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Rigging! ARRGH!! Help Mateys!!!

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  • Member since
    April 2005
  • From: Roanoke, Virginia
Rigging! ARRGH!! Help Mateys!!!
Posted by BigJim on Thursday, July 12, 2007 7:29 AM

When it comes to sailing ships, rigging has to be my worst nightmare. Years ago a very nice Cutty Sark model languished on my workbench because there were no good instructions on how to rig the thing. Haven't had a sailing ship since...until yesterday.

I bought a Lindberg "Jolly Roger" Pirate ship site unseen. I figured it would just be a simple slap together kit, no problems. Well, it turns out that once again I was wrong. This is a fairly well detailed model and guess what? The rigging instructions...you got it...SUCK!

I would really like to do the rigging on this model the best that I can without getting "museum quality" involved. Can anyone out there help me as to where the rigging goes? Are there any books that show how to do rigging, at least in a basic to moderate way?

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Lacombe, LA.
Posted by Big Jake on Thursday, July 12, 2007 8:47 AM

Big Jim,

First, you need to decide what level of detail and rigging you want to do. Most all ships had forestays, backstays, lifts, braces, footropes and shrouds/ratlines, thats the simple part. But some complicated rigging details like the halyards and such are near impossible to do and not take away from the model. In the smaller scales, the problem becomes "the block and tackle". The general instructions that come with the bigger Cutty Sark should have the basic info you need. Also If you live in a decent size county you shold be able to get a few rigging books from the Library system.

Sometimes the blocks are duplicated by drop of glue, small glass parrell bead or other small "thing". On the smaller Revell Cutty Sark on 1/80th? scale ir is almost impossible to replicate the block and tackle except with small drops of glue at the "correct" point.   

Hope this is not a let down.

Jake

 

 

  • Member since
    April 2005
  • From: Roanoke, Virginia
Posted by BigJim on Thursday, July 12, 2007 10:29 AM

Jake,
   The kit came with "Rat Lines". Scale 1/133. This won't be a museum piece, being a novice at sailing ships, I'm not worried about scale blocks and such. However, the more lines that I can easily install, the better looking I think it will be.
   I guess the most obvious thing would be where the lines at the bottom of the sails attach? There also seem to be quite a few lines between masts that need to be done.
   If it would help, maybe I could post a diagram of the sails.
   
  

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Lacombe, LA.
Posted by Big Jake on Thursday, July 12, 2007 11:13 AM
In that scale are the mast 1 piece?  If so you can put the lifts and footropes on easy. maybe even the fake halyards, as to the lines betweem the mast(s) those are forstays and backstays.

 

 

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: vernon hills illinois
Posted by sumpter250 on Thursday, July 12, 2007 12:56 PM

Jim,

   Do a search on "Jolly Roger". This kit has had a ton of discussion here. Part of that discussion includes sources of information for rigging detail. Oh, yes, the kit instructions .......let me just say "there is much to be desired, that has been left out". There is also some information in the thread on bashing the "Roger" into the movie version of HMS Surprise, both on the kit, and on sources of information. I'll bump that one for you. You might also search "jtilley". He has posted a wealth of really good information on rigging. That search alone will be an excellent education on sailing ship modeling, it will take some time.

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

  • Member since
    April 2005
  • From: Roanoke, Virginia
Posted by BigJim on Thursday, July 12, 2007 4:52 PM
Thanks Sumter.
   I didn't realize the subject of the "Jolly Roger" had been beat to death. Lots of good information and I'm glad many of the pictures, such as Donnie's, are still there!
Thanks everyone.
  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Friday, July 13, 2007 2:05 AM

Big Jim - It sounds like what you need is a good text on the fundamentals of rigging.  The one I'd recommend most strongly is The Neophyte Shipmodeler's Jackstay, by George Campbell.  It's an old standard, originally published in the late fifties or early sixties (I think) by Model Shipways as a sort of general-purpose manual for building that company's solid-hull wood kits.  Some of the material in it is a bit dated, and some of it obviously isn't directly relevant to plastic models.  But the information in it about rigging strikes a nice balance between accuracy and approachability.  (The topic can, as you've probably figured out, be a bit overwhelming for newcomers.)  There are plenty of more sophisticated books about the subject out there, but this one makes a good starter.  I believe the entire content of it is available on a website somewhere or other; if you do a Forum search on the word "Jackstay" you may find it.  Frankly, though, I'd recommend buying a copy of the book.  It's a paperback, and very reasonably priced.

