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Edgar

Sadly Missed
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Everything posted by Edgar

  1. From StH, it seems the Mk.VIII was designed to take the Merlin 61, hence the small bulge being present, so perhaps (as with the bulged cowling top on the IX & XVI) it was easier to just leave the cowling "as is." There were also plans to use the Merlin 63A, and for a P.R. version of the VIII, which might have had a bearing on using the Coffman gearbox. The Merlin 64 was used on the Spitfire VII & P.R.X, so would have needed the blower drive; the 266 started life as the Mosquito-mounted Merlin 69, so wouldn't have had it.
  2. Understandably, modellers tend to think in model terms, so, if the colour doesn't look quite right, it must be the colour that was wrong, but that's an unsafe premise. The laid-down colour was Medium Sea Grey, and, without cast-iron evidence to the contrary, that's the colour I'd always use. What we don't, and can never, know is how the photograph was arrived at. Did the film go to the local chemist for processing, and was it given slightly too much development time, thereby increasing the contrast? Was it printed with a view to publication, in which case it was normal to print it on glossy paper, which usually increases the contrast? What grade of paper was it printed on, since they differ in contrast? Was it printed on sepia or black & white paper? Did the printer consider the print too dark, so cut back on the exposure time in the enlarger, to lighten it up a bit? There are too many imponderables, in black and white photos, to make any categorical statements about colours.
  3. When first built, in 1945, the 21 had 4-spoke wheels and a tan-coloured Sutton harness; the elevators were metal-covered and had rounded horns. If you choose to do a contra-prop airframe, it had the broad-chord Mk.XVIII rudder, with a 2" deeper horn, and you need to take a corresponding 2" off the top of the fin; the trim tab was also straight, not Z-shaped. From mid-1946, the Sutton was replaced by the (probably medium blue) quick-release type QS harness.
  4. Sorry for the delay, but it took me some time to find this. In 1939, a memo was issued, giving a list of the Air Diagrams to be used for the purposes of camouflaging aircraft. It also includes a list of the approved paints for all surfaces, including metal, wood and fabric. Sky Grey was not given a Vocabulary Number, at that time, which means that it would not be possible for units to order it, even less stock it; the same actually applied also to Sky Blue, and even Dull Red and Dull Blue (except for fabric surfaces in the cases of the latter pair.) As far as I'm concerned, this throws a lot of these modern-day "revelations" into question; how did units use paints they were not supposed to keep in their stores?
  5. I think it was more likely to have been the ubiquitous basil (sheep) leather, which seems to be lighter in colour. This is AR213, which was photographed about 30 years ago, before any rebuilds:-
  6. With the lower top-to-bottom demarcation, manufacturers were supposed to use the following template to set the line. Due to the curvature of the Spitfire "chin," the line followed a curve, which Supermarine dutifully also followed. At some time this became a total chore, especially in units and M.U.s, so the company apparently got permission to simply follow the (straight) line where the two items met. I have no idea when, and it might simply have been done via the R.T.O.'s good auspices:-
  7. Not always, and that holds good even for the first-line Squadrons; you're very much in the hands of the (usually) junior officer lumbered with compiling the record. On Saturday, I looked at two books; one gave serials and pilots, but no codes, the second gave pilots and no codes or serials. (Very) occasionally, you'll get individual code letters, and, in the case of 617 Squadron's in 1944, every crew member and his position in the aircraft. Training units (at least those I've checked) have absolutely minimal records, mostly only saying if the weather was good enough to fly, and often with an entire month's work condensed into 4 or 5 pages, with as much space being given to inter-unit football results as the amount of work done. Only when there was a Court of Enquiry on an accident involving loss of life or pilot error, will you (sometimes) be able to read a serial no. P.S. It doesn't look hopeful; AIR 29/724 is the reference no., and the book (which is normally about 2"-3" thick,) also has the records of 5 Radio School and 5 Signals School, and has the entire war's records therein. If you don't mind waiting, I can pull out the book, on a future visit, and see if it'll be worth your while.
  8. 1/32 scale is Gauge 1 in railway scales.
  9. I tried to access the file, in Kew, on Saturday, but without success; there's an exhibition in their museum, at present, concerning agents, and what happened to them. As there are a few papers, about Khan, in the display cases, it's reasonable to assume that's why I get "in use," when I apply for the file. The display has been there for months, so I have absolutely no idea when her file will, once again, become available, sorry.
  10. Assuming that the underside colour on "B" & "J" in the top photo is Medium Sea Grey, it was 21-2-45 before H.Q., 5 Group got permission for 617 to use that colour, so that photo post-dates that. The first Grand Slam was dropped 14-3-45, the bomb was cleared for use 22-3-45, and the last one was dropped 19-4-45. "J" was the C.O. Fauquier's aircraft, and dropped Grand Slams 19/3, 21/3, 23/3, 27/3, 9/4.
  11. There isn't much; any Merlin 61-powered aircraft would have had the same small bulge on the starboard engine cover as the Spitfire II, since it had the Coffman gear box. However, the Merlin 61 saw more service in the IX.
  12. In all this desperation to "prove" that Moore couldn't possibly have known what he was doing, I do find it intriguing that nobody ever asks why, while he was busy matching the colours, not a single member of the 617 Squadron personnel (some of whom saw wartime service) had the courtesy to come forward and tell him that the aircraft weren't painted in those colours in 1945. Rather cruel of them, wssn't it?
  13. The (paper) patches were taped, not painted, on; in the list of available paints, at that time, there is no gas-detection paint listed. Gibson wrote that they found the patches were very much hit-and-miss, when tested, so they gave up on them.
  14. Early in 1945, 617 asked for, and got, permission to do away with black undersides on their Tallboy aircraft, because they were making a too easy target for flak during their exclusively daylight raids. They were told that they could use the same Medium Sea Grey as day fighters. Post-war, a well-respected (in flying model circles) artist and modeller was allowed to inspect some of (not just one) 617's Grand Slam aircraft, and he reported that he found them to be Light Green/Light Earth/Ocean Grey. This has been ridiculed in some (modern) modelling circles, with various theories put forward about how he was mistaken, e.g. paint MSG over black and it would appear Ocean Grey (carefully avoiding any explanation of how DG/DE over black would appear lighter, of course.) (Slightly) simpler might be to look for an explanation as to why he might (with around 30 years experience) actually have been right, and there's a possible clue in the Scale Models article. The Grand Slam aircraft were virtually defenceless, often carrying only two guns and 2 seconds-worth of ammunition, and the Tallboy aircraft were tasked with giving them cover. In a well-spread out gaggle (vertically as well as horizontally) swift recognition would be vital, and a completely different scheme might help with that. This is entirely my own theory, so you're welcome to make of it what you will.
  15. It was entirely down to the individual unit's requirements, and the work was only supposed to entail 6 man-hours, so it's very unlikely it would appear on an airframe's movement card.
  16. Edgar

