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Nick Millman

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About Nick Millman

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  1. The reason for the "slightly green" impression, which is a fugitive undertone not reflected in the Munsell value of Blue for that colour, was probably not so much the Prussian Blue per se but the interaction of that pigment with Antimony Oxide which can be slightly yellowish or cream. There were two white pigments in the Blue-Gray paint (the other being Titanium Oxide) but Antimony Oxide was commercialised as Timonex in the 1920s as a fire retardant and that might be the reason. Nick
  2. The photos are great but do we know what the original P-40 colour that appears in them actually is? Have any of those warbird maintainers and historians actually measured the paint or analysed it to determine the original constituent pigments and what, if any, degradation has occurred? If so have they published and shared that data anywhere? Robert C Mikesh has done that for rare Japanese aircraft survivors and yet people still assert that nobody knows what their colours were! There is some irony there. Not everyone has the opportunity to examine such aircraft up close and personal to satisfy themselves about the paint colours. And with such well-documented originality it would resolve how closely the factory-applied colour matched the MAP and/or equivalent colour standards. Paint colour analysis often seems to be last thing on the minds of "warbird" restorers, other than boasting that restored colours are "accurate" or making scornful remarks about "smelly anorak wearers" bugging them at airshows. And yet original paint colour is also an integral and tangible part of the aircraft's historic identity that deserves to be treated with respect, but is all too often destroyed forever in its eager restoration to flying status. With some honourable exceptions recognised, it really does deserve better treatment by that community. A recent mainstream magazine article on a restored aircraft went on and on about how the original paint colours had been painstakingly and accurately matched without once revealing what the paint colours actually were in any objective, scientific communicable way. In colour science "dark green" covers a lot of ground! Other rare survivors get nothing better than someone with access to them holding up a FS deck and giving a subjective opinion, blissfully ignorant of the surface deterioration and chalking visible even in the photos. Regards Nick
  3. It is evidence but not proof as the provenance of that piece leaves a few questions. The aircraft it came from went through several different units before long-term storage, has a long history of civil operation and restoration/re-painting in various guises:- FWIW the paint looks identical to RAF Grey Green which suggests that it isn't US factory paint, and there appear to be remnants of a darker, more olive green paint beneath the Grey Green (to the left of the image and beneath the central patch of bare metal). Remnants of Berryloid tinted zinc-chromate interior paint from another P-40 examined have darkened to a similar olive drab/green looking colour. Given the aircraft's history could it have been a replacement/re-painted part to begin with? When was it taken from the aircraft and why? Was it re-painted for display after being removed? What is the significance of the streak of cream paint, if any? As an example of the need for caution Alan kindly sent me images of supposedly original camouflage on a Kittyhawk wing gun muzzle fairing but we noticed that the camo paint had been applied to the under surface side and the light blue to the upper! It is something of a convention that cockpits didn't get re-painted because of the impracticality of doing so but original RAF documents refer to the unsuitability of nitro-cellulose paints for spraying inside cockpits due to the fumes - and those are about RAF aircraft finishers rather than aircraft manufacturing factories. So there was clearly a precedent for the RAF (and RNZAF?) re-painting of cockpit interiors beyond just touch-ups. As noted above, in 1942 the only Grey Green paint available in stores vocabulary listing was a synthetic enamel for spray painting. Therefore I don't think it at all unfeasible that particular Kittyhawk got a re-paint during its long service or that Brewster cockpits arriving painted aluminium (if they did) could have been re-painted by the assembly teams, especially given the climate. But the Buffalo undercarriage painting suggests that the cockpit interiors were probably already painted in a "green" of some type to conform to RAF requirements. Vintage Frog used to suggest simply "pale green" but it was easier then . . . Nick
