Hi all, this is my first post here so I hope some of you will find this useful.
I have been interested in lego pirates in particular since I got my first set almost 20 years ago. The problem is that as the sets age, the sails become tattered and worn, and can be quite difficult to find. I've been searching for a while now for a reliable technique for reproducing lego sails in as authentic a way as possible, but with little success (maybe I've just been looking wrong?)
Anyhow, I've been working on my own technique, and decided I would share it for those who, like me, have been searching for a way to make authentic looking lego sails that are nearly indistinguishable from the originals.
The sails I've been working on are those of the Skull's Eye Schooner, the number one ship on my, and half the planet's, wanted list.
The problem everyone has when it comes to reproducing sails is trying to work out the material that lego uses. It has a relatively unique stiffness for a cloth that is relatively thin; this is not because a special material has been used, but because a standard linen cloth has been prepared with a sizing/priming agent. What I have done is primed regular calico cloth with a watered down acrylic gesso. When dried, it is a very good likeness of lego's cloth, and is stiff enough to be fed into an inkjet printer.
Here's the gesso I used: gesso is used by artists to prime canvases for painting and can be purchased from any art/craft supply store, this jar cost me $10 and will probably make a few dozen sails. They can come coloured, I've chosen white as the base colour of the skull's eye schooner is white, but acrylic paint can be added to make different base colours, such as the tan coloured imperial flagship's sails.
Again, just plain calico, very cheap I've cut it slightly larger than A4 here
You want to water the gesso down roughly 1 part gesso to 3 parts water, this will help the gesso to soak into the calico. Give it two coats on each side then hang it up to dry. Once dry, I trimmed it down to A4 size.
Next up, I got the 1:1 scans from the sails library here: http://www.eurobrick...showtopic=10076 , traced them in photoshop and recoloured them to improve the saturation once printed. As the scans were 1:1, no resizing was needed before printing. I just fed the canvas into the printer carefully and printed at high quality settings.
Once the sail is printed it's just a matter of cutting them out:
And here's the final result:
And here's an armada flagship sail I made
I hope someone finds this useful. I will upload my tracings later for anyone who's interested