1956 sounds possible or perhaps it could be slightly earlier. My father did this model in 1956, I grew up with it and it has pride of place in my living room. Inside the display case is completion information including the completion date of July 30, 1956.
It is a re-pop of the old Marx kit that originally came with lithographed metal decks. Some sources list is as coming out in 1956 and some in 1959. Either way, it apparently beat the Revell Cutty Sark out, making it the first ever large scale plastic sailing ship model to be released.
Marx also released the kit as Swordfish, the only difference being some additional parts for a decorative beakhead rail. The Swordfish version is seldom seen and might be the rarest plastic ship model kit ever.
The good : If you disregard the Swordfish version, this is the only large scale plastic model of an American clipper ship.
The hull lines and masting are pretty accurate when compared with plans contemporary to the real ship.
The main deck has camber, although a little over done.
When I purchased mine, I found little flask and only a few sink marks, both of which are unusual for such an old kit.
Parts fit is generally very good.
The bad : The plastic used by Lindberg is pretty pliable, making it very easy to bend the masts when adding rigging.
No blocks are included like Revell did with their large scale sailing ship kits, so these would need to be purchased aftermarket..
If the provided sails are used, they do not include studding sails. Also the main course is partially brailed up and there is not way to change that without aftermarket or home sewn sails.
There are apparently no known plans/drawings of the deck furniture and cabins, so the ones in the kit are speculative.
The Swordfish version is no more accurate than Revell's marketing of one kit with no changes to represent both Alabama and Kearsage.
The up to you to decide : The lower hull is smooth, with no hint of copper plating detail, sol if it is just painted, it will look plain when looked at closely. However, since the hull is smooth, there is no sanding required if you want to use individual aftermarket copper plates.
No preformed ratlines are provided. The builder will have to tie their own. Some people prefer this, but it seems like many more are put off by it.
My personal opinion: The kit is worth it. With a little more work, the result will be just as nice as any of Revell's. If it turns out you don't like it once you get it, as someone else pointed out, you can always toss it on evil-bay and maybe make a profit on it.
Thanks David. It just says that it is 33 inches long and was a possible re-pop from another company. I am wanting to know if it is worth the buy in quality maybe from someone who has built this kit.
Can someone tell me the good, the bad, and the ugly about this Lindberg kit. Just asking because I saw one at a local discount store for $49.95. I have seen them on the "evil" site going for about $180.00. Thanks.