Saturday, 6 October 2012

Sloop of War - HMS Sophie Part 3

Hi all, and welcome to the third part of how to build a ship for your all conquering world domineering war fleet. Since the last post, I've managed to get two ships ready and painted, one as HMS Sophie, another as French Brig Iena. So.... onto the next stage.

First we need the materials for the masts, rigging and sails. 
  • Bamboo skewers.
  • Cocktail Sticks.
  • Sewing Thread, mine is chestnut colour, but any colour will do...well maybe not any colour pink might be odd for a warship but, if you like pink, then why not :)
  • Some paper, this will be cut into thin strips.
  • Some card, again we will need thin strips.
  • Thin textured card for the sails.

Some of the materials needed.
Cut the bamboo skewers to a desired length, refer to any plan you have made. Cut out a notch on each piece, this is where they are going to join.

Cut out a notch to fix too.
Then join the 2 pieces together. I use PVA glue for this, it's a better join, but it takes awhile to dry. I recommend cutting all your mast pieces first then gluing them all at the same time.

Glued mast.
 For the upper most mast section, use a cocktail stick, again notch out both pieces, although not as deep and glue together.

Here's some I made earlier!
 Cut cocktail sticks to length, for the spars, and cut a little notch in the masts, where they are to be attached. I use a spot of super glue to attach the spars first. When super glue dry, support all the mast and spar joints, with thin strips of paper wrapped around then covered in PVA glue. Repeat for all masts. Carefully drill two little holes in the main mast for the Spanker (I think that's what's it's called) as in the pic below. When all glue is dried, fix to the ships.

Masts ready to attach to ship hulls. 
Ships masted.
Next is the rigging, This can be frustrating, so take your time with it. I will only do a minimum of rigging on my ships as they are gaming models, not show pieces. But if you like a more authentic rigging scheme then feel free to carry on till your happy ;)

For the mast stays, cut three lengths of thread, about 6 inches long, bunch together and tie around the mast, just above the first sail position. You should have equal lengths on both sides.
Thread around mast.
Start on one side, pull each thread reasonably tight and super glue, only a small dot of glue, to hull. Repeat with other two threads, spacing them a couple of millimetres apart. Cut a small strip of card and cover where the threads join on the hull. These will support the join, and will need painting the same colour as the hull later.

Stays on main mast.
Repeat for the other side and for the other mast. I did both ships at the same time.
Both ships with stays complete.
Next add more standing rigging to the masts. I cut a long piece of thread, about 18 inches, doubled it over and tied the ends together. Starting from the spanker, I tied it on, wrapped it around the top of the main mast, the same with the fore mast, then down to the top of the bowsprit. Then back to the Mid sail point on the fore mast, and back to the spar on the bowsprit, tie a knot here because that's it.

Rigging complete.
I brush PVA glue on all the rigging, including the stays, making sure i cover where the thread has wrapped around the masts. This makes the rigging a lot more stiffer and stops any of the knots coming free. When dried, it's time for the sails.

I found some nice textured card at a local art shop, 29p for A4 size, will get around 3 ships out of one sheet.
As I haven't given you any dimensions of masts, sail, spars, etc, this is just a general guide, I'll just say, cut the sails to the required size. Remember to cut them a few mm longer and curve the card, for a billowing look. Glue to the spars with PVA glue, these will have to be held in place to dry. I use a couple of pegs that come from a Christmas gift wrapping set.

Half way with the sails.
I have found working from the back, low to high is the easiest. Also if possible, glue the bottom of the sails to anything they touch, this will keep them secured and help keep the shape of them.

Completed ships.
That's it, ships completed. Hopefully I've explained everything, but if you have any questions, I'll be happy to help. So all that's left to do is set sail and head out to sea.

His Majesty's Ship Sophie and the French Brig Iena slug it out!

HMS Sophie

French Brig Iena
Thanks for looking and take care.
Edit: Forgot to mention all in all the cost of each ship in materials is less than a £1


  1. Really nice. So what scale do these end up being?

    1. Hi Dale, these are 1/300 scale, in wargaming terms it's 6mm large for naval games. The Brig is 5.5 inches long.

      Mark B

  2. Excellent and informative too. You will end up making a whole fleet.


    1. Well... I'm hoping to make a decent fleet of both British and French, also a smattering of a Pirate fleet as well. I'm considering maybe venturing into the fantasy realms too, or combining them, the British Empire taking on those French Orcs or Spanish Elves. Looking at Flintloque has got me thinking....

      Mark B.