back to article The wait is over: MoD releases latest issue of Ship Paint Monthly

The Ministry of Defence's naval arm maintains a regular publication focused entirely on types and shades of paint. It is not a spoof – or if it is, someone's gone to some serious lengths on a windup. The magazine, snappily titled Warpaint, is an attractive coffee-break reading proposition, comprising 80 pages of black-and- …

  1. hplasm


    But I'm 40% zinc!!

    1. frank ly

      Re: Dezincification

      Is it a galvanised coating, zinc dipped, zinc alloy? Anything you look at or think about has hidden complexity that demands more questions and deeper understanding.

      If the dedicated band of painting people didn't have publications like this to learn from and promulagate their craft then the world would slowly fall apart. This publication should be celebrated, not derided. (I'm a keen amateur painter and am experimenting with the use of Hammerite satin finish paint on shed hinges for long term weather protection.)

      1. H in The Hague Silver badge

        Re: Dezincification

        "Is it a galvanised coating, zinc dipped, zinc alloy?"

        The propellers are made of a copper alloy which contains zinc. Some electrochemical processes can lead to the zinc being preferentially removed, resulting in porosity. Effective earthing/equipotential bonding can prevent this. (A similar problem can affect brass plumbing fittings in areas with particularly soft water. Hence these fittings are now made from dezincification-resistant (DZR) brass.)

        "Anything you look at or think about has hidden complexity that demands more questions and deeper understanding."

        I second, third and fourth that. [old git mode on] But unfortunately we live in an era where folk are apparently tired of experts and think we can look everything up in Wikipedia. [old git mode off]

        "If the dedicated band of painting people didn't have publications like this to learn from and promulgate their craft then the world would slowly fall apart."

        Hear, hear!

        Though, speaking as an equally keen painter, I'm not that impressed with Hammerite.

        1. Denarius Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Dezincification

          so that explains Borraloola waters destruction of brass taps. Another place south of Katherine had nice tasting water that eroded Al pots overnight. Fresh holes in base in the morning after the night before non-washup. So these odd publications can be useful. But I digress.

          I once had to do a small tender for refurbishment and painting of Naval buoys. Paint specs document was about an inch thick IIRCC. All work was done beautifully, fully inspected and up to spec, right up until the buoys were delivered to Stores and dropped off truck onto hard ground, breaking paint, all 6+ layers.

          1. The_H

            Re: Dezincification

            Kudos, sir, for managing to tell a Naval story without resorting to the phrase "touching up the buoys".

      2. Lodgie
        IT Angle

        Re: Dezincification

        if you're looking for serious long term protection of any material outside, including steel, wood, concrete, dog and cats I can happily recommend Bedec Barn Paint. It is truly wondrous product with superb stickability and wear resistance. It is unbelievably good. Used by canny farmers and discerning tightwads throughout the UK and Colonies.

        I have no fiscal interest in this product etc, etc ...

    2. Snivelling Wretch

      Re: Dezincification

      Or as ze French say: "I zinc, zerefore I am". Sorry, coat, etc.

      1. Robert Helpmann??

        Re: Dezincification

        "I zinc, zerefore I am". Sorry, coat, etc.

        Why the apology?

        Pour chasser le spleen

        J'entrai dans un Inn

        O, mais je bus le gin

        God save the queen!

        - V. Hugo (attrib.)

      2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

        Re: Dezincification

        [...] Sorry, coat, etc.

        If it's galvanised, then probably a single coat will suffice, but I'd suggest 2 coats for a more professional-looking finish.

    3. phuzz Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Dezincification

      Can I ask the paint guru's, what's your thoughts on painting Hammerite over rust?

      The spare wheel on my Peugoet is suspended under the boot, so it gets covered in water, road salt etc, and is consequently getting a tad rusty. Is it ok to scrape off the worst of the rust and give it a quick coat of Hammerite?

      I hope so because I've already done it.

      >>>> Paris, because she's also keep on uncorroded spares.

    4. just another employee

      Re: Dezincification

      Show off

      The rest of us are only 0.0032% Zinc....

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Dezincification

        What @frank ly said.

        C'mon guys, chemists do plenty to make our daily lives better, but their work isn't as visible as some fancy new bridge, fast car or sleek gadget. Let's show some respect from one professional sector to another. :)

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Dezincification

          It's actually of huge interest to the narrow boating fraternity, most barges being made of steel like battleships are.

          NB most narrowboats employ a sacrificial anode made of alloys of magnesium or zinc to offset the loss of iron that occurs as a result of the boat's electrical system. Electroplating etc etc.

          1. CanadianMacFan

            Re: Dezincification

            Around five years ago (maybe a bit more) the city of Ottawa in Canada installed sacrificial anodes and connected them to the fire hydrants in order to try and extend the lifetime of the hydrants and the pipes. I haven't heard anything if the project is working or not.

