George F. Campbell

The neophyte shipmodeller`s jackstay

The GALLEY STACK unfailingly found up toward the forecastle. The cook fire rested in a bed of stones and sand and heated a large oven with boiler or stock pots. If placed well under a forecastle deck a steam grating was fitted over the galley. Fig. 44A. Big ships like the VICTORY had the galley two decks down with a longer chimney stack. More than one ship was lost in the quiet of the night by the stack setting afire the surrounding deckwork.

The STEERING WHEEL, Fig. 44B, usually a casting, can be a good exercise in metal craftsmanship for those having a small lathe. Or try hard plastic sheet, drilled and filed to shape. Small watch wheels can be filed down as a basic shape to build up on with hard-setting modelling plaster or such. It can be painted on in consecutive layers until built up to size.

Large wheels could go up to 6’ diameter with 12 spokes. Small ones down to 24” diameter with 6 or 8 spokes. The centre nave or hub was black iron or polished brass. Brass rims are optional but your model would have to be pretty big to go to this elaboration.


Are made from wood blocks, adding moulding (cardboard) at the base. They may be built up as in Fig. 45B, including planks or a sheet scored as planks for merchant ships. Liftrings are another detail; can be made from eyebolts, bent flat, or instead fit handholes in the planks. On heavily manned warships, a grating covered the hatches to give maximum ventilation, one of the sorest needs in large vessels. In foul weather, a tarpaulin was stretched over the hatches. Making your own grating is a craft trick you might consider. The process is described in more advanced modelling books. On warships the hatches were rimmed with handy racks (troughs or garlands) for solid shot.

Fig. 45B is the earliest form of solid covered hatchway with wooden coamings as on a merchant ship up to the latter half 19th century. The tarpaulin was lashed down by ropes around the coaming and when necessary additional cross lashings from ringbolts on the deck or the coaming. The last clippers and windjammers with metal coamings had iron cleats to take horizontal steel battens wedged over the tarpaulin. Tarpaulins could be black, grey or white.