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H.M.S.Victory by JerseyCity Frankie – Heller – plastic - 1/100 – mostly rigging and sails

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ANOTHER H.M.S. Victory build log! But this one will be different. I’m going to skip all the hull construction and shroud installation and climb right up into the rigging. I haven’t any choice really since there are no photos of that part of this build. I started this model in 1997 or so, it was my first ship model. I’m starting this build log January 10, 2015.

 

H.M.S. Victory needs no introduction but I would like to place this model into the context of my personal background. In the 1990’s I was not even vaguely interested in ships, I was an aircraft nerd and I built 1/48 scale plastic aircraft kits. One day I bought a copy of The Price of Admiralty by John Keegan, a popular history book containing essays on different aspects of naval warfare illustrated with historical battles as examples. I got the book for the Battle of Midway content but upon reading the rest of the book I read about the Battle of Trafalgar for the first time and I was fascinated. Around the same time New York City hosted Op Sail again and I saw many traditionally rigged ships for the first time and this helped the fascination deepen.

Finally, I had been reading Fine Scale Modeler since I was a kid and for a certain period in the 90’s they used to run this full page ad on the back page of every issue. Maybe you remember it. Another year went by and I couldn't shake the idea that I wanted to build this large daunting complex plastic kit. I finally got the kit and started building it.

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Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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Assembling this plastic kit was no different than any other plastic kit, the hull is just two enormous halves to be glued together. There are over 2,000 pieces I suppose, but most of these are the cannons and their carriages. I have a painting background so the painting was no challenge either.

What WOULD be a challenge was the rigging. I had no comprehension at all about all that line and what it was supposed to do. So I started acquiring ship modeling books and reading everything I could about sailing ships. The kit came with (I think, its been a while) three diameters of rigging in two colors and right away I knew this would have to be augmented. So from the start of things this kit changed my life. I started reading about sailing ships and I started buying up all the thread and string I could find. All this lead to non-model related nautical pursuits too and I now find myself many years later a changed man.

Here is a photo of my Heller Victory I took yesterday:

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Here are some detail shots to give you an idea of the state of things. You may be able to see evidence in the photos of a growing comprehension of how “it should be” layered over some stuff that represents “how the kit goes together according to the instructions”.  I had assembled most of the plastic parts within three months of opening the box. When I started on the rigging things slowed down. In fact this ship sat around my home unfinished for a decade, getting dusty and grimy, then being cleaned and repaired when my enthusiasm returned to it, then languishing again as I built other models. 

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I know I had at least one other set of lower shrouds on my Victory that I eventually decided weren’t good enough and which I cut off and discarded.

I also remember I knew right away that the kit supplied blocks and deadeyes were a joke and I had quickly ordered wood ones. You can see the mizzen channels in this shot with the poorly managed deadeye placement. Wooden aftermarket deadeyes along the top and kit supplied plastic deadeyes with really unconvincing strops poking through the channels underneath.

When my attention came back to this model last summer I debated re-doing all the shrouds again. But what I decided was to simply take the ball and run down the field with it and not worry too much about trying to improve upon the work a younger less experienced version of myself had put into the kit. I was going to err on the side of COMPLETING the kit. I suspect that if I had gone back to re-invent the wheel, my enthusiasm would wane again and the ship would never be completed.

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Which brings us to where I am now on the Victory. What I had ALWAYS intended to do was to rig the model with sails set. Sails set and DRAWING. I had a chance to see the ship model collection at the Deutsches Museum in Munich. What a wonderful collection it is. An aspect that struck me was that most of the models included full suits of sails set and drawing convincingly. I still wonder what technique they used. The addition of the sails truly makes the models come to life, the billowing canvas takes the models closer to a true representation of what the ships are actually like, and this is why I always include sails on my models.

So going foreword with this build log, I’m going to focus very little attention on anything other than the rigging and the construction of the sails on the model.

