So you want to paint a ship…? Tutorial: Part Three

GM_Forge LOGO art2

Okay, so we’ve let our first coat of paint dry. Time to add the next layer.

This time we’ll be dry brushing. I use a cheap dry brush for the purpose from Michaels (Craftsmart) that was made for oil paints and is about a 1/2 inch wide. The stiffer the bristles the better. You will be dipping into your paint, dabbing off any excess and then dragging the brush perpendicular to the wood grain/plank lines on the ship to catch the high points on pieces.

It’s hard to screw this process up as long as your brush is dry. Avoid the temptation to apply too much of this shade. All those dark nooks and crannies, nail holes and wood grain details and what’s going to make things pop when you’re finished.

For the color — again, I mix my own so I don’t have the name of an exact shade off the shelf to recommend to you. But a brownish tan is what you want. Something in this ballpark…


Again, it doesn’t have to be exact.

Mix the paint well but don’t add water. The thicker the better. You don’t want the paint to fill or be pulled into the lower surface areas.

Here’s our ship after a quick dry brushing.


As you can see I simply dragged the brush over the surface.


Already or deck is starting to look like wood. Simple tip here – on the edges of the railings be sure to hit there with the brush a few extra times to simulate light reflecting off them and wear marks from where the crew has been leaning and climbing over them.


Don’t worry about painting over any of the small details like the tiller house or the copper deck/hull patches. Those will be detail painted later. Also resist the urge to jab your brush back under the rail on the aft castle and other areas – these areas wouldn’t be getting much light so no highlighting there helps to give the piece more depth.


Don’t forget to do the wooden bowsprit we glued in. You’ll want it to match the rest of the ship when you are done.



And there we are – our second paint shade down. If you want a ship that’s lighter in color overall you can let this coat dry and then repeat the process.

Now this looks half way decent but is sort of ‘meh’ to my eye still. Nothing special.

It’s the third shade that’s going to really kick this up to the next level.

That’ll have to wait till the next time.

Edit: I got a few emails asking for more specifics on how I mix my paint colors. Next time I mix up a batch I’ll try to take notes on how I do it. If mixing paints just isn’t your thing however you could always try Gamer Decor’s paint kits. They have an Aged Wood set (for about $10) that uses shades similar to what I use (with no fourth shade/color) that will give you very good results.

I reviewed their paints here on my blog awhile back. Here’s a pic of the paint colors in their kit.


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