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Thermopylae

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  • Member since
    November, 2005
Thermopylae
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, February 29, 2008 10:56 AM

I was given the Revell Thermopylae tall ship.  Unfortunately the kit is missing the sails.  This being my first attempt at a tall ship (I am strictly a WWII aircraft builder) and I want it to be as shown on the box.  I am not sure I could fabricate them as the look to be vacu-formed.  My second choice would be to get some cloth and show all the sails in their stowed position,  Any ideas out there?

 

Thanks,

Richard

  • Member since
    March, 2007
  • From: Carmel, CA
Posted by bondoman on Friday, February 29, 2008 11:23 AM
My own opinion is you didn't lose anything.
  • Member since
    May, 2007
  • From: Atlanta, Georgia
Posted by RTimmer on Friday, February 29, 2008 11:29 AM

Hi Richard,

I agree that this was not a great loss.  Showing the sails furled would be good, however, as you're preparing cloth you only need to cut them to about 1/4 - 1/3 their actual size.  If you cut a sail to the full size and furl at this scale, the bulk would generally be out of proportion.  Alternatively, cut them a bit larger than I suggested, furl and assess whether the bulk is too much, then cut smaller as needed.

Cheers,  Rick

  • Member since
    March, 2007
  • From: Carmel, CA
Posted by bondoman on Friday, February 29, 2008 11:33 AM

Rick- you've stirred the rats in my mental attic. I remember a long time back a project for this model/ Cutty Sark where the modeler used white kleenex rolled up and dampened which dried hard(?). I'll see if I can track that down.

 

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Friday, February 29, 2008 11:34 AM

I tend to agree with Bondoman.  I've never been a fan of vacuum-formed plastic sails.  On the other hand, if I remember correctly the ones in this kit are better than most.  (Oops - I may be making an unjustified assumption.  The 3-foot-long, 1/96-scale Revell kit has nicely formed "sails."  Revell later issued a smaller version of the ship - about two feet long, I think - in its "Quick Build" series.  I don't think I've seen that one outside the box.)

I do feel obliged to make one point - which is applicable to both those kits.  They aren't scale models of the Thermopylae.  They're slightly-modified versions of Revell's Cutty Sark kits.  In reality, the Thermopylae and the Cutty Sark looked similar from a distance, but that's about the extent of the resemblance.  (If you do a forum search on the word "Thermopylae" you'll find at least one fairly detailed discussion of the subject.)  As the Cutty Sark, the 1/96-scale kit, in particular, is a real classic and a fine basis for a serious scale model.  As the Thermopylae, it's one of Revell's all-too-frequent marketing stunts.

How much this matters is, of course, up to the individual modeler; I'm not suggesting that you throw the kit away.  But I do think the consumer is entitled to go into a project like this with eyes open.

For what it's worth, here's a link to a discussion we had some time ago about sailmaking:  /forums/350912/ShowPost.aspx

Good luck.

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

  • Member since
    January, 2008
Posted by Big Wick on Friday, February 29, 2008 2:18 PM
I think we are missing one thing.  If the plastic sails are missing and this is not really the Thermopylae, how can you know the outline of the sails that fit this model?  Isn't he forced  into finding the plastic sails or finding someone who can measure a set of sails?
  • Member since
    March, 2007
  • From: Carmel, CA
Posted by bondoman on Friday, February 29, 2008 2:38 PM

My understanding is that the intention is to show the sails furled, which is a much more forgiving exercise. I don't remember the sails too well from the kit. I know Revell had at least one ship with loosely furled droopy sails, but I don't think it was this one.

To replicate the sails set is a whole other magnitude of difficulty of course. Crude as they were, the kits sails had at least some ghost of a notion of reefs and reinforcing, I'm certain.

If a clipper with sails set is desired, better to buy the Cutty Sark which will have a better return on the time spent.

I personally think that a clipper under bare poles is as beautiful a thing as any other option.

Bill

p.s. bought a new ship model today!

  • Member since
    January, 2008
Posted by Big Wick on Friday, February 29, 2008 5:48 PM

I agree with you as far bare poles on a clipper ship.  Not too many things prettier than a clipper ship anyway, speaking of ships only!  But I am a new ship modeler, not a new modeler, and doing my first set of sails.  It has taken me seven tries but I finally have a good looking sail.  I found out that it is easier and more realistic to make a complete sail then a furled one.  After I have more experience, furled sails may be possible, but as a 'newbie', I just don't have the experience to get the right look.

There is an excellant article on furled sails on Model Ship World Database.  But once again, it is hard to achieve a 'look' to the sails when you don't know what you're looking at.  I hope this makes a little bit of sense.

