Full Thrust Painting FAQ
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Contents

Resources

How was the ship on the Full.More Thrust cover painted?

How do you paint your miniatues?

Are there any official color schemes for the Full Thrust background?

  • Eurasion Solar Union (ESU)
  • Federal Stats Europa (FSE)
  • Free Cal-Tex (FCT)
  • Islamic Federation (IF)
  • Kra'vak
  • Netherlands
  • New Anglian Confederation (NAC)
  • Neu Swabian League (NSL)
  • Oceanic Union (OU)
  • Pan-African Union (PAU)
  • Romanov Hegemony (RH)
  • Sva'vasku
  • United Nations Space Command (UNSC)

What other space combat game color schemes are there?

Basing

Decals

 

Full Thrust, the tactical starship combat rules. Simple, fast-play rules that can be used with any size of starfleet from any background. The basic rules of play can be learned in just a few minutes. No referring to charts or tables required during play. To find out more about Full Thrust visit the Unofficial Full Thrust WWW Page and the other related sites on the Full Thrust Network webring.

The purpose of this page is to act as an FAQ, for all the miniature painting questions that have been asked and to allow access to resources for painting Full Thrust Miniatures.

Feedback: please let me know of any questions not listed and any errors or omissions by using the email icon on the navigation bar at the bottom of the page.


Resources

Gallery

Inspiration may be found at the following places:

If you would like to feature in the gallery let me know using the email icon at the top of the page

Painting Guides

How was the ship on the Full/More Thrust Cover Painted?

Jon Tuffley
The FT108 on the MT cover was painted by Dave Garnham (who now works for us at GZG), many years ago. As far as I can remember, it was painted overall blue and then each raised panel individually painted in white (with a brush), which is the way Dave likes to do ships - yes, it's a slow method but one that gives very good results.

How do you paint your miniatures?

Larry Fausnach
If you are planning on keeping with the typical light grey "panel" scheme, a good idea is to give it a base coat of a medium-ish gray (not too dark) then bring up the highlights with successively lighter shades of gray, finally with white. Try to drybrush unevenly to avoid an excessively even coloration. Look at the Star Trek movie U.S.S. Enterprise and you can see that its not a solid shade of gray. Since this is science fiction, you can really go hogwild if you want. Fine examples of this are Babylon 5 ships which have mottled appearances. Try a tiger- or zebra stripe pattern. If you stay with the typical white ships, try painting the weapon blisters red for good effect. (Red goes fasta, right, Brett?)

Tim Jones
I use the pictures on the front of Full Thrust and More Thrust as initial inspiration. I also studied 'Return of the Jedi' as it has the most capital ships in it (Mon Calamari cruisers, Frigates and Star Destroyers). The newer Star Wars Micro Machines contain a Mon Calamari cruiser with a simplified scheme that can be adapted.

This procedure can be trimmed down if you want a fleet fast. The drybrushing technique is very good for doing batches of ships. Detailing can be skipped or minimal. Decals are optional.

Rick Rutherford
I used the standard "basecoat - dark wash - drybrush highlight" technique to paint my ships, and it works great if you use a lot of contrast. I wasn't sure if I could do it with colors, so my ships are grey with black shadows and white & silver highlights. I also tried painting them blue, and they looked good after drybrushing them twice first with light blue, and then with light grey on top of the light blue.

I was mostly concerned with making the ships look like they're huge, because at that scale (1/2400) a 1-inch ship model would be 200 feet long in real life. So I made sure the shadows were pure black by painting in the little lines and crevices with black paint, and I made sure the highlights (all the bulges and edges) were white (or silver) by painting them on top of the drybrushing. The thing that helped was that after the standard paint/wash/drybrush I sealed them with acrylic spray sealer and then went into the crevices with black paint using a very thin brush. The black paint flowed easily into the crevices because the layer of spray-seal made the surface of the figure very slick, and when I made a sloppy mistake I could wipe the excess paint off the figure with my fingers. After that, I sealed them again.

Mcclure force.ssd.lmsc.lockheed.com
I have a number of spaceships ranging from some old Archive and Valiant designs, Superior, RAFM's Traveller's stuff and even some of the FT line. What I have used as a guide in many instances are the sci-fi illustrations done by the artist Chris Foss. In my case, almost all of my ships are individualized so there is really no consistent theme. But you could easily adopt one. You could either apply it as a "fleet theme" (all ships of your fleet carry the same color scheme) or a "type theme" (your fleet escorts are all blue and black banded, the cruiser types are a menacing grey, etc). Another idea is to just scan the net or the library on naval camo used during WW1 and WW2 and take a variation off that.

Darren Douglas
Look at some aircraft books, the best ones are the WWII German ones they did some very interesting things with camouflage for their bombers and ground attack aircraft.

Brent Jacobson
I prefer what I call the hack paint job to get the ships to the front lines. It pretty much involves only dry brushing techniques and requires little time. I usually base coat with a black primer and then do two layers of dry brushing over that usually with white and off-white(first). I then add small details as they come to me over the course of using the miniatures.

Beth Fulton
Glad to here that yet another has discovered the joys of minatures. I find that the easiest (and often one of the nicest) ways of painting craft is to undercoat with black matt spray paint and, when the undercoat is dry, then dry brush with colour of choice (starting with dark hues and working to lighter shades). Then you can pick out a few details (e.g. exhaust nozzles etc.) with a solid colour and if you have a steady hand you could add nose art or the like (by hand, decals don't seem to work - well at least not for me).

Mark Kochte
I use gray Krylon primer for the base coat of my ships. The NAC and NSL, and most of my Superior Ships then get a coating of Gunship Gray (Testor's Model Master spray enamel; #1923), the ESU and my Superior Entomolians get a coating of Burgandy Red Metallic (#2905), the Kra'Vak a coating of Green Metal Flake (#1630), the Sa'Vasku a coating of Black Metallic, and the FSE I paint a 'standard' Ral Partha Gray. My Hyperions and Battlestars also get the Ral Partha Gray treatment (my Omegas will once I get them put together). The Vorchans I coat with an Anthracite Grey (closest thing I can get to bronze-ish at the shop I frequent), then coat the wings in a Ral Parth Dragon Purple. I have a handful of miscellaneous ships that I have painted in gunship gray, Ral Partha gray, and flat black. And for the most part I paint my fighters the Ral Partha gray, then add various details.