Here is a shot of the vac-u-form sails that come with the kit. They ARE molded in a full rounded three dimensional shape, but whatever detail they have is smoothed over by the vac-u-form process and they are brittle. I have seen plenty of models where the vac-u-form sails come off admirably, but I did not want to work with the ones that came in my kit.

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Here is an inspirational album of what I would like the sails on my Victory to look like. You can see in the photos the sails have personality, they are alive and they are part of the literal fabric of the working ship. The way they are configured reflects their real world application. In the photos, we see the sails doing their job providing the motive force that the whole ship depends on.

Also visible in the photos are the colors and textures of the sails. You can see the sails are not featureless white panels, they are a bit weather stained. When new, they were closer to white but even fresh from the sail loft they would have been a warmer cream color, and they really can’t ever be washed so once they are in use their color only deepens.

Also in the photos you can see hints of how the sails are constructed. There are seams where the bolts of cloth have been sewn together. The seams in the sails effect the way the fabric behaves just as seams on a garment effect the way an article of clothing will drape.

I love the prints of the French engraver JJ Baugean. Here are two examples of his work showing the relationship of the sails to the ship. Its amazing the amount of useful detail in his prints of sailing ships and I highly recommend the book Ships and Seamanship, the Maritime Prints of JJ Baugean by John Harland.

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All very nice and Instructive.

 

Not got to that part yet on my 1/100 Heller, so nice to see another build way ahead of me.

 

Keep the pictures coming.

What cloth or material are you using for your sails.

 

I think that's constructive, don't you :rolleyes:

 

Frank :piratebo5:

Edited by foxy

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You can see I painted the hull copper a pale verdigris green, like the Statue of Liberty. This was a decision I had made early on back in the late 90’s. Since then I have been exposed to the argument that the underwater hull would NOT be this color, and there are plenty of photos of copper hulled ships in drydock to show that the color that  results from underwater emersion is more like a dark brown.

But I have always liked the pale green color and the way it resonates with the hull’s yellow and black and I am keeping it on the model even though its likely wrong.

But this gets a bit to the core of what we do when we build a model. What are we trying to depict when we make the decisions we make? Natural wood models without paint express the true nature of the models construction. A painted model like mine is trying to represent the way it “would really look”. I’m using artifice to represent what the ship is/was “Really like”, I don’t want the viewer to dwell on the fact that this is a plastic painted miniature, and I am shaping all my decisions on the idea I  want to fake the real thing. But I am keeping the pale green copper

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Speaking of books, all the books I acquired for the sake of understanding H.M.S. Victory translated directly into the understanding of all aspects of the general hobby of ship model building. I built my nautical library on the foundation of H.M.S.Victory but it turns out it was a good foundation to work out from.

Anatomy of Nelsons Ships by C Nepean Longridge is the title most people point to as the definitive Victory book, and for good reason. I got a copy early on and it has remained one of my favorite books, of any genre. If you have not acquired a copy yet, what are you waiting for? I am not sure there could be a better value for the model builder, this book is very well done and available online (though long out of print) for very reasonable prices. Since Longridg’s book many other titles have hit the market but in my opinion none is a better value, although I certainly have not seen them all. Just this month I got a copy of Conway’s Anatomy of the Ship Victory. I won’t say I was disappointed, it has a lot of great material, but it is going to be more use to the wooden kit or scratch building H.M.S. Victory hobbyist than it is to a plastic Victory builder. Although the last eleven pages on rigging are useful indeed.

The Masting and Rigging of English Ships of War by James Lees is of broader scope and indispensable for any sailing ship model builder. If you are unfamiliar, this book takes each element of the rig individually and traces its history and usage all the way through how it is run and how its application changed over time. It’s amazing and will get you through more rigging conundrums than any other book. It’s also got some really excellent sail drawings which I am lately very familiar with. In contrast the Conway Anatomy book, unlike other titles in the Conway Anatomy series, neglects sails to a sad degree, Sail outlines are barely discernable in only three or four of its drawings. Incidentally, Longridge also stops short of discussing or illustrating sails and is very light on running rigging.

