1/6000th Ship Painting – Part 3.2 – the Greeks

Back in the middle of September I started to write up the description of 1/6000th Ship Painting Part 3.1 – the Greeks which described the general preparation for painting these vessels as well as the specific detail for painting the Capital vessels up to the stage that the painting of them and their sea base is complete. We will now continue and describe the rest of the painting process for the TBDs as well as the finishing for all the Greek vessels.

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The TBDs had been painted basic Grey Black from Vallejo whilst the sea bases had been given a coat of Vallejo’s Dark Prussian Blue after they had been undercoated in grey and then had a black wash applied to them. The lifeboats were painted brown (Citadel’s Bestial Brown) after the grey black had dried.

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The next in the process was to wash the TDBs in Citadel’s Devian Mud wash – even though the vessels are basically black, I found the brown wash actually works a little better than the Citadel Badab Black Wash. The reason, I guess, is that the black was is so close to the black paint in shade that it just gets sucked in to the basic colour whilst the brown stands out just a little. The sea bases were also given a “wet-brush” or heavy dry brush on Vallejo’s Flat Blue 056.

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The next step was white. White was used for the canvas colours of the lifeboats  as well as being dry-brushed across the sea base to form both the vessel’s wake as well as the chop on the sea. The tops of the funnels were painted in flat black at this point as well (and yes, before you ask, whilst it is not apparent in the photographs accompanying this post, you can actually see the difference between the two blacks I have used on these vessels).

At this point the vessels are essentially painted. Now we will look at finishing this fleet off.

Finishing the Vessels

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Before we can take our vessels into battle there are still a couple of things that need to be done to them. Firstly, those vessels that have a separate sea base are gently separated from the tongue depressors and glued to their sea bases. For gluing these I did not use a super glue or a metal glue but rather a PVA based white glue (used for wood normally). In Australia I would use Selley’s “Aquadhere” which is water-based. The reason for using this type of glue is to avoid using anything that would strip the paint or cause the paint to “frost”. The PVA glues are quite inert with respect to the paint and have the added advantage of drying clear so that any extra used is not seen on the final model. As it is a flat surface to flat surface join, the wood glue provides enough grip to hold the model together.

The next step necessary is to label the vessels. To do this I used two labels. One to go on the top of the sea base identifying the type of vessel and giving it an ID number, as shown in the picture above.

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The second label is the navy and ship name which I affixed to the bottom of the sea base. So here, for example, I show the navy by using an image of the ensign flown by that navy’s vessels at the time along with the name of the vessel. This labels and the vessel ID numbers I made up as a Microsoft Word Document and printed on a colour laser printer (although I am sure that an inkjet printer would work just as well). The typeface for the ID numbers was Calibri, set in bold at 6pt with the font colour white and the background fill colour a dark blue. The vessel name for under the base was also Calibri font with the size varying on how much space there was for the vessel name (especially important when I did the Ottoman vessels later. The ID Number also contained the vessel type – e.g., BB, TBD, CA etc.

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The last step in the process was the varnish the vessels, sea bases and labels. Here I had to decide between gloss varnish for the sea base whilst using a matt varnish for the vessels or compromise. Being basically lazy, I compromised and used Vallejo’s Satin Varnish for the vessels, the sea bases and the labels. This gives a nice, well, satin finish which highlights the ships and the water quite well. The picture of the Greek fleet here is about the same size as the vessels in the flesh – maybe just a shade smaller. Clicking on it will show them to you about three times their normal size.

As you can see, the final appearance is quite neat, the labels blend in well although perhaps I could have used a slightly darker blue. Any excess label can be carefully trimmed off with a sharp knife. You can also see on the enlarged picture of the TBDs that the black of the funnel tops is slightly darker than the black the vessel is painted with.

The next parts (Part 4.1 and 4.2) will cover the painting of the Ottoman fleet. The articles covering this painting progress are:

If anyone wants a copy of label sheet I made up for the Greeks (or the Ottomans for that matter), then drop me a line and I’ll email it on to you.

Lastly, if anyone wants the original documents I used for the labels for these vessels, then the links below should give them to you in either Word 2007 format (.docx) or as a PDF.

Word Format

PDF Format

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.

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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:

1/6000th Ship Painting – Part 2

I had been given some 1/6000th ships to paint, those mentioned in 1/6000th Ship Painting and 1/6000th Ship Painting – Part 1 here at the Hole. I mentioned I was going to write up a step-by-step process of painting these vessels, especially as it was the first time I had painted 1/6000th scale vessels. I also wanted to explore techniques, share some information and be able to provide a warning.

paint6000_01A warning? Well, yes. The warning is that carton cutters are very sharp – or should I say VERY sharp. Most wargamers who paint their own figures have the odd scar or five on their fingers from small cuts with sharp knives when trimming figures. I am no different. However, this time I have a slightly larger scar caused mostly by my own carelessness with a carton cutter (the type of knife I never use for the task I was undertaking but which I was using because I was too lazy to get off my fat a*** and go to the other room and get the slightly blunter knife that I normally use for that task). More about that when it occurs in the painting process.