I really haven't done much to highlight my ESU ships, except add yellow funky symbols to differentiate the ships from each other (I kinda borrow Narn writing for it). The Kra'Vak and Sa'Vasku I haven't added any additional details. My Entomolian ships I've added some Testors gloss dark blues, reds, golds, and silvers. The other Superior ships I touch up some details with gold, silver, dark blue, flat black, and gloss yellow. My NAC and NSL ships pretty much get similar treatments with various bits and pieces being touched up with Ral Partha grays, whites, dark greens, reds, orange, purple, blue, and various shades of yellow. And some ships I've even added Ral Partha glow-in-the-dark paint to some of the raised parts for fun.

As for decals and such, I haven't resorted to any. I either differentiate my ships with slightly different highlight schemes, or one some of the larger ones (mainly the NSLs) I actually write names on the ships (yes, okay, my hand isn't that steady, I know; they're not going to win any contests ;-)

As far as kitbashing...haven't done too much. I've made some minor additions to the NSL superdreadnought and dreadnought, and the NAC CVL, with some of the odd bits that are included in the packaging. Gave the NAC CVLs some added superstructures, for example. But haven't gotten around to doing any of the other fun stuff (yet).

Haven't gotten around to perfecting any drybrushing yet, so don't use it much.

Tony Francis
I go for an undercoat darker than the intended final colour of the ship, then heavily drybrush the main colour over that, followed by a much lighter drybrush of a highlight colour. For multiple colour camo' schemes this still works - paint the camo' scheme in dark colours, then (carefully) drybrush the main and highlight colours. Follow this with picking out specific details (eg engine, guns) and then add markings and finally a coat of varnish.

What kind of primer do you use?

Personally I don't - the dark undercoat serves the same purpose.

What color patterns and details seem to work well for you?

The traditional spaceship colour (battleship grey) works fine, which is the colour of my NAC ships. The ESU are in dark green (actually Rifle Green over a very dark undercoat) and Kra'Vak are a brick red colour. I also have a fleet of blue ships (EE Space Fleet mainly) and another in yellow / black stripes (Irregular ships). Colourful schemes work well (just look at the paintings of Chris Foss and others for inspiration), although in the end expediency tends to win the day and I go for single colour schemes because I just want the models on the table quickly ! I tend to steer clear of metallic colours except for small details.

Do you use decals?

No - I tend to find that there aren't enough flat areas on the models to put decals on. Decals lift too easily when the models are handled a lot. Rub-down lettering / shapes tends to work better IMHO.

Do you kitbash or add other accessories to your ships?

Not yet, but I'm about to try. The Model Aerodrome chain here in the UK has been selling off a huge number of Fujimi 1/700th naval kits very cheaply recently, and many of these come with an additional sprue of superbly cast accessories such as gun turrets, torpedo tubes and AA mounts. The AA mounts especially look as is they'll make excellent ADAFs and PDAFs for FT ships.

Allan Goodall
If you don't want to get into drybrushing techniques (which I'm only so-so at) there is a good technique that uses basic painting. Basically, pick two contrasting or complementary colours.

In one set of Star Frontiers ships I did, I first sprayed them with black primer (important: always prime). The ships had a lot of detail that consisted of a hull with gun turrets and engines on top. I painted the hull metallic (metallic red or metallic blue), leaving the gun turrents and other detail parts unpainted. I then went back and painted the detailed parts platinum. This takes care, but not an incredibly steady hand. If you slosh a bit, just do some touch-ups later. When this is done, the platinum bits stand out against the darker hull. Up close it's no hell, but from a distance it looks pretty good.

In the other set of ships, my wife did the painting. Hers was a much more basic, but in some ways more stunning, technique. The ships had little in the way of detail, as the ships were mostly smooth hulled. She took a metallic green and painted the main hull of the ship this colour. The booms leading to the engine nacelles were painted metallic, uh, pink (the guys at the mailing list game at GenCon last year called it the Revlon fleet, but it sure looks alien). The engines she painted metallic green, except for the one end of the nacelle, which she painted metallic pink. She went over the ship, painting the detailed bits the contrasting colour. They looked quite good.

To figure out which ships are contrasting or complementary, go to a house paint store or a craft store and buy a colour wheel.

If you have detail you want to bring out, particularly on light coloured ships, you can do a wash. You water down paint, usually black, and paint it into the crevasses of the ship. The paint will settle into the cracks. The highlighted areas may have a little bit of paint residue on it. To fix this, you can just touch up the raised areas. If you learn a drybrushing technique, using it on the raised portions is good. You can also do a black wash on engine outlets, air intakes, and exhaust ports to give it a sooty look.

Samuel Reynolds
For my techniques, see here

Please ignore the Flying Saucers article. That's how I planned to do my FT fleet, but they ended up very different. I used wooden buttons and yo-yo kits, filled the holes with epoxy putty, added 3mm, 5mm, and 7mm acrylic cabochons and acrylic round faceted gems as weapon/sensor modules, added turret bits from an old SDF-1 model as engine pods, and painted them a gold-flecked brown.

My armor for DS is primered white (to show up any flaws I missed in cleanup), basecoated black, wet-brushed dark gray, drybrushed lightly with light gray, then detailed with bright blue, bright red, gold, and/or light gray.

Mark Siefert
Well, I'm not the worlds greatest painter in the universe, but here goes.

Primer: I used to use some generic brand of gray primer. However I use Armory brand white primer now. It dries faster and it grips the paint better.

Paint scheme: Well, it depends on the mini. For my FT ships, I tend to stay to a standard battleship gray color scheme. For genre specific ships, I try to get as close as possible.

