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Dana Bell

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  1. Hi Jack, That "hole" in the fuel tank access is just the shadow of the vertical handle used to open the hatch. Cheers,
  2. Hi Ade, I've no direct knowledge of the cockpit changes, but I suspect two changes were made: the US instrument arrangement would have been altered to meet the UK's "basic six" and the oxygen system would have been changed from the US demand system. The proper seat belts should have been installed at the factory, though I've no documentation on that. Cheers, Dana
  3. I can't say much about the wing guns - I've never dug into the operational records of the Midway defenders. However, the aircraft were all SB2U-3s, which were all delivered with Dull Dark Green cockpits. The aft fuselage was fabric covered, so you'll see the clear-doped fabric showing through the Dull Dark Green metal framework. Cheers, Dana
  4. Hi Aleksandar, I'm aware that some Blue Gray over Light Gray Birdcage Corsairs were field modified by the application of a darker blue (either N/S Sea Blue or Dark Blue), but that's not what I see here. First, no aircraft left the factory in the scheme seen in the artwork above; the initial Corsair camouflage scheme is very well documented, and dated photos (with BuNos identified in accompanying records) prove this. The camouflage demarcations remained unchanged throughout production. In order for the scheme to be a modification of the Blue Gray/Light Gray camouflage, we have to be able to see evidence of that scheme. The pix of 126 are not very clear, but I can't see the original scheme there, particularly with the lighter fuselage color coming so far down the engine cowling. (The lateral color painted on the fuselage under the stabilizers also helps with identification, but we can't see that area here. Correspondence between BuAer and Vought discuss problems with the demarcations in the 4-tone graded camouflage. Clear, high resolution photos of aircraft with demarcations like those seen in the artwork above match the scheme described in the correspondence. Those photos also show the undersides to be white. Roy and I discussed this scheme some years ago. He is a thorough researcher, and produces well thought-out decals and artwork. We disagree on this scheme, as sometimes happens when two researchers approach a topic from different directions. While I have no doubts about what I'm saying, that doesn't mean I'm right. Cheers, Dana
  5. I hope you'll all bear with me as I get a grip... For hand holds on the right side of the Corsair fuselage, every aircraft had a push-in, horizontal hand hold just forward of the windscreen. A diagonal handhold was later added halfway down the fuselage directly below the horizontal hand hold; this second grip was not seen on Corsair Is, IIs, or IIIs, but was introduced on Corsair IV KD762. (Another hand hold was added to the left side of the fuselage, just forward of the windscreen, late in Goodyear production, but I can't find if or when that turned up on Corsair IVs.) The step in the right inboard flap was originally a kick step (later converted to an open step after the war). Like the second hand hold, the flap step was not seen on Corsair Is, IIs, or IIIs - it was introduced on Corsair IV KD868. It's unclear if Brewster ever replaced the bombing window with an aluminum-skinned hatch. Vought made the change on Corsair II JT425, while Goodyear began the change before the first Corsair IV was built. While I've read secondary sources talking about field unit painting over or plating over the window, I've never found any documentation to support this. (That doesn't mean ir didn't happen, but no one explained what they were doing to BuAer. The cowl flaps switched from hydraulic operation to mechanical very early in production, so no hydraulic cowl flaps were ever seen on FAA Corsairs. Other fluid leaks and forward visibility continued to be a problem, so field units were directed to disconnect and batten down the top three flaps. A change order directed field units to remove the top three flaps and replace them with a sheet of 064 gauge 24ST Alclad sheet. As this "dead cowl flap" tended to tear off in flight, a second change order switched to a more robust replacement made of reinforced 051 gauge 24SO Alclad. The factory began delivering British aircraft with dead cowl flaps (though it's unclear which version) on JT425 (Vought) and all Corsair IIIs and IVs. Cheers, Dana
  6. Hi Hans, I hope you find the sheet! A word on the colors, though - new evidence makes it clear that the scheme shown should be White, Intermediate Blue, N/S Sea Blue, and Semi-gloss Sea Blue. The Blue Gray over Light Gray scheme with this high demarcation seems to be a misinterpretation of the four-toned camouflage. Cheers, Dana
