HMS Beagle is my third model following Schooner for Port Jackson and HM Cutter Mermaid. While conscious of the limits of my skills and the resulting imperfections in the finished model, I must say that I am very pleased with the result and the kit in general. I found that it was a step up in the level of difficulty, especially as there was no Modeller's Shipyard - Leon Griffiths DVD for guidance. Thankfully the tips and techniques described in the Mermaid DVDs solved almost all of the problems I encountered. It was a challenge for me from start to finish but a challenge that gave me much satisfaction and pleasure throughout the six months it took to complete.
Things for fellow novices to look out for:
1. The kit has no contents list as such. The major items are easy to check but the required quantities of deadeyes, blocks, belaying pins, timber sizes and lengths etc. can be checked only by laboriously studying the rigging and construction instructions. I took a punt and as a result had to supplement a number of items through Modeller's Shipyard well after the cut off date for doing so at no cost.
2. There are some minor errors in the rigging instructions which at first sight look complex but in practice are easy to follow.
3. Not made clear in the instructions is that the masts and bowsprit require some holes drilled in them, none of which I picked up before fixing the masts in place.
4. The keel and frames are not ply but seem to be a laminated balsa. Very soft, needing a light touch when fairing.
5. Fairing and planking the stern was difficult for me but may not be so for others.
6. The metal beak needed plenty of filing and trial and error fitting to
The extent to which this model replicates the real Beagle will probably disappoint those seeking authenticity. Beagle underwent a number of rebuilds and refits and there are no official naval architectural drawings. Paintings are unreliable Mamoli makes no claims regarding accuracy. At best, the model would seem to be a fair resemblance, inviting plenty of discussion. So purists, beware.
Would I buy another Mamoli kit? Certainly. The quality and appearance of the end result and the satisfaction in achieving it were well worth the reasonable cost.
By Peter Law.