Detail: forget it! I can't paint detail for the life of me. My hands are not steady enough. (Remember Gene Wilder in Blazing Saddles?) So decals are my only source for letters, numbers and insignias. My local game store sells W.W.I aircraft decals for Hostile Aircraft miniatures. They would work great for NSL ships. Right now, I'm painting some minis for Heavy Gear and I am using decals from... gulp... the evil empire. The chests of my Hunters and Grizzlies proudly bear the regalia of the the CNCS' 63rd Heavy Gear Regiment--Prophet's Swords. (Ok, they're Dark Angles decals. I dare GW to sue me!)

Finishing Touches: Of course, the whole mini gets a nice coat of Krylon matte finish. For ground pounders they get some flock glued at their feet. For starship minis I like to use large based flight stands for BIG ships (Carriers and SDNs) and normal bases for everything else. My large flight base supply is running dangerously low now that the Evil Empire has done away with Space Fleet. However they do have some new large bases that they use for their Falcon Grav tank and Necron Destroyer minis. I hope they sell those separately soon.

Brian Bell
I also use an easy paint job. I use Armory black primer. Then I use Tamiya Color acrylic paint (because of its thickness) in dark colors to paint "nebula stripes" on it. I have used cobalt blue, French blue, deep woods green, burgandy, and very dark grey. I use ONE color per ship. this allows me to differentiate between the ships. It also allows me to divide my small fleet into multiple fleets to game with miniature impaired friends. The "nebula stripes" are NOT straight lines, nor are they parallel to each other (though they rarely tough or cross). They are closer to zebra stripes. I usually try to paint these on after the primer is dry to the touch but within an hour of priming them. This blends the edges of the "nebula stripes". I do NO (or almost none) detail to the ships. This is very quick and looks good on a black mat or starfield.

Tony Christney
While I don't have any ship painting experience, I do have a fair amount of experience painting miniatures in general. Painting usually consists of several stages: cleaning, priming, basecoat, shading, highlighting and detailing. The amount of time spent at each stage, as well as the techniques used, will determine the overall quality of the job.

I'm not going to bother with in depth descriptions of each stage, but I will go over some of the more technical stuff.

Kevin Walker
I start with a base color, use a watered down ink in the panel lines and then slowly dry apply dry brushing (about three to four levels) starting with the base color and progressively getting lighter. The secret is to go over the same area with multiple strokes of the same color. Each stroke is so light (in touch as well as amount of paint) that it takes a number of them to deliver any noticeable color to the area in question. With this gradual build up everything seems to gradually blend and look a bit more nature in effect. I realize that I've just described the basics of dry brushing (sorry to those who got bored). I found my most common mistake was trying to rush the dry brushing processes. Once I slowed down things seemed to fall into place - that and the brush manufactures love me as I'm going through brushes faster than ever now.

Beth Fulton
I find that the easiest (and often one of the nicest) ways of painting craft is to undercoat with black matt spray paint and, when the undercoat is dry, then dry brush with colour of choice (starting with dark hues and working to lighter shades). Then you can pick out a few details (e.g. exhaust nozzles etc.) with a solid colour and if you have a steady hand you could add nose art or the like (by hand, decals don't seem to work - well at least not for me).

Shading

Basically there are three ways to get shading on a model: an overall wash of thinned paint or ink, selectively adding shading to particular parts of the model, or by highlighting. The first two methods are very similar, differing mainly in the method of application and consistency of the paint. Washing is accomplished by painting the surface of the model with a very thinned down layer of paint. The paint will accumulate in the recessed areas of the model. When you first try this out, you will likely be tempted to apply too much paint, flooding the detail. This will look good when the paint is wet, but once dry it won't look so hot. You shouldn't need anymore paint on the brush than you use to paint the rest of the model. I usually use a mix of ink and paint and water when shading.

Highlighting

This consists of painting lighter shades of your base colour on the raised portions of the model. As an example, to highlight red, you can either mix a bit of yellow in the red, or alternatively you can mix white with the red. Note that highlighting is not the same as drybrushing! In general, highlighting takes longer, but IMO gives a much nicer finish, especially on flat surfaces like starship hulls. Good highlighting techniques lead naturally to blending of colors, which is _very_ tricky to do well.

Drybrushing

This works best on rough surfaces like chainmail. On flatter surfaces it tends to leave a rough texture on the model which some may find undesirable. This is much less noticable on small miniatures since the flat surfaces are very small. The key to drybrushing is to get the brush _really_ dry. I use an old towel to remove the excess paint. The thinner the paint you use, the longer it will take, but the surface will be less grainy. If you use more than one stage of drybrushing, remember to use a lighter touch on each successive stage for the best results. A lighter shade will help, too.

Don't rush. Use plenty of layers of very fine drybrushing. Don't spare the brush. If you plan to apply a wash, go lighter in shades as the process procedes.

Details

Use a very small brush ;). Another helpful tool is the technical pens. They come in a variety of colours and are very helpful for lettering and insignia designs. Makes blacklining a snap! The main drawback is they don't work very well on dark colours. The way to get around this is to paint the area white and then make the letters in reverse with the pens. I have also known people to carefully cut out letters from stickers, paint over the stickers, then peel them off. Works very well but takes forever. Imagine doing "New Anglian Confederation" this way...



Are there any official color schemes for the Full Thrust background?

John Tuffley
When asked how the "official" FT ships should be painted, my usual response is "paint 'em any colour you want, they're your ships!!" However this question has been asked so often now that it seems I am going to have to make some kind of pronouncement on the matter. Before giving the colour ideas, though, I must stress that these are ONLY IDEAS - they are suggestions as to how we see the various fleets, and you are still free to paint your own ships any colours you like. If we ever get to the G*m*s W*rksh*p state of saying "you can't play our games unless your figures are the right colours" then I think it'll be time for us to hang up the ol' laser for good.....

So, here we go. In some cases these colour schemes are the ones used in our own demo fleets for show games, in others they are just what we think looks good.

