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Dana Bell

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About Dana Bell

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    Arlington, Virginia

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  1. Dana Bell

    Soviet P-40C and P-40E

    Thanks Vedran, I see it now - it took several pots of PG Tips, but I think I'm awake now... Cheers, Dana
  2. Dana Bell

    Soviet P-40C and P-40E

    Maybe my early-morning eyes haven't quite opened yet, but the nose of that P-40C doesn't seem to have any provisions for the two fifties. I've never seen that variation before! Cheers, Dana
  3. Dana Bell

    Lack of gun barrels in wings of early Aleutian P-40Es?

    Hi Warhawk, Those 1939/40 designs were the first to carry internally mounted 50-calibre wing guns, and no one was quite sure how to minimize the drag along the wings' leading edges. They all had blast tubes extending from the barrels, but until the NACA reports came in there were many variations. Clearly, flush-with-the-leading-edge was not the best, since the blast tubes were quickly extended in production. Cheers, Dana
  4. Dana Bell

    US radial engine crankcases: colour?

    Hi gents, I wrote this up about 20 years ago, but I've not yet found anything to contradict or confirm what I understood back then. It seems to fit this discussion: Here's the rather limited paper trail I've been able to find on engine colors. It offers more questions than answers, but perhaps it will help. In 1930, the Army and Navy used separate color cards (of course!). The Army seems to have used Spec 3-1 color #12 Blue Gray (glossy, and a bit darker and yellower than 36307) while the Navy may have had its own Engine Gray. (A chip with that name was certainly issued by the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1932, and is reproduced in Jack Elliott's Monogram Volume 1). In 1932 the Army created a set of porcelain color plates including a new Blue Gray (reportedly from "Cobalt-Chromium-Iron Black" and Tin Oxide White). This new Blue Gray is the only chip missing from my set, so I can't comment on the value of the color. In 1933 the Navy issued a new Engine Gray chip based on Windsor Newton Mars Black, Windsor Newton Paynes Gray, and Liquitix Titanium White. My chip seems a little lighter than the earlier sample in the Elliott book. This Navy chip was officially accepted by the Army as the basis for the ANA standard color Engine Gray, even though the Army would delay implementation of the ANA system for six more years. The ANA chips were released in July 1936, and the Engine Grey seems a good match for the Navy 1933 chip. Pratt & Whitney reported switching to this ANA color shortly after its release. In 1938 Sherwin-Williams commented that the ANA Engine Gray was much lighter and cleaner than the old Blue Gray (supposedly compared to the Army porcelain color chip). In January 1939 the Navy requested an unspecified radical change to the engine gray color. Pratt and Whitney requested clarification, and though I've never found the Air Corps' reply, P&W agreed they would switch to this color on all parts shipped after June 1, 1939. Whatever the case, the 1945 ANA chip for Engine Gray doesn't differ all that much from the 1933 Navy chip - I've never found any evidence of the type of gray the Navy was requesting. The 1945 ANA chip is a good match for 16081. In August 1942 the AAF reported that 3-1 color #13 (Dark Gray) was considered a satisfactory match for engine gray. Dark Gray was glossy and a bit stronger and browner than 36081 - not a bad match for the ANA color. There are bound to be many other pieces to this puzzle, but I haven't yet been able to find them. Hope this helps! Cheers, Dana
  5. Dana Bell

    B24 H Liberator interior colours

    Hi Seahawk, Yes, I think that about sums it up. The changes came in late 43/early 44 as each factory abandoned factory-applied camouflage for AAF Liberators. I know many of the Navy's Libs were camouflaged at depots, but I'm not sure who painted the Coastal Command aircraft; regardless, the interiors would have been unchanged unless the US Navy or British authorities insisted on adding a coating of interior primer (of whih I have no knowledge.) Cheers, Dana
  6. Dana Bell

    B24 H Liberator interior colours

    There were a number of variations on B-24s, but Dull Dark Green was certainly standard for the "officers' quarters" for a very long time. Very generally speaking, the aft fuselage interior color depended on the exterior color as applied at the factory. Since the skin was made of Alclad, corrosion wasn't considered a big issue, but contact of the unprimed skin with the unprimed, simple alloy interior framework led to galvanic corrosion (electrons moving between dissimilar metals. Originally, B-24s left the framework unprimed to save money, but dipped the formed skins in yellow zinc chromate primer baths prior to assembly. When the AAF abandoned camouflage, they were left with several bright yellow B-24s! The solution was to dip the framework in the primer bath, and attach the unprimed skins. Aircraft that were subsequently camouflaged received a spray coat of exterior primer before the camouflage. With so many factories building Liberators, I can't be certain that all of them followed the same procedures, but I haven't seen the exceptions yet... Cheers, Dana
  7. Dana Bell

    British Corsair Wing Mods.

