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Sovereign Hobbies RN draught markings 1/600 scale


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Sovereign Hobbies RN, RAN, RCN, RNZN draught markings 1/600 scale

Used from the Victorian iron-clads until the mid-late 20th century, these decals represent the standard 6 inch high Roman numeral draught markings used on most Royal Navy and Commonwealth warships. They showed the observer the draught, or depth of the hull, below the water at that point. In real life these were metal numerals riveted or welded to the hull at spacings suitable to show 1 foot increments. Five types are included on our decal sheets, representing free numerals, those joined with bars top and bottom, and both left and centre-justified positioning. There are also elongated white numerals for the turn of the bilge if required. The bottom of the numeral denotes the draught at that point. The vertical distance between the bottoms of each numeral is therefore 1 foot. The decals are printed in black and in white. Often the colour with the best contrast would be used, so white is predominant below the waterline but either black or white is frequently seen above. You must study photographs of your chosen subject.

It is acknowledged that there were further variations of draught markings used on British and Commonwealth warships, and it is not practicable to cover all variances on a generic decal sheet. These variations include right-aligned positioning, as well as staggered positioning to suit bow rake, and are not covered by this set. We stress that these are generic markings which represent the most commonly seen types of numerals observed. It is incumbent upon the individual modeller to check their references prior to applying any decals to their model.

Another compromise which the modeller must be made aware of is the fact that the spacing of the draught markings is nominally 1 foot increments in the vertical plane since what they represent is draught, not distance along the hull plating. For
those draught markings at the bow of the ship, this is a very small angle of deviation and for the vast majority of people any differences in spacing will be so small as to be negligible. Further aft however near the stern most warships have a much more dramatic turn of the bilge, and as a result the 1 foot waterline increments results in a noticeably wider spacing as well as elongated numerals. Without addressing this, 1 foot
spaced decals would cumulatively lose a lot of apparent draught over 10 to 15 feet spacing. For this reason, we have provided sub-sets of decals in white only respaced at an assumed 40 degree inclination from vertical, which the modeller can use at their discretion to approximate this feature. It is expected that these would be cut and spliced in conjunction with vertical spaced numerals to achieve the desired effect on your specific model. Without dedicated decal sheets per class of vessel it is not feasible to produce a correctly spaced set suitable for all vessels.


Decals are water-slide transfers. Cut individuals decals as required from the backing paper, wet for a few seconds in lukewarm water, and wait until the decal can be slide easily on the backing paper onto the model. Smoother surfaces reduce risk of “silvering” of the backing film, and it is recommended that setting and solvent solutions for decals are used to help them conform properly to the model. Decals should be kept dry until you are ready to use that particular one. Use of tweezers and/or brushes are strongly recommended for handling small decals such as these.