Overview of ship colour theory in the FT universe

[WARNING! High level of PSB (pseudo-scientific bullsh*t) follows....] There is no "ideal" paint scheme for combat ships in the 22nd century, and as a result all the major powers have adopted different ideas. As optical detection is still a significant part of most sensor suites it would seem to be sensible that a ship is painted in dull, dark colours to minimise visibility against the starfield; this has problems, however, in that as well as not providing a reflective target for enemy sensors it can also not reflect solar energy, beam weapon energy or anything else - result: a hot ship that you are forever having to cool by some means, which of course gives off a big IR signature anyway. On the other hand, if you make a ship bright and reflective so that it does not needs such effective cooling systems, and you have something that stands out like a sore thumb against a starfield, shining in any little bit of reflected starlight.... So, space naval colour schemes come down to part compromise, part aesthetics - a smart looking ship looks good on the holovid newscasts back home...

All ship pictures by GeoHex retouched to official color scheme and used with their permission

Eurasian Solar Union (ESU)

Jon Tuffley
Eurasian ships are generally mid-green or yellow-on-white (both look effective, so its up to you); as with the NAC suggestions it is best to use a base colour of a darkish shade and then panel-shade or drybrush with lighter colours. Markings could be traditional red stars, with some IDs in either cyrillic or Chinese!

Adam Delafield
These are usually painted 'yellow' as far as I can tell. Despite sounding odd, it actually looks quite good. Light brown works too.

Darren Douglas
I painted these for the NAC player when we first got FT. They are white with red markings. For them I used a base, wash and dry technique like the others, but instead of washing with a light grey I used a cream/bone colour and dry brushed white. This made them not look dirty and dull and made the white brighter, another colour to wash with could be light blue. The markings were lines and stars, god do I hate painting stars after these. I used big ones in the centre of cruisers and little ones on the wings and small ships. I also painted on the battle ships one big star surrounded in a circle by lots of little ones.

John Leary
The ESU ships are steel with red panels and yellow trim. Not quite standard, but then my ships are not quite standard. (In particular the Kra'Vak and FCT.)

Jon (TC)
Well I use 'C.B.K' which is russian for 'Solar Naval Ship' for the ESU (which is written EEC in russian) c.f NAC and their CNS. All the ESU have an initial on them (which is the ship type) and no. (so it looks as if they are part of a bigger fleet) and fleet logo. The initial is in the russian script. My ESU frigates are in red & black tiger stripe that just suits the mini to a T.

Primary Secondary Logo
red yellow/black yellow star (E*C)

Sean Bayan Schoonmaker
Dark Rust, drybrushed red, with yellow and tan detailing

Federal Stats Europa (FSE)

Jon Tuffley
Either an overall mid-blue (French blue), or else a blue base with white or pale blue paneling overlaid.

Darren Douglas
I have just finished these the other week, I tried using an air brush on these and sprayed them all a dark/panzer type gray. I then when they were dry spray fine lines of a light gray over them like camouflage. I then took some black paint/ink and painted it carefully into the panel lines to make the ship not look so flat. I then painted on the markings, for the FSE I used blue with yellow stars like the European flag. The stars again were done in various sizes and all the ships even the little ones have them.

John Leary
Well, for the FSE I have painted (Front to back) my BC black, yellow, and red: the CAs are blue, white, and red: the CL is red yellow, and red: the 2 DDs are green, white, and red; and green, red, and red. Tri-colors, this means that the entire fleet is made up
of flagships. (It's a visual joke, you really need to see it.) The joke going around the FCT and NAC fleet command is that FSE stands for "French Snobbery Everywhere".

Jon (TC)

Primary Secondary Logo
grey    

Sean Bayan Schoonmaker
Black, drybrushed dark grey, with red and yellow detailing

Beth Fulton
Base coat black, heavy dry/wet brush of royal blue then indiviually paint the panels in one of three different shades of blue (patch-work like). Then pick out all the arrows/ triangles/holes/engine interiors/some of those straight ridges in red, and all lights and remaining straight ridges were white. Very time consuming, but quite nice - even if I do say so myself ;)

Free Cal-Tex (FCT)

Darren Douglas
Half white, half red and a Blue piece at one end. Like the flag with a white star. Surfer patterns and loud colours. I am currently building a free Cal-Tex fleet and have already named one of my scout ships the "exellent adventure".

John Leary
The FCT fleet is light gray base with white highlights.

All ships are base coated with light/medium gray. The overcoat is an offwhite/cream (drybrush) color with a final coat of snow white (drybrush) lightly applied. Trim on panels is in red, blue and yellow, The engines are steel with silver highlights. The FCT has been the subject of extensive modification for nearly every class and ship. Number 6 and 7.5 lead shot is useful for domes, if you can get it. The Wings and things pack comes in very handy when doing the FCT. The favorite ship for modification is the Battledreadnought.

Tony Wilkinson
I've thought that a Cal-Tex fleet done in a similar fashion but using Indian motifs might look really good.

Islamic Federation (IF)

Jon (TC)

Primary Secondary Logo
green white 3 swords and islamic script

Kra'vak

Jon Tuffley
When we mentioned a "shifting, green-purple" scheme in More Thrust, this was because a friend of mine had painted up a few KV ships this way using shades of green, cyan, purple and even pink in places. Believe me, they do look good! Since we haven't yet let on just how the KV society works, you could get away with almost any scheme - probably different clans/tribes/packs (or whatever groupings they use) have different ideas anyway.

Adam Delafield
Are supposed to be Green and Pink. Although this sounds like it might be garish, try this. Paint the main hull a Matt Drab Olive Green. Make it quite dull if you can, you know, the sort of colour that was popular for the camo stripes on '70s aircraft. For the 'pink' use a sand brown. This changes what could have been disgusting into a distinctly military look.

Darren Douglas
I painted these in purple as the background said. This was also a base, wash and dry brush technique. Detail and markings were added I used a Japanese symbol as marking. Look OK Not that pleased with them.

John Leary
The Kra'Vak are flat black with gloss black trim, weapons are steel and the domes are metallic red, green, and blue.

The Kra'vak-D'rk is my clan. The ships live up to the name with the flat black, gloss black, and steel paint job. The D'rk are a small and disadvantaged clan that frequently do not have adequate supplies of railguns for thier ships. Most of the escorts only carry class 1 railguns and the cruisers class 2, the capital ships do have class 3 railguns but normally mount fewer than the mass would normally indicate. The D'rk ships are subject to frequent modification and salvage so they do not conform the the normal Kra'vak ship profiles. (The points ratio of Kra'Vak to Human of 3:2 works quite well during a game/campaign.

