Continuing my review series of Model Space’s 1/84 scale Sovereign of the Seas ship kit, I am pleased to present the fourth installment of the series which covers Pack 4. The Sovereign of the Seas kit is a multimedia wood based model kit depicting the largest and most heavily armed ship afloat during the 17th Century. Model Space’s scale model kits can be purchased either by subscription or as a complete kit. The subscription breaks down the build and payments into manageable monthly installments. Each month a new Pack arrives with a new set of instructions and parts for that pack. The subscription continues until you receive all of the parts to construct the model or you cancel the subscription.
Link to Pack 1 Review
Link to Pack 2 Review
Link to Pack 3 Review
Sovereign of the Seas – Pack 4
Up until this point in the subscription, and build, we have seen the materials and construction of the hull framing of this ship, ships launch and many of the ship’s compliment of cannons. Most of Pack 3 covered the bulk of the installation of the inner planking of the exterior hull. Planking, whether it be the inner run or the outer, can be a long and often tedious process for some. There is never a reason to rush this part of course, so by the time Pack 4 of the subscription arrives, the builder would probably not going to be done with the inner planking.
As with previous deliveries, Pack 4 comes with a full color instructional magazine. This new set of instructions begins again with brief history segment called ‘Age of Sail’; a four page story about Charles I and his dealings with Parliament throughout the early 17th century. The bulk of the Pack 4 magazine consists of instructions for construction covered from Stage 34 to Stage 45. As with all previous Stages, there are designated, individually sealed packages of parts associated with these stages; in the case of Pack 4, there are 12 individual sets of parts. Some of the parts labeled for each stage are for different stages in the construction; the instructions will refer to the correct parts form these packages as the parts are needed.
• Jewlers Pliers
• Side Angle Cutters
• #11 Hobby Knife (with extra blades)
• 2 – Metal Files
• Yankee Drill
• Brad Nail Set
• Handheld Plank Bender
Beginning in Pack 4, Stage 34 consists of finishing the exterior inner hull planking. Once the bamboo strips have been installed, the hull can be sanded to smooth things out for the top application of the sapele and basswood strips. Wasting no time, Stage 35 is an in depth procedure to marking out and subsequently cutting out of the gun ports. The instructions take the builder step by step through the careful marking of the location of all of the ports as well as the correct manner in which to cleanly remove the wood creating the openings.
In Stage 36, we are introduced to the application of the sapele wood strips. These strips are to be glued in place and the gun port openings cleaned. Along with the wood strips being installed in this section, the installation of brass photo etch scroll work for the ships is outlined. As many of the features of the original Sovereign of the Seas ship were clad in gold, the brass decorations fit the part just right. All of the parts labeled for Stages 34, 35 ad 36 are sets of more cannon for this heavily armed ship. In Stage 37, the builder is prompted to continue construction of the cannon and carriages. We also see the beginning of the installation of the basswood strips which clad the lower hull of the ship.
As we all know, the stern of the Sovereign of the Seas is a lavishly ornate. Stage 38 consists of the continuation of more framing to build out its structure. The parts are glued into place and the sapele strips cut to fit around the framing. There is more cannon construction in this section as well as sanding of the finished outside planking to a smooth surface. Moving right into Stage 39 and 40, if the builder chooses to not leave the ship with a natural wood look, the instructions define how to properly mask off the hull followed by painting the upper sections black and the hull an off white with the red bootstriping as seen on the original ship. At this point, the keep and bowspirit are installed and final planking of the stern.
Stages 41 to 43 bring us more fine-tune framing of the stern as well as putting the finishing touches on the topside of the bowspirit. The installation of grating and the side planking of the beak is shown in numerous highly detailed color photos within the instructions. IN Stages 44 and 45, the construction of the ship’s exterior from the weather decks down has been basically completed. Attention to the upper decks now begins. Stringers for the weather deck are placed as well as the decking. In addition, framing to the poop deck and fo'c's'le begin. All of these sections are aligned and squared off in preparation for what comes in Pack 5.
Along with the arrival of Pack 4, comes the arrival of the second of two Free Gifts from Model Space
. This gift is a small tool kit which is provided in a small aluminum clad carry case. Within the case, there are several tools essential for constructing wooden ships and huge timesavers for anyone building the Sovereign of the Seas
Each of these tools will come in handy along the way. If you already have some of these tools at your bench, as most have items like the files, knife and pliers, the plank benders and brad nail setting tool are extremely important to secure the inner planking of the hull. The brad nailer effectively helps when placing the brass nails in the bamboo to secure them while the glue dries. The side angled cutters will snip off the brass nails with ease as well as pry most of them out once the glue dries. The plank benders is one method for obtaining the curved shape to the planks to wrap around the bow of the ship. This works through back-cutting the planks and eases the wood into shape. There is an extra set of blade included for this tool as well.
As the building of the Sovereign of the Seas from Model Space continues, I have become more and more obsessed with wanting to keep working on the build. During the inner hull construction, there were some times that mentally drained me due to the monotonous nature of the planking, but once the parts begin to shape the hull and installation becomes more routine, excitement to continue mounts. Now that Pack 4 has arrived, there is a revival of obsession comes out again after seeing how this ship unfolds in this Pack alone.
I would recommend to anyone building the ship, to possibly save some of the cannon and ship’s launch for a break from the tedious nature of the inner hull placement. This part of the construction speed up once there is a rhythm in the installation established. A word of advice, if you have not constructed any wooden ships before. You can make jigs to help speed up the process to planning the tapers on the strakes. I made a quick jig on a smooth piece of MDF board with to wooden shingles glued side by side leaving a space for 6 pieces of the bamboo on edge. I was able to clamp the rear of the bamboo strips and use the taper of the wooden shingles as a gauge for the correct taper of the strips. With a sharp block plane it too about a minute to cleanly shape the planking and move on.
Sovereign of the Seas Pack Reviews
Link to Pack 1 Review
Link to Pack 2 Review
Link to Pack 3 Review
Link to - video review of Pack 1
Link to - video review of Pack 2
Pack 3 & 4 Video Coming Soon!