1⁄72IJN Type A Midget Submarine
IJN Type A…
Fine Molds 1/72
This kit is of high quality and fit, making the buildup straightforward and manageable for most modelers but the paint job can be quite challenging, especially if you want to bring some life and variation into all that black. Black is probably one of the hardest colors to work with if you are striving to get an attractive finish that shows the fine details and shapes on this boat and if you want to make it visually attractive because black literally sucks up light, and as such hides the details and finesse of the kit. The trick, as I see it, is to paint it black using all other colors than black :D – of cause you have to use black at some level, but relying only on black will result in a rather dull and sad finish void of details. Guess that’s was the original idea of painting it black…
The kit has been on the market for some years and is probably well known to most, otherwise there’s a plethora of reviews and builds on this site and on other sites. I will therefore not spend time on the build, but instead try do describe what I have done with the paint Since the original was painted black, its relevant to take a look at, how black reacts to exposure to sunlight, salt, handling, sea growth etc. to determine how to paint the boat. From the few pictures I have access to, it would seem that while it was painted black, it wasn’t a gloss or semi gloss black, but rather a matt black, and as such, much more prone to the effects of the elements. The elements most in play is sunlight, saltwater and sea growth: Sunlight: The fading resulting from exposure to sunlight should reflect the direction of the sunlight – so vertical surfaces will be more affected than horizontal areas. In practicality this means that the upper hull and top of the turret would be bleached to light shade – dark gray gradually sliding over to a darker gray on the lower hull and turret sides.
Has the vessel spent its lifetime in the water, this effect should stop at the waterline. Saltwater: A boat laying inactive would accumulate some salt deposits from evaporating saltwater – especially as the black hull would heat up In direct sunlight accelerating the process. The deposits would be whitish and most pronounced where water can accumulate without drainage. Sea growth: All ships get fouled below the waterline from different maritime growth – often leaving a green/brown hue on the submerged parts. On top of all this come the general effects like damages, flaking paint, chips, rust and rain marks. I preshaded my boat in black along all of the weld seams, panels, and joints, over that went a dark seagray from Vallero.
The hull top also got some post shading sparingly using a lighter gray. Such prepared the boat is ready for the more specialized effects. My first step is adding the marks of sea growth – this was done in two steps to illustrate that the waterline isn’t the same all the time due to differences in load and fuel onboard.
First I used Tamiya tape to mask the upper waterline (the boat with most load) and gave it a very light dark green spray with the airbrush – when that had dried up, I moved the masking tape 1 – 1½ mm. lower and gave it a lighter green dusting – together it gave 2 distinctive lines adding variation on the hull sides.
Next step was adding rust streaks. These tend to be rather pronounced so I like do this early in the process so the following steps tones it a bit down. Streaks are done with oils, a burnt umber both straight and mixed with either a little red or black to vary the colors. I find that a solid wash covering the whole area of the boat tends to blend the previous paintjob, so I aimed at a more specific appliance of the rust – the so-called “pinwash”.
Adding to the rust treatment I went after it with some other washes in white (salt) and greens (seagrowth). To further bring out details, I finished with a drybrush using grays of varying tones. All in all it was fun working with a blank vessel – but also more challenging than other bases.