Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Napoleonic Shipbuilding (cont) : Navwar 1/1200 Rigging "How I did it"

"Round two," and I face my nemesis the rigging (dramatic organ music). My Langton miniatures "rigging booklet" is a masterclass and delving into a level of detail beyond what is needed for the 1/1200 Navwar models, but it does provide some useful insights into basic "standard rigging".

It looks (and most definitely is) an art form. Although it frightens me, I know I have to have a go. My minimalist approach books down to the following steps (and I apologize for my own inaccurate terminology):
  • A heavy thread from the tip of the bow spit (front of ship) to the top of the first two masts, winding round the mast heads as I go. This gives a certain front strength to the model, otherwise the masts would be all over the place. Dabs of super glue secure the thread into place.
  • From the middle (mizen?) mast to the back one, an extra hole has to be drilled two thirds the way up the big mast to connect a thread the top of the back mast (the hard earned lesson of experience here is to drill the middle mast before you fix it in the hull otherwise you will pay dearly in contributions to the nautical "swear box" as you inadvertently bend things
  • Now we can add some side-to-side strength by drilling holes in the top bit of the hull to run thread  up to the top of the masts. Six holes are required (three pairs), each pair being about a centimeter back from the mast. The ship is becoming surprisingly solid (but still fragile if dropped) at this point 
The results from this stage are shown below, my first 'heart of oak':

What is not shown is the pain associated with 'breaking a good paint-job' by drilling holes and spreading superglue (or "super finger stick" as I ended up calling it).

 Before this point the ship has definitely got to be painted a 'deck out'. Undercoat the model black, then a deep brown base coat and perhaps a mid-tone brown on the outer hull, but paint the deck much lighter "yellow-brown to a bleach-bone" and take it to a higher level of highlight because you won't get your brush back inside the frame of the ship again.

Using superglue and cotton thread is a mercurial combination. Anyway, plenty of touch-up painting followed.

Then comes a touch of necessary aesthetics, as the bow sails needed a bit of rigging, otherwise Harry Potter is required to keep the sails in place. If you look very, very carefully you will see black cotton threads leading out from the hull of the ship connecting to the sails (see below):  

Shown from another angle (see below). I have not attempted rat-lines that would straddle either side of all the masts (Pirates of the Caribbean fashion) for want of having no appropriate material. I need to move onto the "flag" section of the Langton book for a nice ensign to flutter in the breeze. It needs to be done to finish things off properly though.

The production line has started (see below). HMS Thundered [74] (top middle), HMS Canopus [80](middle), having hull and sail/mast holes drilled before undercoating and the raw lead of HMS Impeccable [74] (bottom left). I have to say for some reason HMS Thunderer is a small 74, don't know why so I might have to investigate via Google.

Note: Still in its pack is HMS Victory, I have to save the best till last to honour Nelson.

So far so good but after this sudden spurt (the first in ten years) will my enthusiasm dry up or will I catch the wooden wall bug. Satisfying but hard work ;)

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