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This is the way we loom a shroud, loom a shroud, loom a shroud...

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  • Member since
    February 2006
This is the way we loom a shroud, loom a shroud, loom a shroud...
Posted by Grymm on Thursday, June 15, 2006 8:02 AM

Okay, I've been doing the Cutty Sark shrouds/ratlines by hand.  Lots and lots of little clove hitches.  So everyone applaud, I completed my first set of ratlines "yay"....not the best looking in the world, and it could use some tightening, but it's done.

So last night, I pulled out the loom that comes in the Heller Victory Kit and read up on it.  I decided, since I haven't done it before, I would try it.  Pretty straight forward, and more than a little interesting.  But as I read the questionably translated french, I noted that the instructions say that once you have strung your ratlines across, you "glue" them to the shrouds.  Glue?  Now, I may be stupid (and as a "non amatuer" modeller, I accept the term stupid), but what kind of glue will hold the string together, resist falling apart when you pull it off the loom, and resist falling apart when you mount it all to the deadeyes and mast and tighten it up, all the while being completely clear for a neat appearance?  Am I missing something here?

Who here has used the loom before?  I know the opinions are that looms are not the way to go, so I'm not looking for a "loom flaming".  How exactly is this thing used?  I could see using the loom for the "thread through the shroud trick, or even for clove hitches.  But glue?

Thanks in advance,

Uncle Grymm

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Thursday, June 15, 2006 8:47 AM
About all I can say is that I think the thing is a dumb idea and can't possibly produce a reasonable-looking result.  It's the product of a hoax perpetrated on innocent hobbyists by kit manufacturers.  You're quite right:  though there are plenty of types of glue that are capable of holding pieces of thread together, the result is bound to look like pieces of thread glued together - and that's not what ratlines look like.

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

  • Member since
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  • From: The green shires of England
Posted by GeorgeW on Thursday, June 15, 2006 9:16 AM
The only thing the Heller shroud loom is good for is scrap plastic!
  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: 37deg 40.13' N 95deg 29.10'W
Posted by scottrc on Thursday, June 15, 2006 9:17 AM
Yup, after you have deciphered their code of what  numbers on the jig correspond to which ratline and have strung up the assembly, they want you to take white glue, dilute it with water, and brush it over the entire ratline, then when it is dry, take a exacto and cut it out.

Great theory, but even fabric white glue doesn't hold well enough or long enough.  My ratlines started to pop apart after about a year, even after spaying them with laquer.  And they won't hold up to the pulling and tugging that you will do to them when attaching the ratline to the ship.

So then I started to take thick CA and dot every intersection and then bushed the ratline with diluted epoxy or urathane, which worked, however, although you have a great looking ratline, it then becomes a Chinese firedrill of trying to get the ridgid ratline to fit.  It will either to be too long, or too short.  And futtocks are a nightmare to try to tie up to one of these preformed, ill-fitting, ratlines.

After doing what seemed to be the "easy" way, I am back to setting the ratline up directly on the ship.  It may take some time, but it beats the hassle of trying to what seems to be putting a square peg in a round hole.

Scott



  • Member since
    February 2006
Posted by Grymm on Thursday, June 15, 2006 9:38 AM

Hmmm.  Interesting.  So, glue is NOT the way to go.  But, being the eternal optimist that I am (I know, it's a fault at times), I firmly believe that the loom has some sort of use, and not just as spare plastic. 

I do agree.  Setting up the shrouds/ratlines on the ship is the most efficient way, and that's what I've been doing on the Cutty Sark, obtaining "average" results (this is my first attempt, so my lines are a little slack in places and I've gotten an odd "twisting" out of the whole thing once I'm done with a set.  I've got a lot of practicing ahead of me).  I also find that the clove hitch is very therapeutic and helps me focus, forgetting about my back pain for a bit.

But, perhaps there's a way to combine the two.  I'm going to try to use the loom tonight and make a set for my Soleil Royal that I'm ever so slowly working on.  But, I'll clove hitch or thread the shroud instead of gluing.  Perhaps there's a use for this thing yet.  From a business standpoint, I cannot believe that Heller would use the resources to create something like a loom and it not be worth a darn.