  4. Just to add that those were the first three of the British order, which was allocated serials from BW208 to BW351 according to Air Britain, but Vultee record only 100 serials for Britain BW208-BW307. The second production prototype Vultee # 502 completed in January 1940 (and flown in natural metal with the civilian registration NX28300) was the first accepted of the production series in 10/41 and given USAAF serial 42-6832. Vultee 510, mentioned above, should have been BW215 but appeared in standard US OD/Gray finish with no sign of a British or USAAF serial, no national insignia and just the Vultee serial on the fin. According to Air Arsenal the decision for USAAF to take over production was also in 10/41, the same month of acceptance of the second production prototype but according to Air Britain's British Air Commission book the decision was taken in June 1941. Vultee record the whole production run of 144 from 10/41 to 4/42 taken over by USAAF but only 104 were delivered to China and not all of those were assembled. The Swedish order was originally embargoed for diversion to France as substitutes for the P-36 and when France collapsed the British took over the order on behalf of Canada which wanted 72 of them as fighter trainers. The BAC book mentions that the contract was supposed to be placed with a Canadian contractor in December 1940, whatever that means, presumably license-built? The same book describes the RAF schemes as "promotional colours" and notes that the type never featured in BAC Summary records. Nick
  5. And to be even more pedantic MAP Grey-Green was not used on any British-built aircraft either. It was a colour standard not a paint and didn't have a hyphen! In Air Diagram 2390 'Aircraft Dopes and Finishes - Vocabulary Numbers' appended to instructions to improve aircraft maintenance by Fighter Command on 14 September 1942 it is listed simply as 'Grey Green', a synthetic enamel to DTD260A "S" for spray application available only in a single one gallon container - all the others in that category are for brush application. It is not listed at all under any of the other categories, including DTD 83A Cellulose or DTD 314 Synthetic. But at aircraft factories the colour would have been applied by procurement of commercial paint to match the MAP (?) standard, with inevitable variance. By late 1943 it was being stores listed across a number of specs in various sized containers. The MAP swatch books touted around, where it is the sixth swatch and listed as 'Grey Green', cover all those specs so there is a question as to when the MAP standard was first established (also refer to the late Edgar Brooks comments on the eau-de-nil/Sky-like interior colour of Spitfires). The 1942 Dupont colour card for MAP finishes lists 71-036 as Cockpit Light Green (which is a brighter, more blueish green like the Hudson interior paint) whereas all the other colours on the card use correct MAP/RAF terminology. The antecedence of the Grey Green colour is interesting because the 1925 RAE cockpit trials, which included a "Grey Green", concluded that all the colours tested were satisfactory but that "Light Grey" was the "most pleasing". There was also a "primer green", circa 1925, reportedly used in cockpits which was lighter and more yellowish than the MAP Grey Green that we all know and love. FWIW therefore I think the specification for RAF cockpit colours might have been more loosely applied in the period 1940-42. Nick
  6. And thank you for thanking me, Steve. I've posted five hopefully helpful replies to queries here recently and you are one of only two OPs who have thanked me. Nick
  7. The three "British" Vanguards (BW208, BW209 and BW210) were only pattern-painted "temporarily" in the RAF scheme before production was taken over by the USAAF for China and the remaining aircraft finished in OD over Neutral Grey before transfer. The Swedish prototypes were in natural metal finish with anti-glare panels. FWIW I think it unlikely that the bulk of the production run were finished to RAF spec and from the production dates the cockpits were probably in a Vultee version of tinted zinc chromate "yellow green" - which was a slightly lighter, more yellowish green than the later ANA Interior Green. The Vultee production serials ran from 503 to 645 (USAAF serials 42-6833-6975) and 510 was photographed in the standard USAAF scheme. Nick
  8. I've hand brushed Humbrol Metalcote on large areas ok using a flat brush - it is (or was) thin enough out of the tin - but I always apply two coats with a barrier coat of Clear between them. This prevents 'pick-up', show through and gives a very smooth final coat. I don't apply a primer but prep the plastic carefully, making sure that its absolutely clean and degreased. Any imperfections will be magnified by the Metalcote. Nick