I got to actually visit H.M.S. Victory in Portsmouth, also back in the 90’s, what a treat that was. No photography was permitted at the time. Can we please keel haul the person who wrote that policy?

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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Love the work !

 

The missing sail drawings of McKay´s are hidden in the second half of McGowans book :-)

 

But do not forget, Longridge and McKay represent the knowledge of the 1960´s. As they represent a good base, some details are outdated by todays knowledge. 

 

Cheers, Daniel

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Dafi in the house! Ladies and gentlemen, if you have not taken the time to go visit Dafi's build log of his Heller Victory, you should stop what you are doing right now and go check it out.  Dafi is too modest to mention here that his build of the Heller Victory will likely never be topped, its going to be the DEFINITIVE take on the kit. Go there and check it out:  http://modelshipworl...ory-and-beyond/ If you printed his 60+pages of his Victory build log out on paper and bound them as a book, this book would be on my list of "must have" Victory books, and also it would be the most funny and warmly entertaining of them all, by far.

For a taste of Dafi's victory, compare this photo from Dafi's Victory log with the photo of the mizzen chains on my Victory above. Here is Dafi's:  http://mediaharmonists.de/bilder/Victory-140712_4937.jpg

Dafi is also too much of  a gentleman to mention that he also sells superlative aftermarket photo etched and resin parts that greatly improve upon the Heller kits parts.

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And I agree Dafi with what you have to say about longridge and McKays efforts being dated. They are like a time capsule showing the state of the art up to the publication date. And I have heard this sentiment expressed before,  that the work we rely on is dated in many cases. Who knows what bits and pieces of the whole story have been added to by subsequent scholarly research?  Howard I Chapelle comes to mind. Also someone threw out a casual remark about The Built Up Ship Model by Charles G Davis, that it was flawed somehow. I wish I knew in what way, which parts of his book should be viewed with skepticism or disregarded?  I think there is room on Model Ship World for the discussion of this issue, a title by title discussion of instances where the state of the art has moved past the information in these books we rely on. I really would like to see a place on MSW where this stuff could be discussed.

Specific to the Victory, I painted the black bands on the masts as I was instructed by Heller. Later I remember reading online that the black bands have fallen from grace due to recent research, but I  forget the particulars of how this decision was reached. Speaking of paint on the Victory, last year chips of paint were examined and some of the paint chips had layers that dated back to Traflagar, and what I remember reading was that the "buff" yellow color Victory has been wearing all through my lifetime has been, you guessed it, called into question!

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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The spars on the model, like everything else, are plastic. Any spar over about ¼” thick is made up of two halves and thus hollow in the middle.  A common complaint with plastic ship kits is that the more slender spars will bend very easily when the rigging goes on. I had not encountered this problem on the Fore Main and Mizzen, but the Flying JibBoom on the kit it about 8” long and very slender, about 1/8” wide at the tip and very flexible. This I replaced with a metal rod. When I assembled all the yards, before I glued their two halves together, I fit metal rods into their interior hollow spaces to make these spars more resilient too.

In my opinion the details in the moldings on these plastic spars is pretty good. For instance the sheave holes for the reef tackle on the topsail yard arms are included, you can reeve a line through these very small holes.

As I said before the blocks that come with the kit are pretty bad. The kit DOES provide an assortment of four or five different sizes though. The problem with the kit supplied blocks is that they are one piece plastic and they knew they had to provide blocks you could reeve a line through but they could not mold-in the sheave holes to be small enough. Each block has a sort of moulded-in sheave within a very large score-hole. Double blocks are just wider and still have a single, only wider, hole.  Another odd feature is that they could not mould a block with a score for the strop on the outside in a two piece mould, so instead of a score on these lozenge shaped rounded plastic blocks, there are two plastic extruded pins sticking perpendicularly out of the cheeks of the blocks on each side. Presumably one opens the score on the line one is stropping the blocks with and fits the pins into the guts of the line? I am using some of the kit supplied blocks and I am using a triangular needle file to make strop scores. Here are two shots of parts from the kit. One is of the Topsail Shroud Deadeyes. These are about 3/8” wide and the restrictions of the plastic molding process prevents their being made with a groove in which to place the shroud, all they have is a raised rim and lots of glue would be required to keep the shroud on- but you can imagine how easy the shroud could just pop off at any time.

