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"Painting Flight Decks 1:3000?" Topic

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Daniel8911 Sep 2017 2:46 a.m. PST

Good morning all,

I have just got some Davco 1:3000 modern ships for playing Shipwreck with, including a couple of aircraft carriers. A fair amount of modern ships have flight decks to some degree and the realisation that they normally have quite a lot of markings on them, after some research and looking at pictures. Has anyone got any tips and tricks for painting them in such a small scale?

Thanks in advance

miscmini Fezian11 Sep 2017 4:27 a.m. PST

Good morning Daniel, have you considered using decals? There are some flight deck decals available. I don't know if a web search will yield what you want. If you decide to try decals but can't find any, please let me know. I print decals and have the capability to print white images. I could potentially make some for you.

Although my primary decal products are focused on aircraft models, I've also created some decals for WW2 Japanese aircraft carriers, WW2 German armor, and post some apocalyptic subjects.


colkitto11 Sep 2017 4:40 a.m. PST

I for one would be very excited about deck decals for moderns in 1:3000 scale. My painting of these so far has not looked good.

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2017 8:23 a.m. PST

With a little practice, you can hand-paint them.

First, make sure you have (1) magnification, (2) good lighting from adjustable desk lamp, (3) small sable brushes, (4) and a work area high enough to rest your wrists on for support (box placed on desk). Keep the paint you are using at the proper consistency, by mixing in a little solvent on the palette as needed.


In the example image, I first painted the "cross" portion of the markings. Then did my best to paint the circle portion. You could also paint a solid circle, and then put more deck color in the center. IMHO, masking tape is overkill for something this small. After the circle dries, touch it up by alternately using the deck color and more of the marking color. If this process builds up too much paint, you can either press down on the paint with the back of a fingernail to flatten it, or scrape it off and start again.


colkitto11 Sep 2017 12:20 p.m. PST

I was afraid that might the answer … That looks nice, though! I should persevere.

Daniel8912 Sep 2017 4:05 a.m. PST

Thanks guys, I'll have to give the painting a go first, though decals do sound a bit easier.

Hinds, what figures/scale are those in the picture? I really like the helicopter?


hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2017 6:12 a.m. PST

They are Navwar / Davco 1/3000 models I painted a long time ago (80s or earlier). Navwar also makes 1/3000 aircraft, which are cast integrally with metal bases. As usual, I removed them from the bases. Back then the casting metal used by the UK companies was soft, and so easy to modify. It could even be molded like clay to some degree, before it broke. Just had to be careful about washing hands, etc.

BTW, the new homemade base for the Lynx helo is a washer with a bent wire soldered in a groove, and covered with paper. The paper should ideally be the same color as the playing surface.

The paper disk under the Argentinian sub indicates it's submerged.

Mark H.

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2017 6:52 a.m. PST

Here are a few more (at the risk of getting off-topic). The hull on the Navwar (or Davco?) Belgrano was built up with solder, as original freeboard was too low:

Mark H.

Bertie12 Sep 2017 9:37 a.m. PST

Dear Daniel,
I don't know of any 1:3000 decals, but hand painting does not have to be too difficult.

Paint the deck colour, then use a HB pencil to mark out the details that you want. For lighter colours on the dark basic deck such as white and yellow indicator lines use a 0 brush, (any thinner and you can't get a good enough load of paint for a complete line,) and good thick paint that will cover at one brush stoke. I find that Vallejo paint can do this whereas Tamiya cannot. If you can get the lines done with one brushstroke they will be straighter and thinner than if you have to use several strokes. Use Mitsubishi pencils "Uni Pin fine line,", I use a 0.2, in black and red for further detail such as arrestor wires and catapult tracks. Then go back with your 0 brush and the original deck colour to tidy up the lines. Now breath out, pour yourself a whisky and water, and admire your handicraft.

There are some pics of the FDR and Independence on this link. Not great art, but good enough for wargaming in 1:3000:


Bellbottom12 Sep 2017 2:52 p.m. PST

I used to use white electrical insulating tape for the straight lines.
1. stick tape to a flat glass surface.
2. use metal rule and sharp scalpel/craft knife to cut strips for length and width. (allow slightly extra length to allow for shrinkage, then trim when in place)
3. peel from glass surface and apply as desired, (watch out for overstretching).
4. varnish overall after placement.
Worked for me.
For helicopter spots try cutting inner and outer circumferences with a sharp pair of dividers. Apply as above

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2017 3:52 p.m. PST

Further comments:

I agree with the second-to-last poster that a single brushstroke is the ideal, but if you use the correct technique it is perfectly feasible to correct minor errors of position or color saturation with careful additional brushwork, as I mentioned above. The final lines will be equally thin, because you can overpaint the edges with more of the underlying deck color to make them that way, up to a point. I say this to take the pressure off, and also because it's what I often end up doing. :-)

The anchor chains on the 1/6000 ships below are done sloppily with a single brushstroke, and then I clean up the edges with deck color. It looks imperfect in the blown up image, but remember the actual model is only about 1" long.

For longer lines than a helo deck (like on a carrier), the last poster's advice to use tape is good, although I would recommend masking tape (Tamiya makes a good one). That's what we used to do on our 1/6000 carriers before we learned about this guy's technique:


Mark H.

Weirdo13 Sep 2017 10:18 a.m. PST

I work with 1/2400 stuff vs 1/3000, but I imagine the techniques should work for either. I use masking tape for straight lines, to the point that after a while I start to lose the ship under all the tape. For circles, I find the trick is to find a template that's the right size, or close enough. For large circles, I use reinforcers meant for notebook paper. For smaller circles, I went to the nearest crafting store, and wandered around their scrapbooking section and anywhere else they might put sheets of stickers meant for little kids, and hit the jackpot: Rhinestone stickers, with each sticker being round and exactly the size I needed. A few bucks got me a sheet with over a hundred stones. Stick it to the deck at the appropriate spot, carefully paint a thin line along the base, and when dry, remove. Bingo, bango, Bob's-your-I-don't-want-to-know, landing circles that are either perfect or just need a little bit of touch up. Moreover, the stickers aren't all that sticky, so the odds are low that they'll pull up any paint when you remove them.

colkitto13 Sep 2017 1:47 p.m. PST

I love the creativity! I feel a trip to The Works coming on …

Daniel8917 Jul 2018 3:47 a.m. PST

Hi all,

Been a while since I got my modern naval ships so thought I would show off some of the work in progress and finished models.

Thanks all for your help

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2018 9:46 a.m. PST

Nice job Daniel. I see you figured out how to do the deck markings with paint!


Daniel8918 Jul 2018 3:11 a.m. PST

Thanks Mark,

Yes, it took two attempts on the carriers (and some very fine masking tape), but I'm happy with the results in the end.

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