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Ratlines for 1:96 USS Constitution

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  • Member since
    August 2013
Ratlines for 1:96 USS Constitution
Posted by RCH73 on Sunday, March 15, 2015 4:21 PM

Hello to the Ship Forum.  I have been working on a 1:96 model of the Revell USS Constitution, and am seeking a ratline set to replace one of the kit ratlines which I think I have irretrievably ruined (one of the lower foremast ratlines; a horrible mistake with superglue which we won't go into...).  Anyone know where I might be able to find a replacement set of ratlines for this kit without having to buy a whole kit?  Anyone got some in their stash they did not use?

thanks in advance, Bob

  • Member since
    September 2005
  • From: Groton, CT
Posted by warshipguy on Sunday, March 15, 2015 5:00 PM

Bob,

I have plenty of them. I will certainly send you a set, but, have you considered making your own?  Any number of us can help advise you on how to do so.

Anyway, I will send you a set if you send me your address.

Bill

  • Member since
    August 2013
Posted by RCH73 on Monday, March 16, 2015 8:24 AM
Bill: thanks very much, that would be great if you sent me a set.  I did consider making my own but think I'll stick with the kit set for consistency across the model.  I don't want to take the time to manufacture the whole kits worth.  Trying to get the kit finished for my grandson by Christmas...
Address is Bob Holcomb, 20631 Blue Ridge Mountain Road, Paris, VA 20130.
Thanks and let me know the cost.

Cheers, Bob

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Monday, March 16, 2015 9:53 AM

If you are willing to test your patience, tied ratlines always look better than glued ones.  On the other hand, don't worry about clove hitch and just use overhand knots till it gets to be an automatic skill. The difference between tied and glued ratlines is considerable, the difference between clove hitch and overhand- not that much (and I am raising my arms to fend off the flames :-)   ).

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    August 2013
Posted by RCH73 on Monday, March 16, 2015 9:58 AM

Thanks, Don.  If I have one more mishap with the pre-made ratlines, I will have to seriously consider hand-making them!  In which case I will be back with more stupid questions...

cheers, Bob

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Monday, March 16, 2015 11:52 AM

No flames from here, Don. I just don't understand why people find the clove hitch difficult to tie. It's just about the simplest knot there is - maybe easier than the overhand knot. Learning it takes about two minutes, and after you rig your first one or two ratlines with clove hitches your fingers will learn to do it automatically.

But rigging genuine ratlines on a model like that does take time. I hate those plastic-coated contraptions, but if I had a deadline looming in nine months I'm not sure I'd try it.

One alternative: rig the shrouds (the heavy vertical lines) and leave the ratliness (the thin horizontal ones) off.

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

  • Member since
    September 2005
  • From: Groton, CT
Posted by warshipguy on Monday, March 16, 2015 12:04 PM

Bob,

I will send them right out.  No charge.

Bill

  • Member since
    September 2005
  • From: Groton, CT
Posted by warshipguy on Saturday, March 21, 2015 7:15 PM

Bob,

I sent them out this morning.  I hope that they help!

Bill

  • Member since
    August 2013
Posted by RCH73 on Saturday, March 21, 2015 7:26 PM

Thanks, Bill.  I hope so, too.  

Been a "two steps forward, one step back" sort of day with the Constitution.  For each new thing I completed I managed to break something else, so I spent much of the day fixing stuff.  Sigh...I should blog this trail of tears....

cheers, Bob

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Saturday, March 21, 2015 10:48 PM

RCH73

Thanks, Bill.  I hope so, too.  

Been a "two steps forward, one step back" sort of day ..

cheers, Bob

That my friend is the beauty of ship modeling in a nutshell.

It goes so slowly that end goals matter less than process.

Kind of like raising a puppy.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    August 2013
Posted by RCH73 on Sunday, March 22, 2015 8:43 AM

I think I should scale back my expectations for what I can accomplish in a single setting.  I probably tried to go too fast yesterday.  Oh, and learn to think ahead a little bit!  

I heard a saying in the military that "slow is smooth, and smooth is fast".  Seems to apply here.

Cheers, Bob

  • Member since
    August 2013
Posted by RCH73 on Saturday, April 4, 2015 7:48 AM

Bill:  I received the ratlines in the mail yesterday, thank you very much.  I apologize for a late reply, but we were out of town and so the bulk of the mail just got in yesterday.  

Thanks again.  If I screw this up then I will just go ahead and make my own.

cheers, Bob

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Saturday, April 4, 2015 9:35 AM

There is a significant learning curve to tying ratlines.  Even though I have rigged quite a few sailing ships, my hands seem to "forget" the motions.  So if it has been a year or so since I have done them, I find it may take hours to do one side of a mast- at least for the first set.  Then, second side takes an hour- before I am done I am doing it in about twenty minutes.  That is, as long as I stay at it without too many hours/days between rigging sessions.  If I lay off for a few weeks, I am back at set one.

So don't be too discouraged by how long it takes to do your first mast.  Before long you'll be doing it without even thinking- sort of like knitting or something like that.  Your fingers will learn the task and do it without even needing your brain.