So with that, if anyone has actually used the loom to adequate results, any tips would be a good time saver for me.

Thanks as always,

Uncle Grymm

  • Member since
    November 2004
  • From: Chandler,AZ
Posted by mkeatingss on Thursday, June 15, 2006 10:06 AM

Actually, I found that the rigging jig works. I've used the method for the Soleil Royal model. Soliel Royal was finished over 20 years ago, and the lines looked just fine, the last time I saw it..

The trick is DON"T use white glue. Mix Testors tube glue with Testors bottled (liquid) glue, about 50/50, maybe a little more liquid then thick.( Test on scrap thread, for consistency). A drop will immediately soak into the thread and disappear.If you want to seize it afterwards, great. But give it time to set up first. A second drop on the seizing will make it, too, permanent.

Warning be very sparing. Excess will, indeed, use capillary action to reach the plastic jig. Do the edges (fore and aft, top and bottom) first. They'll prevent spread from the inner points. You'll also be, most careful, when you start. It's tedious, and you may start getting careless after a while.

Once it sets up finger nail clippers or suture scissors work great for trimming the foot ropes. I looped the thread around the bottom of the jig to provide excess for seizing to the deadeyes.

I liked it, and it was sure easier than mounting the footropes after the stays are in place.

Mike K.

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Lacombe, LA.
Posted by Big Jake on Thursday, June 15, 2006 12:33 PM

I've used the Heller looms for the USS Constitution but I place the deadeye assembly at the bottom to line up the closest space. Then tied the lines following but a touch of ACC. On the Cutty Sark I hand tied inplace the 989 (Yes I counted) knots needed to make the ratlines. I have a few pictures in the webshots album.

 

Jake

 

 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Thursday, June 15, 2006 12:39 PM

Grymm wrote:  From a business standpoint, I cannot believe that Heller would use the resources to create something like a loom and it not be worth a darn.

Grymm, I'm afraid your confidence in the hobby manufacturing industry, and Heller in particular, is misplaced and unjustified.  Those people are constantly spending money on stuff that doesn't work.

As for the "rigging loom" - if some of you guys have managed to make it work, great.  I still find it hard to believe that it offers any advantage whatever over rigging shrouds and ratlines the "old-fashioned way."  I've preached this sermon before, but I continue to think that many modelers get scared off rigging ratlines to scale for no good reason.  The truth is that tying all those clove hitches does take a certain amount of time - but not as much as most people seem to think.  And that task requires no more manual dexterity than do plenty of others involved in the building of a ship model.  I'm convinced that most ship modelers would be perfectly capable of rigging their models' ratlines to scale if they'd give their fingers the chance to learn how to do it.  There's a learning curve there all right, but it's a short one.

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

  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: 37deg 40.13' N 95deg 29.10'W
Posted by scottrc on Thursday, June 15, 2006 2:16 PM
 Grymm wrote:

But, perhaps there's a way to combine the two.  I'm going to try to use the loom tonight and make a set for my Soleil Royal that I'm ever so slowly working on.  But, I'll clove hitch or thread the shroud instead of gluing.  Perhaps there's a use for this thing yet. 

Uncle Grymm


The shrouds on the Pheonix in my signature were done with a Heller loom.
I have tried the loom as a jig as well, but found it to be too flat and the sides got in my way of my hands.  It also had to be supported in the vise or plug in a block that was clamped to the table and wasn't very stable or adjustable.  I found that using a bead loom, that artists use to make beaded jewelry, worked much better.  I was able to adjust it to the length of my shroud, it has nothing on the sides to get in the way of your hands, and is self suporting and can be postioned either flat or at an angle on the worktable or you can use it just about anywhere, such as while sitting in your recliner.


Scott

  • Member since
    February 2006
Posted by Grymm on Thursday, June 15, 2006 3:21 PM

Wow!  Great stuff here.  I love reading how everyone does something like rigging so differently from each other.  It gives me a lot to soak in.

