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Test Graham

Hurricane "spaghetti" scheme: I said it was blue!

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I've just finished Chis Shores et al's new Mediterranean Air War, in which he quotes Flg Off John Jackson, 3 RAAF: "the new type of mottled blue, grey and purple camouflage on the nose, leading edges of wings, and front surfaces...." I've long suspected, and argued, that blue makes much more sense as the light colour than the Mid Stone usually presented in profiles, but grey and purple?

As far as I've found this is the only mention by a contemporary - at least there's no mention of brown or yellow.

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Do you think Roald Dahl's Hurri was painted in that scheme whilst in Greece?

Cheers

Chocolate colour? :D

Patrick

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Do you think Roald Dahl's Hurri was painted in that scheme whilst in Greece?

Cheers

It could have been, but most of the photos I've seen weren't. At least one flew out, and at least one (perhaps the same?) was abandoned. LEMB has just shown another captured Hurricane with a variation of this scheme (smaller spots) but hasn't identified where the photo was taken: Troy Smith posted that he'd seen a number like this abandoned on Argos - I've asked him for more information.

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"the new type of mottled blue, grey and purple camouflage on the nose, leading edges of wings, and front surfaces...."

Interesting, I am having trouble envisioning it. Not disputing it, just can't see it in my mind's eye.

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"the new type of mottled blue, grey and purple camouflage on the nose, leading edges of wings, and front surfaces...."

Interesting, I am having trouble envisioning it. Not disputing it, just can't see it in my mind's eye.

Seriously? assuming so, try http://www.ebay.de/itm/Foto-Fallschirmjage...I-/150852765207 but the scheme is also seen elsewhere, including on this board. (I just can't find it....but it is!)

The scheme was photographed often enough, although never explained and left to posterity to imagine what the colours might have been. The intially accepted suggestion that it was a background of Mid-Stone and meant to represent wrap-around Italian camouflage for ground-attack work, perhaps because it was first recognised on 208's FR Hurris. However, the light colour contrasts with Mid Stone (much lighter) and it was also seen on dedicated fighter units - and even on carrier-borne Fulmars. An air-to-air scheme reducing the head-on silhouette effect makes more sense - which would also work on air-to-ground missions, of course. There were BoB Hurricanes which took the undersurface colour up around the nose and in a wavy line on the wings, so perhaps there is some connection between the two.

I think I can dispute the purple.....

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Got to agree that I to never thought the base color was MS or similar. Always thought gray or light blue, especially as it was clearly different from the MS when applied to a MS?De aircraft.

But given the other colors in North Africa, from where? The Italians were still probably with underside gray.

But light blue and purple would be easy mix. Insignia Blue and white for one and Insignia Red, Blue and a touch of white for the other.

But why bother going to that trouble. Don't think the RAF was concerned about making a fashion statement.

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Seriously? assuming so, try http://www.ebay.de/itm/Foto-Fallschirmjage...I-/150852765207 but the scheme is also seen elsewhere, including on this board. (I just can't find it....but it is!)

The scheme was photographed often enough, although never explained and left to posterity to imagine what the colours might have been. The intially accepted suggestion that it was a background of Mid-Stone and meant to represent wrap-around Italian camouflage for ground-attack work, perhaps because it was first recognised on 208's FR Hurris. However, the light colour contrasts with Mid Stone (much lighter) and it was also seen on dedicated fighter units - and even on carrier-borne Fulmars. An air-to-air scheme reducing the head-on silhouette effect makes more sense - which would also work on air-to-ground missions, of course. There were BoB Hurricanes which took the undersurface colour up around the nose and in a wavy line on the wings, so perhaps there is some connection between the two.

I think I can dispute the purple.....

It is actually the purple - not the blue or the grey :hypnotised: But as Steven says it would be an easy mix.

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It could have been, but most of the photos I've seen weren't. At least one flew out, and at least one (perhaps the same?) was abandoned. LEMB has just shown another captured Hurricane with a variation of this scheme (smaller spots) but hasn't identified where the photo was taken: Troy Smith posted that he'd seen a number like this abandoned on Argos - I've asked him for more information.

