Sunday, November 18, 2012

HMS Trafalgar - Many Shades of Gray

A while back I decided I needed to do an "easy" model, one to get back in the swing of things. A quick weekend project type of deal. What could possibly be easier than a submarine, right? Two basic hull pieces, a tower, a prop and that's about it. Right?

Well, that weekend project extended into many nights of masking and airbrushing as I decided to give it as good a paint job as possible.

First, the basics. This is the Airfix 1/350 kit of the HMS Trafalgar class sub. One can build any of the subs in the class with this kit, but I went with the namesake.

Asssembly was pretty much a piece of cake. Like many modelers, I've built my share of Airfix kits over the years, but I have to say this is the best yet. From the box, to the decals to the fit of the pieces, this is an excellent kit. I can't speak necessarily to accuracy since I'm by no means an expert on modern subs in general or Royal Navy subs specifically, but it looks good to my eye. The only extra work really was filling the seam between the two hull halves, really not a big deal.

In studying photos, it became clear a distinguishing feature is the anechoic tiles, and those that have been dislodged, revealing a mosaic pattern on the hull and tower.

To replicate this feature, I started with an overall neutral gray coat, then cut bits of square tape and pieced them over the hull. Then a coat of gunship gray. Then more little squares. And a coat of aircraft engine gray. Then more little squares. And a coat of grimy black for the finish. Another quick mask job and some aircraft interior black on the walkways finished the job.

Decals went on very well, then a coat of Dullcote blended everything together.

Not exactly the weekend project I intended, and it's been several weeks in the works, but I'm very pleased with the results.

If I do another sub, though, it might be straight black!


  1. I always used to make carriers and never a sub but I love this model Scott, damn good work!

  2. A very nice looking model, I wouldn't have thought it would have been that much trouble.

  3. Thanks for the comments, guys. I guess I shouldn't imply that it was much trouble (it really is a nice kit), just much more than slap the hull together, but the conning tower on and grab the can of flat black paint. I have new respect for sub modellers!