My Workbench

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Making Ratlines/Shrouds for 1/1200 Ships

Here is the method I primarily use for making ratline shrouds for my 1/1200 ship builds. Back when I first started building Napoleonic ships I tried using common window screen material. This was much too big for the scale, so I started looking around for a replacement. I visited some local fabric shops and found a couple of possible meshes at Hancock Fabrics.
The two on the left are from Hancock's, on the right is the window screen

Closer view of the meshes. Notice the upper right has thicker thread running vertical.
The two examples on the top of the previous photo are my preferred meshes. The smaller one I use for the smaller ships like small unrated 2 to 10 gun boats. The other one is what I use for all the rest. Our local Hancock Fabric store closed in 2016 so I bought a few yards of the mesh, enough to last forever. The description and skew number is 4" Medium Heading 8540CL. It comes in white rolls so must be spray painted black. I also spray it both sides with a cheap fixative like hairspray to keep it from unraveling when cut into small ratlines. Even then I will paint the small cut rectangles with super glue before I cut the diagonals.

The next step is to measure from the chains to the fighting tops and from the fighting tops to the cross tees. Now for each measurement add the width of the chains and the fighting top platforms. Now cut rectangles out matching the recorded measurements, making sure to orient the thicker threads for the long measurement and the thinner threads for the short side.

Cut the rectangle pieces then cut diagonal across from corner to corner to make two ratlines from each rectangle 
At this point I use a solder clamp set in my modeling clamp to hold the ratline.

I cut a length of black thread, coat it with super glue and lay it across the open diagonal cut of the mesh.

Hold the thread in place until it sets then lay it aside to dry.

Cut the tails off and glue each ratline into place.

That's it. Hope this one is helpful.


JTW said...

Thanks for posting this Vol. I'm just trying my hand now at some of Jeff Knudsen's paper models in 1/600, and am trying to decide what I will do for the ratlines. Your tutorial is very helpful, as I've never worked with mesh like that before.

Stew said...

Very clever and well done. The part about adding the thread is very smart. 😀

But I am glad that when I got into AoS gaming the brass rat lines were available! 😀

A Miniatures Hobby Room said...

James, for 1/600 You will want a much larger mesh.

A Miniatures Hobby Room said...

Stew, I did buy a set of Rod's photo-etched ratlines. I thought them beautiful but too large for the scale. Still haven't used them, but may someday. Then I purchased the brass ratline sets for the Sails of Glory phase one shops. These are even more beautiful, much closer to scale and very fragile. I haven't used them either. I have two SOG ships that came with broken masts that I will use them on one day.