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Dana Bell

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  1. Hi Phoenix, Yes, it was a slide. We were going through a batch of several hundred slides, including about a dozen that were from this series. I don't recall the film type - it was more than 25 years ago - but I like this one enough to get a first generation dupe. Cheers, Dana
  2. It's not colorized - I've seen the original. Cheers, Dana
  3. Dear Mr. Bell,

    very sorry to bother you but I will very appreciate some help with two F4F-4 technical issue that I am not able to identify properly. That are small airscoop on the right side behind the cockpit, respectively opened canopy and small round opening/hole (unknown purpose for me) in close area and located slightly higher then airscoop but within one fuselage segment.

    Both feature was not intruduced on F4F-3 or 3A with the exception of last production run of 100 planes that was built in spring 1943 after ceasing production of F4F-4 serie at Grumman factory.

    Many pictures of F4F-4 show this both feature but not every ones, unfortunately. It seems that this both feature was introduced gradually somewhere during second production run (BN 5030 – 5262) in early Spring of 1942, i.e. not from the beginning. Several pictures show F4F-4 without airscoop as well as round hole (aproximately till Guadalcanal campaign), some only with the round hole and mostly ones with both feature.

    For example – picture of white 10 of VF-3 (BN 5149) from Midway or black 41-F-8 of VF-41 (BN 4084) from April 1942 clearly show planes without any of a/m features.

    On the contrary, F4F-4 black 13 of VF-6 (BN 5193) from the beginning of Guadalcanal campaign has only round opening/hole and no unit-marked F4F-4 of BN 5262 (served for testing of new system od double flaps) as last machine of second production run has already both fearures,

    Well, there is several related questions,

    a/ when was airscoop officialy intruduced and based on what (some technical USN bulletin or so)?

    b/ purpose of round opening/hole (perhaps first unsuccessfull attempt for better ventilation of radio and other avionic equipment in fuselage, my guess)

    Many thanks in advance.

