Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

Best way to Paint black strip on hull?

15 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    August, 2017
  • From: Minnesota, Twin Cities Metro Area
Best way to Paint black strip on hull?
Posted by Blindluck on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 5:16 PM

Hi guys,

As I have mentioned before I am fairly new at this creative model building. My question is, I need to paint the hull and vertical sides of the aircraft carrier USS Antietam CV-36 1/700 scale before I can continue with the build. I am using haze gray for the sides and vertical pieces, deck gray for horizontal surfaces and Norfolk 65A Anti-fouling Red US14 for the below the water line. My issue is in what order to paint the hull, vertical part of the hull the black water line or the red bottom. I recently got outfited with an airbursh and spray booth, and I am just learning the finer points of using an airbrush. I thought about painting the black first and then using masking tape to protect it when I paint the top side and the bottem. I could use a tip if anyone has a sure fire way to make it look perfect.

Thanks guys


  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: State of Mississippi. State motto: Virtute et armis (By valor and arms)
Posted by mississippivol on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 6:10 PM
I would paint the black first, mask it, then paint the red. That way, you can get a consistent width when you mask the black. I would suggest painting a white undercoat for the red, as it doesn't cover black very well, and you lose the brightness that the red should have.
  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Derry, New Hampshire, USA
Posted by rcboater on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 6:47 PM

I would not undercoat the red with white-- painting it over gray or black will be better. The red will be darker,  but we're not painting a Fire Truck here- so you don't want a "bright" red.  

I used this technique on my 1/144 scale Escort Carrier-- I painted the entire lower hull black, then put red over it.  The black undercoat toned down the red- it came out looking great. 

Webmaster, IPMS Patriot Chapter

Billerica, MA


  • Member since
    July, 2012
  • From: Douglas AZ
Posted by littletimmy on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 6:49 PM

Mississippivol Has the right idea. But I dont use a White under coat. Just Black then Hull red.

However, I like to "cheat" and just use a Black decal stripe.... (I hate to mask when I dont have to )

 Dont worry about the thumbprint, paint it Rust , and call it "Battle Damage".




  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 7:04 PM

This is one of those things that I’ve tried every which way, and not at all convinced that I’ve found the answer.

I feel though that starting with a hard mask of either top or bottom from the start is the way to go. I’ve tried freehanding black, then taping to get gray or red next. Problem there is marking the waterline over black paint. Not a big deal but sometimes hard to see.

Ive tried freehanding black and then masking the whole stripe with the correct width tape. Challenge is that on larger scales the width of the stripe gets much bigger under the stern counter.

in the end for me the hardest is the best result.

I mask for the red. Then I reverse the tape and mask for the gray, not leaving a space.

Then I mask top and bottom for the black.

Just my two bits.

  • Member since
    December, 2010
  • From: Salem, Oregon
Posted by 1943Mike on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 9:04 PM


As you can see from the answers you've been given, there's no "right" way to mask for painting the hull.

I've tried several methods and I'll probably not do it the same way as the last ship model I built when my next ship kit gets cracked open. At 1/700 scale a 2mm piece of Tamiya curved masking tape would represent about 4'7". That might be too wide a boot stripe - I don't know, but I would probably use that tape with wider tape burnished above and below it - remove the 2mm width of tape, spray black, when it's dry put back the 2mm width of tape, remove either the top or bottom wider (6mm) tape, airbrush, let dry, then remask about an inch or so next to the 2mm tape and airbrush the other opposite side (either top or bottom). In other words I really don't know what I'm doing but I somehow end up with a reasonably decent boot stripe.

Whatever method you use, best of luck!


"Le temps est un grand maître, mais malheureusement, il tue tous ses élèves."

Hector Berlioz

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 9:16 AM

If I am painting, I do start with the black, then the red, then the hull color.

However, I often make the boot topping (the black stripe) with a home-made inkjet decal.  On a larger model I may need to make each side from two or more pieces, but once you have the one drawn, copying it to get the others is pretty easy.  If the hull does not have excessive double curvature area, just a straight stripe will work fine.  If a lot of molding to hull shape, then I do paint, but masking and painting such hulls isn't easy either.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    August, 2017
  • From: Minnesota, Twin Cities Metro Area
Posted by Blindluck on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 10:13 AM

I think you and I are thinking along the same lines no pun intended.

I like the idea of an under coat of white. The red I am using is darker than what I have researched on other ships. it is the red used on the Antietan so if it lightens it up a bit I am ok with it.

Thanks Mississippi

  • Member since
    August, 2017
  • From: Minnesota, Twin Cities Metro Area
Posted by Blindluck on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 10:21 AM


Thanks I am learning as I go and you are correct in that there are a ton of different ways to do this stuff. I am giving this model to my dad at christmas because he served on it. I am nervous about getting it to look good. So thanks for the help

  • Member since
    August, 2017
  • From: Minnesota, Twin Cities Metro Area
Posted by Blindluck on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 10:27 AM

Yeah I thought about just using pinstripe. Then I thought it would look like a pinstripe. What do I know this is my first ship out a planned 13.