One shot is an overall shot of one of the larger double blocks in which you can see the hole I am talking about and the pins on each cheek. The other shot is of the smallest blocks provided by the kit. These are about 1/8” long. They are resting on a dime for scale and I am very sorry I did not have a yummy Tick-Tack handy, which the more refined gentlemen sometimes use for showing scale.

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Over the years I have put in time stropping these plastic blocks and the wooden ones I ordered from Model Shipways too. At first I stropped them only with string and thread but as I am getting lazier in the later stages of this build I have been stropping a lot of the smaller blocks with thin black wire. I will probably spend an hour in purgatory for each of these individual short cut rigging sins, but on the other hand I have already convinced myself not to go back and re-do the lower shrouds, nor will I make actual chains to replace the preposterous kit-solution chains made out of the thinnest black thread. When the model is done I will mostly just be happy I got through to the end. In art- if nowhere else- the ends do justify the means.

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Here I am going to finally start talking about how I am making the sails. At this scale I feel I could have gone with paper or tissue or silkspan sails but I opted for woven fabric sails.

I live across the Hudson River from Manhattan, which for me is a subway ride away. All the fabric in the world is available to me in the Garment District and I am an avid sewer who spends a good deal of money each year on fabric in what must be one of the worlds great concentrations of available retail fabric.

But I don’t care, I don’t think anyone needs to look farther than their own linen closet for a used white bed sheet. Cotton or a blend, I really think all you need is a woven fabric free of any stitching variations. In other words the simplest plain white sheet is fine.

But the color is wrong. As mentioned above, no cotton canvas sail was ever really pure white. If you had a white painted hull on your ship, the eye would see the sails as more yellow or grey. “Cream” is the word that describes how I believe a brand new suit of cotton sails would look.

But for the Victory I am imagining, the sails are a bit worn and weather stained.

So I dye the  bedsheet material. I have tried Ritt dye, their version of “black” at a very diluted mixture with water, and their version of “Grey” also diluted. Ditto their “Brown”. In each case what I learned is that the people at Ritt really only want you to use their dye at full strength, anything less and you get bizarre purple and orange hues never intended to be visible yet there in the dye and these odd hues are there in the diluted mixture results.

So I went back to using coffee, which is where I started. I have heard people claim that using coffee or tea to stain the fabric sets in motion a very slow chemistry process that will end with the fabric being eaten. Tea certainly contains tannic acid but I forget what the argument against coffee was. And I am not going to let it bother me.

Soaking a white bed sheet in a bucket with one pot of coffee mixed with one pot of water produces a really nice organic tan color when you dry the fabric- I air dried mine on a line, not sure what using a dryer will do. But I was a tiny bit dissatisfied in that the color was plenty “cream” enough but it wasn’t grey enough. In cotton canvas that has weathered outdoors one sees a lot of grey in the cream color.

So I took about two tablespoons of black artist acrylic paint and mixed it thoroughly in that same bucket and doused my coffee stained bed sheet overnight again in this black paint and water mixture.

I wrung it out the next day and hung it to dry again. The coffee already IN the fabric likely re-liquefied during this process and as the wet sheet hung to dry I got a lot of streaks in the color which resulted in my double-dipping. Which I am happy with since its my belief a real sail would not be of uniform tone.

Here is a photo of an unstained white bed sheet and my bolt of twice-stained sailcloth on a dark grey board.

