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Age Group: 8+
The 09256 Wasa 1628 Airfix Classic Ship in scale 1/144, from the Classic Galleons and Liners range. Fame comes to ships in different ways - battles, long voyages of discovery, size etc., but in the case of the 17th century warship Wasa, it came in the form of a disaster and a recovery. Built in 1626 the 1,400 ton Wasa was one of four ships constructed on the orders of King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden to increase the power of his Navy, following the anxiety caused by the German Emperor's plans to build a Baltic fleet to invade Scandinavia. In 1627 she was launched and, when fitted out, carried 64 bronze cannons weighing over 70 tons with a complement of approximately 133 sailors and 300 soldiers.
Disaster befell the Wasa on August 10th 1628 in Stockholm harbour at the beginning of her maiden voyage. A squall came, the ship keeled over to port and as the list increased, water poured into the lower gun ports and the mighty ship sank with colours flying. Attempts were made to salvage her and a number of cannons were successfully raised in 1664-5 but little else. There she remained until 1954 when work began to locate the whereabouts of the ship.
Five years later, operations had reached an advanced stage of recovery with the Wasa being gently lifted from the sea bed by means of 24 cables passed beneath the hull and supported on the surface by pontoons. Brought gradually to more shallow water, the Wasa finally broke surface after 333 years on April 24th 1961 and following a period in dry dock, the Wasa was towed on a special platform to a more permanent site, where restoration work could be undertaken and the ship opened for viewing by the public.