Ohio Class, Ballistic Missile Nuclear Powered Submarine, USS Kentucky SSBN737

Painting the hull & fitting markings

  First, before doing any outside painting, I sat down and gave the color scheme a great deal of thought. It would be tempting just to paint it pitch black, but when looking at pictures, other models and objects in general, it became clear to me, that all flat black would 'make it go away'. Another option was to paint just the nose black, but one color stretching from end to end, would make it appear longer. It's all about optical impression, or illusion, if you like. ;-)  I then made a computer image collection, with the different colors on it to decide from.

After looking into the different possibilities, I went with option "G"
A very dark grey for top part and rudders / dive planes, and darkened 'anti-rust' red for bottom.
A few tests on left over materials proved perfect paint for the job.

The type of paint is car paint.. smelly, but strong and shiny.

With that all done, it was just to get started. The work is so far ahead now, that painting as I go along was the easiest. All though the paint might look as if it's dark on some pictures, an lighter on other, it is the same color.

Tip: Problem: When spray painting an object, it almost impossible to avoid the spray dust from making the adjacent, already painted, areas dull, and not gloss. Some of the dust can be blown away when it’s all dried up, but some will stick. Even if painting the whole object in one move, this will be an issue.
Solution: Using ordinary household silver polish (= liquid ultra high grade sanding paper) this can be ‘sanded’ away easily. Use a dry cloth, and grind in small, round movements until the surface is free of spray dust, making overlaps invisible. Wipe afterwards with a wet cloth.

Painting rudders first, while pro-
tecting the brass shafts with straws.

Painting this now, allows me not
to remove the upper rudder later.

Flipping the hull over, and painting
the aft end. (It's done!!)

After fitting the array tubes,
the upper part was painted.

The color scheme goes well with
(not yet) polished prop.

A better view of the completed
towed array housing tubes.

Lower hull prepared for painting.

Painting after a lot of sanding,
and primer.

Painting the bow.
Lower part now done!

Well.. I can live with it. :-)  The sub
lookes real long with this theme.

Painting the sail, and preparing
the fitting of the nav. lights

The completed sail.


Emergency buoy stored..

Emergency buoy deployed.

Charge hatch and buoy.

This is the final paint
scheme of the tail.
More images when
markings are in place...


Placing the outer markings really lift the realism of the model, but keep in mind that military vessels, and in particular subs, are kept somewhat anonymous. For this reason, the designator on real subs are normally painted on magnetic sheets, allowing them to fitted only when docking etc.
Mine, however, are fitted permanently, as I always draw a crowd when sailing. :-)

The designator for USS Kentucky has been fitted on both sides of the sail. (Port side shown here.)

In real life this is magnetic sheets so that the designator can be removed when not in port etc.
The font on the real SSBN's is 45 degree USA Gothic.

I could not find that font though, so I found one that looked as close as possible.

Comming soon..

Comming soon..

Webmaster: Robert Holsting