The HMS President, one of three surviving Royal Navy warships from World War I, wore camouflage to mark the 100-year commemoration of the “Great War,” in which the United Kingdom lost an estimated 1.2 million soldiers, sailors and civilians. The 14-18 NOW Centenary Art Commissions, publicly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, commissions large art events within Imperial War Museums to remember the sacrifices and celebrate the resolve of the people who died defending their nation. Artist Tobias Rehberger and PressOn, a large-format digital printer based in Rochester, Kent, U.K., were asked to wrap the HMS President in a “dazzle” design printed onto vinyl. Dazzle camouflage was used during WWI to camouflage a ship by optically distorting it so the enemy submarines
could not target it accurately from underwater.
The massive wrap began with a 3-D architectural scan of the ship’s hull, after which a 3-D rendering expert, Phil Field, developed an algorithm to distort each panel of Rehberger’s artwork so that the hull would look two-dimensional from the port or starboard sides of the ship. PressOn printed the 78 hull panels on MACtac® multi-fix pressure-sensitive adhesive vinyl media with matte liquid over the laminate. Artwork covering the ship’s windows
was printed on ContraVision® one-way window
film to allow passengers to see. PressOn’s
HP LX 3000 printed more than 21,000 square feet
of colorful, distracting dazzle graphics.