Chris Watton has done it again with what looks to be another hit of a kit, the 1/64-scale model of the British 20-gun frigate HMS Sphinx. The Sphinx was a sixth-rate warship built in 1775, the lead ship of a class of 10 ships, armed with 20 nine-pounder carriage guns. This newest kit is the seventh ship model kit produced by Vanguard Models, and their largest one to date.
I don’t have any photos of the fully rigged model, as the photos of the completed prototype weren’t available when I got these pics. The new HMS Sphinx kit is a 1/64-scale kit that measures just over 31″ long when complete. The kit looks like kind of a monster in terms of detail and completeness.
Laser-cut pear wood ladders and gratings are standard, the deck is maple wood with the planking pre-etched for you, including treenail detail. Five sheets of photo-etched brass, 3D-printed cannon barrels, all planking above the wales comes as pre-cut and engraved sections. Even the wales are pre-cut and engraved with the anchor stock planking detail. The kit even has a semi-interior, and the great cabin even has a checkerboard floor.
In many ways, the detail in this kit reminds me of the Shipyard card model kits of HMS Mercury and HMS Enterprise. Those ships are larger frigates of 28 guns as compared with the 20 guns of the Sphinx. But, the internal details are similar, and are a nice feature. For the Sphinx kit, this detailing alone sets it apart from the vast majority of wooden ship model kits.
Availability has been pretty limited for this kit, as there were pre-orders being accepted by the Vanguard Models website, but the first batch of 50 sold out some time ago, and next batch has been held up by a delay in the photo-etched brass parts. However, I’m told that the kit should be available again shortly.
Update: Rigged model details are now available and the new batch of kits include the rigging instructions as well. I expect the additional instructions are getting sent out in some form to the early buyers.
The price of the new kit isn’t cheap. But, this may be the finest ship model kit I’ve ever seen. Current list on the Vanguard Models website is £689.95, or about $943.90. So, this is clearly a very high end kit. Expect Ages of Sail to have these in stock as well in early to mid October. Ω