So, for those of you who have used the Heller loom and like it, can you (without having to write a novel) describe how you work the loom.  That is, if you do it different from the instructions.

And the bead loom idea is very cool indeed.  How do you get your measurements right?

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Greenville,Michigan
Posted by millard on Thursday, June 15, 2006 9:00 PM

The Heller loom is not easy to work with at all.I have thrown all mine out.ther's also a Loom a line that you can get, Its very hard to work with also.Its so much easier to work with the shrouds all ready on the ship.Now I glue my rats on with thin super glue.I use wire for my rats.a fellow modeler Bill Code show me how a few years back.Like him when I tied hitch's they looked to bulky and out of scale the wire dosen't to me,plus I can make the wire sag and look a little more realistic.

Rod

MJH
  • Member since
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  • From: Melbourne, Australia
Posted by MJH on Thursday, June 15, 2006 9:40 PM
 GeorgeW wrote:
The only thing the Heller shroud loom is good for is scrap plastic!


Actually, before coming to this forum, that was how I felt about Heller kits in general!   Now though, I have to admit some may be worth a second look.

!

  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: 37deg 40.13' N 95deg 29.10'W
Posted by scottrc on Friday, June 16, 2006 6:05 AM
 Grymm wrote:

Wow!  Great stuff here.  I love reading how everyone does something like rigging so differently from each other.  It gives me a lot to soak in.

So, for those of you who have used the Heller loom and like it, can you (without having to write a novel) describe how you work the loom.  That is, if you do it different from the instructions.

And the bead loom idea is very cool indeed.  How do you get your measurements right?



I used the Heller loom the first time as per the instructions.   The next couple of times I tried to use it to tie off the shrouds instead of glueing them and wasn't really impressed because the loom was not large enough.

The Bead loom can work the same way as the Heller loom, except it allows a lot of room for your hands because there are no side bars to get in the way like the Heller loom.  Once I had the masts set up, I take a note pad and a cloth measuring tape and take dimensions of where the  shroud is to be placed and add enough inches to both the base and top for tie off and adjustments.  I then lay out drafting tape on each end of the loom and transfer my base and top measurements to the tape.  For the first couple of times, I would trace and cut out a paper template of the purposed shroud, glue on my tie off extensions, so to be sure my dimensions would work.

For wood models or models that have strong masts and a not of room to work, I still prefer to rig the shrouds on the ship, however, on smaller models and where I have used the kits weaker, plastic masts, I prefer to rig the shrouds on the loom.

Scott

  • Member since
    February 2006
Posted by Grymm on Tuesday, June 20, 2006 9:43 AM

I've been playing around with the looms for the Heller Victory and I'm coming up with what, in my rather worthless opinion, are some good things and bad things about it.

There are two looms in the kit.  The first is for the shrouds, the second is for the fencing that will contain the hammocks.  The shroud loom is actually pretty easy to understand once I read the instructions a few times.   It also allows for both port and starboard shrouds to be made at the same time.  I got the shrouds strung, then began the ratlines.  The ratlines also went on pretty easy.  On the loom, the whole thing looked quite nice, better than what I had strung on the Cutty Sark.  So then I hit a snag.  The glue.  The instructions say to glue the whole thing so it stays together.  The question is, which glue to use?  I'm using spare thread for the rigging (this is just a trial run with this contraption) so I tried a few different approaches.  First was standard white glue.  Dries clear, which is a good thing.  But, the whole assembly fell apart once it was removed from the loom.  Next, I tried a more industrial strength white glue.  Same problem.  After reassembling the shroud/ratlines, I moved to CA.  Now, it is rather ludicrous to coat the whole assembly in CA.  You end up with a very stiff assembly that won't look at all natural on the model.  So I painstakingly applied a drop to each crossover.  It held better, but didn't look real good and was still quite stiff.  A few crossovers fell apart and I had to reglue them several times.  To me, it wasn't really worth the effort, or the fact that my fingers got stuck together a couple of times.  Yeah, call me clumsy.  I then tried using a mix of pure liquid model cement with standard thick model cement, as suggested earlier in this thread.  It was an improvement, but some crossovers still did not stick well, and I had to airbrush some places where the glue acquired a white haze.  The whole thing still came out very stiff, which, when placing it on the model, is not a very good thing since a good degree of flexibility is needed when tying off the deadeyes.  You kind of end up with a situation where some shrouds are taught, while others are a bit loose, no matter what you do.

