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Dana Bell

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About Dana Bell

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  1. Hi Ed, That photo has been reproduced in a number of places, usually mentioning the odd blue paint on the aircraft. There is no blue paint on the aircraft. The original, now in the possession of the National Air and Space Museum, was stored in a damp basement. Mold was trapped inside the envelope, and stained the emulsion. If you look closely, you can see traces of the same blue "paint" in patches on the hardstand. The only way the captioners could have known this would have been to examine the original - otherwise it looks like a blue aircraft.... Cheers, Dana
  2. Hi Pip, Accepting that I'm more of a color historian than color scientist, I just took the two chips into the backyard at 6:00 pm on an overcast evening. In that poor light, the post-war chip was darker, stronger, and bluer. The 1944 chip was grayer and yellower. If I'm home on a bright, sunny day this week, I'll give this a better attempt. Cheers, Dana
  3. Hi Pip, I've got the correspondence about the changes, the 1944 cardboard chip, and the post-war metal chip, but I don't have any technical analyses of the colors. In short, while I've got proof that it happened, I don't have Munsell values that will lead you to accurate matches. Cheers, Dana
  4. Glossy Sea Blue (ANA 623) actually had a poor reputation with the Navy - the wartime color faded too rapidly, losing much of the blue hue. I'd recommend adding small amounts of a medium gray, but don't go too far if you're worried about scale effect. In 1947/48 BuAer responded to the many complaints by reformulating the paint and issuing a completely new standard color chip. BTW, Intermediate Blue underwent a similar change of formula during the war, though the color chip remained the same. In the original paint, the blue pigments often faded to leave only a pale pink. Cheers, Dana
  5. I can't claim to have seen Paul's SAM articles from last year, but Wasp was one of two carriers sent supplies of an experimental USN paint called Dark Blue, which was a supposed near match for Deck Blue stain. Half of Wasp's air group was supposedly painted in the new color. If the Spits matched the F4Fs, they could have all been using the new Dark Blue. That is just another possibility - and I'm not claiming that this happened with any certainty - but it's a strong "cudda-bin." Cheers, Dana
  6. Sorry - looks like I posted the photos (rather than the links) and somehow used up my message space. Anyhow, IF any of the 17th's aircraft were blue, they were probably the mixed blue in between. Flypaper, you're going back a long way to the old Flight Plan days. I remember all the Rapidographs and Zip-a-tone we used to prep our artwork, seeing my first ever word processor (it was gigantic, slow, and complicated!), and learning to love research at the archives in Ottawa and DC. Changed my life, those guys did, and I'm glad of it. The OD research continues, though the book is on hold. It's always good to wait a bit longer - last week I found a note that the Army's 3-1 Olive Drab standard seems to have changed in 1923-24. I still don't know what that was all about, but paint manufacturers were complaining that it wasn't fair to change the standard color after they had begun producing paint... Cheers, all! Dana
  7. Hi All, It takes a while to catch up with e-mails and postings - sorry to say, I'm still way behind. First, the Light Blues. Here's what I would consider a decent match for the Army 3-1 Light Blue 23 as applied by the (then) Air Force Museum: Next a decent match for the Air Corps post 1934 version of Light Blue 23 from Planes of Fame. They may have been trying to match the ANA Light Blue (True Blue), but the photo looks more like the Air Corps chip to my eye. (I know - you can't tell from a color photo....)
