Painting Progress – the 1/6000th French – labels

2013-05-01 22.28.25I finally got some time yesterday, May Day, to start on labelling the vessels. I may have mentioned the process before but I’ll cover it again as someone asked me how I did them.

Using Microsoft Word (or any Word Processor really) create a table, in my case I make one 8 columns by 2 rows to start with. Then insert a couple of blank lines in the document and create a second 8 column by 2 row table.

Then a couple of blank lines and create a third table 8 columns by 2 rows.

In the second table, record the name of each of the vessels in the fleet. Record them in columns 2, 4, 6 and 8. Font and font size does not matter at this stage. You can then copy the table over table three (so that in both tables columns 1, 3, 5 and 7 are empty and columns 2, 4, 6 and 8 now contain all the ship names).

Now, to table three. In columns 1, 3, 5 and 7, next to the ship names, insert a code number for the vessel. For example, BB01 goes in column 1, next to the name Bretagne in column 2. DD03 goes next to the destroyer Epee and so on. Now you have two tables with some information in them, the second table with the ship names and the third table with a ships code number. I use the same code numbers between fleets so, for example, BB01 is Bretagne in the French, Hapsburg in the Austrian fleet, Tri Svititelia in the Russian fleet and so on. In the case where you are having a wargame with allied fleets fighting, well, I hope the paintwork will avoid confusion Smile

Highlight column 1 in table 3 (the ship codes). Now copy that and paste it into column 1 of table 1 and column 5 of table 1. Repeat this for column 3 table 3 (copy to columns 2 and 6 of table 1); column 5 of table 3 (copy to columns 3 and 7 of table 1); and column 7 of table 3 (copy to columns 4 and 8 of table 1).

Save the document.

Now there are three tables with only table 2 having empty columns. We now start formatting, Firstly, table 2. highlight the table (all columns) and select font “Calabri”, click on bold, change font size to 6 point or 8 point. The size of the font is something you will need to guess to make sure when finished the label will fit in the bottom of the ship base – so destroyers may need to be smaller than capital ships.

2013-05-01 22.40.25Next, search the internet and find the naval ensign for the World War 1 fleet you are painting (this is of course optional but adds a nice touch). Copy the image and paste it into cell 1, (row 1, column 1) of table 2. It will be very big but resize to until it is small and matches off with the text – you may need to adjust the column width here too. Play around a little and it will work out one way or another. Align the image either Center Left or Center in the cell. When it looks right, copy the image and paste it to each of the empty cells next to the ship names. Format the columns with the flags is to Center Left or Center alignment. Save the document.

Now comes the interesting part. The sea bases I have painted are coloured with a base coat of Prussian Blue then a light blue dry brush and a white dry brush. I have found that a background colour of dark blue works – the colour details are for R:G:B colour 23:54:93. This matches fairly closely with the Prussian blue as you can see in the photo to the right.

Now select all columns of table 1 and change the font to “Calabri”, the size to 6 point, select “bold”, select font colour “white” and then select fill colour –> more colours –> custom and use the R:G:B figures mentioned above. Your sea base labels should be starting to look good. Whilst the table is selected, go to design –> borders and turn borders off.

imageThe last step with the blue labels is to select columns 5, 6, 7 and 8 from table 1 and amend the character spacing, This is done so that the labels will fit the smaller label tabs on destroyers, torpedo boats and so on. Go to home –> font –> advanced and set scale on character spacing to 75%.

It does make the label a little harder to read, but not impossible but also ensures that it will fit most bases.

We have a sheet of labels. Save the document again and now it is ready for printing. Print on standard paper on a colour printer((OK, so I win a prize for stating the bleeding obvious but I needed the line in there for continuity)) and you are ready to stick on your models base.

Note that if you are using spray varnish, go right ahead and stick. If you are using varnish applied by a brush, then test first to see if the varnish will make the label run, especially if you have used an ink jet printer rather than a laser printer.

Simply cut the little blue label from the sheet with a sharp knife (I use one of the ones with a snap-off blade as it is best done with a very sharp knife and paper blunts the knife fairly quickly). I attach the blue labels with a dob of white glue (the stuff that dries clear) and then when the glue is dry varnish the vessels. They can then be separated from the tongue depressors I use to hold the vessels whilst painting.