So, in a last attempt to use the loom, I just tried the standard clove hitch.  Boy, I hate tying all those knots.  Plus my hands started hurting (a by-product of the nerve damage in my back and legs).  It works, but it is clumsy to do since the loom is fully enclosed.  Using this method, a bead loom would be a better choice, but you would have to do all your own measurements. 

Almost ready to just dump the whole thing, I remembered something that JTilley suggested.  Threading the ratline directly through the shroud.  I had tried this with my Cutty Sark, but couldn't make it work while the shrouds were on the ship.  Perhaps it was because of my clumsy hands.  But to my suprise, it worked on the loom.  IT WORKED!  Since the shrouds were being held quite taught on the loom, the needle (I use a small apholstery needle) passed through the shrouds quite easily.  Within roughly 1 hour I had a complete mainmast shroud.  I think I actually prefer the threading method over knotting.  To me, the knots seem out of scale.  Plus, with threading, I have the liberty of being able to easily move the ratlines around in order to put the right amount of "sag" in them.  If I get my digital working, I'll post some picks.

As for the fencing loom.  Glue is pretty much the only thing that will work.  But, since the threads used for it are small, glue actually works well, though I haven't prefected it.  I'll keep trying.  I don't want to have to resort to window mesh for the fencing.  I like the look of the thread better.

So that's it.  After many stuck fingers, a slight buzz from all the glue, and several nights of frustration that left my wife wondering if it was a good idea to let me get back into modelling altogether, I found a good way to make the loom work.  I will definitely be using the loom for both the Victory and Soleil Royal, though it will be some time before I need to worry about rigging.  The loom is actually a good alternative as long as you thread your ratlines instead of glue.

Thanks for all the input from everyone.  Once I get my cam working, I'll post some pics of the loom in action.  I am impressed with how it looks.  It may not be the most "realistic" looking, like knotting conveys, but its better than anything I've done so far.

 

  • Member since
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  • From: portland oregon area
Posted by starduster on Tuesday, June 20, 2006 11:40 AM

    Ok, I've been reading this whole thread on looming a shroud, and I have several questions...hey I haven't built a ship since the early 1960's ......well not sailing ships anyway, could someone please explain what a shroud, a ratline and ( I've never had to deal with knotts that has names just whatever will hold and I haven't lost a load yet ) a clove knott, as I am expecting a ship model soon I'd like to be a little up on this ratline rigging thing, and is there a graphic chart available that shows the various lines that a ship has with the names and I'm assuming they all have names... everything has a name, so as to understand the rigging instructions a little better, as I read this thing the shroud is the vertical line from the hull to the platform on the mast and the ratline is the horizontal line that the sailors step on to climb ? and would the shroud be of a thicker line than the ratline hence the needle going through the shroud ?

   Like I've said I'm new to this ship building thing but reading the diffrent posts on sailing ships here I feel that I'll be in good hands knowing a question will be answered by qualified and knowledgeable modelers, I've always been fascinated by the sailing ships I think it was due to the fact that as a child of the 50's and the 60's there was an abundanceof old B&W pirate movies on tv back then and that inspired me to try and build my own pirate ship which I had a solid block of balsa wood to which I carved out a hull rather crudely with kitchen knives and when my dad saw what I was doing with a butcher knife well they both broke down and bought me a plastic ship model....but tastes change and sailing ships gave way to space ships so now I think I've come full circle...yea I still like the space ships but I'd like to get back to the age of sail...without the butcher kinfe.  Karl

photograph what intrests you today.....because tomorrow it may not exist.
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Posted by Grymm on Tuesday, June 20, 2006 12:47 PM

JTilley can explain it better than I can.  Shrouds are the lines that help hold the masts up.  But they are also the lines that have the "ladders" on them that sailors use to climb the masts.  These smaller lines that are used for the "steps" are called ratlines.  For me, it's the part of the rigging that looks like a spiderweb.  The vertical lines are shrouds, and the horizontal lines tied to them are the ratlines.