Not me Graham,

There was an assumption that it was a Sea Hurricane as the other pics were naval.... right, a bit of googling gets the thread, here, pics courtest of of Tim [Tango India Mike]

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.p...topic=234917725

pic in question

201109182219341.jpg

interesting thread. Tim's comment is interesting.

More likely an R.A.F. Hurricane, rather than Fleet Air Arm. I've seen other photographs that suggest this scheme, but those ones have either been taken on too difficult angles or have not been of sufficient quality to convince me of the 'aluminium' leading edges and spinners. Admittedly, this one is not of good quality, either, but the finish is unmistakably aluminium. Painted or stripped to bare metal, I don't know. The high contrast of the camouflage colours is interesting, also. Is this the so-called 'sand and spinach'?

HTH

T

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This is a classic case of jumping to a conclusion that reinforces your personal belief as demonstrated by the title of the post. The quote is ambiguous and says absolutely nothing to establish what the base colour was or whether it was one of the three mottled colours mentioned. It might as easily be grey mottled with blue and purple or those three colours mottled over natural metal or some other colour. Sure, you can draw a conclusion that the base colour was possibly blue on the basis that it makes sense to you (and that's what you want it to be!) but there is absolutely nothing to confirm it. And it just says "blue" - the anecdote might have been recalling or noting a darker blue. Was the aircraft one of those photographed? Were the colours always the same?

The quote doesn't give a reason for the camouflage although the full context is not shown - so more speculation. And it doesn't make sense to dispute the purple if you accept the rest of it, just because purple might seem an unlikely camouflage colour for the RAF. Either you belief the anecdote is true or you don't. But even if true there is the difficult aspect of colour perception.

Personally I think the base colour in the linked eBay photo looks silvery, as do the aircraft in some film footage and the most recent pic posted here, but there is no smoking gun or silver bullet on this one.

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Sorry Troy, I should have said Tom Willis.

Re Tim's comment, the FAA has some excellent photos of the RNFU's Hurricanes in this scheme, and there is even some film of them. So there's no reason to doubt that this is an FAA Hurricane. It is interesting in that it clearly is basically the Desert Scheme, whereas the Greece/Crete examples were in Temperate Land. It does appear to be freshly painted, with the very dark Dark Earth seen in some RAF Hurricane views. Possibly that's why the light colour on the leading edges looks so reflective, and hence metallic? It's just very new from the paint shop?

The new Shores book does quote 2nd August 1941 as the date for the first appearance of Tomahawks in the Desert Scheme, and states that this was "now to be applied to all aircraft in the theatre; until this date all aircraft had been finished in the Temperate Land scheme of green and brown, with sky undersurfaces." It's very useful to have that date, though naming the source would have helped, but it's quite clear that by no means all aircraft had previously been operating in unmodified Temperate Land. That's without discussing the precise colours on US-supplied aircraft.

Nick: I thought I was making my personal bias quite obvious. However, given the established knowledge of interest in the theatre for blue undersides, it is hardly an unreasonable assumption. Such a widely-adopted and maintained practice does not appear out of nowhere: there must have been a reason behind it and without contemporary comment we are entirely free to have reasoned discussion as to the purpose - after all, our predecessors have done just that. The point that can safely be established from this contemporary comment is that the colours were not the brown previously commonly assumed.

The quote says nothing about natural metal or any other colour, making this is an even greater invention on your part than any stated preference of mine. Not least because RAF aircraft of the period (and many others) would not have bare metal. In particular, the DAF of this period was largely operating from airfields on a fairly narrow strip of land next to the coast - a salt-laden atmosphere very conducive to corrosion.

Edited by Graham Boak

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Oh well. Must follow correct path of enlightenment.

Interesting to note that stenciling was applied over the added camouflage. Left wing root. And the over spray oat the base of the prob blade. No IPMS award for that modeler!