  2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

    Obviously what Warpaint needs

    are more stories about people been woken up in the middle of the night and telling the caller to call someone else.

    1. hammarbtyp

      Re: Obviously what Warpaint needs

      Why is there no Bake-off of Brangelina angle?

      It's clear the magazine editors do not have a clue how to get a audience

  3. Mage Silver badge


    Might be useful for those preparing for MOT, or salty water on roads from winter gritting?

    1. lnLog

      Re: Cars?

      You want the offshore rig paint standards for that. 2-pack epoxy mastic all the way - lovely stuff

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cars?

        Absolute bitch to remove though effective.

  4. magickmark

    Gloss over it

    What a magazine, sounds about as interesting as watching paint dry!!!

    Sorry someone had to say it, I'll get my coat, mines the one with the stains on it

  5. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    "This month's cover features HMS Sutherland ..."

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

    What's the centerfold in this issue?

    1. mosw

      50 shades of grey?

  6. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Please tell me there's a letters page. Would love to see what kind of people would write to such a publication.

  7. Richard 81

    I hear grey is in this month.

  8. DNTP

    Dazzle paint scheme

    Bring it back, it was cool.

    1. Velv

      Re: Dazzle paint scheme

      Leith Docks, Edinburgh


  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Titter ye not - I have a copy of this at work - being a Quality Technician the specs. need to be looked up now and then.

  10. ElectricFox

    50 shades of grey....

    ....for geeks

  11. Admiral Grace Hopper

    Am I missing something?

    The article seems to be mocking the subject matter of a magazine because the author of the article finds it funny that someone might find detailed specialised information relating to something outside their experience necessary, relevant or even interesting. This seems to be an unfortunate angle to take on a website aimed at technical people.

    I appreciate that El Reg has become increasingly tabloid of late, I wasn't aware that it was reaching for The Sun.

    1. dvd

      Re: Am I missing something?

      Agree 100% I actually thought that it sounded quite interesting.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Am I missing something?

      The sea is a pretty unforgiving environment for things made of steel and if you paint it with the wrong thing, you'll end up having to buy a new one, so the subject is important. The magazine does sound quite colossally boring though.

      1. 080

        Re: Am I missing something?

        But a lot more interesting than a Party coference

    3. I am the liquor

      Re: Am I missing something?

      As mentioned towards the end of the article, really it's mocking the fact that the MoD thinks it's a good idea to send dull technical publications out to the media as promotional material.

    4. BlackDuke07

      Re: Am I missing something?

      "The article seems to be mocking the subject matter of a magazine because the author of the article finds it funny that someone might find detailed specialised information relating to something outside their experience necessary, relevant or even interesting. This seems to be an unfortunate angle to take on a website aimed at technical people."

      100% agree with this. It seems like this information would be of importance to people who carry out maintenance on warships. It isn't like they are buying it from their local WHSmiths and rushing home with it.

      Slow news day, huh?

    5. SysKoll

      Re: Am I missing something?

      Completely agree. Do you have any idea of how opaque and boring El Reg articles are for the average non-computer geek type?

      The old Athenian had a law prohibiting anyone from making fun of another man's job. We need to dust it off.

  12. Dave 15 Silver badge

    oooh now I know how to classify the corrosion on my old Moggy

    Thought it was simple...ooh look a blister, ooh heck a hole, oh hell the floor is missing...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: oooh now I know how to classify the corrosion on my old Moggy

      Stage 5: 4 cracked tyres standing in a square of red flakes.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan

        Re: oooh now I know how to classify the corrosion on my old Moggy

        > Stage 5: 4 cracked tyres standing in a square of red flakes.

        Stage 6 - a heap of grey rubberish dust in a circle of reddish dust..

  13. small and stupid

    Well im fascinated.


    a) the world of marine coatings is much more complex than they layman would think,


    b) The MOD have made something simple very complicated.

    or c) a little from column a, a little from column b..

    1. ShortLegs


      d) Someone is producing a publication that no one asked for, no one needs, and no one wants, simply to appear "vital" and "busy" in order to avoid redundancy.

      Evidence? I think most sailors, especially at PO rank and above, can recognise 'corrosion' without the aid of pictures.

      1. eionmac

        Nope. Corrosion can be hidden (Purposely!)

        Due to bad corrosion and many trials of coatings on metals for one item open to sea, fresh water and all in between, the staff 'painted' over corrosion just before inspections. Eventually pain shell no innards. Replaced metal with wood( yes, a hard wood Lignum Vitae); it worked. Worked for many years between replacement versus 2~3 years for coated metals.

    2. /dev/urandom

      Paint drying is optional too.

