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yankeemodeller

Black Submarines

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A couple of questions for you submarine lovers. I am taking a stab at a couple of modern subs and was wondering what your favorite shade of black/dark gray you use on your subs. I know they look different wet vs dry, new vs faded, and on the discussion goes. Is there an official color or is it poetic liscense? Another question, why do some subs, mostly Soviet, have what looks like observation windows on their coning towers. And, if they serve a good purpose, why don't all subs have them. Lastly, what are the gray boxes on the front of the Trafalger Class subs. Are they part of a sonar or sensor array? I know that that was a mouthful but would love to hear the answers if you have them. Thanks.

013_2.jpg

014_3.jpg

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Submarines start out as black, but of course as a modeller you know exactly how many different shades of black there are in the world, let alone what might be found in the ship's paint locker on any particular day. Paint them the way they look good to you. You're the definitive judge because they're your models after all :)

May Soviet/Russian designs have two bridges built in to the top of the fin. There's the open bridge right on top, and then there's an enclosed "foul weather bridge" slightly lower down in the leading edge of the fin. That's what those windows are for. Western designs don't have the foul weather bridge, because they tend to spend less time on the surface in those parts of the world which make such an installation necessary.

I'm not certain which "grey boxes" you're talking about on the Airfix Trafalgar? Is it that row of square decals? I think those are supposed to represent the sonar windows in the bow. They're basically fibreglass panels which transmit sound in to the sonar receivers behind them while keeping the outside of the hull nice and smooth.

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Submarines start out as black, but of course as a modeller you know exactly how many different shades of black there are in the world, let alone what might be found in the ship's paint locker on any particular day. Paint them the way they look good to you. You're the definitive judge because they're your models after all :)

May Soviet/Russian designs have two bridges built in to the top of the fin. There's the open bridge right on top, and then there's an enclosed "foul weather bridge" slightly lower down in the leading edge of the fin. That's what those windows are for. Western designs don't have the foul weather bridge, because they tend to spend less time on the surface in those parts of the world which make such an installation necessary.

I'm not certain which "grey boxes" you're talking about on the Airfix Trafalgar? Is it that row of square decals? I think those are supposed to represent the sonar windows in the bow. They're basically fibreglass panels which transmit sound in to the sonar receivers behind them while keeping the outside of the hull nice and smooth.

Thank you for the answers. You handled all 3 with great proficiency. Yes, I was talking about that decal with the gray squares on the Trafalger. While we're on the subject of paint color, I was wondering about Tamiya's Hull Red. It seems a bit mnore rust color than photos of subs I see which look more pure red in color. Any ideas, anyone.

Edited by yankeemodeller

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Hull red is a paint which constantly changes. When freshly applied, it's reddish, depending upon the formulation and how wet it is.

Tennessee%20and%20Nevada%20SSBNs.jpg

After a few months in the ocean, it gets greenish-grey.

B3PuhCVCYAADnpb.jpg

And then of course we cannot neglect the reproduction of the image and colour balance. Once again it's up to you how you want your hull red to look. Nobody can ever prove that you're wrong.

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Ok, I don't usually ask a question and then answer it myself, but after looking at photos a little closer, I do see a little more oxide color to them than brighter red. The color paint guides in the model's instructions make it look more red but real photos show varying shades all with a slight oxide or brownish tint to them. Let me know if there's something I'm missing. Thanks.


Hull red is a paint which constantly changes. When freshly applied, it's reddish, depending upon the formulation and how wet it is.

Tennessee%20and%20Nevada%20SSBNs.jpg

After a few months in the ocean, it gets greenish-grey.

B3PuhCVCYAADnpb.jpg

And then of course we cannot neglect the reproduction of the image and colour balance. Once again it's up to you how you want your hull red to look. Nobody can ever prove that you're wrong.

Thanks again. I'm starting to see that it's not an exact science and that, my friend, is refreshing for a change of pace.

Edited by yankeemodeller

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Its an interesting question yankeemodeller - and one to which there isn't a definitive answer.....

I've just finished the SONG Class sub in your first post.....

350_PLAN_Song_05.jpg

I use rattle cans of acrylic car sprays on mine - not strictly accurate, but it works for me.

For the lower hulls I use Halfords Red Plastic Primer - for the upper hulls I use various grey shades for that 'off-black' look.

Halfords Volvo Dark Grey is a very, very dark grey - as on the SONG - for a lighter contrast, I use Vauxhall Tempest Grey.....

350_USS%20George%20Washington_11.jpg

Even lighter is Halfords Grey Plastic Primer......

