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It's totally worth your time to make a custome scale ruler for your model. One that shows ten foot intervals with five foot demarcations between. I find using these on my model makes a LOT of issues clear and puts the size of the ship and all it's components into a litteral perspective. 

To make one you need the scale that is often printed on the plans themselves but if your kit has none, you have to extrapolate using whichever dimensions the kit does give you. Sad is the ship model that won't give you Overall Length or Beam.

google "architects scale ruller" or "engineer scale ruller". Acquiring one of each of these will cost little but come in very handy as one of the many scales provided on one of the 12 surfaces these two tools give you will greatly simplify the problem of finding the proper gauge.

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A good ruler is indeed invaluable. But you can also use any of the multitude of online conversion calculators available. For example, go to http://www.onlineconversion.com/length_common.htm

 

and just enter 6 feet divided by mm, then divide that by 60. Pretty much every computer has a basic calculator you can do that last step on if you don't have a physical one.

 

Or you can use a spreadsheet like Excel, and if you don't have that, you can use the free versions offered by platforms like Google. For every one of my builds, I set up a basic spreadsheet that has a number of common conversions for that model's scale, and a few custom fields that let me enter a given number and have it spit out the corresponding scale measurement.

 

Maybe I should write up something about this with examples as a separate post.

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In the days of pocket calculators (now almost gone) and smart phones scale conversions shouldn't be an issue. Simply take your calculator and divide the prototype measure (ideally in the same units as you will be using in model construction, e.g. millimetres or inches) and divide this by the scale you are working in, say 1/60. In this case divide everything by 60.

 

If you are on inches and feet, unfortunately, the story is not so simple, unless you use 'thou(sands of an inch)' - converting into 1/16ths, 1/32nds, etc. needs one more calculation step. I agree, for those, who are not metric, a ruler might be simpler :o

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5 hours ago, Chuck Seiler said:

    The issue I have with this discussion so far is the use of a 6 foot person.  People were smaller 200 years ago than they are today.  I would shoot for a 5 foot person.

People were indeed smaller 200 a 500 years ago.

See the link to the Vasamuseum

https://www.vasamuseet.se/en/collections--research/skeletons


But, there were exceptions :

The average height of the crewmen is 167 cm, with the tallest 179 cm and the shortest only 160 cm. This is much shorter than today, which is a result of a poor diet as children. 

 

For my Golden Hind I use an length of 160 cm (about 5 foot)

hopefully this helps.

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I think that in some ways we are missing the point when it comes to the size of people in scale.

 

First off we are trying to compare average peoples size hundreds of years ago to people today. We tend to use the figure of 6', (1828.8 mm) as a standard. Other people are saying that that is too tall for people of the time periods we are modeling in and we should be using heights more like 5', (1524 mm) as a standard.

 

Looking at several published papers it appears that most researchers are of the opinion that prior to 1700 people tended to be smaller than people in proceeding ages due to diet, disease, climate, (Global warming/cooling) geographical location, and other factors). One site that cover this somewhat is:

  https://ourworldindata.org/human-height/#human-heights-in-early-europeans

Another even more simplified commentary, (And more related to the time and location of my interest) is:

   http://www.nytimes.com/1982/04/15/garden/american-men-of-1776-said-to-have-stood-tall.html?mcubz=0

 

So taking those and other research discussions into account I decided to use the figures of  5'6", (168 cm) to 6', (183 cm) as my range of historic male height and came up with these numbers at 1/50 scale:

 

6' = 1 11/25" @ 1/50 scale, or 183 cm = 36.5 mm @ 1/50 scale

5'8"= 1 9/25" @ 1/50 scale, or 173 cm = 34.6 mm @ 1/50 scale. (This could be considered to be the average height for the time span being considered)

5'6"= 1 8/25" @ 1/50 scale, or 168 cm = 33.5 mm @ 1/50 scale 

All the above numbers are rounded out by me.

 

So looking at the above numbers in the scale used, there is a difference of 3/25" or 3 mm from short to tall, and this is at one of the larger scales being used by builders on this forum. When you run the numbers for smaller scales the difference becomes even smaller of course. I also found it interesting that Englishmen were shorter on the average than American men of the same time period, and Frenchmen even shorter!

 

Just thought I would throw this out for whatever it was worth, hopefully its useful to someone.

 

Lou

 

 

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Indeed, there are considerable regional differences today and were presumably in the past. I recall the sensation (hightened by the fact that it was a time of civil unrest) of walking through the streets of La Paz (Bolivia), a gringo towering above everyone, while only being just 180 cm tall - quite a difference to walking the streets of say Amsterdam, where I felt rather diminutive ;)

 

However, like in real life, not only the absolute height would be important for the scale impression, but also the proportions. While certainly there is a distribution of proportions across a given population, some peoples tend to have longer limbs and shorter bodies, while in others it is the inverse. The latter would appear smaller than the first group. Head length to body length ratios are also important, a big head making a person appear to be smaller.

