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    Submarine Weathering Masterclass by Alan Taylor

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    retrocentral
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    Submarine Weathering Masterclass by Alan Taylor

    Post  retrocentral on Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:58 am

    Hi All. I have been asked by a few members if I would be able to put up some info of how my HMS upholder was painted and weathered. As with all my models, I get them painted by my long suffering friend and modeler Alan Taylor. Over the past ten years we have built numerous tv and film props for Elstree Film Studios using various techniques that we have found by experimenting and and some we have borrowed from within the industry. Alan has kindly put this build log together from a series of photos we took at various stages.
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    As we recieved the model and initial tests

    Post  retrocentral on Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:06 am

    The model, as initially purchased, was entirely presentable. However, what we wanted was the look of a proper modern sub. When you first look at a full size sub it looks black, on second examination, all manner of colours and sheens appear.
    A series of photos of one of the Upholders, dry docked, while in Canadian service, had the wealth of information needed to start the paint job.


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    The Model

    Post  retrocentral on Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:12 am

    Some repair work was needed initially, covering up minor cracks in the models surface detail. While cleaning up this work, I tried an effect involving abrading the finish vertically with very fine wet and dry paper and scouring pads. This, in itself, was not a finished scheme, but it provided some ideas as to how to replicate some of the effects seen on full size vessels.
    A major problem involved the Depth Marking stencilling. This was very nicely rendered as the model was received, and would be a problem to replicate after repainting. So, the plan was to work round the stencilling as already applied, while repainting the model at the same time. A bit of a challenge!
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    Surface detail repairs...

    Post  retrocentral on Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:17 am

    Part of the scribing had to pass through filler. This had to be done carefully as the filler and the gel coat had a very different hardness. The scribe could easily have hacked out far too much filler while just tickling the surface of the gel coat.
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    Paint colours...

    Post  retrocentral on Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:23 am

    I then brush painted a flat matt mix of black acrylic paint into all the scribed lines, while also doing a bit of ‘Match pot’ work on the hull, to find a suitable ‘light black’ colour for the model.
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    Masking

    Post  retrocentral on Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:37 am

    As I approached the first spray application, I started to mask off areas of the original colour of the model. This included the original stencilling, including depth marking fore and aft.
    These patches were applied mostly where differing tones were visible on the full size dry docked Upholder. The idea being that when they are eventually removed, a colour and sheen difference will be apparent between the original and newly applied finishes.
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    Re: Submarine Weathering Masterclass by Alan Taylor

    Post  salmon on Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:48 am

    WOW, thank you! Please keep it coming!


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    Satin Nightmare

    Post  retrocentral on Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:52 am

    Then disaster struck.
    I sprayed Humbrol Satin Black out of a can as a first layer. This then dried what I would call gloss!
    Not what I wanted, not expected, however, as it turned out, this was the Eureka moment in the paint job. It did not feel like it at the time though...
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    Initial Airbrushing

    Post  retrocentral on Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:58 am

    Following the gloss disaster, I started airbrushing matt black onto the model, mostly in vertical streaks, but also along the lines of the scribed panel detail. I also removed the masking patches to reveal the contrast between the new and old paint finish.
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    Eureka Moment!

    Post  retrocentral on Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:01 am

    This was the Eureka moment. I was trying to find a way to simulate the tile effect on the full size vessel, but without having to spend weeks masking and spraying individual groups of tiles.
    I eventually came up with the idea of spraying a matt finish through a grid, held just proud of the surface of the model. This grid started life as a plastic basket. Two sides were cut out from it, cable tied to a long stick, acting as a handle. This became my spray grid. Some care was needed to ensure it was parallel to the waterline of the model when spraying through it. Also, only the lightest spray was needed. I did slightly overdo it, as shown in the photos taken with my cameras flash on. However, this does show how the effect was applied.
    This was stage one of the fight back. From now on in, I was in charge of this paint job!
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    The Merriman Effect

    Post  retrocentral on Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:09 am

    The next stage is what I have christened The Merriman Effect.
    Everyone seems to be naming the latest weathering technique, so I liked this name, it seemed apt!
    The idea being to simulate the line between the exposed and immersed parts of the submarine, by replicating the scum line, sea weed, slime, dock gung etc, that accumulates along and below the waterline of docked submarines. Seen at its most extreme on ex-soviet subs, where they seem to have a reef growing below the waterline.
    By masking the upper hull off and lightly blowing in a differing colour, green for weed, grey or ochre for muck, fading this out as you proceed down towards the keel, you end up with a satisfying dividing line, and change in tone, between two areas that are often the same basic colour.
    [img][/img]
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    Scouring Pad Effect!

    Post  retrocentral on Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:13 am

    Following the Merriman Effect, comes the Scouring Pad Effect! This takes the initial effects already applied, and tones them back. This involves lightly scouring back some of the already applied finish. This could be done by the more traditional dry brushing techniques, however, that often looks like it is, dry brushed. I feel if you can easily see how a weathering technique is done, it hasn’t been done properly. I have also been known to use fine wet and dry paper to achieve this effect, fairly brutal!

