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Weathering a Victorian era submarine...

Nautilus, Seaview, and more

Postby modelnut » Wed Nov 05, 2003 12:48 pm

I am about to complete final construction of a kitbashed NAUTILUS a'la Jules Verne. My scale is 186th based on Verne's cardinal measurements of an eight-meter hull diameter and seventy-meter length and the base model of Chuck Yeager's X-1 in 48th scale - which has the spindle shape so necessary to Verne's NAUTILUS.

I am days away from painting this beauty!

In my head I see a weathered black paintjob since in the book the only hull color I remember is black. BUT...

Since the N spent a great deal of time on the surface wouldn't the color be somewhat lighter above the hull's centerline and especially above the waterline?

Or should I go for a lighter stripe of color at the waterline as with modern subs? ???

http://www.navy.forces.gc.ca/mspa_im....462.jpg

I do think that the slight green algal sheen seen on the sub in the preceeding link would be a nice touch. But what about "the beard" that I remember seeing on a sub model years ago? Or barnacles? Anything to lend the model realism. :O

Thanks!
-Leelan Lampkins
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Postby Bob the Builder » Wed Nov 05, 2003 3:34 pm

Leelan,


I, too, am nearing the completion stage of my sub (Disney 1:32 scale), and I'm thinking about weathering the hull.

Will Babington posted a good article a while back in regards to the Nautilus. I'll be darned if I can find it again, though. It was posted on the old SubCommittee message boards and they are not available anymore (too bad :(

Basically, it was decided that if you were going for an authentic Victorian-era sub, the hull would be made from "black iron". This metal didn't rust unless it was scraped, so the hull would actually be in pretty good shape, except maybe for around the rivet heads and any damaged areas. Base color in this case would be a dark gray or black color, with a very light wash of rust.

Dave Merriman's videos detail weathering an Ohio, including modelling the waterline, algae, barnicle, right down to the seagull droppings on the tail! Keep all of this in mind.

My personal opinion was that Nemo would have done the majority of his travelling under the sea (hence the title of the book). My model will not show a waterline as a matter of personal preference. I'll be playing a lot with a dark brown basecoat and then rusting the finish from there in thin coats until I get the look that I'm going for.

If you get the opportunity, pick up Dave's video. In it he superdetails the Ohio kit until the whole thing looks darn near real.

My sub project can be viewed at the Nautilus Drydocks
Bob Martin,
RCSub homepage: http://www.rc-sub.com
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Postby Lundberg » Wed Nov 05, 2003 4:15 pm

Hi,

I painted/weathered my Nautilus in the following way

1. Flat black spray from a can
2. Several layers of RustAll
3. a protection layer of clear flat spray

I think RustAll is great, I've weathered my U-47 slightly with this as well

www.rustall.com

/Bjorn
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Postby Wbnemo1 » Wed Nov 05, 2003 7:34 pm

Here ya go ..... Granted this was originally intended for painting a Disney version Nautilus but you could apply the same tehniques :)

