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I am building a Sea-Cow(70810)-like ship that of course needs sails. The sails should be larger than the Technic fairings used in the LEGO movie set, but I want to avoid cloth sails and strings.

My idea is to connect rows of white 4x6 modified tiles with studs on edges (part 6180) with hinge plates. That would give a curved rectangular sail. However, sails usually are not rectangular.

Do you have experience with sails made out of tiles or plates? How do you create the shape/curvature you have in mind? I appreciate any ideas.

EDIT:

After very useful suggestions by @jncraton I was able to create a prototype of sail. I found some hinges (4275/4276) to connect the rows of tiles. The brown plates are not the final solution. Now I still have to figure out how to make the sail less rectangular.

Prototype1 Prototype2

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Great question. It sounds like you are building a fairly large ship. If the scale is large enough, brick-built sails can look quite nice. You can add shape, contour, and texture using various building techniques.

If you want to keep things simple, you could just use a single layer of bricks as was done in this basic sailboat model that was an in-store build back in 2009:

in-store sailboat

That example obviously isn't the most detailed. It's challenging to develop sail-like contours with studs on top.

Here's one example just using plates that is similar to what you mentioned in your question:

sails using plates

Notice how it uses wedge plates to round off the square corners of the sails. Wedge plates come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so that gives you some flexibility in the shape of your sail. Here's another shot showing that technique more clearly:

sails from behind

Here's a second example of that technique in a physical model to try to show how the sail sections can be connected using hinges:

mayflower example

Here's another where layered plates are used to provide more depth and contour:

layers plates with depth

And one more example of the same technique:

plates on side and tighter sail placement

I personally like the aesthetic of studs showing in those examples, but you could also smooth your sails out using tiles and curved slopes if you'd prefer.

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