Monday, 17 November 2014
Painting ships I am never sure what colour to paint ships, and am rarely 100% happy with the schemes I end up using. I always feel there is room for improvement. Contemporary artists sometimes show ships’ hulls a natural wood colour, but more often as dark brown, even black. Red is a popular colour for awnings and armings over the oars, as is gold, and as in the Choggia painting, for hulls. Prints and paintings of Turkish galleys show ships with black and/or red hulls, red oars, and red masts and green yards. Other paintings show both Christian and Turkish ships in plain wood, with only the poop awnings and flags showing colour. Some painters show red oars, others as a natural wood. Looking at contemporary paintings of Lepanto, red and gold are the most noticeable colours, together with blue (mainly on Turkish ships, it seems) and yellow. Crescents are usually yellow or white. In the colour reconstructions of ships shown in the Osprey volume, where hulls are painted, red is the main colour used. The exception is the Barbary galiot, which is shown with a dull green fore and aft of the oar sections, and plain off-white awnings over the oars. The hull is dark brown, and black around the oars. The plates showing battle scenes from Lepanto and Preveza show Christian ships with red hulls, and Muslims with dark blue or dull green hulls. As my ships have been acquired over the years and been subject to different painting techniques and ideas, they lack a uniform scheme. The plus side is that they should show the kind of variation in colours that can be seen in some of the paintings of Lepanto. At 1:1200 scale, schemes can be simple. The prime areas for colour are the poop awnings, the armings over the oars, and the flags. The flags cast on the models’ masts are just small blobs. I cut them away and replace them with larger paper ones. They are a small feature, but probably the most eye-catching one, so just by having flags the models look better than without.