Mr. Campbell, in addition to being an expert on ship models, was the naval architect in charge of the restoration of the Cutty Sark back in the fifties.  He produced two other works that are extremely relevant to anybody building a model of that ship.  One is a book, China Tea Clippers.  (I think it - or most of it - is also on the web.)  The other is a set of plans of the ship, which I've praised repeatedly here in the Forum.  The plans are available through the gift shop on the ship's own website.  (I have the impression that the shop is still functioning normally, despite the recent tragic fire.)  They're superb pieces of draftsmanship and a great source of information about practically every aspect of the ship - down to the arrangement of the furniture in the saloon and the pattern of the linoleum in the galley.  And very reasonably priced.  Be warned:  the sheer volume of information on those three pieces of paper can be pretty intimidating to a newcomer.  But they're among the biggest bargains available to the ship modeler.

Good luck.

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

  • Member since
    April 2005
  • From: Roanoke, Virginia
Posted by BigJim on Saturday, July 14, 2007 4:52 PM

jtilley,
   Thank you very much. I found all of the books. I guess my next question would be do you have any recomendations for plastic models of the Cutty Sark. There is a 1/96 scale Revell model available at my LHS and I do like big models. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Lacombe, LA.
Posted by Big Jake on Saturday, July 14, 2007 11:06 PM

Big Jim,

Check out my pics of the big Cutty Sark, if needed.   Jake

All Albums

http://community.webshots.com/user/jbgroby

Cutty Sark Album 

http://news.webshots.com/album/208514027pzrDjh

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Sunday, July 15, 2007 9:12 AM

Well, when it comes to Cutty Sark kits I always feel obliged to start by repeating one big suggestion, which usually gets ignored.  This is not a good subject for breaking into the hobby of sailing ship modeling.  A reasonably detailed, reasonably well-executed model of a three-masted, full-rigged ship takes months, if not years, of work.  This hobby is full of fairly short, but steep, "learning curves."  A newcomer invariably finds that his/her work improves extremely rapidly; what looks good today will look unacceptable three months down the road.  It makes far more sense to pick, as a first effort, a smaller, one- or two-masted ship on a relatively large scale - a model, that is, that can be completed to a reasonable standard in a few weeks.  That modest investment in time and money will pay huge dividends when the modeler goes on to a bigger, more time-consuming project - and it will pay an immediate, short-term bonus in the form of a nice-looking model to put on the mantle.

At the moment, unfortunately, the plastic kit manufacturers are making it difficult to follow that advice.  The sailing ship sector of the plastic kit industry is just about the smallest, and it's smaller now than it was twenty years ago.  A fair number of good newcomer subjects used to be available, but the vast majority of them have been discontinued.  I can think of about four that (I think) can be found fairly easily.  Three are old Pyro kits from the early fifties, now being sold under the Lindberg label.  They're old, basic kits, and Lindberg has put some silly labels on them (for some reason) that can cause some confusion, but they're basically sound bases for serious scale models:  the beautiful fishing schooner Gertrude L. Thebaud (marketed under the silly label "America's Cup Defender"), the U.S. Revenue Cutter Roger B. Taney (labeled "Independence War Schooner"), and the U.S. Revenue Cutter Harriet Lane (labeled "Civil War Blockade Runner").  Any of those kits would be a good starter project.  Another, more recent kit that would, I think, be good for that purpose is the medieval "Hansa Cog," from the Russian manufacturer Zvezda.  I haven't seen that one in the flesh myself, but it's gotten reasonably good reviews and certainly meets all the requirements for a good starter kit.  It has one mast, and most of the basic features of a square-rigged ship (without the repetition that can be so discouraging in a larger vessel), and offers all sorts of opportunities for developing painting and weathering techniques.  The potential is there for a beautiful, colorful model with a minimal investment of time.

Now, with all that out of the way, back to the Cutty Sark.  That ship has actually been pretty well served by the plastic kit industry.  The big, 1/96-scale Revell kit has been around for a mighty long time - since 1959, to be exact.  Its hull contains some fairly small outline errors, and some of its detail parts certainly aren't up to twenty-first-century standards.  It suffers from many of the inherent limitations that can be found in almost all plastic sailing ship kits.  (If I were building one - heaven forbid - I'd start by throwing out the plastic "deadeye units," offering up the plastic "sails" and plastic-coated-thread "shrouds and ratlines" in a flaming sacrifice to the styrene gods, and replacing the plastic eyebolts and belaying pins with brass aftermarket ones.)  I've also read complaints in recent years that the quality control in big Revell sailing ship kits - especially those sold by Revell Germany - leaves a lot to be desired in terms of flash, warped parts, and low-quality, rubbery plastic.  But lots of extremely attractive models have been built from that kit over the past fifty-plus years.  It's a real classic; I'm glad to see that Revell-Monogram has reissued it recently.  (Maybe - maybe - this new American packaging, which as I understand it originates in China, will show better quality control.)

