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real cloth sails?...

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  • Member since
    March 2004
  • From: Spartanburg, SC
Posted by subfixer on Saturday, September 19, 2009 8:19 AM
bump it

I'm from the government and I'm here to help.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Sunday, April 26, 2009 11:01 AM

Hmmm...well...not in this lifetime.

When I was working at the Mariners' Museum (Newport News, Virginia) I made it a project to try to acquire a McNarry model for the collection.  Mr. McNarry and I had a rather lengthy and cordial correspondence (he's actually quite a nice man); unfortunately his "major" models were (a) hard to find (he'd slowed down his building pace by then, so most of the "major" ones were already in the hands of collectors) and (b) beyond the museum's budget.  (It looks like the standard prices of McNarry models have at least doubled since then - but that was almost thirty years ago.)  I did manage to talk the museum into buying a McNarry model of a Thames ceremonial barge (the case is about six inches long), and to borrow several of his models temporarily.  Three or four of them came from a private collector in Philadelphia, and we got a long-term loan of one of his magnificent 1/192 Constitutions from the Smithsonian.  (Driving from Washington to Newport News with that thing in the back of the museum's station wagon was one of the more neurotic experiences of my life.) 

Just a few years ago the North Carolina Maritime Museum (the one I visit most frequently these days) scored a coup when a private collector donated a McNarry model of a Civil War blockade runner.  It is, in modeling terms, a masterpiece.  Unfortunately the average museum visitor has trouble appreciating it, for the simple reason that it's so small.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    February 2006
  • From: The green shires of England
Posted by GeorgeW on Sunday, April 26, 2009 10:37 AM
 jtilley wrote:

The big problem I've always had with "set," or "billowing," sails is that a real sail is a complicated object made out of many pieces, and it seems next to impossible to replicate its appearance on any but very large and very small scales.  (For the latter, here's some inspiration:  http://www.donaldmcnarryshipmodels.com/ .  Mr. McNarry works on scales from 1/192 down.  WARNING:  close scrutiny of his models may make you decide to give up.)

As a matter of interest John, two of Donald McNarry's models, The Alabama and Kearsage 1" = 16' scale, are up for auction in London on 29 April, by Maritime Models.

The guide price for each is £26 - £28,000, fancy making a bid?

Here's the link http://www.charlesmillerltd.com/

  • Member since
    February 2006
  • From: portland oregon area
Posted by starduster on Sunday, April 26, 2009 1:30 AM
  When I was in grade school we made mountains for geography maps using thin paper towels and dipping them in bowls of corn starch over cardboard this then was formed into mountains, but put this method into a mold like the vacuformed sails this might also work having marks replicating the separate strips of canvas it might pass for sails, and in the reference materials there's a link to Domonique Banton tutorial on making water but a real surprise he also has a tutorial on making a museum quality Revell 1/96 scale model of the CSS Alabama, but translate it to English and a great build begins including  cloth...cotton sail making for this model, even I can follow and understand...heh and that's an event right there, this is a quality build that I wish there were more of only in English.  Karl
photograph what intrests you today.....because tomorrow it may not exist.
  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Sunday, April 26, 2009 12:29 AM

The big problem I've always had with "set," or "billowing," sails is that a real sail is a complicated object made out of many pieces, and it seems next to impossible to replicate its appearance on any but very large and very small scales.  (For the latter, here's some inspiration:  http://www.donaldmcnarryshipmodels.com/ .  Mr. McNarry works on scales from 1/192 down.  WARNING:  close scrutiny of his models may make you decide to give up.)

The basic shape of a sail is made up of many strips of canvas, each about two feet wide, which overlap each other at the edges.  (A full set of sails for a good-sized square-rigged ship contains hundreds of pieces of canvas.  Maybe close to a thousand.)  Many additional pieces of cloth of varying thicknesses - reef bands, head linings, leech linings, bunt linings, etc., etc. - are stitched to it.  Pieces of rope and, from the mid-nineteenth-century onward, iron fittings are attached to it in various ways. 

On a model with furled sails most of that stuff can safely be ignored, or faked in one way or another.  But when the sails are set, those items are pretty conspicuous - especially if the light is shining from behind the sail.  Then the thicker portions (i.e., the narrow strips where the individual cloths overlap) look darker than the rest.  Another phenomenon:  opaque items that are behind the sail when it's backlit show up on the surface of the sail as silhouettes.  (Watch the movie "Master and Commander" to see what I'm talking about.  Especially the scene near the beginning where the crew of the Surprise is repairing battle damage, and the rigging is full of people - and backlit.) 