Good tools help.  In addition to a good set of tweezers, you need a hook and a fork.  You can use an off-the-shelf crochet hook for the hook, though I make both from knitting needles by reshaping the eye- make on eye into a fork, shape another needle eye into a hook.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Saturday, April 4, 2015 9:48 AM

I've had exactly the same experience. Human fingers have a truly amazing memory, but it does need to be refreshed. A sailing ship model, by definition, takes a considerable amount of time. Each phase of it requires different skills from your fingers, and their memory fades.

I still encourage people to try rigging their own ratlines. Just give your fingers and brain a chance to learn.

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

  • Member since
    August 2013
Posted by RCH73 on Saturday, April 4, 2015 11:26 AM

Thanks, jtilley and Don.  I have no doubt you are right.  If I can't make the pre-formed ratlines look acceptable, then I'll try hand-making them.  There is a good YouTube video on the process that shows how "easy" it is, as well.  

Cheers, Bob

  • Member since
    September 2005
  • From: Groton, CT
Posted by warshipguy on Saturday, April 4, 2015 11:56 AM

Bob,

I have many more sets if you need them.

Bill

  • Member since
    July 2013
Posted by steve5 on Saturday, April 4, 2015 4:39 PM

I'm with don , I think the over hand knot look's more to scale than the clove hitch ,it look's good on the model

 

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, April 7, 2015 10:38 PM

With all respect, I prefer the clove hitch.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 1:22 PM

Me too.

The clove hitch has three things going for it in this context. One - it's authentic. (Somewhere, sometime somebody may have rigged the ratlines of a real ship with overhand or reef knots, but if so I've never heard of it.)

Second - it's easy. I know I've preached this sermon before, but I really think anybody can learn the clove hitch in less than ten minutes. And it's at least as quick to tie as any alternative knot.

Third - in an overhand or reef knot, the line goes into the knot and comes out either above or below itself. In the clove hitch, the ratline goes into the middle of the knot and comes out directly opposite, on the other side of the shroud. (Knots are notoriously impossible to describe verbally, but if you look at a diagram you'll see what I mean.) So the ratline runs straight across the gang of shrouds, with no ups or downs. And it's much easier to tease into a realistic droop.

The last time I rigged a set of ratlines on a model I made them of nickel-chromium wire, which I really like for the purpose. It's flexible enough to be tied in a knot, but stiff enough that it can be given a convincing droop between shrouds.

I continue to be an evangelist for the clove hitch. Again I say - give it a try. It's easy.

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

  • Member since
    September 2005
  • From: Groton, CT
Posted by warshipguy on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 1:27 PM

I agree with the clove hitch approach.  There is a reason I have so many sets of the Revell shrouds and ratlines . . . I don't use them. I make my own.

Bill

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 1:29 PM

Did you paint the ni-cad?

I'm about to do steel bar "ratlines" on my little 1912 sugar boat.  I guess I'm going to glue them to the shrouds. I would assume on the 1:1 boat they were attached with some sort of clamp; no doubt the shrouds were steel wire.

The other thing I like about the clove hitch is I find it pretty easy to "move" along on it's own line.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 1:36 PM

Yeah, I painted it - with good old PolyS acrylic.  (It's ni-chrome, though. If there's such a thing as ni-cad wire I'm not aware of it.) I suspect the paint isn't stuck firmly, but for a model in a case that doesn't matter much. The paint has been there for over thirty years without showing any signs of coming loose.

Picture:

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

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 1:43 PM

There is, but I was thinking of nickel chrome when I wrote nicad. Thats the stuff we used in shop to make our teapot coil heater- the same one that I gave Dad to use at work until Industrial Safety red tagged it.

Thats thin stuff on your model, ideal.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: Washington State
Posted by leemitcheltree on Saturday, April 25, 2015 11:27 PM

HA!!!  It's awesome how people on this forum help others......that's why I come here.  

Brilliant.

Cheers, LeeTree
Remember, Safety Fast!!!

PSB
  • Member since
    January 2016
Posted by PSB on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 8:39 AM

In making your own ratlines do  you use a jig like sold from Micromark or one of the other suppliers or have a better method for creating ratlines?

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 10:19 AM

Here's my personal opinion.

Those jigs are nonsense, utter nonsense. I've tried the Heller one. It creats far more problems than it could ever solve. To begin with, seizing all of the shrouds around the deadeyes and having all the ratlines stay level would be a miracle. Second, the shrouds correctly go up to the top, through the hole, around the mast and back down on the same side,and get seized together up high. That just can't be done with a pre formed shroud/ ratline assembly.

In full disclosure I have never attempted to tie ratlines on anything approach the scale of the Constitution. But it can be done in steps.

 

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 1:22 PM

A Forum search on "ratlines" will bring up lots of discussions of this topic. I agree with GM: the Heller jigs and the one sold by MicroMark (which I believe is made by the Italian company Amati) are useless.

