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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:42 pm 
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Hello fellow modellers!

Having rigged around 100 model ships using stretched sprue- in ever finer diameters- and receiving much e-mail requesting information on how to rig with stretched sprue...

I felt it prudent to consign a few photos and thoughts to a permanent record here at MW.com.

Basic Principles....

Making stretched Sprue

update! video clip here:

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v56/Livingston/Modelling%20Clips/?action=view&current=StretchingSpruewithJimBaumann.mp4
-----------------------------

This is a simple process that can yield enormous quantities of supremely fine modelmaking material-completely free!
Traditionally one would hold a piece of sprue over a candle and pull apart slowly.
For rigging this has the disadvantage that it often results in uneven thickness and can contain small lumps. This is because as the sprue is stretched one side cools-and the other then stretches-this unevenness is reflected in the final result.

It is also important to use 'good' sprue.

I have for years been slowly melting down the runners and parts of a black moulded Airfix HMS Victory for standing rigging--and the brown plastic spars of a wrecked Revell Cutty Sark...
The raw material for stretched sprue does not have to be sprue-it can also be the actual plastic parts
Attachment:
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When making stretched Sprue I recommend doing so in a room that is ventilated by a very gentle draft - ideally adjacent to workbench- the byproduct of smoke or smuts that can occur when heating styrene should be removed by the ventilating breeze-not the stretched sprue produced form the bench!!

My favourite method is to hold the sprue in my left hand-and the lighter in my right hand.
Attachment:
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Light the sprue by holding the flame to the SIDE of the sprue piece flame
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--allowing it to just catch light
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Drop the lighter on the bench, change hands whilst blowing the flame out and dab the molten end of the sprue onto the far end of a piece of white smooth card( I steady the card on the bench using my left hand)
Attachment:
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Initially for the first 2 inches( 50 mm) or so pull gently until the desired diameter is reached
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Once the correct gauge has been reached( within a split second) pull away swiftly as far as your arm can reach
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Stretched Sprue is free- so make as much as you can use in a given rigging session
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It can be made thick or thin to choice
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Preparing to rig with stretched sprue
----------------------------------

Rigging a 1/700 modelship is a tricky thing to photo-document effectively. The following is in the main a text description.

Tools required for successful sprue rigging!
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1 Fine tweezers- parallel at the ends-all sharp edges polished to round using very very fine 'flour' abrasive paper-very light pressure action

2 Fine tweezers- as above- but more pressure required- gives better feel when in delicate situations-prevents the tweezers 'sliding' out of grasp

3 Fine tweezers, as above but cranked at ends; ideal for threading in between tripod mast legs and existing strands of rigging without damage

4 Sharpened cocktail sticks- use these for application of the cement- unlike pieces of wire these can be operated under perfect control - without flexing or springiness- and thereby not damaging the delicate rigging that may be adjacent to the piece of rigging being installed

5 Gas lighter- with controllable flame height

6 Revell Proffessional liquid polystyrene cement- this has in my experience offered the best compromise so far with liquid poly adhesives- not so thin that it evaporates too quickly-not so thick as to leave blobs

7 Plentiful supply of sharp blades. Knifes are a personal choice-essential is only that they are sharp- blunt knife edges crush sprue- and distort it before use

8 Flat 'stamp collectors' type of tweezers- again has all edges reduced to soft radii by polishing- ideal for the application of very thin longitudinal horizontal ( antennae) sprue runs, where the weight( really!) of the sprue hanging over the edges of conventional narrow tweezers could kink the sprue piece

Application of stretched sprue rigging to ship

Essential preparation...When constructing the model substitute plastic or resin masts and yard arms with metal replacements.
Rigging places cumulative loads on masts and yards-these can distort and pull out of alignment plastic masts.

Place a drop of the Revell liquid poly cement on a flat surface.
I use old CD's or DVD's as my glue pallete. I use a fresh pool ( 3 drops or so) of glue for each end of a piece of rigging; space and adequate supply of glue is important!

I rig midships outwards, lower rigging first working upwards. This generally prevents problems with access at the closing stages of rigging.

On the ship that is being used here as the example- HMS Scylla- the signal halyards terminate next to the flag lockers at the aft end of the lower bridge.
Select an over-length piece of tan sprue for running rigging, hold in tweezers, dip one end into fresh pool of glue; the sprue will start to melt and from a small ball.
Apply the 'ball end' to the LOWER end of the signal halyard position. Holding the model at a suitable angle, rest the sprue 'halyard' on to the chosen yard.
Make a new pool of glue. Dip cocktail stick in glue and apply a tiny drop onto the chosen position on the yard; and using tweezers PUSH-not pull the sprue onto the droplet of glue- it will grab immediately.

Using the same cocktail stick, dipped in a fresh pool of glue, apply the stick onto the yard to the side of the sprue; it will melt and kink,- remove the cocktail stick-complete with the waste sprue.
You should now have a clean attachment- with no odd ends or blobs.