Revell sells two other Cutty Sarks.  The one on 1/220 scale (or thereabouts) isn't bad; I haven't bought it, but on the basis of photos it appears to be basically sound, though pretty small for serious detail work and rigging.  The Revell Germany 1/350 kit originated with Imai, and appears to be typical of that company's products:  extremely well designed, neatly molded, and quite accurate and well-detailed considering the constraints of the tiny scale.

The old Airfix Cutty Sark is also a nice kit - again bearing in mind how small it is.  Airfix has had some big financial troubles lately; I suspect the kit is hard to find (though I think I read recently here in the Forum that it's recently been reissued in a Zvezda box).

My own personal favorite Cutty Sark kit, though, is the 1/125 one that was produced back in the late 1970s by Imai.  Imai was a Japanese company noted for its extremely high-quality moldings and ingenious design features.  The firm made some of the best plastic sailing ship kits ever, demonstrating what a huge potential styrene has for producing such subjects.  Unfortunately Imai went bankrupt sometime in the 1980s, and the kits disappeared.  Some of them, however, have turned up again under the labels of other companies.  The 1/125 Cutty Sark is now being sold by another Japanese company, Aoshima.  The price is high, but it's a beautifully detailed, fundamentally accurate kit - superior in many respects to the Revell one.  If you do a Forum search on the term "Imai Cutty Sark" you'll find quite a few posts, written by other people as well as me, singing its praises (and acknowledging a couple of amusing mistakes in it, which seem to have originated with the language barrier).  If, heaven forbid, I were in the market for a Cutty Sark kit, the Imai/Aoshima one is in the one I'd buy.  It is, in my personal opinion, the best rendition of that ship in kit form - plastic, wood, or otherwise.

Hope that helps a little.  Good luck.

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

  • Member since
    April 2005
  • From: Roanoke, Virginia
Posted by BigJim on Tuesday, July 17, 2007 12:52 PM

Jake,
   Nice job! Boy there is quite aa few miles of line in that rigging!

M. Tilley,
   Thanks for your advice and wisdom.

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Tuesday, July 17, 2007 3:10 PM

 jtilley wrote:
At the moment, unfortunately, the plastic kit manufacturers are making it difficult to follow that advice.

That sentence strikes a chord with me, I was leafing (figuratively, by way of computer) through some catalogs online and wonderd about all of the interesting single & two-masted kits that could be turned out, and be unique--as opposed to yet another PzKfw I (or some variant on three of which were ever built).

What struck me was that the numbers of annonymous craft that could be modeled is endless--not one bit of haggling with trademarks, corporate lawyers, or hysterical societies <g>.

A plain-jane "bermuda cutter" could be done up in scales from fine to large, dpending upon a companies marketing box plan.  That would build up into a kit that could satify a novice or an old hand, too.  Shoot, just "lifting" the "Speedy" plans would give a master worth working from.  (And, we already know that using information "after" a known source is no impediment for some companies . . . )

Even a simple thing, like an "armed launch" would make for a handy subject from 1/150 all the way to, oh, 1/48 or 1/32.  One of the "revolutionary War" gunboats, even--heavily armed, and "filled" with 'stuff' for visual interest.  A person would almost think the lack of information would make it easier to knock off kits of the type.  (As opposed to yet another skipjack or sharpie--either of which would make a "fun" styrene or mixed-media kit, despite all of the extant wood kits available.)

But, that gets us back to the motivation of the people who get to decide what is marketed in the kit market.  To my thinking, a water or anchor hoy, with their stout scantlings and simple stout rigging would make a good starting point to a snow-or-brig-rigged "mail packet"; or a revenue cutter or the like.  Which could then lead, kit-wise, to one of the fast, fine ships, or to a clipper or the like.

But, I know I'm biased.  The folks down in Galveston would love to have a kit of the Elissa, as their gift shop is constantly asked about that.

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