Netherlands

Darren Douglas
Orange, seems to be a good colour for them.

John Leary
The Dutch ships are black/gray with orange trim/panels. The ships used for the Dutch are the Traveller scout as a DD, and the RAFM no. 630 as a heavy cruiser.

New Anglian Confederation (NAC)

John Tuffley
New Anglian ships use a predominantly grey/white scheme, though blue/white is a good alternative if you prefer it. A good technique is to paint the ship an overall medium grey (or blue), then either

A finishing wash of a dark shade (blue-black or black) will bring up the surface detail and give a "used" look - not strictly authentic on a spaceship I know, but all the movie modellers use weathering so why shouldn't we?

Adam Delafield
I think would be Blue/Grey. I'm going to paint mine pastel shades of blue, and add the arrowhead insignia that one of the lads here suggested.

Darren Douglas
A friend has a growing NAC fleet and has painted them in medium blue with half a union jack on the blub bit at the front and various red and yellow detail picked out. This has been done for all size ships and looks very good. They have been painted with a base coat, wash and then dry brush technique and then the detail added.

Geoffrey Stewart
I first prime the metal with white metal primer / undercoat, which can be obtained in car accessory shops. Then I paint the ships mid range blue, then use dark blue ink and carefully ink all the cracks and depressions in the ship. Finally I dry brush the ships a slightly lighter shade of blue, and carefully paint a triangular union jack on the arrow head of each ship. The final result is very effective, and doesn't take too long to do.

John Leary
The NAC fleet is Dark blue and Black/gray in a large mottle.

Jon (TC)

Primary Secondary Logo
white blue/black like the S.T. ^ (N^C)

Sean Bayan Schoonmaker
Light Grey, drybrushed white, with yellow & grey detailing


Neu Swabian League (NSL)

Jon Tuffley
Neu Swabian ships are usually a functional mid-grey with lighter grey panel work, though some squadrons have been seen in "dazzle" patterns of diagonal dark grey, white and pale blue-grey stripes. NSL command is often surprisingly lenient about special paint schemes on certain ships, especially if the commander has suitable aristocratic connections (for example, 12th Kampfgruppe has a Markgraf class cruiser named the Manfred von Richtofen and painted overall bright red....).

One important note concerning the NSL: according to our background, they are NOT "Nazis in Space", so no swastika markings! Think in terms of noble Austro-Hungarian and Prussian aristocracy - use WWI/modern German crosses if you wish, though we prefer stylised eagle symbols.

Darren Douglas
Another friend has the NSL and has painted them in panzer gray like WWII tanks. The models were mounted on their bases and then spray painted black all over (with a spray can). They were then high lighted with a panzer gray and then a lighter gray, detail was then picked out in white. He is going to added German crosses and swastika recon flags. (Can we say "Space Surf Nazi's) The black stands look IMHO much better than the clear ones and we are going to convert all the stands we use to black, try it.

Dave Lavictoire
If the watchword of the NSL is 'efficiency', then you might colour your ships as NASA does, and paint 'em white. A FoaF (Friend of a Friend) told me that NASA spaceships are white so that fuel leaks, etc. are easily visible, especially against the black background of space. Sounds good to me - and they'll look sharp on the tabletop, too. As for German Crosses, I've been eyeing the roundel decals from Hostile Aircraft (1/144th scale). They're expensive, but very nice.

Adam Delafield
Last time I saw GZGs models (Ragnacon) they had a couple of NSL ships painted in what I can only describe as baby-shit yellow. Needless to say, I don't recommend this.

The NSL strike me as sticklers for efficiency. This gives me two possible colour schemes.

Insignia would probably either be a German flag or an Iron Cross with a string of numbers. Warning flashes near drives and hanger bays (and possibly mark out some airlocks this way.

I think the 'Feel' you should go for is a Flat, Efficient fleet with very little in the way of flare (leave that to the FSE). Well disciplined and confident. They should treat warfare as a grim chore rather than the gung-ho attitude that some fleets have.

John Leary
The NSL ships are basic black with lighter gray highlights.

The base coat is black with at least two or three progressively lighter grays dry brushed with less 'force/paint' in each application. The NSL is divided into groups, the NSL proper; with the Austrian flag painted high on the rear of the ship w/ black eagle added (from decals). The FSB (Frei Stadt Beyern) has the Bavarian flag at the same location, again from decals, applied over a painted white field. The heavy cruiser has been a favorite for modification of the design.

Jon (TC)

Primary Secondary Logo
black red/gold WW1 +

Sean Bayan Schoonmaker
Olive Green, drybrushed green, with grey and black detailing


Oceanic Union (OU)

Tony Wilkinson

Well here are my ideas for the Oceanic Union fleet. There is no one colour scheme. What I've tried to do is give an Aboriginal "Dreamtime" theme to the whole fleet which has models from each of the human ranges plus some Silent Death stuff. The models are base coated with a matt black. Then you dry brush a "camo" pattern of irregular shapes and sizes over the top. How many colours you use for the camo is up to you but as a rule of thumb 4 colours for capitals, 3 for crusiers, 2 for escorts and 1 for fighters works best. I've found that "earthy" tones work really well, browns, autumn colours (for those of you where the seasons actually change), greens and subdued blues and the like. Hit the model (but not fighters) with a brown ink wash to make the detail really stand out. I then paint abstract designs based on Aboriginal paintings and rock art (dots, circles, "snake trails"...etc) in bright reds, yellows and even white. There's no real rules at this stage about colours or designs but it is probably best to keep the designs themselves realitively simple. The overall effect is that each ship has an indiviual paint job but I don't think anyone has been in any doubt as to the fleets identity when I've gone to a tournament.

Pan-African Union (PAU)

Jon (TC)

Primary Secondary Logo
yellow green/red (non typeable!)

Romanov Hegenomy (RH)

Jon (TC)

Primary Secondary Logo
dark blue red/white 2 headed eagle

Sa'vasku

Tim Jones

A very common color scheme is to paint them black and dry brush with medium purple and pink. Other schemes are based around the Shadow ships in babylon 5, black with light grey dry brushing or squiggle pattern.

