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Posted (edited)

I have been having an internal argument about painting wooden model ships, the NRG tagline says Advancing ship modelling through research followed by models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, so why aren't we painting our ships as they would have appeared?

 

For example there are many models of the victory but none of them look like the real one, whether you like the new paint colour or not, all ships were painted from top to toe to protect them from the elements, most models of victory are left as wood

I appreciate that sometimes we use expensive wood ie boxwood and pear  and more often than not are encouraged to leave as its wood colour

I have done the same with my Sirius build and there wasn't going to be any paint at all, I have now changed that thinking to painting the taffrell only and highlights in this area ie a bit of red where appropriate

After reading Davids @druxeycomet fireship book and seeing the beautiful painting and colours (although he has done the hull in holly with no painting) I am considering this as the way to go with my models so they are more historically accurate.

Those of you who have seen my Cheerful build on my Sirius log will know I have had major problems with humidity warping on the holly planking, I think I have now decided that I am going to paint completely after some major sanding and gesso in admiralty colours, similar to siggis @Siggi52 tiger build.

 

When did this convention of not painting start? The beautiful paintings done for king George 111 of each the rates give a good example of what these colours should be, before nelson started adding chequers and trying to change the yellow

 

What do we think, to paint or not to paint, that is the question

 

 

 

 

Edited by paulsutcliffe

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Posted (edited)

I guess it depends on whether or not you feel compelled to adhere to that tagline..

 

Getting paint colors " historically accurate " is not very likely, but if you want to settle for " some shade of red " , then that is up to you..

 

Personally, my goal in ship modeling, is to end up with an " art " piece, that aunt May, Uncle Jack  or myself  would be happy with on the mantle.

I accomplish that with the natural wood look.

 

Gretel1.jpg.20f98595fcfe8e5bb2d7219818b00cec.jpg

Gretel2.jpg.b10b4b5e2288f32d9d2da0dbf4921b89.jpg

 

There are countless examples of unpainted  models in the Gallery that are far better than what I could hope to achieve..

 

One of my favorites is Longridge's Victory Model..

Edited by Gregory

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Gregory said:

I guess it depends on whether or not you feel compelled to adhere to that tagline..

 

Getting paint colors " historically accurate " is not very likely, but if you want to settle for " some shade of red " , then that is up to you..

 

Personally, my goal in ship modeling, is to end up with an " art " piece, that aunt May, Uncle Jack  or myself  would be happy with on the mantle.

I accomplish that with the natural wood look

 

There are countless examples of unpainted  models in the Gallery that are far better than what I could hope to achieve..

  

One of my favorites is Longridge's Victory Model..

 

Im not disagreeing with you either just putting it out there for discussion, look at the last page of my Sirius log, its all wood too

 

Regards

Paul

Edited by paulsutcliffe

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5 minutes ago, paulsutcliffe said:

At the bottom of the front page of this site ?????

Doh! Now I feel silly. Well, that description down at the bottom certainly isn't part of the NRG's official tagline, and a model can be historically accurate with regard to construction without including a historically accurate paint job. Don't lose too much sleep over it. 😉

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, paulsutcliffe said:

 

Im not disagreeing with you either just putting it out there for discussion, look at the last page of my Sirius log, its all wood too

 

Regards

Paul

I apologize if I sounded contentious..  Wasn't my intention..

 

I thought it was a question of to paint, or not to paint; and I prefer not to..

 

Your Sirius is beautiful, and a standard I could strive for..

Edited by Gregory

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Thanks Gregory and yes Druxey exactly what I meant

 

I guess what I was trying to say was if you build a scale model replica car you don't leave it in metal, you paint it

If you build a scale replica tank or train you don't leave them in metal you paint them

If you build a scale replica cruise liner you don't leave it in metal, you get my drift, but we build a wooden scale replica sailing ship, we leave it in wood?????

