Wednesday, 21 October 2009

1/4800th Naval: Painted Examples

A look now at some painted examples of the 1/4800th Napoleonic Naval vessels from Tumbling Dice, after some amateurish daubings applied by yours truly.
A little short on time in the past week or so, I've had a go at a number of representative vessels from the selection provided by pack 48N.MSP1, rather than attempt the whole lot!

First off, I found when removing the small pieces of flash, as well as filing down the mould line visible on the bottom of the bases, that the metal/pewter used in these models is particularly hard; either that or I need some new needle files! Luckily the very small amount of flash present made this not too onerous a task, and the minis accepted a coat of PanzerGrau as an undercoat without further complaint.
Once putting brush to mini, you become aware of the excellent the job the sculptor has done in representing the various parts of the ship, and even at this tiny size, there are clear areas of detail which pop out here and there on the models; stern-castles, figureheads, ratlines, sail seams and even some deck gratings. Some of the sculpts are 'heeling over' slightly, and there is a sense of some wind filling the foresails which gives a sensation of movement, rather than being merely at anchor. The masts are somewhat caricatured, perhaps, but given the limitations of a scale this small, hold up very well.

Painting progressed with some attention to the decks and hulls, and this is where for me at least, some of the problems started. The minis are so compact, that particularly with the shorter two deckers and frigates, it is really tough to maneuver the brush to get at the detail; you really have to let the undercoat do the talking, and line or block out with colours to leave some dark areas, to hint at the detail rather than try to paint it.
This is re-inforced when you come to the sails, in that these too can be very close together, so are quite fiddly to be consistent with.
Finally the depiction of colour strokes and gunport hatches to the hull sides need a very steady hand, certainly one better than mine, as although in the larger sculpts there are definite indentations showing gun ports, these aren't always easy to paint in.
As a whole however, once you've gone through these various stages of slight frustration and compromise, the whole comes up pretty well being greater than the sum of its parts, and looks good; a better painter than myself could probably produce a better finished article.
First up, two Three Deck 1st raters from the 48N1 pack:
(I must correct an omission from my previous post in that I suggested that only the 2 decker and frigate packs had different sizes of vessel; this pack also contains two differently sized sculpts, one longer hulled, and two slightly shorter ones...)

The longer hull, which would make a nice 120 gunner, perhaps, and has the easiest gun ports to paint:

and one of the shorter hulls, nicely delineated sense of being a three decker:

The longer hulled example from the 48N2 2 decker pack:

and her smaller sister ship; this one was pretty frustrating to work on with those close-together sail sets!

The larger frigate hull from 48N3:

and the smaller:

Finally, the Sloop from 48N4; the photos of the Brig and Cutter didn't come out, too small really for even Macro to pick out, but very nice nevertheless:

Overall, I'm quite pleased with how things have gone so far; I've decided on a 'generic' ship approach, with individuality being added by perhaps removable name-plates on the bases, enabling a wide range of ships to be depicted, although just what shape these bases will take has yet to be decided....

If I was feeling churlish, I might say that the results obtained involve quite a lot of work for a mini this small in size, in that having to paint each side of numerous sets of sails doesn't produce the effect you might obtain from a larger miniature, say 1/2400th or even 1/1200th, in that there is quite a lot of time spent for perhaps an average outcome, with a small visual impact.
Then again, once finished, there is something really quite charming about the 'cut of their jib', and the more I painted, the fonder I became of them; anyway, they certainly provide plenty of possibilities for those working on a budget, or just wanting to tackle something a bit different as a weekend project.
I think mine probably need some more attention, and I neglected to apply an ink wash before photographing them, which should serve to bring the look together somewhat better overall, I think.
So perhaps 7 out of 10 then, although a better painter/modeller could probably do a lot more with them than I could, and probably quicker, too!


  1. Nice work I say. I've got some Langton's 1/1200 in my cupboard but these look like a better match for my painting skills...

  2. They look very nice! I'm VERY tempted to invest in a few of those

  3. Interesting. And considering the size of the things, nicely painted too, I'd say.

    Should I, also, begin a 1:2400 naval weekend project? (it looks like Tumbling Dice is moving into the freakish ironclads of the 1870s... my favourite!)

    Or should I stop reading your blog and getting bad ideas? (Ha!)

    Anyway, thanks as always for sharing ;)

  4. Hi guys, sorry to be a source for such temptation! They do need more time spending on them than their very small size would suggest, but playing around with them on my new Terrain Mat 'Seascape' has me thinking they look pretty good en masse, so maybe those large sea battles are in reach after all.....

    @ Mike, yes, the idea of ironclad fleets in these smaller scales sounds pretty good too! Go for it!

  5. nice terrain mat? did you make it?

  6. Hi Bob, no, it was from Terrain Mat here in the UK; they are are a rival, I suppose, to the Hotzmatz so popular in the U.S.; these are excellent value and very well made - spray painted and textured/flocked fabric:

    You can see a 'ground' version here on this Blog for 2mm figures in the posts on the Battle of Quebec 1759:

    Cheers, SteelonSand.