So, what was there to paint? As I mentioned, John had sent me two fleet packs of the Figurehead 1/6000th vessels. These were vessels from around the time of the Balkan Wars and World War 1. There was one pack of the Greek Navy vessels and one of the Turkish Navy vessels (or more correctly then I suppose, the Ottoman Navy). The content of the Greek pack was:

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Pack 1K01 Greek WWI Navy
5 pre-dreadnoughts The battleships Kilkis and Lemnos
The armoured cruisers Hydra, Spetsai and Psara
2 cruisers The Georgios Averoff and the scout cruiser Helle
14 destroyers More correctly, torpedo boat destroyers (TBD) in 4 classes of vessels:
Niki, Doxa, Aspis, Velos (turtle-back destroyers)
Thyella, Nafkratousa, Lonchi, Sfendoni
Aeto, Ierax, Panthir, Leon

Nea Genea and Keravnos (ex German V5 and V6)

The Turkish pack contained:

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Pack 1Tu01 Turkish WWI Navy
1 battle-cruiser Yavuz Sultan Selim (ex German Goeben)
3 cruisers Midilli (ex German Breslau), Medjidieh and Hamidieh
2 pre-dreadnoughts Torgus Reis (originally purchased from Germany and which was the Weissenburg) and the Heireddin Barbarossa (the ex German Kurfurst Friederich Wilhelm)
8 destroyers Yarhisar, Tasoz, Samsun, Basra
Muavenet-i-Millet, Jadhigar-i-Millet, Numene-i-Hamije, Gairet-i-Watanije

So, 35 ships in all to paint.

Allowing for time out to watch football games on the TV, do the shopping and other domestic chores, I painted these over the space of about 10 days. I took my time painting them as I was pondering the best approach to take on this, for me, new scale as well as considering how best to handle the sea bases and the labelling. Now I know I could do 35 vessels like this across about 3 nights – maybe less – spending between 5 and 10 hours in total on them.

The first task I did was to research the colours of the vessels as well a have a look at pictures of them to get a feel for what was located where on the vessels. I’ll talk about the colours specifically when I discuss the painting of each fleet in upcoming posts to the Hole.

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As for preparing the models for painting, I took the models from their packets, trimmed any excess flash or mould lines (which is another reason for looking at some old pictures if you can find them as that makes sure you do not trim off some detail you thought was flash). The models were then glued to tongue depressors (paddle-pop or pop sticks work just as well for this), the tongue depressors were then labelled with the ship class name to make identification of each ship easier throughout the painting and labelling process. The tongue depressors, glue and small sized vessels are also the reason I can say that carton cutters are very sharp.

paint6000_05 The glue I use for this process is generally a fairly brittle sort of glue – something like, in Australia, regular Tarzan’s Grip, or a PVA “white” glue also works as I just want to tack the models down but also be able to get them off the stick again after painting ((I’ve found that double-sided sticky tape generally does not grip the figures or ships well enough when painting although others have found that method of tacking the ships down quite effective)).

After the trimming and gluing process, I then undercoated the vessels. There are many methods and styles of painting wargame figures and model vessels. Some start on a white undercoat and use many shades for depth and variation, others start on a black undercoat and use layers of brushing to achieve depth and shadows whilst still other methods start by undercoating the figure or model in the basic colour it will be. All provide slightly different results that look slightly better or slightly worse depending in the eye, taste and whim of the viewer. For these models however, given their small size and the fact that I do need to get to an optometrist for a eye check up and new glasses, I opted to undercoat the vessels in a light grey.

Throughout this series of posts , I will illustrate the step (or the result of two steps) with photos plus I will identify the paints and colours I used. I usually use acrylic paints for a number of reasons that I won’t go into here and my paints are normally Vallejo and Citadel. I had just picked up some of the newer Citadel Foundation colours and washes and wanted to try them out. John’s vessels were the first opportunity I had to do this ((I should note that the advantage of trying out a new paint or technique is that if you screw it up, you can always paint over it in a better style so there is not too much risk in trying new styles and techniques)).

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I undercoated all the ships in Citadel Foundation Colour – Astronomican Grey (yes, the spelling of that is correct – they are after all a series of paints designed for painting fantasy figures). Once the undercoat was dry I think washed all the vessels with the Citadel Budab Black Wash. This darkens the crevices in the vessels and bases for what is to come as well as makes it easier for this old wargamer to see the detail he is painting. As paint reflects light of the colour of the pigment in the paint, and as the pigment consists of very small particles of pigment suspended in a medium of some sort, then paint often does not have 100% opacity. Think of house paint and painting a room – you normally use two coats of colour as after the first coat you can still see what is underneath the paint. Model paints are no different so the black wash on the sea base, for example, will darken the next colour that is painted on just a little bit in the lower troughs. You’ll see the effect later. The picture below is of both fleets after undercoating and the first wash.

