Building Revell's Golden Hind
By Richard Eaton, Originally published February 2007
I recently got a chance to relive a wonderful
build of my youth when I found a 1965 molding
of the Revell Golden Hind. I built this kit in my
earlier years and just loved it. It is currently out
of production, but it is still readily available and
not terribly expensive.
The kit is very impressive both in its detail and
excellent assembly instructions. The bright color
scheme is molded in relief in the plastic easing
painting. The rigging instructions are top notch.
Even if you don't know a lanteen from a sprit
sail, there are easy to follow details that build up
to a convincing rigging scheme.
If you are into ships of this era or just want to get
a feel for sailing ship building, read on.
The molding on this kit is very crisp, and there
are a significant number of details provided in
a kit of this age and scale. Judging from the five
crew members provided, the kit scales roughly
out to around HO (1/87). Parts are molded in
hard brown styrene. There is no flash, and only
a few ejector pin marks, or sink marks on
visible surfaces. There are some mold separation
marks to deal with throughout, but they
clean up easily.
Two types of rigging threads and a nice large
sheet of vacuformed sails is provided. I chose
not to use them. There is one sheet of decals
(still good) and a sheet of flags. A six page
double sided booklet contains a nice history
and thorough directions.
Prep and Painting
Painting and rigging make or break a kit like
this. I went through the instructions and painted
most parts in their base colors while they were
on the sprue. I used light earth brown for the
hull and Testors wood for the decking. I planned to add a dark
brown wash over everything and dry brushed highlights later.
I then masked the hull and sprayed the lower part and upper
painted works flat white. There is no distinct waterline molded
in, so take care in establishing one.
Once dried, I then hand painted the extensive color motif on the
upper hull. I used the kit suggested scheme, though I have never
seen two paintings (or kits) with the same pattern. Using a fine
round brush, I first applied the dark gloss blue on the lower
banding and upper diamonds. I then applied the reds as indicated.
Again there are clear demarcations molded into the plastic. I
know you are probably think this is daunting. But just take it in
sections. It is great therapy!
I finished up with the gloss gold details and then a few spots of
black. Some touch up and things started to sharpen up. I then
painted the raised planking in a dark chocolate brown. I painted
the beautiful crest of arms on the aft bulkhead as directed.
I generally created a symphony in brown as I painted railings
and gratings in dark brown, fittings in lighter brown and the
ship's boat a series of washed white and browns. The deck
planking is very well molded. The details just flew out with a
dark brown wash. The masts were painted a light brown and
detailed with darker browns and flat black. I sprayed cannon
barrels and other metal fittings flat black and lightly dry
brushed with steels to bring out details.
This kit goes together easily with good fit. I began with the
multitude of deck fittings on the main deck. I did not secure the
ship’s boat as indicated as called for to ease later parts placement.
This is a good point to touch up and details the main deck
The next step calls for assembling the hull main deck, stern and
rudder. The massive rudder is in two parts and requires filling
and sanding. I also filed and sanded the hull seam along the keel.
Once happy with the fit of things, I clamped things down and
The forecastle and bowsprit were assembled as directed. Be
sure to add the rigging details shown in notes A, B and C
because once the forecastle deck is in place you would be hard
pressed to back fit.
A thick anchor rope is provided. I wind that around the anchor
post and feed it out the bow. The gammoning tie around the
bowsprit really adds realism when wound correctly. Once the
"prerigging" was done, I finished assembling the bow
components and left off the figurehead deer for now.
In the next step, I assembled the large and small cannon and put
them in place on the deck. The cannon barrels rest on a two piece
base. These I touched up and dry brushed to bring out the nice
details. I then placed the cannon in the ports and applied the
cannon rigging. This gets a tad tricky in some of the closer
fittings. I was glad I left off the ship’s boat at this point.
Next, I assembled the aft quarter and poop decks and fittings.
Note that the aft decking rests within the wide deck ribs in the
hull but not on top of them. I touched up the deck ribs with deck
color after assembly. I then assembled the aft gallery components.
Here I added the kit decals as directed. I prayed that they would
not disintegrate due to age. They went on fine. I oversprayed the
decals with some Dullcote. I then went over the aft portions
touching up and detailing before installing the gun ports and the
huge and nicely detailed anchor.
Use care in separating the shrouds as they are delicately
molded. I had pre-painted the shrouds flat black and, once
assembled, I dry brushed them with steel to bring out details.
The fore, main, and mizzen mast went on next. The masts are
in several parts so use care in alignment. I detailed each mast at
this point before adding them to the ship. Then I added the prepainted
ships ratlines. The ratlines are the angled webbing that
support and provide access to the crow's nests. The instructions
have you place all the yards (spars) in place at this point, but I
recommend leaving them until the rigging is done.
By now you are probably getting sick of all this nautical
terminology. But fear not; the instructions explain all
The instructions provide a simple standing rigging scheme that
is relatively easy and will provide a good looking model. If
that's what you are into, fine. The last five pages of instructions
give a detailed running rigging that I had to do. Rather than bore
you with a blow by blow account, I'll just give you my tips on
turning a great model into an accurate one.
- The kit comes with a multitude of blocks (as in block and
tackle). Clean up the blocks and widen the holes for easier
rigging. Tie off all the blocks in place on the masts and
yardarms as directed BEFORE placing the parts on the model.
Use a minute amount of CA to lock the ties you make.
- Once all the blocks are in place, the rigging is much easier.
Generally, secure the rigging thread at the pin rail, cleat, or
kevel on the hull first. Then just thread the line up and through
the various blocks and tie at the terminus. Secure with CA, and
make the lines as tight as possible tightening as you go.
- Take your time and do the rigging in multiple sessions.
- It doesn't take a genius or psychopath to rig a ship (or a biplane
for that matter).
- Once the rigging is in place, tighten the cotton thread by
applying a bit of water with a Q-Tip. As it dries it will tighten
up a bit.
This kit is a real joy to build and a great education. The
instructions and build teach you a lot about sailing ships. This
kit is out of production but still readily available at meets and
Heller and Airfix still have a Golden Hind kit in production. I
have seen the Airfix kit in 1/72. It is larger than the subject of
this article and has good detail in the plastic, but it lacks the
nomenclature and rigging details of the old Revell.
Wrapping up this baby I almost felt like 15 again. Now I am
ready for another three master! Arrrgggg!
I know of no references for the actual ship. I don't think anyone
knows exactly what she looked like. If you want to read about
the amazing career of this ship and her master Sir Francis Drake,
this website http://www.mcn.org/2/oseeler/drake.htm is a good
place to start.
Click here for more articles.