Friday, December 14, 2012

Selecting an Anchor for Your Ship Model

Selecting an Anchor for Your Ship Model Anchors The first anchors were probably made of stone. The disk-shaped stones had at least one hole in the middle, to attach the line, and the stone anchors probably could serve as ballast as well. Stone anchors have been used in parts of the world until historical times. In Roman times, in the Mediterranean, ship anchors were made of either lead and wood, or entirely of iron. After Antiquity, European anchors are mostly made of iron, often with a wooden stock. From the 19th century, the stock was made of iron instead of wood. Also, the anchor rope was replaced by the anchor chain Anchors should be selected by the era in which the ship was in service. In an earlier article, we spoke of needing to decide early on in the ship model build how you will be displaying the model. All fittings including the anchor should be displayed in conjunction with how the ship is cast i.e. in port, running at sea, in harbor or in battle. The anchor should be attached to your ship model by running a piece of chain through the shackle. A length of rope is then attached to the chain and attached to the windlass. There are many ways of running the rope through the ship to the windlass. There should also be a line attached to the crown that’s used as a trip line to free the anchor form the bottom of the sea should it become entangled. Cast Your Anchor has a large selection of different types of anchors used through the ages. Depending on the size of the ship 3 to 10 anchors and their cables made up the vessels ground tackle. Warship carried an anchor at each side of the bow, and two or more lashed to the channels. Parts of an Anchor Before we examine various types of anchors, we should become familiar with the parts of an anchor. Any anchor consists of the ring (shackle), shank, stock, arms, crown and the fluke or palm. The Ring, or Shackle is attached to the upper part of the shank, to which the cable or chain is attached. The Shank is the perpendicular or middle piece of an anchor. The Stock is made of wood or iron ; if iron, it reeves through the lower hole in the upper end of the shank ; if wood, it is built round the shank, at the same place, and hooped and bolted together ; it stands at right angles to the arms, and being much longer, cants the anchor with one fluke down, which causes it to hook to the ground. Arms are the two triangular pieces at the lower end of the shank, forming hooks, one of which is always hooked or buried in the ground when the anchor is let go, so as to hold the ship in a stationary position. The extreme end of the arm is referred to the bill or pee. The Crown is the lower end of the shank, where the arms or flukes are joined. The Fluke or Palm is the broad triangular piece within the extreme end or bill of the arms. It is so constructed as to have a greater hold of the ground. Bower and Sheet Anchor The bower anchor was used primarily for anchoring the ship. The largest one, called the "best bower" was carried from the cathead at the starboard bow. A sheet anchor is a spare bower. Spanish Anchor The Spanish Anchor is typical of seventeenth to eighteenth century anchors. The general form associated with this time period has a classic arrow shape with a long shank, angular arms, and a wooden stock. Early 18th Century Anchor This kind of anchor was used on British ships, characterized by a straight shank with two arched arms ending in leaf-shaped flukes.At one end of the shank there are two arms, carrying the flukes, while the stock is mounted to the other end, at ninety degrees to the arms. When the anchor lands on the bottom, it will generally fall over with the arms parallel to the seabed. As a strain comes onto the rode, the stock will dig into the bottom, canting the anchor until one of the flukes catches and digs into the bottom. Kedge Anchor In yachts, a kedge anchor is an anchor carried in addition to the main, or bower anchors, and usually stowed aft. Every yacht should carry at least two anchors – the main or bower anchor and a second lighter kedge anchor. It is used occasionally when it is necessary to limit the turning circle as the yacht swings when it is anchored, such as in a very narrow river or a deep pool in an otherwise shallow area. For ships, a kedge may be dropped while a ship is underway, or carried out in a suitable direction by a tender or ship's boat to enable the ship to be winched off if aground or swung into a particular heading, or even to be held steady against a tidal or other stream. Historically, it was of particular relevance to sailing warships which used them to outmaneuver opponents when the wind had dropped but might be used by any vessel in confined, shoal water to place it in a more desirable position, provided she had enough manpower. Grapnel Anchor Used to drag the bottom for lost objects, and to anchor small boats. A traditional design, the grapnel is merely a shank with four or more tines. It has a benefit in that, no matter how it reaches the bottom, one or more tines will be aimed to set. In coral it is often able to set quickly by hooking into the structure, but may be more difficult to retrieve. Grapnels rarely have enough fluke area to develop much hold in sand, clay, or mud. It is not unknown for the anchor to foul on its own rode, or to foul the tines with refuse from the bottom, preventing it from digging in. On the other hand, it is quite possible for this anchor to find such a good hook that, without a trip line from the crown, it is impossible to retrieve. Danforth Anchor A lightweight burying type of anchor with a high holding power to weight ratio. Works best in sandy, muddy or clay bottoms. It uses a stock at the crown to which two large flat triangular flukes are attached. The stock is hinged so the flukes can orient toward the bottom (and on some designs may be adjusted for an optimal angle depending on the bottom type). Tripping palms at the crown act to tip the flukes into the seabed. The design is a burying variety, and once well set can develop high resistance. Its light weight and compact flat design make it easy to retrieve and relatively easy to store. The fluke anchor has difficulty penetrating kelp- and weed-covered bottoms, as well as rocky and particularly hard sand or clay bottoms. If there is much current, or the vessel is moving while dropping the anchor, it may "kite" or "skate" over the bottom due to the large fluke area acting as a sail or wing. Once set, the anchor tends to break out and reset when the direction of force changes dramatically, such as with the changing tide, and on some occasions it might not reset but instead drag. Navy Anchor A heavy ship’s anchor with large flukes and no stock so that the shank can be drawn through the hawshole. The enormous weight of these anchors make them inappropriate for a small vessel.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