On this model I applied small blobs of WHITE Glue( PVA/wood glue) to the underside of the yard to simulate the pulley-blocks for the signal halyards; ergo I needed to apply tan sprue to EACH side of the blobs- halyards go up as well as down!
Attachment:
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Do not worry unduly about getting it taut or straight...

The same procedures apply to all aspects of rigging standing rigging, braces and shrouds etc.

Once one side of the yards have been rigged-it is time to tension the rigging !

Many modellers have their pet techniques for this, ranging from dental hot wax tools to soldering irons to lighting a match and using the dying heat from the extinguished match...
I have no experience of the dental wax tool-so cannot comment.
The soldering iron has the disadvantage that the heat radiates in all directions- including where one may not wish to have heat!!
The match method has the inherent disadvantage that it is an inconsistent source- ie it gets colder unpredictably.

I use smoke... generated by Incense ( Joss) sticks in chosen aroma-sandal wood, apple etc etc! :big_grin:

Smoke is a directional source- ie heat rises- as does smoke. To get the smoke to pass across the chosen piece(s) of rigging the model must be held ABOVE the smoke....

For the smoke to rise vertically in a straight line we must eliminate all air movement in the room.

Take frequent breaks and ventilat at short intervals.

By inclining the model at different angles to the smoke source rigging tensioning can be carried out precisely on individual strands of rigging.
Attachment:
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Note I am holding the model above me-so that I can see the rigging silhouetted against the white ceiling-and can thereby tune the smoke line to my chosen piece of rigging
Attachment:
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This is easy with all 1/700 models- holding the 1/350 resin Roma Battleship above my head was more challenging!! :heh:

Attaching vertical lines to horizontal antennas should only be done using Matt varnish as an adhesive-otherwise the longitudinal will melt and snap if poly cement is used...
Attachment:
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If it is desired to have the longitudinals sag gently- as in real life; here is a cunning plan!!

All models made of plastic/resin expand as they get warmer. To try and create the above effect we need to make the model longer.!!

I heat the modelling/rigging room to a temperature that is way above that where the model is usually displayed; rig the longitudinals, and tension them to be straight-with the model and its base warm.

When the model cools to normal room temperature an even gentle sag will be visible! :thumbs_up_1:

Especially effective in 1/700 square rigged model ships
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Lines that split into a 2:1 purchase via a pulley-block-such as on sailing ship braces, can be easily simulated by setting up first one line, then a small dab of white glue-allow to set. add the second line , attach to the white glue using the sprue-dipped-in-liquid poly -as before. The fume will soften the initial line allowing the 'pulley' to fall square between the two lines
Attachment:
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Stretched sprue can also be used for 'structural' rigging- where it is collectively load bearing, such as on this SSZ Scout airship on my 1/700 HMS Furious 1917
Attachment:
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Good luck! Any comments or suggestions welcome

Jim Baumann :wave_1: :wave_1:

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:14 pm 
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Jim Baumann is a magician! He can make flames appear in his hands!

:big_grin:


Thanks for the detailed guide, Jim :smallsmile:

Edit: Oh wait, n/m - I didn't see the lighter there the first time around, despite looking for it...

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Last edited by Timmy C on Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:40 pm 
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Gosh Jim,the truth is that I use your method from quite time ago,but seeing it in your hands ,is amazing your dexterity,thanks Jim ,you're always be the master. :wave_1:


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:27 pm 
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Hi Jim!

You make it look so simple - you just forgot one small detail: practice! ;)
Thank you so much for all your trouble in producing this EXCELLENT tutorial
:wave_1:

See you soon,
Rui

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:30 pm 
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:huh: :scratch:

Man , that guy is nuts :tongue:

just kidding , Jim , I always am in awe when I see what you can accomplish with your hands full of fingers :big_grin: :thumbs_up_1:

respectful regards :worship_1: ,

Laurent

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 3:26 am 
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I find one of the most difficult elements of rigging is funnel stays, as in attaching them at the same height on the funnel, if you work from the bottom up, it can be difficult to attach the stay sufficiently but without leaving glue marks. Attaching top down makes it hard to get an anchor point.

Mike

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:46 am 
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mike mccabe wrote:
I find one of the most difficult elements of rigging is funnel stays, as in attaching them at the same height on the funnel, if you work from the bottom up, it can be difficult to attach the stay sufficiently but without leaving glue marks. Attaching top down makes it hard to get an anchor point.

Mike


I have the same problem.

