Sails or bare yards?

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Two Occre model kits that I have completed included a set of sails.
I chose not to use them: the associated brails, clew lines, sheets etc looked to be very messy and I was not convinced that the models would be enhanced.
While it is possible to scale down the size of sails 1:50 it is not possible to scale the thickness of the canvas to this extent.
This is detrimental to the appearance and authenticity of the model.
There are many glorious pictures and paintings of full rigged ships under billowing sail but this majesty is not conveyed by a model looking sadly becalmed.
I, too, have wondered about doping the sails and letting them dry with a fan behind them but have not tried it.
Perhaps we need some alternative material that could be supplied 'pre-bellied' but I guess plastic would be a big no-no for purists.
As my models lack any water to float in perhaps they do not need sails. Cutty Sark, Victory, Golden Hind, Vasa and many other preserved./replica ships are in dry dock.
So why not my models?
Any thoughts?
 
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Thats a builders choice kind of thing really, if the sails look good to you then use them, if not dont. Everyone see's things
differently so not onechoice fits all. I have heard of guys using Silkspan for sales, it's supposed to be very thin and easy
to work with. Its also much easier not to bother, my choice in my last model. I might just try the Silkspan on my current
build just to try it out.
 

Uwek

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Two Occre model kits that I have completed included a set of sails.
I chose not to use them: the associated brails, clew lines, sheets etc looked to be very messy and I was not convinced that the models would be enhanced.
While it is possible to scale down the size of sails 1:50 it is not possible to scale the thickness of the canvas to this extent.
This is detrimental to the appearance and authenticity of the model.
There are many glorious pictures and paintings of full rigged ships under billowing sail but this majesty is not conveyed by a model looking sadly becalmed.
I, too, have wondered about doping the sails and letting them dry with a fan behind them but have not tried it.
Perhaps we need some alternative material that could be supplied 'pre-bellied' but I guess plastic would be a big no-no for purists.
As my models lack any water to float in perhaps they do not need sails. Cutty Sark, Victory, Golden Hind, Vasa and many other preserved./replica ships are in dry dock.
So why not my models?
Any thoughts?
Hallo and once more welcome to the forum.
I think, that this question is one of the oldest questions and discussions in the modeling community.
You are correct. you can destroy the appearance of a good model with installation of sails not in scale - and also the view onto the masts, yards and rigging are partly impossible. Already on contemporary models you can find rarely sails......
 

Donnie

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The trend seems to be towards either two methods now: fureled sails or no sails mounted at all.
furled sails will still have all the associated full rigging as the sails are just partially or fully hauled up.
No sails might have the lines associated with the clew, leech, bunt, and sheet lines removed along with the sails going into stowage. I have yet to find any solid info on this. But it seems to make sense to take this lines down if no sails are used. These are your sail “management“ lines. All foot ropes will be installed. All yard management will be installed such as yard lifts, braces, etc.
Most all sail material that comes in kits are way out of scale. If you furl the sails, then some material will have to be cut off as there is hardly any way all the material can be bundled up and be manageable. Or you can find some other fabric that is somewhat very thin that looks like canvas.
lastly, I dipped my furled sails in water to shape and form them when I was mounting them to the yard. The yard was still on bench doing this. You will want to have all the rigging on yard when you mount it. But in your case you might already have the yards install. But it is still manageable.
 
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I have always felt that the decision between sails, furled or unfurled, or no sails is purely an aesthetic one. In looking at a model, eye appeal is influenced by the balance between masting and rigging and the hull and fittings. I prefer the no sail or furled sail models, but this is simply my personal choice.
 

JPC

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There are a few other points to consider, I think. First, considering that most modellers will want to preserve their models in a case, then they should consider that the volume of that case will be the same with or without sails on the model. But the case without the sails will generally look too large. With sails, the model will be better in harmony with the whole display, as sails somehow fill the case better than without them.
And sails add a huge amount of interesting details and show the complexity of sailing vessels.
Also, one or two mast boats look better, I think, with some canvas on them.

That being said, if you plan to exhibit your model without a protective case, then it is I think, very much advisable to omit the sails, as they are fantastic dust catchers.

One last point is that sails need the same care as the rest of the build and will indeed require some stitching or/and glueing. And if no sails are to be rigged, then please do not forget to attach the upper yards in their lowered position.
 
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Tom Lauria has a three part you tube series "Making Ship Model Sails from Silkspan" which are step by step tutorials. I made sails following his procedures.
One is a sail for a Grand Banks dory and the second on a Chesapeake Bay Flattie model. Both are shown and the sails are furled or rolled, You can draw on all the sail details (seamed panels, reinforcements, reef patches, etc.) I used a mechanical pencil. There are a number of steps you have to follow but its a fairly simple process. Making a flown sail, which he demonstrates for a simple Beetle Cat sail, is more difficult. He's a professional model builder, I think,; I'd never attempt one. I like the results I got. Some model shops are having trouble getting silkspan these days. I got more last year from www.easybuiltmodels.com
 

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When constructing sails for a full rig model you need to add stiffeners to help shape the sails. These can include sewn cross seams and edges. Around the edges add a thin wire into the edge seam overlap along with the rigging rope. Once complete the sail can be shaped with the wire. Helps keep the sails from looking droopy as in a doldrums. Bob Hunt has a mini practicum on making sails on Lauckstreetshipyard.com.
 
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I think Donnie makes a good point that furled sails can be a good compromise--plus you can adjust the volume of "canvas" so they look right. In general I think sails hide a lot of the interesting work on a model and unless done right can really detract from an otherwise good piece of work.
 
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Oct 12, 2017
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With my first build (HMS Bounty - Constructo) I placed thin wire along the edge of each sail so that I was able to shape the sail to resemble catching the wind. You do not see the wire. I overlapped the edge of the sail to cover the wire and then sewed the overlap to the body of the sail. For my eyes it enhanced the appearance of the model providing a more realistic view of the ship under full sail.

Building the San Lidefonso (Occre) and I plan to do the same with her sails.IMG_0003 (2).JPGnow and plan to do the same with her sails.
 
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