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Dana Bell

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About Dana Bell

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    Arlington, Virginia

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  1. Hi Steve, I'm afraid paints have changed a good bit since I did any real modeling - I don't have much experience with what's available today. (I still miss Pactra's Flat Roof Brown and Antiglare Green for mixing my own OD!) Anyhow, I'm sure there are folks here better equipped to recommend a good mix or out-of-the-bottle... Cheers, Dana
  2. Hi Steve, The early Birdcage cockpit color was Dull Dark Green - a sort of forest green color with only a touch of blue. Around April/May 1943, near the end of Birdcage production, the Dull Dark Green was ordered dropped once stocks were exhausted. Interior Green was to be the replacement color, but Vought got permission to use up its stocks of aluminized zinc chromate first. The Vought stocks would have been much brighter, something we Americans often call a "candy apple green." The last Birdcage Corsairs would have been delivered in August, and we don't know how much aluminized zinc chromate remained in stock, so it isn't clear if any aircraft were delivered with Interior Green cockpits. Even after the change from Dull Dark Green, many interior parts were still delivered in that color. Dull Dark Green seats, rudder pedals, joy sticks, even side consoles could be installed all the way into F4U-1D production. Your Tamiya cockpit could be more colorful than the instructions suggested! Recycled Birdcages had their cockpits repainted near the war's end - so if you're doing one of those Glossy Sea Blue stateside trainers the cockpit would have been either Interior Green or Interior Green with black above the side consoles, depending on where the aircraft was refurbished. Good luck with the build - it's a wonderful kit! Cheers, Dana
  3. Dana Bell

    F4U-1 Corsair

    Hi Shelliecool, I'd recommend the blue prop boss - the aircraft shown on Block Island was an early birdcage Corsair. By the time the -1Ds (like your model) came around, most of the bosses were delivered in Glossy Sea Blue. Looks like you're doing a great job, and sounds like you're enjoying the build. Keep up the good work! Cheers, Dana
  4. Dana Bell

    North American O-47

    Hi Tweener, The two O-47 cockpits I've seen (one in person, one in period color photos) were Dull Dark Green, a dark flat lacquer that was not oily like Bronze Green. I've never gotten a good look in the belly of an O-47, but I suspect it would have been aluminum lacquer. Zinc chromate primer was a very cool yellow. Before the war it could be tinted with aluminum (aluminized zinc chromate) to yield a bright, candy-apple green, or tinted with aluminum and black (Yellow Green) to yield a more pastel green shade. During the wartime aluminum shortage, manufacturers were given the freedom to use other pigments to tint zinc chromate - red and gray being the most common tinting media. In 1943 the US Army and Navy posted a black and zinc chromate formula standardized as Interior Green. In application, yellow zinc chromate was always the first coat. Most manufacturers then used a tinted zinc chromate as the second coat - the tint announced to inspectors that an aircraft had two complete primer coats. A third finish coat (if one was applied) could be aluminized lacquer or any left-over camouflage lacquer. Cockpits were originally green (one of the darker shades or one of the tinted chromate shades) to reduce interior reflection on instruments during night flights. In 1944 black was officially added as a cockpit anti-glare color, as was Medium Green camouflage paint (which was rarely used). Good luck with the model - I always loved the the O-47's lines, but it managed to represent the US Army's attempts to build a better aircraft to refight World War One. Cheers, Dana
  5. Dana Bell

