Rigging How To
Mark Hiott

Anyone that builds models will eventually come across one that needs rigging. Be it a biplane or a ship, it will need some sort of rigging. The procedure shown here on a biplane can be used on ships as well, the process is the same no matter what the model is.
This how I do rigging and it is only one way. There are several types of lines one can use, such as wire, guitar strings or even photoetch. There is also streachy type line that also has it uses.
I suggest you try several types and decide which works is best for you.


I use monofiliment or nylon line for my rigging. It can be bought at just about any store that carries craft supplies and is relatively cheap. It comes in several sizes and colors. What I like about it is that it can be tightened by applying heat.

The tools you will need are: the line, fine tipped tweezers, CA glue, cutters and a heat source. For heat, I use a pencil type soldiering iron. I find that it is quite easy to control where the heat goes with this type of soldering iron. They can be found at most home improvement stores and a simple one will do. Mine came in a case with several extras including a hot glue gun (which also has it's uses around the house).
I think I paid less then $20 for it.

Measure the space to get the rigging and cut the line about an 1/8 longer then needed. Attach one end of the rigging with CA glue, pull it across to where the other end needs to be and attach that end. This is how it will look. Normally, I apply all the rigging at once working from the inside out, but for this How To I'll do just this section.

Carefully apply the heat source from below. Take it slow and bring the heat source up carefully. As you approach the line, you will see it just begin to tighten. Move the heat source away for a few seconds and apply it again. It may take several applications to get the line all the way tight, just take your time. You may also need to do it again, as sometimes the lines will slacken after the first application of heat.

This is what you end up with, all ready for paint. Again, take care and make sure not to over tighten the line or touch it. If that happens, just reapply the line in question and do it again. With a bit of practice, all your rigging jobs will look great!

The finished product.