Help support TMP

"Suggestions for basic painting of WWI ships" Topic

12 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Please be courteous toward your fellow TMP members.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the WWI/WWII Naval Painting Guides Message Board

Back to the Naval Gaming 1898-1929 Message Board

Areas of Interest

19th Century
World War One
World War Two at Sea

Featured Link

Featured Showcase Article

GallopingJack Checks Out The Terrain Mat

Mal Wright Fezian goes to sea with the Terrain Mat.

Featured Profile Article

Mal Wright's Akagi at Midway

Mal Wright Fezian's commission from one of our own.

3,187 hits since 27 Dec 2016
©1994-2023 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

The Membership System will be closing for maintenance in 15 minutes. Please finish anything that will involve the membership system, including membership changes or posting of messages.

Minis is my Waterloo Supporting Member of TMP27 Dec 2016 7:45 a.m. PST

I know I could google and get a bunch of sites with real-life paint jobs of WWI navies, but I am just wondering what some of you have found to be most effective, or efficient, or practical even, for 1/2400 ships? I have British Grand Fleet, German HSF, and Italians right now. I would like to do basic hull colors, decks, turrets perhaps, and superstructure colors. Something that looks decent on the table, but isn't a mini dirorama on each base. What have you found to be most worth your painting time investment? My models are mostly Panzerschiffs and CinC, with a very few GHQ.
Thanks, folks!
Rob in Virginia

idontbelieveit27 Dec 2016 7:56 a.m. PST

For the longest time I was against basing but I changed my mind about that. I had some litko bases cut to sizes I need to allow my ships to fit on a base and have the ship name on the back. Now to paint a ship I glue it to the base then put some fine grain texture on the base. I try to shape that as water flowing from the ship going through the water, but don't get too hung up about that – it just needs some very light uneven texture on the base, you can paint it to look like water disturbed around the model.

Then I prime and paint.

The Beast Rampant27 Dec 2016 9:27 a.m. PST

For your needs, I'd recommend Litko custom-cut clear lexan bases. I got some for my 1/2400 16th century ships. They're awesome. They're 3mm thick, thick enough to handle, but it's hardly noticable. No need to texture or color-match to your play surface. Maybe pop in a bit of white for a wake. Bang, you're done. Set it on a quality sea mat and it looks great.

I like Panzerschiffe for quick & simple, but you might also want to look at Shapeways.

A long time ago, I amassed a bunch of CnC & GHQ for a long-anticipated two-sided WWI matchup, but decided I want to go your route, and felt Panzershiffe fit that bill. And to let somebody else deal with fiddly bits and hair-thin gun barrels.

Allen5727 Dec 2016 9:41 a.m. PST

I have ships from pre dreadnought ironclads through WWII. Scales from 1/1200 down through 1/4800. None of my WWI ships have camouflage patterns. I use various shades of gray or shades of deck colors to make the opposing fleets identifiable on the table. Yes, camo was used on ships but for me it is just too much effort. I feel the best investment you can make in painting is a basic grey for the hull and upper works with dry brush highlighting using a slightly lighter shade of grey than the base color. For my smaller ships I print satellite photos of the ocean and apply them to the bases then add a very small wake and bow wave. For the larger scales I just use a blue painted base with minimalist bow and stern wakes using gesso which gives a slight 3d effect.. Doing a 3d water surface on a base is time consuming, often over stated, and can be hard to achieve consistency from one base to another.

Good luck,


Minis is my Waterloo Supporting Member of TMP27 Dec 2016 1:32 p.m. PST

Thanks, guys; good info there! I bought some ships that are basically spray-painted a base color (very light grey for Germans, darker grey for Brits) and they are already based on dark blue matboard. I have my 1/1200 sailing ships based on the Langton sculpted bases and do like the wave ripple effect you get with them, but I have seen ships mounted on the clear Litko bases and do like that as well. However, unless I want to rebase the above-mentioned ships I might just add to them with the mat board bases. I was thinking of using that gel stuff from the artist section to add texture to the bases.

No one mentioned painting turret tops a different color; was that not done, or is it just not worth fooling with in 1/2400?

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP27 Dec 2016 6:00 p.m. PST

The War Times Journal web site has some basic information on painting WW1 ships: link


Minis is my Waterloo Supporting Member of TMP27 Dec 2016 7:24 p.m. PST

Thank you, Jim; very nice link!

Forager27 Dec 2016 8:51 p.m. PST

Then, of course, there is this from some crazy "TMP" web site.

TMP link

Minis is my Waterloo Supporting Member of TMP29 Dec 2016 11:32 a.m. PST

Oh my gosh, Forager, that is an excellent link! Thank you so much for that!

4th Cuirassier04 Jan 2017 4:58 a.m. PST

Is the information in Forager's link correct about the tops of British BB turrets being green? I have never heard that before.

Blutarski04 Jan 2017 6:17 a.m. PST

Re WW1 RN turret roofs yes, although I cannot place the practice within an exact time frame.

Given the lack of color photography back then and the customary low angle of view when photographic these ships, the turret roofs are usually not visible. However, photos taken from an overhead perspective (close aerial, bridge, or detail views) reveal a perceptibly darker hue on the turret roof. There are several such photos in John Roberts' book "British Battlecruisers" for example. A well known example is post-Jutland photo of the two grinning crewmen peering out through the shell hole in TIGER's Q turret; the difference in hue is quite prominent.

I think I have a colored representation somewhere in my library; I will try to find it.


Alan Lauder06 Jan 2017 5:18 a.m. PST

Hey Rob,
Glad to hear you are getting into you 1:2400 WWI. I have used a couple of methods for texturing the base for 1:2400 ships. The most simple of which is using a textured 'Wills OO Scenic Series' PVC sheet that I got from model railroad supplies – it's meant to be a lime washed wall, but does OK as a sea base for this scale IMHO. Here's a link: link

But for the Langton Ironclads sent by a great mate in Virginia ;-) I used acrylic caulking compound and just textured it with a matchstick. See here: link

Looking forward to seeing more of your fleets

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.