The models illustrated here were all built and / or converted by Colin Lewis. Colin has kindly given permission for the photographs to be posted here.
These models have been constructed to the highest standards and demonstrate the potential presented by Eagle kits built both ‘straight from the box’, as well as converted to near sisters or ships of the same class.
Eagle never produced ‘Barham’ and ‘Valiant’ in their correct configuration and simply re-issued ‘Warspite’ with a different box and instructions. In fact there remains some doubt as to the authenticity of ‘Barham’ as a genuine release as only an instruction sheet has appeared recently.
However, the conversions produced by Colin are inspirational and reflect that unique ‘Eagle look’ of the range.
HMS Duke of York
KM Graf Spee
KM Admiral Hipper
KM Maass Class
KM U Boats
The images below are from Ian Maun – an Eagle fan who visited the Boys and Girls Exhibition in Olympia, London in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
These show a competition on the sinking of the Bismarck and 4 posters that could be obtained from Eagle in exchange for 6 box tops. The poster at the top left eventually appeared as ‘Bismarck’ although in this form she is shown with triple-gun main turrets!
Many thanks to Ian for sharing these fascinating documents!
A nice mention in the UK press. An excerpt:
That mild criticism apart, this is a wonderful book for all of those of us who loved Dan Dare and the Mekon and bought the little ships from Eaglewall. I was amazed to find out that the Eaglewall company actually only employed three people, that was the 1950s for you, everything done on a shoestring. But they created some great models all so that we could re-enact the Kenneth More film ‘Sink The Bismarck’ (series No.5) on our kitchen tables! The book is available through Amazon and well worth the £40 price tag.
Starting in late 2008/early 2009 Atlas in the UK began offering a subscription series of 27 famous warships of World War II. These were in the slightly smaller European scale of 1:1250 and are pre-built models instead of kits. However unlike most pre-built models in the 1:1200 or 1:1250 scale they are offered in full hull configuration. As such they would make interesting companions to full hull Eagle kits.
Royal Navy top to bottom:
Vanguard, Duke of York
Warspite, Prince of Wales
Royal Navy, US Navy, IJN
Ark Royal, Exeter
Prinz Eugen, Graf Spee
Admiral Scheer, Lutzow
The other four ships issued are the Japanese battleship Kirishima, US battleship Massachusetts, British battleship Barham, and the Italian battleship Roma.
The attached photographs have been provided by Mick Wilkes and show his fantastic ‘find’ recently of over 1300 Eagle kits in Italy.
Mick has provided some comments in an earlier post – look under the Eagle Comic post below.
Mick followed his ‘lead’ on these kits for some time and the result of his persistence paid off. Now all he has to do is find a trade box or two of Gneisenaus!
I contacted Airfix through their website to suggest some more subjects for their 1/1200 series – this is the reply I got:
Thank you for your e-mail
Although we currently have no plans to release this item, we do keep a record of all customer requests and product suggestions, which we do take into consideration when planning all future ranges
So, if we are to have any chance of new 1/1200 models contact Airfix and let them know what you would want to see in 1/1200. By the way, I suggested KGV, Illustrious and Town classes all involved with the Bismarck action as well as Scharnhorst – I thought it was important to suggest related subjects.
The long-awaited re-issue of the 1970s vintage, Airfix waterline 1/1200 ships has now happened and the new ‘Sink the Bismarck’ set is readily available.
In many ways these models are the natural successors to Eagle – they are cheap, accurate and have great ‘play value’ for youngsters as well as providing lots of spares for conversions.
The models are exactly the same as those issued originally and are all moulded in a pleasing light grey / blue plastic. This is different to the original issue – so beware of new kits in old ‘collectable’ boxes! Additionally, a decal of deck markings is provided for Ark Royal.
If sales are high enough Airfix might be persuaded to issue some new models – the recent success of the Atlas series in the UK and the continuing production of the old Casadio / Esci / Revell Mini-Ship models should provide some degree of confidence for Airfix that a market exists for small scale plastic kit warships.
Buy several sets as soon as you can and maybe Airfix will produce some KGV class battleships, Illustrious class carriers and Town class cruisers!
Recently a discussion on another board addressed some concerns about the relationship between Eaglewall, Pyro Plastics, Life-Like Models and Lindberg Models. The following is a paraphrasing of the information I posted there and is also a quick overview concerning those four companies. These discussions can sometimes breed misinformation, so I wanted to set down a few thoughts.
First, the Eagle (Eaglewall) molds never left the United Kingdom. Pyro did release eight Eagle kits (of British and German subjects) under the Pyro name in 1962 (only) through a trade agreement with Eaglewall Plastics LTD. Eaglewall Plastics, LTD went insolvent in 1963. Pyro went on to produce twelve more 1:1200 model ship kits from only four actual molds of Pyro design. Models derived from these four molds stayed in production for a reasonably long amount of time with Pyro finally ceasing to use them about 1970. The 1:1200 scale Pyro molds were purchased (Pyro molds only-not the Eagle molds!) in 1972 by Life-Like along with the rest of the Pyro mold assets. Life-Like used these molds in the late 1970’s to produce six of the former Pyro 1:1200 models under the Life-Like name. The molds had suffered some damage between the time Pyro quit using them in 1970 until Life-like started using them sometime after 1974. The damaged mold for the US battleships (issued as North Carolina and Washington by Life-like) produced models that looked like they had moles tunneling under the armor! Lindberg purchased the Pyro/Life-Like 1:1200 molds in 1978 and announced four kits in 1979. These were never produced since Lindberg didn’t have the molds for two of the ships announced (former Eagle models) and one of the remaining two kits would have used the badly damaged US battleship mold (North Carolina in this particular case). To the best I have been able to ascertain via discussions with former Lindberg employees, Lindberg still has the four Pyro molds and has no intentions of ever using them again. Time will tell.
As an aside, I was able to purchase some new old stock 1:1200 scale Life-Like kits about three years ago from a hobby store in the mid-western United States. Perhaps a warehouse stash of old Life-Like models may have surfaced about that time? They do still occasionally show up on the usual auction sites.
I go into more detail concerning Eagle and Pyro in my book. I will address more on Pyro, Life-Like and Lindberg in my second book which will also detail model ships in roughly 1:1200 scale produced by twenty-five companies over the last 50 some years. I think some of this information may surprise you when it is published.
Donald D. Hood
Eaglewall’s Table Top Navy has been reviewed by Steve Backer of www.SteelNavy.com.
All and more that you ever wanted to know about the iconic line of Eagle model ships is provided in Eaglewall’s Table Top Navy by Donald Hood. The volume is a pure delight.
Visit the link above to read the whole thing. And check out the rest of the Steel Navy site which is a bonanza of all things ship model related.
Eaglewall’s Table Top Navy has now been out for about a month. If you purchased a copy please consider writing a review of the book on Amazon or Amazon UK. Reviews help spread the word and by improving sales make future books like this possible.
Thanks for your support!