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Hull Red?

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  • Member since
    November 2005
Hull Red?
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, November 17, 2006 4:39 PM

I have access to Tamiya, Gunze, Humbrol and Model Master paints.  What color is best suited for the bottom hull red?  I find Tamiya Hull Red to be like a brown.  

  • Member since
    February 2006
  • From: Boston
Posted by Wilbur Wright on Friday, November 17, 2006 4:44 PM
The Tamiya hull red is accurate, I usually add some flat base to it, and for ships like the Yamato which has a redder hull you just  mix in to the shade you are looking for.   On Ocean liners I use MM Italian red enamel at least on the Cunard ships.
  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Friday, November 17, 2006 5:15 PM

 Wilbur Wright wrote:
The Tamiya hull red is accurate

... for IJN ships.    It is not really appropriate for other navies.   For the US Navy,  this is an example of WWII era hull red, the USS Swordfish at her launching in 1939.   Note the insignia red on the flags and bunting as a reference. 

For that I use American Tradition Red Primer from the local Lowes hardware store.   Another option is White Ensign's Colourcoats.  They have several hull paints, both the USN and the RN used a similar color.   They also have a German schiffsbodenfarbe   which translates to ship's bottom color.

Then too check the model railroad side of the local hobby emporium.  Look at the various boxcar reds, mineral reds, and caboose reds.  Floquil/Polly Scale Mineral Red is a good match for the hull red.  ModelMaster British Scarlet (a uniform color) is also a good hull red.

Oh, and before any of you ask about painting the hull red on your new Revell Gato.   This is two-classes prior to the Gato, and almost two years prior to the Gato's commissioning.   The world was still 5 months away from the Invasion of Poland.   Wartime subs were black-hulled.



  • Member since
    March 2005
  • From: West Virginia, USA
Posted by mfsob on Friday, November 17, 2006 8:16 PM
I picked up a bottle of Floquil Boxcar Red at my local hobbg shop and like it a lot - it brushs on smoothly, dries quickly and looks like a dull brownish red when dry. That, and she had it marked down to $1 for the big bottle!
  • Member since
    January 2006
Posted by EPinniger on Saturday, November 18, 2006 5:54 AM
Tamiya Hull Red is also a reasonable (though not totally accurate) match for the colour used on RN and Kriegsmarine ships. (I used it on my 1/72 Flower-class). I haven't found a good acrylic paint match for the red used on USN ships, but Tamiya XF68 "NATO Brown" looks fairly close. (it's actually more of a reddish shade than XF64 "Red-Brown").
Post-war ships in the USN (and quite a few other navies) seem to be a much brighter red. I'm not sure of the exact shade, but I use Revell matt red acrylic for this, drybrushed lightly with black or dark grey to tone it down.
  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: arizona
Posted by cthulhu77 on Saturday, November 18, 2006 7:39 AM

  The American Tradition Red Primer is a pretty close match, for some odd reason, I get better drying time with Krylon Red Primer.  Remember, the primer colours changed from time to time, and once in the water, changed even more!  I agree that the Tamiya hull red seems too brown, still a usefull colour though.

  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, November 18, 2006 9:42 AM
Thanks for the info.  The best supply of paint my model shop has here is Model Master/Humbrol.  So I will have to play around and figure out the best color/mix to come up with a nice hull red.
  • Member since
    February 2005
Posted by warshipbuilder on Friday, November 24, 2006 5:02 PM

I prefer Humbrol H70 Matt Brick Red for RN vessels.

It's a pity that Humbrol discontinued their old H177 Hull Red, which was a much better match.

I steer clear of acrylics, since they don't seem very durable when handling the model.



  • Member since
    November 2006
Posted by wcraik on Sunday, November 26, 2006 1:56 PM

I have lived and grown up around ships at sea (and in lakes) all my life, and I don't find any fault what-so-ever with the Krylon color "Red Primer."  Also useful is "Sprayon" red primer. 