    Hi SpadDad, While I'd guess short short by October 1944 (the kits would have been available for over 4 months), it's going to come down to a photo of the aircraft to pin down what actually was fitted. Cheers, Dana
  8. Dana Bell

    British Corsair Wing Mods.

    Hi Graham, I can't say that short short tips weren't used on the Illustrious class. They might not have been necessary, but there are May 1944 orders calling for the replacement of all short tips with short short tips. Kits were provided for ALL aircraft, but that doesn't mean they were all modified, nor does it clarify when they were modified. I can only imagine that having two types of wingtip would force some fairly complicated management of the inventory, just to avoid sending the longer planes to the shorter ships. Also, any Mark IVs sent to the Illustrious class would have had short short tips from date of delivery... Cheers, Dana
  9. Dana Bell

    British Corsair Wing Mods.

    Hi SpadDad, I'm afraid the subject of British Corsair wingtips is a bit more complicated than what we're used to reading. There were three different wingtips on British Corsairs, and some aircraft wore each of the three at different times in their careers. The original wingtip was the standard USN version. There was no separate tip - the outer wing panel was built as a complete unit. This was the wingtip delivered on all Mark I Corsairs, Mark II Corsairs prior to JT425, and Mark III Corsairs prior to JS543. The second style wingtip was called the "short" wingtip. It was standardized at the factory on JT425 and subsequent Mark IIs, and on JS543 and subsequent Mark IIIs. It was also retrofitted to nearly all surviving earlier aircraft. Interestingly, one of the discussions noted above involved some joking about using a hacksaw to remove the original wingtip, but that was exactly what the factory instructions called for. The fabric (which ran all the way to the wingtip) was softened with dope thinner, cut, and peeled back so the wing spar and ribs could be cut back with a hacksaw. An Andover Kent fiberglass wingtip was then fitted into place, the fabric was brought back to the edge, trimmed, stitched, redoped, and covered with enamel camouflage paint. The newer generation of British aircraft carriers had even shorter hangar decks than the older carriers, so Corsairs with short wingtips still wouldn't fit. This led to the "short short" wingtips , which removed the earlier short tips (or any surviving USN tips) and fitted a new Andover Kent fiberglass unit. This was retrofitted to most surviving Mark IIs and Mark IIIs, but apparently not to Mark Is. All Mark IVs were delivered with the short short tips. If you look at the original wing, the modeler's version of the short tip would trim away about half of the USN tip outboard of the inner edge of the navigation light. The short short tip trimmed away about 3/4ths of the original tip outboard of the original light. There are drawings on page 59 of a recent book on the Corsair, but I'm not allowed to advertise the book on BritModeler. [Mods, if this note went too far, please just delete this paragraph, leaving the information above.] Anyhow, check your photos to see which tip is appropriate for the aircraft you're modeling at the given time in its operational career. Cheers, Dana
  10. Dana Bell

    Catalina PBY-2

    Hi Magua, Two notes on Catalina colors: - While most golden age Navy aircraft carried the yellow wing color around the leading edge of the wing after 1935, the Catalina was an exception. The wraparound was ordered to avoid a tiny step at the color demarcation; that step was enough to disrupt the airflow over the wing. But Catalinas had a panel seam line on the leading edge, so the paint was not a factor. Catalinas with the wraparound were VERY rare. - Navy orders had called for yellow atop the stabilizer, but this had fallen out of fashion by the time PBYs came into use. Check your photos, but I don't think you'll see yellow atop any of the PBY stabs. Cheers, Dana
  11. Dana Bell

    1re escadrille du GR 2/33, F-5 lightning colors?

    A couple of notes on recon Lightnings and their colors... The early Lightnings with square camera windows are F-4s and F-4As; the others are F-5As. In the 4-plane lineup above, the 1st and 4th aircraft are F-5As; the 2nd and 3rd are F-4As. Remember that before 1979 Haze Paint and Synthetic Haze Paint were completely unknown in modeling and aviation publications. (There wasn't much on the internet either!) Anyhow, any earlier attempt to describe the recon camouflage has to be suspect - and the Aero Album book was before 1979. Cheers, Dana
  12. Dana Bell

    1re escadrille du GR 2/33, F-5 lightning colors?