Its difficult to get a “true” photo representation of color when dealing with white and grey colors, I could have shifted the light I was using, or used the cameras flash, and the results would be a dramatically different set of white and grey colors in the other photo.  But this does show the change in tone.

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For the sake of understanding the nomenclature, here is a good annotated drawing of a sail. This one represents  a  sail from the late 1800’s but will do for now, it’s a good  drawing and labels the parts of the sail.  This image is from the terrific book The Sailmakers Apprentice by Emiliano Marino, a book aimed at those making their own traditional sails for full sized vessels. It’s PACKED with really high quality drawings and watercolors by Christine Erikson. 

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Over two hundred years old, the Fore Topsail of H.M.S. Victory, said to be set at the Battle of Trafalgar, amazingly still exists. Here are some photos. Legend has it the sail is torn with shot holes from the battle, but it is  acknowledged that some of the damage is from post Trafalgar souvinier hunters cutting off swatches. And to support this there was recently a swatch of the sail at auction.

Poking around on the web I came up with some more stuff on Victory's existing Fore Topsail. In fact I am pretty sure this website is new or at least I have seen none of its images of the Victory sail before. It looks like the sail is getting some respect at last: http://www.kategillconservation.co.uk/portfolio/last-surviving-fore-topsail-hms-victory

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I love canvas. I learned to sew canvas with Palm and Needle, the technique which was always used to make sails for ships. Here is a shot of a sailmaking shop, a scene that would be duplicated in every seaport town on the planet but now faded to obscurity. It was people like this who sewed the sails our models represent.

 

 

How do you represent their work on a models sails? Picture how the sails are made: The longest possible bolts of canvas, which come straight from the loom, are delivered to the sail maker and he sews them edge to edge to make the fabric of the sail. It’s generally acknowledged that the raw canvas was always 24” wide. This figure is repeated all over the place and I suppose it reflects the physical properties of the loom the canvas was made on.

So you have to represent the seams of the cloths edge-sewn together. (The individual panels are known simply as cloths). The cloths and their seams are vertical and parallel to the leaches of the sails on Square sails, but on for and aft sails the seams can run in a few different directions and sometimes two halves of a staysail will have seams running in two different directions on the same sail.

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Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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As you may imagine there is a specific seam used to edge-sew the cloths together, its called a Flat Seam and it involves two parallel rows of stitches run through the two edges of canvas which are folded over each other in a way that locks the two cloths together. In modern sewing there is a very similar seam called a Flat Felled Seam and this is the seam on the legs of your blue jeans, the double topstitched seam we all know so well.

Here is a photo of an actual Palm and Needle sewn Flat seam sewn in cotton canvas. There is also a collage photo of some colored paper. The way the colored paper is folded represents the way the two cloths of canvas are fitted together. Where the layers overlap represents the width of the Flat Seam. You can see how this fold covers the edges of the fabric and will prevent them from unraveling. The double row of stitches run along the folded edges where the canvas overlaps, one seam on each side. You may also notice that the right hand seam in the photo has a deeper crease under it. This is because each of the two rows of stitches are sewn into opposite sides of the sail, which differs from the Flat Feled seam on your jeans which are machine sewn from the same side of the fabric.

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Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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So above a certain scale, if you want to represent the sails you should also represent the seams where the cloths are sewn together. How to do this?  A LOT of people actually sew numerous parallel seams in the material they are using for their sails, with a full size needle and thread. This technique gives you an unmistakable “Sewn” look, since it is actually sewn. But it’s very difficult to sew accurately spaced parallel seams consistently across a piece of fabric on a sewing machine. What often happens is you can manage to sew twenty seams perfectly then the twenty first seams have a divergent bend in it. This will stand out like a sore thumb alongside the perfect seams.

There are also two other significant problems with a real sewn seam on a model: Stitch width and puckering. The best machines allow very short tiny stitches and you can buy a very thin needle and use very very thin thread. But the problem is you are still going to have hugely out of scale stitches, something like four stitches per scale foot. And the nature of the sewing process pulls the material together in a way that causes visible puckering of the fabric around the seams. We have all seen this puckering, even on the very best ship models in the world’s greatest collections. They form a rippling pattern across the surface of the sail.

