Rigging - The Eternal Question

Discussion in 'Tips, Tutorials & Tools' started by JRSeese, Feb 19, 2004.

  1. JRSeese

    JRSeese Member

    Thanks for the pictures! I have heard this technique described several times, and appreciate any chance to see it in practice.

  2. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Nicely done, Bill!
    Glad to see you modified the technique to meet your needs, and it seems to have worked out quite well.
    BTW, the rigging you are referring to is normally referred to as shrouds and the horizontal "steps" are often called "ratlines". Not sure if that termonology survived to the day of Ambrose, but those are the terms used in the day of sail.
    I used acrylic paint rather than glue for my rigging. It covered well, hardened very well and had the advantage of being made thinner easily with water. I even was able to brush the clogs that formed from time to time with water and they disappeared. Some have even used Future floor acrylic, which is essentially clear acrylic and works well with water too.
    Looking forward to seeing your updated photos when the shrouds are all in place. I hope to try my hand at this same ship at some time; being from New York and working in Downtown Manhattan I get the chance to see her at the South Street Seaport from time to time and it would be neat to finally make her for my office.
    Great job!!
  3. Gil

    Gil Active Member


    Nice shroud..., particularly liked the jig you made. Really adds to the looks of the Ambrose Light Ship.

    Best regards, Gil
  4. bwallaw

    bwallaw Member

    Thanks for the vocabulary lesson, additional tips, and complements. I think I'll try using Acrylic paint on the port side shrouds... ahem :) , instead of the CA.

    This ship has been a real learning experience and already been reworked a number of times. But I enjoyed it, like the way it looks, and recommend it highly. The price is wonderful! :D
  5. Gil

    Gil Active Member


    Clear lacquer and shellac also work well. Cleanup and odor are easier with acrylic but the bond isn't as strong. Lacquer dries the fastest followed by acrylic and shellac. Shellac and Lacquer can also be used to waterproof paper important if it is to be painted or filled with acrylic paste.

    Best regards, Gil
  6. larrymax

    larrymax Member

    Great Job, Bill! :D

  7. bwallaw

    bwallaw Member

    Follow up on the port side shrouds:

    Using Poly Scale Night Black paint, I came out with a pretty nice looking shroud. I was particularly pleased with the lack of buildup on the thread so the rigging looks a lot finer. However, it is also less rigid and more fragile. Unfortunately, one of the (oh darn I forgot the term:oops: ) cross pieces fell off. I had alredy cut it out of the jig and had no success to attach the runaway piece.

    I also tried Future floor polish. This obviously adds a shine to the thread, so I would have to paint it, but the really surprising thing is that the thread buckeled in the jig so the entire shroud was out of control. :x.

    The problem area is near the top of the shroud where 3 pieces of thread are stacked. This lifts the (not ANOTHER forgotten term) long pieces off the crossing pieces. So how you lay it out on the jig is very important.
  8. barry

    barry Active Member

    Thanks Bill very interesting shrouds look great, I await the next bits.

  9. bwallaw

    bwallaw Member

    After the experiments with acrlic floor finishers and paint, I went back to the CA. Mostly because it is more durable and viscous enough to hold the three shroud lines together at the apex. With a VERY sharp knife, you could successfully trim the paint empregnated shrouds, but they are quite delicate and I butchered mine with an otherwise dull blade.

    Another suggestion for making shrouds this way is to lay the vertical shroud lines first: center, then left and right. After they are well set, attach the ratlines. You need very little CA to get the ratlines to stay within their notches, and it helps to apply them randomly meaning top, then bottom, then middle and so forth. If you attach the threads in order, the excess CA builds up in the preceding notches which raises the ratlines over the shroud and makes it more difficult to make them stick to the jig. I also found the fresh CA on a semi-dried ratline made it come free.

    Just some tips if you choose to try this. I hope to have a photo soon, but other family members have run off with the camera. :(
  10. bholderman

    bholderman Member


    Just a follow-up to this long dead discussion and a question, mainly.

    Surprisingly, I think I can manage the riggin based on the plethora of info that I've read here (even though getting it right the first time is unlikely).

    But what I am scratchng my head about is attaching the riggin to the model (i.e. gluepoints). My olny solution currently is to cut the rigging to length and glue it to where it belongs. But, a glue drop doesnt necessarily look appropriate.

  11. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Ah, Brad me lad...you have touched upon an area near and dear to me heart! (Read that last line with an old seafarer's lilt :D )

    Before paper models I build a few wooden sailing ships and have always loved the intricate patterns of lines that make up the business end of a sailing ship.

