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Subject: How I painted my ships...a guide for beginners rss

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Darth Mallen
United States
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I have received a few inquiries around how I painted these M&M ship models so I will take a moment to explain in detail...

First off, I consider myself a fairly inexperienced miniatures painter (I can count on one hand how many games I have painted minis for--haha)--my friend walked me through what he thought would work and this proved to be a great/rewarding learning experience. I've attempted to write these instructions on a level that I think most should be able to follow. I think I split this up over 3 nights from what I recall--great to pass time while half paying attention to movies...drink rum in moderation. These turned out a lot better than I initially thought I would be capable of--which is a very cool feeling. A lot of this is personal preference--almost any attempt is going to vasty improve the mono-color plastic look (so not knocking anyone else's pics with my recs).

You will need the following paint colors: red, dark blue,dark green, yellow, white, black, dark brown/umber, canvas/off white, grey, tan/light brown +/- gold or silver metallic. You will also need brown spray paint for primer and a few brushes--I like to use thick old brushes for washing and esp. dry brushing + need at least one good detailing brush.

First I primed all ships in brown spray paint--I suppose black would be fine as well (esp. for pirates)? and let dry

Then I painted all ships with a dark brown (umber?)--you can be sloppy here--don't worry about getting more paint on the sails. Might need to apply a second coat--esp. to hulls. dry

Next I black washed (very watered down thinned out black paint) entire ship. dry

Painted all player and naval sails with a canvas type off white color--I forget the name. Try to leave some brown showing on the masts so you can see them easier, but don't worry if the canvas color gets on some of the masts--it will and we will fix that later. Pirate sails=black. dry

Paint some player ship sails green, red, blue or yellow--I chose to do this to the smaller sails only. Others have painted the one or two larger sails which also looks cool. I've even seen some pics where all the sails are painted the player color, no right or wrong here. dry

Different lighter browns, tans, off whites, greys, etc. can be used to dry brush (very small amount of paint--almost no paint on a thick dry brush) outside wooden hulls of ships (adds highlights). dry

Up to this point you can go pretty fast and have an assembly line of sorts.

Now you have to take your time to paint the masts--using thin detailing brush--any screw ups (on the sails) can be fixed with the canvas/linen color (or black for pirates).You can black wash the masts for additional detail, but this is difficult to do without getting on the sails--just need to repaint the sails if you do (without getting paint on newly painted masts). Recommend a tan color for some of the sail lines--this esp. helps with the sloops and pirate ships. dry

Next Dark Brown wash (watered down thinned out brown paint) the sails. They should look good and dirty now--which I think looks a bit cooler than simply painting them white. dry

I chose to highlight player sails with dry brushed white--you really have to take your time here--too much paint ruins the work you already have done--almost no paint on the brush is ideal (I brush the table until there is little to no paint coming off brush then address model). Use an old brush here as this is hard on them. I did not do this to the naval ships (which allows them to looks a bit different on the board--personal preference). This was done to pirate ships as well + I freehanded skull and crossbones on frigate and skull on sloop. Easier than you think--start with a white circle for skull and go from there--paint over with black if you mess up. dry

You can even use gold and/or silver metallic paint to highlight certain portions of the ships--but not necessary.

If you would like, you can download the flag file that I posted to BGG/M&M to add a bit more flare (see Office Space) to your ships--this also allows you to ditch the naval coasters (which I can do without). I personally like to have the flags pointing backwards even though this is not accurate/realistic (it simply looks better, in my opinion). After cutting out a pair, they just fold over masts--using a gluestick. Probably bigger than scale, but you can play with sizing and/or even replace with different images.

Thats about it--surprisingly easy and great learning experience (for those new to painting) if you are willing to put in the time--well worth it, in my opinion. The dark paint washing and light paint dry brushing techniques really add dimension to these models. Good luck!
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Zbyszek Łebkowski
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Thanks for the guide! I left mine blank but was willing to paint them at some point. This might be it
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