As an A/C modeler wishing to dabble in ships...

As an A/C modeler wishing to dabble in ships...

Stan Traas
Stan Traas

September 3rd, 2011, 7:52 pm #1

... I have to ask about the procedure to paint the deck wood & the grey deck details, lower bulkheads/superstructure... which comes first- grays or wood? And how do you mask the first to paint the second?

I see lots of info on replicating the deck colors/textures, but if you spray/shade/weather the deck first, how the heck do you do a nice job on all those little grey bumps molded on? I'm wondering if you have to spray the whole thing grey first and then paint the bumps with liquid mask. spray/shade/weather the deck, then remove the liquid mask?.... Perhaps a basic /newbie question, but not one to which I've been able to find an answer. TIA!

Cheers,

Stan
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Joined: February 13th, 2004, 10:24 pm

September 3rd, 2011, 11:11 pm #2

My normal routine, your mileage may vary, is to shoot the deck first. In my case I start with Tamiya Deck Tan and then put in a little Desert Yellow in the air brush, without cleaning it, and mix the paint in the cup. I cut back on the air pressure to about 15 PSI and feather on some faintly darker lines in the direction of the wood planks. Vary the length from short to maybe a few inches. Then, again without cleaning the brush, I add more of the Deck Tan and thin it to about 50/50 with Tamiya thinner or water with a drop of dish soap in it. You want a thin paint. I crank the air up to about 25-30 PSI and mist the entire deck with the thinned mixture. Be careful not to let it puddle anywhere. Use a light finger on the control.

With luck and practice you will end up with a wood deck that isn't striped but subtly shaded in various tones of darker and lighter deck tan.

The deck can then be washed with a redish/brown color if you want to. I sometimes do and sometimes don't. Wipe the wash up leaving it in the corners and between the planks but with almost none on the deck itself. Sometimes the wash is too much so test it in a small area first to see if you like it.

The same techniques will work if you brush paint. Just use a square ended brush and work in the direction of the planking. Turn the brush on its side and do the faint streaking with the thin edge of the brush. Then go back and dry brush the planks with the lighter color again but very lightly.

Don't worry about getting paint on the superstructure or the hatches. You'll be covering that next.

All the bulkheads and splinter shields and hatches and other odds & ends on the deck? I start looking straight down on the deck and using a small brush lightly paint the top of each item, usually with a small square ended brush. Don't worry about complete coverage, just get some gray paint down on the tops only. Work on one area at a time, like the bow up to the weather break or some other small, 4" square or so, area.

Once the tops of everything are the right color turn the deck to one of the four sides; right, left, bow, stern. Using a small detail brush, 5-0 or 10-0, carefully paint the exposed sides of all the hatches, winches, bollards, or whatever is there. A larger flat ended brush can be used to paint the bulkheads in a deck to top direction. That way any thin coverage looks like "weathering". If the paint is the proper consistency and you have a steady hand you can cover the entire bulkhead or splinter shield with little to no touch-ups necessary on the deck. Do EVERYTHING exposed from one direction and then work your way around the other three directions. It saves a lot of turning and twisting.

Decks can be covered in what seem like hundreds of pieces of junk so keep the area you are working on small. Think to yourself, "I'll just get these last few things back to the stern and then relax a little". You might find you need to sit back, relax, stretch your legs, or get a beverage, but you might also find you are suddenly done with the whole ship.

Yes, I am a fan of square ended brushes for a lot of flat painting. They work better for me. They fit into tight corners without slopping paint on everything. Pointed brushes are fine for a lot of things but not flat surfaces, and ships have a LOT of flat surfaces. Any time I find brushes on sale at Hobby Lobby I buy a new set of good Sable brushes. I'll bet I own 300 different brushes at the moment. Half of them brand new yet.

Good luck and remember, practice makes perfect. And no one gets out without a screw up. If I goof up I just wait for the paint to dry and then touch it up again. Eventually you will reach the "good enough" point. And as you get better that "good enough" point comes close to perfection. The day I complete a model perfectly is the day I quit building models.

Illegitimi non carborundum
In memory of Denis Keegan.
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Joined: September 26th, 2006, 5:52 pm

September 4th, 2011, 12:09 am #3

... yeah, the square ended brushes make infinite sense. 'Twas the brushing/airbrushing/procedural input I was lookin' fer. I guess it's still a bit of a black art... Thanks very much for your detailed response. I'm always looking to achieve perfection (dumb-*** goal, I know), and your response has been most helpful. Thanks much!

Cheers,

Stan

"What have they done to the Earth?...
What have they done to our fair sister?...
Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
Tied her with fences and dragged her down"... Jim Morrison 1968
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Joined: February 13th, 2004, 10:24 pm

September 4th, 2011, 1:16 am #4

I do a lot of ships these days. Something about building review models as a hobby/living I suppose? They require different versions of the standard practices to do.