 

And yes I know most of the admiralty models in the NMM or Chatham or wherever they are now are not painted either, that's why im wondering when this convention started, using boxwood sort of conveys the same colour as yellow ochre I guess

 

Regards

Paul

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25 minutes ago, ccoyle said:

 Doh! Now I feel silly. Well, that description down at the bottom certainly isn't part of the NRG's official tagline, and a model can be historically accurate with regard to construction without including a historically accurate paint job. Don't lose too much sleep over it. 😉

Hi Chris

No I wont lose any sleep over it but thought it would make a Good discussion, if we don't include a historically accurate paint job is it an historically accurate scale model replica?????

 

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59 minutes ago, paulsutcliffe said:

Thanks Gregory and yes Druxey exactly what I meant

 

I guess what I was trying to say was if you build a scale model replica car you don't leave it in metal, you paint it

...

Regards

Paul

... Unless it's a DeLorean ! 😁

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 Paul

 The only reason I see for not painting a model is to showcase the modelers skills. If it's a great build then a natural finish by all means, people should be able to see the intricate details of the build.

 A shipwright once told me "caulk and paint are a shipwright's best friend"  Paint will hide a multitude of sins and in most cases a paint job is historically correct. I'm somewhat skeptical about being able to recreate an exact shade today as was used on a ship 200 years ago unless you have an actual paint chip and even then it's iffy.

 I'm a paint it kinda guy, part of it comes from my mother and part from my military experience "if it doesn't move, paint it" Having said that, there are current builds going on in here where if painted, however historically correct, would be heartbreaking.

 Keith

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Here is my two cents. I would say use your skills and your wood to the best of it. Don’t paint if your job looks good with no paint. Paint if you have to conceal deficiencies. Also paint over your perfect hull job if crazy about historical accuracy. 

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Paul,

Here's my $.02 and it's worth about what you paid for it....    It's your ship, build it the way you want.  There is no "wrong" way here.   

 

Having said that, the French builders seem to go for basically Swiss pear, ebony, boxwood and maybe one or two others.  The Russians seem to use a preparation that gives there's a dark look (generally).   But these aren't hard fast rules.  Some prefer to "paint with wood", others with paints, others still just bits and pieces as you've described.  We see all types here and none are wrong.  It' depends on what the modeler wishes his/her build to look like when done.

 

As for accuracy... sometimes that a tough call.   In the Scratch area there's many talented builders who run into a "I think this is what it looked like" because we don't have 100% plans for all parts.   Same with paint... we just don't have it.   So we do the best we can based on our skills and what we want to achieve.

 

In other words, if you want to paint it, then paint it.  It's your ship, remember. 

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Gidday everyone.

My 2 cents worth, which is worth considerably less.

To paint or not to paint is surely the choice of the modeller.

There can be no right or wrong answer.

Another thought, we do not know 100% the colours used in days gone by.

Feel free to agree or disagree as there is no right or wrong opinion.

All the best.

Mark.

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I agree completely with everything said above, but would also like to point put that with the research dafi and others have put in, the work carried out on the victory and her paint colours we have a reasonable idea what was used, they were only stocked with red, white, blue, black and yellow according to the logs, so the pinkish colour on the victory isn't a far stretch, yellow and white with a hint of red. David white didn't have it far wrong on the cover of the AOTS Diana.

To use druxeys comet again look at a side photo and the colours are amazing black at the top then the red stripe followed by blue and then boxwood left to appear as the yellow stripe-beautiful and also very similar to the king George paintings, does this represent a replica scale model more than others??

The reason I started this was because im arguing with myself about whether to paint or not

I'm not going to paint my sirius now, to far down the line but will paint my cheerful, even though  its made of boxwood, holly planking and a mahogany cap rail hopefully in the correct colours the admiralty decreed at the time using the evidence shown on dafis log and carpenters logs of the time

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I just can't bring myself to paint over the thousands of treenails I made, drilled and installed. I try to paint as little as possible. I like the look of wood and use different species of wood to try to get close to what I think the paint schemes were and to highlight the different areas (eg. wales). Current build so far has walnut, bubinga, ebony, rose wood, yellow heart, red heart, cherry and beech. But this is just me and to each his own. It is whatever makes you happy.

