The Battle of Trafalgar, which took place on October 21, 1805, was a decisive battle that took place between the British fleet and a combined fleet of French and Spanish warships. The battle took place during the early part of the Napoleonic Wars, and confirmed the dominance of British seapower. All together, some 60 ships of the line were involved in the engagement.
Many ship modelers are interested in modeling the most famous ship to both lead and survive that battle, the aptly named HMS Victory. But, the Victory, wasn’t the only ship at Trafalgar. As mentioned, there were nearly 60 other line-of-battle ships involved. So, what were these other ships? Or, more specifically, what ships were involved with kits available?
Let me begin by point out that, for some reason, there are no kits that I am aware of for any of the French warships involved in the battle. Maybe it’s because there aren’t any manufacturers of French wooden ship model kits, at least none I am aware of. So, the French subjects get the raw end of the deal. But, if anyone is aware of a kit of a French line-of-battle ship that was at Trafalgar, please leave me a comment.
Of the British ships, we, of course, have HMS Victory, of which there are about a dozen kits, plus cross-section and bow section kits. Other British ships really include only the 64-gun ship HMS Agamemnon made by Caldercraft, and the 74-gun Bellerophon, which is one of the optional builds of Amati/Victory Models HMS Vanguard kit.
But, then we come to the Spanish ships and that’s where we find that with the appearance of the Spanish kit manufacturer OcCre, and the return of Artesania Latina’s San Juan Nepomuceno, the Spanish fleet at Trafalgar is well covered. If you include cross-sections and similar kits, then you can also add in Disar Model (another Spanish kit manufacturer) to the list with their 1/32-scale “battle station” kit representing a section of the Spanish 100-gun ship Rayo. But, even more importantly, is their large kit of the Spanish 3-decker, Principe de Asturias.
Below is a list of all the wooden kits I could think of that cover the line-of-battle ships at Trafalgar. I didn’t include plastic kits, but many subject are covered there as well. I also decided not to list all the available kits of HMS Victory, as we all know that there are way too many kit of this deservedly famous ship. Mentioning each of them would simply overwhelm the list below.
British Ships of the Line
HMS Victory – Many kits in many scales.
HMS Agamemnon – Caldercraft 1/64-scale kit.
HMS Bellerophon – Amati/Victory Models 1/72-scale HMS Vanguard build option.
French Ships of the Line
Spanish Ships of the Line
Santa Ana – Artesania Latina 1/84-scale kit.
Santisima Trinidad – OcCre 1/90-scale kit, and OcCre 1/90-scale hull cross-section kit.
San Ildefonso – OcCre 1/70-scale kit.
Montañes – OcCre 1/70-scale kit
San Juan Nepomuceno – Artesania Latina 1/90-scale kit.
Principe de Asturias – Disar Model 1/72-scale kit.
Rayo – Disar Model 1/32-scale combat station kit.
You may note that this list doesn’t take into account any of the smaller ships that were at Trafalgar, I listed only line-of-battle ships, that is, ships of the 3rd rate or larger (64-guns or more). There were just over a dozen frigates and schooners present at the battle as well. Of these, I’m only aware of one kit available, and that is a very nice, 1/64-scale Caldercraft model of a the British schooner HMS Pickle. Plus, I might as well mention that there are also a couple ship’s boat kits from Disar Model that are claimed to be the larger boats of HMS Agamemnon and of the French ship Bucentaure.
As for other ships that were at Trafalgar, like the French ships, it looks like scratch modeling is the only way to build one of them, but that takes us outside the scope of this article. Hopefully, one of the kits mentioned above will satisfy the needs of ship modelers looking for an interesting Trafalgar subject.