If I can ever figure out a way to reproduce all that in a model I'll give it a shot.  Until then, I'll stick with furled sails - or bare yards.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    May 2006
  • From: CT
Posted by Seamac on Saturday, April 25, 2009 1:49 PM
Hello Mates,
As usual, Professor Tilley has inspired again!  I had just about decided not to do sails, but now I'm rethinking.  Working on the Sultana and it shouldn't be too much trouble to undo if I don't like the way they come out.  Still several months (maybe years) away from that job.
As a model railroader we seldom have use for sails, but do have to simulate cloth for many projects, i.e. laundry hanging on a line, canvas tarps over various things and, for us modeling the "olden days", the tops of passenger cars were covered with canvas.  One trick I use is facial tissue but, to hold it in the position I want after slightly dampening it, I spray it with hair spray!  It dries fast and works like a charm to freeze the tissue.  I am thinking of trying that with a fan blowing gently to simulate a breeze, then freezing the sail.  You can paint, stain, use chalks (grind into powder then apply with a very soft brush).  Working carefully the tissue holds its shape while the paint dries.  One caveat - most of the time the tissue is backed by something in model railroading so I am not sure that paint wouldn't undo the hair spray (hair spray is just a very fine urethane) - the chalks may work best as there is no liquid to soften the tissue. 
The above might work for "full" sails, I like Professor Tilleys idea for furled - Thanks Professor!
Seamac
  • Member since
    July 2006
Posted by Michael D. on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 2:30 PM
 enemeink wrote:

2 years later and lets see if there are new ideas about.....

I'll add that i've come across a method of using the vac-formed sails as molds to make paper sails. I'm going to give this a try over the weekend.

 

I've tried this method awhile back with satisfactory results using tissue paper. It is a tedous proccess though if your looking to display with the sails fully set.....good luck.

 

Michael

  • Member since
    March 2007
  • From: Portsmouth, RI
Posted by searat12 on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 2:02 PM
I've often wondered if perhaps a very fine ripstop nylon could used, with a hot cutter to seal the hems, and then 'ropes' could be round-stiched into the edges, gaskets simply inserted, etc.... Anyone ever try this?
  • Member since
    February 2008
  • From: San Bernardino, CA
Posted by enemeink on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 12:15 PM

2 years later and lets see if there are new ideas about.....

I'll add that i've come across a method of using the vac-formed sails as molds to make paper sails. I'm going to give this a try over the weekend.

"The race for quality has no finish line, so technically it's more like a death march."
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, February 14, 2006 3:22 PM

For Old MacDonald; this reply is to move this topic forward.  It seems to have been pretty well analyzed and these posts may be of some help.

Best,

Ron

  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, December 23, 2005 4:08 PM

That would be great.

The only problem is that I want my pics of my Sanat Maria and Pamir sticky also. Unfair.

 

Just kiddin. gree with Lufbery., this should be made sticky as well as a few other I might add.

 

Robert

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Harrisburg, PA
Posted by Lufbery on Friday, December 23, 2005 12:25 PM
Mr. Tilley,

Why not send a note to Jeff Herne and ask that this thread be made "sticky"? That way, it stays at the top of the page. It's certainly worthwhile.

Have a wonderful Christmas,

-Drew

Build what you like; like what you build.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Thursday, December 22, 2005 10:25 PM
Once again, I'm "replying" in order to move the thread to p. 1 of the Forum.  The topic has come up again in a recent post.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: vernon hills illinois
Posted by sumpter250 on Monday, November 21, 2005 4:30 PM

      The sails I've done for 1:87 scale ships, have been furled. I start with facial tissue, and separate the plys. With a single ply, I cut a full size sail, and lay it out on the kitchen counter. The tissue is then sprayed with water. Using a metal straightedge, from the bottom up, gently push the "sail" into a bundle. While still wet, pick up the bundle and lash it in place on the boom, or spar, or, in the case of a headsail, pile on deck, or lash to the sprit.

   When dry, the "sails can be stained an appropriate color, and left to dry. The last step is water/ white glue/ detergent (wetting agent) mix, to solidify the sail bundle in place. If you want, the cringles for halyards, outhauls etc. can be carefully pulled free of the bundle, and after drying can be reinforced with paper. After the glue mix has dried, sheets, and halyards can be attached at the cringles. The same can be done for slab lines and buntlines on square sails.

Pete

Lead me not into temptation ..................I can find it myself

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Monday, November 21, 2005 11:52 AM
I'm "replying" to get the thread moved to page 1 of the forum.  The topic has come up once again in a recent post.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Monday, October 31, 2005 11:55 AM
I confess that the idea of making sails out of Saran Wrap had never occurred to me. I'm inclined to doubt that it would work - for several reasons. First, it's awfully difficult to get paint to stick to stuff like that. The material obviously is exremely flexible - and most paints aren't. Second, any Saran Wrap I've ever seen has a consistency that just isn't much like canvas. Third, the stuff I've seen is extremely fragile. I'd be concerned that punching holes in it with a needle might lead to disaster.

