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Mast colours

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Probably a dumb question,but how should I finish the masts on my HMS Pickle, was there a traditional scheme of finishes for the era, or were masts varnished, tar/pitch, or painted. most model builders seem to varnish their masts and paint the yards, the only 18c ship I have seen is  HMS Trincomalee at Harlepool, and her masts are yellow ochre with black yards, I'm hope some one will know the answer to my question.


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Hi Sid,


The standard practice for British ships of War in the eighteenth century was to paint the lower masts yellow with that portion of the mast from the cap to the lower part of the hounds black.


The topmasts were usually varnished with again that portion just below the hounds to the mast head also painted black. The part of the topmast between the lower mast cap and the mast top were also painted black.


With regard to Pickle, Jotika suggest staining the masts walnut, which I found not very attractive. On my build I coloured them with satin light oak varnish enhanced with a touch of natural wood finish, as I prefer to use as little paint as possible.


The yards as you say were usually painted black.


Hope this helps.




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Thanks for the quick reply  B.E.    I agree the walnut doesn't seem right, so I will experiment with varnishes, your Pickle looks very good as you have done it, and I  look at your build log often to work out how and what to do, your explanation helps a lot, Thank You.



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