31″ Nautilus W.I.P build part Seven. Painting the model

And we are in the final quarter… Painting to model.

Painting a large model sounds easy uh? grab some rattle cans from the hardware, auto or model shop. Apply a bit of masking tape and spray away!  Which if you want a clean one-dimensional finish much like you would find in a museum case, then that’s what you could do, but not me.

This may be a model of a fictional sub from a science fiction novel published 1874 century and then adapted to a Walt Disney film in 1954. By the way, the Harper Goff Nautilus from the movie bears little resemblance to Jules Verne’s submarine. Yet the later version is by far the most recognizable and iconic adaption. But I digress.

Both versions are from the era of the ironclad ships used in the later quarter of the 19th century. So, this was my starting resource for designing a paint scheme. I say designing because there is no actual boat to use a resource. Oh out there in the wild old internet, there is copious amounts of information, pictures, ideas and theories about what and how the filming miniatures were painted. However which one do you use. The hero model was finished with painted sheet copper and brass. Many of the live deck sets were made of wood and let us not forget about the age of any celluloid images which change through time.

Is my finished models color scheme correct? I like to think so.

Now, of course, it is not just about the paint. There is the weathering process to add to the realism, and as an added challenge paint and weathering changes with scale. Ahh, model making is such fun.

The previous posts show the model covered in the grey primer to help find the defects and give a sound surface to lay down the top coats. Now, while grey undercoats are common, it is not always the best color for a base coat. Why? because certain different primer colors can have an influence on the top coats. Whites are ideal for most bright colors such as red, green, yellow or blues. However, if you want to make those colors richer you could use a buff-toned undercoat. If you want them to look dull or dirty then darker undercoats are used. This principle is no different for metallic based paints, which is what I used as the primary colors.

I say colors because there are, from memory, three different metallics I made for this model. For most of my paint, I tend to use Tamiya acrylics, but I also use Gunze, the Games Workshop range, Humbrol, and Life Colour. This time I used the Tamiya bronzes, copper and dark iron. The first image is a test shot of the base color with a rust wash. The one on the left is taken with a flash the other one is with natural light.Colour test

You can see in the picture below I had already masked off the lights with blobs of blue-tack and covered the open window in tissue and masking tape. The Wheelhouse lights and windows I coated in a latex masking solution. Now because I wanted a dirty darker look for my top coats I used several light coats of flat black. P1000691

Before going to town on the main model I used the skiff to continue testing my color scheme. I’m not sure I mentioned it in an earlier piece, but the rudder, tiller arms and tiller cables are pieces I added. To give you an idea on the scale the diameter of the paint pot is about thirty millimeters. The top picture is the base coat and the bottom is the basic rust washes and light dry brushingP1000687P1000693

This is a shot of the model after the primary base colors were airbrushed on.

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I then left the whole thing to dry for a couple of days so the paint would fully cure prior to applying the weathering effects as per these YouTube videos.

here are some stills of the painting stages and some of the finished model. For those with a keen eye, you will notice the coloring on the top half of the sub is different. This is the area above the waterline where the metals would have oxidized at a different rate to the rest of the hull constantly under the water. In one picture you can see the bottom hatch wheel. I had to scratch built that piece after the original fell off. the last couple shows the interior lights for the saloon and wheelhouse. To reach the finished piece the project took eleven weeks with an average of five hours a day. because I was recovering from a broken vertebra and tailbone I could only manage five hours broken up through the day rather than my usual manic five hours in one sitting.  I also airbrushed a clear flat called Dullcote on the light covers to help hide the led’s, which also helps to diffuse their light.

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