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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 Andre, There were two versions of the Tactical Paint Scheme (TPS) used on F-4s. The first test version was 35237 on top, 36495 below, and 36375 in between. The scheme was used on the following aircraft from VF-103: 153855, -862, -872, -877, -887, 155519, -735, -747, -767, -784, -812, -829, 157245, and -257. (Many of those aircraft were subsequently transferred to VF-171.) An unrecorded number of VMF-312 aircraft also tested the scheme. The approved TPS was darker for F-4s. Upper surfaces were still 35237, but the sides were switched to 36320 and undersides to 36375. Nearly every TPS Phantom wore this combination. There's one other issue on the TPS colors. Some government flunky at the General Services Administration changed the colors standards when creating the B version of FS 595, and some of the changed colors were used in the TPS. The two major US paint suppliers were Deft and deSoto, one of which matched their paints to FS 595a (which is what the military wanted) and the other to FS 595b. Repaints and touch-ups rarely matched, and two aircraft newly repainted in TPS might not look anything like each other. Adventures in modeling! Find the paints that best work for you and enjoy the hobby! Cheers, Dana
  2. Hi Occa, The original is a 4x5 Kodachrome transparency at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum; it clearly shows the the green. The colors turn up in a Grumman schematic as Extra Dark Sea Gray, Light Sea Green, and Duck Egg Blue. (While we understand that Duck Egg Blue meant "Sky," Grumman apparently didn't know this in 1940. The photos clearly show the belly in a pale blue that might have been Sky Blue.) All three colors seem to be confirmed by the Martlet I restoration at the FAA Museum. Cheers, Dana
  3. Gingerbob and Crimea River are right about AAF use of Canadian-built Mosquitos. There were 40 accepted as F-8s through some screwed up version of Reverse Lend-Lease (the US provided Lend-Lease funding to build the aircraft in Canada, then had to negotiate to borrow aircraft from Canada, then had to pay for the aircraft not returned after the war). The first 8 (not 6) were Mk VIIs and the balance Mk XXs. In summer 1943 a trio of the converted Mk VIIs took off for North Africa, ostensibly via the southern route. One crashed on Ascension, one developed engine trouble in South America and eventually turned back to the US, and only The Spook made it to North Africa to fly combat missions. (There is some question of The Spook's flight route - reports have her flying via the South Atlantic, but photos show here during a stop-over in the UK!) Everything I remember has Jonathan and Jennings doing a particularly good job on that sheet. I provided some small assistance, but they did all the leg work... Cheers, Dana CORRECTION - My serial list had KB326 and KB328 as Mk VIIs - they were Mk XXs, so Crimea River's numbers of 6 and 34 were more accurate than mine! Dana
  4. Hi Lawzer, When the turrets went away, everything associated with them went too - the P-61 was way overweight, and the pounds removed with the turret almost helped enough. Someone recently posted (I don't remember on which site) that some of the Ninth AF P-61s left the R/O in the back, clearing the gunner's area. I've not seen that documentation, but most of the aircraft cleared the aft compartment and moved the R/O and his equipment to the gunner's seat. The story of the P-61s losing their turrets because the B-29s had a greater need is not quite accurate. The P-61 turret caused major buffeting problems, which led to its removal until the problem could be solved. Someone "noticed" an extra 200 turrets lying around unused, and had them modified to fit the B-29. (The bomber also needed extensive modifications.) Even at the war's end, many of the P-61 "turrets" were simply fixed gun positions, and the aircraft were flown by two-man crews. Cheers, Dana
  5. Hi J-W, The last Corsair II delivered with a bombing window was JT424; records on Corsair IIIs don't give much info on the windows; no Corsair IVs had the windows... Cheers, Dana
  6. Hi Giorgio, I'm not sure where Archer came up with his formula for Neutral Gray 43, but there was no such formula in any of the AAF's specifications or tech orders. Cheers, Dana
  7. Neutral Gray was adopted for undersides as a high-altitude camouflage. Above 10,000 feet, the earth's atmosphere reflects enough light to make most aircraft appear silvery - the dark gray helped make AAF aircraft appear smaller and farther away. The standard never changed, but some folks applied a much lighter gray than specified. I'm not sure if some Neutral Grays 43 were produced as lighter colors, or if some aircraft manufacturers used a lighter color thinking it seemed preferable. As noted above, photos are your friend... Cheers, Dana
  8. Hi Valenstitch, You might be better off finding which Corsair II you wish to model first. For example, the aircraft Chris shows above is from a limited batch of 80 aircraft (JT555 thru JT634) that carried the original CL fuel tank; on all subsequent Corsair IIs the centerline fuel provisions were removed at the factory, while none of the earlier aircraft had the provisions for twin bomb racks. I'm not really sure which drop tanks were used by the FAA once the centerline provisions were removed, but the Revell tanks (which I've not seen) might be correct. (Also, knowing which aircraft you'll model will help you chose between the short wingtips and the short-short wingtips.) On the original question about bombs and racks, I'm not going to be much help either - the "-1Ds" all left the factory with the same racks, but the records over here don't say much about any changes made in the UK or on its ships. Best wishes with the project! Dana
  9. A recent discovery at the National Archives shows that the plans for the Merlin-powered Mustang were a bit more complicated than we all first thought. With the need for speedy production originally trumping the need for improved performance, the plan was to add the Merlin to the original production airframe and call that model the P-51B. An improved version was to lower the wing and change the fillets, calling that version the P-51C. In the end, all production Merlin Mustangs had the repositioned wing. Cheers, Dana
  10. Dana Bell

