Painting the Battlestar Galactica

Hi, thanks for reading my blog. This post is part 2 of my Mobious Models Battlestar Galactica post. The last post was where I built the model. This one I show how I painted it. The model was pretty easy to paint, I didn't do anything fancy with it. and decided to just go with a basic gunmetal colour. The paints I used for the project were: Vallejo game colour (72052) Silver Vallejo Flames of war Black Shade (201) Vallejo Flames of war Brass (801) Vallejo Flames of war Flat red (957) Vallejo Flames of war Black (950) I also used the Vallejo Airbrush thinner, and the Vallejo Black undercoat. Majority of this model was painted with my Badger 150 airbrush.
Completed Battlestar Galactica Model

Completed Battlestar Galactica Model

In case you skipped the build post, here's the model assembled, but not painted.   2013-05-11 15.50.54 I Started out by masking off the hanger areas, as these have decals on them of the runways. I only had some parcel tape to hand so I had to use that. Not ideal, but it worked pretty well. I mixed Some Vallejo Black primer (I bought the 200ml bottle from ebay, it's lasted an AGE and is fantastic), I always thin my paints, especially when I use the air brush. With the black primer I've found that I use a 2:1 ratio of 2 drops of paint to one drop of thinner. The colour cup for the Badger 150 airbrush comfortably holds around 40 drops of paint. It could hold more, but I find 40 is my safe maximum limit otherwise I usually forget how full it is and tilt my hand in the wrong direction and spill some, or, I'm left with loads at the end!     2013-05-11 16.24.29 After the Black undercoat was dried, I sprayed The entire model with The Vallejo Silver. I was a bit dubious at first about putting a metallic paint through the airbrush, and when I saw how the thinner reacted with it it made me even more scared, but after a couple of minutes of stirring the paint and thinner mixture it seemed to mix rather well. I again  used a 2:1 paint:thinner ratio, with maybe a couple of extra drops of thinner added. The silver paint went on very well, the coverage was superb. This silver comes out very bright but also very flat. The lighting in the photo adds a lot more depth than the model actually had after the silver was applied. 2013-05-11 17.23.37 Next I painted the entire model with Black shade. The photo above shows part way through the process so you can see just how much of a difference the black shade makes. I used a mix of 4:1 paint:thinner at this stage. The black shade is already very thin. 2013-05-11 17.30.42 The Black shade darkens the whole model down and really picks out the detail on the ship. The galactica is covered in armoured plates and ribs. These were pretty much lost with the first coat of silver, but the black shade really makes them pop out. This leaves the model looking very dark though. Normally, I wouldn't have went as heavy with this wash, but I wanted the battlestar to look pretty dirty, while on the run from the cylons the last thing on anyone's mind is going to be cleaning the outside of the ship,  and with the amount of flak it'll be taking in battles it's probably going to end up looking pretty rough. I didn't want any battle damage, as I've found that every time I see battle damage other than the odd scrape or scratch, I just think it looks like it would have took out the vehicle and all its crew. Which renders the whole effect pointless, I'd rather a dirty looking ship than a one with a hole in it that would probably rip open half the hull... 2013-05-11 23.16.54 After the wash dried I sprayed the base bronze. After the great sucess of the silver I went into the bronze filled with confidence. I shouldn't have. I think it was more my fault than the paints, but it didn't cover half as well as I'd hoped. I managed to recover after giving it a while to dry then doing a couple of very light coats of overspray, but this meant using a lot of paint, and cleaning the airbrush a lot of times. 2013-05-11 23.41.15 The next stage was to drybrush the entire ship (not the base) with more of the Vallejo Silver. Although this was drybrushed, I still thinned it with the vallejo thinners. About 4:1 paint:thinner ratio. I used a large flat brush (games workshop) and lightly drybrushed over the entire model. I did this over a couple of coats to build up the effect. The result gives a lot of depth to the model. Where the heavy wash just looked like a heavy wash before, the drybrushed silver picks out all the edges and then makes the plates look dirty and worn. With the drybrush not hitting any of the recessed areas it adds a whole extra dimension to the model than just one flat shade or even with the wash added. 2013-05-12 00.39.10 There isn't much to the Battlestar Galactica in terms of paint scheme! I don't think it is ever mentioned whether it's actually painted grey, or it's bare metal, either way, it's not the most extravagant of ships in terms of its colour. It does have a few red lines around the forward section of the nose and the hanger bays though, I painted these with the Vallejo flat red. The armoured plates gave good guides to painting straight lines, but I did these by hand. I could have masked the areas off and got a really crisp line, but I thought it was too much hassle for the actual amount of paint I was putting down. So I just freehanded it. At this point I also painted the raised parts of the base in black. This was to match the way it's done on the brochure that comes with the model kit. I thought it looked really good. Then i made my attempt and it looks pretty poor in comparison! I might repaint the stand, and do it bronze, with a black wash, then dry-brush over it with bronze again. I think this will pick out the detail and give an all round better look. 2013-05-12 00.47.22 Finally I added the decals to the side of the hanger bays and the top. The decals came of the sheet easy enough, but the top round decal actually broke in two places. They are very brittle. They are quite thick though, so with a little extra water on the surface of the model, some patients and a soft brush I managed to maneuver the parts back into alignment and you can't tell it even broke! The decals adhere very well to the model too. I was impressed just how easily they stick. At this point I'm calling the model finished. It hasn't been a particularly hard build or hard to paint, and it didn't take very long to complete the project either. But it's been very satisfying. I will eventually use vallejo matt varnish to varnish the model too, but for the purpose of this post, at this point its finished. I hope you've enjoyed my post. If you have, please leave a comment below. Thanks for reading. Chris