Just spraying or painting the whole deck, let the paint fall where it may, beats cutting tiny masks for a thousand little odd shaped bumps on the deck. There are still times that masking is easier, but they are fairly rare. It's easier to develop good brush techniques and using the right brushes. Most of the low hatches and plates don't require any painting on the sides. The missing paint or deck paint there just doesn't show.

I've also found light is your friend. The more the better. My bench is backed by a pair of large windows facing East. The house across the drive is white and supplies plenty of reflected light all day. I still have over 300 watts of light on the bench that I use when necessary. Face it. If you can't see it clearly you can't paint it properly.

I'll glad I could help. And remember, that's just the way I do things. Each modeler is different. Some things I do may not work for you at all.

Enjoy the change in subject Stan, it keeps you fresh. The HMS Warsprite on the bench took over from my latest personal project: a 1/72 Williams Brothers B-10B in Alaskan Search & Rescue colors. Talk about variations!!

Illegitimi non carborundum
In memory of Denis Keegan.
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Joined: May 29th, 2005, 1:59 am

September 4th, 2011, 1:30 am #5

... I have to ask about the procedure to paint the deck wood & the grey deck details, lower bulkheads/superstructure... which comes first- grays or wood? And how do you mask the first to paint the second?

I see lots of info on replicating the deck colors/textures, but if you spray/shade/weather the deck first, how the heck do you do a nice job on all those little grey bumps molded on? I'm wondering if you have to spray the whole thing grey first and then paint the bumps with liquid mask. spray/shade/weather the deck, then remove the liquid mask?.... Perhaps a basic /newbie question, but not one to which I've been able to find an answer. TIA!

Cheers,

Stan
Hi Stan,
I enjoyed reading Bruno's technique. Sounds like he's found a system that works well for him.

Just to give you something else to chew on, I've actually found that the opposite approach works best for me. It seems easier for me to paint the overall ship color first, usually some shade of grey, then mask the vertical surfaces and paint the deck color, whether it be for wood or metal. Ut to this point, all the painting will been done by airbrushing. The various "protrusions" on the deck are then carefully hand painted the appropriate color with a very small pointed sable brush. The key here is to get the paint the proper consistency to easily flow off the brush, but not so easily run down the sides of the protrusions and run all over the freshly painted deck. This is only done through practice, to get the paint thin enough to the point that YOU are comfortable working with it.

I've found through trial and error that there's often a lot of back and forth in the painting process with ships, especially when you're starting out. As Bruno said, if you over-paint, just wait until the paint is dry and then go back over your mistakes. Whatever you do, if you custom mix your colors, be sure to mix MORE than enough to go back after the initial painting and correct any mistakes or later add-ons. Try and think ahead, plan what parts need to be painted what color, and you'll spend less time repeating steps and/or painting leftover parts.

I've attached a link to one of my early IPMS review builds (The Light Cruiser Yahagi build comes up automatically. Click on Tamiya IJN Light Cruiser Mikuma to get a better look at some deck painting pics). Some of the pictures may be helpful to illustrate what I'm talking about.

http://www.ipmsusa3.org/reviews2/ships/kits/kits.htm

Good luck. Hopefully, you're in for a lot of fun.


Bill
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Joined: February 13th, 2004, 10:24 pm

September 4th, 2011, 4:45 pm #6

... I have to ask about the procedure to paint the deck wood & the grey deck details, lower bulkheads/superstructure... which comes first- grays or wood? And how do you mask the first to paint the second?

I see lots of info on replicating the deck colors/textures, but if you spray/shade/weather the deck first, how the heck do you do a nice job on all those little grey bumps molded on? I'm wondering if you have to spray the whole thing grey first and then paint the bumps with liquid mask. spray/shade/weather the deck, then remove the liquid mask?.... Perhaps a basic /newbie question, but not one to which I've been able to find an answer. TIA!

Cheers,

Stan






I just find the "paint the deck first and add the gray later" to work for me. It takes very little time to spray the entire deck and not that much time to paint and touch-up the gray. Far less time than masking would.

The biggest thing is to make sure the paint is the right consistency so it flows off the brush without running. Well, and using the right brush for the right job. Most of the detail was painted with a standard pointed #1 brush. I used the flat brush for the turret base and a smaller one for the splinter shields at mid-deck. Yes, I had a few errant brush marks of gray on the decking but it's easy to touch-up those and just adds a little more variation to the planking.

The entire deck, bow to stern, was done in just over an hour. Now I can spray all the things that get mounted to the deck and just glue them down. For all intents and purposes I'm done with painting from the keel to the main deck.

Illegitimi non carborundum
In memory of Denis Keegan.
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Stan Traas
Stan Traas

September 4th, 2011, 10:53 pm #7

Hi Stan,
I enjoyed reading Bruno's technique. Sounds like he's found a system that works well for him.