  8. Looking forward to this one - there are so few definitive English-language books on Japanese colors, and this one should end all sorts of confusion! Cheers, Dana
  9. Hi Barney, Graham's right about this - BuNos 57966 - 57983 never went to the FAA; they were the first 18 F4U-1Cs and were kept by the Navy/Marines. JT652 thru 669 were build under BuNos 57126 thru 57143; all were F4U-1Ds, The allotment lists changed several times during the war, depending on who had the greatest need at any given time. The site you visited probably worked from an earlier list - the final lists are very clear on which aircraft became Corsair IIs. Cheers, Dana
  10. Hi Brian and Mark, Sorry to be so vague about those 17 PG aircraft - I believe that all three squadrons used blue fuselages by early 1935, but I'm basing that only on a very risky interpretation of B&W photos - the three known photos of that lineup look like the aircraft could have all been the mixed blue. Since that doesn't really prove anything, I'll leave it to you to decide if you want to show all three models with blue fuselages. Shots of the underside numbers are hens teeth. I think most interpretations are based on what we see from the ground view walkarounds. Mark, those 1st Pursuit pix are great. The Blue we're seeing is almost certainly the darker Light Blue 23 from the Air Corps' porcelain enamel chips - certainly not the 3-1 version of Light Blue 23. Cheers, Dana
  11. The 20mm guns happened at least once, but there's very little in the way of a paper trail beyond reports that the AAF was about to install and test the guns, and a later request fo additional 20mm ammunition. There was also a provision to remove a .50 from each wing on the P-40E to install two 20s. There's nothing I've yet found that indicates how the 20s were to be installed (internally? underwing gondola?) but I'm still searching. We've recently uncovered a new section on armament in the Sarah Clark (Wright Field) collection, and hope to one day discover the complete report with drawings and photos, but I've been after this for 15 years and had no luck so far... Cheers, Dana
  12. Hi Brian, This is an interesting thread. I agree that a definitive study of the 17th’s markings would be great, but I’m not sure what it would take. Air Force Colors Volume 1 was written almost 40 years ago; I’ve found a number of errors since then, and I’m pretty certain that the image of aircraft 64 at the foot of page 18 should have been captioned as a version of the Light Blue fuselage rather than OD. For that reason, I’m probably the guy that misled Yellow Wings on the instructions for their decals; mind you, the decals are fine, but I’m pretty sure the instructions should have said “mixed Light Blue” for the fuselage color. Here’s my reasoning - you can make your own decision whether you think I’m right or wrong. In 1934/35, March Field was the home of the 7th Bomb Group and the 17th Pursuit Group. The base commander from 1931 to 1936 was Hap Arnold, who had a personal interested in the appearance of his units’ aircraft. If the aircraft were among the first to be repainted blue, it was probably due to his desire to be first and spiffiest! (BTW, his personal aircraft was #00 in the lineup images.) The aircraft at March were brand new in 1934, and didn’t need to be repainted. (The very first P-26A was delivered to the Air Corps in December 1933, and the first B-10 the following June.) BUT, some of the OD aircraft were repainted at March anyway. Even though the orders calling for Light Blue 23 fuselages were first issued in February 1934, before the year was over inspectors twice gigged the 7th Bomb Group for the condition of their Light Blue finishes. The first problem came when the turquoise-blue paint faded too quickly in the stark California sun. The 7th repainted its aircraft, adding Insignia Blue to the Light Blue, creating a darker, more stable color; they were then gigged for using the wrong shade of blue. (I wish I could find the original report to give you the exact dates - I must clean this office one day!) Anyhow, we know Light Blue paint was on base, in two forms, during 1934. While the fuselages in all the 17th’s B&W P-26 photos seem dark enough to be OD, we could be looking at the darker, mixed Light Blue used at March. The Air Corps began adopting a new “Air Corps version” of Light Blue 23 in late 1934. It was much darker and richer than the original Quartermaster Corps 3-1 color. There is a very slight possibility that this color was available to the 17th for repaints in 1935, but not as early as February - I think we can rule out the use of the Air Corps Light Blue in any of our photos. In high-resolution copies of those P-26 images, the “dope codes” on the right side of the rudders show that the paint was applied to #64 and #37 in February 1934. (The rudder of #11 was painted on 10 January 1934.) The other surfaces of the aircraft were factory painted around the same time. While repaints would have meant new dope codes telling which paints were applied, when they were applied, and by whom – unfortunately, we can’t see those codes (and the rudders weren’t repainted anyway) so there’s no evidence here, either way. We know none of the images mentioned so far were shot on ortho film - the wings would have looked almost black. The tonal reversals seen in the 95th shots might have resulted from different filters, but witnesses mentioned the 95th’s switch from blue-yellow-blue to yellow-blue-yellow. As you’ve noted, the 95th’s squadron colors are reversed in several photos. You’ve also noted the minor variations in numbering and position – almost certainly the results of repainting, not problems with film or camera filters. Working from dated photos, here’s what this looks like, in order of aircraft tail number and photo date: 62 Jun 1934 – darker tail, light scallop 64 Jul 1934 - light tail, slightly darker scallop Feb 1935 - light tail, slightly darker scallop 65 Jun 1934 – darker tail, light scallop 71 Feb 1935 - light tail, slightly darker scallop 72 Jun 1934 – darker tail, light scallop 73 Jun 1934 – darker tail, light scallop ?? 