Another alternative is from the Night Brood ships from Silent Death. These are similar bio-ships and are painted with merging bright color washes in red, cyan, magenta and green.

John Leary
The Sa'vasku are painted a very dark brown base coat with not less than four lighter browns in lighter applications (drybrush), the last two layers are yellow and a pale yellow very sparingly applied to the highest levels on the model. The tips of the points are drybrushed deep red with brighter reds toward the very tip. If you want a larger ship, take the nine point heavy cruiser and attach the six point cruiser below. I tend to bend the tips very slightly down, this gives the ships a grasping/claw look.

From bottom to top.

  1. Very dark brown.
  2. Dark brown. (chocolate)
  3. Medium brown.
  4. Yellow brown.
  5. Yellow.
  6. Pale yellow.

All of the above are flat colors, for the 'knob' on the carrier and 'exhaust' areas use a semi-gloss medium brown. For the last 1/4 inch of less of the spines.

All the steps, except the base coat (#1), are dry brushed in progressively lighter applications. Note: I normally bend the tips of the spines down about 1/16 of an inch to get a 'grasping hand' look.

John Crimmins
(Oh, and I found my Sa'Vasku paint scheme; an amalgamation of several of the suggestions that I received.

The result evoked a heartfelt "Yuck" from my fiancee, so I think that it's a success.


Beth Fulton
So far we've painted up to Sa'Vasku "fleets". First one (painted by Derek):

This looks pretty nitfty and doesn't take forever!

Second one (I painted it for a friend).

This looks good (very organic), but takes a while. I wouldn't mind getting some Sa'vasku myself and use a scheme which is essentially black with that irridescence effect you get on beetle shells - yet to figure how to do that with paint. Either that or you could always go for a "shadows" inspired appearance (I must have a thing for painting very fine lines with 20/0 brushes!!)

Mark Kochte
Me, I took the simplistic approach: base coat grey, then painted over with metallic black. Very simple and easy.

Jonathan White
Mine are a purple base with varying drybrush highlights (lots of green or yellow + purple) going out to pure yellow/green at the spine tips.

Mottled with whichever of the two highlight colours I used least on the particular model. With, agreed, a couple of layers of gloss varnish.

They actually look errr... pretty gross. Which I suppose is the effect I would be after - I wanted them to look organic. If you're going for the 'ancient alien stealth spider' look I think yours would be pretty close.

United Nations Space Command (UNSC)

UN Blue with white details, United Nations logo.

Jon (TC)

Primary Secondary Logo
orange white  

What other space combat game color schemes are there?

Empire (40K)

Adam Delafield
The Imperial ships have a simple all-grey colour scheme. I did this by spraying with black primer, drybrushing with Grey Primer and highlighting by mixing codex grey (then available from citadel) with white. The prow on many of the larger imperial ships have more detailed paneling. I painted each panel a separate shade of grey. I found that the more contrasting greys to be better than greys that were very close to one another. Turrets were painted bright red. The shield generators, domes etc were painted green. The engines were painted black before being dry-brushed with brown and then silver. A very simple, but striking colour scheme.

Tyranid Hive Fleet (40K)

Adam Delafield

I glue my fighters to pins (except the tie-fighters which ARE pins ;-) ) and stick 'em in a black piece of cork.

Basing

Michael Blair
I use the standard flying bases (1" AF) but with a few modifications. I cut 1" sections of 5/32" brass tubing (a small cheap tube cutter is the best way, it leaves a smooth end and is MUCH easier to use than a saw) and epoxy these into the standard hex base. These are then spray painted black and firing arcs and other details added to taste.

I glue a piece of piano wire into the hole in the base of the miniature, this makes them easy to hold and store - a piece of wood with holes drilled in it. They will turn easily on the stand but the firing arcs etc. are marked on the stand. For the bigger miniatures I intend to glue the base onto a larger hex cut from platicard or mounting board. If necessary the original hole can be filled with epoxy putty (Milliput by choice). This is also useful fixing 'accidents', more than once I have drilled all the way through a miniature.

The hardest part is cutting the piano wire, I have to use bolt cutters which leaves both ends of the 'stalk' in a rather dangerous condition but I use a miniature drill with a grinding wheel to flatten and smooth one end of each, the other (sharp) end is the one that goes into the miniature. The best way to hold the wires for this is in a pin vice which is in turn held in a bench vice.

A useful tip from a modelling magazine is to take a piece of a connector strip (for electricians) and strip of the plastic to reveal the brass. This is attached to a piece of dowel with a nail in one end for the connector to grip, the other end of the connector can hold the miniatures 'stalk'.

A variation (suggested by re-reading GDW's old 1889 rules) is to cut varying lengths of brass for different altitudes (Very Low 1/4", Low 1/2" and so on). However the taller bases would require larger bases to prevent 'accidental conversions' (The one good line from the film Millennium). The end result roughly doubles the cost of the base (10p to 20p) but is much more secure and has the dubious advantage of making your fleet and bases incompatible with anyone else's.

I have just purchased a pack of large flying bases from Games Workshop at 1.50 pounds for four. The bases are round, clear and 60mm (2.4") in diameter and strangely come with four posts, each of a different length. For capital ships these are ideal. It would be simple to paint or mark the new 12 course points on them. As suggested by someone on the list I now have four sizes of brass tube 5/32. 1/8, 3/32 and 1/16" which will fit one inside another. My starships all have pins mounted in them that fit the 3/32" tubing. The smallest size fits the fighters and aircraft. Another innovation in the course of construction is a jig to hold the brass uprights vertical in the bases while the glue is setting. It is a simple wooden bridge with appropriately sized holes drilled in it to sit over the bases. Something like the ASCII drawing below:

        ||
========||========
==      ||      ==
==      ||      ==
==    __||__    ==
==   |      |   ==

With the largest 5/32 glued into the base by adding pieces I can either have a ship mounted about 1" of the base or aircraft miniatures at any height desired. They should also be perfect for 1/300 aircraft. I was trying one out with 1 1/200th Catalina from Hallmark (Very nice) and with the 6cm base the base could be used to represent its search radius in a map based game!