6e9d4d56.jpg

a8acf538.jpg

317359b9.jpg

505c0ef5.jpg

Edited by Steven Eisenman

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Nick: I thought I was making my personal bias quite obvious. However, given the established knowledge of interest in the theatre for blue undersides, it is hardly an unreasonable assumption. Such a widely-adopted and maintained practice does not appear out of nowhere: there must have been a reason behind it and without contemporary comment we are entirely free to have reasoned discussion as to the purpose - after all, our predecessors have done just that. The point that can safely be established from this contemporary comment is that the colours were not the brown previously commonly assumed.

The quote says nothing about natural metal or any other colour, making this is an even greater invention on your part than any stated preference of mine. Not least because RAF aircraft of the period (and many others) would not have bare metal. In particular, the DAF of this period was largely operating from airfields on a fairly narrow strip of land next to the coast - a salt-laden atmosphere very conducive to corrosion.

I agree it is not an unreasonable assumption. I was not advocating natural metal but only highlighting the possibilities of ommission! I have no preference!

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There is also the reference to "Iraqi Sky", a blue/yellow/aluminium mix used in the Middle East before the adoption of Azure Blue. Possibly the same colour as Light ME Blue as referred to in the discussion on SAAF Hartbees. Lucas quotes a description of this as "tinted aluminium" but at some 21% reflectivity it would seem to be rather darker than what appears in b+w photos. Perhaps the FAA example just has a little too much Aluminium in the mix?

Ah, but I do have a preference. By stating a hypothesis, people can be moved to produce more evidence either for or against, and we can advance in knowledge. The hypothesis may well prove inadequate, much as the "pretending to be Italians in ground-attacks" hypothesis has been discredited by the additional information that has come forward since it was first advanced. Hopefully there is more yet to come.

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Okay, so if I understand the arguement here, the notion is the "blue" color is whatever was used on the bottom of the Med Hurricanes was carried up from the bottom of the plane to the nose and leading edges of the wings and the squiggles or blotches (or both) were gray and/or purple? Interesting.

In my own case, I am collecting research for a Dahl Hurricane (I've got an airframe number) for use in Greece and I have been considering a mid-stone and green spinach camo for the nose, based on what research I've been able to piece together. But this additional bit or research is rather interesting. The one thing that makes me lean towards going with midstone and green is the timeframe as the Battle of Athens was in in the spring while August would be the late summer. So I am wondering if it is possible that both schemes might have been used and one was sort of an evolution of another (i.e. use the same pattern, but mess with the colors a bit). The idea of a tan and green splotch scheme for the nose to make Italian ground targets THINK that the plane headed towards them is an Italian one rather than an RAF one does seem to be more logical. But as time went on, "perhaps" (because we don't know) somebody decided to alter the colour palette to do something more like a "dazzle" scheme on a ship to see how effective that might be.

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Ok, as long as we are trying hypotheses. I note that low, scrub mountains are a frequent geographic object in many pictures. What if flying low it was discovered that the mountains behind the aircraft revealed its shape all too clearly. So by camouflaging the nose and leading edge and forepart of the underwing, the shape of the aircraft was broken up, such that clear ID was not good and targeting of the aircraft (determining height, distance and speed) was more difficult. Worked for ships, why not for aircraft.

Just think and visualize.

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Ok, as long as we are trying hypotheses. I note that low, scrub mountains are a frequent geographic object in many pictures. What if flying low it was discovered that the mountains behind the aircraft revealed its shape all too clearly. So by camouflaging the nose and leading edge and forepart of the underwing, the shape of the aircraft was broken up, such that clear ID was not good and targeting of the aircraft (determining height, distance and speed) was more difficult. Worked for ships, why not for aircraft.

Just think and visualize.

As i was reading through this thread, that same thought crossed my mind too. I have trouble with the 'make it look Italian' hypothesis because that same 'look Italian' works against the aircraft when viewed head-on by friendly forces. However, as an aid in simply making an approaching low flying a/c harder to pin point, such as the wrap around white on the leading edges and cowl fronts on ASW aircraft, it sort of makes sense.

Edited by Chuck1945

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Although the delivery timescale might suggest Mid Stone and Dark Green, this scheme results in a very high contrast between the colours with the lighter colour around the cockpit area. Photographs of Hurricanes in Greece and Crete generally show two dark colours, as usual for the Temperate Land scheme of Dark Green and Dark Earth. There are one or two examples showing a greater contrast, but IIRC these did not have the mottled leading edges. The first of Stephen's examples does, of course! Was this a Cretan example, or Argos?