350_PLAN_Wuhan_09.jpg

Or, you could always go with Yellow !!

350_USS%20Menhaden_03.jpg

Like I say, they aren't 100% accurate, colour-wise and are probably too 'clean' - but I doubt that anyone could put up much of an argument that they are wrong.

And it works for me - which is the bottom line I think.

I assume from your profile that you are not from the UK - so Halfords car sprays are probably not an option - but I imagine there is something similar where you are ?

All my 1/350 scale subs here.

Ken

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You have done a great job on your subs. The Chinese have definitely got some interesting subs. Thanks for the photos

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Hull red is a paint which constantly changes. When freshly applied, it's reddish, depending upon the formulation and how wet it is.

After a few months in the ocean, it gets greenish-grey.

And then of course we cannot neglect the reproduction of the image and colour balance. Once again it's up to you how you want your hull red to look. Nobody can ever prove that you're wrong.

Not wrong, but rather simplistic. The red paint is antifouling, a specially formulated paint designed to deter marine growth, which reduces performance and increases fuel consumption. Antifouling is available in a multitude of colours, reds, blues, greens and purples are relatively common, and its common practice to use two contrasting colours to paint the underwater portion of the ship. The colours are alternated as each coat is sprayed on to assist in obtaining complete even coating of the hull. Paint film thickness is measured between coats to enable the desired coating thickness to be built up. When painting is complete the hull should have a nice even colour overall. Older paints were termed SPC ie self polishing coatings, the paint was designed to gradually wear away by the action of the hull passing through the water, wear being higher in more exposed areas such as round the bow, propellers and rudder. This could lead to patches of the alternate colour showing through, sometimes giving a sort of tree ring effect in high wear areas after prolonged exposure. This was both to keep a smooth external surface to the paint, and also to expose fresh paint (and the nasty poisons contained within, such as tributyl tin, which reduce marine growth and have mostly been banned) Modern paints can be silicon based, and are designed to be more non stick (like your frying pan) and tend not to wear as much, so you only get the variegated effect where there's mechanical damage to the coating. The antifouling doesn't prevent hull fouling, it only reduces / slows it. It tends to form on the sides away from the worst exposed areas, the heaviest growth being around the waterline and reducing with depth. This is the grey green that Jessica mentions.

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Not wrong, but rather simplistic.

I deliberately kept my explanation simple, because at the end of the day what we're concerned with is how it looks, and not so much the chemical and physical processes which make it look that way :)

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I deliberately kept my explanation simple, because at the end of the day what we're concerned with is how it looks, and not so much the chemical and physical processes which make it look that way :)

I appreciate both inputs. When working on models, I tend to want to keep my sanity. At the same time, I do like to know how things work as it fascinates me. I could see how someone could use that info for realistic weathering patterns. In the end, we all care about the overall look, and reality is, that's different for different people. Thanks to you both for giving a land lover a better understanding of the models I'm building.

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Hi John as a submarine modeller, for modern submarines i use the following enamel paints, satin black for the overall rubber tiles, matt black for the non slip walkways on top, also for the fibreglass nose cone and humrol 60 matt red for the anti fouling finish. To finish the model i use satin cote for the overall, with the walkways and nose cone finished in matt cote, an example below, sorry pics dont pick up the differences very well.

DSC_2309_zpsrszif3ie.jpg

DSC_2312_zps1lybwm0m.jpg

Hope this helps, Chris

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It does, Chris. The anti-skid deck area is something that I had not thought about masking and painting. I think I'll try that next time. Also, In my trial and error, I used Tamiya Hull Red on a Hobby Boss 1/350 Song Class Submarine and was very disappointed. Just about every paint reference for ship and sub models shows Hull Red as color of choice for below waterline, but I have to say, it's way too brown. Almost all sub photos I've seen recently show more red color than brown. Won't use it again. By the way, that has to be Trumpeter's 1/144 Seawolf. What a great kit. Thanks for the help.

IMG_3169.jpg

Edited by yankeemodeller

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I have a question regarding submarines and the red underside colour. I have the Hobby Boss 1/350 Alfa and Typhoon in my stash (I've seen Red October too many times!) and was wondering if the undersides should be Black or Red? I've seen models of them depicting either.

thanks

Mike

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I have a question regarding submarines and the red underside colour. I have the Hobby Boss 1/350 Alfa and Typhoon in my stash (I've seen Red October too many times!) and was wondering if the undersides should be Black or Red? I've seen models of them depicting either.

thanks

Mike

I am certainly not the expert on this topic, as you can see I have questions of my own. I have to refer to what Dave said earlier in topic. He said that these anti- fouling coatings can come in a multitude of colors and can weather in all manner of ways. One process could resemble black I guess. I to have seen photos of various subs with black below waterline. Mostly Soviet subs are what I have seen. Hope this helps a little. Maybe someone who knows more about it will chime in and shed some light on the subject.

