Bluenose Canadian Schooner

Painting Progress

July 24, 2016

Day 114.

Painting is taking forever.

I’m airbrushing because I am truly horrible at hand brushing, and this is slowing things way down.  Airbrushing sends paint flying into the air, and creates a good bit of fumes.  So, I’m forbidden from airbrushing in the house (good call).

This means I have to do my airbrushing in the garage.  For small parts, no problem, I have a vented hood.  However, the Model Shipways Bluenose is too big to put under my hood.  Every time I want to spray a coat of paint on the hull, I have to move both cars out of the garage, set up a folding work bench, and do my painting.  (I don’t even want to think about the wife’s response if she discovered small flakes of hull paint on her car.)

So, this has meant that I have largely been stuck doing my painting on the weekends, when I have enough time to move both cars out for an extended period of time.

Airbrushing applies light coats of paint, and each coat dries fairly quickly.   For each color, I’m applying 3-5 coats, waiting about 2-3 hours between coats.  So on a good day when I start early, I can get 3 coats in on one day.

But I needed to primer, apply grey, apply white, apply yellow, apply red, and apply black.  Plus I need time to add filler, let it dry, sand it, and do masking.

So here I am, one month later, and I’m still not done painting.  But I have made progress.

Let’s see how the last month has gone.  In my previous posts, I got the hull primed and filled.

The first color of paint to apply is the grey for the waterways.  That went on quickly, and it took about a day to get all three coats on.

Next up was the white.  I’ll be applying white in two places – on the bulwarks and along the waterline to create the white stripe on the hull.

For the waterline, I need to start by marking the waterline.   When the ship sits in water, the stern sits lower than the bow, which means the waterline isn’t level with the ship.  I started by examining the plans, and identifying the spots where the waterline hit the stern and hit bow.  The plans include a level base reference line, so I made ‘stands’ that matched the height from the reference line to the points on the hull.

I placed these at the bow and stern, and used them to get the ship sitting at the right angle.

Photo Jul 04, 8 14 28 AM

To level the ship for marking the waterline, I used the plans to identify the points on the bow and stern that at the same elevation.  I made ‘stands’ to hold the ship at those points.

Once I had the ship leveled, I need to mark the waterline.  This basically involves using something to hold a pencil at a fixed point, then dragging it around the hull to mark the line.  On my previous ship I tried some home-built solutions (there are many DIY solutions available online), but I got very poor results.  So this time I purchased and used the waterline marker from Model Expo.  It was fairly cheap, and did a much better job of holding the pencil.

I used this to trace the line around the hull.

Photo Jul 04, 8 19 05 AM

I used a Model Expo waterline marker to draw the waterline. My attempts to use home-made solutions have always failed, and this was cheap.

While I had the ship at the bench, I went ahead and masked off the waterways.  This involved cutting pieces of Tamiya tape to cover the grey waterway areas I had previously painted.  Easy, but time consuming.  Doing this now means that once I get the ship back out in the garage, I can paint the bulwarks and waterline at the same time.

Photo Jul 09, 8 13 56 AM

After spraying the waterways with grey and allowing the paint to cure, I masked off the waterways.  Now I can spray the bulwarks white when I paint the waterline.

Back out in the garage, I applied a few coats of white along the waterline.  I didn’t worry about being precise – I just need enough coverage that I can mask off a nice line later.

I also painted the interior of the bulwarks.

Photo Jul 09, 10 34 34 AM

The waterline is painted white.

Once the white was done, I added some more tape to cover the white on the bulwarks.  I didn’t want to risk getting yellow, red, or black onto my nice shiny bulwarks.

I added some masking to protect the white stripe, then sprayed the upper side of the hull with yellow (3 coats) to fill in the area that will become the yellow waist cove stripe.


The yellow stripe at the waist cove is masked off and painted yellow.

A week or so later, after everything had dried and fully cured, I drew the waterline again with the waterline marker.  This time, instead of drawing a full line, I just made a series of small ‘tick marks’.  This will give me something to line up masking tape to.

I used some Tamiya tape, lined up against those tick marks, to mask the hull down to the waterline.  This covers up most of the white and all of the yellow.  Everything from this line down will be painted red.

The red took about 5-6 coats.  The first couple of coats were very light, and just barely covered the primer.

After a couple coats, I noticed some uneven spots in the wood, so I did another round of filler (using Tamiya putty), and resumed painting.

For weeks, it looked pretty rough.

Photo Jul 16, 12 32 47 PM

After masking at the waterline, I started in on applying the red paint to the lower hull.  This is after 2 coats.

However, after coats 4 and 5, things turned around.  The color evened out.  I sanded the hull with 800 grit paper between coats to keep things smooth.

After about 6 coats, I had a nice, even coat of paint on the hull.


After 4-5 coats, the red portion of the hull is starting to look finished.

And, now I wait.  The next step will involve removing the tape that is masking the red area, and applying more tape to mask off the red.  I want to make sure that the red paint is fully cured before I do this, or I’ll end up damaging the paint.

Since it is Sunday, and my next painting window is next Saturday, I might as well let it cure for a week.

But, all I have left is black!