Its easy to accept the puckering though since- this is my theory- our brains read the puckering and see it as evidence that this is a sewn piece of fabric. The puckers impart an organic look to the fabric our brains accept.

But there simply is no such puckering on a full sized sail.

The row of stitches  does  tend to blend together and the result IS something that looks like the Flat Seam. But I wound up preferring seams drawn on in white ink.

Here is a photo of one of my early attempts at a sail where I used a sewing machine, alongside a non-sewn constructed sail of the type I am now working on. The sail on the left has the look of a piece of fabric, the sail on the right has very little visible texture and has seams drawn on with white ink.

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Its very important that you iron the sailcoth to make it as flat as you can, no wrinkles at all!  I tack the sailcloth down and I draw a very light outline of the sail I am making in pencil and I make up a ruler showing dots on every two scale feet. The Heller Victory is 1/100 scale. Then using a T-square I draw the lines that represent the seams. I have tried using a lead pencil of various harnesses and this works O.K. and I have also tried colored pencils, brown tan grey and ocher earth tones, trying to achieve a look like I see in the photos of real sails. White suited my idea of what the seams should look like, so I have used Prismicolor White on one or two models. But these high-end artist colored pencils are very soft and difficult to sharpen- just as you are about to finish with the sharpener, the tip of the lead breaks off. I should have looked for cheaper colored pencils.

But I was happy to find a Japanese pen with white ink called Uni-Ball Signo (UM-153) from the Mitsubishi Pencil Co. This pen writes really well in opaque white on most surfaces. Unfortunately it writes indifferently on the fabric I am using and I have to keep scribbling on a piece of scrap paper to get the ink to keep flowing.

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Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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Next its time for the stiffening and shaping of the sails. As I said, I want the sails to appear to be drawing wind, billowing and curved.

To get this I have tried all the methods that come to mind. I have made wooden forms and draped the sails over them, and I have hung the sails suspended from their corners allowing gravity to pull them into the curved shape.

I have used ceramic bowls and an inflatable beach ball.

The stiffening agent I use has changed over time. First it was Minwax water soluble Polycrylic. This worked to stiffen the sails and they would take and keep the shape after the stuff dried, but it was still to flexible.

I tried corn starch. It works too but its not very good. It has the benefit of being redily available and inexpensive though.

I was using a product called Stiffen Stuff, sold in craft stores expressly for stiffening the wrinkles in draped fabric. This non toxic water based stuff was fine until I discovered GAC-400, a water based acrylic liquid intended to stiffen fabric made by the Golden company. Golden makes the acrylic paint I use. It’s a bit on the pricy side and it may be hard to find but its my new favorite.

I considered clear nail polish, but the smell is awful and I never tried it. I am CERTAIN the two part epoxy resin used on fiberglass boats would do the trick but it is expensive smelly and as messy as could be.

Here is a photo of a staysail draped over a hole cut in a piece of cardboard.  Its painted with the GAC-400 first, then tacked in place. It dries in an hour or two but I leave it overnight. The next photo is of some cured sails hanging on a line.

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Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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Hi Jersey City Frankie

 

Great right up an the sails for the HMS Victory, you sure have put in a lot of research into your sails for her, I am building a scratch build of an early 1900th fishing schooner the Annie M. Parker that I must start thinking of a set of sails for her, you sure have given me a lot of ideas to think about, ENJOY.

 

Regards Lawrence

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Thanks Lawrence. I think it is the right decision to go with sails on the model, but many disagree. Its a contentious issue with few people sitting on the fence. Arguments against often say the sails never look good enough but I think this is due to people not taking the sails as seriously as they take the hulls and rigging.  Its easy to think they are just rectangles of white material glued on at the end.  I think you have to consider the sails to be just as daunting a prospect as any other part of the build, and just as worthwhile to include.