The only problem is that even the micro pipe cutter I have cannot cut the smallest two brass tubes so they must be done the old fashioned way with a razor saw.

I use round brass tubing but I am intending to change over to square. The sight on ones ships spinning on the bases is not good. However there may be another alternative, cheaper and easier to work with. Several companies (Evergreen and Plastruct) make square section styrene (plastic) 'tubing'. This would be much easier to work with than brass, more easily cut and easily glued with normal liquid cement to the standard flying bases, whether the round Citadel type of the more traditional hexes as sold by Bwana Jon.

Brass may still be the best bet for the male section that fits onto the ship but I think plastic may be the way to go for the base. I will try to get some and report back, but I have to mail order the Evergreen I prefer so this could take weeks.

Sean Bayan Schoonmaker
This is how I've decided to do my stands (and yes, I had to hack a bunch of old ones off to go over to my new standard, but I think the end result is worth it).

I got GW flying bases - they are available in small (25mm) and large (60mm) varieties. When ordering from GW, make sure to tell them not to include the posts; it will save you 50% !! Use the small ones for small ships and fighters, and the large ones for anything that you're worried might tip over.

Next, head out to a hobby shop and get either brass tube or brass squares in three different sizes that will fit snugly into one another. For fighter bases you'll also need some small diameter brass rod (I think 1/16th). For smaller ships, use the two smaller sizes for the following steps, and for larger ships, use the two larger.

Cut 35mm and 5mm sections of the larger "tube," and a 15-25mm section of the smaller. The 35mm section gets epoxied into the GW clear circular base. Put the 5mm section over the smaller piece, and epoxy both into the miniature's mounting hole. Make sure that they're perpendicular BEFORE the epoxy sets.

Now you have a figure that can be put in the stand for play, and taken out for transport or storage. In fact, you only need enough lower stands to fit as big of a battle as you expect to play, as they're interchangable (with the exception of small vs. large dia.).

They have no angles or markers, so you'll need "rings" for during play, but on the other hand, they look really classy, and no matter how many times they change the rules, you never have to change bases again.

For fighters, drill 6 holes at random intervals on one of the small bases (just make sure they're not too close together). Then cut the small dia. rod to random lengths of 5 to 15mm. Epoxy the rod into the stand, and superglue the fighters to the rods, and you have a very cool looking "formation" that doesn't look like a hex. All of the groups will look diferent, which is also very cool.

Of course I like these methods, because otherwise I wouldn't have decided to use them. I'm sure that others may substitute or improve in different ways. In fact, to give credit where it's due, I got the idea from one of the earlier threads on basing miniatures. Sorry, I can't remember who it was.

Channing Fauce
I took this suggestion from the list - not sure who posted it - and am very happy with it (currently retro-fitting all of my B5 and FT ships. Any good hobby shop carries square copper tubing that fit snuggly one inside the other. Buy 1/16" diameters and the next largest. Cut the 1/16" tubing 1/4 - 3/8" long and glue these to the hole(s) in the bottom of the ship. Cut the other tubing 1 to 1 1/2" long and glue these into the base. Make sure that you align all the rods the same direction (corners at 12,3,6,9 o'clock for example). This allows the ship to be removed from the base for easier storage, this really matters with AOG's B5 ships. One suggestion, All glues are not equal: The best I've found - and I've tried alot of them - is Loctite(tm) Quick Tite gel. This has the consistancy of toothpaste and is *very* strong. I've dropped ships and had the metal bend and break instead of the glue.

How do you cut the copper tubing without it "squishing"?
I use an Xacto blade and mitre box. You only need to score each side, not cut through, and it will snap cleanly with a slight bending.

Bruce Lee
Try using an old Xacto knife blade or any other formerly sharp blade you don't want to use for fine work - just roll the piece of tube back & forth under the blade and the end result is the same as if you used a pipe cutter. I have an ancient blade in a worn out handle that I use for burnishing flash & mold lines on lead figs and it cuts Brass & Aluminium tube really well - and I don't have to spend time both finding my pipe cutter and re setting it for every piece I cut.

Keith Watt
First, I always sand off the thinner top part of the post (the part that goes into the model) and replace it with a necklace barrel clasp. After super gluing it to the post, I super glue the other end to the model. After the super glue is dry, I put epoxy where the clasp meets metal (of the model and of the post). In this way, the glue gives you a quick (but brittle) bond, which holds everything in place long enough for the epoxy to set. The result is very strong and also allows the model to be removed from the base for storage. Oh, remove the little hoops from each end of the clasp, of course, but also use super glue gel - the standard stuff runs down the edges and glues the clasp together!

Second, for my scratchbuilt fleet I used 1 1/4" flat washers and 3/8" piece of metal tubing (the same diameter as the hole in the washer). Glue the tubing to the base and put a piece of epoxy putty in the top of the tubing and push the bottom of the necklace clasp into the putty. I made a a template to put the 12-hour marks on the base. Works pretty well, looks nice, and like the first, it allows the model to be separated from the base for storage.

Tony Francis - how to fix plastic stands
Personally I prefer them to break early on, it only really seems to happen with the big ships or those some unmentionable drops. Most of the GZG models already have a hole cast in them for a stand. Using the plastic GW or Warzone stands, glue peg to model, let glue dry, break peg! You have now blocked the hole 'cause if you do it right it should snap at the base of the model.

Take a fine drill and drill into the model where the remains of the peg are and then into the peg itself. If using a hand drill, no problem. If you're like me and using an electric drill (dremel sort of thing) do it in small stages or you'll melt the plastic and gum up the drill. Drill into the model until up hit metal, drill about half way down the other section of the peg. Once you have your holes use a length of brass rod to rejoin to two sections of the peg. You should have no more problems. If mounting new models just cut the top section of the base peg and do as above but drilling directly into the model.

Robert Crawford
For large ships, the easiest is the roofing-nail and washer stand described on the Superior Models site:

http://www.stellargames.com/bases.htm

Mark Shurtleff
I can offer a few more suggestions that I've used for my non-GZG K'rathri ship figs.