Now you have labelled and varnished vessels. There is one final step. Using table three as a guide as it tells you which vessel is which code number, cut out and stick the vessel’s name label and ensign to the underside of the sea base. Voila! Finito!

Pick up the ship, look underneath and you know the vessels name. Use the code number on the sea base label to identify for damage and firing results during a game.

austrian_smaller russian_naval_jack italian_small japan_naval_ensign royal-navy-ensign_small sms_navy_ensign_small

Work in Process – the WW1 French Fleet

The second batch of World War 1 Ships - most of the battleships a some Armoured Cruisers - finished and just waiting their labels
The second batch of World War 1 Ships – most of the battleships a some Armoured Cruisers – finished and just waiting their labels

This is progressing nicely with 2/3rds of the vessels complete and a list of ships prepared ready for making labels for the navy. So, that is the destroyers complete and most of the battleships plus a few armoured cruisers.

The rest of the armoured cruisers, the protected cruisers and the Japanese cruisers (can’t remember why I have them) are almost complete – they are the ones shown in the picture below.

All that remains to be done on them is their lifeboat covers and the sooty funnels tops and such.

The remaining vessels that need two more coats of paint to compete
The remaining vessels that need two more coats of paint to compete

All vessels will be given a few days for the paint to really dry (well, the truth is I am off to Indonesia on Tuesday for a couple of days) and then I will glue the labels on the tab at the back of the base.

Vessels are then varnished – I use Vallejo Satin Varnish for ships as it gives them a nice moist appearance.

The vessels are then removed from the tongue depressors and a name tag stuck to the bottom. They should be ready for posting Monday of next week with a bit of luck and a good following wind!

On the workbench – painting in progress

2013-04-17 00.45.27
A bird’s eye view of the painting table – with the completed vessels as seen through the magnifying lamp

I’ve been working on the French World War One fleet pack from Hallmark ((available from Magister Militum in the UK)) for John in the US. These have been on the painting table for over two years now, business trips, the 15mm ACW and life generally having cut back the painting time I had available.

As with the other Hallmark vessels I’ve painted, these models are quite nice with a surprising amount of detail for a vessel that is only 2cms long.

They are quite easy to paint oddly enough and the process I have been using is to undercoat the vessels and bases in white, then wash in black ink (or nurgle gurlge slimy oil – whatever the Citadel black wash from Games Workshop is called these days).

I then paint the sea bases (some on smaller vessels like torpedo boats are already with the vessel, others like the battleships have a separate base. Painting the base first is useful as I am slapping the colour around and it doesn’t matter if it spills onto the vessel at this point.

The colour used for the sea bases are then a heavy coat of Prussian Blue, a heavy dry brush of mid blue and lastly a dry brush of white – heave around the wake against what will be the side of the vessel and where the wake from the propellers will be seen, light elsewhere.

2013-04-17 00.46.56
A different view of the vessels and a rules to give a true idea of the scale of these wee beasties

For the battleships and cruisers I do a heavy wet brush in a mid grey (uniform grey in this case) followed by a second black wash. A light dry brush of the uniform grey is then done  and yes, I know it is the third time I have added uniform grey to the vessel.

The decks are then picked out and on the French vessels I am using a desert sand colour for the decks. The vessel is then given a brown wash (earthy dirty brown or whatever from Citadel again). The last step is then to pick out the funnel tops and the ships boats. I am using white for the canvas covers of the ships boats as although it was likely a darker colour, on vessels this size it looks right and enables the detail to be seen from a distance.

I decided on uniform grey for the ship colour as the best information I could find on French vessels in World War 1 suggested an all over mid grey. French ships discipline also revolved around painting one turret in used cooking oil from the galley but I haven’t decided whether to go that far yet as to “bronze” one of the turret sides.

Other colours I read about were a dark hull grey hull and a light grey superstructure but I opted for the all-over grey as it seemed to agree with the pictures I saw online.

About 2/3rds of the vessels are now painted. I have about 30 left to paint. After that it is a case of making and printing the ship labels, adhering the ship number to the back of the base and then varnishing the vessels using a satin varnish. The last step is gluing the ship’s name under the base and then they will be finished yay!