December 2012 Newsletter

Welcome to RatLines! WEB SITE: Visit our new website at The new website has clearer pictures, is more searchable and has features that we will be adding overtime. It might sound like fun updating a website but trust us – it wasn’t. We offer information directed solely for model ship builders. You’ll find useful tips, a wide variety of kits, tools & parts for all your shipbuilding needs. What comes after the foghorn? Bounty: Progressing. Got interrupted by the website update. Year three is starting off by building the masts and yards. This is the part I like best. When I’m rigging I feel a bit like a surgeon. Good news is that if I make a slip I don’t kill the patient. I make a lot of slips so I guess I’ll stick with model ships and pass on human bodies! Membership Site. We’re looking at establishing a site for our customers to be able to interact with. In addition to the usual FAQs, Classifieds and build logs, we’ll be adding interesting sections on how to bring your model to life through videos and pictures. Check out this site for an example: Another idea is to provide slides of detailed building of parts. It’s almost impossible to watch a video while you’re building and one picture is usually not enough so multiple pictures that you can hang in your workshop could be very useful. More information to come. Fittings Catalogue: Don’t’ forget we can send you a printed copy of our Ship Model Fittings Catalogue. Just contact us!!! Speaking About Santa: Cast Your Anchor is has been gearing up for the big event. Let’s face it, there’s going to be snow here soon. What better way to hibernate inside this winter by building your dream ship. Cast Your Anchor is well stocked right now. We look forward to hearing you.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Admiralty style ship models were built by ship builders from the 15th to the 19th century. They served as a design aid for the engineers, a simulator for those responsible for operating the vessel and as a “show and tell” display to be used for those raising funds from investors. An Admiralty ship model will have some parts of it un-planked exposing the framing and internal and deck furnishings. Usually masts, spars and some rigging are in place. The keel, stern post and stem are erected and the ribs are attached to the keel. This will then represent the general form of the hull. Some of the planks are then applied to the ribbed frame. In some Admiralty ship models the entire hull will be planked while only a portion of the deck will be planked. In other models, a side of the hull will be left un-planked while the deck is planked. Another version will have the entire hull un-planked while the deck is planked. An Admiralty style ship model could also be a cross section of the hull. This is where all the planking is in place however the model would only represent part of the ship such as the bow, mid section or stern. The advantage of building an Admiralty ship model to the ship model builder is that you can add detail to better represent the purpose and era of the ship. Using the Bounty as an example, representation can be made for the galley, armament room, carpentry shop, hold, captains quarters etc . The Bounty’s botanical mission was to pick up bread fruit plants so some plants can be added as well as an area that would have been used for the studying of plants and animals discovered along its journey. Prior to starting the ship model the builder should not only study the ship that is being represented but also the era in which the ship was built. Ship building changed from century to century. More realism could be added like ballast placed in the hold prior to adding cargo. As an alternative to the standard plank on bulkhead that most ship model kits utilize, the builder can either convert the kit to a plank on frame or purchase one of the few plank on frame kits that are available. Exposed ribs can be fashioned using the bulkhead pieces as templates. Add reinforcement to the ribs between the decks by constructing beams. Some of the plank on frame kits that are available are the US Frigate Confederacy, Bounty, US Essex, America, Victory, USS Constitution and Santisimo Trinidad. Scratch building a plank on frame ship model is also possible. Ensure that you have good quality drawings and are familiar with how ships hulls are designed. If you do build a plank on frame model, you’ll probably achieve more satisfaction. The beauty of any ship model is the intricate detail. A plank on frame ship model allows you to provide detail not just on the upper deck but also on the decks below.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Ship Model Fittings Catalogue

