Panart San Felipe
Length 38" Height 34" Scale 1:75

The legend: The San Felipe, launched in 1690, was one of the most beautiful Spanish galleons of the 17th century. She was a lead ship of the famous Spanish Armada. The San Felipe displaced more than 1000 tons and was armed with 104 guns, enabling her to take on the most formidable ships in the French and British navies. The San Felipe's role in the war against the British and French was to help protect Spanish settlements and harbors, to transport treasures, and to safeguard the long and hazardous passage back to Spanish ports. In 1705, she participated in a furious and heroic battle between 12 Spanish ships and 35 British ships. After 24 hours of battle, she was captured by an English ship, but was so badly damaged that she could not be salvaged as a prize. She went down to the bottom of the ocean with several tons of gold.

The Reality: The San Felipe is one of the most favoured ships among ship model builders. The model is elegant,
very beautifully designed, and makes a decorative piece of art to be displayed at home or office. Doubts on San Felipe's historic authenticity have been heard many times, mainly in forums on ship history and ship modelling. There was the contribution of Toni Alvarez Silva of April 1999, who went three times to the Museo Naval in Madrid. He could not get any information whether the San Felipe existed or not.

He also contacted Panart and asked them about their model kits of the San Felipe, without getting convincing responses. The plans of the kit are based on drawings of the “San Felipe” that were published in the 1950s by the Departamento de Falanges del Mar.

It is almost certain that a Spanish three-decker with the name “San Felipe” did not exist in 1690, but the plans and model ship kit show construction elements of hull and rigging of Spanish ships of the line around 1700. But the question remains: Why don’t the kit makers refer to a ship like the Nuestra Señora de la Concepción y de las Ánimas Nuestra of 1688? That ship did exist and has been described in detail.

Panart San Felipe