There are two good ways to rig ratlines on a 1/96-scale sailing ship model. One is to rig them like the originals - with very simple knots, called clove hitches. That takes quite a bit of time, but nowhere near as much as lots of people seem to think. Once you get a little practice, you can rig the ratlines on both sides of a mast in a couple of evenings.

A little vocabulary may help. The shrouds are the near-vertical ropes; they're among the thickest lines in the ship. They hold the masts in position, and transmit the pull of the sails to the hull, thereby pulling the ship through the water. The ratlines are much lighter; each of them only has to support the weight of a man. On 1/96 scale there really should be a distinct difference between the thread used for the shrouds and that used for the ratlines.

The second way to rig ratlines neatly is the "needle through the shroud" method. In this one, the fine ratline is threaded through a small, sharp needle, and the needle is shoved through the middle of each shroud in succession. A tiny bit of white glue secures the ends of each ratline, and when the glue is dry (really dry) the ends are snipped off.

In either case, it's a good idea to prepare a piece of stiff paper (file cards work well) with a series of line drawn on it the correct distance apart. (Ratlines are about a foot apart, so on 1/96 scale you need lines spaced at 1/8".) Put the card behind the shrouds to help space the ratlines.

There's a widespread impression that rigging ratlines takes some huge, mysterious skills and patience. That's a big exaggeration. It's true that there's a learning curve involved, but the curve is short and steep. I imagine the first ratline will take as much as half an hour to rig, and at that point the job will look pretty overwhelming. But the second one will take about half as long. By the time you get to the masthead you'll be rigging one ratline per minute, and wondering why people make such a big deal of rigging ratlines.

Good luck.

In either case

 

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

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 4:00 PM

I'm a believer in scale accuracy- BUT...

I also firmly believe that success in the larger ship models depends a lot on order and consistency. It's as much an "impression" that you are creating as an accurate representation.

Line diameter is an example. It's most important to establish a range of sizes and use each in the right places. In fact scale dimensioned line on smaller scales like 1/200 or 1/350 can be pretty invisible! You should look at the tables ofline sizes available from the bettwer suppliers like Syren (I hear) Blue Jacket or Calder Craft/ Jotika. I recently bought a Model Shipways newer kit. While I like their kits very much, they seem to have switched to nylon thread. Yechhh. Anyhow you'll see it's really mostly a matter of finding four or five sizes where the largest doesn't get pretty fat.

Another is spacing of stuff like planking or railing stanchions. Often I'll grab a scrap thats about right for the space between stanchions, or make one up, and go stanchion by stanchion using my jig from one to the next. As opposed to getting out a ruler and making a bunch of pencil marks.

That "card trick" is pretty important. Again, even spacing beats absolute scale every time. If you are good you get both. It also allowes for another tip I've heard but haven't tried- tie every fourth ratline and infill later. The idea there is to avoid cumulative error, both in spacing and pulling the shrouds out of whack.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 6:43 PM

Anyone here starting ship modeling with the 1/96 Constitution- good choice. Here's a tip though, related to the discussion about shrouds and ratlines. I strongly suggest you stick with the cast plastic deadeye and lanyard assemblies that come with the kit. IIRC they are front and back halves, and if you glue thefront and backs together thoroughly in particular at the top, the shrouds can be wrapped around them, led back up the same shroud a bit, clamped to themselves and tied together. A simple way is to just tie the thing off, with a double overhand knot. A better way would be a series of half hitches. The right way, and it's not hard, is to seize or bind the two legs of the thread together in two or three places with short pieces of thread, top/middle/ bottom over the space of an inch or so. Paint on some white glue let it dry and trim the little ends off. Dab that with some gooey black acrylic paint and you'll be pleased with the results.

But don't attempt to replace the deadeyes and lanyards with individual parts. That is really hard to do, and takes a lot of careful steps. And really get those kit parts attached to the hull securely, my preference is to use pins as well as glue. Having those snap off during the ratline tying phase, if you bump it with your hand, will really ruin your day.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    January 2012
  • From: Atlanta Metro, Georgia
Posted by fright on Wednesday, November 16, 2016 12:07 PM

I've started work on Revell 1:96 Constitution and this will be my first sailing ship build. I'm a long way off from the rigging and ratlines, but I would prefer not to use the plastic ratlines that came with my kit. I am planning on purchasing Rigging Period Ship Models book as a guide in helping me get through this project. One of my many questions is, are ratlines made ahead of time or are they made after the masts our already attached to the deck? I've been following several builds including Force9's and I'm amazed (and overwelmed) by the craftsmanship that I see! I'm hoping I can utilize some of these techniques for my kit. 

I started work in mid-March 0f 2016 and I'm almost ready to install the gun deck at this point. After looking at some of these builds, I am installing LED lights with dimmer switch to help illuminate gun deck and captain's quarters. I am planning to try my hand at the gun-tackle for some of the visible long guns after deck is in place. I ordered blocks from Syrene and 1.5mm and 2mm eyepins. I've purchased different thread from CIM instead of what was provided in kit. I tip my hat to everyone for sharing their talents and knowledge to help benefit people like myself. Cheers!

Robert O

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