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Masts and spars off-site ?


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Hi riggers,


Did someone tried this already ?


I have the idea of constructing and assembling the masts and spars off-site. 

I mean: putting the shrouds over the mastheads, but let them hang loose. Putting the assembled spars with furled sails onto the masts, etc.

And then, later on, installing the completely assembled masts on the ship, tensioning the shrouds, etc


It would be much easier to handle all those bits and pieces.


I would be grateful for all the input of the local experts.

Keep on modelling,


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Hi Marc

I've seen a couple logs where the builder has done the spars off the masts (not sure which ones, but I think BE did in his Pegasus log). I think you might find the spats will get in the way when you start on the lower shrouds and all the stays. Could be interesting to see in action though. 


Others are probably more knowledgeable on this subject than I, so feel free to correct if I'm wrong.

Completed builds: AL Bluenose II 1:75  Gallery
                              Amati Hannah SIB 1:300  Gallery
Current Build: Bluenose II - SIB - unknown scale

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From "Ship Modeling Simplified" by Frank Mastini, page 77, "Before we step the masts. we'll attach all the necessary rigging".


That is exactly what I have done for the 9 ships I have built and cannot imagine doing it any other way.  I tie the blocks and lines onto the yards, then put the yards onto the masts and install as many lines as are possible, labeling them and letting them hang loose.  Agreed, it looks a mess when the masts are finally stepped however I am convinced it is a lot easier to do as much as is possible off the ship rather than after the masts are in place.





If someone says something can't be done, it only means they can't do it.


Building:Shipyard - HMS Mercury card madel


Completed Builds:

Wood Models; AL Bluenose II 1989, Corel Toulonnaise 1995, Corel Flying Fish 2000, AL Scottish Maid 2005,

Sergal President 2010, Mamoli Beagle 2011, Corel Eagle 2013, Mamoli Constitution Cross-section 2014, Victory Cross-section 1/98 by Corel 2015, Occre San Francisco Cable Car 2018, Model Shipways Armed Long Boat 2021

Card Models

Christmas Train by PaperReplika 2012, Yamaha DSC11 Motorcycle 2013, Canon EOS 5D Mark II 2014, WWII Tiger I Tank by Paper-Replika 2014, Wrebbit Mercedes-Benz 500K Roadster 2014, Central Pacific no. 60 Jupiter card model 2015, Mirage III 1/30 converted to 1/33 card model 2017, TKpapercraft 1912 Mercer 2021


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 Theoretically I like the idea of rigging everything off ship. However, I find my mind just doesn't work like that. I end up rigging everything on ship. For me that is what works. Everyone has a different method. Fore to aft, aft to fore, bottom to top, etc. 


You just have to see what works. You will find your groove as you rig.



Chantilly, VA


Its not the size of the ship, but the bore of the cannon!


Current Build: Scratch Build Brig Eagle


Completed Build Log: USS Constitution - Mamoli

Completed Build Gallery: USS Constitution - Mamoli


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Hello Marc


I am presently working the Constitution. I am assembling my masts, yards, and rigging the way you are suggesting. The Constitution has three masts, some gaffs, and the bowsprit. I have install as much of the rigging as I can off the model. I have a great deal of blocks, eyebolts, bullseyes, and thimbles  to rig. Off the mast assembly seems to work for me. I just can't imagine trying to to it all on the model. For my rigging I am using all cotton line made on the Byrnes ropewalk. My line is glued with diluted white glue. That way if a make a mistakes, all I have to do is wet, and untie the knots. Feel free to check out my build log. Xken is also rigging his Constitution the same way. Hope this helps. 




NRG member #2666
Current build : USS Constitution


Finished builds: Armed Virginia Sloop (in gallery)

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  • 2 months later...

Hi Marc,


I'm glad I found this post of yours. I've just recently arrived at the masting and rigging stage of my build and have been trying to think of all the difficulties that lie ahead if I go ahead and fit something 'now' that should be fitted 'later' and vice versa.

I've already made the mizzen lower and topmast and the main lower and topmast and when I look at them in position (they're just loose, not secured yet) and visualise all of the shrouds in position I just can't think how I would be able to fit the yards . . . so I'll definitely be fitting as much as possible 'off ship' before stepping the masts.




I cut it twice . . . . . and it's still too short!



HMS Leopard 1790; scratch build 1:80 PoB

Cross Section - HMS Leopard 1790 - 1:44         



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