Saturday, 27 April 2019

Painting Ironclads

I was asked if I could do a run through of my method for painting the 1/2400th scale Tumbling Dice ironclads, so here we go:
  1. Clean up and assemble the models, using gel superglue to fix all the parts in place, including the sea base. 
  2. Glue the completed model to a 20mm wide laser cut mdf base leaving a space at the stern to attach a label.
  3. Spray undercoat with Halfords Satin black car paint.
  4. Basecoat the entire base with Vallejo Dark Sea Blue or similar.
  5. Basecoat the Sails with Army Painter Skeleton Bone.
  6. Basecoat the Masts and Spars with Vallejo Flat Earth.
  7. Basecoat the Decks with Vallejo US Field Drab (working around the deck features)
  8. Drybrush the Ratlines with Vallejo London Grey.
  9. Paint the boot topping, boats, deck features and funnel with Vallejo Matt White.
  10. Paint the funnels Vallejo Yellow Ochre.
  11. Ink Wash - I used an equal three part mix of GW Nuln Oil, Seraphim Sepia and Chestnut Ink.
  12. Highlight the Sails with 50:50 Vallejo Pale Sand and Army Painter Skeleton Bone.
  13. Highlight the Decks with Vallejo US Tan Earth.
  14. Highlight the funnel with a wash of GW Cassandra Yellow Ink.
  15. Pick out the inside of the ship's boats with Vallejo Flat Earth.
  16. Tidy up with a fine brush and Vallejo Black.
  17. Paint the bases with Foundry Union Blue, followed by a drybrush of Union Blue Light and Vallejo Deep Sky Blue. 
  18. Paint the wake and bow wave with Vallejo Matt White.
  19. Varnish with artist's Matt Varnish applied with a brush (this actually gives a satin finish).
  20. Go and have a long drink.
It seems like a lot of work and looks pretty rubbish until you get about half way, when it all starts to come together to look like a ship rather than a mess. The important stage is the wash, followed by the highlights and the tidying up, which pulls it all together and covers up the sloppy paintwork. I'm at stage 7 with the current instalment, so have quite a way to go!

This is what it looks like at stage 7.


  1. Thanks for the detailed explanation. It helps. :-))

    A question though about step 1; it seems more difficult to paint the masts fixed to the model, instead of painting them first, then attach them to the ship?


  2. You would think so but it's tricky to paint the sails then glue them on, as they need some cutting and filing to fit properly. I've done it that way but it ruined the paintwork.

  3. Really helpful - thanks Jim. I've not managed to find a satisfactory method of painting these yet, but that gives me some encouragement to try!

  4. I struggled for a long time before just going for it...they are quite daunting but actually not that hard to do.

  5. Nice post Jim. Very helpful.



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