Thursday, March 29, 2018

Saga of Painting WTJ Ships - Part 1

Back in early March, after helping play test the soon to be published "Si Vis Pacem" rules (see previous post) and reading a lot about the new rapid prototyped  plastic ships from War Times Journal, I decided to obtain several of their 1:2400 scale ships as a test bed project.  So I ordered two British predreadnoughts (HMS Majestic and Canopus) and two early Russian predreadnoughts (Sissoi Veliki and Navarin).  As a bonus, Jim from WTJ sent two extra ships, HMS Collingwood (with "undercut" gun barrels) and a Thorneycroft 4-stack destroyer used by the Japanese.

They all arrived very well packed.  At first I wasn't sure which ship was which (except for the destroyer, of course), but then I discovered the almost microscopic SKU on the bottom of each ship.

First let me say that they are delightfully intricate "sculpts" with a lot of detail including lifeboats, ventilators, and different decking heights, some undercut.  Once cleaned, as recommended by WTJ, they turned a somewhat milky color but that was predicted by WTJ on their web site.

Please click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Here they are in their"naked" plastic.  The two Russians (Navarin, top, and Sissoi Veliki, bottom) are on the left; the three British (Collingwood, Canopus, and Majestic, top to bottom) are in the center; and the Japanese Thorneycroft destroyer is on the right.  Even this picture reveals the detail in the "sculpting."

My undercoat of choice is gray gesso, which I used on these ships.  Since gesso is really designed to give smooth surface with tooth to canvas painting surfaces, using it on such small models really reveals its "roughness" as you can see with these two pictures, especially the Sissoi Veliki.  I think I'm going to have to get a finer grained undercoat, and probably uppercoat paints, if I proceed with this project.

HMS Canopus (left) and Majestic (right), with her hull already painted black.

Russian Sissoi Veliki
Over a period of several days (interrupted by various tasks, including a 3 1/2 year old granddaughter), I continued with the painting, resulting in this stage of progress.

HMS Majestic fully painted with black hull, white upper works, ocher funnels, and holystoned deck.  Between the lighting and my camera, she looks rather washed out.  I'm going to attempt a light wash to bring out more of the detail.
HMS Canopus still requires ocher coloring on her funnels and a holystoned deck.

HMS Collingwood with only forepart painted white.  I may paint the exposed gun barrels black for some contrast. You can also see more easily the "undercut" main gun barrels.  The other four capitol ships have a "tab" under the barrels to prevent damage to them from handling.  I can't really tell the difference unless I make a close examination.
Japanese Thorneycroft destroyer with only black hull painted.  Picture is a little fuzzy as it is not easy focusing on such a small model only 28mm long.
Russian Sissoi Veliki with only black hull painted.

Comparison of Panzerschiffe (above) and WTJ (below) ship models.
Russian Navarin with only black hull painted.

Comparison of Panzerschiffe (above) and WTJ (below) ship models.
As you can see from my beginning painting, I am initially going with peacetime colors, mainly black hulls, white upperworks and main gun turrets, and ocher stacks.

My concept for the use of these ships will be "imagi-nation" battles in the Mediterranean as the Franco-Norman world and the Russo-Byzantine world struggle for control of the Middle Sea.  This is loosely based on a parallel time-line from H. Beam Piper's Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen novel and its follow-ons written by Roland Green and John F. Carr.

1 comment:

Blucher cards said...

On my WTJ 1/3000 I use the Vallejo "Matt medium" and do not detect any roughness and it smoothly takes the paint. Looking forward to your next post.