Straight Lines and Deck Markings

The first attempts at the deck marking techniques - a prototype in oh so many ways
The first attempts at the deck marking techniques – a prototype in oh so many ways

In the The PLAN – the first ship completed on 7 July 2013 I showed some pictures of the Liaoning, the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, modelled in 1/3000th scale. Mark (amongst others) was particularly interested in the nice straight line deck markings. Mark noted:

Hi Ian,

I have been admiring your painting of the Liaoning. Particularly the deck markings.

I have tried to get straight lines on 10mm British tanks for the Caunter colour scheme and gave up.

How did you get the deck markings so perfect. Is there a particular technique?



I must admit straight up front and give credit where it is due. Me good mate Douglas pointed me in the right direction over a couple of emails. I also practised and refined the process. The Admiral Gorshkov up and to the left is the first attempt at marking. It used just the white marker I’ll describe below and some aggressive painting techniques. It produced a fine result and works for what may become the basis of another fleet, perhaps, in the future.

Pilot's eye view
Pilot’s eye view

For the Liaoning (shown to the right with the Pilot’s Eye View), the deck markings were made 5 ways, three of them involving a short ruler or straight edge. Starting with the easiest:

  1. The long straight white lines. These were made with a correction pen. Remember back in the dim, dark days of the past before word processors we needed to use an arcane machine called a typewriter (perhaps you are not old enough to remember typewriters – I am sure there is something in Wikipedia about them). When a typing error was made we used “liquid paper” to correct the error. In modern stationary stores you can get a correction pen for fine correction. This is like a normal pen but give it a vigorous shake first, a wee squeeze, lay a straight edge down and hey presto – dead straight white lines. You may need to run it once or twice along to get a consistent opacity but a little practice and you’ll the there. Why correction fluid – well, there is nothing special about it, it is really just another white paint. Lastly, there may be a bit of leakage under the ruler as you draw the lines – that is easy enough to touch up with the surrounding colour later (in this case the deck grey). To enhance that further, I could have run a second line thickening a little and then painted out the grey sections you see on the actual vessel.
  2. The dashed white line was easy enough to do as well. Paint a long straight line with the correction pen, then with the grey deck colour, paint the grey bits out to give the dashed line.
  3. The yellow dashed line was a touch more challenging. First the line was drawn in solid white using the correction pen. I then used Games Workshop’s old Ivanden Darksun foundation colour to paint over the white. Having a straight white line there meant it was easy to paint “inside the lines”. Any paint over the edge of the white would be touched up with grey later. Next was a yellow coat over the Ivanden Darksun. Last step was to paint the breaks in with grey and touch up any paint in the wrong spot.
  4. The red lines were just a .005 red fine liner pen and a small ruler/straight edge.
  5. The helicopter landing circle was painted the same way as the yellow dashed line, just all freehand.

The tools were some fine liner pens as well as the correction pen. The two photographs below show the pens I used.

The pens I'm using for fine lines
The pens I’m using for fine lines
2013-07-15 18.30.54
The pens with a couple of tops off to get an idea of the tips

One thought on “Straight Lines and Deck Markings

  1. benjaminwalton 20 July 2013 / 1:56 pm

    Nice and helpful, painting deck markings always takes me a few trys before im happy with them…. its manly the circles for me that go horribly wrong


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.