The Flagship to the new world
We are all somewhat familiar with the exploits of Christopher Columbus and his Voyage to discover an easier and/or short trade route to the Asian Coast by sailing West as well as a dual purpose of spreading the teachings of Christianity. Of the three ships Columbus had at his disposal for the voyage, his flag ship was the La Santa Maria (La Santa María de la Inmaculada Concepción). The ship would be known as the La Capitana, or Flagship and would only be nicknamed the Santa Maria on his second voyage.
There is no clear answer to exactly what make of ship the Santa Maria was, but through time and research of similar vassals from the time period, historians believe the ship to be a Carrack. The Carrack was a three to a four mast, square-rigged wooden vessel measuring approximately sixty feet in length with a displacement of about 100 to 150 tons. This was of course the most ideal ship for exploring the open seas but I guess you sail what they give you, and in this case, Columbus was given the Santa Maria. Stowage for the journey was sealed in the hull with limited access from the steerage and the 40 man crew's quarters consisted of hay beds on the main deck as the only cabin(s) were used by Columbus and the King's representative.
After a bad decision of allowing a cabin boy to steer the ship on Christmas of 1492, the Santa Maria ran aground off the coast of Haiti. The crew was unable to free the ship and she soon was unrecoverable. Columbus ordered here dismantled and here timbers were used to build fortifications for the 35 to 39 men of the crew to stay behind while Columbus sailed his two remaining ships back to Spain. The entire crew that was left behind, would perish before Columbus's return. Until this day, the exact location of the wreck is unknown. It was thought to be found in 2014 but reports from a team from the United Nations requested by the government of Haiti, debunked the discovery.
The Christopher Columbus Flagship Santa Maria
from Zvezda comes in their standard Slip-top cardboard box. There is three styrene sprue trees containing forty individual parts to construct this 1/350 scale version of Columbus's flagship. Each of the three sprue trees are a different color; tan for the hull, masts and spars, black for the rigging and base sections and white for the sails.
• 1 – Tan colored styrene sprue
• 2 – Black colored styrene sprues
• 1 – White colored styrene sprue
• 1 – Decal sheet
• 1 – Set of instructions
This kit is actually reminiscent of the old kits from around the early 1970’s as the subject mirrors a set of Christopher Columbus’s fleet presented from Pyro Models and re-released later from Lindberg. Also, the construction does not require gluing as all the part snap together.
The hull and deck sections have nicely molded planking throughout with a light wood grain recessed texture. The mats spars are all cleanly molded and despite the small size of this model, well detailed.
Since this snap-together kit is designed to be more or less built right out of the box with not only no glue, the colored sprue parts indicate there would be no need to paint the kit as well if the builder so chose to do so. As with the wood colored plastic hull, this is evident in the ratlines for the ship are provided as well as they are molded in black styrene. There are six ratlines in total and are cleanly molded and only a slight hint of flash present within the openings to the lines.
The Sails from the model are molded to show the sails in an open configuration and to give the appearance of being full with the wind. The sails are a snap fit configuration and only require removing from the sprue and a quick clean up before installation if painting is not desired. There are two decals provided with the kit. There are two sizes of red crosses which are to be placed onto the sails after construction.
This kit comes with three options for displaying the finished model; traditional base stand, water-line as a standalone and a segmented base for use with the waterline configuration. With these options, the kit is supplied with different length rudders to depending on which configuration is chosen.
The four-page instruction sheet is provided in a black and white exploded view format. These instructions are printed cleanly and easy to follow. The suggested painting instructions are provided on the last page and are listed for Humbrol paints.
As you would figure, the Santa Maria would be a simple and quick construction. The process is straightforward and cleanup is not too bad. There is seam lines to contend with on all of the masts and yardarms; cleanup is not too bad with a fine grit sanding stick and picking away at tighter spots with a #11 blade. After assembling the kit in its snap together option, I noticed the parts seem to fit nicely. The hull joint fit tight but should be glued to eliminate the joints completely. One of the more tricky areas to deal with in terms of cleaning is on the transom. One of the attachment points on both upper hull sections landed right in the middle of the window. A little careful cleanup in this area will need to be done. The ratlines snapped together quickly and the sails simply pop onto the yardarms and in a very short time, the model is assembled.
After getting a close look and quickly assembling the Christopher Columbus Flagship Santa Maria
from Zvezda I have to say this is a nice little kit. The kit feels a little bit like a throwback to the time when some of us started gluing our fingers together as kids. It is certainly not a very glamourous kit as the part count is low and it is designed to snap together. However, with a little time and some patience even these little snap offering can build up to make for a nice weekend project. Recently one of the MSW family members, Tim Reynaga, cracked open one of the old-time Pyro kits and the results were fantastic. This proves that even these tiny and sometimes odd-ball offerings can build up into great little display models.
For reference purposes only to see the potential of one of these tiny ships
Link to Tim’s Niña
Link to Tim’s Pinta
I will have to recommend this kit to any of the young modelers (Children) just getting into the hobby. The construction is easy and the added snap-together factor makes a great first project for the small hands starting out. Something you can pick up for the little one and have them belly up to the bench and build along with you. Also, I will add a little recommendation to anyone enjoys having at one of the older kits in the stash from time to time. After assembling the kit for the review, brought me back a few years to sitting at the kitchen table snapping off parts and having some building fun. Finally, take the time to stop by one or both of Tim’s builds (Links above) and see what can truly be done with these small offerings.