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    Re: Submarine Weathering Masterclass by Alan Taylor

    Post  Tom(ADMIN) on Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:17 am

    Superb...more please, Ahmed!
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    Time to Stand Back

    Post  retrocentral on Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:20 am

    Time to stand back and take a breath. Sometimes I run out of ideas mid paint job. Its best to stop for a while before proceeding, for fear of ruining what has already gone before.
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    Re: Submarine Weathering Masterclass by Alan Taylor

    Post  retrocentral on Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:26 am

    These photos, taken with the flash on, or with fairly awful indoor lighting, serve to highlight some features of the scheme already applied: The totally flat matt black running down the scribed lines, probably representing internal frames on the full size vessel. The awful satin finish, proving to be an absolute gift to the finish so far, providing an excellent contrast to the matt effects lightly applied over the top of it. I felt the tiling effect sometimes came across too heavy and this would be a problem to hide at this late stage. It shows up mostly in flash photographs, which are less than flattering at the best of times, so, let‘s not worry too much.
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    The Small Stuff

    Post  retrocentral on Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:33 am

    Time to put away the airbrush and get on with the small details. Partly to help hide the airbrush job that has preceded it!
    On this series of pictures are various little painting effects, starting with the missing tile effect. I considered milling out a 0.75mm deep square out of the model at various random points around the model, however, sanity prevailed. I masked small squares off on the surface of the model. Then in the best Thunderbirds tradition, dry brushed Humbrol 62 Leather up to the edges of the tape, feathering to less in the centres of the squares. Also stippling thicker rust effects around the edges of the tape. Once peeled off, they started to look like exposed steel sub hull.
    Next, small amounts of slightly thinned satin varnish ( thinned so it would be easier to hand paint into scribed detail ) are applied. I highlighted details on the hull surface, such as the decoy launcher tubes, retracted bollards and small access hatches.
    A Clear Orange colour was used to streak down the hull in places, simulating running rust. Not too much though, this is a new boat, not an old WWII tub.
    I then used rust red and silver oil pastel pencils, roughly streaked down the hull from strategic points. This was then blended in with my finger. This provided subtle satin streaks of a slightly different colour. So far this has proved water resistant without the need for a protective top coat. Top coats are great for protecting your weathering effects, however, if you also have changes of surface finish, from matt through satin to metallic, a uniform top coat will kill this off in one pass. So, don’t top coat!
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    First View in Daylight

    Post  retrocentral on Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:38 am

    These pictures show the model in daylight for the first time. Some of the more subtle detail can be seen on the conning tower in the form of panels, while the hull is showing the brush painted effects such as water run off. Also the missing rubber tile effects have been enhanced with a thin shadow line painted along the upper and one vertical edge of each ‘hole’.
    Depending on the angle of the photograph, the model shows the matt effects, or a silvery reflection, or the streaks. Rather like trying to pin down the colours on a full size boat, these keep changing as your viewing angle changes.
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    Sonar Arrays

    Post  retrocentral on Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:42 am

    Next job, the sonar array. I wanted these to stand out. Therefore, I opted for a flat matt finish, with no flourishes.
    Humbrol 31 Slate Grey is a great green/grey colour for this and was airbrushed on the various masked off arrays.
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    Job Done

    Post  retrocentral on Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:48 am

    These pictures show the model finished. The sonar arrays have received a bit of subtle airbrushing around their edges and two vertical stripes in the centre, slightly darker but still flat matt. Also I used a soft pencil, 2B or similar, to pencil in some of the remaining panel stencilling. Kept sharp between passes, these marks are then blended in with a blunt finger. The generally vertical nature of the streaking is obvious from these pictures, also in some images the almost invisible waterline disappears, while in other shots it is more obvious.
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    On Patrol

    Post  retrocentral on Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:54 am

    And then it was finished, so I played around with one of the images in the computer! From model to patrolling hostile waters in a thousand easy steps.
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    On the Pond

    Post  retrocentral on Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:07 am


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    Re: Submarine Weathering Masterclass by Alan Taylor

    Post  Tom(ADMIN) on Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:04 am

    Now that was a super read, Ahmed...thanks to you and to Alan for posting that for the lads to read. Excellent, and a most impressive looking boat.


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    Re: Submarine Weathering Masterclass by Alan Taylor

    Post  salmon on Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:05 pm

    I need a smoke and a coffee - don't even smoke. That was good! Thank you so much for sharing!
    I also like what you did with the sub in, I am guessing, Photoshop.
    Peace,
    Tom


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    Re: Submarine Weathering Masterclass by Alan Taylor

    Post  tattooed on Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:55 pm

    Fantasic just fantastic words fail me thanks for sharing
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    Re: Submarine Weathering Masterclass by Alan Taylor

    Post  david f on Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:47 am

    Very impressive indeed.

    The point seems to be very detailed observation.You see what is there on the photograph of the full size and then reproduce it - if only that was easy!

    Gravity seems to be important too. Water flows downhill and leaves its mark.

    David

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    Re: Submarine Weathering Masterclass by Alan Taylor

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