Rob

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:39 am 
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Jim:

Excellent tutorial, as usual. Many wonderful hints and tricks! I wish to express my most sincere and grateful thanks to you, Jim


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 12:31 pm 
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Great article Jim :thumbs_up_1:

John


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 3:20 am 
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While Jim makes everything look great, and on this tried and used method which by the way works really well, could I possibly throw my penney's worth in - I use the dribble method, only the other day I brought metallic thread .30mm 10p each for 2 spools (300m) I weight one end and tie the other, allow thin super glue to run down, wipe up and down with wooden side of a paint brush to get rid of any lumps and bumps, once dry, it goes all nice and stiff, you can either leave it silver or paint whatever colour you like, messure and cut to length, dab both ends in super glue (once you've the correct length) it will instantly grab the plastic and hold, with some plastic stretching, this becomes weak and often if you're heavy handed like me, it will brake, the worst that can happen with dribble thread is that you knock it off, then its just a simple case, a very small dab of super glue and re-attach the line, don't knock it until you try it.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 11:56 am 
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Jim,

This is a very well-done post and topic.

I have used stretched sprue for antenna on aircraft for a while. I have just gotten back into modeling and am looking forward to building my first ship model. I have never thought of melting the end and then attaching it to a stable object... and then stretching it. I will have to try that.

Again, very well done.

Rob

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:35 am 
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Holy hell. That is going to take forever on my 1/350 yamato. Any idea on if I have to do research on where the antennas were placed on the ship?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 2:21 pm 
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Jim,

I was wondering, you say you use old Airfix sprues for making the lines, but have you ever used the sprues from Tamiya kits? Specifically those they label ">PS<"?

I was curious if these sprues give any better results or if regular plastic ones work just as fine.

Once again, you are putting a lot of us less talented modelers to shame :big_grin:

JP


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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 1:58 pm 
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This article answers many of my worries about rigging ships. I had used silver wire core from speaker cables for (say it quietly - biplanes), but this looks as though it could be a better way. And it gives me an excuse to use some incense sticks in my stash - well every modeller has a stash don't they?
Thanks for putting the time and effort into this tutorial Jim, very much appreciated.
Ray


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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 8:49 am 
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Thank you very very much, your method makes sense, :woo_hoo: now i can/should finally finish my USS Elliott DD963 (DML 1:350 Spruance) spent nearly 3 years on her, scratch builded the masts and half rigged ten yers ago, my arms wasn`t long enough for my method. my problem now, will be to remove the old rigging.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:47 am 
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Please forgive me if this doesn't work, but you can buy very thin copper-wire (normally used for elektric devices) which is thinner than a hair. Is there any reason why this isn't used instead of plastic?

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 12:08 pm 
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In my experience, wires tend to "kink" - it's very easy to make them have a bend in the length that is very difficult to get rid of. They're great for shorter-lengthed things, like modern whip antennae, but longer runs are quite difficult to keep straight.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 12:00 am 
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well i wish i had found this thread a couple of days ago.i decided to use spruge on my romas rigging,l made lovely strands in differant thickness.i was proud as punch.i glued a few on and as i was gluing them on others fell off :heh: .so i gave up and used tread. i had know idea ca glue melted the stuff.that Jim is one smart cookie,i will try his metod of attaching it.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:27 am 
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One of the few tasks in modelling that I have not found daunting is stretching sprue: sure will try your method though - looks great.

One thing has me scratching my head though. I assume that the Revell polstyrene cement you recommend is what we call Testors. Because the stuff is widely used in armor land for lots of things (except gluing plastic parts) I've spent some time with it. I'm sure I'm simply not seeing something simple, but here goes. You urge replacing plastic masts etc with metal. I can see that very thin plastic rod isn't going to be ideal for holding anything that exerts pressure. However, I've been testing attaching some stretched sprue to some left over PE sprue. It does bond. But it does unbond very easily. Maybe I've missed something, but I thought super glue or apoxy was recommended for resin and PE and not plastic cement. Anyway, I see glued sprue falling off easily.

Obviously your method works or you wouldn't use it. Is this just a matter of using extremely light plastic sprue and being very careful. Or maybe a good sized dollop of glue?

Eric Bergerud
PS: thanks for the tip on checking the 96 scale Iron Duke. It was blast going through the build and I learned a lot that will come in very handy.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:59 am 
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ebergerud - using stretched sprue isn't as easy as it looks, once you can master this however, the effect is very rewarding indeed. The thing you have to remember is glue will destroy plastic, so the thinner the plastic the more glue will attack it and melt before your eyes, this is where you have to try, try and try again.
A little story - when I first came back into this hobby, a brake of some 38 years, it was a different world, PE was something I had never heard of, and everyone said use super glue. Well, as you or anyone else would tell you, its great for sticking fingers together so there must be something else, I love DIY and built several units and use PVA or wood glue, and guess what, it sticks PE and not fingers, don't make things so complexed that you end up confused over something quite simple.
Try a very small amount of PVA on the stretched plastic, look at Jim's photo's with him (model upside-down) once the line has been secured and allowed to dry (a few sconds) the Joss stick ''smoke'' he is actually targetting that onto the line a little at a time, get it right and its like watching magic believe me it is.
To be blunt, I like using my dribble method of running super glue down very thin fly fishing line, but you'll never get this straight over a distance of 2/3 inches mast to mast will alway be the Jim B method which is a pain in the arse but is best.
Good luck. :thumbs_up_1:


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