Jump to content

Painting Sequence for a Hull with 3 Colors Using an Airbrush

Recommended Posts

I will be painting the hull of my AL Pen Duick with an airbrush soon. The hull has 3 colors and I'm wondering what would be the best order in which to paint the 3 colors? The 3 colors are green, white and black. Should the painting sequence be from the lightest to the darkest (white first, then green and black)?


I also would like to know how to best get sharp lines of separation between the colors so the lines where the colors meet don't have a noticeable "overlapping ridge." It seems to me that, if I spray one color and then mask and spray the next color, there will be a slightly higher line of paint left on top of the first color where they overlap. Maybe the paint is so thin that this would not be noticeable...?? 


To prevent a lap line it seems you would have to be able to cleanly mask off the edges of each color and that would be difficult to do and end up with clean, crisp, even lines without any tiny gaps or rough edges...?


Here is a photo of the hull of the Pen Duick:





Thanks very much!


Link to post
Share on other sites


1. Put a coat of primer on everything. Sand and touch up as necessary.

2. Paint the white stripe at the waterline. When it's good and dry, mask it off with high quality modelers masking tape. I like the Tamiya brand. Rub the edges thoroughly with a toothpick, then paint both edges of the tape with white to seal it.

3. Mask off above the waterline and paint the green below. If you're very confident of your airbrush skills you could skip the masking part, but I wouldn't.

4. Mask off the green, remove the tape above the water line, and paint the black.

5. Say a little prayer and remove the tape.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Rod's advice above is good. If you look into my Deben log, you ll see all these steps-I hand brushed though.

I have the same issue with the raised edges. I just live with it. Apparently it is possible to wet sand the paint with 2000 grit or similar to get rid of these edges but it is too terrifying to do on a finished hull. I think this is something I should experiment with.

One think that needs attention, the paint will find its way to even the tiniest of creases. If you suspect the masking tape is not firmly stuck to the hull, start over. Also remember, any imperfection after painting will be much more visible.

Link to post
Share on other sites


The Spring 2020 Journal (Issue 65.1) has my Tips & Techniques article on exactly how to do it while only having to carefully mask once.  Exactly as rvchima said above - Except that you should seal the waterline tape with a light over spray of the masking taped edges with the same white as used for the waterline before masking along the waterline tape with wider masking.  The reason to lightly over spray with white is to seal the edges of the tape to prevent bleed of paint under the tape.  If there is any bleed it will be the white that will be invisible over the original white.


Spray at 90 degrees to the hull surface and don't let paint build up along the waterline tape and when the tape is removed there will not be a noticeable edge thickness of the hull colors.


Peel the tape back over itself to avoid lifting paint.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for taking the time to share your expertise. I will heed your advice and put it into practice when I paint the hull.


I really like to paint but have never used an airbrush so I will practice quite a bit before attempting to paint the hull. I am pretty critical of my own painting and I'm never 100% pleased with it. I will sometime point out some lap or brush marks or some unevenness of color and she just rolls her eyes and says, "No one would ever notice that but you." That may be the case but I still want my painting to get better and better.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I have a general question about airbrushing technique. In my very limited experience so far using my airbrush, I have found that it puts down a very fine spray and it takes quite a lot of passes to get complete coverage on a large surface like the hull. Since the spray is so fine the paint goes on very transparent until I eventually get even coverage after many passes.


My question is whether or not I should continue to spray until the coverage looks evenly complete and no longer transparent or is it better to put on some paint and then wait a while and come back and spray some more etc until it is finished? The acrylics seem to dry quickly on the surface of the hull so I have just continued spraying until the coverage looked good and didn't look transparent. Is that the way to do it? When I was spraying the primer I began to wonder if I was making too many passes trying to get the hull evenly coated? 





Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have the patience, make a break between sessions. Acrylics need time to fully cure, even so they are ‚touch-dry‘ very quickly. The curing is a combination of cross-linking the acrylics molrcules and an outdiffusion of the water molecules. Its is difficult to judge the coverage at the beginning and you don‘t want to flood surface details with paint.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hand brushing I always need more a dozen coats, especially if the surface underneath is a very different colour hence the need for appropriate primer with grey being the more versatile . I leave 15-20 min between coats and put all coats at the same session if time permits.

So airbrushing seems to be 20 times faster than handbrushing. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I d give it a day to be sure. Use the special low tack non bleeding tapes, Tamiya, yellow frog or equivalent. They will not lift the paint but good practice to remove tape as soon as possible as the bond generally gets stronger as time goes by. 

I left ordinary masking tape a bit too long and it lifted the varnish from my cabin top

Link to post
Share on other sites

I finally got the hull painted and I'm really pleased with it but it did not come without it's difficulties. I would have never thought it would take me so long to mask of the waterline white stripe which is quite large on the Pen Duick. 


I started off by using an Amati waterline marker but, because of the shape and contours of the hull that goes from vertical on the sides to horizontal at the stern, it wasn't getting it done for me. The wide, white waterline stripe on the Pen Duick is not a complete straight line since it goes from the bow and then curves sharply around the rudder post hole.


The first problem was that even the lightest pressure on the pencil would leave a noticeable scratch in the primer and, when I would only lightly touch the hull, the pencil would not leave a mark. It was also difficult for me to be able to see what I was doing where the waterline turned horizontal under the stern. So I went to plan B.


I found that I was better off measuring down from the gunwales and placing a few very small pencil marks on the hull. Then I connected the dots while essentially just eyeballing it while holding the boat in my lap as I laid down the masking tape. I used 3 mm Tamiya Masking Tape for Curves since there is a very tight curve around the rudder post hole. I was able to see the where I was masking on both side of the hull this way and it was easier for me to get one side symmetrical to the other.


Once I thought it looked good, I would turn the boat right side up and eyeball it again to see if the line looked straight from the bow to where it curves sharply around the rudder post hole. If it didn't look symmetrical I would pull the tape and redo it. I just kept eyeballing it and adjusting until it looked good and it took me several hours to get it right. I'm sure there must be better methods but, in the end, it worked for me even though it was a very slow process.


I airbrushed the general area of the white stripe first and then taped off the lower line of the white stripe, masked off the rest of the hull and sprayed the Emerald Green. I was able to use my airbrush outside in the garage in the morning but, by afternoon, it was too hot so I set up my Homeright Spray Shelter in the kitchen and continued to spray the black above the white stripe.


The light was not the best for me for spraying the black inside the shelter and it was hard for me to accurately gauge the coverage I was getting. When I finished I noticed that I had a 2 inch sagging line where I over sprayed an area. I let it dry and was able to sand it smooth very carefully with 400 grit and then I polished it ever so lightly with 2000. After that I went back and sprayed that area again and it turned out great. There's no sign of any run at all and the black coverage is completely even.


I am super pleased with my paint job on the hull. I am a firm believer in airbrushing now and, even though I am a compete novice in using an airbrush, the hull turned out fantastic. 


Thanks to everyone to contributed to this topic. Your advice certainly helped me be successful and I learned a lot.












I will now need to clear coat the hull. I'll need to experiment quite a bit with my airbrush and figure what I feel comfortable using to get a satin to semi-gloss sheen on the hull. This step has me worried that I could easily mess up this nice paint job by goofing up the clear coat. I'll have my fingers crossed....



Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...