      It's actually very much a). The right coat of paint is massively important for fuel economy and to prevent excess noise/damage.

      The ideal coating would be perfectly smooth to reduce drag and maintain a nice laminar flow into the propulsion system, while resisting marine growth and preventing corrosion. It would also be non-toxic so as not to cause too much environmental harm (we care less about the poor sods in the dry-dock who have to blast it off and spray it on, but it's a thought).

      There's all kinds of approaches; the old style is heavy metals to try and discourage marine growth, newer stuff intentionally never quite dries fully so a thin coat can flake off once the barnacles get too thick.

      It's narrow-focus technical literature, but very much not a joke or really that boring.

    3. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

      Re fascinated

      marine coatings are a complicated issue not just for the jolly jack tars. My GRP boat was moulded in light blue. The previous owner applied Awlgrip in navy blue but that is now very tired but I can't afford to pay a professional the £5k odd. Ergo I am looking at how to get a two pack polyurethane to achieve the same effect.

      Then there is the copper antifoul below the waterline. Conventional antifoul uses copper compounds in a friable substrate and has to be replace every year or so. Mine is three times as expensive and has metallic copper in an epoxy substrate and should last ten years.

      Even the deszincification bit is important as the propeller is made from bronze (contains zinc) while the prop shaft is stainless. This sets up a galvanic cell and will eventually reduce the expensive prop to a spongy mess of copper.

      I won't even start on the brightwork!

      Geekiness of a very high order and mine is the one with powdered copper in the pocket and epoxy stains on the sleeves.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re fascinated

        As I vaguely recall before my boat was stolen, there's:


        -sacrificial component...with some metals, dropping it in the sea makes the whole thing act like a battery, so you add a sacrificial bit that erodes instead of your expensive metal bits. I'm sure someone containing less beer will be along in a moment to clarify

        -how poisonous you want it to don't want barnacles and suchlike making happy homes on your hull and yet you don't want the square mile around your boat glowing green with radioactivity and decomposing seagulls. It's a balance thing.

        Oh yeah, if it's a GRP hull, some paints (well the solvents) can fuck it right up. Even stickers...makes it go brittle and fragile, like those old plastic lawn chairs that snap a leg off and dump you on your back at barbeques.

  14. Stevie Silver badge


    Did anyon check out the turrets on the DD on page three?


  15. Hi Wreck


    I cannot fathom the relevance of this article in the register. It brings new meaning to the words rusty bucket

  16. Alistair

    Technically challenging stuff.

    And since ElReg has red as a flag colour, and rust is red.

    <and me Da actually got his name on a polymer patent that is used in ship paints *shrug*, we just wont mention the barge, the cigarette and the boom>

    1. cosymart

      Re: Technically challenging stuff.

      Please mention Da Boom!!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. A. Coatsworth

    No news if Nelson Chequer will be back for this winter season?

    That's not just a coat, it's a fashion statement!

  18. Anonymous Coward

    At least it is more interesting than watching Big Brother

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Suspicious !?

    " BS 7079 Part A1 Sa 2½"

  20. beep54

    Having worked at the Univ. of Texas libraries and being in a postition to see ALL the perodicals subscribed to, this one is outre, but dull. My all time favorite one, tho, was "Emegency Librarian". While being a catchy title, I was at a complete loss as to why it was even called that. Sounds like something from Adult Swim, however....

  21. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    I have a large tin of camouflage paint somewhere, but I can't find it.

  22. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge


    Someone in reg mentioned they liked red dwarf? I wonder if that's what made them think you'd be interested.

    (Arnold Judas Rimmer being a fan of both ocean gray and battleship gray....just not at the same time)

    On an unrelated note, I'll have to post this on to my cousin once he gets back from sticking offshore wind farms up as they'd have similar issues I'd suspect.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: maybe..

      I'm certain he will be. Reading this did bring back how damn much I know on the subject. Fascinating read, still.

  23. Julian I-Do-Stuff


    Warpaint would give Self Adhesive News a run for its money - if it still exists (probably came to a sticky end with the 80s).

    Yes, I know.

  24. quxinot Silver badge

    I'm all for a good laugh at someone else's expense, but you're aware that paint in difficult environments is a hobby for some and a living for others?

    These folks probably look at people who run websites (that endlessly prattle on about "new" ideas like cloud computing that are clearly just rebadged versions of ancient ideas like mainframes) a pinch askance. At least their silly paint magazine has things like chemistry and modern research, and not just a shiny marketer's interpretation of the 1950's.

  25. Chris Hunt

    Arrr... Grocer's apostrophe on the starboard bow!

    "However, not all approved coatings are necessarily listed in WARPAINT as paint manufacturers’ are constantly striving to improve their current paint systems"

    Paint manufacturers' ?

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