Saturday, September 29, 2007

Model Boat Building V: Spars, Masts and Rigging

Ahoy there! Yes, I am finally done with the Yankee Hero. Actually by model boat building standards, this was a quick job; about two months. I was also helped by being on vacation for over a week, which gave me even more time to start. Regardless, I am quite happy it is finished, and to be honest, quite amazed that it looks as good as it does. Many of the little mistakes that you make as you go along mostly fall away in the final product. The Yankee Hero now sits in an honored place next to my new "Master Chief" helmet (from Halo III).

I found building the masts and spars (the things that hold sails that are not attached to the boat itself) to be a simple, but tedious task. Mostly it involves turning your hand and a piece of sandpaper into a lathe to shape a wooden dowel. Attaching the eye hooks and other pieces to the mast is my favorite part (first photo in comic).

Rigging is a different matter, entirely. I am amazed at how complicated the rigging is for even a simple, fishing boat. It really gives perspective when you think about how complicated larger sailing were (and are). Also, tying really tiny knots is not as easy as it looks.

The other interesting issue with rigging is gravity itself. Getting the thread you are using look like heavy rope lines is the hardest part of the whole rigging process. I think I have done a good job, but I can see where a more complicated sailing vessel would pose a huge challenge to a modeler. It helped not to double knot or glue lines until I was pretty sure they were in the right place and the right length and tension. Small tweezers, which I used to adjust the knots, also helped.

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