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Friday, February 29, 2008 11:42 PM

I personally, for the reasons I mentioned in that other thread, find furled sails a great deal easier to model than set ones.  (In fact I've never been able to produce a set sail that I've found halfway satisfactory.)  But I guess everybody's different; to each his/her own.

I continue to recommend either furled sails or "bare poles" for a model.  (That article in the MSW database, incidentally, is largely reproduced - with my complete approval - from what I wrote on the Forum thread I mentioned above.)  If you do want to show the sails set, though, working out their dimensions isn't actually so difficult.  Lay them out on paper first.  If you can find a sailplan of the actual ship - great.  (Reconstructed sailplans of the Thermopylae can be found in three books by David MacGregor:  China Tea Clippers, Fast Sailing Ships, and British and American Clippers:  A Comparison.  I may have garbled the titles slightly.)  Don't assume the kit matches the plans exactly, though.

If you have to work out the dimensions of the square-rigged sails from the kit parts, it isn't hard.  Fit all the components of, say, the foremast together and lay them out on a table.  In the big Revell kits, the yards are fastened to the masts by convenient (if not-quite-to-scale) "snap rings."  If I remember correctly, there are raised rings around the masts to locate the upper topsail, topgallant, and royal yards in either the raised or lowered positions; if you're opting for set sails, put the yards in the raised positions.  You can then determine the height of each sail by measuring the vertical distance between a yard and the one below it.  Subtract about 1/8" (i.e., a scale foot) or a little more, and you've got the depth of the sail.

The head of the sail is stretched between the yardarm cleats.  (The yardarm is the extreme end of the yard; each yard has two yardarms, one at each end.)  I don't remember exactly how Revell represents the yardarm cleats, but there should be some obvious fitting two or three scale feet in from the extreme end of the yard.  The distance between those two points is the width of the head of the sail.

The lower corners (clews) of the sail are held down by heavy ropes (or, in some cases, chains) called sheets, which pass through sheaves in the yard below, just inboard of the yardarm cleats.  As I recall, Revell repesented those sheaves as holes in the yards.  Measure between the two holes.  That's the width of the bottom of the sail.

The course (the lowest sail on each mast except the mizzen; the lowest sail on the mizzenmast is called the crossjack, or crojack) doesn't have a yard at its foot.  Its sides (leeches) are almost vertical; the foot is about four feet wider than the head.  (I'm basing that figure on the sailplan of the Cutty Sark, which I happen to have in front of me.)  The clews should be two or three feet above the tops of the bulwarks.

Each of the square sails is gored slightly - that is, the foot is shaped in a slight concave curve.  (That allows space for various rigging lines that have to pass under the middle of the sail.) The amount of curvature is smaller in the upper sails than in the lower.  For the courses it's about three feet; for the royals it's about a foot.

The overall shape of a square-rigged sail therefore could be described as a trapezoid with a curved bottom. 

The spanker is, if I remember my high school plane geometry right, best described as an irregular quadrilateral; none of its four sides is parallel to any of the others.  You should be able to take its dimensions from the mizzenmast, the gaff (the spar at its head), and the boom (the spar at its bottom).  The other sails you'll probably want to represent are the jibs and staysails.  They're shaped like triangles with slightly curved edges.  You can take their dimensions from the sailplan; they don't have to fit precisely between kit parts.

All this sounds at least twice as complicated in written form than it is in reality.  If you take a look at a sailplan for the ship, or even a similar one, it should all be pretty obvious.   

Hope that helps a little.  Good luck.

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

  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, March 01, 2008 3:03 PM

I want to thank all of you for your input.  It was most educational.  From what I can tell, with my being a newbee in tall ship modeling I believe I will bypass the sails for now and do a bare pole ship to get my feet wet.  After that I might go into something more challenging.  It seems that ship modeling is a whole different world compared to aircraft modeling and I am looking forward to getting started.  Once again, thanks to all.

 Richard

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Sunday, March 02, 2008 7:43 AM

I think that's a wise decision.  A clipper ship under bare poles, with a reasonably complete rigging job, is a thing of great beauty.

Just be sure to get the yards in the right places - i.e., the upper topsail, topgallant, and royal yards in their lowered positions.

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

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Greenville,Michigan
Posted by millard on Monday, March 03, 2008 6:10 PM

Richard

  I built this model a couple of years ago.A quick suggestion.Replace the belaying pins with wood or metal. The kit supplied ones are very flimsy and won't take much tautness.Its a little extra work at the start but saves a lot of cursing later.

