I think the main problem I had was that I was trying to paint 1:2400 scale based on the eye candy I had seen in rule books and on other people's blogs.
That and the fact I didn't really have the right colours needed (and I still don't) and that the detail is so fine my hand - eye coordination is more used to painting 28mm figures and not something so small as these ships.
So, my moment of inspiration was to reverse what I was trying to paint.
In my first attempt I was painting the ships according to the 'how to' in the Trafalgar rule book. This didn't work for me.
What I did instead was to paint the entire hull black and then paint the gun ports in the yellowish colour the British ships had, and to my delight it appeared that I had painted the hull the yellowish colour and that it was the gun ports that were black.
With the small scale of the ships it actually came out ok. I painted up a second ship to see if it was a fluke, and this ship came out even better.
Encouraged by my attempts I then painted up a French/Spanish ship and that too looks ok.
There are twenty two ships in total for me to paint, and I will have to do them in dribs and drabs as it actually hurts my eyes to paint them. I might have to invest in a magnifying glass.
This is the first ship I painted after a repaint
The second ship I painted once I figured out what I was doing
My first attempt at a French/Spanish ship
The camera shows up some flaws, but I am happy with the way they came out, and you can't see the flaws so easily when you are playing a game.