On the other hand, I've noticed that quite a few different brands and thicknesses of such stuff are available nowadays. Maybe there is some that would have the necessary strength and consistency - and maybe there's a brand of paint that would stick to it without falling off when the stuff is flexed.

I'm inclined to think there are lots of better materials for sailmaking than that. But I've never tried it. I'd certainly be interested to see the results.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    April 2004
Posted by Chuck Fan on Monday, October 31, 2005 11:43 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by jtilley

Can't comment; I'm not familiar with the term. What's plastic foil?


Saran food wrap.
  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Monday, October 31, 2005 8:58 AM
Can't comment; I'm not familiar with the term. What's plastic foil?

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    April 2004
Posted by Chuck Fan on Sunday, October 30, 2005 10:07 PM
Has anyone considered using plastic foil to simulate sail hanging limp? I am thinking about spray painting platic foil to do that?
  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Sunday, October 30, 2005 10:06 AM
I'm "replying" to this thread yet again to get it moved to p. 1. The topic has come up in a recent post.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Australia
Posted by rokket on Friday, October 21, 2005 7:41 PM
There are so many great posts it's almost not worth putting in my 2 cents...but I will. Just to say that jtilley has said it all and has great advice (and pix of great work!).

I also suggest furled sails. I'm not a real sailor, but have worked on a square-rigger. They are a thing of ebauty, and yet all the lines are simply there to do a job. There are a lot of them. To see a model with standing rigging only is just half a job, it looks empty. The furled sails show the running rigging and a good look, without getting into the "fakey" billowing sails. It's worth the effort. Good luck.
AMP - Accurate Model Parts Fabric Flags, AM Uboat Goodies & More http://amp.rokket.biz/
  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Thursday, March 17, 2005 7:51 AM
Jake - It's the old 1/110-scale Revell kit. Actually, seven pieces of it (not counting the crew figures): the hull halves, the figurehead, the transom, the hull of the launch, and the quarter badges. The blocks, deadeyes, and gratings are britannia metal castings from Bluejacket, and the steering wheel came from the spares box. Everything else is scratchbuilt from styrene, basswood, boxwood, degama wood, brass, etc. The rigging is silk.

I don't know that I'd want to build another model this way. When I started it I wasn't aware of just how bad the kit was. As it turned out, using the kit parts probably saved me a week's work or thereabouts - in a project that took about three years. But maybe it's of some use in convincing "non-believers" that a plastic kit can be the basis of a serious scale model.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Lacombe, LA.
Posted by Big Jake on Thursday, March 17, 2005 6:40 AM
John,

What model brand and scale of the Bounty did you build?

Jake

 

 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by widepaul on Friday, February 25, 2005 4:48 PM
Beware of acting on a dream - It can take a while to achieve. I always wanted a wood ship model - in 1975 I purchased Model Shipways Rattlesnake - the solid wood hull model. I ended up building it with sails (see link below) using what is called ballooner cloth - very fine cotten cloth. I also had the reference book:

http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery/misc/sail/privateer-pb/rattlesnake-index.html

on loan from the library which helped a lot. The end result turned out really nice - but it took nine years to build.

Sails are really cool and give a sense of action - but the model has to be large enough in scale to work well. Just my 2 cents.

Cheers,
Paul
  • Member since
    August 2003
Posted by grounded on Saturday, February 19, 2005 11:19 AM
Great Posts Everyone,
This is a great forum, I think!!!!!

Thanks

Bruce
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, February 9, 2005 12:36 PM
Take a look at the Jan/Feb issue of Ships in Scale. Page 21 and 22 discuss a technique called the "drawn thread" method. Have to admit I've not tried it with fine silk (the fabric of choice for small scale) but it works perfectly with coarser fabric (drafting linen for instance) and larger scale (1/48 for instance) and produces perfectly parallel "seams." You need twice as much fabric because you'll destroy 1/2 of the panel by pulling threads to the other half but it's well worth the small expense.
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, January 19, 2005 6:37 PM
jtilley:

Outstanding Post !!!!

Thanks;
John
  • Member since
    January 2005
Posted by ggatz on Wednesday, January 19, 2005 12:45 PM
John Tilley,

If you would like to email me some of those pictures, I will see that they are posted over at DryDock Models..

I would also like your permission to post your technique..

There are a lot of technique hungry modelers over there who would be very grateful for this information..


Gregory

GregoryGatz@netscape.net
To a dog, every day is Saturday. ' Roger Miller '
  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Harrisburg, PA
Posted by Lufbery on Monday, January 17, 2005 12:31 PM
Mr. Tilley,

That was fantastic. I'm saving your post for future reference.

Thank you, and warm regards,

-Drew

Build what you like; like what you build.

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