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by Charles Darley

Making figures for model boats


When I decided that I want to make figures for my large model boat which I am building my wife said "You must be joking!". The model is being built to a scale of 1/31. Yes I know what you are going to say but I am building to that scale so that the boat will fit into my car in two pieces. The model is 9feet 6 inches long !!!


My wife also added that under no circumstance would she help with the project. A few moments later I asked here to take two photographs of me one standing one sitting which she agreed to do !!!.

At 1/31 scale the men will only be just over 2 inches high. From the photographs taken I have reduced then to the size that I require. I have tried in vain to fine information regarding making clothes for small figures but as I make Kites I think I will try my hand at making these tiny clothes. Basically I will want T Shirts and jeans and several of the men dressed in High Visibility jackets with, if I can manage it, the company's logo on the back!!

Next stage

So I have the pictures but where do I go from here. I dropped into a local sewing specialist shop and was told you must start with the model of the figure and then dress it you cannot do it the other way round. After a little thought that seemed sensible as you wouldn't make clothes for your self without knowing your size.


So it was suggested that as I am to based the figures on my self then I will need to measure my self in the following places. Head to neck, neck to shoulder, shoulder to waist band, waist band to knee, knee to floor, and crouch to floor, width of chest, width of waist. From this make up this first Dummy in timber and see how it looks. Then cover with some material into which I could stick pins.

Dress Maker's Dummy

This will then provide a "Dress Makers Dummy" for the figures. Unlike normal dress makers dummies this dummy will have arms and legs as it will be used to make the patterns for the clothes.

Fraying seams

I have also found out that you can obtain a special material that dispenses from a tube that stops material from fraying and thereby means that all the seams do not need to be hemmed top stop the fraying.

Singer Sewing Machine

I will be using a very old Singer sewing machine and the local shop can still supply needles, thank goodness

Taking measurements of ones self is very difficult but these are approximate having been converted from imperial to metric and nearly equate with my size of just on 6 feet tall. Now these all have to be reduced to the scale size.

The reduction to scale size results in a height of 62mm or a man 6 feet 3 inches. For the purposes of the first dummy that is considered just right as it will allow for a range of men of differing heights up to 6'3"!!! The link between the various parts will be by stiffish copper wire so that there is a degree of flexibility. From measurement from the reduced photographs indicate that the body will be 13mm wide, Head 6mm wide, legs 6mm at thigh, arms 3mm at shoulder.

This is the first Dummy that I made. Although I had not made it will jointed legs I also noted that with a trunk of the Dummy square at it lower part the legs would never be able to be set in a seated position. This made me consider what the human skeleton was all about.

I have never considered the skeleton in the human body until now. This is a representation of what my skeleton might look like and give a very good idea as to how all the joints need to be. Particularly look at the part where the legs join. They join at an angle and not onto a straight block of body!!! The arm also joins into socket joints.

So here we have the skeleton superimposed upon the wooden dummy and it is clear to see that what I thought was the right shape for the dummy is wrong. I am now going to make a dummy out of a form of modeling clay called Milliput

So here is my new little man using Milliput. Not very elegant yet but a first try. Thanks to kind donation of scraps of material his suit of cloths should be made in a few days, I hope !!!

There are six crew members on board the MV Scot Ranger. Upon berthing the ship two crew would be at the bow, two at the stern, the engineer in the engine room and the Master on the bridge. I will be setting crew in those positions on the model.

The clothing policy of the ship is for crew to have orange boiler suites with yellow high visibility jackets and red safety hard hats. The Master will be dress in a black "V" next jumper and black trousers.

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