Cast Your Anchor Ship Model Fittings Catalogue TORONTO, ONTARIO – CAST YOUR ANCHOR announces it has published a ship model fittings catalogue to be able to better serve our customers. Cast Your Anchor, Canada’s only nautical hobby store specializing in ship models has published an industry first ship model fittings catalogue. This catalogue has been designed to give our customers an ability to view the entire range of ship models fittings that are available. Once a selection is made, the customer is able to view more product detail on line. The advantages to our customers of a printed catalogue are that no technical savvy is required, you can mail in the order form and pay by cheque or you can shop when its convenient to you to make a phone call. The customer is also not tied to a single location – computer - when he wants to look for fittings for his ship model. We find that a printed catalogue helps our customers to better visualize a specific ship model fitting prior to making a decision to buy. In addition to the ship model fittings there is a small section on selected specific ship modeling tools. There are many tools available but the ones in our catalogue are the tools used by our in house modelers. They are tried and tested and fall into the requirement of a tool that is reliable, well ma de and makes ship model building trouble – free. Our mandate has been to make the hobby of ship modeling an enjoyable experience for all builders. We don’t’ just sell product, we are model builders as well. Because we have tried all the tools and kits we are able to make informed recommendations. We are also very happy to share are building techniques with you. Check out Cast Your Anchor’s website; Our only business is ship model building. ABOUT CAST YOUR ANCHOR CAST YOUR ANCHOR is a one-of-a-kind hobby store focused on ship modeling. In addition to carrying a large inventory of ship model kits, ship modeling tools and ship model fittings we have experienced technicians to help answer any questions related to static or radio control model building. For further information: Wray Hodgson Cast Your Anchor Inc. 416-686-8529 CAST YOUR ANCHOR is a one-of-a-kind hobby facility focused on ship modeling. In addition to carrying one of the largest inventory of ship model kits, ship modeling tools and ship model fittings in North America.

June 2012 Newsletter

June 2012 NEWSLETTER We hope everyone had a terrific un-winter like winter season and your model building went well. We’ve been very busy at Cast Your Anchor! Catalogue: Cast Your Anchor has published its first printed catalogue. We have added model ship building specialty tools to our fittings catalogue and can now send this catalogue to you either through the post office or electronically to your computer. Send an email to and we’ll get a catalogue out to you right away. Fittings: Cast Your Anchor continually adds different fittings to its arsenal of model ship parts. Check with us often to see what’s new. We have also changed how our fittings categories are displayed on our website making it much faster to select the right part. We are also offering to purchase unused fittings from all of our customers. Contact us if you would like to sell your excess fittings. Running on Empty: Our in-store display case is empty. If you would like your work of art to be admired by your fellow modelers or if you would like to offer your model for sale, give us a call and we’ll see if your master piece will fit into the case. Bounty Build: You all are probably wondering how progress is going on the Bounty model I’m building. Not only do I continually spend time ripping apart and rebuilding certain things on the model, I am also obsessed with adding detail to the inside decks. I must say that the Artesania kit certainly allows for imaginative detail and artistic license. This is what this model is all about – a feast for the eye! I want whoever sees it to keep discovering new details as they admire my handiwork. I have revised my timeline to completion to 2014 – good thing I’m not in any rush. Specials We have managed to make some really good buys on fittings in recent months. Check out our specials page often because we’ll be adding the parts as they arrive at our door. And when they’re gone – they’re gone. Gifts Our buyer has been busy over the winter. Check out the new products on our Gift site We have new pre-built models, a line of bells and nautical instruments and a few interesting odds and ends. Cast Your Anchor hopes that you have an enjoyable and safe summer.