I'm not very "up" on all the lingo either.  Like I said, JTilley is one of the authorities on sailing ship models, so he's the one to ask...

  • Member since
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  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Tuesday, June 20, 2006 8:43 PM

Grymm - the fences you're talking about are the hammock nettings.  They took the form of "troughs," made out of rope netting, and the crew's hammocks were stowed in them during the daytime.

The plastic hammock netting stanchions that come with the Heller kit belong in the same category - and the same wastebasket - as the plastic eyebolts:  they need to be replaced with wire.  It's highly unlikely that the plastic ones would survive for as long as it would take to build the model.  The Longridge book contains good illustrations of what the real things look like; there are also some good photos on the Victory's website.

There is no earthly reason to bother with that ridiculous "loom" for making hammock nettings.  Pay a visit to any decently-stocked fabric store and see what it has to offer in the way of synthetic fabric mesh.  You'll probably find quite a variety of it.  Just be sure to get the stuff that has a square-shaped mesh; much nylon netting is hexagonal, and would look weird posing as netting on a ship model.

Starduster - you got it about right.  The shrouds support the masts, and transfer the energy of the wind from the sails to the hull.  The wind fills the sails, the sails pull the yards, the yards pull the masts (by way of the parrels, which Heller never understood), and the masts, by means of the shrouds and other standing rigging, pull the ship through the water.  The shrouds have to withstand tremendous amounts of force, so they're among the heaviest ropes in the ship.  The ratlines are horizontal ropes that stretch across the shrouds, to serve as ladders for the men going aloft.  Since the ratline only has to support the weight of a human being, it's much smaller in diameter than the shroud.  (Ratlines generally were made of 1 1/2" rope.  Rope is usually described in terms of its circumference; 1 1/2" rope is about half an inch in diameter.  In practical modeling terms, that's small.) 

Each end of each ratline normally has an eyesplice worked into it; the eyesplices are seized to the foremost and aftermost shrouds.  (Few, if any, model builders work eyesplices into thread of that tiny diameter; they generally fake it with knots.)  Each ratline is secured to each intervening shroud with a clove hitch.  The clove hitch is one of the very easiest knots to tie.  Describing knots verbally is notoriously impractical, but any text or website on knot-tying will tell you how to tie a clove hitch.

Hope that helps a little.  Good luck.

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

  • Member since
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  • From: portland oregon area
Posted by starduster on Tuesday, June 20, 2006 11:24 PM
    Thanks guys, like I said getting back into this sailing ship thing will be a trial and error thing, but like you all say it can be fun with rewarding results... if it's taken slow and easy, thanks again.  Karl
photograph what intrests you today.....because tomorrow it may not exist.
  • Member since
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Posted by Grymm on Wednesday, June 21, 2006 8:01 AM

Thanks JTilley.  I'll check the fabric store.  But I may still try to make them on the loom.  For me, there's something to be said for "hand made".  I guess I'm a little old fashioned.  But I will check for that fabric mesh.

Starduster, do what you feel looks good.  That's what it's all about.  Nobody here can, or will, say anything against that.  And post pics of your work if you can.  We love seeing how people do their work.

  • Member since
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  • From: The green shires of England
Posted by GeorgeW on Wednesday, June 21, 2006 9:21 AM

Here's a picture taken on board Victory earlier this month, the specific netting is on the Poop deck rail, the Mizen Mast is behind.

The image below shows a close up of the netting on the waist rail forward of the Main Mast. Note the coarseness of the netting and the loose weave,  and also the sturdy Hammock cranes. As John Tilley said in an earlier post, the Heller provided cranes just don't do the job.

  • Member since
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Posted by Grymm on Wednesday, June 21, 2006 9:44 AM

Okay JTilley.  You're the "king of wire".  What are your suggestions on guage and type to use?  I've never done this kind of scratch building before.  I'm assuming that CA is the glue to use to put these on.  Plus, do I make the eyelets as in the pictures provided above, or should I just skip that and clove-hitch the line directly to the wire?  I'll need to pick up a few extra tools for this I imagine...