Rod

  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 12:54 PM

Thanks for the suggestion Rod I do appreciate it as I do all the inputs I have received.

 Richard

Wot
  • Member since
    January, 2006
  • From: Western Nebraska
Posted by Wot on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 2:17 PM

 Richard,

   Here's a photo of the Thermopylae that I built when I was ten, fifty years ago. As you can see, I rigged it with the sails, but if I built it again, I definitely wouldn't put them on.

[/img]

I stop in the local cafe now and then just to see what I've been up to.
Wot
  • Member since
    January, 2006
  • From: Western Nebraska
Posted by Wot on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 2:18 PM
Rats, the image didn't come through...
I stop in the local cafe now and then just to see what I've been up to.
Wot
  • Member since
    January, 2006
  • From: Western Nebraska
Posted by Wot on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 2:41 PM
Just a correction, for what it's worth: I completed the model in 1960, at 13 years old. I think it was the Cutty Sark that I built when I was ten. Guess I'm gittin' old-timer's disease!
I stop in the local cafe now and then just to see what I've been up to.
  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 8:11 PM
Wot - believe me, you're not alone.  I don't think I have Alzheimer's (yet), but my wife is convinced I have Halfzeimer's.  (She has the other half.)  We have a one-eyed, 17-year-old cat, Willie II, who has a bad case of Catzheimer's.

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

  • Member since
    April, 2005
  • From: Switzerland
Posted by Imperator-Rex on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 6:42 AM

 Wot wrote:
Rats, the image didn't come through...

You used the (img) and (/img) symbols twice in your link (in square brackets)!

 Here's how it should look like:

(img)http://i234.photobucket.com/albums/ee91/wot_photos/Olympix005.jpg(/img)

Again but in square brackets: 

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Central USA
Posted by qmiester on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 8:40 AM
Dr Tilley,  A quick question for you - As the Thermopylae is a rippoff of the Cutty Sark, how hard would it be to convert it to the Cutty Sark.  I've had an origional issue of the Thermopylae in the stash for years.  Several times I've debated selling it in a yard sale or on E-bay (almost threw in the trash once) but continued to hold on to it.
Quincy
  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 11:51 AM

Unfortunately it would, I'm afraid, be quite a project - unless you had a Cutty Sark kit lying around, in which case there wouldn't be much point to the exercise.

As I remember (beware my Halfzeimer's-afflicted memory here), the changes Revell made to the original Cutty Sark kit in order to "turn it into" the Thermopylae were as follows:

1.  Change of figurehead, from Nanny the Witch to Leonidas.  (That Leonidas figurehead may be the best part of the "new" kit.

2.  Change of name on the decal sheet for the bow and stern ornamentation.

3.  Replacement of the deckhouse between the main and mizzenmasts with a huge, and completely phoney, hatch.  (Apparently they didn't want to move the holes for the tabs in the Cutty Sark's deckhouse.)

4.  Replacement of the poop deckhouse with one of a completely different shape.  (This particular change is more-or-less legitimate.  The new deckhouse is shaped about like the Thermopylae's.)

5.  Omission of the studding sail booms.  (This is bogus; I have no idea why they did it.  The Thermopylae had studding sails.)

6.  Omission of the main skysail yard.  (I'd have to look it up to be sure, but I think that one may have been right.)

7.  Reconfiguration of the lower deadeyes and chainplates.  (The Cutty Sark's lower deadeyes are mounted inside the bulwarks; the Thermopylae had external chain plates - though they weren't configured like the ones in the kit. 

There may have been a few more changes; those are the ones I remember.

The easiest "retrofit" would be the one involving the lower deadeyes.  If I remember correctly, the tabs on the bottoms of the deadeye parts and the slots in the pinrails are still there in the Thermopylae kit; you could glue the deadeyes to the pinrails just like the Cutty Sark instructions tell you to do - and omit the external chainplates.  (Revell didn't actually reproduce the Cutty Sark's deadeye configuration right; the pinrails are too wide, and the simple mechanism that attaches the deadeyes to the insides of the bulwarks themselves isn't there.  But if you moved the deadeyes to the pinrails the result would be just as good as the Cutty Sark out of the box.)

You could, of course, make your own studdingsail booms and main skysail yard; they're pretty simple, basic spars with few fittings on them.  The biggest problems would be the figurehead, the lettering on the decal sheet, and the deckhouses.  I suspect most folks confronting all that work would conclude that buying a Cutty Sark kit, even at its new, hideous price, would make more sense.

Good luck.

