- Published on Wednesday, 14 March 2012 00:03 James Hatch
1:72 Carthagenian Warship
Catalogue # 9030
Available from Creative Models for £49.99
I have quite a passion for classical warships. I've never built one to this day, but that doesn't diminish my interest. Those that know me know that I also own and administer the website Model Ship World, and that's where I indulge my passion for all things water-borne. I've even been known to build models from timber, but that's another story.
We missed out on the Zvezda Pirate Ship 'Black Swan' recently, and I really didn't want to miss out on this release. The 1:72 Carthagenian Warship comes in quite a large and extremely robust box with an integral top-opening lid/flap. I reckon I could sit my entire stash on this box with no adverse effect. The box is resplendent in a very nice artwork of this vessel at sea, with the box edging giving a brief history of the vessel type, and the paint needed for this build in Model Master codes.
I've never reviewed a Zvezda kit before, and I was extremely surprised when I opened the lid and found all the sprues within with absolutely no packaging whatsoever. This could be considered a 'green' option by today's standards, but this does alarm me a little. Usually this would be a recipe for broken parts and scuffed surfaces. I have to say, however, that no such damage has occurred with this kit, so all can proceed with no problem whatsoever.
Firstly, I need to say that there is a miss-spelling of the name of the kit on the box. The word 'Carthaginian' has been spelt as 'Carthagenian'. To this effect, I have tagged this kit with incorrect and correct spelling for our search facilities.
The 1:72 Carthagenian warship is moulded across EIGHT sprues of medium brown plastic and one sprue of white plastic which contains the sails. When it comes to reviewing plastic kits of wooden sail ships, I have to say that I am so used to seeing the timber grain effect depicted in a very 'nice' but perhaps over-exaggerated appearance. With this kit though, the wooden surface effect is almost flat, and it's only the daylight casting over the surface that does highlight the grain. This is a far more authentic appearance which will need some very subtle weathering in order to bring it to the fore. Rubbing your fingers over these parts, you really can barely feel anything which can be classed as raised. Zvezda could really teach their contemporaries how to do this properly!
The Carthagenian Warship isn't an insubstantial model. When complete, it measures almost half a metre in length, and has a parts count totalling almost 300.
Building the hull is a relatively simple task. The side hull pieces are separate from the lower hull, but spacers between the two help to create an assembly which can then be fit as a single part to the lower hull. The upper bow is a separate assembly, again using a spacer which sets the beam to the correct width. The rowing galleries are also separate installations which consist of a base and hull frontage, with a curved timber capping to the whole gallery.
Zvezda has accurately depicted all of the timber planking with an authentic plank-butt system. This is the system of plank-end staggering that coincides with the structural framework of the ship. The hull planking clearly shows this, and also depicts this with the correct shape, and not just a simple end-to-end joint. The more I look at this kit, the more I like what I see.
When the basic hull is assembled, the forward and rear deck sections are installed, but the main deck is only to be installed at this stage in order to make sure than everything aligns properly. The instructions clearly note this. Before the main deck is installed, ladders need to be fitted to the lower decks. You also get a perfect opportunity to ensure that the masts sit vertically too.
The masts themselves are moulded in one piece, and there is a seam which will need to be removed before you progress. At this stage, you will need to install the many oars, according to the manual, but I would seriously look at installing these as late as possible to avoid any breakage and to allow you to paint the model without hindrance.
The trestle-tops (crows nests) are built from a base and 4 quarter parts which are moulded to resemble a wicker structure. To this end, Zvezda have accomplished this as the detail here is superb.
During construction, you will need to assemble the head-timbers to the hull, and various rigging cleats. The 'captains/deck hands' upper deck quarters on such a vessel was in effect a tent. This is moulded from the white sprue and the framework and fabric representation is excellent. These vessels were designed to 'ram' their opponents, and during the latter stages of the hull construction, the option is there to add this. I do say option as the instructions clearly state that you can build this model without. Personally, I think this model should always be built with this device as it was an integral weapon which is well documented in the histories of these vessels. A far as I know, it wasn't a 'bolt-on' option'.
Unlike many sailing vessels modelled from plastic, this lit supplied the sails as an injection moulded sprue. So many kits give this as a vac-form option, and that simply doesn't allow the detail that these parts need to depict. The injection moulded sails clearly show the woven fabric that makes them, and these can be weathered to properly simulate this.
When you talk of sail ships and masts and sail cloth, then inevitably you are drawn to the rigging requirements of the model, and yes, you are going to have to get your hands dirty and use some boy-scout skills. The kit instructions clearly show the various rigging blocks, and how they are rigged. In fact, the instruction and illustration in this area is exemplary, with point-to-point rigging illustration. These are some of the best rig drawings I have ever seen. The various yard-arms are clearly shown and how they interact with the sail cloth rigging. I'm not saying that you can rig this model in an evening. From experience, I would say you would need a few evenings to properly lay this out and work to a reasonable standard, but it certainly isn't as complicated as a 19th Century 'Man 'o' war'.
Generally, moulding quality is excellent throughout, with no issues with ejector pins, few seams and only a little flash in a minority of areas. This kit also contains a classical-looking stand on which to display your model, complete with a name plaque and the misspelt 'Cathagenian' name.
You'll be thankful to know that rigging cord is supplied with this kit, and in two colours also to denote standing and running rig. The material is wound around cardboard pieces and from inspection, seems to be quite lint free. Please don't be too concerned about the rigging if you have never tackled anything like this. I can confidently say that this model would be easy to rig for someone who is a novice to sail ships.
The instructions for this kit are excellent. The manual itself contains 12 pages of clearly drawn and defined illustrations, and from what I can see, nothing is ambiguous, and the modeller will have no problem with constructing this kit.
There is a small decal sheet included which contains the decals for the sail and the eyes for the hull bow. The decals are nicely printed and reasonably thin. The finish on these is also quite matt. I can't vouch for how they will react to setting solutions, but I hope they do as they need to conform to both timber and fabric relief. Printing is in perfect registration and carrier film is present and relatively minimal.
One scheme is offered for finishing, and due to historical limitations, I can't say whether this is accurate or even authentic. To be honest, I don't really think it matters when it comes to building a classical warship.
So what do we think?
Not only is this my first personal review of a Zvezda kit, it is most certainly the first time I've seen one of their sail ships. Apart from the sprues not being bagged, I have to say that I am mightily impressed with what I see, and simply looking through the kit is enough to spark the imagination and start the modeller on a trip of creative thought. I hope to see more Zvezda sail ships after this one, as I now think that I just found another personal area of modelling interest.
All I can say is 'very highly recommended'!
Our sincere thanks to Creative Models for the review sample used here. To purchase this directly, click THIS link.
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