Here are some painting tips I copied from Marc of FX off an old post.
Maybe someone can locate the original post.
Quote (jutland67 @ Dec. 26 2005,23:29)
Hi Marc, a while ago you gave a superb and very detailed description
of how you produced the finish on your DSRV and it gave some really
good techniques which I hope to attempt on my current build of a 1/72nd
scale OTW Trafalgar class kit. What I am doing is making some small
changes to the hull and rudders so that I can model the slightly earlier
Swiftsure class sub H.M.S. Spartan as she was in the early 1980's
( conveniently this was also before the fitting of ancheoic tiles to the sub !! )
I have a good idea of how to simulate a metallic finish on a sub
(thanks to your DSRV tutorial ) , but now I wonder if you could give your
advice on how best to achieve the following :
(i). What color primer should one use on a hull that is going to be simulating
the black metal finish of a Cold-war era sub ?
(ii). The hull is matt black painted metal ( No tiles ), and I have been told that
using black paint will give a finish that doesn't look realistic. I have been told
that a very very dark grey might be better... but what colors would you use to
achieve the look of a weathered hull ?
(iii). The last sub I built ( a 1/96th D&E "Skipjack")was a great looking boat, but
although I used an airbrush to spray her black , I always felt that she looked like
a "submarine-shaped-piece-of-GRP-painted-black" rather than a scale model....what
do you suggest are the best ways to get a realistic looking cold war sub look ?
(iv). How would you suggest the best way to get the look of a non-slip section of
deck ? ( I was thinking of spraying a section,then before it drys put a VERY light
dusting of talcum powder or similar, then another coat of color over the top).
I really would appreciate any advice Marc, I would very much like to get this sub
looking "scale " and it would be great to hear your ideas.
I would be happy to give you some advice. First of all that flat black or matte black
finish on boats is something to shy away from as you suspect because there is no
actual 'black' anything. Very dark grey is the best for a base color. But, that said,
you go dark grey and then you will use a number of lighter shades.
Order of painting is important by the way. The order below is punctuated with
descriptions of each step.
Painting Order 1-5 with descriptions
1: Base coat
For an answer to base coat selection in your questions, use a dark grey almost black.
Heat the paint can in hot water before spraying. This is a must! Otherwise you will not
get the smooth finish you require for scale. The paint can be ultra-flat because when
we are done it will be metallic looking. You NEED to control the sheen as you will see
so use as flat a coat as possible.
2: Panel Large scale subtle details
As far as the rest of the bland large surfaces of the boat, here is where you need to
use some observation of boats in drydock. In some cases, you have areas of the boat
that show whole panels that are brighter by a shade but typically not darker. It could
have been a slight difference in paint or a drydock repair that caused this subtle
difference but I have seen many subs in drydock directly and can tell you that NO
sub is homogeneous in color along its length. There are always fairly large areas
of difference. A few [not many] 15-30 foot areas of difference here and there will do
wonders. These areas are tied to the outer hull plating and do not necessarily follow
frame lines. Further, they are also sometimes at different GLOSS levels too which is
a neat little trick that works well [further below at final finish this comes into play].
Weathered detail that follows frame lines is discussed next...
3: Panel dishing subtle detail
Weathering detail may coincide with the frame lines and the outer hull steel between
them. When you see a submarine or boat that has been at sea for a long period of time
or has been managed by tugs, you see a 'dishing' of the steel between frame lines...
You see this on submarine sails too from time to time. You can simulate it with paint by
simply calling out ever so subtely the frame locations with a SLIGHTLY lighter color than
the main hull. This adds realism to the boat immediately. Do not overdo it and use it
sparingly. If you notice, submarine sails too have TONS of weathering detail, sometimes
more than the rest of the boat in fact! Its an odd incongruity that I think is the nature of the
fact that the sail is the highest point on the boat and during surface running is usually
untouched in the upper areas by water unlike the deck which will wash at times.
4: Non-skid and metallic finish
A metal looking hull has a deep sheen ... This sheen is easily attainable with a subtle
assist... The non skid is deceptively simple to simulate as well and I will talk about
that first before going onto the metallic sheen because one depends on the other.
For non-skid, two ways come to mind. Use a slightly lighter grey and paint the outline
of the area that is non-skid. [NOTE: There are two schools of thought here. When wet
the non-skid looks DARKER than the hull and when dry it looks lighter... Pick your poison! ].
Once you have painted the appropriate outline of non-skid, NOW you do the work to
make it look like non-skid. Here is how and this directly relates to the final metallic
sheen. Cut a mask that can be placed OVER the non-skid pattern you created. Better
yet, preserve the original mask you created the pattern with and use it to make a new
one of the previously OPEN part of the mask with low tack masking tape or paper. This
can be precisely placed over the non-skid deck section to protect it from what is to follow.
Low tack tape is the best for this once the top deck is thoroughly cured and dried. Once
the mask is in place, now take a cotton rag and begin rubbing the paint finish gently. It
does not matter which way you go. You are producing a metal shipyard finish on the boat.
You may have to rub vigorously but this will produce a sheen on the boat that will be
inconsistent [good!] and will produce the desired effect. The rubbing out effect will hit
every area of the boat except the masked off area[s]. You may choose to mask off some
panels too on the hull that you wish to see remain flatter for some weathering effect.
If you do. pick panels that you previously painted in the large subtle hull area panels.
After rubbing out the boat to satisfaction remove the mask(s) and you will see an
immediate difference between the flat non-skid and the metallic look. Done! And it
looks great! The textured non-skid would not be terribly visible at typical RC scales
so dont bother with that unless you really want some huge bumps on the deck!
5: Waterline and 'scum', seagull poop on rudder etc...
Weathering is LAST to go on as it is LAST to apply to the boat in real life. The
difference in sheen of weathered detail and 'scum' makes it appear as if its a 'coating'
of undesired stuff on the boat. Just like in real life. This is the final lynchpin in realism
and you will amaze yourself.
The weathered hull comes from observing boats in drydock. Even though boats with
tiles look different, what you care about is that the overall weathering patterns are the
SAME as far as color. You will find the pierside waterlines which have deep greens
and white mixed with browns, subtley ringing the waterline. They are not thick lines
either. They are only approximately 12" thick at scale perhaps slightly larger. They
are somewhat hard edged at the top and trail off in a subtle manner below. Because
of wave nature, the top line averages out to be pretty darn straight! So dont be fooled
into making the line waver at all.
Well... Those are my thoughts. I am glad i had some time before getting back to work
here. This was a good break. I hope that helps James! Let me know if you have more