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There is plenty more on a sail than just the seams of the cloths. In use, stress would come to bear on certain parts of the sail and these areas would tear unless reinforced.

Reef Bands are the most visible. Also a lower and thicker horizontal band called the Middle Band was sewn on Courses and Topsails and there were vertical cloths taken up to this band from the foot of the sail from the locations of the  Buntlines. On the after side of the topsail a large square panel six or eight cloths wide and as high as the Middle Band, called the Top Lining, was put on to take the chafe of the top and the sail, which it would routinely press against when the sails were aback. All the square sails had Leach Linings, a full extra cloth sewn vertically on the outermost cloths of the leach of the sail.

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I made up this stuff with the same fabric I used for the sails. But to cut long lengths of it that would be only an eight of an inch or so wide, I had to do something to keep the material stable. So in this case I mixed up a fairly thick batch of corn starch on the stove and plunked some of my fabric in there. I took it to the ironing board and ironed it flat and the result was a card like stiffness I could cut easily with an exacto and a ruler, very few errant threads were able to overcome the stiffness of the starch.

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I glued the bands over the curved surface of the sails. If I had glued these bands on before I put on the stiffening agent, they would act as a ply resisting the curve I wanted to impart. Put on AFTER the curve was set, they serve to reinforce the shape as set.

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The various bands add opacity to the overall sails, just as on the actual sails. They also tend to pull subtly at the curvature of the overall sail and create lines of demarcation which I like too. I honestly have no idea where I will display the completed model, but I like the idea of sunlight filtering through the sails and showing detail this way. In all honesty I have no idea if I can afford or even have ROOM for this huge model in a case. If I build a case at all it would be plexiglass.

Without a case I would be resigned to putting up with all the dust grime and damage and who wants that? I will climb that mountain when I get to it.

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Gluing on the hundreds of Reef Nettles is sooooooooooooooooo boring. But you gotta do it. Not much is written about these lines, I am sure you could find a quote saying "how long they are" but my belief is that in actual practice it would be on a case by case basis. Even on a single sail, I believe the lower reef band's nettles would be a bit longer than the ones above, to account for the greater amount of sialcloth they would need to encompass. Thoughts?

I built a very large model of just a single mast once,  like one of those Cross Section models but in this case six feet tall and only the mast and its rigging. I will photograph it one day and put it up. Anyway, on this model, since it was so huge, I put in the Reef Netles like in actual practice by having one line pierce the sail at the reef band and one half of this single nettle hangs down both the fore and aft side of the sail. But even on this huge scale, the nettles poked through too horizontally, they didn't drape strait down the sail from the reef band. What I am saying is: Don't sew the nettles through the sail, glue on each half fore and aft, it looks more realistic. In actual practice the nettles would not pop horizontally out of the band, they hang directly down and are in contact with the sail.

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Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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Proceeding logically I should make and install the Course sails on their yards first but I have had a lot of trouble achieving the effect I am trying to get. I want the Course sails to be clewed up and “hanging in their gear”, not furled but drawn up to the yards. The difficulty is in trying to achieve the scale wrinkles in the draped fabric. Here are a bunch of examples of the effect I am looking for from full sized replica ships and period artwork

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Using the same woven fabric bed sheet material I used on the other sails presents difficulties here on the Course sails. Getting the Clewed Up Course sails to look right means trying to get the smallest possible wrinkles to form in the model fabric, and locate these wrinkles in a way that indicates the effect the leachlines Buntlines and Clews cause on a real sail. How to get small wrinkles?

In the past I have used stiffened tissue paper, since this wrinkles up tightly in comparison to woven fabric. But then you have to paint it to get the proper color. I have tried countless times to get this part right, tweeking a scale sail wetted with stiffening agent hanging from a dowel, trying to pull and push and eventually pin in place so it can dry this part and that part of the sail. Frustrating and it never really produces those wrinkles I am after.

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