Category Archives: French Training Ship Belem

Square Rigger thoughts…

I just realized something this morning that I have never given much thought to. As I build this ship, particularly now that I’m into the Riggings, I’m coming to learn more and more how a Sailing Ship works. My last Model was actually a Boat. And a Fore and Aft Rig at that. This Ship is my very first Square Rigger. I must confess that I had very little understanding about how these ships work until now. Which is one of the reasons that I began to build this model and modeling in general.

For me, it’s a pretty relaxing hobby, I must admit. Anyway, as I’m proceeding up the Main Mast, I’m starting to realize that these Sails were mainly controlled from the Deck. The men climbed them, of course, but mainly to secure the sails once they became fixed in the closed position. I imagine a lot of people simply assume that the men climbed up the riggings and out into the yards and were doing the pulling of the sails with their hands. Which simply wasn’t true. It just seems that way especially how they’re being portrayed in the movies. The sails are being pulled up or in by the Clewlines and Buntlines. Also, there are other lines which are used to lift the Yards up and down. Of course, there are stays which are used to control the angle of the sails. On my next build, the HMS Surprise, I’m going to pay more particular attention to that detail. Because these lines are supposed to come down to a particular position and Belaying Pin. Which makes sense if you think about it. That way the men would know exactly which line to un-secure and secure in order to control a particular sail.

Anyway, these are some of the things that occur to me while I build.

Just attaching all the Running Lines, Clewlines, Buntlines for the Main Upper TopSail.

Main Upper TopSail

Began work on the Main Upper TopSail. I was pre-making all the blocks and I thought it looked pretty funny about what they resembled.

Another thing that I find a little bit annoying is the fact that Artesania Latina didn’t provide me with enough of this 10 string to finish.

So so now I have to go down to Michael’s to buy some more string.

Main Lower TopSail

Just finishing up with the Main Lower ModelsTopSail.

I had about a day’s worth of delay while I repaired the Port Ladder to the Poop Deck.

Most all the Rigging is going faster now that I have figured out what is what. Due in most part from looking at my book Rigging Period Ship Models.

I can now rig the the Sails an Yards without too much instruction. I now know the different parts of the Sails.

Repairing the Ladder

Now that I’m restoring the Port Side Ladder which I broke, I’m thinking about doing the same thing to the Starboard Side as well because I slightly damaged it and it’s a bit askew. I decided the flimsy metal needed some support so I’m using a piece of Plank wood 5 cm x 2 cm and sanded it down so that it’s only about 2 mm wide.I tried Superglue but it wouldn’t hold so I’m using Aleene’s Rapid Dry. It’s just that the drying time is a lot longer and it will have a rubbery consistency. Which is okay with me, as long as it sticks and looks good.Made the other side –I made these little braces and delicately put them on. Luckily I had one Step that was still glued on for a guide.Then I hardened everything up with dabs of Superglue.I’m just going to let it dry for awhile before proceeding.

Finally got all of it repaired and painted –

Notice how the Port Ladder has those Braces that run the length of it.

Now I can get back to the Sails… Main Lower TopSail next.

Broke the Ladder

I ended up breaking the Ladder (Stairs) which go up to the Poop Deck. It was flimsy to begin with. It was simply a piece of laser-cut metal that I had to bend into shape.

It’s supposed to look like this –

But it now looks like this –

I’m now considering how to repair it. I’m probably going to make a couple of pieces of wood so that the individual steps at least have something to hold on to. Rather than the flimsy piece of metal from the Steps to the Rails… like this –

Main Sail

By some miracle I got the Main Sail in. I was worried about the Chain in the middle and the Blocks underneath but it all came out perfectly. Love it when that happens!

I did break that little Fife Rail while trying to drill that little hole.

Everything is getting squeezier and squeezier. The next Sails are going to be a challenge.

After this, it will be finished for all intents and purposes.

Sail Rigging Pattern

I don’t know the individual names of all the components for these Sails and Yards. I did just order a book from Amazon about Rigging Period Ship Models. Hopefully they’ll have all the names in there.

Anyway, the Yards get connected to the Mast by way of these Semi Circular Metal Bars. I’m sure on the real ship, they would swivel.

Then, the Sails have a line connected to the ends which is run through 2 Blocks and is run through the middle to the Belaying Pins.

There is a Line that goes to the top for support which also goes down to the Belaying Pins.

Then there’s also a line that connects to the end which runs up to the Blocks and which gets passed through some holes in the Top and gets tied off like the others.

Fore Royal Sail

The Yard on this Fore Royal Sail was actually the very first Yard that I created. I only used 2 supports for the Foot Ropes verses the 3 on each side like I did for the rest of them. I didn’t think it looked all that bad so I just left it. Other than that, it was pretty uneventful as far as Sail installation. They all pretty much follow the same rigging pattern.

I did make one of mistake though. Instead of using Double Cleave Blocks for these Stays that come of the ends of the Top Gallant and Royal Sails, I mistakenly installed a Single so it was a complete redo.

This is the Main Mast. These Blocks have the Running Stays coming back from the ends of both the Fore Top Gallant and Fore Royal Sails.

Belaying Pins

Lesson learned. I’m going to be a lot more careful with my next ship as far as the belaying pins goes. I think I’ll probably end up buying those wouldn’t belaying pins from model ship yard. They’re not all that expensive and I’m just going to get a big pack of them.

Little did I know that these belaying pins were for more than just show. I should have made more room on the bottom so the pins so that I could loop the strings around them.