Saturday, August 14, 2010

Color Tests for Russian Pre-Dreadnoughts

After doing some reading of various interpretations of the war time paint scheme for the Russian 1st Pacific Squadron in 1904, I decided it was time to try out actually painting some ships.  These four are all Panzerschiffe models, 2 battleships and 2 cruisers.  I'm still not certain that these will be the color schemes that I will end up using - your comments will help.  As usual, please click on the pictures for a larger version.

The first two test ships are battleships from the Port Arthur based 1st Pacific Squadron.

The battleship Tsesarevitch was the flagship of the Russian squadron during the Battlle of the Yellow Sea.  Here he (to use the Russian/Soviet pronoun) is painted with a dark cinnamon hull, khaki superstructure, and ochre funnels with black band around the tops.  The base is not finished.

The Pobieda was one of the three Peresviet class battleships assigned to the Far East.  He is also in the same color scheme.

The next two ships are cruisers based out of Vladivostok.  Both were present at the Battle of Ulsan, where the Rurik was sunk.

The armored cruiser Rossiya was the flagship of the Vladivostok cruiser squadron.  Here he is with an olive drab hull, khaki superstructure, and ochre funnels.  These colors are, in my opinion, just not dark enough.

And this is the unfortunate armored cruiser Rurik.  With her compound armor and slow speed, she was obsolete by the time of the Russo-Japanese War and paid the ultimate price for it.

OK, what do y'all think?  Please give me your unbiased opinions - wrong colors, too light, too dark??  My ultimate goal is to have a distinctive color scheme for the original Pacific based ships to distinguish them from the elements of the Baltic Fleet that made up the doomed 2nd and 3rd Pacific Squadrons.  At the same time, I don't want a monotone black or gray that would make these little models nothing more than dark blobs on the gaming table.

And finally, a second test Japanese ship, this time the battleship Yashima.  She missed the Battle of the Yellow Sea because she had earlier sailed into a Russian minefield and didn't survive the encounter.

Here she is with her grey hull and superstructure and tannish decks.  The only thing lacking is the wake which I will add once I have enough ships completed to justify mixing up the texture compound.

The Yashima has been joined by the armored cruiser Yakuma which was featured in a previous post.


Ashurman said...

Hi Colonel:

Just a few thoughts...the way I've painted the First Pacific and the Vladivostock Cruiser Squadron over the years is based on sketches from a book ("Russia and Japan and the War in the Far East", published by a correspondent in copy was stolen/taken in 1972 by an artist, but memory serves well enough). In February, Tsarevich, Retvisan, the 2 Pobiedas and one of the Sevastopols were in Asiatic livery white hull and lower bridge, Buff/ochre funnels and upper bridge with wide black caps,ochre or tan masts. The other 2 Sevastopols were in European hull, white superstructures,rest as before.Based on the photos of Tsarevitch after Yellow Sea, I remain unconvinced that all or even most of them were repainted fully by August...and the repaints might have been limited to funnels, bridges and masts. If repainted, they seem to be a light gray. It is just possible that Makarov had Petroplavosk's superstructure painted in the very dark gray prior to his sinking, but that is not certain. The sketches of Varyag sinking show her in european, Askold was in Asiatic, Bayan and the 2 Dianas european,and Novik was certainly repainted lightish to medium gray from European early. Sevastopol looks that color also in late photos. The Vladivostock squadrom may have been painted a very dark gray-green, although Rurik may be black hulled. Bogatyr seems to have been in european, then had her superstructures repainted dark gray. By the time the fleet remnants were sunk in PA harbor, most of them look like they were dark +/or gray. However, my guess is that most major repaints took place after Yellow Sea, given that Tsarevitch still looks white at internment. Cruisers probably earlier...certainly Diana and Bayan look quite dark, almost as if done over in the very dark gray, in later sketches & photos. So, I paint 1st Pacific lighter than 2nd and many in livery up to Yellow Sea...they're prettier, anyhow! All of this from memory. The prime other photos are from Jane's 1904-5 and 1905-6. Mine are still in storage, but...Hope this helps, and good luck with it. Viking Forge also does most of the fleets in 1:2400, and are arguably finer models than Panzerschiffes...but I have both, too! Take Care, Larry Daum

Bluebear Jeff said...


A couple of points, first it would help if you added a lighter "deck color" to your mix.

Second, my interpretation of "dark cinnamon" is a much darker brown (closer to the black it was intended to be).

Third . . . and I don't recall where I read it . . . but somewhere I came across a reference to the "khaki" upperworks being more of an olive khaki.

Fourth, all of the pictures I've come across show the stacks as considerably more yellowish than you've used.

Fifth, the white-hulled "livery color" for tropical service is certainly worth considering. I chose not to use it simply because I didn't want to cause confusion with the US's Great White Fleet . . . but it might be a good choice to consider.

Finally, despite anything any of us might write, the ONLY PERSON that you need to please is YOU!

Don't let anything we write dissuade you from whatever paint scheme pleases you . . . they are not our figures . . . we didn't pay for them . . . we aren't painting them . . . and we aren't playing with them. You are . . . so paint to please yourself, sir.

-- Jeff

Ashurman said...

Sorry, certainly was not suggesting otherwise, and agree with Jeff, ylour stuff, paint them the way you like!

On the other hand, the book cited is now public domain in Google books (now have it again)...and I did web research (all my old research being pre-internet) and found I remembered the color of Tsarevitch at Tsingtao wrongly - Sorry, found a picture! Both she and Askold, and one presumes the rest of the fleet had been repainted into "Vitgeft's" color scheme (there described as between a rusty very dark brown and a very dark olive (black-olive?). If it helps, the photo showed Tsarevitch's paint color as darker than what is obviously a "navy" blue coat on a fellow on the dock.

In February, looks like perhaps only Tsarevitch, Askold, and the 2 Pobiedas were in white (1904 sketches, p.417), with the rest of the fleet in black hull, white upperworks, ochre funnels (Tho I saw someone suggest they were red!). Retvisan is less sure due to sketch/picture quality...could either be the white she was when she left Cramp's or repainted, depending on how you interpret the art...have not yet read through to see if there is a reference to him/her and color...Thanks for getting me to research things again!

ColCampbell50 said...

Both of your comments are very helpful. I was using the acrylic craft paints that I had on hand. The two battleships were painted from the bottles while I tried to match the suggested mix from the Wartimes Journal article.

I agree that the cinnamon brown should be much darker. I'm just not sure how to arrive at a good color. And the cruisers will be darker.

I will get access to the 1905 book via Google books to see what the sketches suggest to me. Thanks for the reference!