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

Wot
  • Member since
    January, 2006
  • From: Western Nebraska
Posted by Wot on Thursday, March 06, 2008 1:49 PM
Thank you Imperator-Rex, thank you very much!
I stop in the local cafe now and then just to see what I've been up to.
  • Member since
    August, 2010
Posted by mann58 on Monday, August 23, 2010 9:08 PM

richard, i just bought this same ship and it is due to arrive on the 30 th or 31 st. however, i have one here already that is missing some parts and i started it. i have the complete set of sales that i would be willing to let go of if the ones are good in the ship i just bought.so e mail me some contact info and ill be in touch. mannpcm@yahoo.com

  • Member since
    December, 2003
  • From: 37deg 40.13' N 95deg 29.10'W
Posted by scottrc on Monday, August 23, 2010 9:38 PM

You might think about making the sails out of good quality resume or parchment paper.  I have tried it on two models so far and have been impressed with the scale results.

                              

  • Member since
    July, 2009
Posted by Publius on Tuesday, August 24, 2010 10:40 AM

Thermopylae. That is how it is spelled! Hmm. Yea. I think if you can spell it, you are smart enough to make some decision about the sails. I have the plastic sails on my 1959 Revell Victory and considering it is just a Revell model I enjoy them a lot. But thank God for the perfecters and historians too. I get by adding details that please me and taking my time with kits that will never be perfect and am glad there are folks that can point out the higher road. Hope to live to see this type of kits go to the next level with interior moulding on the hulls and better instructions and better http://i744.photobucket.com/albums/xx85/PaulVenne/Bangkok2009001.jpg   http://i744.photobucket.com/albums/xx85/PaulVenne/August20downloadKearsargeandLopburi005.jpgscaling of components. Meanwhile, no sails on my Revell Kearsarge and I never miss them. I think they are absent in many of the surviving photos anyway. She was dual purpose with steam power so I guess that helps.

I like to rubber band the hull and decks together and stick in some masts on the first day. No patience, really!!! Thanks, Paul

How does this work?

  • Member since
    July, 2009
Posted by Publius on Tuesday, August 24, 2010 10:58 AM

Publius

Thermopylae. That is how it is spelled! Hmm. Yea. I think if you can spell it, you are smart enough to make some decision about the sails. I have the plastic sails on my 1959 Revell Victory and considering it is just a Revell model I enjoy them a lot. But thank God for the perfecters and historians too. I get by adding details that please me and taking my time with kits that will never be perfect and am glad there are folks that can point out the higher road. Hope to live to see this type of kits go to the next level with interior moulding on the hulls and better instructions and better http://i744.photobucket.com/albums/xx85/PaulVenne/Bangkok2009001.jpg   http://i744.photobucket.com/albums/xx85/PaulVenne/August20downloadKearsargeandLopburi005.jpgscaling of components. Meanwhile, no sails on my Revell Kearsarge and I never miss them. I think they are absent in many of the surviving photos anyway. She was dual purpose with steam power so I guess that helps.

I like to rubber band the hull and decks together and stick in some masts on the first day. No patience, really!!! Thanks, Paul

How does this work?

  • Member since
    July, 2009
Posted by Publius on Tuesday, August 24, 2010 11:18 AM

Still trying to get the image and text on the same post. This may work because I'm putting the text up first. I don't know what size to enter during the post and the image fills the screen when I didn't have text. Hmmmm.

How does this work?

  • Member since
    September, 2005
  • From: Groton, CT
Posted by warshipguy on Tuesday, August 24, 2010 11:36 AM

I have used tissue paper rolled and brushed with diluted white glue and water for furled sails and canvas boat coverings, although I get better results using a light tan paper rather than white.  Try it . . . you might like the results!

Bill Morrison 

  • Member since
    June, 2010
  • From: Cocoa, Florida
Posted by GeoffWilkinson on Tuesday, August 24, 2010 11:50 AM

Publius

Still trying to get the image and text on the same post. This may work because I'm putting the text up first. I don't know what size to enter during the post and the image fills the screen when I didn't have text. Hmmmm.

See - easy when you know how!

  • Member since
    December, 2011
Posted by hoover12 on Monday, May 28, 2012 11:56 AM

I am building a model of the Thermopylae but the kit is missing the figurehead. I have the Cutty Sark figurehead and i'll swap it for your figurehead .

 

Russ Huber

  • Member since
    February, 2003
  • From: Lacombe, LA.
Posted by Big Jake on Monday, May 28, 2012 1:56 PM

Paul, in the picturess of the Alabama in your home, I notice you have a poster just to the right og the ship  IS that the new Figure head model? ;)

 

 

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