Figures 1/600 Scale HMS Scorpion
Review by Ian Wilkins
You can see this model in the Photo Gallery
HMS Scorpion started life as one of a pair of vessels clandestinely ordered from British shipyards by the Confederate States during the American Civil War. The Confederacy was unable to build seagoing vessels capable of countering those of the Union fleet, and was thus required to have ships built for in foriegn yards. A number of vessels were constructed and supplied to the Confederate navy in this way, including famous commerce raiders such as the Alabama. Designated masted turret ships, these two vessels were designed to break the Union blockade of Confederate ports. The British Government stopped the delivery of these vessels into Confederate hands and they were purchased for the Royal Navy in 1864. These vessels were barque rigged, 224 feet long between perpendiculars, and had a 1450 ihp engine driving a single propellor. There were two turrets containing a total of four nine inch muzzle loading guns. Though designed for use on the high seas their freeboard was low and the Royal Navy relegated them to coastal defence.
The Thoroughbred kit comes as a set of lovely little pewter castings. There are 23 castings in total plus brass wire for flagstaffs and Confederate and RN ensigns. The masts and yards are all cast as one piece with furled sails cast onto the yards. These look a bit thick and clumsy and I will be replacing the entire rig with scratchbuilt items. The quality of the castings is very good, the anchors, boats, and turrets being stand out items here. The hull casting is also good and includes deck planking and recessed ports.
The length of the hull is 116 mm which scales out to 228'4" overall which I suppose compares favourably with the length of 224' between perpendiculars which is cited in my copy of Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1865-1905. I suppose, if pressed, I'd say it may be a little on the short side. This said, dimensions for ships like these from a period like this are notoriously innacurate. A drawing of the the sister vessel Wivern is given in Conway's and is largely similar to the model though the bow profile is different.
I expect this kit to make up into a fine little model, and I look forward to adding as much rigging detail as I can. Overall, it is great to be able to review a 1/600 scale kit that is actually in production. It seems that in the realm of metal models 1/600 is still king and this is a great plus to collectors in this scale. Also, producers of these kits are keen to put out models of unusual ships like this one. I admit I am a major fan of 19th century steamships and it seems likely that there will be more of these kind of kits in the future. I'd say this kit was great value. I bought mine from Pacific Front Hobbies.