January 22, 2016

Advanced Needle Threading 101

2mm blocks from Syren Ship Model Company
No, this is not a new class offered at the local college, it means I have been working on the rigging for the schooner on the museum diorama. This model is N scale, which means the rigging will have to be simplified, as all the components are tiny.  As one ship modeling book I read said, "ship blocks were made to fit human hands, so they are very small when scaled down."  This is very true, especially in N Scale.
Wrapping the strop around the circumference of the block
If I were do make the blocks and deadeyes to scale they would be about 0.020-0.030 inches in diameter.

 Instead of reinventing the wheel in trying to figure out how to make the blocks, I ordered some 2mm blocks from Syren Ship Model Company. These are the smallest blocks they offer.    The owner of the company, Chuck Passaro, is an accomplished ship modeler. Check his web site for examples of absolutely exquisite examples of ship models. While I was on his site, I ordered some 0.008 inch rigging thread.

When the blocks arrived I was dumbfounded. They are so tiny, yet they include two holes for lines and a groove around the circumference for the strops. Wow! Now the challenge is to thread them and install on the ship model.

Tying the block to a boom. 
I have to use three hands, a vise, forceps, and pointy tweezers to thread these blocks. But it is doable.  So far I have completed about half of the blocks I will need for this model.

The deadeyes and ratlines were another challenge.  In this scale, these was no way I could actually rig the deadeyes with 3 lanyards per set. So I used the laser to cut stylized deadeyes with the lanyards included. But even that had to be simplified as true scale lanyards were too fine to laser cut. After 4 tries, I ended up with some nice looking deadeyes.

I am going to omit the ratlines as I don't think I can make them neat enough to look good. Also, they should be thinner line than the shrouds they are attached to, but I am already using my finest thread for the shrouds.

Laser cut dead eyes and lanyards on the foremast. I glued the model to a piece
of 1x2 to make handling it easier. The fore mast booms are rotated to the starboard side
to allow clearance for the marine leg from the mill.
To make the sails I used some tissue paper that was inside an HO Scale Accurail car kit. It is thin with very fine texture,  but seems to be able to survive the handling necessary to make it look like they are furled on the booms.

All this fine N scale work is getting me psyched to try a pungy schooner in O Scale for the Aquia Line layout. With the components 4 times bigger, it should be a fun project and much closer to scale.

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