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Ta.

I should add that that unlike my normal ship models, I don't weather my sub models. I take the view that because they sit on stands, they should look like they are about to go into the water for the first time. So that means painting them in the actual colour (or my equivalent) they leave the dockyard in, if that makes sense!

thanks

Mike

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This view shows a Typhoon on the slips - with a pristine red bottom.....

typhoon-sub.jpg

So they start out that way - and then get fouled up.

That' how I did my HB Typhoon......

350_Typhoon_22.jpg

Try Googling 'Delta IV sub' - for some great dry dock photos showing red bottoms.

Ken

Edited by Flankerman

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Y.M: Instead of Hull Red, try Dull Red TS-33. I found it less brown-hued, & it seemed a fair match to US hull colours.

There is some variety between red primers. I found a can of Krylon ages ago, & it had a slightly orange tone compared to Halfords red plastic primer. Straight Red Oxide looks too red for some reason...

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Ta.

I should add that that unlike my normal ship models, I don't weather my sub models. I take the view that because they sit on stands, they should look like they are about to go into the water for the first time. So that means painting them in the actual colour (or my equivalent) they leave the dockyard in, if that makes sense!

thanks

Mike

I'm like like you except I don't weather ships much either. When they're weathered it seems like they belong more in a diorama setting. To each their own I guess.

This view shows a Typhoon on the slips - with a pristine red bottom.....

typhoon-sub.jpg

So they start out that way - and then get fouled up.

That' how I did my HB Typhoon......

350_Typhoon_22.jpg

Try Googling 'Delta IV sub' - for some great dry dock photos showing red bottoms.

That's a beautiful Typhoon!

Edited by yankeemodeller

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Y.M: Instead of Hull Red, try Dull Red TS-33. I found it less brown-hued, & it seemed a fair match to US hull colours.

There is some variety between red primers. I found a can of Krylon ages ago, & it had a slightly orange tone compared to Halfords red plastic primer. Straight Red Oxide looks too red for some reason...

I will try this color, and see how it looks. Thanks.

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You can use the grey square decals from the Airfix ‘T’ Boat for something else!
Newly painted UK subs can have quite a glossy finish these days but parts will also be mat, think visible sonar arrays and of course non slip walk ways on the casing will be a different shade. The painting can be quite comlex. Salt coming out of solution especially where the water has higher salinity will make the black look greyer. Red lines and other markings don’t wear well so don’t overdo it unless you after a pristine finish. Don’t overdo rust or the green marine growth ‘tide mark’ they exist but are not a meter high. In reality you can probably do what you want, a photo reference should be fine.

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You can use the grey square decals from the Airfix ‘T’ Boat for something else!

Newly painted UK subs can have quite a glossy finish these days but parts will also be mat, think visible sonar arrays and of course non slip walk ways on the casing will be a different shade. The painting can be quite comlex. Salt coming out of solution especially where the water has higher salinity will make the black look greyer. Red lines and other markings don’t wear well so don’t overdo it unless you after a pristine finish. Don’t overdo rust or the green marine growth ‘tide mark’ they exist but are not a meter high. In reality you can probably do what you want, a photo reference should be fine.

I was going to buy a Trafalger kit soon, so what your saying is the sonar array is no longer gray like the decal suggests? Thanks ahead of time.

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I built the Airfix T Boat a while ago, my uncle served 26 years as a chief stoker, most of it of the T Boats (HMS Turbulant).

I was told whilst researching my build that the tiles on Brit boats are infact a deep purple almost black when new but quickly fade when in service. The grey sonar panels are not representive of anything seen on the In service T boats. It was a while ago but I think they are the covers fitted whilst the boats are in dry dock for refit.

Dan

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I built the Airfix T Boat a while ago, my uncle served 26 years as a chief stoker, most of it of the T Boats (HMS Turbulant).

I was told whilst researching my build that the tiles on Brit boats are infact a deep purple almost black when new but quickly fade when in service. The grey sonar panels are not representive of anything seen on the In service T boats. It was a while ago but I think they are the covers fitted whilst the boats are in dry dock for refit.

Dan

Interesting, thanks for the information.

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