    I haven't seen the French thread on this aircraft, nor do I speak French, but I've little doubt that this aircraft is in well-worn Haze Paint. It was a two-layer scheme, and you can see the darker base coat everywhere that the top coat has been stripped away in the slip stream. Cheers, Dana
  13. Dana Bell

    Invasion stripes on Beau(night)fighters

    Hi Michael, Originally, night fighters were specifically exempted from wearing Invasion Stripes; this changed for those aircraft that might be seen over the beachhead. As my old friend Bob noted, most Beau intruders may have been replaced by Mosquitos by then... Cheers, Dana
  14. Dana Bell

    US Navy Aircraft Grey on metal parts 1931-?

    Hi Toryu, The whole gray/aluminum issue bounced around Navy offices for most of the 1920s and ‘30s. Here’s a short rundown, though there were many exceptions to what follows. First, it’s important to remember that nearly all Navy aircraft finish coats were enamels - pigments added to spar varnish. There were experiments with pigmented dopes and lacquers, and the Navy was aware that the Army was having good results, but most specifications and contracts called for enamel finish coats. During WWI the basic overall color could be French Gray or Naval Gray. By 11 Jun 1919 the Bureau of Aeronautics ordered that fabric surfaces be finished in aluminum paint, noting the improved preservative values of the metallic pigment. In June 1924 Tech Order 68 stipulated aluminum enamel on metal, wood, and fabric, but by the following January the fleet was complaining that aluminum-painted hulls and floats were difficult to keep clean. In May 1925 TO 101 revised the Navy’s scheme, calling for aluminum enamel on metal and fabric, with hulls and floats in naval gray. (Most hulls and floats of that time were still wooden.) In October 1926 the BuAer allowed that Aluminum alloy floats could have one finish coat of Navy Gray or aluminum enamel. Continued difficulties with the adherence of aluminum enamel on the Navy’s metal primers led to SR-15a in August 1931: all exterior metal or wood was to be finished in gray, with fabric in aluminized enamel. Tests of new aluminum finishes continued through the ‘30s, and on 2 May 1935 BuAer announced that the overall aluminum scheme would soon be standardized (starting with the PBY-1). Aluminum lacquers were authorized, but BuAer expected continuing reports on their effectiveness. This was formalized in SR-15b on 15 Aug 1936. The change took some time to catch up with older aircraft. Battle Force wanted the aluminum finish to begin at overhaul stations after 20 April 1937, while NAS Norfolk complained that a lack of supplies would prevent them from applying aluminum enamels before June 1937. Somewhere in all of this, the Navy finally learned the joys of aluminized dope. This meant that most aircraft continued to display differences between metal finishes and wood/fabric finishes – it was not possible to match finishes when mixing aluminum pigments with dopes and lacquers. As for any particular model you’re considering, photos will always give you the best indication whether to apply aluminum, gray, or both. Cheers, Dana
  15. Hi Mike, Since you asked... As you noted, the zinc chromate greens varied widely. To start with, the basic zinc chromate primer, while a cool yellow, also varied dramatically. It wasn't mixed from zinc chromate pigment, but from combinations of zinc oxide and chrome oxide. Since the zinc oxide cost less than chrome oxide, paint manufacturers would tend to skimp on the chromium-based pigment, resulting in variations in the primer's final color. There was no standard color for zinc chromate primer, but paint companies were expected to include at least minimum amounts of the two pigments. Most of the variation in the green zinc chromate mixtures came before the B-36 entered production. (See, I cheated and didn't fill up the page with all THAT crazy stuff!) By that time the standard was Interior Green ANA 611, a mix of zinc chromate primer and black pigment. For the first time, a color chip was issued, though there were still some variations in the final color. First, the original primer color still varried with the ratios of the two pigments. And second, the black pigment was to be added as the Interior Green was about to be applied. Earlier experiments showed that black settled out in the can if the Interior Green was stored for any length of time. Those last-minute mixtures came when speed was a bigger issue than color accuracy! So for your B-36 models, if the paint bottle says "zinc chromate green" you could have any of the many early mixtures of that primer, up to and including 1943's Interior Green. If the bottle says "Interior Green," you're probably looking at the color that should have appeared on the original aircraft. Cheers, Dana