    Painting practice for foreign built aircraft for RAF

    Hi Stuart and all! Sorry to be so long joining the discussion - it's been a busy week! I don't have any firm and simple answers to your original question, but I can give a few directions to look when you're deciding what colors to use. There was a great deal of confusion about which interior colors to use at any given factory. Wright Field correspondence noted - to their unhappiness - that there didn't seem to be any single set of rules being followed when painting aircraft interiors. Additionally, the colors used by each factory changes several times during the war - this in response to changing policies or materiel availability. Mustangs were built without primer on most interior surfaces, but the RAF objected to the lack of corrosion control. It appears the factories may have primed more surfaces beginning in 1944, but I'd be very surprised if the Brits didn't add primer to their own Mustangs before then. There's a lot of conflicting information, and not enough of it can be confirmed. For example, the undated tech order above calls for OD rather than Dark Green on RAF camouflage, and that is doubtlessly true from some point in time. But 1943 photos of factory fresh Mustangs often show a dramatic difference between the green on the American aircraft and on the adjacent British aircraft. The anti-glare panel is ordered to be OD, but may Mustangs were delivered with Dull Dark Green antiglares; others appear to have been black. The cockpit is called out in Interior Green, but that color wasn't created until mid-1943 - for example, an earlier Mustang Mk.I delivered to the UK couldn't have used Interior Green. The old Ducimus publication on Mustang colors even quoted a tech order calling to Dull Dark Green Mustang cockpits. When it comes to written documents, I've generally found tech orders and specifications to be the least reliable. They usually follow what the AAF (or USN) thought should be the standard, but then each manufacturer could apply for an exemption, or simply ignore the written instructions. During 1942 and early 1943, US manufacturers were given tremendous wiggle room when it came to paint. The 1942 aluminum shortage spelled the end of Yellow Green for most companies - and each company was allowed to find its own solution (if you'll pardon the pun). Curtiss, for example, tested three different interior colors before settling on a Berry Brothers formula, which the AAF then approved for use whenever Yellow Green was called for. One Mustang tech order called for Interior Green lacquer, even though AAF specs were very clear that Interior Green wan NOT to be purchased as a lacquer - it was to be mixed from primer in the factory before use. (So what did THAT color look like in use?) The correspondence files seem to be the best place to find written evidence of how any aircraft interiors were painted - it's there that we learn the Northrop "forgot" to paint the cockpit of the first two XB-35s, that Douglas used its own Pine Green cockpit color, that Vought had permission to use its leftover stocks of aluminized primer ("candy apple green"), or that Curtiss had it's own cockpit green in 1942. Wrecks provide some of the evidence we need when tracking colors, but each wreck only represents a particular aircraft at a given point in time. Photos add similar evidence, but it's a real challenge to tell if a photo shows Yellow Green (aluminum and black tinted zinc chromate), one of the company-created greens (such as Curtiss Cockpit Green), or one of the peculiar cockpit greens created in the US to duplicate British Grey Green. But for model building, any one of those options just might be close enough. So, for Mustangs the evidence is still limited and conflicting. While I hope one day to work the Mustang at the Archives for a few months, there are now 11 other project of my own that must be completed first. I hope this gives you a few more options, if not perhaps too many options. Either way, enjoy the build! Cheers, Dana
  6. Dana Bell

    Mosquito Photo Help?

    Hi Steve, Your third photo shows the group commander - Leon Gray - with his aircraft. As Christian noted, the spacing and orientation are slightly different in your second photo. All I can read is "Pilot Maj xxxx xxx xxxxx." Back when I was trying to track the 25th BG's missions (1977?), I recorded the date, mission type, and serial of each aircraft, but neglected the crew names and targets. If you can contact the USAF historical research agency at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, someone there may be able to check the eight mission reports for you - surely the pilot whose name appears on the aircraft must have flown at least ONE of those missions. The dates that you need to review are 3, 6, 10, 12, 22, 29, and 30 March 1945, and 18 May 1945. The Skywave was flown on 25 March. I don't know if you can see them in your shot, but that same image has eight white clouds with red thunderbolts to represent the eight Bluestocking missions. If there was any sort of mission symbol for the Skywave mission, I see no evidence of it. The name on the right side has always been an issue. Jeff Ethell came up with the slide, and my copy is a generation removed from his. The first letter is almost certainly a stylized capital "P" - but the top of the letter wraps around and stops just short of the middle of the character, so it could be a really strange "T." Next is an "a," then what looks like an "m" with an odd wrinkle in the border above it, then what seems to be an "e" (with "c" also possible). The next letter is partially on the edge of the nose glazing, partially on the glazing itself, and looks like an "l" with an odd wrinkle at the top - almost the number "1." The last two characters are completely on the glazing, an difficult to read because of the light shining through. First is almost certainly an "i," and the last is another "a." Jeff read this as "Pamelia" - even though neither of us had heard of such a name before, but a quick check of Google today (it didn't even exist back then) reveals that is is still a very common name. A French company (was it Skywave? That would have been a coincidence!) released a 1/72nd conversion kit for the Airfix Mosquito many years ago - they included decals for this bird, but their name looks like "Thusifer" to me. I'm not sure if anyone else does any version of the decals. I look forward to seeing your completed model - the 25th has always been my favorite WWII unit, and I get a kick out of any build of any of their aircraft. Cheers, Dana
  7. Dana Bell

    Mosquito Photo Help?

    Hi Steve, The aircraft was with the 653rd Light Weather Recon Sq, received by the unit on 6 Dec 1944. It flew only eight operational Bluestocking weather recon missions (with the first on 3 March 1945) and a single Skywave Loran calibration mission (on 25 Mar 45). I'm not certain what the aircraft was used for the rest of the time. The WX was the squadron code, with the F the individual aircraft code. The underwing markings weren't added until after VE day, though the individual letter was carried on the tail during operations. No luck on additional photos - I've got the two you showed, but I still can't read the text on the left side of the nose. BTW, I suspect the aircraft never carried any form of invasion stripes. Cheers, Dana
  8. Dana Bell

    Question on the prop on P-40B on Pearl Harbour Dec 41

    Hi Guys! There were two types (and colors) of prop painting, and both were seen on early P-40s. For antiglare purposes, the aft face was painted Maroon - and never on the forward face. You'll usually see the application stops a ways from the hub, not covering parts of the prop that would be blocked from the pilot's view by the forward fuselage. (I suspect this was where the Japanese learned to paint their props maroon.) The Maroon was NOT painted on the props of Tomahawks bound for the UK. The other dark prop painting was for camouflage purposes, and began to be introduced in 1940. To cut the reflection of a spinning prop in flight, the entire prop blade was painted flat black or (in rare cases) Instrument Black - a satin finish black used on instrument boards. Yellow tips were eventually added as a safety color to both types of prop, though they were rarely seen on the NMF/Maroon props. I can't say I've seen much use of Maroon by modelers, but every now and then you'll find the color in a contemporary color photo or an old wooden model. Cheers, Dana
  9. Dana Bell

    Grumman Duck photo with emblem of unit - which unit?

