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There are five basic types of construction used in building a wooden ship model hull:
Instead of using plans made specifically for models, many model shipwrights use the actual blueprints for the original vessel. One can take drawings for the original ship to a blueprint service and have them blown up, or reduced to bring them to the new scale. For instance, if the drawings are in 1/4" scale and you intend to build in 3/16", tell the service to reduce them 25%. You can use the conversion table below to determine the percentage of change. You can easily work directly from the original drawings however, by changing scale each time you make a measurement.
The equation for converting a measurement in one scale to that of another scale is D2 = D1 × F, where:
Example: A yardarm is 6 inches long in 3/16" scale. Find its length in 1/8" scale.
It is easier to make measurements in the metric system and then multiply them by the scale conversion factor. Scales are expressed in fractional inches, but fractions themselves are harder to work with than metric measurements. For example, a hatch measures 1" wide on the draft. You are building in 3/16" scale. Measuring the hatch in metric, you measure 25 mm. The conversion factor for 1/4" to 3/16", according to the conversion table is .75. So 25 mm × .75 = 18.75 mm, or about 19 mm. That is the hatch size in 3/16" scale.
Conversion is a fairly simple task once you start measuring in metric and converting according to the scale.
There is a simple conversion factor that allows you to determine the approximate size of a model by taking the actual measurements of the full-size ship and arriving at a scale factor. It is a rough way of deciding whether you want to build a model that is about two feet long, three feet long, or four feet long.
Here is a ship model conversion example using a real ship, the Hancock. This is a frigate appearing in Chappelle's History of American Sailing Ships. In this example we want to estimate its size as a model. We find that the length is given at 136 ft 7 in, which rounds off to 137 feet.
|from||to 1/8||to 3/16||to 1/4|
|1/8 scale||Feet divided by 8|
|3/16 scale||Feet divided by 5.33|
|1/4 scale||Feet divided by 4|
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