    Depending on the scale you are working in, and the type of rig, there are a number of ways to attach the rigging so it looks right. Anything from about 1:150 or larger I would suggest you try and rig the model just like they did in actual practice. This means using eye splices, laniards in the deadeyes, stropped blocks and the whole lot. There is just no better way to do it when you working on such large scales. Smaller than that is where you need to get creative to give the impression of having it rigged the real way, but because of size limits you can't, unless you or your rigging crew are shrunken down to the same scale. :lol:

    So, what scale are you working in? If it's the smaller scale, you will, indeed, rely a lot on glue points rather than actual rigging, but that doesn't mean you will not need to tie a few knots...they just won't have to be anything fancy. A single hitch seems to work for most jobs, with a bit of glue applied carefully to keep the knot seized. After the glue dries you simply carefully trim the excess line with a modeling knife as close to the knot as you can, just don't cut the line you want to remain in place...I've done that too many times to mention. :roll:

    I also try to work on the rigging off the model as much as I can, simply because it's easier to work that way. The cargo rigging on the steamer KRAKOW was done off the model for the booms...I just couldn't see trying to set them up on the model. The cargo mast shrouds, however, were layed right on the ship, because I needed to apply the tension in place or else I'd probably end up with a slack line here or there. What I normally do on paper models is try to find the belaying points on the decks, bulwarks, etc., and put a small pin hole at that point with an exit point that is easy to get to. Then, I can apply tension to all points on both sides evenly, apply glue to the hole and when dry trim the ends. I try to have those ends somewhere that is normally not seen, such as on the underside of the ship. Going back to the cargo mast shrouds, I tied the upper end to the mast for all shrouds, lead them down to the deck and through a hole that exited under the model...with JSC waterline models this is perfect because of the cavity created under the ship as a result of their construction process. I then pulled the lines from under the ship and applied glue to the pin holes...as the glue dried slightly I would re-apply a little tension just to take out any slack and at that point the glue holds the line tight. After it was dry I just trimmed from underneath and it was done.

    Also, what type of rigging are you dealing with? If it's the standing rigging, it tended to be a bit larger for the most part than the running rigging, as the running rigging has to run through blocks (so it can't be too thick or else it's unmanageable) whereas the standing rigging for the most part just needed strength and has no real moving parts. In the scales I work in I use a few different sized and colored fly tying silk thread; it seems to be the best because of it's strength, scale diameter and lack of fuzz that tends to be the bane of the cotton threads. I've been working out the dimensions needed for the Constitution build and the one thing I am trying to keep in mind is proper scale of line. If you use a line that is too large for a given tackle it will stand out like a sore thumb.

    So, to put this into context, tell us what ship you are rigging, the scale, what lines you are considering in the rig and maybe I can give you a few suggestions that might help.

    Hope this is a start. :D


  12. jrts

    jrts Active Member

    Hi Brad

    A subjet like this is never dead :D input in any form is always welcome!!

    If you need any riiging or rope work info for the Royal Navy from 1930 nowards e-mail me as I have all the seamansip manuals, and did teach this subject for a while in the British Army Maritime branch for a bit!!

    As Jim Said its all down to what ship and scale you are working with.

    I have said it before and I will say it again its all down to having fun building.

    Take care


    GEEDUBBYA Active Member

    Howdy Guys,

    Sorry, but this was too good to pass up lol, we now know why Jim builds models and is not on the bomb squad somewhere lol.

    "............... just don't cut the line you want to remain in place...I've done that too many times to mention."

    Again, sorry Jim, but I couldnt resist. But its good to throw in abit of humor every once in a while.

    have a good day,

    Greg aka GW
  14. bholderman

    bholderman Member


    Thanks for the feedback. You guys shed quite a bit of light for me.

    Im finishing up DN's Dreadnought at 1:175 (fat-finger) scale. This is the result of it being the first ship I've built and simply enalrging 400%.

    I'm certainly not expecting any grand results at my first try at rigging a model, but I just kept picturing a decent job of rigging to end at a frayed end mashed in a dry glue drop.

    As for rigging, I am currently having to learn all of that. I've volunteered for the Maritime Museum here in San Diego with the hopes of making the sail crew for the Star of India and or the Revenue Cutter, Californian.

  15. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Excellent idea, Brad! :D

    I had the good fortune of being able to visit the San Diego Maritime Museum a few months ago...wow, it's probably now eight months!...and the added good blessing of meeting up with our own Max! What a superb modeling shop they have, and the staff and volunteers were excellent and very informative. If you happen to talk to the cook aboard the California, tell Marge I say hi! You will learn a whole lot, and no better way than by doing, I believe.

    And if you can, take a few moments to talk to the modelers at the model shop, and ask them about rigging...you will be amazed at how knowledgable and helpful they are. They have a superb ship modeling club there in San Diego and to a man and women they are aces!

    And last, but not least, study the ship models they have on display and see how those modelers rigged their vessels...there is quite a variety of ships in that one exhibit on the ferry which should give you a wonderful idea of the various rigging schemes that apply to each type of vessel.

    I wish you all the best and hope you have a blast with those guys...you should easily have fun with them. :D


  16. bholderman

    bholderman Member


    We usually work on Sundays, and I have yet to see any of the modelers around, but yes I have already had my nose up to the plexiglass studying the details. Most display models however are masted sailing ships, so I guess another question would be if there is any differences in rigging equipment on "modern" (1906) rigging on warships, as opposed to older tall ships?


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