  9. Part 1 is June 1988 Vol.4 Issue 6 Part 2 is August 1998 Vol.4 Issue 8 - with six USN examples from 1941 to 1944 including one Pat Wing 10 example Part 3 is October 1998 Vol.4 Issue 10 The series covers 16 specific aircraft representing various countries and schemes. Be warned that the colours are only described by name in the first two parts and whilst colour note comparisons are contained in the last part for the RNZAF and RAAF examples, for the USN colour comparisons the reader is referred to the author's previous Colour File 8 'USN Camouflage Details 1941-1947' without citing which issue it is in. I think you will also need that issue for a complete understanding of his presentation. Update: Per a SAMI index the USN camo colour file 8 is in Volume 3 Issue 11 which should be November 1997. Haven't checked the actual mag though. Nick
  10. It seems to have varied. In the 1941 RAE report mentioned in the thread on Dark Green paint the reflectivity and resilience of the RDM2 finish depended on both the factory application method and paint manufacturer. The degree of "blackness" varied, reflectivity between 1-2.5% with the ICI finish (Blackpool Wellingtons, Manchester Manchesters and Lancasters) being praised as the preferred standard and the Cellon finish (Weybridge and Chester Wellingtons, Weston and Filton Beaufighters, Burton Wood DB-7s) criticised. The Titanine finish (Cricklewood Halifaxes) applied over its own Titanine UP1 primer was considered unsatisfactory but when applied over UP5 (Preston Hampdens) was ok. If the Titanine was applied over other primers it cracked, flaked off and sometimes destroyed the adherence of the primer to the metal. A lot of the criticism was levelled at poor, unskilled and inconsistent application methods. An old method used to simulate the RDM2 finish on models was to apply an enamel blue-black Night then a poster paint black over that (Pelikan Plaka was favoured) but it resulted in a pristine looking, albeit dead matt black finish unless roughed up. The primer paint applied under the Night intermediate coat on the real aircraft was grey and would be revealed in extreme cases of weathering or damage to the paint surface. Surface chalking can be simulated by lightly spraying a heavily thinned down pale grey over the black but I don't think that would work with the poster paint! Nick
  11. Not just according to me, Fernando. In describing the development of the RAF camouflage colours the RAE reported that "the Dark Green finally chosen to represent the various greens of nature was a dull "bronze" green, containing a proportion of red, with a diffuse reflectivity of 10%". Notwithstanding that statement that red was included in devising the colour, the 1940 formula for Dark Green paint made by Goodlass, Wall & Co. Ltd., for example, consisted of three pigment "bases" incorporating chromium oxide (green), vegetable black and brown precipitated iron oxide. Those pigments do not result in a cold, blueish green or even a straight green. That company's catalogue reference for Dark Green paint was 83914 but it was made from a combination of 83905, 83910 and 83907, each of which was a paint colour with its own constituent binder and solvents. That's the applied paint. The MAP colour standard for Dark Green as measured is a Munsell Yellow (like Olive Drab) approaching Green Yellow, quite dark at 2.9 and of low saturation at 1.5. Geoff Thomas' Munsell equivalent as published in ‘Eyes for the Phoenix’ (Hikoki, 1999) & ‘True Colours’ (Airfix Magazine, Feb 1983) is similar to mine - 10 Y 3/1.5 vs 10 Y 2.9/1.5 - just being a tiny tad lighter. The current BS 381C gives 241 Dark Green as a Munsell Green Yellow, approximately 2.3 GY 3.3/1.2. Taking the BS 381c L*a*b* measurements the difference from the wartime colour is at 5.54 where < 2.0 = a close match. The modern colour is slightly less saturated and lighter. However the BS 381c L*a*b* measurements equate to Munsell 9.8 Y 3.5/0.9 so the issue is around the fine - and close - transition from a Y to GY. Either way that is on the "dark yellow"/olive drab side of green whilst a colder, less olive, viridian-type green would measure as a Munsell Green or Blue Green. Where chrome green (a mixture of chrome yellow and Prussian blue) was used instead of chromium oxide (which was in short supply) the paint surface would shift towards more olive or brownish as the yellow gradually decomposes the blue pigment. Chromium oxide greens are quite stable but as other pigments in the mix degraded a stronger, brighter green appearance might be expected. That is counter intuitive where it is more common to expect all paints to "fade". Wartime documents show that even in official circles the difference between chromium oxide and chrome green pigments was not appreciated and the term "chrome green" was used to describe both. The use of both pigments by different paint companies would have resulted in paints that matched the standard to begin with but which