Man, this is going to be one long project...

  • Member since
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  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Wednesday, June 21, 2006 12:46 PM

It's an enormously long project.  That's why so many experienced modelers discourage newcomers from tackling subjects like this.  Different people work at different speeds, of course; if I were building that kit I suspect it would take me between two and three years - if not longer.

In order to determine the wire gauge I'd have to look up the diameter of the iron rod used in the real hammock cranes.  I suspect it's in the Longridge book; I'm at the office at the moment, and the book is in the workshop.   In the photos that  GeorgeW was kind enough to post, the stuff looks like it's a couple of inches in diameter.  If so, the right diameter on 1/100 scale would be .020".  (2" divided by 100 = 2/100", or .020".)  Your hobby shop, if it's at all well-stocked, probably has a rack of K&S metal shapes.  (They're routinely used by model railroaders.)  There should be some nice, straight lengths of .020" brass wire in that rack.  Another good source is a model railroad parts company called Detail Associates.  DA sells packages of wire - again in nice straight lengths - in a wide variety of diameters. 

The trickiest part of this particular problem is the eye on the top of each side of the stanchion.  If I were doing it, I'd probably set up some sort of simple jig to form the eyes and hold them in position on the ends of the stanchions for soldering. 

If you've got a good hobby shop in your neck of the woods, it might be worthwhile to see what it has in the way of model railroad "scratchbuilder's parts."  (Two companies that make them are Kemtron and CalScale.  An excellent mail order web source for model railroad supplies is www.walthers.com).  The stanchions on the sides of diesel engines sometimes are made of steel rod with eyes cast in their tops.  With a little luck, you might be able to find some such parts that are the right size and could be modified into hammock stanchions.

The model railroad department is an often-overlooked source of goodies for ship modelers.  My little Hancock model contains dozens of "nut-bolt-washer" castings from Grandt Line, the "Don't Tread On Me" lettering on the transom is from a Microscale N-scale decal sheet, and the fairleads on the insides of the lower shrouds are made from the tops of CalScale diesel railing stanchions.

For that matter, a well-stocked hobby shop might be able to supply you with some photo-etched brass mesh, which might work even better than fabric mesh for hammock nettings. 

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

  • Member since
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  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Wednesday, June 21, 2006 4:08 PM
 jtilley wrote:

(Few, if any, model builders work eyesplices into thread of that tiny diameter; they generally fake it with knots.)  Each ratline is secured to each intervening shroud with a clove hitch. 

Right about 1/8" (1:96) is where I know I get underwhelmed by the idea of clove hitching ratlines to shrouds.  Whether that's a lack of patience, or a lack of magnification, on my part will just be one of those unanswerable questions, I suppose. 

I know I felt much better rigging my pseudo-Thermopylae by using a bit of cardstock to set the spacing, then using 5/0 suture silk to bend the ratline to my hand-fitted shrouds.  The suture material (I'd use fly-tying silk today--lessons learned <g>) was handy and available, and you needed a loupe to see that I hadn't "cloved" the ratlines.  Just another way to get the same sort of result, I'm thinking.

  • Member since
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  • From: portland oregon area
Posted by starduster on Wednesday, June 21, 2006 8:33 PM
   Grymm, thank you and all of the guys here for all this great informantion, I'm getting a pretty thick file of printed material from this site all  loaded with great info,  I'll post photos as I clog along and no doubt I'll be asking questions as well, I guess I'll stock up on cd's so when I'm building the model music like the Last Farewell by Roger Whiticker will set the mood.  Karl
photograph what intrests you today.....because tomorrow it may not exist.
  • Member since
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Posted by Grymm on Thursday, June 22, 2006 8:02 AM

 starduster wrote:
   Grymm, thank you and all of the guys here for all this great informantion, I'm getting a pretty thick file of printed material from this site all  loaded with great info,  I'll post photos as I clog along and no doubt I'll be asking questions as well, I guess I'll stock up on cd's so when I'm building the model music like the Last Farewell by Roger Whiticker will set the mood.  Karl