    Jindrich Nepevny,
    Praha - Czech Rep

  4. There's a simple trick to understanding most of the Navy's interwar cockpit colors - if the exterior of an aluminum fuselage was Light Gray enamel, the interior would be the same. (Aluminum enamels and lacquers didn't adhere well to the Navy's primers.) Once the Navy switched to zinc chromate primer and aluminum lacquer exteriors beginning in 1936/37, the interiors switched to the same color. As noted above, the F3F-2 came with the aluminized lacquers. (Of course, everything got messier in 1939/40 with the introduction of the greens...) Cheers, Dana
  5. Hi Bill, Since the dates became important to your project, I rooted around in my unfiled pile and found the following: 9 Feb 1940 -- VB-5 reports that pilots have been able to observe the Insignia Red "open flaps" signal more readily than when the flap interiors are painted aluminum. Request authority "...to make Insignia Red the standard color for the inside of the diving flaps on all airplanes assigned to this squadron." 11 Mar 1940 -- US Fleet requests VB-5 BT-1s experiment with other colors and report on the "optimum arrangement." (One wonders what those experiments looked like?) 10 July 1940 -- SR-15c is ammended to read "14.9 The inside surfaces of diving flaps shall be painted insignia red." 12 Jul 1940 -- BuAer requests Curtiss-Wright to use Insignia Red inside XSB2C-1 diving flaps Looks like you're right on target! Cheers, Dana
  6. Hi Peter, Continued brilliance - every visit to this build is more fascinating! I may not be seeing this correctly, but have a close look at the leading edge extension on your wing fairing. The original P-40 had a short fairing which was later extended to help control airflow and reduce groundloops. All Bs and Cs had the extended fairing. You may have something in between, or I may just be looking at this from an odd angle. Cheers, Dana
  7. Hi Bill, I'm not sure about the production dates, and I'm still organizing my docs for a book on interior colors, but I seem to recall that A-17s originally used aluminum lacquer cockpits while A-17As got one of the early greens. I did find my B&W BT-1 production cockpit photos, and the aircraft shows the dull tones of a light green. (The stringers, however, look like they might be aluminum!) Cheers, Dana
  8. A few notes on BT colors... - Northrop was the first company to use green zinc chromate as the interior color. The standard practice in the mid-1930s was to apply two coats of primer and one coat of aluminized lacquer to metal interiors. When building the first A-17As, Northrop was directed by Wright Field to apply one coat of zinc chromate primer, then aluminize the second primer coat. The resulting green color seems to have shocked both Northrop and Wright Field. At some point a small amount of black was added to the mixture to tone down the bright green - the resulting shade was known as Yellow-Green in the Army and Navy. It doesn't seem unreasonable that production BT-1s would have used Yellow-Green cockpits. - Also in the mid-1930s, NACA determined that the leading edge demarcation of the yellow upper wing color butting up against the lower aluminum (or gray) underwing color was disrupting the airflow over the wing. Bringing the yellow around the leading edge for 5% of the chord ended the problem. - Along with the extension of the yellow below the wing, the chevron was initially extended also. This produced another boundary layer disruption, so the chevron was eventually shortened to end farther back from the leading edge. You can see this in the color photo above. - BT-1s were delivered with aluminum-painted dive brake interiors. Operational tests showed that repainting the brakes red on the inside would help formations recognize when the preceeding aircraft was beginning its dive. Following delivery, the BT-1 became the first aircraft to use red dive brakes. Enjoy the model - it looks like a great start! Cheers, Dana
  9. The values of US Sky Grey versus US Sky versus British colours are still an open question, though many seem to believe it can be closed. The duPont color 71-021 is listed as Sky Type S Gray [sic] in some records and Sky in others. Was 71-021 revised or was the name simply changed? In December 1939, Lockheed completed delivery of its 200th Hudson for Britain. Many of those aircraft had light gray bellies (while others had black - or possibly Night and others had dull aluminum). The only possible color at time was Sky Gray - the color Sky did not exist until spring 1940. The British Purchasing Commission in Washington continued to request Sky Gray into early 1942, when members suddenly discovered they were supposed to be ordering Sky. So our unanswered questions are: 1 - When did the US begin switching to Sky from Sky Gray? 2 - Was duPont 71-021 revised as a color, or was the name changed 3 - If US Sky Gray was originally a greenish color, why was that so when the British spces didn't call for green (that is "Sky") until spring 1940? There may be a simple answer to all this, or there may be a complicated one, but so far we don't have documentation of any answer. Cheers, Dana
  10. Our lists almost agree. The 57657 - 59 still should be 57567 thru 57569. Note also that the fourth and fifth lines are a continuous block, since 57983 was constructor's number 4024 and 82178 was 4025. BuNo 02154 was the second production Birdcage, but any cannon-armed -1 was officially a -1C. Jim Sullivan's note of 50277 was news to me, but I expect he found a conversion report that I hadn't. The crash/cover aircraft as 82305 doesn't fit with my list, but Jim is very thorough - it's more likely that I missed something. 1 - 0002 - 02154 2 - 3608 - 57567 thru 4 - 3610 - 57569 5 - 3818 - 57777 thru 19 - 3832 - 57791 20 - 4007 - 57966 thru 37 - 4024 - 57983 38 - 4025 - 82178 thru 49 - 4036 - 82189 50 - 4107 - 82260 thru 79 - 4136 - 82289 80 - 4217 - 82370 thru 104 - 4241 - 82394 105 - 4282 - 82435 thru 129 - 4306 - 82459 130 - 4387 - 82540 thru 172 - 4429 - 82582 173 - 4480 - 82633 thru 179 - 4486 - 82639 180 - 4587 - 82740 thru 201 - 4608 - 82761 My list comes from the BuAer internal and contract files in Record Group 72 at the National Archives, but there may have been subsequent changes that I missed. Also, 47 -1Cs were modded back to -1D standards, but I never took the time to dig up all the serials. Finally, the cannon-armed -4s were initially designated F4U-4C, but this was later revised to F4U-1B. All this, but I still have no idea of the BuNo for the aircraft in question... Cheers, Dana
  11. Sorry - no luck on that one. All the mods were done in Philly. I've tried the contract files, the BuAer Corsair files, and the BuAer radar files with no luck at all. One day I hope to find the RG72 series that covers all the Naval Aircraft Factory modification reports - so much to do, so little time! Cheers, Dana
  12. Hi John, That kit isn't going to build into a -4 without a MAJOR rework. You'll need a new cowling, prop, exhaust position (above, not below, the wing), canopy, windscreen, fuselage aft of the armor plate, cockpit (with floor), seat, and whatever else I'm forgetting. Best to go for a -1D and plan a second kit as a straight-from-the box -4. Cheers, Dana
  13. Hi folks, There's a great deal of confusion surrounding American interior colors - this is just a note of clarification... Zinc chromate primer is a cool, semi-transluscent yellow; it's a range of colors, depending on how the components were mixed and what vehicle they were mixed in. Aluminized zinc chromate is zinc chromate primer with ground aluminum primer added. The first of the green zinc chromates, it was a range of bright "candy apple" greens depending on the original primer color and the amount/composition of the aluminum added Yellow Green was the second green zinc chromate; similar formula to aluminized zinc chromate, but with black added. Great variation in color depending on the original colors and the type/volume of black added. Interior Green was "invented" in late 1942 and standardized in May 1943. The only green zinc chromate that was expected to match a color card, this was a mix of zinc chromate primer and black. Despite the standardization, the color showed some variation in practice. Bronze Green was usually an enamel, not based on zinc chromate. It usually had an oily appearance. Dull Dark Green came in two versions, neither based on zinc chromate. Generally produced as a lacquer, it had a flat or semi-flat finish Medium Green was a camouflage color often seen on the leading and trailing edges of flying surfaces. In November 1944 it was approved as a cockpit and anti-glare color, though there is limited evidence of the extent of its use. In Seattle, Boeing had problems with a paint shop; the AAF granted an exemption from painting interior surfaces unless an anti-glare color was needed. Photos of surviving B-17s often show several green paints used in the same cockpits. Douglas skipped the instructions and painted many of its B-17 cockpits Interior Green, receiving permission after the fact. I've no data on Vega's cockpits. I'd love to get this all pinned down one day, but contemporary evidence (Wright Field/contractor correspondence) is hard to find. Good luck with the model! Cheers, Dana
  14. Hi Chris, Yes, initially they were puttied. Later testing showed that the new putty increased the speed by several mph. However, the wing would flex in flight and squeeze the putty out of seams creating ridges instead of smoothness; the expanded putty cost more in speed than the smoothed putty saved and the putty was abandoned altogether. While I've got the report, I'm not sure where I have the info on deleting the putty, but it certainly happened during WWII. Cheers, Dana
  15. I hadn't realized this thread went back so far! I found some new information at the Archives just before the Covid shutdown a couple of years back -- an Army unit requested permission to paint the interior of fabric surfaces with aluminized dope or enamel. The request noted that several Navy squadrons had been doing this to prevent oil and dirt from discoloring the cockpit interiors and make things look more professional. Wright Field granted permission. This couldn't have been a widespread practice -- at least I've never found any photo of an Army or Navy aircraft with the fabric painted aluminum inside. Still, it makes for an interesting possibility, and after my "definitive" note of six years ago I thought the revised infromatino needed sharing... Cheers, Dana
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