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painting hull - moved to the painting forum by moderator

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Hi- now that planking is complete above and below the main deck, it's time to paint. After spending so many months 

planking, I'm very concerned about how to create an accurate line on a curved hull for painting different colors above and below on the rattlesnake as shown in the photo. There is no clear delineation in the planking on this ship showing where the white and black color of the lower hull ought to be painted. Any suggestions or links on creating a line (i've struggled to find exactly what I'm looking for online) for painting would be appreciated.


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I attach a pencil to a dowel, dertermine the height needed and run it around the hull. Model Expo sells a waterline marker that is basically what I discribed.

Edited by Jim Rogers


Jim Rogers


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1. Set the model on a flat surface and make sure the waterline is parallel to that surface.

2. Cut a block that is exact height of the waterline from the surface the ship is sitting on minus half the diameter of your pencil.

3. Tape said pencil to top of the block, and carefully draw the waterline with it all the way around the hull.

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I bought the Model Expo waterline marker.  It makes life easier, for me at least.


 I mask off with painter’s tape.

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This is what I used.  I placed supports under the top rail where necessary to make sure the keel was level with the work surface.  I determined where the water line was by taking measurements off the plans.  I marked that spot on the hull then transferred the mark to the cup in situ and drove the pencil through the cup and ran it around the hull.


Because you are printing three colors on the hull I suggest you estimate where the middle of the Black will be then paint the yellow and white close to that line.  Then using whatever means you choose, mark the actual upper and lower lines for the black section.  Mask over the yellow paint to where the upper black line is and the white to where the lower black line is.  Now using clear lacquer apply a thin coat to the edges of the masking tape where the black paint will be.  This seals the edge and ensures no paint will get under the masking tape.  Now paint the black portion and before the paint dries completely, carefully remove the masking tape.  You should now have nice crisp lines on the hull. 


Edited by bogeygolpher



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  • 2 weeks later...

thanks to everyone for your informative replies - much appreciated


I think I have learned that many people do not actually paint an accurate waterline. A  true waterline must be straight across because water does not bend! Some people follow the planking curves instead and paint along those lines. The result being a possible accurate water line around midship which then curves upward at bow and stern following the curve of the planking. I think I am going to choose to draw a line straight across. 


any comments welcome

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I would also like to know about using a natural finish in some areas instead of paint. I have seen 'shellac', 'linseed' and 'stain' terms used regarding this subject but it's difficult to get a comprehensive idea about how these things are used in what combination, quantity or preparation. If someone knows of a link, that would be great.


I did find this link online. I hope it helps somebody. All comments welcome



Edited by jazzdc
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Use the search button at the top of this page to search in this (Paining...) sub-forum.  There's a lot of ways to do this and everyone seems to have their favorite.  

"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me

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