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U.S.S. Connie - Halyards and general block question


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I'm finally about to start the running rigging (With Sails) and the first instructions are about connecting the rigging to the  yards. Basically, the thread goes through a hole at the top of the mast and then somehow connected to the yard. What I don't see is, How the heck am I supposed to connect the thread to the yard? I'm assuming I just tie it on or is there some subtle part of the instruction I'm missing?


Also, other halyard instructions for the other yards look like the rigging just goes through some blocks but never actually tie onto the yard. Is that correct?


A large number of blocks were added to the yards in earlier instructions. I see in one part of the running rigging instructions where they note that fact and that the rigging should be done with those blocks. It seems like there are more blocks (I could be wrong) then there is rigging to them for those yards (for that one instruction part). And, there are tons of other areas where blocks are needed for other rigging all over the rest of the instructions. Is there an assumption that some of those blocks that were previously rigged would be used in those other instructions and not just the area noting their usage? Sorry, if this seems confusing, but if you've completed this any time recently, I think you might understand what I'm getting at.




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I can't give you a definitive answer for your particular ship, but in general, ships of the period had a pair of substantial double or triple blocks (the jeer blocks) for hoisting the lower yards.  The topsail yards often had a single block on the yard through which the tie was led, and topgallant yards had the tie simply attached to the yard.


If, by Connie, you mean Constitution, then you should be able to find a lot of very specific information on the web concerning her actual rigging.


Have fun with your model, mate! :)



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This was one of the most confusing parts when I built my Revell Constitution.  I must have read those instructions 10 times or more.


I'll try to answer your questions, but I did mine WITHOUT sails, so I'm not familiar with any sail-specific things.


1.  Halyards - The two top yards (royal and topgallant yard):  I just tied a knot around the yard and the plastic "U" shape on the yard that is glued to the mast.  I didn't do anything special here except try to get the thread to look centered.  Look at page 6, near the bottom, of my build log (link in my sig).


2.  The halyard rigging for the lower two yards (topsail and main yards), goes through blocks that are attached to the yards.  I think the idea is the upper two yards are light enough not to need pulley system to raise them, but the lower two are heavier and need pulleys.


3.  Rigging the yards with blocks ahead of time.  I found that in the regular instructions, they let you know which block sizes to put on the yards.  I went though the rigging instructions very carefully and found all the blocks used during rigging and made sure I tied those on the yards.  Look in the middle and bottom of page 3 of my log for the results of those.  I posted a photo of the diagram I made for the foremast, but I did the same diagram for the main mast and mizzen mast as well.  It worked out pretty well, as I didn't have to add any blocks to the yards after they were mounted, which would have been difficult.  It was tricky to identify all the blocks, but I labeled them in my yard diagram related to the rigging instruction step so I would be sure to use the right ones, and know if the blocks should be on top/bottom/side of the yard itself.


If I remember correctly, the main instructions were a little incorrect about block placement.  The ultimate guide is the rigging instructions -- if you put in the blocks needed during rigging, you'll be ok.  One thing I didn't do was to tie blocks to the mast tops and crosstrees ahead of time, mainly because I couldn't visualize where exactly they should go.  Some of those got very difficult to add as the number of lines increased, so maybe think about adding those.


Hope this helps,



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On any model, it's often best to pre-rig yards and sails, and bend sails to yards, before the yards go on the mast.  The less you have to fiddle with with the yards attached, the less your chance of breaking something and forcefully relocating the model to another part of the shop.


On that note:  A friend has a dart board in his shop and keeps the darts at the bench.  When something gets frustrating, he flings a dart at the board, instead of something valuable.  If you try this, do not put the board near the entry to the shop area, they don't allow modeling tools in jail cells.

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Great responses.


Since all the yards are already strongly glued in place and I've attached the blocks according to the earlier instructions, I'm going to basically have to try to follow those lovely instructions bit by bit. I COMPLETELY agree with having to read the same line(s) of instructions over and over and over again. Usually, after the 15th time reading the same line, I figure out what they want me to do.


This part of the build will take me a very long time. I know it's extremely delicate and I'm a bit nervous about causing damage. I'm already 2 years into the build and I suspect it will take me at least another year or so of cautious rigging to get it all finally complete. I've been trying to figure out the best way to tie things down to the pin rails and what tools I'll use. I've already received some nice advice from the people on this forum.

