Assembly, Painting and Rigging of Ancient Naval Models, Scale 1:1200
by Langton Miniatures

Masts and Sails: There is an obvious location point on the deck of the hull for the main mast. Some models also have a boatmast (and boatsail); these have been designed to protrude from the bow but could alternatively be positioned upright on the forward section of the deck. In the latter case, it will be necessary to trim the bottom of the boatmast and open up the locating hole.

Bow Platforms: Fits on the front of certain vessels.

Stern Pieces: There are a variety of sterns, kits may vary. Or, one may wish to customise models using miscellaneous sterns.
eg :some models have a slot in the back to position the base of the stern piece supplied.
eg: there is a 'one piece casting' of officers accommodation and stern which sits at the back on the deck.
eg: a two piece stern consisting of stern platform and stern piece; the platform fits over the back of the hull so that it protrudes and the stern piece is located on the platform.

Towers (sometimes referred to as castles because of their shape), could be located either forward or aft of the main mast.

Catapults could be anywhere on the deck.

Officers accommodation would always be at the stern end of the vessel.

Corvus is always located at the bow.

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Hulls: These would be natural wood, often tarred up to the level of the oars.

Decorations, mainly on bows and sterns and sometimes along the bulwarks, would be of colours derived from natural sources (eg plants), so bright but not garish colours. Red appears to have been the most commonly used colour and it is said to have been derived from cinnabar.

The colour purple would have been quite expensive and used on royal vessels.

Sails: These would be mostly unbleached linen (off-white) although different colours were also sewn together. Many books on the subject show alternating sheets of off-white and say, red (could also be green or blue). It was also common for the main sail to have a pattern of a distinctive feature, eg a scorpion, bull's head, urn etc.

Masts: Natural wood colour.

Towers: Although made of wood, they would often be painted to simulate stone.

Officers Accommodation: These would have been made from canvas and often brightly painted (sometimes with red and white stripes).

Corvus: Wood colour.

Shields: Where a model has shields along its sides, these would have been brightly painted.

General: Vessels could be further decorated with flags and pennants (not provided). These were often flown from a pole secured to the vessel's stern. Roman flags were called vexillum - these were distinctive being at right angles as opposed to normal flags.

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One can only do a representation of actual rigging on a model of this scale. Use a thin buff thread for the stays, sheets and lifts (preferably one that won't fray).

The control methods were fairly basic:
Firstly, stays must be taken from top of the main mast to the bow and stern and secured to stop any forward or backward movement. Next, stays should be taken - again from the top of the main mast, to the port and starboard sides of the model, slightly abaft the mast, to stop any movement from side to side. If a boat sail is carried, a line should be taken from the top of the bowsprit back to a convenient position on the main mast above the sail.

Lifts should be run from the masthead to each yardarm and secured, the same lines can then be taken as braces, aft to the stern and fixed and then run forward again and glued to the bottom outermost corners of the mainsail to act as sheets.

Boatsails would also have lifts to the sail's yardarms and braces running aft on either side of the model to a position slightly forward of the main mast. These lines can be taken forward again and fixed to the outermost corners of the boatsail to act as sheets.