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Aftermarket yards and Masts for plastic kits

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I looked here and on the net for an alternative to using plastic yards in the kit.


I found some in 1/350 I believe it was.  There were no 1/100 scale yards to be found.. (by me).


Does anyone know of alternatives to flimsy plastic yards out there?  I don't have the tools to make them aside from casting them.

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I was surprised to discover how easily yards can be made from wooden dowels with only an xacto knife and a #10 or #22 blade. Start with a dowel that is the same diameter (or a little bit bigger) as the thickest part of the yard. Mark the major transition points and centre point etc with a pencil and when necessary make shallow cuts around the dowel at those points. Then taper the dowel by simply scraping it repeatedly, pulling the knife towards you and rotating the dowel as you go. If you have to reduce the diameter significantly at the very end of the yard, make your shallow cut around the perimeter, then make short cuts coming in from the end towards the centre. Follow up with some sanding. While you won't get results that are as perfect as turning in a lathe would produce, you'll be surprised to discover what good results you can actually achieve. You will get a perfectly acceptable result. I am no expert craftsman and got very nice looking yards right off the bat using this method. And considering that a length of dowel won't break the bank, you can afford to have several practice runs if need be. I'm give this a try if I were you. Hope that's of some help.



Current Build - HMS Agamemnon, Caldercraft

Previous Builds - Armed Virginia Sloop, Model Shipways; Constitution, Model Shipways; Rattlesnake, Mamoli; Virginia Privateer, Marine Model Co, restoration; Prince de Neufchatel, Model Shipways; Charles W. Morgan, Model Shipways; Pride of Baltimore II, Model Shipways, Bluenose, Model Shipways (x2); Niagara, Model Shipways; Mayfower, Model Shipways; Shamrock V, Amati


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If you want plastic yards and masts just go to local hobby store or craft store and use styrene rods. (Evergreen).You can scrape them down with a xacto knife and #10 or #22 blades and you will get same result as wood. 


NRG member #2666
Current build : USS Constitution


Finished builds: Armed Virginia Sloop (in gallery)

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My 1/96 scale Constitution that ended up in drydock after losing out in battle with the garage floor was a Revell plastic kit that I replaced the deck, masts, and spars with wood.  It was fairly easy to do, as I had the plastic parts to use for patterns to copy.  I was more satisfied with the results than I was with the originals.  The masts being hollow plastic were a great improvement in solid wood.   The deck I made with some panels made up from glued up individual narrow wood planks with dark glue to represent caulking.  This eliminated the plastic seams that were way too obvious on the original !   It was a lot of extra work but the results were quite satisfing ! :-D


“You’ve just got to know your limitations”  Dirty Harry

Current Builds:  Modified MS 1/8” scale Phantom, and modified plastic/wood hybrid of Aurora 1:87 scale whaling bark Wanderer.

Past Builds: (Done & sold) 1/8” scale A.J. Fisher 2 mast schooner Challenge, 1/6” scale scratch built whaler Wanderer w/ plans & fittings from A.J. Fisher, and numerous plastic kits including 1/8” scale Revell U.S.S. Constitution (twice), Cutty Sark, and Mayflower.

                  (Done & in dry dock) Modified 1/8” scale Revell U.S.S. Constitution w/ wooden deck and masting [too close encounter w/conc. floor in move]

Hope to get to builds: MS 3/16” scale Pride of Baltimore II,  MS 1/2” scale pinky schooner Glad Tidings,  a scratch build 3/16” scale  Phantom, and a scratch build 3/16" scale Denis Sullivan.

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For those of you who are not familiar with woodworking tools, let me suggest scrapers for rounding and sizing the wood for masts and spars.  Look to some catalogs such as LeeValley for sources; there are many many others as well. I have found the curvy type most useful...it looks like a SHMOO. (I'm showing my age).  The curves help keep the rounded shape while the scraping action helps  prevent nicks and digging in. For such a small surface as a dowel, the scraper need not be very sharp, though it helps.  There are a multitude of these tools ranging from very cheap to ridiculous.  You really don't need an expensive one for this use.



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  • 11 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Ok. I'm back at it.  Will be creating blocks and pendants for a little while.  Then I'll start back at the rigging for the bowsprit.

I'v been evicted from our spare bedroom and now in the shed. (picture)


This is not a friendly scale model environment.  If there is a 'pimp my model room show' please think of me. HA!!!

In the summer it will be hot enough to soften plastic in here.


Edited by William-Victory
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