SomethingIsFishy

Wood masts for a plastic model... Tips?

I'm looking at replacing the masts, yards, etc. on my next build with wood, trying to keep the rigging tight on my current build was challenging at times, want to avoid that on the next ship... I think having more rigid wooden masts would make things easier...

 

Obviously I will have the plastic parts for patterns, but was wondering what to use for wood, and if there's any tips or tricks I should know...

 

I will be looking through wooden build logs when I have time for research... Might check into scratch logs too...

Canute and tasmanian like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can buy various dowel rods from craft stores on line beech being good but you can find other wooden rod from other sources, wooden cotton buds, tooth picks or if you go to a ladies beauty salon they have a device called orange sticks for pushing back nail cuticles which is good quality wood. I Have some vary large cotton buds that are sold for cleaning equipment but cannot remember what for now, mine were from a lumonics laser printer. Keep your eye open when out and about, sometimes stirring sticks from well know fast food outlets come in handy!

 

When doing my plastic kits I would rig in the same order as a real ship but add temporary forward stays to prevent rigging the back stays pulling the masts out of true. Just make sure you do not use thread with a tendency to shrink. 

Canute, mtaylor and thibaultron like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the tips! I'm not necessarily against "re-purposing" things, but I do want to make sure I'm using the best option available to me. The kit I will be building (Revell Germany's Mayflower) is a birthday gift from my wife, so I plan on doing the best I can so I end up with a model I can appreciate for a long time!

tasmanian likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have found wood dowels almost unuseable. For my Pyro skipjack build, I went through my entire collection of kits (good and bad name manuf.), and found maybe 3 straight dowels in the lot!

 

I'm planning to make masts from square stock. I already made the bowsprit. Not your typical job, as the bowsprit on a skipjack curve downward toward the fore end. I made the sprit from a larger dowel that I squared (rectangulared?) up then cut in the curve, and shaped it. This is actually how the real bowsprits were made, the curve was cut into the spar, it was not bent into shape. I used the dowel as it was all I had at the time.

 

For the mast, I have both basswood, and boxwood. I'll practice on the basswood, then make the final one out of boxwood. Unless the basswood mast looks really good, then I'll save the boxwood for another project.

mtaylor and Canute like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I built that particular model I had no trouble with the plastic masts as, unlike Heller's war ships, the masts are reasonably solid. It is still on show after 20 years so will check it for you when I get home to see how it has faired.

 

The top tip I would give you, for building that model, is to get the Noel C L Hackney book for the  Airfix Mayflower. This is a step by step guide to building the model at three different levels of expertise and is brilliant. That Revell kit is very good but this will help you achieve museum standard.

 

If the masts are hollow you can use metal rod glued inside. For the yards you can replace studding sail booms with metal rod to strengthen the yard ( obviously not on your ship).

Canute, mtaylor, Fright and 1 other like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for the tips! I might try the supplied masts, I could build them and dry fit them into the hull to get a feel for how rigid or flexible they are. My only experience is with Lindberg's Jolly Roger, which has very flimsy masts... Made rigging interesting...

Canute and thibaultron like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also appreciate the tip on the book. I have looked the kit over and read thru the instructions (waiting for my birthday to start building) and found the instructions to be slightly less than clear for some steps. I'm sure that book would be very helpful...

mtaylor and Canute like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bamboo is the way to go, I'm on team bamboo too. But test it yourself: Make yourself a spar from bamboo and then another duplicate form any other wood, make the two of them the same diameter you want on your model. Don't bother tapering them or anything fancy, just get them close to the diameter of your models spars. Then break them in your hand and see for yourself which one is most resilient.

mtaylor, John Allen, Fright and 1 other like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a fan of making masts from straight grained square stock. Its the only way you can get a predictable taper. Mark the center of you spar on the end with a dot. Then taper the spar equally on four sides keeping your center dot in the middle. Then carve your tapered square stock into an octagon, again keeping your dot centered. Once you have an Octagon its easy to sand it round,and did I say keep the dot centered. Its pretty toough to taper bamboo although its true that its strong. Id recommend basswood just be sure of the straight grain. As you care the wood ,you can use a knife or a small spoke shave. There will be some grain direction so if the blade wants to dive into the wood revserse the direction of carving.   Good luck anyway, and replacing weak plastic aint a bad idea but proper rigging can strenghthen it just as on a real ship.   Bill

Canute, mtaylor and thibaultron like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks again to all of you for your input!!! My plan as of now is to go ahead and assemble the plastic masts to see how they feel, if they're solid enough to work for me I will use them. If not, then I will try wood...

 

I will be starting the build, and the build log, on my birthday, October 9th. Is it October 9th yet??

thibaultron and Canute like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The top tip I would give you, for building that model, is to get the Noel C L Hackney book for the Airfix Mayflower. This is a step by step guide to building the model at three different levels of expertise and is brilliant. That Revell kit is very good but this will help you achieve museum standard.

Thank you! I have just received the book and, at first glance, it appears to contain a wealth of helpful information! Just wanted to make sure I shared my appreciation for your recommendation of this book!

Canute and mtaylor like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The answer to your question will depend on what your experience with woodworking is and what equipment you have to work with.  Making a mast and yards from square stock may be the best answer, but may not be practical for you.

 

Another option might be to use something to reinforce the existing mast.  If the mast is hollow, try brass tubing for the inside.

mtaylor, Fright, Canute and 1 other like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chuck- I believe he said it was a finished model.

 

Thunder- thanks for checking! Since the masts are two halves glued together I might try adding some thin tubing or stiff wire in between the halves...

mtaylor and Canute like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh yes, so he did...back in post #6.  When he stated that he 'checked his kit' I was envisioning him opening the box that has been on his bedside cabinet for 10 years.  I have some that have been sitting around AT LEAST that long.  Just sayin'.

mtaylor and Canute like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a test I did a while ago with Heller Victory´s plastic jib and a replacement wooden one of the same dimensions.

 

800_Victory-jibboom_9557.jpg

 

800_Victory-jibboom_9559.jpg

 

Both having the same weight hanging on, does one have to say more?

Cheers, Daniel

Archi, mtaylor, GuntherMT and 4 others like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the several Revel Constitution/United States models I've built, besides replacing the smallest spars with wood, the topmasts and lowers as well as the lower yards are hollow.  These I filled with epoxy (JB Weld) and a metal rod, usually a length of metal coat-hanger.

 

A couple of these kits were made to sail by radio-control, and the course yards were controlled by a rod inside the lower mast to a bell-crank below deck, in effect, achieving the same result as above.

post-961-0-67796700-1479097703_thumb.jpg

 

BTW: I've found bamboo skewers and chopsticks to be nice material for very light spars.

 

Up in the storage areas of the Naval Academy Museum in Preble Hall there were at least two dozen Revel Constitution models given by alumnists to the museum.  Every one built out of the box, and every one with bent and deformed plastic spars.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey SomethingIsFishy!  Well, have you posted anything on the builder's log yet?  I am building the same thing, and I wanted to compare notes!  So far, I am using the plastic masts, and if I had to do it all over again, I would have replaced them with wood.  The biggest problem I have is trying to makes the lines nice and tight and straight without pulling the mast all over the place and keeping all the other lines tight.  Annoying at times.  Good luck with it and get some photos up on the site.

 

Ciao for now

Rob

mtaylor, Canute and John Allen like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.