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HMS Victory Model Ship Buyer's Guide

HMS Victory is clearly the most modeled ship. More companies sell more variants in more scales than any other ship, by a wide margin. Any collector of model ships will confront, probably sooner rather than later, the question of which model to buy. These models are fully assembled, not kits, so questions other than those of the modeling skill of the purchaser come into play.

  1. Budget : Vendors will sell you as much or as little Victory as you are prepared to pay for. The upper end is nearly $10,000 for the highest quality models, and a multiple of that for large museum-class models. In the real world, less than $500 is probably not worth fooling with, since either the model is too small to make much of a display, or more likely is so badly modeled as to be nearly un-recognizable [or rather, is a bad charactature of the Victory that is painful to look at.
  2. Size : Where are you going to put the thing? These models are three to five feet long, and require some non-trivial berth if they are not to be an accident in waiting. Unlike models of modern warships, they are nearly as tall as they are long, so putting them on a shelf is not an option. Another issue with size is understanding what dimension is being cited by the vendor, some of whom are quoting just the length of the hull [billet head to taffrail], while others are including the rigging [bowsprit and mizzen boom].
  3. Scale : Closely related to size is scale, which goes to the question of which other models in your collection can be displayed with HMS Victory. We have a 1:87 USS Constitution, a 1:96 USS Monitor and a 1:104 CSS Virginia, and would like to display HMS Victory with this group. There are a few pretty obvious scales - 1:96 and 1:100 are easy, but most of these models are built to scales for which there is no ready explanation. And different vendors have different ideas as to how the size of the model translates into scale.

All models are lies, just as all maps are lies. Both models and maps must make compromises with reality in order to depict that reality in a useful fashion. Models must simplify to become smaller, and to stay within a price range objective. Models must delete some details so that others may remain clearly visible, and must render some elements out of scale for purposes of emphasis and clarity. When shopping for an HMS Victory model, several elements stand out:

  1. The three lanterns on the stern gallery taffrail should not obstruct the lateral motion of the mizzen boom, and yet this is the case with most models.
  2. HMS Victory had a bottom sheathed in copper plates - while some models provide a reasonably high fidelity presentation of this construction, most either depict the bottom in plain wood, or suggest the copper plates with a coat of copper paint.
  3. The stern gallery is one of the most distinctive design elements of 18th Century ships of the line, and the original HMS Victory comes readily to hand, yet the gallery is suprisingly difficult to render accurately.

So what kind of choices are there??

  1. Probably the best all around models are those from Stephens & Kenau, the designers builders of the much acclaimed STEPHENS & KENAUT range of museum quality Historic Sailing Ship Models. The Model Ship Yard, Mosselbay, South Africa, is the builder of the Stephens & Kenau range of museum quality sailing ship models. There are a number of websites that claim to be dealing in STEPHENS & KENAUT ship models. This is simply not true. Many of the photographs and text have been copied and pasted directly from the Model Ship Yard website, without permission. But for many years Ancient Mariner has offered the 1:96 Stephens & Kenau HMS Victory, priced at $ 3,850, which is rather less than the $ 4,832 list price directly from Model Shipyard.
  2. Three 41" models offer an attractive compromise between price and detail: the $ 1,531 offering from Premier Ship Models, the $ 1,525 model from Nautical Models, and the $ 1,289 product from Admiralty Ship Model
  3. The 38 " model for $ 599 Handcrafted Model Ships on e-bay is a really decent value for the budget minded.