 

In this context it also interesting to compare artists' rendering with real life. There have been periods (e.g. during the 'gothic'), when people, particularly gentle-folks, were portrayed with a 1:12 ore more head:body ratio, while in real life it is more between 1:8 and 1:10. This reflected aesthetic concepts, as well as class distinctions. So the story turns around, as better fed gentle-folks in any population would grow taller than more deprived classes subject also to hard labour.

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I also agree with you on regional size. In my case it was when I arrived in country in Vietnam in the late sixties. I was 6'3", (190.5 cm) and the average male there seemed to be at least 12", (30.5 cm) shorter on the average. Women were even shorter! I again went though the same thing in reverse when I returned to the US almost overnight and not only was there a color change shock in the environment, but but all the people walking around were TALL! :huh:

 

I think that as you indicate, the size of people on ships also was notable hundreds of years ago as the social order was much more stratified and officers in many cases probably came from upper class society and possibly tended to be somewhat taller and larger due better living conditions while growing up. Crewmen on the other hand, especially in European ships tended to come from lower classes of society resulting in somewhat smaller stature.

 

I wonder if this was the case then did the harder working crewman have a huskier build on the average due to the physical nature of his life, or was he just "tougher"?

 

Lou   

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I am curious as to where the Princeton researchers got their data in the NY Times article referenced in Lou (limagna)'s earlier post.  Are we to believe that colonial beds and doorways are small because they were too stooopid to make them the correct (for their height) size?

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Chuck

I was kind of wondering about the length of bed comment in the news article as well, but somewhat wrote it off as possibly news writer editorial rather than a researcher quote.  I only used the article as it was short and somewhat already digested for the reader.

 

I have visited period residences, in fact I kind of live in one as my house is about 120 years old. In the cases of visiting and staying in 200+ year old homes in New England  I noted that the ceilings were much lower and the rooms smaller in the working class homes, (I assumed that was to conserve heat) while in the more wealthy homes the ceilings were much higher, had more windows, and in many cases the rooms were larger. In many respects they were really not all that different than the house I live in that was built about a hundred years later.

 

I must admit that I did not pay much attention to the beds in the common homes I visited but I suspect most if not all of the furnishing in those homes were recreations anyway so may or may not have been historically accurate. In the more upper class homes that I did stay in, it was noted by the owners that the furniture was composed of historical antiques even though not necessarily native to the home where I was staying.  In the case of the beds they were comfortable enough for even myself and I am somewhat tall, (Or at least I was at the time). They fit my wife even better. I would compare the size to what I will call a slightly wider modern day twin bed that was also very high off the floor or a slightly narrower and shorter Queen size bed.. Two people while not overly crowded had to be very good friends to be comfortable. I also have to agree with Wefalck in that this bed design does conserve body heat, especially when sharing a bed with another person. I believe this was also fairly common hundreds of years ago, at least in working class homes.

 

Lou

 

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Just to add to this: beds were also often raised higher above the floor than it is usual today, because obviously the higher you are in a room the warmer it is. I suspect that in Britain they still do this today, as British houses traditional are not very well heated. For the same reason four-poster- and alkove-beds, both with curtains, were used.

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As I mentioned earlier, I went ahead and wrote up a tutorial on using spreadsheets to calculate model conversions. This is exactly the kind of tool that would let you quickly figure out various measurements at 1/60 (such as a person's height) without having to remember and set up equations each time or search for the right online conversion tool. I mention it here at the risk of self-promotion because it seems pretty relevant.

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Snow

 

It looks like you are well along with your build and its looking good. I suspect that with the large crews and other stuff a pirate ship had to carry in what was after all normally a relatively small ship, "getting around" was a bit hard no matter what.

 

Cathead

Definitely relevant and interesting. I also use spread sheets when doing initial research and drawings, (Even though I use Excel because "I have it"). I find it useful when you are converting a bunch of stuff from "real" sizes to model size even though after a while when you are working only in one scale it almost becomes automatic, especially if you are working in the more common drafting scales. When building a kit, conversions and the such I think do not come up as often.

 

I also tend to prefer using metrics when modeling even though as a native American I use imperial measurements in everything else. It seems so much easier to measure out 28 mm than it is to do 1 1/8" for some reason, and of course multiplying or dividing metrics is far easier than doing it in fractions. Again doing it in your head is pretty much common for most people as you don't need to convert anything.

 

Lou 

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Hello wefalck

 

I think what is going on here is not so much that the people cannot do the math, but that sometimes it is easier to use a “cheat sheet” or other assisting tool to do whatever mathematical conversion is needed. I cannot think of an area of human endeavor where people who work or indulge in that area do not at some point or another create some kind of mathematical shortcut to assist in their work.

 

Why should modeling be any different? We convert sizes, change back and forth between imperial and metric measurements, work in decimals, fractions and number drills and many other mathematical disciplines. Why not take or create a shortcut to save having to do repetitive calculations or having to commit conversions to memory?

 

Lou

Edited by lmagna
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Well said, Imagna, it's not about laziness but about efficiency. Yes, if you only need one calculation, it's quite easy to do the math. But at the scale of a full build, there's nothing wrong with setting up a more efficient way to do the work. Or should we all hand-cut every bit of railing rather than using a stopper to automate the cuts?

 

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