Building Pyro’s Santa María

Hi all!

Back in 2015 I had a great time with Pyro’s ancient Niña and Pinta kits, and I also picked up a Santa María to go along with them. The first two builds were quite enjoyable, and the completed models were simple but attractive.

When it came to the Santa María, though, I ran out of steam. The original Niña and Pinta were both carabelas redondas (caravels) of about the same size, so the box-scale models displayed together well. The Santa María, though, as a larger nao, should have been visibly bigger – but the box-scale kit was the same size as the other two. Also the Santa María, dating from 1953, was noticeably more toylike than the later Niña & Pinta models…

I only got as far as assembling the Santa María hull (she’s the one in the foreground) before abandoning the build, but I’ve decided to take it up once again!
:grin:

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good job, I watched the other 2 which seemed fun :+1:

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The kit is no worse than how I learned about ole Chris Columbo in the early '60’s :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Cheers
:beer: :nerd_face: :beer:

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One of the shortcomings that bothered me about the Pyro’s little Santa María was the kit’s stern. It looked well enough on the sides as shown here, but the aft face had only some rough wood surface detail – and even that was destroyed in cleaning up the seam between the hull halves!

Since I have another incomplete kit on hand, I cut the side windows from one of the spare hull halves.

Added the aft-facing section of the fantail along with some plastic strips, there is now at least some representation of the details that might have been present on the original stern.

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Hi Tim,
Looking forward to watching your magic worked again. I know you’ll be making another silk purse out of this sow’s ear.
John

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No cavorting couple inside like that Chinese junk?

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Hi Tim,
Looking forward to watching your magic worked again. I know you’ll be making another silk purse out of this sow’s ear.
John

Thanks John. I don’t plan to change it much, but this one is so primitive that any upgrades should help!


No cavorting couple inside like that Chinese junk?

Well, Danie, maybe if I could find some appropriately sized figures… :grin:

Another weakness of the model is the complete lack of detail on the inner sides of the gunwales.

I don’t want to invest too much effort improving this very basic kit, but revisiting the build it seems reasonable to add some simple framing…

Evergreen .020 X .015 inch plastic strip along the tops and .020 X .010 verticals help liven things up a bit.

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TIm, glad to see you’re back in the shipyard. Really enjoy your work on these old kits.

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Thanks Fred!

Ok, getting into the build a little more, I’m actually starting to like this kit! My earlier reservations about the hull have largely been addressed with some simple detail additions, and after doing a little research it seems Pyro’s overall interpretation was better than I had thought.

For a ship this famous, surprisingly little is known about its appearance. For many years, the 1927 vision of Julio Guillén (Director of the Museo Naval in Madrid) of the Santa María as a carabela de armada (caravel) was the most accepted interpretation. Model kits by Revell, Heller, Airfix, Lindberg, Imai/ERTL, and others were based on this version. However, more recently scholars have concluded that Spanish Navy Captain Cesáreo Fernández-Duro got it right back in 1892 with his interpretation of the Santa María as a nao, a precursor to the galleon (which really shouldn’t be that surprising as Columbus himself made no less than 81 references to the ship as a nao in his logbook…!)

Anyway, unlike most of the Santa María model kits out there, Pyro’s humble effort was apparently based on this more accurate version!

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You’re doing it again - come on, Tim, none of your builds have ever been OOB or even near, and I am enjoying each and every build log of yours! There will be more then some evergreen strip in the end (even though they make a big change as they are right there), you will be making another real gem out of this Pyro kit, and I’m looking forward to following you!

Cheers
Jan

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Hey Tim,
I like where you’re going with this build. I think you’re right on with that last photo. That framing will help a lot to provide anchor points for rigging. Got my soda and popcorn ready for the next session!
John

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Hi Tim,

I do enjoy watching your transformations on these ancient sailing ships. This one is coming along very nicely indeed.

Cheers.

Si

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You’re doing it again - come on, Tim, none of your builds have ever been OOB or even near, and I am enjoying each and every build log of yours! There will be more then some evergreen strip in the end (even though they make a big change as they are right there), you will be making another real gem out of this Pyro kit, and I’m looking forward to following you!

Cheers
Jan

Hey Tim,
I like where you’re going with this build. I think you’re right on with that last photo. That framing will help a lot to provide anchor points for rigging. Got my soda and popcorn ready for the next session!
John

Hi Tim,

I do enjoy watching your transformations on these ancient sailing ships. This one is coming along very nicely indeed.

Cheers.
Si

Jan, John, and Si, thank you for your kind words!

These early plastic models (this one first came out nearly seventy years ago!) were actually not too bad. I’m only making small changes, but one of the nice aspects of building these relatively primitive kits is that virtually anything extra done to them is an improvement!

Another change to the hull has been to adjust the shrouds which supported the masts.

The representations of the shrouds/channels molded directly to the hull are basically accurate but a little flat. I added .015 X .080 inch plastic channels aft to give things a more three dimensional effect.

The forward shrouds weren’t quite as straightforward.

Captain Fernández-Duro’s 1892 Santa María reconstruction, contemporary nao drawings, and even the kit boxart show that the forward shrouds should attach to the inside edge of the forecastle at the deck edge rather than farther aft to the hull.

The molded kit shrouds don’t look bad, but the forward sets should not be in that location.

I scraped away those misplaced details with the edge of an X-acto and bits of sandpaper. This turned out to be a surprisingly fussy task as the raised detail goes all around and over the strakes – my wife and daughter got through an entire episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race before I got it all done! The end result isn’t perfect, but it should look all right as the affected areas will be partially obscured by the stowed anchors.

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Fun to watch you tackle another Tim .
Maybe one day you will treat us to a Polynesian outrigger - that was one of my favorites as a boy and I built it more than once …

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Fun to watch you tackle another Tim .
Maybe one day you will treat us to a Polynesian outrigger - that was one of my favorites as a boy and I built it more than once …

Well Richard, I actually do have one in the stash… :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

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Small additions to the hull were a pair of .059 inch hawse holes punched from .020 inch plastic.

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Tim,

your love and attention for detail even with those kits is just great, I love to see what you are doing to this old little kit. On the way to another small gem!

Cheers
Jan

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Tim,

your love and attention for detail even with those kits is just great, I love to see what you are doing to this old little kit. On the way to another small gem!

Cheers
Jan

Thanks Jan! Unfortunately this model is no gem, but I’ll do what I can to make it better!

The masts are single piece affairs with reasonable detail, although and the odd design of the crow’s nest part makes for some awkward cleanup.


The flags are molded directly to the masts and are rather thick. Still, Ysabel’s (Isabella’s) Royal Standard of Castilla y León is surprisingly accurate.

The other flags aren’t so accurate, though, and the molding of all of them is a little heavy anyway, so I thinned and scraped them clean. I’ll paint them later.

Here are the masts test fitted. To my eye they look a bit tall and spindly, but sails and rigging to come should make them less conspicuous.

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