    What mark of Spitfire?

    Not necessarily, since the bulged cowling was designed for the IX, not the XVI; Castle Bromwich just happened to fit it to both Marks. The photo is indistinct, but appears to show a 5-spoke wheel, which points to a IX, since the VIII had the 4-spoke from the start.
  17. HF radios were replaced by VHF during the Battle, so the aerials tended to disappear at the same time (much to the disappointment of some pilots, who used to tune in to the BBC during sorties.) 6-branch exhausts, on the Mk.I, are mostly associated with post-war rebuilds, definitely not during the Battle.
  18. Supermarine stopped producing the Spitfire VIII with extended wingtips in August 1944, and had previously issued a "how to" leaflet, on replacing them with standard tips, in May of that year.
  19. Edgar

    Hurricane codes

    Note that IWM photo is of very early airframes, since three of them still have the 1940/1-style fuselage roundel and fin flash. Judging by their tone, it also seems possible that the undersides were in Sky, not Azure Blue.
  20. I don't know exactly; the drawing, which goes from 1937 to 1944, and includes the change to synthetic paints, just specifies "grey chromate" primers U.P.1 & U.P.2. The airframe material was to be either Alclad or anodised aluminium. A later copy (post-war?) of the drawing does specify the use of the "approved etching primer."
  21. Major overhaul, on a Spitfire, was 180 hours, with minors every 30 hours. I have a copy of the IX Inspection Schedule, which tells the groundcrew to clean the aircraft "as necessary" every day; the Mk.V I.S. doesn't say this, so attitudes changed (as evinced by the change of paint type) throughout the war, which is worth bearing in mind. I also have a copy of a signal, which talks of an early "W"-serial Spitfire, with 174 hours "on the clock," being considered old. I should like to point out that, in that photo of the rather tired Mk.II Spitfire, the wingroot wear is showing the grey undercoat, more than bare metal, which is something so many modellers tend to forget.
  22. I tend to steer well clear of "modellers" who make sweeping generalisations on a subject about which they obviously know nothing, but just want to stir up trouble.
  23. Now I look at properly, and without trying to be over-dramatic, going by the direction of the light (medium height from the left,) I begin to wonder if it's a reflection off the windshield quarter-light, or the canopy breakout panel.
  24. As the shape changes between the two stills, I'd say it's more likely to be involvement of the censor's sticky fingers, for some reason. The detection patches were actually sheets of paper, taped down onto the surface, not painted on.
  25. This is a well-worn Mk.II, which dates from before the Aircraft Finishers began their work, and before the (prone to fading) synthetic DTD517 paints were brought into use. I'll leave you to judge the relevance (or otherwise) of pre-shading:-
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