Bluenose Canadian Schooner

Hull Painting Plan

July 3, 2016

Day 93.

Our first big round of painting involves two areas of the ship.  We need to paint the interior (waterways and bulwarks) and exterior (hull).

I’m going to start with the interior.  Two reasons for this.  First, the colors used on the interior are light, and will be difficult to apply if I get any of the darker hull paints on those areas.  Second, they are small and contained, so once they are painted I can easily mask them off and paint the hull without worrying about messing up my paint job.

Waterways and Bulwarks

So, first I need to paint the waterways and bulwarks.  The waterways are grey, and the bulwarks/stanchions are white.  The waterway on the fore deck is three boards wide, while the one on the quarter deck is one board wide (between the stanchions).  I previously masked off all the decking, so right now I have exposed waterways and bulwarks, covered in grey primer.

I plan to paint the waterways first, and I’m not going to bother masking the bulwarks.  Since the primer is grey, and my waterway paint is grey, I don’t see a need to mask the bulwarks – either way I’m painting white over grey.  I could leave the waterways as primer, but I want to get a nice consistent coat of my chosen grey on there, rather than be stuck with the default color of the primer.

The grey will be airbrushed on to the waterways, probably requiring at least 2 coats.

After the grey dries, I’ll go in an mask off the waterways using the yellow Tamiya tape.  This will probably take some time, since I’ll have to get it in-between the stanchions.  Once the waterway is masked, I’ll spray white on the bulwarks and stanchions.  This will probably take 2-3 coats.

The Hull

The hull of the Model Shipways Bluenose has two main colors – red and black – and two stripes – white and yellow.  This means that we need to plan our attack to ensure we get good clean lines and nice colors.

For example, if we start with black, it will be hard to paint on the yellow or white on top (covering black is hard).  It is also difficult to get a masking line set up in the exact same spot consistently.  So, we don’t want to mask the black, paint, then try to line the next color right up to the edge.  We’ll end up with odd overlaps or gaps where the primer shows through.

So, I am going to follow this general plan:

(Please forgive my crude drawings…sizes and lines are not to scale.)


We start with the entire hull covered in grey primer.

We start with the hull primered.  Everything is grey.  We mark the waterline according to the plans.  The waterline is level of the water when the ship is at sea, and it typically represents the point at which colors change or copper plating stops.

The Bluenose has a white stripe at the waterline.  So, we’ll start by spraying on some white, right round the waterline.  We won’t bother masking for this, since white is covered easily by all our other colors.


White is sprayed on at the waterline – we don’t need to worry about getting a clean edge.

Next we’ll apply the yellow.  The Bluenose has a yellow strip up near the scruppers.  We’ll use a little bit of masking tape here just to ensure we don’t overspray and mess up our white, but we don’t need to worry about a clean line.


Yellow is sprayed on near the top.  Again, we don’t need a clean edge, but we don’t want to cover up the white.

After the yellow is in place,  we’ll move on to the red.  Instead of copper plating, the Bluenose simply has a red painted hull below the waterline.  Here it will be important to mask the top edge, right at the waterline.  It may be necessary to redraw the waterline since our white paint might have covered it up.  We need a nice, crisp line at the waterline.


The lower hull is painted red.  This requires a good mask at the waterline to give a nice crisp lower edge to the white stripe.

Finally, we will put on the black.  Technically the Bluenose used a ‘midnight blue’, but it basically looks black.  I’m just going to use black.

This color will be the trickiest.  We need to mask the lower edge so we leave a strip of white visible at the waterline.

Up near the top, we actually need to mask a stripe of yellow – and get a nice clean edge on both the top and bottom of the yellow.  To do this, I will probably mask off the entire top portion (starting at the bottom edge of the yellow and going all the way up).  Then paint with black between the white and yellow stripes.  Once that dries, I’ll remove the masking, and mask from the top edge of the yellow down.  This will allow me to paint the top of the hull, above the yellow line.

Others have used thin tape to mask the yellow and simply paint around it.  I don’t have much thin tape, and I’m not sure it is good enough quality to get a clean mask.  Additionally, I think I want that strip pretty narrow, and my tape is too wide.  By masking and painting twice, I can control the width of that yellow line.


Black is painted on in two passes.  The first masks the top of the white stripe and the bottom of the yellow stripe.  The second masks the top of the yellow stripe and fills in the upper part of the hull to the top of the bulwarks.

And then we’re done!  With the hull.