    Hi J-W, That's VS-64, an inshore patrol squadron based on Halavo in the Solomons when the photo was taken. The figure is a red turtle in a blue-bellied black shell with white wings; he carries a black spyglass and a stands atop a black bomb; the whole insignia is on an orange-yellow oval. (I painted this one up for a book, so PM me if you can't find it on line and I'll send you a j-peg.) VS-64 was flying Kingfishers at the time, and there were very few J2F-4s. One had the number "1" behind the cockpit; I suspect this one has a "2" - but that's just a wild guess... Cheers, Dana
  10. Dana Bell

    Glass panels in lower fuselage on Grumman Wildcats?

    Hi Thud4444, My favorite secondary source is the Aircraft Pictorial book: https://www.amazon.com/Aircraft-Pictorial-No-F4F-Wildcat/dp/B007RXXGZE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1514828982&sr=8-1&keywords=dana+bell+f4f To be honest, I have a love-hate relationship with the author, but he seemed to do his homework on that one. Despite the memories of a pilot or two, it was impossible to see the landing gear from the Wildcat cockpit. With his head fully aft, the pilot had a 13-degree view of the world below him. If his vision was extended an additional 5 degrees forward, he would - at best - be able to see the aftermost tread of the tires on fully extended gear. Didn't happen because it couldn't happen... I admit that I haven't done as much work on the P-38, but I've yet to see any downward windows in that aircraft. Martin Caiden tended to play a bit loose with the facts; I suspect that in Fork-Tailed Devil he was confusing the reflective mirrors set inboard of the nacelles to check on the gear retraction/extension. I spent two years researching the Corsair at the US National Archives - every document referred to the ventral window as the bombing window. (Because of the problems with carbon monoxide leaks, there were a LOT of documents referring to that window.) Having sat in a Corsair or two, I can assure you that there was no way to see the landing gear through the bombing window. Tom Wildenberg's well researched Destined for Glory describes the Navy's mid-1930s decision to hang bombs on all its fighters to suppress the anti-aircraft guns on enemy ships, giving dive bombers and torpedo planes a better chance of hitting their targets. The bombing window gave the pilot a better view when deciding to attack. Cheers, Dana
  11. Dana Bell

    Glass panels in lower fuselage on Grumman Wildcats?

    Hi guys, While there were probably many uses for the windows, they were officially listed as bombing windows. Cheers, Dana
  12. Dana Bell

    MTO B-25J Colour question

    Hi guys, I borrowed the original of "6S" from Pete Bowers several decades ago; although it may seem blue in this reproduction, it was actually OD. Cheers, Dana
  13. Dana Bell

    MTO B-25J Colour question

    Hi Troy, I had a very different image, and there was no question that the vertical tail was blue. Cheers, Dana
  14. Dana Bell

    MTO B-25J Colour question

    When the question of the 319th's tail colors came up many years ago, I asked Esther Oyster, a historian with the 319th's reunion association. Esther found no one who remembered black or white, but she did produced a beautiful color shot of one 319th B-25 with the cobalt blue tail. (Wish I still had a copy of THAT one!) The 319th certainly began repainting the tails of their A-26s in the Pacific, using the same blue. That didn't mean Roger was wrong in the C&M title - over the years, he has been proven right far more often than not! While the reunion group didn't remember the black, they didn't remember the white either. USAF photo 113601ac shows an OD 319th B-25J (43-3636, #67) over Vesuvius with a white-painted vertical tail. As for the transfer of a blue-tailed 319th Mitchell to the 340th, it certainly makes sense. The only question is: where did the 340th get the paint to over the old 319th battle numbers? Cheers, Dana
  15. Dana Bell

    Vought O2SU Kingfisher....surely a dumb question

    A few more details have come up since I wrote that piece for HyperScale. All OS2U-1s were delivered with colorful pre-war schemes and Vought floats and were assigned to ships. More OS2U-2s were ordered, a few with colorful pre-war schemes, the rest in camouflage. Those assigned to ships received Vought floats, those assigned to shore duties were issued Edo floats. The Vought floats did not perform well at sea, and were replaced by Edo floats soon after camouflage was introduced. (So anyone wanting to use an uncamouflaged scheme will need the Vought floats.) All OS2U-3s that were delivered with floats received the Edo versions. (Many -3s were shore-based trainers or assigned to inshore patrol squadrons, and were delivered without floats.) I hope this helps when matching color scheme to an after market float. Cheers, Dana