All primers, by whatever name or brand they are known, tend to change colors once they are applied to the ship's bottom as "anti-fouling paint."

They all contain chemicals to prohibit or reduce the amount of marine growth over time - and over time these chemicals tend to "leech out" because they are "doing their job."

Dependant on how long you want your model to reflect that she has been exposed to the marine environment - all depends on the color you choose.

Ships about to be launched generally are semi-gloss red; ships that have been in the water but still show no marine groweth tend to be more reddish-brown to brown.


-Bill C. 





  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Texas
Posted by Yankee Clipper on Monday, November 27, 2006 8:18 PM

wcraik is correct. As Dana M. Wegner, Curator of Ship Models for the United States Navy, once stated; "..... there is no standard red for hulls on Navy ships". When discussing museum standards (note the small case) there are standards used by the Smithsonian Institution and ones by the U S Navy. The Navy standards are higher, Mr Wegner had a part in maintaining that standard. So use the red that best meets the pleasure of your modeling eye and the particular vessel you are replicating.

Yankee Clipper

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • From: Philadelphia Pa
Posted by Nino on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 3:53 PM

Interest re-kindled.   Bumping up.

Adding back the  USS Swordfish at her launch in 1939 Photo.



  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 3:58 PM

Wow this is an old thread!  I did just start the Minicraft 1/350 Titanic and did a bit of poking around and found True North precision enamels - USN Norfolk 65A Anti-foul red.  Here's how it looks on the Hull



  • Member since
    July 2014
  • From: Philadelphia Pa
Posted by Nino on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 8:20 PM

Wow that's a good match to the USS Swordfish photo!


Glad you spotted this.  I bumped it up as there is a build going on for the USS Texas and this link was mentioned but the original photo was gone.


 P.S. I had family on BB-35 during WW2 . 

  • Member since
    March 2009
  • From: brisbane australia
Posted by surfsup on Thursday, February 21, 2019 4:15 AM

Lifecolor and AK Interactive make new Colour Sets now for all major WW2 Navies so you probably can find the exact match you are looking for with them.....Cheers mark

If i was your wife, i'd poison your tea! If Iwas your husband, I would drink it! WINSTON CHURCHILL

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, February 21, 2019 8:57 AM

I use MM British Crimson on most ocean going ships.  For freshwater ships I use an oxide red, usually an oxide primer.


Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Thursday, February 21, 2019 12:15 PM

USS Pennsylvania in 1944. Certainly not a bright red, but much more red than Tamiya Hull Red


F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton



  • Member since
    May 2008
  • From: Wyoming Michigan
Posted by ejhammer on Thursday, February 21, 2019 1:08 PM

I have used the discontinued Model Master acrylic #4228 anti-fouling red in the past. I just used the last bottle of this I had.

Also, I've used White Ensign Colourcoats #US14 Norfolk 65A antifouling red. This one is oil base paint.

Both of them, to me anyway, look like the color we painted the bottom of the USS ESSEX with in 1962 during the FRAM II while in drydock for 6 months. That's in my minds eye anyway. Supposedly, they are color matched to US NAVY samples. All very subjective.

Just like Navy grey's. - "Hey Chief, this grey doesn't look like the last pail". -

"Just use it. That's what the paint shop gave us. And paint the lower part of the bulkhead up higher a couple inches to cover up those scuffs while your at it. And keep the line straight". -

"Got it Chief"

White Ensign also has a #M06 modern antifouling red, although I've not used it. The samples I have show a more rusty red color on the 65A than the modern. The White Ensign oil base enamels seem to "stick" better to plastic and seem a bit more durable than the acrylic. They thin and spray very nicely and have a nice flat sheen.

True North precision enamels - USN Norfolk 65A Anti-foul red color look interesting to me. They also are oil based paints. I'm going to order some to try out.


Completed - 1/525 Round Two Lindberg repop of T2A tanker done as USS MATTAPONI, 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.


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