About The Author

Chris has been a Wargamer since he was 12 years old, progressing through 40k, WFB now playing a diverse range of games from 15mm WW2, to space combat games, and even the odd game of judge dredd.

6 Responses

  1. Kara

    Thanks for posting these! I just picked up the model kit at Galacticon this weekend and am looking forward to putting it together. I’ll probably be referring to this site a few times. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Chris Sutherland

      Awesome! Glad you liked the post, and glad it’s helpful! Really jealous you got to go to Galacticon though! wish we had something like that near me! Would love to see pics once your Galactica is finished! So say we all!!

      Reply
  2. Aaron Timbrell

    Thanks for salvaging my Battlestar Galactica paint. I wasn’t happy with my ‘battleship grey’ paint so I followed your example. I got good results using some cheap materials. Matt black spray paint, silver wheel spray paint and gold (christmas) spray all came from a pound shop. I found the supplied decals to be poor and added all the red lining using a fine permanent marker and a steady hand. I’m now trying to make a 1/4000 scale Viper 🙂

    Reply
  3. Steve Wilson

    Just wanted to say thanks for a great paint guide. I used your paint scheme for my Galactica model kit and it came out great. I thought the photos you shared look better than other paint schemes I found online, and the process was easier.

    I agree that the brass paint was difficult to spray–it took me a few tries to get it right. I found that the fewer passes, the better it looked. Also, I agree that the decals in this model kit were very brittle. The landing bay decals broke up when I was placing them, but it wasn’t a big problem since you can only see the front centimeter or so of them.

    Reply
  4. Phil Wilson

    Hi Chris.
    I’ve not painted a model in about 10 years, and recent someone bought me this kit.
    I had my Galactica in its box for about 9 months. Saw your blog
    and decided to give it a go.
    I gave it the black under coat, silver base coat then used a smoke wash to layer in the details and tone down the silver.
    In photos it looks very similar to yours.
    Thanks for the blog – your paint scheme is way better than the one suggested. However, on the shelf, I think its still way to shiny and a bit wet looking. Any ideas how to flatten down the metallic colour and perhaps get it looking a little more worn?

    Advice for a recent noob much appreciated.

    Phil.

    Reply
    • Chris Sutherland

      Hi Phil, VERY sorry about the late reply, I hope you got something sorted! I would suggest a matt varnish would tone everything down a bit. It would also protect the model from chips and scratches so can’t be a bad thing. I usually only use varnish by brush or by using normal stuff through my airbrush though, I don’t use spray can varnishes as they always fail me.
      hope this helps. sorry again for the lateness of the reply!

      Reply

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