Project R: Re-Evaluating My Objectives

Historical Modelling is bloody intimidating.  Completing this project is suddenly the single most daunting project I’ve had sitting on my desk in a long while.  Here’s why:

Bismarck Colourized (
I want to extend my thanks to – this site has actually thoroughly inspired me in the past. All credit goes to them for these pictures.

This thing actually existed.  There’s pages upon pages of forums of what colours this thing was sporting on a month by month basis.  People have filled books with photographs and artwork of this ship.  It’s not like fantasy or science fiction, where you rely on made-up lore for your inspiration.

In my own personal experience, I convert something to make it tell my own story.  In this context, I’m going to convert a kit to make it more realistic, or to overcome deficiencies with the existing plastic model kit.

There are so many resources available to push your modelling experience “over the top” photo-realistic or to make it merely acceptable, depending on your standards, and there are soooo many products available in order to achieve these standards relatively easily at a fixed price point.

So.  I’m going to set out and cap my expectations for the current project, and maybe lay the ground work for my next projects of this nature.

Photo-Etched Brass Detail Kit Supplements:

I had no idea this was a thing, but apparently there’s quite the market for stuff like this:

PE Kits
Should be noted this is for a Revell kit, not a Tamiya like I’ve got running.

It really doesn’t take long to see how much this really adds to the overall kit.  It makes it look less like a toy and more like an actual replica model.  Having said this, individually bending each piece takes an immense amount of labour and patience, not something I’m known for.

Verdict: As much as I’d love to give this a try, with the project being at its present phase (some of it primed, other portions painted [albeit poorly] etc..) it doesn’t really make sense for me to pursue this with the present build.  Part of me wants to see how far I can go using only out-of-the-box components, to see if we can reach a display level quality without blowing the ~$70 Canadian on something you might not be able to see from across the room in the first place.

Laser-Etched Wood Deck Replacement:

Again, I had no idea this was a thing, but apparently there is quite the market for this.  Long and short of this product is that it gives you a more textured surface to go from, you can paint it or leave it as-is for a very realistic looking deck.  Some are even self-adhered (ooOOooo).

Photo credit to the watermarked above...
Photo credit to the watermarked above…

To be honest, the deck of this ship ‘as-is’ absolutely terrifies me.  Out of the box it has a bit of texturing, but not enough relief to base / wash / shade / drybrush effectively… particuarly if my base-coat goes on a bit thicker which it inevitably does when I’m doing it by hand.

how far do you have to zoom in before you can see the ribs on the deck...?
how far do you have to zoom in before you can see the ribs on the deck…?

It seems there is a solution, but… *sigh*… it requires an airbrush to pull off effectively.

Aside:  It is my ULTIMATE pet-peeve when I see articles on Bell of Lost Souls that are titled along the lines of: “Paint Perfect Tanks Fast!  Easy methods to get great results!” only to find out step 1 of that tutorial is to spend about $500 on an airbrush and compressor.


I’ll have to figure something out.  If I want to continue doing large-scale stuff like this I feel like an airbrush is an inevitability. *sigh* [/end Aside]

This method involves masking narrow strips and using progressively darker colours in order to give yourself the colour differential.  I wouldn’t have thought of it in a million years, and if I hadn’t had looked at this review of the tamiya kit, I might have remained permanently scared of finishing this project.  I’ve stolen a picture to preview results that I think would be really badass:


Seriously.  Look at that deck.  It’s glorious.  And he didn’t have to spend another $50 on an after-market wood kit.  I might make it a bit brighter and less orange, but that’s my preference showing through.  A+ job.

Verdict: We’ll see how the alternative air-brushing technique above goes, and if we don’t get the results we’re after we might go in the direction of the after-market.

Sooo…. Paging Mr. Travis…?  Perhaps if we’re feeling frisky we can give this a shot, eh?  😀

Painting Techniques:

At the outset of this project I noted how poorly I was painting about 9 years ago.  Since then, I’ve learned several new techniques including but not limited to: Colour layering, shading, line highlighting and drybrushing.

From most of the pictures I’ve seen of  previous builds, I’m going to be just fine with my current skill set.  Proper shading really makes all the difference in the world, as we’ll see with this next picture which I pulled from – model completed by Louis Carabott.

The above shot shows you just how far you can go with a wash and some drybrushing.  I’m not trying to downplay the paint-job, because it’s amazing.  And it’s also in reach with my skill-set.

It *should* be worth noting that he’s done a lot to his model that helps the techniques work, which include but aren’t limited to adding a significant amount of detail on the sides of the superstructure to give the wash some recesses to settle into.  He’s drilled port-holes and added the photo-etched kits as necessary as well.  So my product won’t be nearly as jaw-dropping as his, but it’ll be serviceable.

Something else to note is the weathering, which mostly looks to be more washes.  It’s not clear if it’s oil based, or if he’s used pigments, but stuff like that is also within reach for me (I think).  As an aside, this is also closer to the deck colour I’d like to achieve.

Verdict:  The best I can do is all I can really expect from myself, right?  So what’s the hold-up?!

Final Thoughts:  

I think I’ve kind of touched on all of those things that may be holding me back from completing the project.  At this point, it’s full-speed ahead.  What happens will happen.  Perhaps in future projects I’ll incorporate the Photo-etched kits for more details but for now I’ll be content just having finished the thing.

4 Replies to “Project R: Re-Evaluating My Objectives”

  1. just pump up the contrast if you have soft details to force the eye to see the shapes you want. Weathering isn’t hard either. MIG and ak streaking products are great. Let me know if you need any help with them. I have walkthroughs on my blog 🙂 You can totally do this.

  2. So freaking amazing! I bismark was one hell of a ship. Can’t wait to see future posts about this!

    +1 on Zab’s recommendation on streaking products. They are easy and super fun to use!

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