenter who started with this kit as his first wood model and built a superb replica. If you have patience and are willing to invest in ship modeling how-to books and watch youtube videos on how to build ship models then anything is possible.