Just to give you something else to chew on, I've actually found that the opposite approach works best for me. It seems easier for me to paint the overall ship color first, usually some shade of grey, then mask the vertical surfaces and paint the deck color, whether it be for wood or metal. Ut to this point, all the painting will been done by airbrushing. The various "protrusions" on the deck are then carefully hand painted the appropriate color with a very small pointed sable brush. The key here is to get the paint the proper consistency to easily flow off the brush, but not so easily run down the sides of the protrusions and run all over the freshly painted deck. This is only done through practice, to get the paint thin enough to the point that YOU are comfortable working with it.

I've found through trial and error that there's often a lot of back and forth in the painting process with ships, especially when you're starting out. As Bruno said, if you over-paint, just wait until the paint is dry and then go back over your mistakes. Whatever you do, if you custom mix your colors, be sure to mix MORE than enough to go back after the initial painting and correct any mistakes or later add-ons. Try and think ahead, plan what parts need to be painted what color, and you'll spend less time repeating steps and/or painting leftover parts.

I've attached a link to one of my early IPMS review builds (The Light Cruiser Yahagi build comes up automatically. Click on Tamiya IJN Light Cruiser Mikuma to get a better look at some deck painting pics). Some of the pictures may be helpful to illustrate what I'm talking about.

http://www.ipmsusa3.org/reviews2/ships/kits/kits.htm

Good luck. Hopefully, you're in for a lot of fun.


Bill
... I'm glad to have your input on doing this the other way around. Bruno's approach makes much sense if one is good at getting decent results with a brush, and yours makes just as much sense if one isn't so great at it. I'm thinking that masking the vertical surfaces only as you suggest shouldn't be too much of a pain. Obviously the bottom line is that all those tiny molded on bumps must be carefully painted with a detail brush.

When I'm done my current a/c model, I'm going to do the ancient and primitive Monogram 1/5??th scale Tirpitz for practice. And having wound up with some extra Tamiya deck tan in my airbrush while doing wood bits on a Fokker E-V, I did spray most of the toy Tirpitz' deck, and will thus try Bruno's method first. I think I'm going to get the Trumpeter 1/350th Zerstorer since it's on sale at Squadron, and will try your method on that. PoTAYto, poTAHto eh?... Indeed, different methods work for different builders, and both of you have greatly helped me to get my head around how to go about this painting process.

I very much appreciate your thoughts and sincere effort to help an uninitiated ship modeler. Thank you!

Cheers,

Stan
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Stan Traas
Stan Traas

September 4th, 2011, 11:01 pm #8







I just find the "paint the deck first and add the gray later" to work for me. It takes very little time to spray the entire deck and not that much time to paint and touch-up the gray. Far less time than masking would.

The biggest thing is to make sure the paint is the right consistency so it flows off the brush without running. Well, and using the right brush for the right job. Most of the detail was painted with a standard pointed #1 brush. I used the flat brush for the turret base and a smaller one for the splinter shields at mid-deck. Yes, I had a few errant brush marks of gray on the decking but it's easy to touch-up those and just adds a little more variation to the planking.

The entire deck, bow to stern, was done in just over an hour. Now I can spray all the things that get mounted to the deck and just glue them down. For all intents and purposes I'm done with painting from the keel to the main deck.

Illegitimi non carborundum
In memory of Denis Keegan.
..for the further assistance. Even though I've been building 'planes for a while, I am a Slowski, and am amazed that you did that whole deck in an hour, and your results are terrific. I'll bet it would take me at least 5 or 6 hours. You've given lots of great advice and I'll try your method first on a real POS- the Monogram 1/5?? Tirpitz. (No, sanding flash off of tiny parts is NOT my favorite thing in the whole world) I'll next treat myself to a 1/350 Trumpy Z-25.

Again, many thanks for your excellent, detailed help!

Cheers,

Stan
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Joined: October 28th, 2010, 10:46 pm

September 8th, 2011, 6:21 pm #9







I just find the "paint the deck first and add the gray later" to work for me. It takes very little time to spray the entire deck and not that much time to paint and touch-up the gray. Far less time than masking would.

The biggest thing is to make sure the paint is the right consistency so it flows off the brush without running. Well, and using the right brush for the right job. Most of the detail was painted with a standard pointed #1 brush. I used the flat brush for the turret base and a smaller one for the splinter shields at mid-deck. Yes, I had a few errant brush marks of gray on the decking but it's easy to touch-up those and just adds a little more variation to the planking.

The entire deck, bow to stern, was done in just over an hour. Now I can spray all the things that get mounted to the deck and just glue them down. For all intents and purposes I'm done with painting from the keel to the main deck.

Illegitimi non carborundum
In memory of Denis Keegan.
Nice deck job!
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