George F. Campbell
The neophyte shipmodeller`s jackstay
Round about the late 19th century many experiments with bottom composition were made on wood and iron hulls; copper and bronze paint on transatlantic steamships, a pink mixture of red and white lead tallow and resin on steel hulled windjammers, or a plain red lead or red oxide. Red anti'fouling composition was the final general choice for metal hulls. Copper sheathing went out of fashion for all but expensive small wooden craft. Copper sheets averaged about 4'0" x 18" for brge ships.
Do not make your colors too brilliant, unless the brilliance is called for, as on sternboard, or Hgurehead, etc. You might early settle in your mind the weathered condition your model represents: as just off the ways ?— 1st year out ?— 10 year veteran ? Time will deal hard and equally with all parts of the ship. The "weathering" of the finish verges on art, which might best be left for a later model. Crack clippers always kept their deckwork well oiled and varnished.
JAPAN COLORS, as from the tube, are thick — a small squeezing plus a few drops of turpentine will bring the batch to the consistency of heavy cream. Add to this a drop or two of varnish, which will give the coat a tougher skin, and a satiny quality. Experiment for finish. Do not apply thick coats, which tend to fill in desired detail and round off features which should be sharp. Plan on no more than two coats for any surface.
MARKING THE WATERLINE — Set the model on its temporary cradle so that its waterline is level. Use dividers to determine the bow and stern points of the waterline, Fig. 49. Mount a pencil or other sharp point on a block of wood of such height that the waterline is marked when drawn around the hull, Fig. 5'0. Ideally, a machinist's surface gauge will do this job. Paint the bottom first, to the marked waterline. Spray painting will do a neat job—if you have the equipment. Otherwise use a fair to good quality art brush, camel or red sable hair. In painting to a. line, try this: Hold the model firmly but comfortably with the left hand. Take a reasonable brushful of paint and bring it lightly below the line ready to arc onto the line when ready. Let your 4th, 5'th and 6th fingers provide slight bearing and guidance on the hull. Now, draw a deep breath, hold it and arc the brush to and along the line until either your brushload or your composure fails—gently raise the brush as the stroke continues. Practice this technique, using ordinary enamel on a board, altering it to your own liking. Fig. 51
Do not allow a heavy bead of paint to flow along the line. This calls for moderation in the quantity of paint on the brush. Another way to get a clean cut waterline is to use self-adhesive tape. Owing to the curvature of the hull, a wide tape would tend to lie with puckers if laid along the waterline. This can be reduced to a minimum by cutting the tape (on glass, to get a sharp edge) to a narrow strip and applying it in short lengths around the greatest curvature. Fig. 52. Second, paint the topsides. This may call for cradling the model in your left arm, upside down. Paint to the line first, then the rest can be done in a more relaxed atmosphere. Decorations and special items are painted last. Deck furniture is painted before being placed on the deck. Note that deck obstructions were painted a light color for safety. The inside bulwarks may be painted a buff or light grey, unless specific information is to be had. The waterways may be out of a different shade or color. In short, the brighter colors on a ship were applied at the. whim of the captain or owners, also on availability. Custom had a strong hand in the patterns — over which parts were light or dark, but the color and shades were subject to choice.