A Guide To Scale Modeling Essentials

There are a lot of things that every hobbyist is supposed to be acquainted with when it comes to building different types of wooden model ship kits. However, we will begin with learning the difference between a windlass and capstan, where did they go on wooden boats, and what were they used for?


It is a winch, particularly one on a boat, which is an apparatus for moving heavy weights. Usually, a windlass consists of a flat cylinder supported between cheeks at each end, which is rotated by the turn of a handspike put into the barrel. In order to stop slippage, it is typically octagonal in shape on a scale model. It even generally consists of a pinion and gear system to gain an advantage with heavier loads.

Because of limited space on a ship, and as one man could only rotate the drum by a quarter of a turn per pull, the use was discontinued for bigger ships with heavy loads to shift.


It is a broad revolving cylinder with a vertical axis utilized for winding a cable or rope initially, it was even operated by turning a handspike, so efficiently a capstan could simply about be described as a vertical version of a windlass that took up much less space on an already crowded deck. Afterward, editions allowed for two capstans on the same spindle that by the mid-eighteenth century has become the size of the mainmast.

This is a common trap for hobbyists building wooden model ship kits, especially the ones building right from scratch.

Handspikes & Capstan Bars

These are necessary equipment on every actual and scale model and if they’re loose and not joined to the capstan or windlass then the holes in the windlass and the capstan to house such bars are supposed to be square. If the capstan bar is installed in the capstan, every bar is supposed to be about 1/3 the beam of the ship.

Now, let us move towards measuring the thickness of rigging cord. It can be essential to decide where it belongs on the scale model. Fortunately, getting the right diameter measurement is very straight forward. You are supposed to wind the cord over a round object and make ten turns without a gap between the turns but without stretching the cord.

Measure the width made by the ten turns and divide by ten. This process can be performed with any number of turns and then using the number of turns.

Now is the turn to paint wooden scale models. Getting it straight is amongst the key things that give real headaches to hobbyists. You can mull over making use of the blue “no lift” masking tape you get at any of the local hardware stores. Outline the line you’re painting without overlaps making all four corners neat and square.

Paint a thin coat of clear, acrylic matte medium between the tape edges. For wooden model ship kits, you can find a complete selection of paints and finishes that can take the end result to the next level.

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