scaleLengthpricevendorcomments
1:32 115" cm
115 "$ 75,000Pacific Tall Ships where would you put it???
1/45 88.2 "224.0 cm
88.2 "$ 9,046Atlantide Maquettes1/45, un-painted
82 "$ ??GIA NHIEN CO., LTDVietnamese, lo-fi
78 "$ ask Maritim Borse
1:60 65 " 165.2 cm
65 "$ +,+++Model Shipyardthe best
64 "$ 2,900modelshipmasteronly one with stun'sls, only one left, has been "on-sale" for years
1/65 61.0 "155.0 cm
61.0 "$ 4,082Atlantide Maquettes1/65, unpainted
59 "$ 2,551Premier Ship Models really nice, no lanterns, copper sheathing unclear
59 "$ 2,414flyingscalemodelsradio-control, lo-fi
59 "$ 2,187Premier Ship Models nice, lanterns OK, copper painted on hull texture
59 "$ 1,701Premier Ship Models"silver", incomplete painting, copper plates
60 "$ ????.worldsells.netvietnamese, lo-fi
1/72 54.0 "138.5 cm
54 "$ 6,900Chuck Miller1:72, really extremely nice
55 " $ 2,900modelshipmasternice, no significant issues
1/78 51.0 "130.0 cm
51 "$ 7,382Doran Bay ShipsPlatinum, no negatives
51 "$ 3,900Ancient Mariner1:78, unpainted walnut, hi-fi, STEPHENS & KENAU model
1:78 50" 127 cm
1:8250 "
1/84 49.2 "33.5 " Height
50 "$ 5,420Model Shipyardoutstanding
50 "$ 1,199Handcrafted Model Ships1:82, rough finish, problem lanterns, a good value
50 "$ 1,199Tall Ship Modelssame item as Handcrafted Model Ships
1/84 48.0 "123.0 cm
1:8748.8 "124 cm
49 "$ 5,000Ancient Marineroutstanding, STEPHENS & KENAU model
49 "$ 3,998serenissimalooks fine, no detailed pictures online
49 "$ 1,035Premier Ship Models"Silver"
47 "$ 942madatoursunpainted
47 "$ ??GIA NHIEN CO., LTDvietnamese
1:9243 "
45 "$ 8,255 Maritim Borsemarvelous rigging
42 "$ 2,977serenissimalooks fine, no detailed pictures online
43 "$ 2,417Admiralty Ship Model nice all around, not coppered
1:9641 "103.1 cm
1/96 41.3 "105.0 cm1/8"=1'
41 "$ 8,904promondounpainted
41 "$ 6,514Doran Bay ShipsGold, unpainted
41 "$ 5,384Doran Bay ShipsPlatinum, painted
41 "$ 4,832Model Shipyard
41 "$ 3,850Ancient Mariner1:96 Stephens & Kenau
41.3 "$ 2,333Atlantide Maquettes1/96
41 "$ 2,306Falconsteinnice
41 "$ 1,531Premier Ship Modelsnice hull texture, but copper painted on
41 "$ 1,525Nautical Modelsnice
41 "$ 1,289Admiralty Ship Modelnice, not coppered
41 "$ 1,190modelshipmasterunsatisfactory lanterns
41 "$ 1,166Premier Ship Models"Platinum ", nice, not coppered
1/98 43.0 " ??110.0 cm
44 "$ 3,900 Chuck Miller1/98, excellent
1:10042.1 " ??107 cm
40 "$ 1,799War Planesnice rigging, solid smooth hull, Chinese
40 "$ 1,799War Planesnice rigging, solid smooth hull, Chinese
40 "$ 1,750Ancient Marinernice rigging, solid smooth hull, Chinese
39 "$ 1,698All Wood Shipsnice rigging, solid smooth hull, Chinese
40 "$ 1,499at Alto e-bay 1:80 claimed, generally nice, lanterns are a problem
40 "$ 900War Planestnice rigging, solid smooth hull, Chinese, on ebay
40 "$ ????.worldsells.netvietnamese, lo-fi
1:10838 "
37 "$ 772 Premier Ship Models"Silver", gallery is not right
38 "$ 699Tall Ship Modelsfinish is a bit rough
38 "$ 699Handcrafted Model Ships1:108, same item as Tall Ship Models
38 "$ 599Handcrafted Model Shipse-bay, same item as Tall Ship Models
1/115 34.5 "87.6 cm
34.5 "$ 1,910Atlantide Maquettes1/115, unpainted
35 "$ 1,663White Sails unpainted
1:13531.5 "80 cm
32 "$ ????.worldsells.netvietnamese
31 "$ ??GIA NHIEN CO., LTDvietnamese
??????
variousvarious Old Modern Handicraft
?? "$ ?????maritimereplicasvery high quality
?? "$ ?????Masterpiece Ship Collection
"$ NFS Scratch Built
length OA = 227 feet = 2725 inches
length BP = 186 feet = 2232 inches
Most vendors do not specify what length measures OA vs BP
Scale Calculator
scaleLOA
1:13531.5 "80 cm
1/115 34.5 "87.6 cm
1:10838 "
1:10042.1 "107 cm
1/98 43.0 "110.0 cm
1/96 41.3 "105.0 cm1/8"=1'
1:9641 "103.1 cm
1:8748.8 "124 cm
1/84 48.0 "123.0 cm
1/84 49.2 "33.5 " Height
1:8250 "
1/78 51.0 "130.0 cm
1:78 50" 127 cm
1/72 54.0 "138.5 cm
1:70 39" cm
1/65 61.0 "155.0 cm
1:60 65 " 165.2 cm
1/45 88.2 "224.0 cm
1 : "



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