Santa Maria in 1/96

Two years ago I built Revell Germany’s 1/96 replica of the Santa Maria, Christopher Columbus’ flagship for his first voyage across the Atlantic. For many years now I have focused solely on WWII subjects, but I wanted to do this ship for my 5th-grade classroom, because we study, among other aspects of American history, the era of European exploration. It was a beautiful change of pace to work in a scale other than 1/700 for a ship, and to be able to actually tie a bunch of the rigging into place! The kit features two kinds of “rope” for the job, both of which look very realistic, even if it is almost impossible to get it to look taut rather than crinkly.


I have been quite happy with the final result, which now sits proudly in my homeroom. I was so excited to bring it in that I did so before I had even painted the deck figures. No one paid much mind to the model until the next day, when I brought in the now-completed crew and began gluing them to the deck during a break. Before I knew it I had about four kids gathered around my shoulders watching me use my trusty tweezers to get the figures into position. One wanted to place a sailor in the crow’s nest, which I was happy to let him do. Another, when I narrated my thinking about the placement of the next figure, liked my idea and said, “Yeah, that’s perfect!”


The icing on the cake has been to have several students come in to school over the past week to tell me that they were now building a ship model with their dads at home!


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