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Title: How To Weather Submarine?

cptan - January 15, 2010 07:54 AM (GMT)
As I'm building a midget submarine. Have seen some pics of well done weathering sub model, how to paint them?

I guess a write up on how to weather rusty submarine will be good.


kuman - January 15, 2010 07:58 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (cptan @ Jan 15 2010, 03:54 PM)
As I'm building a midget submarine. Have seen some pics of well done weathering sub model, how to paint them?

I guess a write up on how to weather rusty submarine will be good.


i think by looking at bro landyshah build will pretty much give the idea of how its done..

or maybe shah san can make a good write-up about this siince now he's about to start weathering the 1/72 sub... right shah? :D


landyshah - January 15, 2010 09:03 AM (GMT) come my name came out here :lol:

Glad ur doing a sub there, CP....last time u racun me do figure, haha now ur turn do ship :D

Ill try to help..this how i normally do it, but of course there is much more expert ways by the far mine work for me la...

This method is modification of that used for ship. Its more for a boat in wartime , cos peacetime will be spick and span. You might want to decide if u are presenting the boat at the beginning of a cruise, during or end. It will look neat after the refit, but very tired when it comes back.

Ship/sub have many different materials...wood, steel, aluminium, rubber...each one is u need to do decide on strategy first. Also, close study of reference pics to see how weathering occurs on that particular type of boat.

1. Base coat (paint texture, chipping etc shud be adjusted here), future - I usually future the whole hull to give more protection for the wet wash later. Not critical if ur using acrylic/water colour

2. Any decals applied

3. Flat coat

4. Streaking can be done with airbrush...thinned black/grey/umber to give patchy effect to paintwork

5. Enamel/oils pin wash with burnt umber/sienna/black of deck detail, rivets, holes etc

6. Enamel/oils wet washed with lotsa turpentine/mineral spirit to blend. While wet, add in more "kau" mix of sienna and umber in certain places for rust marks. Important is need to study how the water flows over the hull and where it comes out eg drain hole.....some places more rusty than others eg railing, welding points, bolt head, anchor etc. Maybe some green for sea algae growth on waterline. Guns, instruments, radar etc should be well maintained, so not rusty. Also note that underwater part of hull should not be rusty (no air to rust), but I add some wash around seam lines to highlight them

*Step 4-5-6 can be interchanged/repeated depending on situation. Rust streaks can be airbrushed also, but I prefer wet wash style..more control

7. More stronger rust using pastel or for new rust, darker for older rust. Apply sparingly here and there only, again choosing the spots eg weld seam, railings

8. Weathering of non-steel parts incl wood, cables, prop, rubber etc with wash/pastel/oils

8. Some drybrush can be added here and there to suit your taste to bring out details

9. Final matt coat

Cos I use a "wet wash" method with lot of enamel thinner, might be danger to paint job. Make sure well protected with future/varnish, but generally its pretty safe for acrylic. Lacquer paint even more tough. Acrylic/water colour wash is least risk of course, but they dry too fast

Rust should be controlled....not overkill....risk of making it look like a rusty tube. At the end, this kind of effect is fine for my average level standard (my previous U boat built):

user posted image
user posted image
user posted image

For sure, different people will have different taste and higher levels on the finishing...

Hope my 2cts helps, maybe the expert have more ideas....I find ship weathering far more interesting than aircraft/AFV...but thats me ;)

squealus - January 17, 2010 09:41 AM (GMT)
I do pretty much the same.

Study pictures of the actual subject if possible. If not available, then study the work of other modellers. Check out Mario Grima's work on

If working in small scale, try not to overdo the weathering effects.

I usually paint the model using acrylics. Pre-shading and post shading done at ths stage.

Then I protect that coat with Future or similar types of floor polish (Johnsons, Pledge).

Decals are applied over the gloss coat.

I apply either an dark grey or black or burnt umber oil-turpentine or enamel wash over the gloss coat. Lately I have also tried Promodeller wash, which doesn't attack the base coat.

I then apply a matt coat.

Pastels or weathering powders are used finally. I use different shades of grey and rust (from light orange to dark red-brown). To be precise, I sometimes use a cut down 000 brush. Start slowly and build up the effect. This is not only very easy to do, but the effects are quite pleasing.

If necessary I would seal this under a matt coat.

beachbum - January 18, 2010 12:25 AM (GMT)
Aah.... CP taking a break from your usual subject I see.

Some excellent pointers by Squealus and Landy. Here are some additional articles to help you further although they are not on midget sub but on the U-boat VII.

Excellent overall article on painting
More on step=by-step build but still informative
Detailed assembly and painting
Weblinks of other builds

Oh yeah I'm sure you remember this good article as well from good old Armorama.
Build & Painting the VII on Armorama

The only other point I can think off is go easy on the rust especially below the waterline. Most of the rust appeared above the waterline as metal surfaces rust faster when exposed to sunlight and air.

squealus - January 18, 2010 05:16 AM (GMT)
Most midget subs in WW 2 went on one way missions and probably didn't get a chance to build up lots of paint chips and rust. :P

Which one are you building?

cptan - January 18, 2010 07:51 AM (GMT)
Thanx guys for the info....

I haven't done any figure in almost 6 months.... guess I got the disease U mentioned earlier... have to start the engine sooner. I can hear Loo whisper ...Merdaka GB is coming....Merdaka GB is coming....Merdaka GB is coming....

squealus, It's a ww2 german midget sub call SEEHUND 1/72 from ICM. got this from HHQ.


kuman - January 19, 2010 02:07 AM (GMT)

excellent links..
will need to bookmark those for reference..:D

but this cannot open.. "Detailed assembly and painting"...


landyshah - January 19, 2010 09:28 AM (GMT)
CP, most build I seen of this Seehund have fairly restrained weathering, just some rust here and there:

user posted image
user posted image

Thus, what Squealus said about their "one way trip" mission applies...meaning that only a little weathering is most realistic and logical.

This is an example of the importance of initial research for each specific type of boat....

PoohBear - January 19, 2010 11:00 AM (GMT)
On the other hand, if heavy rusting is your thing, maybe you can consider something like this

Loo CK - January 19, 2010 11:48 AM (GMT)
How To weather a submarine?
Paint her and set her out to sea......nuff said! :D

Loo CK - January 19, 2010 11:59 AM (GMT)
or if you have a thing for painting; my method would have been

1) keep the lower hull below the waterline rust free as it is unlikely to rust but rather get a lot of scuff and blisters instead. Some organic growth would be nice but they would have been quickly gotten rid off once the sub gets into dry dock

2) the rust on the upper hull needs to be applied in spots or streaks downwards.
The streaks would be smoother in character with the top of the streak bearing more hue and gradually thinning out going down as these are usually caused by water streaking down the sides carrying rust residues.
The spots would actually be at nooks and crannies and damaged paint spot where the rust is not carried down by running water

3) Do not rust the timber decks!

4) As for painting, modulation from light(top) to darker(bottom) would be interesting as the exposure to the sun from top down will be logical.

5) Some water drag marks from front to back will also be likely if the sub was wet, surfaced and running on diesel.

6) Refrain from baring metal even at rails

7) heavy weather on chains with rust washes as these are usually unpainted metal surfaces

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