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The next post will look at painting the Greeks. After that, a separate post will discuss painting the Turks. In the final post I’ll talk about labelling the vessels and then you’ll be able to see both fleets completed.I should add one final note here. Where you see a grid behind or underneath the vessels, the grid is from my cutting boards and the squares are all 1cm by 1cm.

The next post will be 1/6000th Ship Painting – Part 3.1 – The Greeks

The articles covering this painting progress are:

1/6000th Scale Ship Painting – Part 1

I mentioned in 1/6000th Ship Painting here in the Hole that I had some ships to paint on a commission. As I have not painted vessels in this scale before I decided that I would chronicle my efforts painting these vessels. So, over the coming week or so I will post the tale of my first efforts at painting 1/6000th ships. I will describe how I started with this

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which is the Hallmark/Figurehead 1/6000th Greek vessels from the Balkan Wars and World War 1, the Averoff, Limnos and Kilkis (the Limnos and Kilkis were Mississippi class battleships purchased from the USA and in the photo are the two vessels with the large masts representing the American lattice or cage masts). The squares marked on the cutting surface in the photograph are all 1 cm square.

and then turned it into this averoff et al

These are the Averoff, Limnos and Kilkis painted along with their sea bases. I still need to attach labels to the painted sea bases to complete the job. We are currently just trying to think of how to do this.

The next part in this series will be the preparation of the vessels of the Greek and Ottoman fleets to make them ready for painting. I’ll then describe the painting process and show pictures of the vessels at each stage of the process.

I will freely admit that as I looked at the completed vessels, I was quite surprised at how good they looked one painted – rivalling the detail and appearance of the 1/3000th scale vessels I have painted to date. If I had not made such an investment in 1/3000th so far, then I think that definitely I would be considering 1/6000th as my naval wargaming scale of choice.

I’ll leave this post with the words of John, who commissioned me to do this painting. I had sent him a photo of the painted vessels and he responded with:

WOW!  Great job!  Its hard to believe the change when they are painted.

The articles covering this painting progress are:

1/6000th Ship Painting

I don’t often take painting commissions but when I was asked to paint some World War 1 ships I weakened and said “sure”. I had just finished painting my Italians and so thought painting some extra ships would be fun. I worked out some prices and we struck a deal. Then I discovered that these ships were, in fact, 1/6000th ships from the Hallmark (Figurehead) range. I had assumed they were 1/3000th scale.

So, I received a packet of them today to start painting – Greeks and Turks from World War 1 and thought I would record the process as I kind of sorted it out as I went along. First task then was to adjust the prices. This was done.

Second task was some research on vessel colours. I turned to my usual three sources, namely Conway’s, Jane’s and Mal ((See Colour Schemes of World War 1 Warships here in Thomo’s Hole)). I uncovered the following from those sources

The Greek ships will be in a basic mid grey with torpedo boats painted black. Ships boats on those vessels were brown (where these can be seen of course – the 1/6000th vessels are really quite small but you will see more about that in later posts).

The Turkish ships at the time of the Balkan Wars as well as later in World War 1 were khaki in colour with wood decks. The bridge floor and upper surfaces were a bright tan colour. Areas between the funnels (where coal was handled a lot) were painted in a flat black, I guess so that the coal dust did not show. Ships boats were dark tan. Torpedo boats were either a chocolate brown or black colour – I’m trying to see if I can work out which ones were which … but I suspect that is going one step too far and I’ll end up trying to guess off the black and white pictures in Conway’s and Jane’s.

Oh, and the large Turkish ships (and here I am assuming the Yavuz and the Midilli) were likely in Light Grey – just for a bit of variation.

Next article on this will be the prepping of the ships, and then I’ll follow the painting progress.

The articles covering this painting progress are:

Battle Of Lemnos – Naval Battle 1913

The next little task for the scenario machine is the Battle of Lemnos in early (January) 1913. I am still trying to find a reference with a definitive date (by that, I mean one I can verify as off the Greek calender or the Gregorian one). The Naval Battle of Lemnos is a little naval battle from the Balkan Wars where Turkish and Greek vessels set to each other around Lemnos.

The Greek flotilla was under the command of Rear Admiral Pavlos Kountouriotis. In it were:

  • Averof – and armoured cruiser of slightly less than 10,000 tons and the flagship
  • three old battleships
    • Spetsai
    • Hydra
    • Psara
  • seven destroyers

The Ottoman flotilla included:

  • pre-dreadnought battleships
    • Barbaros Hayreddin
    • Turgut Reis
    • Mesudiye
  • the cruiser Medjidiye
  • five destroyers

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