All great thoughts, and thanks for the welcome! The stripped off paint theory sounds intriguing, I had not thought of that! If so, one wonders just how long it stayed like this, or even if it ever flew looking like this. The photographer may even have interrupted the repainting process. Maybe the safe bet would be to just model the aircraft as it almost certainly would have looked within a few days, with the band fully painted out but still evident? I agree that there is a lot of over exposure on the upper fuselage, but if you look closely there is a very clear and hard demarcation which runs through the top of the 0, over the top of the 2 and then towards the tail plane. It is too wavy to be a part of the overexposure, which would follow the contour of the fuselage. This follows the standard camouflage pattern. But I had not noticed the aircraft in the background with a very similar tone to its band, thank you! This is very interesting, and I may put it to the test. I agree the balance of probability is that the band is sky and simply looks darker for some reason. The aircraft in the background would corroborate this. But then the spinner backplate is still a lighter tone! Just a lighter version of sky as used by the propeller manufacturer? Agree that this is probably the first squadron assignment for this aircraft. One pilot noted in his logbook the this was a "brand new spitfire". Points to it being delivered in standard markings. I agree that there is very little evidence of partial repaints, and I don't think it would have stayed like this very long. The safe bet would be to model it as it almost certainly would have looked a few days later, with the band fully painted out, or as it would have looked at delivery with a full band. But thats a bit boring! Still not sure why the Zero in the serial is filled with the band colour, to me this hints at a repaint of the band at some stage, surely it would not have looked like this from the factory? Please keep the ideas coming, believe it or not it really is helping to organise my thoughts!
Hi Longtime lurker here but finally making my first post! Almost every time I google a question about British aircraft, spitfires especially, I seem to end up here, so I'm really hoping the collective knowledge base will be able to help me interpret this photo of a Spitfire I would like to model. The photo was recently published in the book "Jack Malloch, Legend of the African skies" and is of a 237 squadron Mk IX, flown by Malloch, in Corsica. I have been researching this squadron for some time, even poring through the squadron ORB, and can confirm that this aircraft operated with the squadron from June-September 1944, mostly flown by Jack Malloch. Here is the photo: 120616004_10158860726676565_5624200246239739255_o by Ed Fleming, on Flickr At first glance this is a great modelers photo, all important parts are visible, aircraft codes, serial, standard looking camouflage- great. But now look at the fuselage band. Something odd is going on. It looks very dark, nearly as dark as the red on the fin flash. Also whatever colour it is fills the 0 of the serial. And finally if you look very closely there is a different shade starting near the top of the 0 and passing over the top of the 2, continuing the fuselage camouflage pattern. My thought is that some sort of repainting/ over painting has taken place but I can't quite figure out what. I can believe that the colour of the lower part of the band is a dark or dirty version of sky, but the colour in the middle of the 0 would suggest that it was not factory applied. The different shade at the top could either be the camouflage colour painted over the band very lightly OR could it be the band painted over the camouflage with the demarcation showing through? An important point of context, Corsica was bombed heavily one night in May and most of the squadrons aircraft were damaged or destroyed. MK402 was one of the replacements for these losses, so the hasty overpainting of bright ID markings is highly likely. Photos of other spitfires in Corsica at this time show the bands painted out, or simply not present. The more I look at this photo, the more confused I get. Any thoughts or help would be most appreciated.