Thanks for you help

  • Member since
    August, 2017
  • From: Minnesota, Twin Cities Metro Area
Posted by Blindluck on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 10:33 AM


The red I am using is darker then most, but it is the red used on the ship. I kind of like the idea of undercoating.

Thanks for you help

  • Member since
    August, 2017
  • From: Minnesota, Twin Cities Metro Area
Posted by Blindluck on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 10:43 AM

Hi Don good to hear from you!

Yeah the ship has a tapered angle in twords the screws just past the rutter. Not looking forward to masking it. I am leaning towards painting a black 1 inch stripe and letting it dry then spray a clear coat over it letting it dry, then using a 1/16 inch wide masking to protect it. That first step when you pull the trigger on the airbrush is the point of no return so to speak. That is why I am seeking some ideas.

Thanks Don

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 1:27 PM


 I do it this way . I paint the hull black at the top line . I let it fade towards the bilge curve .Then I come back with Tamiya Tape and set my heighth with that and cover the hull with scrap sheet paper or foil taped well to the bottom edge of the new line .Paint the red .Darefully remove all the masking and there you go ! One fully painted hull !

  • Member since
    March, 2012
  • From: Louisville, KY
Posted by Builder 2010 on Thursday, November 16, 2017 5:37 PM

I start by painting the entire hull the red color of your choice (Tamiya hull red). These are steps I followed to paint a USS Missouri Measure 22 colors (water line, boot topping, navy blue to the sheer line, haze gray to the deck).

Next I mask the top of the water line. If the lines aren't visible or not clear in some parts you may have to re-scribe the line using a surface gauge or some other fixed scribing tool.

I spray the boot topping black without worrying about the top edge.

Leaving the red masking in place I mask the top edge of the boot topping.

This ship needed another mask for the top edge of the Navy blue. Again, leaving all the other masks remaining on the hull.


Finally, and again leaving all existing masks in place, I mask the sheer line which is the level line where the deck begins to turn up at the bow in preparation for the haze gray.

The moment of truth when all this masking is removed. Notice, I use Tamiya narrow tape for the edges since it makes turns better, and also note that Tamiya now makes a flexible vinyl tape that conforms around curves and this ships "cruiser" stern is especially sharp.

Hope this helps.

  • Member since
    May, 2017
  • From: Asheville, NC
Posted by LIVIT on Tuesday, November 21, 2017 9:13 PM

Some great info here.  I can vouch for how good the tamiya tapes are.  Also the blue painters trim tape has been working well for me, masking off large runs. Nice XMAS present !    Dale

  • Member since
    May, 2008
  • From: Wyoming Michigan
Posted by ejhammer on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 8:41 AM
I have lost or misplaced the pictures for this processed (PB), but will try to explain how I do it. After priming with Tamayia light grey aerosol primer, First, I just freehand spray a swath of black around the hull where the waterline will be. Allow to dry for a day or two. Gator's masks and glue used to have a large sheet of his yellow masking, kind of a vinyl material, that was cut in various width strips. The sheet was specifically made for boot topping. Unfortunately, he does not make that sheet any longer. I've not tried the new Tamayia vinyl tape yet, but I did open a package and it seems to be a similar material. Second, I scribe a pencil line with a surface guage around the hull, locating either the top or bottom edge of where I want the line to be. Then apply the strip of masking over the black, along the edge of the pencil line but not covering the line. Third, apply regular masking tape covering part of the masking line and above. Then spray the anti-fouling red on the lower part of the hull. Then, remove the upper masking, allow to dry for a day or two. Fourth, apply regular masking tape covering part of the masking line and below, protecting the red color, then spray the upper part of the hull whatever grey or camo color you are using. Remove the lower masking tape and allow to dry. Lastly, remove the thin strip of boot top mask, and viola there is your perfect black boot top line exposed. I use Tamayia rattle can grey primer. The black is White Ensign Colourcoats WEMCC C 02 black, then WEMCC US14 Norfolk 65A antifouling red, then whatever White ensign grey I'm using. All enamel paints. I have used Model Master acrylics in their ship color line successfully as well, although I prefer the enamels.

Completed - USS ESSEX 1/700 Hasegawa Dec 1942, USS Yorktown 1/700 Trumpeter 1943. In The Yards - USS ESSEX 1/700 Hasegawa 1945, USS ESSEX 1/700 Dragon 1944, USS ESSEX 1/700 Trumpeter 1945, USS ESSEX 1/540 Revell (vintage) 1962, USS ESSEX 1/350 Trumpeter 1942, USS ESSEX LHD-2 as commissioned, converted from USS Wasp kit Gallery Models. Plus 35 other plastic and wood ship kits.


Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.


By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.