"Painting the Disney Nautilus" ...................one idea

The Disney Nautilus: In my opinion, Captain Nemo would have never
allowed his submarine to become an old worn out rust bucket.
Therefore, he would have kept his boat in as good as condition as
maintenance would have allowed him to on his excursions to and from
Vulcania. To that end, for my own boat, and as a suggestion to
everyone else, I would say with exception to the various lights and
window viewports, paint the entire exterior of the boat with two or
three thin coats of flat black. After this has been accomplished,
strategically place around the ballast grates, scupper vents, various
hinges, and other details, streaks and thin touches of rust; not a
lot though.
Once this has been done, seal the boat in one or two coats of flat
clear acrylic, as this will suspend the rustic effect permanently.
The next area of attention addresses two areas of the boat.
The first and foremost are the forward ram, the bulb, and the
rakers, commonly referred to as "teeth" of the Nautilus.
Since these areas of the boat saw constant usage due to the
ramming of the hulls of various warships, the rakers and ram's bulb
wouldn't have too much rust on them, nor would they would they have
much paint on them either. They would have mostly a shiny subcast of
metal, streaked with rust and bright metallic edging. To achieve this
effect, do the following. First, take and lightly paint each raker
with a thin half and half coat of flat black. Allow it to set for a
couple minutes, and then wipe it off with a soft rag.
After this is done, make a mixture of battleship iron gray, medium
tone, and drybrush silver metallic. Drybrush this over top the thin
flat black coating along the very front edges and points of the
rakers and ram bulb itself.
Allow this to dry thoroughly, then blot, as per your own choice, the
excess off, even smearing a bit to feather the edges to look like, or
simulate, the scrapes, scratches, and abrasions sustained to the
rakers and ram bulb during contact of the warship as the Nautilus
passes through it's hull and keel.
After this, apply a few light streaks of rust along the very
bottom outside edges, and the tips here and there on the rakers and
ram bulb itself, and you will have a realistically conditioned set of
rakers and ram bulb on the front of the Nautilus to show the constant
usage of this area.
As you see, this is a very simple application.
The second and foremost, one that everyone talks of is the ghostly
glow of the submarine as seen at night - the look of a "Sea monster".
Achieving this effect is not all that difficult following the
directions outlined below.
After the Nautilus has been entirely painted, and being sure that
all your viewports and lights are masked, take in a Windex or hand
squirt bottle of the type that can be adjusted for a fine mist spray,
mix up half and half water and waterbased phosphorescent paint, or
glow-in-the-dark paint. Once you have done this, lightly mist the
entire boat from stem to stern.
Allow this to dry and then in certain areas, underneath the side
keels of the sub, here and there along the various grates and drain
openings, details of the decking, and the like, put a slightly
heavier spray in sections and allow to dry. I would refer to some of
the various underwater stills of the filming miniature for this
placement.
The phosphorescent paint misting will give an almost algae-like
appearance, looking similar to those deep sea dwelling species,
barnacles, and other interesting specimens of marine life that find
themselves hitching a ride upon their bodies.
This carries the effect very well considering the notion that this
is what the Nautilus was supposed to be anyway.
Once the misting has dried thoroughly, coat the entire boat with
flat acrylic clearcoat to seal in the phosphorus and allow it to dry
completely.
For the monster-glow effect, simply allow the Nautilus to sit in a
well lit room, or run during daylight, and the phosphorescent paint
will store up the luminescence it needs and once the sun has set,
between the mixture of running lights of the nautilus and the
phosphorescent glow of the paint which will last for several hours
after dark, the Nautilus will truly be that ghostly monstrous sea
serpent we all know and love.
I hope you all will find these suggestions useful, whether you are
building your boat for static display or for running radio controlled
in the water - enjoy!!

This article was originally written by:
Robert T. Hughs
Edited by William Babington
Translated into English....... ha ha ha !..
by Fred S Kuentz

I'm a model maker not a typist ...William
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Postby Captain Nemo » Thu Nov 06, 2003 8:36 am

Funny: you strive to make your NAUTILUS look rusty; I strive to keep mine from rusting! :D

Seriously though, I've done a couple drawings of the boat, and I think she looks kinda neat with a two-tone paint job: slightly lighter above the waterline.

Now that we're improving the scale exterior detailing on the NAUTILUS MINISUB: after the last rivets are on and I've coated the entire hull with fiberglass resin to protect it from salt water, I'll be in the same boat as you guys: looking for a way to produce a realistic finish. I'm thinking basically wrought-iron black, slightly lighter above the waterline, with a little Rustall around th edges for "seasoning". And then just let it weather naturally. But that's just me....

Pat "the arrogant namedropper" Regan :p
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Postby Michael » Thu Nov 06, 2003 10:00 am

Just a note re Bob the B's comment:
"My personal opinion was that Nemo would have done the majority of his travelling under the sea (hence the title of the book)."

Actually, in the book the Nautilus spent a good deal of time on the surface. When Aronnax and Nemo talk about air Nemo says he could produce it under water but finds it simpler to surface regularly to replenish the supply. The Nautilus also dragged nets to fish and even if this wasn't done on the surface, the catch was collected there.
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Postby Captain Nemo » Thu Nov 06, 2003 2:45 pm

In Re: Michael's post...

That raises an interesting point. Without taking the time to look up the exact chapter and verse, I believe Michael is right: Nemo does say something to the effect that he could extract air from the water, but finds it simpler to surface and vent the boat. (A little help from the literary guild, please?)

