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Coloring the mast

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I have seen in some kits that the masts are colored. What is used for the coloring? A varnish, paint or something else?

Thank you!

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Depends on the color.  Black, white, and yellow masts and spars were painted.  When modeling, it's your choice to paint with paint, paint with wood for contrasts, or not do anything.

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Hi Oliver, as Mark points out some masts were painted, others not.  To establish what the masts in your ship/model were you need to research the ship and see if there is a common way of doing things for that era in the form of regulations, contract requirements, or for other ship contemporary for the period.  Some ship's logs are great as there are often entries such as stripping and varnishing the lower masts etc.


If painted, again need to know the  normal practice for that period in a war/merchant ship (they often differed) and in latter times mast colours were often governed by the owners/shipping line etc. 


If you decide to paint, as Mark points out, you can either paint or leave bare, or use different wood types to 'paint by wood' as some modellers call it.  A lot of ship masts were simply varnished and the normal weathering of varnish (on a model) may be sufficient for your needs.  if painting, sometimes you need to 'tone down' the hue of the colour of the paint a bit for the model to keep the paint in perspective to the model. 


Basically you need to research the ship type, era etc a bit first so that some of the more experienced here can then provide some better, more specific advice.  

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