  7. Hi Gord, The Archives has a ton of paper debating the Corsair's tires, but all of it covers to tires' composition (nylon, rayon, etc) and none of it mentioned the tread. I'm sure that somewhere the Navy had some decision-making time on the tread for all it's fighters, but I'm afraid I've never found it. Uniforms are outside of my expertise - others will know far more than I can guess at. The easiest color equivilent is Sea Gray, which is 36118 in FS595a. (Note that there was a color change in 595b.) Dark OD is not well matched by any 595 color, though 34087 (again from 595a) is commonly listed. Documentation shows that the color of OD varied greatly between and within wartime manufacturers. Sky is 34424, but questions remain (at least in my view) about the nature of Sky from US producers. The cowl flaps remained connect from the factory for quite some time - battening them down was initially a field modification. There were also two replacement panels for the cowl flaps; the first had a tendency to rip off in flight, which is why a second version was created. Like the battened flaps, the replacement panels were initially issued as field mods. BTW, I've had so many questions about the changes in cockpit configurations that I'm now working on a self-published monograph on the subject. I hope to go to press with the first Rivet Counters' Guide in about a month... Hope this helps! Dana
  8. Hi Gordon, Corsair II serial JT410 was the Vought-built Corsair #1924; it was delivered with standard US Navy wingtips which were almost certainly replaced with "short" British wingtips in service. The first Corsair delivered from the Vought factory with short wingtips was JT425 (construction number 2545). A May 1944 change order provided kits for "short short" wingtips for all remaining production (which would eventually cover all Corsair IVs) and kits to modify already delivered aircraft. The short short tips would allow the Corsair to fit the 14-foot hangar decks of the Indominable, Implacable, and Indefatigable. Although all the FAA Corsairs were expected to switch their short tips for short short tips, the change was really unnecessary for the 16-foot hangar decks of most British carriers. From most angles, it's difficult to tell which tip is on an FAA Corsair (which is probably why the two different tips have been ignored in most references), so I have no proof that JT410 got the short short refit. Interior colors for JT410 are fairly easy to guess. Most interior spaces were primed with one (for Alclad) or two coats (for all other alloys) of yellow zinc chromate. Note the "1st Coat" stamp found inside the FAA Museum's Corsair -- a second coat would have changed the appearance of that marking. Most of the cockpit would have been sprayed Interior Green, a mix of yellow zinc chromate and black. Instrument panels and side consoles would have been Instrument Black (and eggshell finish). NASM's F4U-1D was the 2840th Vought Corsair built. Its seat, rudder pedals, joy stick, and side of its right-hand console were still painted Dull Dark Green, long after the color was dropped from the rest of the cockpit. It seems likely use of that color continued at sub-contractors for some time. This matters because JT410 was delivered well before NASM's example. (It will also help add to the impression of any model's cockpit!) Vought factory drawings have the following notes: -- Undersides Sky 71-021 enamel (the US version of that color) -- Landing gear structure to be Sky 71-021 or USN Light Gray (using up stocks of that older camouflage paint and components already painted for Navy use) -- Main gear wells to be the same - Sky 71-021 or Light Gray -- Upper surface camouflage to be Dark Olive Drab 1071-028 and Sea Gray 71-19324 I don't see any indication that the undersides might have been one of the USN grays, nor does it appear the FAA would have appreciated the change. Anyhow, hope this helps! Cheers, Dana
  9. Hi Jerry, I hadn't seen that discussion before - a great thread. It is significant, though, that no one (including myself) was aware that Dark Blue was so widely available at the time, or that it was stocked on Wasp. The more documents that we find at the Archives, the more we realize that not everything we know is true. Cheers, Dana
  10. Hi Troy, I never spoke with Jack about the three Blue Gray chips in his book, so I don't have details about what he found. When Jack got out of the camouflage writing business he passed me his documents and reference materials, but I never found anything discussing the chips. That said, Chip 1 looks very much like the November 1941 chips seem in the National Archives. Chip 4 resembles Sea Gray/Extra Dark Sea Gray, which specified as a substitute for Blue Gray in the ANA agreements; I've never seen proof that the substitution ever was or wasn't made at factories or in the field. Chip 3 may be derived from Dark Blue, but I can't compare Jack's book to the tiny chip of Dark Blue at the Archives. Dark Blue was a richer purple-blue than Sea Blue or Blue Gray, lighter than the Sea Blues and darker than Blue Gray. However, by December 1941 the Fleet was complaining that Blue Gray was too light to be effective leading to many attempts to find a darker camouflage paint - Jack's Chip 3 might be one of those attempts or a reasonable match for Dark Blue. There are many color photos of Navy aircraft in a darker camouflage paint over Light Gray undersurfaces - these pix might have been poor representations of Blue Gray or they might have shown Dark Blue. While I've seen records showing extensive use of Dark Blue, I still can't point to a photo and say - with any certainty - that we're seeing Dark Blue instead of an over-saturated color photo. Cheers, Dana