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The best tool I made for tying to pinrails was a long-handled chopstick that I inserted and glued a pin into.  The end 1/8" of the pin was then bent 90 degrees and I made slight indentation in the middle of that 1/8" section to hold the line.  I can push with this and the thread won't slide off due to the small "v" nature of it.  I also found self-closing tweezers invaluable.  I also found just a straight pin in the end of a chopstick was also useful for getting the lines wrapped around pins.  Sorry, but I didn't take a photo of it in my log.


Finally, I secured all those knots (pinrails) with dilute white glue.  It holds them just fine, takes a few minutes to dry though, but can be removed if you make any mistakes.  The main mistake I made, a couple of times, was when a line is being threaded down to the pinrail, it would wrap around other lines. Getting them "clear" with all the other lines in the way took a lot of patience and checking from all angles.  Having the ability to undo a knot and re-thread it was super useful, and would be near impossible if secured with CA or fabric thread.


The last piece of advice I can give you is to not rush (sounds like you're already heeding that).  I would be happy to tie of 3-5 lines in days work if they were good looking lines.  I would tie a line to a pin, weight the end down with a penny, apply the dilute white glue and walk away for 15 minutes.  Just walk away and not mess with it.  Almost the hardest part. :-)  After 15 minutes, it would be secure - remove the penny, trim the end and done.


I also bought a nice pair of fly fishing scissors (by Dr. Slick) - super sharp, get the longest you can.  Better than using a razor as you don't want to cut other lines.  Keep the scissors CLOSED as you move them into the line you want to cut - I had them open once, and they brushed a line and it cut instantly.  Bummer.



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Andy, you and I think alike. I think you wrote the chopstick advice on another thread of mine. In fact, I already created just that tool, except I created a tiny loop at the pinhead end so that it was harder for the line to slip off (I was think of using a technique where I tie the line onto the pin and just cut it off when done). I have a hard time picturing how your tool actually moved the line around...although, I think what you were doing was keeping one end of the line taut as you pushed it around the pins with your chopstick tool...right?


I actually bought a special pair of scissors (I forget what they're actually meant for), but they're fairly long, angled, and I've put a rubberband around the handles to have the scissors almost entirely closed so I can come right up to the line I need to cut.


I plan on using the clear plastic glue from Testors (it's actually like a thin white glue) to do all of my tacking down of the lines on the pinrails just like you suggested. I think there are like 200 pinrail connections and I completely agree that if I can get just a few done a night that look good, I'll be thrilled.


What will be unnerving is trying to weave in between already set lines AND THE SAILS when doing all the rigging. I have not seen anyone with a build that's done it with sails or examples of how they accomplished that rigging. It will be a challenge. I'm petrified of breaking a yard by pushing an attached line too far or destroying one of the already placed rigging lines (and some of those were already tough to put in place the first time!).


I would guess that I will run out of one or more of the tan threads? Did you? If so, was it simple to replace with a texture that worked out okay?



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Sorry to repeate myself on the chopstick advice.  I guess when I'm pretty happy with something I thought of myself, I can go on and on. :)  It worked so well for me, but there are probably other ways for other folks.


Yes, I think you have it right about the pinrails.  Hold the line taut as you wrap around the pin (that's what I used the self-closing tweezers for) and using the L-shaped pusher, you can easily extract the tool as it typically gets caught between the pin and line.  I found tying to pins pretty straightforward, and easy to get just the right amount of tension to hold the whole line taut, but not too tight.  Those plastic pins (which I did not replace) are pretty fragile.


I found tying off to eyebolts to be trickier, mainly getting the tension correct.  I would use a double-hitch knot or clove hitch and it was way harder to get just the right amount of tension.  Beeswax helped as the line would pull through easier.


Regarding tan thread - no I did not run out.  I was pretty frugal with the line, and I used different sizes than the instructions called for.  For example, I had lots of medium (I think), so I would use medium instead of small on some of the upper rigging to conserve the small.  Stuff like that.  I tried to keep the relative sizing correct (smaller thread the higher up the masts you go, and large thread for the lower yards, etc) and never ran out.  I would challenge anyone to look at my ship now, behind the case, and tell the difference between the small and medium.  Folks here probably could, I suppose, so it's a matter of adherence to the correct scaling,etc.  Your ship, your decision.


I did run out of the medium size black thread - for the standing rigging and had to replace it.  I bought some from Model Expo, and what I thought was 6 meters was more like 2, so I ran out again.  I ended up going to a fabric shop and matched the size as best I could with what they had.  It's much fuzzier than the kit's thread, but with enough beeswax, I made it look ok.


For future projects, I would seriously consider ordering all replacement thread from Chuck's Syren ship company store.  That stuff looks terrific, and seems very reasonably priced.





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