How To Fit Model Ship Rudder Hinges

Rudder Hinges can prove a challenge even for an experienced model ship builder. Here Australian Master Ship Modeller Leon Griffiths shows us how to fit brass rudder hinges to a model ship.

There are many different combinations of rudder hinges due to the many suppliers around the world. The more complex rudder hinges even come with connecting pins. 

Step 1

Whatever rudder hinges you are issued with in your model ship kit there is a standard process to install the parts correctly on the stern post. For the usual set of rudder hinges you have to install the brass pin by using a drop of thin CA to hold it in place while working on the rudder.

Step 2

Once the glue is set it is time to cut the pin to size and clean up the end of the pin with a file.

Step 3

The length of the pin will be the size for the pre-cut joint in the rudder, this joint is made to take the width of both knuckles. If your rudder has no pre-cut joints now is the time to cut them in. Some designs call for joint cuts to the rudder and the stern post and you may come across a job that no joints are required, so this installation technique shown here is essential.

Step 4

As you can see here the pin is cut to the size of the gap. Use a pair of plyers and crush the brass to the correct position in the rudder joint. Then one flap of the hinge at a time, secure the brass with a drop of CA.


Step 5

Take note to check the centre of the hinge placement.


Step 6

With the hinge glue now dry you can cut the brass nails to size. Using a pair of plyers push the nail into the hinges.


Step 7

Cut the hinges to the size you want.

Step 8

The rudder is ready for installation to the stern post. The rudder hole under the timbers counters has to be shaped to take the rudder head.  

Step 9

Once the rudder is in the rudder hole apply a clip to the bottom as shown. Glue and nail the hinges and allow them to dry.

Step 10

The gap you leave in the centre of the rudder and stern post will determine the swing of the rudder side to side.

If you are given lead, or another soft metal for the hinges, the technique is the same, the difference being you may not need nails to dress the job. 

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