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H.M Bark Endeavour 1:120 Airfix

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H.M Bark Endeavour

1:120 Airfix




Most of us I imagine have heard of Captain Cook and the voyage of the Endeavour to Tahiti, New Zealand and Australia. James Cook joined the Merchant Navy as a teenage, the subsequently the Royal Navy in 1755.  He served in the Seven years war with France and was instrumental in surveying and mapping the entrance to the Saint Lawrence Rover during the siege of Quebec. This brought him to the attention of the Royal Navy who were looking for such men for exploration voyages. He would literally sail around the world twice before being killed in Hawaii on his third voyage.  The then First Lieutenant Cook was given command of His Majesties Bark Endeavour for his first voyage in 1768. The Endeavour was was originally built as a coal barge (or collier) "The Earl of Pembroke" but was quickly bought by the Admiralty who recognised the design with its flat bottom and large hold made it ideal for close in exploration. Bark was a Naval term used for an uncategorised ship. She was named the Bark Endeavour in order to distinguish the vessel from the then Sloop HM Endeavour. After fitting out at Deptford Cook sailed from Plymouth on the 26th of August 1768. He sailed via Rio de Janeiro and Cape Horn to arrive in Tahiti on 14th of April 1769. The official purpose of the journey was to observe an astronomical transit. However secret orders were for him to press on to find the Southern Continent.  From here they sailed to New Zealand; and then onward to Australia where they arrived on April 19. Then on June 10th 177 0they became the first. but no where near last vessel to run aground on the great barrier reef.  Cook would take possession of this land for the Crown on 21/22 August 1770 and Cook would spend time surveying the new land, They would then sail back for home via Cape Town, arriving back on July 12th 1771. Quite some journey by sea even today, but back then nothing short of remarkable given that he was actually making all the charts later seafarers would rely on.  The Endeavour would not fare as well though, she was re-fitted as a stores ship and sold back to the coal trade, being lost of Rhode Island in 1790.



The Kit 

Airfix's kit has been around since 1962, and has not seen that many re-releases of late. The last time we saw it was back in 2008. The kit is a full water line model, The three main parts are the two hull halves and the main deck. The two halves go together, and the main deck goes on, at the rear the transom is fitted.  The enclosed stand can then be assembled for the hull to sit on. The shroud line attachments points for all three masts go onto the hull. The main deck of the vessel is then fitted out with  whole host of deck fittings, gratings, windlasses, ships wheel, ships boats, and cannon are all added to the main deck. Some scale figures are also included if the modeller wants to use. 




Construction then moves onto the three masts. The fore mast, main mast feature three sections and the mizzen mast two. The platforms fit on each along with the yard arms. For the mizzen mast the spanker gaff is fitted, for this vessel there was no spanker boom. At the bow the bow sprit and jib boom are fitted. The masts will all need careful fitting to make sure the alignment is correct.  Airfix provide a jig in order to correctly rig all of the shroud and ratlins to make up the side rigging. There are three rigging diagrams for all of the standing and running rigging. Lastly at the front the anchors can go on. A name plate is provided for the stand. In a nod to the days when the kit first came out you again get a sheet of vac form sails should you wish to add them. The ships standard for the main mast and large ensign for the stern are provided as stickers to fold around the kit parts. 











Whilst I would love to see Airfix release a brand new tool of this famous ship, it is nevertheless still nice to see this model back in their catalogue. The moulds have not seen that much action and are still good. This should make up to an interesting and good looking model. Recommended.




Review sample courtesy of 

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