Monday 19 October 2020

The Further Adventures and Misadventures of a Ship Builder

I have been after this for some time so it is a welcome addition to my painting collection.

 It has gotten to the stage whereby I seem to be contriving to trip over every obstacle that - real or imagined - appears on my modelling table! There is nothing major for sure - just a seemingly endless succession of small irritants. The six models Under construction will be finished this week But I managed to shoot myself in the foot yesterday with the purchase of a bottle of the above during a flying visit to Basildon.

Games Workshop Nuln Oil is essentially a black wash and I have been keen to try it out as I have seen some really quite special Results when used on machinery - tanks, weapons, robots etc. Personally it looks like a machine oil black so Is not has harsh as a pure black wash. I have a couple of painting projects I wanted to try this out with when I suddenly thought about weathering ironclads.

There is no doubt in my mind that this would be perfect for the correct sort of model. By correct I mean one that is detailed and therefore warranting an in depth ‘shaded, highlighted and washed’ level of paint job. Not by any stretch of the imagination do my models fall into this category!

I gave the two largest models a coat of this and whilst it provided an excellent foundation for the aforementioned ‘shaded, highlighted and washed’ level of paint job I would be less than honest if I said that the detail of the models I am building would be worthy of it. Left on its own it looked pretty awful but  with the appropriate attention would look fantastic. This was certainly not part of the mission plan For what I am building.

Why did I do it? Probably because I could and that curiosity got the better of me. All was not lost though (only a day or so) as it meant that the second coat of paint I was mulling over became essential rather than a perhaps. I am pleased that I applied the second coat as it has given the base colour a deeper richness as well as providing a better smoothing out of any surface imperfections. I am using primarily Humbrol enamels for these models - Matt 79 for the monitors and Matt 40 for the casemate ironclads.

Nuln Oil will be a very useful addition to my paint collection - just not for the rather simple looking models I am currently building!

Cunning plans afoot with these bits and pieces and indeed, some only occurred to me when they arrived!

In other news my order from Warbases arrived and it is a doozy! It is really satisfying seeing one’s plans turned into reality and these pieces (there are naturally multiples of each item!) are going to be really useful with my shipbuilding plans. For now I have a couple of bits and pieces to think about to complete the MDF collection and one these have been scoped out I will be well placed for the three projects I have in mind. 


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


The ‘wash’ idea sounds like it should have worked ... but at least you’ve managed to deal with the problems that arose.

I like the look of the bits and pieces Warbases have produced for you, and I can see them being used to create a range of different ship designs.

All the best,


Archduke Piccolo said...

Hi David -
I have run out of Nuln Oil, and I wish I hadn't!

On the matter of painting up gunboats, one of the advantages of building in balsa is that you can 'get away' with water colours. Apart from anything metal, I used the remaining colours from one of my daughter's depleted kiddy paint sets to paint up my ACW riverine fleets. Here's some from a 4-part series of postings in early 2012:

I regret I didn't think of it to paint up my newest Balkans Wars fleets!

Having said that, I don't imagine the materials you're using would take kindly to water colours.

David Crook said...

Hi Bob,

It is all a learning experience at the moment and whilst a tad frustrating it is not the end of the world. In fact, the second coat of paint has made a real difference to the finish of the models so all is well that ends well!

My latest order has gone into Warbases for them to look at and assuming all is well it will enable me to tackle the three naval projects I am working on. I messed up the ‘central battery casemate’ template as the casemate was a little too far forward. I can still use it but have factored in a more central version in my latest commission.

All the best,


David Manley said...

I'm a big fan of Nuln Oil, but for ships like this I have tended to use Agrax Earthshade as it (for me) doesn't look so harsh.

David Crook said...

Hello there Archduke,

I used watercolours on some of the earlier models and you are right - anything water based is not great with MDF unless it s properly sealed.

I will take a look at your 4 part series as I will happily ‘borrow’ ideas from anywhere!

I have a couple of plans for the Nuln Oil wash - it is for a project hat has been sitting around for years!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hello there Mr Manley,

I have not heard of that so will look out for it.

All the best,


Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Nuln Oil .. me too .. the racks always are empty when I look
I have mixed views about their contrast paints
I see them as nice washes not paints in themselves at all

David Crook said...

Hi Geordie,

I was pleased to get it as I have a particular project in mind for it. Something a little off the wall and that has been lurking around in the collection for a number of years.

I doubt I will get any further into their paints as my needs are very modest!

All the best,


Steve J. said...

I'm sorry to hear it didn't work out as planned with the Nuln Oil wash, but a lesson learnt and all that. I prefer the Agrax Earthshade as for my 10mm models, it works nicely and is not as harsh as the Nuln Oil. Trial and error got me to this stage though and sometimes I dilute it about 50% with water, depending upon the colour it is going over etc.

David Crook said...

Hi Steve J,

That is the second mention of Agrax Earthshade so I reckon I am going to have to get some now!

All the best,