Tips & Tricks 18

Starship Painting Overview

The photos below show a quick comparison of what your starship walls will look like after each stage of painting. You do not have to do all of these steps. It's simply a guide to help you decide how much work you want to put into the paint job of your model. For instructions on how to build these pieces, please look at the Starship Building Instructions page.

Step 1

Spray paint the model with flat white spray paint. This will make the walls fairly plain, but they will look nice and clean this way. For detailed instructions, visit the Painting Instructions page.

Many people may not want to spend a lot of time painting their model, and want to start using it right away. This is the easiest route to go and all of the pieces will look very clean.

Step 2

Brush on and wipe off liquid black shoe polish. This takes more time but will bring out all the shadows and designs on the pieces. For detailed instructions, visit the Painting Instructions page.

This will give your pieces a steel gray look all over, and works well for the grungier style of space ship walls. I used this method on my floor sections.

(Optional) Step 2

If you want a cleaner look, then spray a coat of clear varnish on the piece before you apply shoe polish. For detailed instructions, visit the Painting Instructions page.

This will allow you to wipe off the shoe polish much more cleanly and give the walls a newer look. I used this method on my wall sections so they would stand out and look different from the floor.

Step 3

I dry brushed white paint over top of the walls to bring the high flat areas back to bright white. For detailed instructions, visit the Painting Instructions page.

This step brightens the walls and cleans them up even more. Please pay careful attention to the instructions in this step, because it's a little different from your average dry brushing.

Step 4

You can add finishing touches to the pipes and display panels.

Here I brushed silver paint onto some of the pipes. I used Games Workshop "Boltgun Metal" color of paint.

I also used various colors of ink wash to color the display panels with.

Here are a few more pieces that have additional paint on them. If you have the time and desire, you can paint these as you would a figure using paint colors and ink washes.

Ink washes do not work well on large surfaces like the doors. For large areas you would do better with a solid color of paint. It is difficult to get ink washes to cover large sections smoothly.

Floor Painting Technique


These floor sections are from the Starship Building Instructions page. I spray painted the floor flat white and did not spray clear sealant over it. This will make the floor darker than the walls.

Then I applied liquid black shoe polish over it and wiped it off with a paper towel. For detailed instructions on applying shoe polish, visit the Painting Instructions page.


I did not want a large difference between the textured tiles and the smooth tiles. To avoid this I needed to lighten the textured tiles and darken the smooth tiles.

To lighten the textured surface I wiped over the whole floor lightly with a wet rag. This lightened the textured floor, but it also made the smooth floor tiles much brighter.

I didn't stop here because I thought there was too much of a difference between the light and dark gray and the floor would have too much contrast.


So I needed to darken up the smooth tiles. To do this I applied shoe polish only to the smooth areas of the floor (including the grates) and wiped them off.

When you wipe off the smooth tiles, some of the polish will stick to the surrounding areas. This will form sort of a "halo" effect around the outside of the smooth tiles, which I liked.


When applying the polish to the smooth tiles, work in small areas at a time. Rub the shoe polish around but try to leave some on the surface.

When you're finished, the textured and smooth tiles should be closer to the same shade of gray and blend together more easily. I also like the "halo" effect around the outside of the smooth tiles which seems to add a little depth to the floor.


To finish the sides of the floor, I painted the foam black. Since the foam edges do not take shoe polish very neatly, this gives a nicer finish to the edges.

Adding Colored Plastic To Windows


For the colored plastic that goes in the windows, I'm using plastic notebook dividers. This brand is called the "Wilson Jones view tab transparent dividers".

This package had about four colors in it, and the plastic was fairly thick and sturdy, but not so thick that it would look strange sandwiched between halves of the window.

I am sure there are other sources for clear plastic wherever you find office supplies. Color control panels could be printed out from your printer on clear plastic as well.


On the Starship Building Instructions page, I show that most windows will not be glued together until plastic is put between them.

Lay one half of your window face down and lay a corner of the plastic over it. Use a permanent marker to trace a line around the inside of the window.

Use a pair of scissors to cut out the rectangle, then glue it into place between the two halves of the window.


You will notice that this plastic is not thick enough to make the window halves look oddly far apart.

There will be a line across the top where the two window halves meet.

The last photo shows a finished example of a room with plastic in the windows. This room is from the Starship Building Instructions page.