  11. Hi Graham, Just a note - I can still be wrong about US Navy paint being applied to Spits, but we're not talking about Non-specular Sea Blue. In addition to the well known standard Blue Gray camouflage, the Navy was standardizing a color called Dark Blue to replace Blue Gray (which was considered too light). Thousands of gallons of Dark Blue were produced and applied, though the color is not yet mentioned in any known popular books on Navy aircraft camouflage. Two things support the possible use of Dark Blue on Spits: Wasp was one of two carriers supplied with quantities of Dark Blue as part of the original experiment and page 200 of Chris Shores' Malta: The Spitfire Year notes that the application of blue paint was still underway when Wasp sailed. I don't claim that the Spits were painted Dark Blue, but since other sources were unaware of the existence of the paint or its presence on the carrier at that time no one could include its use as one of the possibilities. It certainly bears consideration. Cheers, Dana
  12. Hi Geoffrey, Thanks for sharing the list. The P-40A wasn't included, but it did exist. At least two P-40s (no suffix) were modified as recon aircraft and assigned the P-40A designation. Since they were modified "in house" they were not assigned contracts, Cheers, Dana
  13. Hi Gordon, Do you have the serial number for Shepherds' Corsair (if you're still considering modeling his aircraft)? If it is a Goodyear machine, the carbon monoxide vents were factory-installed and were different than those added by the Brits. Also, all Goodyear FAA Corsairs had Glossy Sea Blue Camouflage on delivery and short-short wingtips. (Brewster and Vought FAA machines had FAA camouflage and could use either the short or the short-short wingtips.) Cheers, Dana
  14. Each paint manufacturer could offer Dark Olive Drab as a lacquer, an enamel, a temporary water-based paint, and/or a dope. The AAF did not specify the pigments to be used, just the properties to be met. In 1942 the AAF insisted that each company reformulate their OD41s to reduce the IR signature versus enemy recon photography. By early 1943 (I don't have the date handy) manufacturers were told to reformulate again, since chromium-based pigments (useful for IR-sensative paints) were becoming rare. The switch was expected to result in greater use of organic pigments. ANA 613 was lighter than OD41, so the AAF preferred to use their original color. When one paint manufacturer later complained that they'd never received an ANA 613 color standard, the AAF told them to continue using their OD41 formulas and mark the cans "ANA 613." And - as Super Aero pointed out - while we're interested in matching the original color standards, the AAF never rejected a paint sample that strayed from the color standard. Cheers, Dana
  15. Hi Steben, I've got originals of most of the US military color standards. I've two copies of the pre-war 3-1; one copy is showing the damage of acidic paper, migrating glues, and uneven storage, while the other set certainly suffers from the same effect, but appears much cleaner and undamaged. I've a set each of the permanent and temporary camouflage color card bulletins. Note that they continue the Quartermaster Corps' numbering system but were not part of 3-1. I've also got several copies of the May 1943 3-1, and several of the Air Corps, Navy, and ANA color standards. I can direct you to similar standards in the National Archives collections if you're ever in DC (and when they are able to reopen. As you noted all of the color matches were made with FS-595a, shortly before 595b came into common use. Though the credits in AFC-1 were unclear, the 3-1 matches were performed by Kenneth L. Kelly of the National Institutes of Standards. The AAF color matches came from the great Ross Whistler. The biggest problem with "raw" or "original" color standards is that none of them are really permanent. The paper- and card-mounted chips are subject to deterioration from acids, hydrogen peroxide (great for bleaching hair or fueling rockets), and the effects of the glues that hold them in place. Even the porcelain enamel chips suffer from the wooden boxes they were stored in - wood can off-gas hydrogen peroxide for decades. The color matches in the Air Force Colors books were provided to give a rough idea of original appearances; 595 was chosen because (at the time) it was a very inexpensive standard that was widely available. Being able to recognize that a color was, for example, redder than a 595 chip was never precise, but it was more helpful than a very general note that a color might be a very dark greenish brown. Hope this helps. Good luck with your color research! Cheers, Dana
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