Fighters

John Crimmins
Until now, I've been mounting a cardboard triangle on a GW flight base, and mounting a figher on each corner. It's not bad, but I want to do better.

Jed Docherty
I just saw this idea somewhere - can't remember where but I don't think it was on the list. I tried it myself and like it. Use the traditional 1" diameter washer as a guide to cutting a circle out of cork sheet ( I bought mine, pretty cheap, as gasket material at the hardware store). Glue the cork circle to the washer, stick six pins in the cork and spray the whole thing black. Glue one fighter to the top of each pin, then remove pins as fighters die and replace the pins to play again.

John Fox
I do the following to make fighter bases:

Mark Shurtleff
You might take a look on how I've been basing my fighter groups - the folks I've shown them to in person have all given me "oohs & ahhs" over them.

Here's a pic that hows how they look.

http://www.sfcmd.com/fullthrust/minis/K'rathri Fighters.jpg

Here's how I make them:

Materials:

Tools:

Steps:

It writes more complicated than it really is

Jon Tuffley
We showed a prototype round at several UK shows late last year, and response was good, so they're now available. An approx. 1" metal cast hexagon, with a depression at the back to hold a die, and six tiny holes ready to take thin wire (we've done them about 1-1.5" high for the display ones) on top of which you stick your fighters. Looks good with 3 or 6 fighters (3 for bigger ones like the GF range, up to 6 for the smaller FT ones). UK price 75p each, you supply your own chosen type of wire. The "plastic or card hex on top of a flying stand" method is the one we advocated in FT/MT, and still looks good.

John Swann
I have a slightly different means of basing my fighters. It'll take a little describing, but I really like the way it turns out. First, the basics... I base 'em two-to-a-base using old Battletech hex bases (of which I had a surprising number left after I stopped playing that one years ago. They're about 1" across and have a raised edge. I fill the "valley" in the middle with milliput, kneadatite, or some other epoxy putty (I used plumbers epoxy for mine IIRC) so that the putty is level with the raised edges of the hex. When the putty is mostly dry (i.e. pretty stiff) I cut out a square with one side being a metal hex side, about the size of one of the dice I use to mark the squadron's strength. Pardon the clumsy ascii art, but this might help:

   ______ 
  /      \
 / .      \    <---- Base
/       .  \  <---- Holes drilled for piano wire 
\  +----+  /
 \ |    | /  <------ Square cut out for die  
  \|____|/

Then I let the base dry totally. It often helps to sand the base once the putty's dry to get a nice smooth finish. Then drill a couple of holes into the putty, insert some stiffened piano wire and mount two fighters on the wire. Voila. You can cut the piano wire to any length (I use some variety to make it interesting) and you can use colored dice to mark different types of squadrons (or squadrons from different carriers). I use different colored dice for each carrier and put little dots on the back edge of the base to mark the squadron number. So Red-1 (Red die with one dot) may be a strike fighter, while Red-2 may be a recon squadrons from the same carrier... Once you get going with it, they fly out and you can get 6 squadrons per pack o' fighters. I don't, however, know if Ral Partha still makes those hex bases as I haven't bought any in many years. But they used to sell them in packs of 6.

Keith Watt
Glue 6 earring posts to either a GeoHex fighter stand (with the pegs removed) or a washer of the same size. Glue an earring back to the bottom of each fighter. This allows you to position the fighters at different heights and, more importantly, remove fighters from the stand when they've been destroyed - no extra die needed.

Mike Jameson
Get some plasticard from your local shop draw around the base of a hex stand on the card cut this out and glue to the top of the stand paint black glue 1 fighter to each of the six corners. this should give you a fairly good base, and leaves a space in the middle to put a small D6 for keeping track of losses

Tim Pricer
I take three pieces of copper wire and twist them together. On one end I bend the wires out into a "Y" shape and glue on to a Nickle (US $0.05) but any small metal disk should do. I cover that end of the base with putty to make it smooth. At the other end of the twisted copper wire I bend the wires out into a "Y" shape and bend the end od the "Y" up. At the ends of the wires I place one fighter, for a total of 3 fighters on a base.

Beth Fulton
We use two methods (as you may have guessed Derek and I rarely do anything in the same way - family cohesion is such a grand idea ;) )

Derek gets really fine brass rod (1mm I think) and cuts off 6 short lengths of it, sticks those perpendicular to a base (he uses balsa hexes, but you could use round/square etc.) then sticks one fighter to the top of each. That way they're at different heights etc.

I also use the fine brass rod, but I drill 6 holes into a GW flying base and its neck and stick the wire into those instead. I bend the rod (if its stuck into the neck) so the top is pointing up and then stick the fighters on top. I get fighters at different heights/angles, but all still in a group.

Both methods look pretty good, but they can be a bit fiddly at times.

Decals

Using ALPS MD-1000 printer

Mark Shurtleff
The basic steps I use to create decals with the ALPS MD-1000 printer is as follows:

While there are a few more details than I've listed, it really is just about that easy. For instance, if the decal sheet is going to get a lot of handling before its used, add an additional step:

The ALPS printers are one of the few printers capable of printing actual white ink, instead of simply leaving the white part of a graphics blank - which ends up as clear when printed on decal film . Since the film is clear, I generally perform a white print undercoating and then overlay the "normal" decal graphics on top of the white coat. The ALPS printer driver allows you to print multiple overlays without having to eject and reposition the paper, so registration is never an issue. A simple case of RTFM and away you go.

To check out the alpsdecal mailing list, or to review the list archives, wander on over to: http://members.tripod.com/~aravm98/alpsdecal.htm.

Paper Tape

Winchell Chung
You do know, don't you, that you can make hand-painted decals with paper adhesive tape?

The advantage over painting directly on the model is basically the luxury of working on a flat surface.

One uses the paper tape with water-activated glue. You paint the decal on the glue side with enamel paints. Spritz it with some Krylon (some kind of plastic spray to hold tiny decal details in place) to keep the bits together. Cut it out close to the outline. Then dip in water and use like a conventional decal.


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