Sadvice please ship rigging

Hi there, i am currently finishing a build of the HMS victory. I am in the process of doing the rigging etc but have come across something that i would like some help with please if at all possible. The rigging is being done with the thread that came with the kit but i cannot seem to get it to look 'slack' of a better word without having the folds in the cotton. has anyone got any suggestions on what can be used to create this effect?


thanks in advance


105 posts

 You could try wetting the thread and letting it dry while stretched a bit - that should remove the folds.

Alternatively source something suitable on a spool


2617 posts

Community Moderator

 In real life the ratlines would not be drooping

Owner of the Airfix Tribute Forum

John Symmons

978 posts

Hi Vickb 17 UK.

I take it the thread that came with the kit is some sort of rope coloured or black cotton, like sewing thread, and if it's been roughly wound round a cardboard keep you'll have bends or kinks in it. If this is the case you'll have to carefully wash it without getting it tangled (easier said than done.) then hang it up to dry with some small weights to keep it straight. When dry and before using it run it through some bees wax, do not use ordinary candle wax as this doesn't work, this will stop the thread from fraying and becoming hairy, and make it easier to get a small amount of sag or loose tension. but you might find it better to replace the thread with some nylon or mono-filiment thread on a reel, just remember to not pull the thead off the top of the reel as then you'll put a twist in it, it should be pulled of with the reel rotating as on a sewing machine.


As Ratch said above, the rat-lines, those ladder type things that go from the decks to the crows nests shouldn't really have any slack, the same thing goes for the standing rigging that's the rigging that holds the mast up. The only rigging that had slack is the running rigging, that's the rigging that hold the sails, and the spars the sails are arrached to. if you use bees wax it should be possible to put a slight bend in the thread and it should hold that shape, just don't tension it too much.


Hope this helps and good luck and if it's an Airfix kit would love to see the results of your endevours.


Remember we do this for fun                                     John the Pom.


2617 posts

Community Moderator

 The cotton supplied recently comes in reels with a frame to make the ratlines,

Standing rigging is tarred black and running rigging is brown (you can dip the cotton in tea to stain it brown). I use thicker black cotton (bought from a haberdashers) for standing rigging.

Owner of the Airfix Tribute Forum

Peter s

40 posts

I don't make ships but for radio wires on planes i use really thin brass rod (0.25mm). Cut it with scissors and use superglue to fix. It made perfect rigging wire on a 1/72 swordfish. I used to make large scale armour and found elastic made better tow ropes than anything else. I got the tip from a BBC documentary on the st nazaire raid (presented by Clarkson) they used elastic for Cambletowns rigging as it looked better than anything else. You could buy a reel of fine black stuff easily.

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