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Posted (edited)

Interesting question, really. It's just a matter of opinion, but I'd say "to paint or not to paint," or somewhere in between, is a matter of the modeler's artistic prerogative. Making the right choice often makes the difference between a great model and a pedestrian one, notwithstanding the level of technical skill involved. It's been a while, but when I visited the Admiralty model collection at the NMM twenty-five years ago, I recall that most models were indeed painted where paint would have been visible in the prototype, save for where they intended the construction to show (often where the below the waterline planking or decking was omitted,) their convention was to leave the wood "bright" (i.e., oiled or varnished, not painted.) That was their builder's choice. Your mileage may vary.

 

There are those who are capable of near-perfection in construction and who use precious wood species most of us would be loath to paint or even stain. Other's do miniature masterpieces of the carver's art that, if painted or gilded, might as well be mass-produced plastic kit parts. If the modeler's intention is to portray the actual construction details, fastenings and all, and they leave their wood bright, the effect can be very impressive. That said, it is my personal opinion that there's little point in the work such "open construction detail" models require unless the research is available to ensure reasonable accuracy in the depiction. Such a model which is based upon the modeler's understanding of generic construction practices of the period and type of vessel may be a tour d' force of modeling skill from a technical perspective and a true work of art that provides pleasure to those who view it, but, in almost all instances, the construction details are the modeler's or the plans author's own interpretation, not an accurate model of the actual vessel's construction, and so of limited value as an historical record. It's a work of fiction, regardless of how good a read it may be. 

 

Another consideration is the modeler's strengths and weaknesses. If one doesn't paint, they have to be really, really good at modeling. There's no option to slap on some fairing putty and sand a planked hull fair and paint over it to achieve a perfect result. Again, it's just my opinion, but I really think that a lot of the so-called planked hull kits that suggest they be left unpainted don't provide wood that even comes close to being suitable for that purpose and the results often appear crude as a result. They'd produce better models if they were painted. Conversely, if one's paintwork looks like it was laid on with an old toothbrush, perhaps they'd best stick with Minwax wipe-on stains.

 

On the other hand, if one builds for their own satisfaction, "for the mantle" as one might say, then it is really purely a matter of taste. If it satisfies the modeler, who cares what anybody else thinks of it? Bottom line, for what it's worth, my rule is "If it looks right, it is right." and if it satisfies me, it's served it's purpose as far as that goes.

Edited by Bob Cleek

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I have had this discussion briefly with a few gallery owners in the past. One of the benefits to not painting your art work is to appeal to buyers who want to see the joinery of the planking.  This, as mentioned above, is far more difficult to do correctly since you will not have the luxury of hiding any defects with filler or paint. Having said this, the majority of the galleries customers like to see the art work in period colors. Keep in mind most of the paints back then were not purchased from your locale giant retail box stores that we have today, but were mixed on site or locale paint store provider. The shades of color can very each time depending on the amount of the pigments being used. This can lead to a part of the ship being a shade different from the rest if not developed in the proper quantity requiring additional paint mixing at a later time.
 
If your going to use various expensive woods to show a color tone to accent the detail, then it would be best not to use paint. American Linden (basswood) would be a better alternative to use when painting. Keeping in mind not to sand the planking down to fine so as not to prevent the individual planks from being seen.
 
Ed Tosti's excellent building of the Young America is great example of blending both painting and leaving parts unpainted to show additional detail.   
 
Scott

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Paint mixing is still pretty much "voodoo" just like in the past.   It's really difficult to get two batches exactly alike.   An old house painter I knew said to buy what you think you need, and then get more of the same mixed batch.    Back in time, everyone had their own recipes for color as even the pigments varied.   So what shows up on a painting may or many not be the exact shade the vessel was painted in and also varied as the ship weathered.

