Sunday, 31 May 2015

Full Thrust: Painting issues (or how I came to love battleship grey)

Hi folks,

With the 6MMRPC starting tomorrow one of the things on my list to try and make a dent in is my huge collection of Full Thrust ships.

Full thrust was one of the first tabletop games I ever encountered, alongside Dirtside 2. As a kid I spent many many hours playing with lego - effectively using various sized single bricks as 6 mm tanks, guns, etc. I also played the the large, poor quality, plastic toy soldiers a lot, before moving on to 1:72 scale Airfix soldiers and kits.

While at High School I encountered someone with a copy of White Dwarf and I suddenly discovered that there were games out there with actual rules and dice, rather than just the stuff I was doing on my own in my head.

Shortly afterwards someone at School was selling some books. I picked up a copy of Full Thrust and spent hours and hours pouring over the images of the ships, the fluff and rules. I talked friends into playing and alongside W40K it was one of the first games we played (although FT was always played using paper counters). Dirtside 2 was a book I had a chance to look at but didn't get a chance to own till years later - and I have a copy now but have never played a game (and don't own any figures).

Later in life I had some health issues and had sold off all my BFG, Epic, Warhammer and 40K models. I used the proceeds to buy some Full Thrust ships, starting an obsession that has grown to see me owning a huge box worth of mini's from a whole selection of factions.

My favourites were always the New Anglian Confederation. This faction consists of the UK, Canada and US (post US Civil war in the 2020's). I've a lot of ships for these guys, both the older style ships and the newer ones.

So! The main - pretty huge - issue I have is with painting models which there is no fixed colour scheme I can just copy is that I am crap with picking colour schemes. I can copy things no problems, but asking me to pick random colours to form into a cohesive scheme... Nope.

Anyway, after 6 attempts (2 models having been painted, stripped, painted then repainted) I've ended up with the following:

left hand ship closeup

left hand ship closeup

right hand ship closeup

right hand side closeup

The right hand model is a lot darker, and features dark green as well as tan. The left hand model is just shades of grey, with all the raised points split over a light and dark shade. The standard colour schemes seen online seem to be blues, so I wanted to avoid that. I tried green and tan, but is didn't suit the models - perhaps more fitting for my ESU ships.

There's no washes on the models, as they are pretty small. At the same time, no highlights. Also, I need to find a solution for how to handle the models while I paint them, as they were really easy to wear down to metal with finger tips.

Which do you prefer? Any thoughts on what else I could do - any other colours I could try, techniques I could use? Feedback is appreciated as I'm struggling to see what else I can do. I prefer the left hand model, I think - it looks more 'Royal Navy'. It should also be easier to paint on a larger scale.

Also, bear in mind these were quickly painted to get an idea of colours, so they are not the neatest!



  1. I stick mine on clear 3mm acrylic rod (2mm for frigates and smaller) while I paint them.

    I like the green and tan over grey look.

    1. Thanks Tamsin - I seemed to remember you using some sort of stand to hold your ships upright? I've got the flight peg toppers which I haven't put on yet as the models have been dipped in Fairy Power spray once already and I wasn't sure what that would do to the plastic. I was thinking I may glue them onto the top of paint bottles while I work - I'm not too happy with using the flight pegs while I paint as they have a habit of breaking!

    2. You could use 2 or 3mm brass rod instead of the acrylic as a handle for painting, then remove it at the end. Just don't use superglue!

    3. Thanks for the food for thought, I'm going to experiment and see how I get on!

  2. I think smaller models call for lighter, brighter colors. And do the ships have places in the bottom for the flight stands? If so, I'd spray undercoat, then glue in the flight stand and use that to hold while painting.

    1. Thanks David. These ships do have holes for flight pegs, but they are so prone to snapping they just are not worth it. I have 'flight peg toppers' which was like acrylic donuts that go on the bottom of the models and provide a better hole for the flight peg - and allow the flight peg to be removed for storage of the model in foam.

      I think the lighter colours on the grey only ship look a bit better and a lot more military. To be honest they are both quite small (although they are by no means the smallest ship, these being Light Cruisers) and both schemes look much of a muchness at a distance.

  3. I've driven nails through the bases and drilled holes in the minis for the nails. Harder to store, but less concern of broken stands.

    Smaller scales do tend to look darker than what you paint them, so the recomendation is to lighten up the tone (mostly given as advice when trying to colour match historical tanks etc). Some yellow, red, and white dots and lines as lights, power conduit, energy arrays would help I think.

    The blue is slightly more interesting because there is some colour, but it's a very gleyish blue. I'd suggest you choose a single colour that has some more vibrancy/hue to it, and paint a minor, but noticeable, amount of terrain that colour.

    One suggestion for these guys might be having the drive housing a colour (like the tan in the lower photos, but with more pigment/brightness). Make the drive in the tan housing a bright white or red or blue? I'd also try and match the main engine at the back of the body to the outrigger engines.

    All that may need to be decided in relation to how the rest of the ships in the fleet look, but I think the gzg stuff tends to have strongly similarities throughout the ship range of a given faction.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Dave. I've gone with Red (as the newer blog pics show) and tried some colours on the nacelles (one each side just to see how each looks). I think the red works well, although I was very dubious about using strong primary colours like that. I guess is fits ok as the colours were largely chosen from WW2 era ships that tended to have red funnels (at least some did in peace time).

      I may try a lighter base shade on my next one given your comments as well. More a 'sky grey' shade. I'll try lights and such as well, possibly in yellow or white/Ivory.

  4. I like the left one. Looks more no-nonsense military to me.


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