1/6000th Ship Painting – Part 3.1 – the Greeks

This is the third part in my painting 1/6000th scale Figurehead ships. This post deals with the Greeks from around the time of the Balkan Wars and World War 1.

The Greeks had a tidy little fleet at these times, consisting of a couple of pre-dreadnought battleships purchased from the USA (these were the Mississippi class battleships that were named the Lemnos and Kilkis. There were also three older armoured cruisers armed with 5.9-inch guns, the Hydra, Spetsai and Psara. There was a scout cruiser, the Helle and a number of torpdeo boat destroyers. The TBDs included in the Figurehead pack were the Nike, Doxa, Aspis, Velos, Thyella, Nafkratonsa, Lonchi, Sfendoni, Aeto, Ierax, Panthir, Leon, Nea Genea and Keravnos. Whilst Greece was not a protagonist through much of the First World War ((Greece declared war in 1917)), some of her vessels were taken over by the French Navy and used in that conflict. The destroyers Niki, Doxa, Aspis and Velos in particular.

Colours of the Ships

At the time of the Balkan Wars and World War 1, the Greek Navy vessels were painted in two general colour schemes. The TBDs were painted black whilst the heavier vessels, the cruisers and battleships, were painted mid grey on all vertical surfaces. Decks on the capital ships were wooden with some corticene (a linoleum like material) used on upper surfaces, especially where crew moved about or spent a long time like, for example, the bridge. Ships boats were wooden and that was varnished and those ships boats were protected by canvas covers. These canvas covers were oft-times painted in a grey to match the grey used on the vessel however in the case of these 1/6000th ships, I’ve painted then white (or very light grey) to aid in actually seeing that detail.

One thing about colour in this scale is that as there is little light reflected from a 1/6000th scale model, then the colours always appear a little dark on them so painting them a lighter shade gives something that appears to be the correct colour to the eye as it views it. You will see, for example, when painting the TBDs that instead of using black I used a very dark grey which on the finished vessel looks black but also enables the detail to be seen.

Painting the Ships

paint6000_10 Picking up from the previous post in this series, the Greek ships are all undercoated in Citadel’s Foundation Colour, Astronomican Grey and have been washed with Citadel Washes Budab Black. The result of this is shown in the photo to the right.

This has provided a painting surface as well as outlined the detail on the vessels and on the sea bases – now we can see that needs to be painted. As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, I will do this step by step with photos to illustrate each step.

The next step was to start with the base colours for each of the vessels. As mentioned above, the capital ships were painted a mid grey and the TBDs were painted black. The sea bases were representing the ocean (the Mediterranean in this case) and would need to be painted to provide a “sea effect”. Water is difficult to model and paint as it is a clear liquid and transparent in small quantities but in large quantities it becomes opaque and colours. From the perspective of the sea, the colour depends mostly on the weather around and can range from a bright blue through the a dismal green-grey colour. I decided to paint the sea bases blue as that is the most recognisable colour for the sea for most folks.

paint6000_11 The photo to the left shows the ships after the next coat of paint. The capital ships have been given a coat of Vallejo 70943 Grey Blue as their base colour. The torpedo boat destroyers were given a base coat of Vallejo 862 Black Grey – which is a very dark grey. The sea bases were painted with Vallejo 899 Dark Prussian Blue. The technique used on the sea bases was to adopt a dry-brushing technique but using a wet brush so the blue covered almost everywhere but left some low spots black in appearance from the earlier washing. The ships were painted with a wet brush as well and I looked for good coverage on all vertical surfaces as well as turrets and rooves on the capital vessels. On the TDBs I looked for good coverage on all surfaces.

paint6000_12 Now we will split a little and follow the painting of the capital ships. We’ll return to the TBDs later. To the right is a photo of the capital ships with their deck colours painted. The metal main decks on these vessels were covered with wooden planking and that  colour was represented by using Citadel’s Desert Yellow. Remember that these vessels spent a great deal of time in sunshine and with salt water spraying over them so wooden decks tended to be light in colour.


The next colours added were Citadel’s Dark Flesh which was used to colour the exposed corticene areas, principally the bridge area. Citadel’s Bestial Brown was used to paint the side of the ships boats, the canvas covers will be painted on the next step. A wet brush technique (like dry brushing but with a wet brush) was then used on the sea bases. Vallejo’s Flat Blue (056) was used to provide a lighter layer for the water. At this point you can start to picture the sea bases finished as well as the ships – they are starting to look more like the real thing.

paint6000_14 The next step after the one described above is the penultimate painting step. The first thing I did was to paint a wash of Citadel’s Wash, Devian Mud over the ships. This just darkened the decks a little and helped pick out some additional details. I then painted the canvas boat covers white (they are likely to have been mid to light grey but I want them visible as they are detail that adds to the ship model – also the real covers would likely have faded in the sun as well). I used Vallejo’s Foundation White for this but could just have easily used Citadel’s White. White was also dry-brushed across the sea bases to make the vessel wakes as well as to represent the top of the sea chop. Black funnel tops were also painted at this stage (these were Citadel’s Chaos Black). The ships and bases are essentially finished at this point, just requiring assembling, labelling and varnishing.

The next part (Part 3.2) will cover the finishing of the Capital vessels as well as the TBD. Part 4 will then show the painting of the Ottoman fleet.

The articles covering this painting progress are:

2 thoughts on “1/6000th Ship Painting – Part 3.1 – the Greeks

  1. Tom Oxley 30 November 1999 / 8:00 am

    I found your articles just as I bought my first Figurehead WW1 models. Looking forward to the next part of your article. I got a start on my first batch for the Dogger Bank scenario by reading your story of how you went through it.


    • thomo the lost 30 November 1999 / 8:00 am

      Hi Thomas,

      I am glad that the post has stimulated your painting. The second part to this series of posts is now up in the Hole covering painting the TBDs of the Greeks and then the finishing of the Greek models. Later posts will cover the Turks – I have the notes for that but need to edit some photos.

      In the meantime, I have started painting the WW1 Russian Baltic Fleet.


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