 

I'm not a painter type but if you decide to paint, pick the colors and mix to what you want the ship to look like.  No one can ever say you're wrong.  

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10 hours ago, stm said:

American Linden (basswood) would be a better alternative to use when painting. Keeping in mind not to sand the planking down to fine so as not to prevent the individual planks from being seen.

I would question whether in most smaller scales (1:24 and below) carvel plank seams should be visible at all. In most all instances, they certainly would not be visible at scale viewing distances on a prototype. There seems to be a determined fetish of showing exaggerated plank seams these days (and its corollary, "riveted" copper sheathing,) even when they are wildly out of scale. Perhaps after modelers go to the trouble of hanging plank to form a hull. they feel the need to make it clear that they did. I dunno, but it doesn't make sense to me.

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Posted (edited)

what about using paint to accentuate details even on perfectly constructed models, I went to a lot of trouble to scrape different mouldings on the rails for my cheerful and the caprail which is mahogany but when viewed from the side they are invisible, this morning I painted the rails in yellow ochre and the caprail in matt black and now the mouldings pop out at you, a definite advantage

although I have now painted most of the hull and sides I still cant get over the hurdle of painting the boxwood keel(scarph joint showing) the counter (holly planks and treenails) is it a step to far???

regards

Paul

 

pictures to follow shortly

Edited by paulsutcliffe

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1 hour ago, paulsutcliffe said:

this morning I painted the rails in yellow ochre and the caprail in matt black and now the mouldings pop out at you

Paul, are you going to post photos in the Sirius build log? 

 

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"Advancing Ship Modeling Through Research"  That is the motto of the Guild and it is the primary purpose for MSW's existence.  Every one of us started in this hobby for various reasons.  Personally speaking, although I had made a few small Scientific models in high school, I had started doing more "girlie" things in college.  After about ten years I was walking past a hobby shop and saw the large Revell Constitution on sale.  Something in me snapped and I have never looked past.  I knew absolutely nothing about ships.  It was only by doing research that my modeling knowledge and skills advanced.  And with every project I do more research to expand my knowledge base and hopefully improve my technical skills.  

 

Should we paint?  It does not matter.  What matters is that, through research the modeler knows whether paint would have been applied and what colors would have been historically correct.  It is the same argument that we see regarding Hahn-style construction.  It is not prototypical...but it sure looks pretty.  And as long as the modeler knows that she/he is building a simplified exposed-frame model, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. 

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I believe that in building the very best models, the builder Has an artistic vision of what he/she wants to end up with.  In executing this vision the builder can use a mix of finishing techniques to achieve his goals.  For example, an Admiralty style model of an Eighteenth Century man-o-War with boxwood hull and painted trim can be stunning.  On the other hand, I personally do not find ships of the same period where color is simulated by different types of wood to be nearly as attractive.  In the end it all comes down to one’s sense of taste.

 

Roger

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On 4/3/2019 at 11:42 AM, Keith Black said:

Paul, are you going to post photos in the Sirius build log? 

 

I could but I thought I might post them here as this discussion is about the painting, what do you think?

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On 4/3/2019 at 6:57 PM, Roger Pellett said:

I believe that in building the very best models, the builder Has an artistic vision of what he/she wants to end up with.  In executing this vision the builder can use a mix of finishing techniques to achieve his goals.  For example, an Admiralty style model of an Eighteenth Century man-o-War with boxwood hull and painted trim can be stunning.  On the other hand, I personally do not find ships of the same period where color is simulated by different types of wood to be nearly as attractive.  In the end it all comes down to one’s sense of taste.

 

Roger

Roger I know where you are coming from and am bending in that direction I think as well, some of the wooden models on this site are stunning as you said, but having now added a bit of colour, I am starting to believe! 

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