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8 minutes ago, BETAQDAVE said:

My recommendation of the book Rigging Period Fore-And-Aft Craft by Lennarth Petersson seems to have stirred up a bit of controversy over its net worth as a reference.  From some of the reactions, I feel that I need to offer some defense of my recommendation. 

Dave,  I think the main basis for  the criticizing of these books, is when they are suggested  as a go-to refernce for new-comers who want a definitive source, without clarifying that he was documenting models as he found them..


I personally would not have a problem building a model and following Petersson rope for rope, because my target audience will never know the difference..

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I hope it can be useful to accept the difference between an 'academic' model and an 'interpretive' model. Both have their merits to different people. One demonstrates theoretic accuracy, the other a satisfying 'artistic' interpretation.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/6/2019 at 3:55 PM, BETAQDAVE said:

I would think that the very fact that they were in a museum would lead me to believe that they must have had some measure of accuracy and quality to be there in the first place.

    And one more thought here, as far as historical accuracy goes, who would know better how it actually was on that particular ship anyway,……a model builder from the same era of the ship, or someone else critiquing that model centuries removed? 

Well, it's not unreasonable to believe that, but "some measure of accuracy" is a relative term. Sometimes they are just old. There's often no way to determine if they are actually entirely contemporary or have been modified over time when it comes to small details. And, of course, there's no way to know for certain that the mistake wasn't made by an original contemporary builder, either. There's one well-publicized old (18th Century, I believe) model of great quality which has its anchor buoy strung up a third of the way up the fore shrouds with the buoy pendant coiled and hung up there, too, fifteen feet or so above the deck. I've seen a number of well-built present-day models slavishly duplicating this stowage arrangement. I'm sure the modern modelers were certain this was correct because they'd seen it on the contemporary museum model. The best way to really know the difference is to have some nautical miles under your bottom. Anybody who spent any time "aloft" on a sailing vessel will instantly realize that climbing up the ratlines to stow something as heavy as the anchor buoy and its coiled pendant way the heck aloft out of reach from on deck is just plain wrong. Way too much work dealing with it that way to no purpose whatsoever. Way too much hassle getting it up there... surely a two-man job because you can't hardly climb the ratlines carrying a big anchor buoy, and a lot of unnecessary windage aloft. A serious hazard in heavy weather or combat. Any sailor would know an anchor buoy was an item that would be stowed below or on deck somewhere out of the way until it was needed and when it was about to be used, it would be positioned where it could be deployed with the lease amount of hassle. No question about it, though, that really spectacular old contemporary model in that famous maritime museum (I can't remember which) surely does have its anchor buoy hanging way up there on the shrouds.


The problem at the other end is that the older an artifact might be in a museum, the greater chance there is that present-day analysis is subject to all sorts of inaccuracies, ignorance, and misinformation. I don't know how many times I've seen exhibit cards in maritime museums with gross inaccuracies. That's generally not the case with the great museums of the world, but the farther one gets from those, the worse the problem can become. I've seen museum directors and administrators working for outfits like the NPS pontificating about maritime museum exhibits and maritime history with great authority, but whose last assignment was cataloging Hopi pots in New Mexico. No wonder some spend more resources on "sea chantey sing-alongs" than they do on curating historic vessels and quality models! 


Okay, rant over. The point was that a modeler should learn how vessels work and with that information, spotting and correcting the errors should come easy. 



Edited by Bob Cleek

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On 8/6/2019 at 5:55 PM, BETAQDAVE said:

  I apologize if I have stepped on some toes here, but as I think I have shown in this post here, my opinion (for what it's worth) is that as the books in question here were never intended to be technical manuals don't try using them as such.



I don't think when you posted your purchase you meant to be an arsonist and create a fire storm.  You go brother, I suggest mayhap a reading of Mr. Bill Shakespeare' play Much Ado About Nothing and keep in mind your point about adding to your Marine library's collection.;)

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