No problem.  I absolutely love good conversation.  Whenever I have something that leaves me curious, I always pose it as a question here in order to generate conversation.  I'm putting together all my resources for my Victory and Royal.  My problem with the Soleil Royal is that the instructions are in French, with the english instructions in the back.  I wish I could find someone with regular english instructions.  Jumping back and forth in the instructions gets confusing.  I'll be posting my progress, just as soon as I get my camera fixed.  I have the hull itself done.  I went with a bit of a different scheme though.  I had seen some stern and bow artwork that showed a ship, that looked a lot like the royal, with a complete Royal Blue treatment.  I went that direction.  Hull is blue, black below the last wale, and white from the waterline down.  All of the wales, along with sculptures and other decorations, are guilded (gold), using a liguid gold leaf.  It really is striking.  I do have a photo of it somewhere on my laptop which I will post this afternoon.  Not a perfect paintjob, but I'm proud of it.  It takes time to get that gold leaf on the hull...

Keep me updated.  You can email me if you like.  That goes for any of you guys if you like.  I don't keep very many friends.  I just don't have the time.  So getting emails would be kind of a treat.  <pstanfield38@aol.com>

Uncle Grymm

 

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  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Thursday, June 22, 2006 9:11 AM

Actually, Grymm, unless they've changed those English "instructions" since I built the kit (possible but highly unlikely), there's really no point in referring to them at all.  They aren't a translation of the French version.  By the time I got to the rigging on mine, it was clear that the person who wrote them neither understood French nor had attempted to build the model.  He/she had just looked at the diagrams, and made a half-hearted effort to translate some of the names of the pieces without bothering to look them up in a French/English dictionary.  (The first clue:  he/she thought "le mat de misaine" was the mizzen mast.  It's not.  It's the foremast.  The mizzen mast is "le mat d'artimon."  There are mistakes like that all through that curious document.)  The English-language "instructions" in the Heller Victory are just about as bad. 

It would be interesting to find out just how this happened.  The French public school system, so far as I can tell, does an excellent job of teaching English to just about everybody in the country.  (The teaching of foreign languages in American public schools is downright backward compared to how it's done in Europe.)  The Heller plant surely was full of native French speakers who would have been perfectly capable of translating  - really translating - the original instructions.  (I would have been perfectly willing to overlook some awkwardness in English grammar, if the translator had understood the subject matter.)  Instead, those documents apparently got "translated" by a native English speaker who couldn't read French, knew nothing about ships, had virtually no knowledge of nautical terminology, and hadn't made any effort to build the models.  Those "instructions" give every appearance of having been written in an hour or two by somebody who had nothing but the French instruction book (not the kit) in front of him. 

To charge that kind of money for such crap is downright scandalous.  I can only imagine how the talented, conscientious artisans who designed those kits (they made their share of mistakes, but they got better over the years) felt when - or if - they saw that the fruits of their labors were being packaged in such a manner.  Fortunately there's a way around the problem.  The diagrams are drawn clearly enough that it's quite possible to put the hull and deck components together without the help of any verbal description.  (The parts count is pretty staggering, but if the hundreds of pieces making up the guns are deleted from it, it's not so bad.)  From the weather decks upward you're on your own, whether you know French or not; the Heller people didn't understand rigging, and the diagrams are riddled with nonsense.  At that point, in the case of Le Soleil Royal, you need to get hold of a copy of R.C. Anderson's The Rigging of Ships in the Days of the Spritsail Topmast (available in paperback from Model Expo for about $10.00), and use it as your instruction book.  It was written for modelers, and will take you step-by-step through the whole process of setting up the masts and completing the rigging.  You'll just have to match the kit parts with Anderson's verbal descriptions (the diagrams on the kit instructions are good enough for that), and modify what he wrote in about 1927 to accommodate modern materials and techniques.  For the Victory, C.N. Longridge's The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships serves the same purpose.

But innocent hobbiests who shell out well over a hundred bucks apiece for kits like these shouldn't have to do that.  Somebody really ought to take legal action. 