    Mosquito markings

    Matave, You're in Sweden - may I guess that this aircraft is also in Sweden? If so, I suspect we're looking at the 25th Bomb Group Mosquito that landed there in April 1945. Again, if this is so, the unit histories and known photo will not be of much help with the mission marking colors - and I've been looking at that unit since the early 1970s. I suspect you'll have to work with your own best estimate. Cheers, Dana
  11. Hi Dana,

    I have found two gif files on http://www.p40warhawk.com/Models/Technical/Technical.htm that show camo and paint schemes for export P-40 / H81-A2. These are super low resolution and unreadable. Do you know where I could obtain better copies?

    http://www.p40warhawk.com/Models/Technical/Paint diogram 01.GIF

    http://www.p40warhawk.com/Models/Technical/Paint diogram 02.GIF

    Thanks, Nobby

    1. Dana Bell

      Dana Bell

      Hi Nobby,


      I have the drawings, but can't get to them this week.  Drop me a line at danabell@earthlink.net and I'll try to scan them for you next week...






    2. Nobby Clarke

      Nobby Clarke

      Many thanks

  12. Hi again, BS_w, What you're saying makes sense, but that's not how Haze Paint worked. I've been collecting on the Haze Paint story since the mid-1970s, and while the undercoat isn't explained well by the drawing, it was very clearly explained in the instructions from the designer, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lockheed, and Wright Field. (I recently discovered some US Navy records on the scheme, and the black base coat was noted there too. The report came with sample strips of Cabot Haze, but the paint had long since worn away.) Without the black undercoat, the paint just didn't turn blue. Even when Lockheed began developing Synthetic Haze, they argued that the black base coat would have reflected better had it started as a deep blue. Clearly, when painting a model, you'll have a better effect if you paint the bottom white, but Haze just didn't work the way our model paints work. Cheers, Dana
  13. Hi BS-w, Yes, that's one confusing drawing. The white is included in the key only for use in the national insignia. The underside base coat was black, with a heavy application of Haze as a finish coat. The idea was that most of the spectrum would pass through the Haze to be "absorbed" by the black undercoat; the Haze would then reflect in the blue range. A white undercoat wouldn't have "absorbed" much of the spectrum, which is why black was standardized. When you see F-4s and early F-5s with scrapes through the Haze coat, the undercoat is universally dark. Cheers, Dana
  14. Morning, All! Here's a bit of clarification on the Haze Paints. The original Cabot Haze was applied over a totally black base coat. The heavier applications of Haze to undersides resulted in a very light blue, while the lighter applications on top gave a much darker blue. The vertical surfaces in between were graded from light applications down to dark. Since accurate applications were nearly impossible to measure, there was a great deal of variation the the appearance of these aircraft, and as the slipstream and maintenance crews wore away layers of paint, the entire aircraft began to darken (particularly noticeable on leading edges). The scheme was also very difficult to to retouch. Two other paint companies provided their own versions of Haze. Cabot took exception to the violation of his invention, but just as everything came to a legal head, the iridescence problem was discovered - at altitude the finish began to glow. During F-5A production, Lockheed developed a two-color lacquer scheme that became known as Synthetic Haze Paint - a deep blue was applied overall, with a much lighter blue on undersides, in shadow areas, and graded up vertical surfaces. In the color shots of 267332 above, you can see the countershading on the boom beneath the wing - a clear indication of Synthetic Haze. Higher resolution copies of that photo also show the more subtle countershading on the vertical surfaces. (Note that Xtracolor X160 probably needs a second color to make the scheme work - Synthetic Haze certainly wasn't monochromatic.) As with the original Haze Paints, the lighter shade wore away with time - rubbed against by crews or the slipstream. The AAF debated the value of Synthetic Haze, eventually eliminating it from the mod centers that built F-5Cs and Es. However, the Director of Photography was convinced that the paint helped protect his crews, and it was often applied in the field. Some units simply used a firm demarcation between the two blues - like a blue version of OD over Neutral Gray. B&W and color photos can be hard to interpret - especially since many aircraft were instead painted with British paints. If you can recognize two shades on your F-5E, you've got Synthetic Haze. If you see only one shade, you're probably looking at one of the British colors. (A number of decal sheets have been released with incorrectly identified schemes - the decals are still good, but you may want to re-evaluate your base scheme.) Best of luck with the model! Cheers, Dana
  15. Sorry Grey, I've never found a record of the primers used for UK-bound Wildcats. I would expect that to coats of zinc chromate would be standard, but I don't know. On other aircraft the British Purchasing Commission seemed more concerned about corrosion than the Americans were, so I'd guess Light Gray. The FAA museum is restoring an early Martlet - there might be some evidence there. But pre-1942 aircraft often used different standards than post-1941 aircraft, so I couldn't guarantee that a later aircraft would use the same interior colors. Cheers, Dana
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