Give Your Ship a Custom Paint Job in World of Warships

Featured Stories, Mods

Like you, we enjoy sailing the high seas in massive hulks of flame-spitting steel and sending rival players to visit Davy Jones Locker. Did you know you could be sinking your foes with a bit more style, or historical accuracy if that's your thing, thanks to a sea of user-created ship skins?

Well you can, and we're going to show you how you can have your favorite ship outfitted with a spanking new paint job in relatively short order. As the premium USS cruiser Atlanta is a staff favorite we're going to use that ship as our primary example to mod here, but you can follow the same steps for any ship you wish to modify that you can find a skin for.

(Note: other players will not see your skin in-game unless they have the same skin mod installed.)

Find a Custom Skin for Your Favorite Ship

We’ll make the Atlanta look like it did during the Guadalcanal campaign in 1942 with a skin created by “Jim_Kong_il” and available on the WoWS forum. You can do the same with your own Atlanta or pick a skin you like for any other ship and modify the following steps accordingly.

Some good places to hunt for ship skins:

First, download the skin and then unpack it using a utility such as 7-Zip or WinRAR. Place the extracted folder (includes three subfolders: ship, director, guns) somewhere on your PC that makes sense – like C:\Downloads\WoWS Mods\Skins\Atlanta (or whichever ship you've chosen). This will make it easy to change skins for the same ship in the future, and you'll likely want to start a collection – trust us.

Here's how the Atlanta looks in port with just its dull ol' base grey paint scheme.
Here's how the Atlanta looks in port with just its dull ol' base grey paint scheme.

Create a Directory for Custom Skin Mods

The best way to install the skin is to create a folder directory inside the res_mods folder in your WoWS directory that matches where the game's default textures are installed. This, essentially, creates an overwrite folder that tells the game to use the mod textures instead of the base game's textures. Many skins you download will include a res_mods\content folder designed for you to drag and drop into your own res_mods folder for quick-and-simple installation.

Our example above does this, so you can just copy the “content” folder from the extracted archive and paste it into your X:\WoWS\res_mods\ folder. (If this folder does not exist create it. "" is the current version of WoWS, and the name of this folder should always match the game's current version number.)

If you chose a different skin that does not come packed in the res_mod folder directory structure don’t worry, it’s simple to do this yourself, manually. Modify your res_mods folder by adding the following subfolders:

  • X:\WoWS\res_mods\\content\gameplay\usa\director\textures
  • X:\WoWS\res_mods\\content\gameplay\usa\guns\secondary\textures
  • X:\WoWS\res_mods\\content\gameplay\usa\ship\cruiser\textures

Again, this folder structure mirrors that you will find inside the res folder in your WoWS directory: The res folder is where all the game's base assets are installed.  Now, we just manually place the corresponding dds files from our downloaded skin's matching folders into the folders we created above in res_mods. This tells the game to use our mod files instead of the game's default files.

And we're done – let's launch the game and take a look in our port.

There's our new Atlanta, clad as she was in October of 1944!
Here's our “new” Atlanta, clad as she was in late 1942.

How About a Custom Battleship, Captain?

Let's try one more – this time a late-war scheme for the USS battleship class, North Carolina. Grab the mod and unpack as we did above to your downloaded mods folder, where you'll find a director, gun and ship folder.

Important: this mod's secondary gun and director skins share the same names as those we used above for the Atlanta, so it will replace them. For this reason, it's best to only install one skin at a time per nation in the game to avoid conflicts like this. So delete the files you created for the Atlanta above before proceeding. 

Copy and paste the two files from the North Carolina skin mod's director folder into the \director\textures folder in res_mods. Repeat for the guns folder – you will notice that there is now a “main” folder you must also add to your usa\guns folder in res_mods. Do so and place the files from the mod's main and secondary gun folders in their corresponding folders in res_mods. Finally, create a “battleship” folder with a "textures" subfolder in res_mods like so: res_mods\\content\gameplay\usa\ship\battleship\textures and place the dds file from the mod's ship folder there.

Let's take a look at our new North Carolina in port.


There you have it – installing custom skins for your ships in WoWS is a relatively straightforward process. The key is to proceed slowly and take the time to read everything in the mod's post and any included readme or installation notes files. Once you install one or two the process becomes simple and you'll no doubt enjoy experimenting with a variety of skin options for your favorite ships.

Good luck and fair seas!

Share your favorite custom skins, or other mods, for WoWS in the comments section below.