White hulls

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Aug 26, 2020
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A lot of model ships (especially Mayflower) have the lower hull painted white.
This makes for a very pleasing appearance but I am curious to know whether this would ever have been the case in reality.
If so, what would the coating have been and why? Would paint on rough timber have stayed on when constantly immersed in sea water?
Or is it just a depiction of a layer of barnacles?
 
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I've come across 'White Stuff', which was payed onto hulls, a concoction of lime and tallow. I suppose superficially that would have looked white, but probably a cream colour. And, like a lot of 'finishes', none would have looked as tidy as we model them today. I'm reading 'The Warship Anne' by Endsor; it was common to annually burn off the previous hull coatings, then blather the lot a mixture of oil and pitch. Perhaps reality was a lot different to the lovely wood planking we depict. All the 'Admiralty' models we all try to mimic, were never intended to show what a 'working' ship looked like. Even the paintings of the time would have been idealized to some extent.
 
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All correct. The actual color was probably closer to tan than white, but white sure looks pretty on a finished model.
Indeed...white looks nice. I try to use an off white tone rather than a pure white. Lately I have found an acrylic color called antique white. Softens the tone but models the anti-fouling “white stuff” used on period ships. Try not to think of what they put on the ship hulls as “paint.” It was more of an oil/tar/lead concoction that went on like paste.
 
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I once used the white spray paint that is used for household appliances . The thickness appeared more appropriate to represent the function of this protective layer. I'm sure the same stuff could be obtained in the colours others have mentioned. To paint the whole lower hull with the paint we usually use, just didn't look right to my eye.
 
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White lead was used as a form of anti-foul before copper became the barnacle poison of choice.

uhm mmmmmm
It was used to cover the fat goat helmet, which is a whitish ocher color, which gave the helmet that white color.
 
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