So now I'm wondering: if he could extract air (or more likely oxygen) from water, what was the big problem when the NAUTILUS was trapped beneath the ice? Not a lack of oxygen, but a buildup of CO2. I recall Arronax describing the oppressive buildup of carbonic acid in the atmosphere aboard the ship; and (somebody please correct me if I'm wrong) I don't recall ever reading about any apparatus to remove excess CO2 from the atmosphere. Does this mean Verne didn't envision the CO2 scrubber? (He might have; I just don't recall reading about it; and if someone can point out where he did I'd be grateful.)

But relating this to the present subject: if the NAUTILUS didn't have scrubbers aboard, she'd be spending quite a bit of time on the surface refreshing her air supply. And that seems to coincide with what I remember from reading the book. (I do own a copy, but haven't read it in more than ten years.)

Therefore, I think we can chalk this up as another vote for the surface-weathered two-tone paint job....

Pat "the egotistical upstart" Regan :p
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Postby Wbnemo1 » Thu Nov 06, 2003 4:22 pm

I honestly think at this point,the Nautilus should be mostly blueish black with only hints of rust around strategic areas as mentioned in the arcticle i added above.....not a totally rusted boat the last scene in the film suggests this as well

:D
William
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Postby Captain Nemo » Thu Nov 06, 2003 7:14 pm

Yup. I started painting my NAUTILUS MINISUB rust oxide colored, but quit partly because I realized naysayers might label it "The Red Herring." I chose black for a lot of reasons, but long-story-short it just seems right.

Pat :cool:
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Postby modelnut » Fri Nov 07, 2003 2:21 pm

Thanks mateys!

I will print out this thread and consider.

But at the moment I am leaning to the two-tone paint job with the waterline discoloration. The algal sheen below the waterline also appeals.

I will let you know how it goes.
-Leelan
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Postby Sub culture » Fri Nov 07, 2003 3:14 pm

I think the rusted look is the best, on a Disney Nautilus at any rate.
To my eye this most accurately reflects the surface shots of the boat, in the film.

Painting is the worst job for me, I hate it and would happily farm the job out elsewhere in exchange for other skills.

I do think any working Disney Nautilus needs good lighting.

For this I favour white LED's, which have come down in price dramatically over the past year or two.

Cheers

Andy
'Why are you staring at an empty pond?'

Want to dive your boat in crystal clear water? Then you had better Dive-in- http://www.diveintomodelsubmarines.co.uk
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Postby Captain Nemo » Fri Nov 07, 2003 10:29 pm

One might wonder why Disney shows the NAUTILUS in different colors...

As one descends underwater, red is the first color lost from our sight; happens at about 20 feet I think (without checking the books). Since the NAUTILUS was large and much deeper than that, we wouldn't see it as rust-red underwater, and maybe that's why Disney makes it look black/blue when submerged.

Now, I started thinking how my sub would look at shallow depths, where the light is best for photography. (And this is something R/C modelers might want to consider, since their boats will also be photographed in the shallows.) I'd rather my boat looked like a larger sub deeper than 20 feet down, so I painted it black. For those wanting an R/C model NAUTILUS to look convincing when photographeed in shallow water, rust-colored aint the way to go.

But hey! It's all good! People should paint their subs whatever color makes them happy, right!?

Pat "it's what I do not who I knew" Regan :p
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Postby modelnut » Sat Nov 08, 2003 3:52 pm

To clear things up a bit, let me say that I am not building a Disney-type NAUTILUS. I am going for a Verne-type NAUTILUS.

Something like this: http://groups.msn.com/Modeler....oID=276

This was my NAUTILUS mark II. I abandoned it when I discovered an irreparable warp in the bow and stern.

:( Broke my heart it did.

I am nearing completion of my NAUTILUS mark III. This one is in 186th scale not 72nd. But there is no blasted warp anywhere (HOO-ray!) And as I said in an earlier post, this one is a kitbash instead of a 100% scratchbuild. So there are some differences to my original design owing to the use of the original kit peices. But it will still be a NAUTILUS.

For more inspiration visit: http://home.att.net/~karen.crisafulli/nautilus.html

And I am very thankful for everyone's suggestions on painting and the reasons behind them. You are an invaluable resource!

-Leelan
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