1934 - Archer p 186, - light tail, slightly darker scallop 74 Jun 1934 – darker tail, light scallop Feb 1935 - light tail, slightly darker scallop 81 Feb 1935 - light tail, slightly darker scallop 82 Jun 1934 – darker tail, light scallop Feb 1935 - light tail, slightly darker scallop 83 Feb 1935 - light tail, slightly darker scallop 85 Jul 1934 - light tail, slightly darker scallop Feb 1935 - light tail, slightly darker scallop 90 Jun 1934 – darker tail, light scallop Feb 1935 - light tail, slightly darker scallop Only three of the aircraft (73, 74, and 82) show a tonal reversal in two different photos, and two of those aircraft show that the light tail with slightly darker scallop is the later variation in unit markings. If the later scheme’s scalloping is Light Blue 23, the fuselage most likely is the mixed Light Blue (though OD remains a slight possibility). And if that’s true, the mixed Light Blue fuselage color was applied as early as June 1934 (aircraft 64) and was present on all the 95th’s aircraft in those lineup photos. The other 17th aircraft in those famous February 1935 lineup images seem to have the same fuselage color, but it would be a real stretch to say this proves they were blue. So that’s my opinion – I’d still love to find some contemporary records that conclusively show what actually happened, but this is the best I’ve got so far. Cheers, Dana
  13. Hi Ed, I've always been curious about these aircraft, and I'm not certain what we're seeing, but I suspect that aircraft 74 has seen a field repaint with an OD that differed from the factory's paint. I'm not comfortable with the wet wing theory - if wet, why only one aircraft, and why only outboard of the booms? 1942 photos of this unit show a good deal of wear on leading edges, probably due to the pumice in the volcanic soil at those Aleutian bases; the second and fourth aircraft in this 1943 formation certainly seem to have metallic reflections on the leading edges, as do #74's wings inside the booms and stabs outside of the fins. My best guess is that #74 was fitted with Lockheed's leading edge fuel tank kit, then repainted to cover the kit's aluminum finish - the kit was fitted only outside the booms, so the inboard wing panels wouldn't have automatically been repainted. Crews may have taken the opportunity to retouch some of the wear on parts of the tail, but I've no evidence either way. Anyhow, that's my best guess - if I would build this aircraft, I'd paint two different ODs on the wings and tails. One other note is the reworked radio call number on #74. On many P-38s, Lockheed misread the specs on applying the radio call number and simply applied the last five digits of the serial - that's certainly the case on the other three aircraft in the formation. But on #74, someone took the time to squeeze in the first "2" (from fiscal year 42) using a slightly different style digit. Few Lightnings had this correction added. Just one man's opinion - enjoy the build! Cheers, Dana
  14. Hi MalX, By the time I saw this thread things at progressed to the point that you were painting your model, so I felt there was no use in chiming in. As you're now starting over, this might be a good time to give you a new direction. The 9-0-9 restoration will never look like a wartime B-17, since the restorers applied only one shade of Dark Olive Drab to the metal surfaces. Every camouflaged wartime B-17 from the B-17E and on had at least two shades. The outer wing panels, center section of the vertical fin, and the stabilizers were camouflaged by subcontractors; Boeing, Douglas, and Vega then used their own paint to camouflage the remaining parts of the aircraft. In good-quality images, you can see the differences as the aircraft rolled out of the factory. Those differences became more pronounced as the aircraft aged and weathered. (Add a third color for the OD dope used on fabric control surfaces.) When camouflage was deleted from production lines, many of those subcontracted panels were still available and were used on otherwise aluminum finished aircraft - look at the attempts to remove the camouflage on the left wing of Bit O Lace (the Square-K image that Troy posted). Note that the color differences could also be seen - though not as dramatically - on the Neutral Gray skin under those panels! BTW, the mix of camouflaged fins and stabs on aluminum finished aircraft appears to be what led the 1st BW to apply red paint to those sections of the tail only. So as you work past the frustration and begin again, may I recommend that you find three OD paints that suit your taste, apply them to the the panels that actually varied in production, then weather with artist oils, which will allow you to remove and modify any sections that you find unsatisfactory. Good luck with the second build - I look forward to seeing your results! Cheers, Dana
  15. Hi all, Sorry I haven't been logging in as often as usual - busy days at the archives and all. As was noted in one of the posts above, most of the aircraft was skinned in Alclad, an Alcoa proprietary name for aluminum alloy sheet coated with a thin layer of nearly pure aluminum. While the pure aluminum coating added the best available corrosion control, it lowered the overall strength of the sheet when compared to a 100% alloy sheet of the same thickness. It wasn't much of a problem on most areas of the aircraft, but the extra strength was needed on the central wing box, which was then primed and painted with aluminized lacquer to add corrosion protection. Of course, this was not an issue on early B-29s that had been camouflaged, and there are photos of at least one aluminum B-29 (serial unknown) rolling out of the factory with vertical tail, rudder, stabilizers, and outer wing panels still in OD/gray camouflage. In short, for any aluminum-finish B-29, photos should show the slightly different tone and reflectance of paint on the central wing box. Cheers, Dana