weathered very differently. The significance of that is where extant paint samples are used to determine the original appearance of the Dark Green colour standard. There is always a tendency to conflate paint colour standards with applied paints so that people talk about aircraft painted with MAP Dark Green, or ANA this or FS that. But those are colour standards and the applied paints were manufactured to match them against a colour card, with each manufacturers own designation and formula for each paint colour, not always recorded (and with so far unknown criteria for tolerance and acceptance of variance in most cases). There is and was inevitable variance, by manufacturer formula, batch, application and weathering. One evidenced example of this is a RAE August 1941 analysis of Night and Special Night paints as applied in 11 different aircraft factories using paints supplied by five different paint manufacturers. The paints differed in reflectivity, the application methods differed in effectiveness and the appearance and resilience of the painted surfaces varied and that was before the aircraft entered service and were subjected to exposure, weathering and wear or tear. To cut a long story short, whilst extremes of variance in colour should probably be avoided I think modellers can relax about minor variance and just go with their preferred paint brand. The models are replicating applied paint and all the other factors affecting its appearance and not the colour standard per se. Nick
  12. FWIW the dark green edging is probably the result of masking leaving a darker line where the tape was stuck down and later pulled off. Note the darker segment on the nose of UF-J conforming to the original high demarcation where it was re-sprayed with the RAF colours, the stencil markings on the original finish being masked and left on rectangles of lighter colour. Rear fuselage treated the same way. Nick
  13. For details of Manchurian aviation look no further than the superb Arawasi publication 'The Eagles of Manchukuo 1932-1945' (2009 - ISBN 978-4-9904647-1-4) by George Eleftheriou and Kiri Domoto-Eleftheriou which thoroughly covers the civil and military aviation in a most attractive and modeller-useful presentation. For everything else, including Japan and Korea look for Putnams 'Airlines of Asia since 1920' by R E G Davies (1997 - ISBN 1-888962-02-X), published in the USA by Paladwr Press. This covers histories, aircraft types operated and routes. The amount of detail in both books is beyond adequate précis in a forum posting but the first Korean National Airlines (KNA) operated three Stinson Voyagers from 1949, replaced by the C-47/DC-3 in April 1950. The Korean War interrupted things until after the armistice when KNA also began operating a single DC-4. Nick
  14. I thought it was the principle and precedent being discussed rather than the amount being speculated as a fortune? The Royal Mail recently extorted £8 from me for the privilege of collecting £4.15 on behalf of HMRC, in other words they charged 192% of the duty for collecting it. I think that provides an insight into the currently prevailing corporate bean counter mindset. It would be very simple for our legislators to rule that the fee should never exceed the duty charged but they would would probably need to be surgically separated from the symbiotic relationship they seem to have with Corporate Big Business for that to happen. Nick
  15. The wrap around on the leading edges tends to be more typical of depot or unit painted aircraft delivered in natural metal than the factory-finished aircraft where the demarcation is along the leading edge. But it was evidently not a standardised demarcation as photos show it at both the mid-point and slightly lower (but not wrap around). This difference between non-factory and factory is illustrated by the photos on pages 73 and 74 of the Osprey book (the post-factory painted aircraft also have natural metal canopy framing, dark brown spinners and anti-glare panels on the cowlings). But the photos were reproduced smaller than I would have liked and these detail differences are therefore difficult to see. The one on page 74 is a factory-finished Tei, despite the caption! The original image shows clearly the spinner painted in the exterior colour and the prop blades still dark brown with the spinner overspray visible on the blade roots. I also checked the factory schematic for the Tei and there is no sign of a wrap around on the lower wings. The upper surface colour extends to the radiator sides and there is no anti-glare. Don't miss that the exhaust shroud on the # 7 Tei was painted black including the panel behind the front teardrop - and not matt but a more satin finish - with the aircraft serial stencilled on the teardrop in yellow. This detail often gets missed off even celebrity modeller's show stoppers! Nick