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 Thursday, June 22, 2006 10:52 AM

(Two companies that make them are Kemtron and CalScale.

Most unfortunately, Kemtron has been out of business for a long time. The product can still be found on older hobby shop shelves, but it is no longer distributed. CalScale still is, and they make excellent parts. I'm pleased that hammock crane stanchions have been discussed, as I'm planning on adding that detail to my "Surprise". The eyes in these stanchions would have been forged by hand, with hammer and anvil, and the hole in the eye, worked in with a drift punch. Jtilley's idea of forming small eyes, and soldering them to the ends of the stanchions, is probably the best way to go.If the solder ends up filling the eye, it can be drilled out. One of the techniques I've used for handrail stanchions is to anneal the end of the rod, flatten it with a pin punch on an anvil, anneal again and bend the flattened part around a piece of the handrail, and carefully file the eye to the thickness of the rod's diameter. This will produce an "eye ring" close to the proportions of the prototype. Netting?, wedding vail makes very effective chain link fence in 1/87 scale. It is about as small as the fabric stores are likely to have, so a smaller scale would have to use photo etch, or, overly large netting.

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

  • Member since
    February 2006
  • From: The green shires of England
Posted by GeorgeW on Thursday, June 22, 2006 2:36 PM

I agree, I rigged my Soleil Royal entirely by reference to R.C. A nderson, an excellent book.

ps: At least you're not concerned with Hammock netting on The Soleil Royal!

  • Member since
    February 2006
Posted by Grymm on Thursday, June 22, 2006 4:39 PM

Okay, two of you say you have built the Royal.  Do you still have the models?  If so, can you please take some pics for me?  I am still having trouble finding any on the web.  Found a few, but not much...

I'm going to have to take a look at the stanchions on the Victory again.  I'm not in much of a position to do all the soldering work.  I'm pretty sure I'll come up with something that will work.  Of course, I still have the Cutty Sark sitting on my workbench, and the Royal waiting in the wings, so I've got time.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Friday, June 23, 2006 12:30 AM

My Soleil Royal, complete with its glass-and-mahogany case, got left behind when I moved out of the family homestead in Columbus, Ohio in 1980.  The tiny apartment I'd rented in Newport News, Virginia wouldn't accommodate it.  Come to think of it, neither would the small U-Haul trailer that carried all my worldly goods there.  The Bounty, in its plexiglas case, rode on the front seat of my old Chevy Monza beside me (along with Sam, the Siamese cat), and the Hancock, which didn't have any masts yet, was in a box in front of the back seat.  Some time after I moved out my parents "loaned" the Soleil Royal to one of the family's several doctors.  I never saw it again.  I did take some pictures of it, which I used to illustrate an article about it for the British magazine Scale Models.  I have no idea where the pictures are now.

I have to say in all honesty that I don't miss that model much.  Like so many other innocent customers I bought the kit in a state of great excitement; it was described by its American distributor as "the gem of the plastic kit industry," and I hadn't done enough homework to realize what was wrong with it.  (I was in grad school at the time, and even dumber and more naive than I am now.  I don't remember how I came up with the necessary $75.00 to buy it.)  As I worked on the kit I gradually became aware of its serious shortcomings:  the distorted lower hull, the highly dubious spar proportions, the misinterpreted bow and stern carvings, the uncambered decks, the lack of deck furniture, etc., etc.  People who saw the finished model in the Tilley living room thought it was beautiful, but by the time I got it finished I was aware that it wasn't, by any reasonable definition, a scale model.  If the doctor still has it, he's welcome to it.

During the next few years the quality of Heller's sailing ships made a huge leap in the right direction.  The Victory kit has its problems, but most of them (not quite all) are due to the practical limitations of the plastic kit industry.  (Neither Heller nor anybody else can make styrene eyebolts and hammock netting stanchions that don't break.)  As I understand it, the kits in the current batch suffer from brittle plastic and warped parts.  But it's still one of the finest kits on the market - and certainly is capable of forming the basis for an outstanding scale model.

 

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

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