Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dipping the toe in new waters

Having just asked myself the other day, "how am I suppose to paint these little jewels? ", where by jewels I meant some 1/3000 and 1/6000 miniatures for naval wargaming, it was only consequential to spend a quiet, otherwise uneventful Saturday afternoon by taking up my own challenge. Again, I have never painted any ship, in an scale, before, so this was an absolute FIRST. Here's my humble chronicle of the events of the weekend.
I started by gluing my ships to nails with a flat head - I guess, this is the naval equivalent of the wooden stick I use for 15mm miniatures. I was lucky enough to have some styrofoam around, which provided an excellent base. The Figurehead 1/6000 minis were separated, the actual vessel on one nail, the base on another. Here's how my table looked at that point.

Next, some white priming. This was done with the Krylon H2O White Primer I bought in the by now not-so-recent trip to WalMart. Very nice primer, I would agree - and pretty cheap. I keep it light, since this are tiny tiny model, and I didn't want to overdo my hand. Here's a close-up of RN Regina Elena.

Next step, I did some actual painting, starting from the 1/3000 Davco. D-551 Audace was relatively easy: light gray for the vertical surfaces, and dark gray for the horizontal ones. This seems to be a pretty standard scheme for NATO. The tanker was slightly more challenging. I was not able to come up with a color picture of British Trent, so I had to adopt the scheme from a few other online pictures I found through Google. As for the Osa-Class mssile boats, a few good pics helped a lot; I opted for brownish horizontal surfaces and gray vertical surfaces, based on a few pictures from former Soviet and Iranian sources. This is not the best pictures, but at least shows the three vessels together.

Since the Osa-class ships are attached to the base, I took a little time and fun to paint the waters... and this is the moment in which things got exciting. I have to confess, thus far I was painting without much self-awareness, but now I began to feel the excitement. I took a picture of this Osa and I began to feel self-confident into my efforts.

I polished the three Osa, Audace and the tanker with a black ink wash. Not my favorite technique - I actually explored a very light dipping in my dark WinMax Polyshade, but I decided against going this way - the Osa model I experimented with looked too shiny, and I was not able to control the "blackening" to fix a few "painting sins." Black ink did it, and I was glad with the results.
I took a break, and I realized it was time to move on to the the 1/6000 Figurehead vessels. I cannot hide my concerns: these are tiny. Really tiny. I already felt I was stretching my abilities with a 1/3000 model, and Figurehead was upping the ante to an entirely new challenge. Oh, well... I started dipping the brush with the thinner point into the paint, and I slowly went to work... first, the horizontal surfaces, a yellowish buff; then the vertical surfaces, a brownish gray. The color scheme came from a few models I found online (in a much bigger scale!) at this excellent website. Then I painted the chimney turrets black. And then... I was done! Seriously, there is not much else you can do on a vessel at the 1/6000 scale! This is how RN Regina Elena looked at this stage.

I faced again the dilemma between miracle dipping and ink wash, and I went for a split decision. RN Regina Elena received the ink wash, while RN Dante Alighieri got a mini-dip. I worked on the bases, and by now I felt I mastered the tricky task thanks to the previous work done on the Osa ships.
And right there, I was done: the miniatures popped easily off the nails, and as easily were glued to their bases. Done!
After all the work, this morning the time came to take some "official" pictures. First, the Osa class missile boats.

Now D-551 Audace and the tanker.

Then RN Regina Elena.

And finally, RN Dante Alighieri with RN Regina Elena in the background.

Some final thoughts. Painting these miniatures was actually far easier than expected, and that's true also for the 1/6000 Figurehead. Actually, I am thinking to buy some more from this line. My first foray into painting naval miniatures was fun, at moment exciting. I am delighted by decision to spend my Saturday on this task. I will resist the temptation to stand on the deck of RN Regina Elena and declared "Mission accomplished", but I feel elated by the experience, and I think I will soon explore naval miniature wargaming with more dedication. I have a few thoughts to share on the topic of which rule sets to adopt, but I will leave that for another post. For now, let me bask in the sunshine on the deck of one of the aforementioned ships...


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Nice work - especially the tanker... :o))

Which looked best in the end - ink or dip??

Bluebear Jeff said...

Bask away . . . and enjoy the excitement of a new genre to game in.

-- Jeff