What this photo does show is that the background colour is not the undersurface colour wrapped "up and around" but is lighter than the underside. If we assume that the underside is the official Sky, or even Azure Blue, then the background colour is unlikely to be the darker "Iraqi Sky", although the underside might be. Which makes the standard wartime "Sky Blue" a possibility.

I suspect that not all the examples are consistent - some do appear to have the undersurface colour wrapped around and the style of the mottling varies from longish stripes to rounder dots, the latter being less common.

One problem with the low-flying hypothesis is that the Hurricane was the chief air-superiority fighter at the time this scheme was adopted and in general use. The scheme seems to have fallen out of use just when the aircraft took up the fighter-bomber role, which was not until very late in 1941 and even then only with one squadron and 40lb bombs. They did of course carry out some low-level attacks, but this was not their prime role so would be unlikely to result in a scheme seeing such wide-spread acceptance. Another problem is that it appears on carrier-borne Fulmars with no ground-attack role.

What we need is a desert filter for a Mk.I Hurricane so we will have to make a personal decision on how to paint the thing!

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What we need is a desert filter for a Mk.I Hurricane so we will have to make a personal decision on how to paint the thing!

Well, Hasegawa did one for their Hurricane. I agree though if you mean a desert filter for the Italeri Hurricane (in 1/48 anyway).

I think the reason why the Italian hypothesis is prevelant is the Italians got pushed back in North Africa rather quick when the British came into the picture. So somebody was thinking that some Italian paint stocks might have been located at a storage depot and somebody got creative. To me, it makes some weird sense from an "in the field" perspective where a crew chief might have had to patch up some bullet holes on the front of a damaged kite and all he had was this paint... so he went to town. Later on, the "science" of camo patterns likely would have popped in where some other experiments would have been tried. I don't quite know how effective any of these camo patterns would have been, but pilots and crews tend to like trying anything if it might potentially give them an edge in combat (within reason anyway).

I've seen enough that I may at least try some test paints of these colors on some scrap parts before I go to town on a Dahl Hurricane though, to see if the coloring looks good or if it might be a bit garrish. Now what would be a good purple to use?

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Personally I think the base colour in the linked eBay photo looks silvery, as do the aircraft in some film footage and the most recent pic posted here, but there is no smoking gun or silver bullet on this one.

RAF version of Aotake? :rolleyes:

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Re the origins of "Italian" assumption. I'm afraid I don't think that the first thing any groundcrewman thinks of is how to use captured paint onto their aircraft. There's a lot of effort put into making sure that aircraft are NOT misidentified: to head in the opposite direction is just plain perverse.

I suggest the assumption stems from the initial link with 208 Sq and its low-level fighter recce role. Together with the longer strings of the mottled colour (hence "spaghetti"), and the thought of it being the upper surface camouflage colour wrapped down, then we have a consistent set of ideas. If the earliest well-publicised photo had been the example captured in Crete, with no specific connection to low-level operations and small spots of mottle on a colour that was lighter than the underside, then these connections would not have been made.

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Hi,

I have not informations on those Hurricanes, but I think that the resemblance with Italian camouflages is misleading. In my idea, it is a matt aluminium or grey overpainted to the original camo (eventually with some blotches of camo color if they have exaggerated with the repainting).

Aluminium (and grey in a lesser way) can reflect the sky if seen from below, and reflects the ground if seen from above. Or at least, it's so that the painter could have thought.

Regards

Massimo

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Graham,

Thankyou for posting this. The photos suggest something towards the darker shades.

In regard to the Mid-Stone/Dark Green, I would point out that all the archive documents (i.e. AMO and Communications) have the colour scheme as Dark Earth/Mid-Stone throughout 1941. There never was a Dark Green/Mid-Stone scheme officially stated. The only reference I have yet seen is that from Ian Huntley in his 1980s article. Whether some units adopted this unofficially is not known.

Cheers,

Mark

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There never was a Dark Green/Mid-Stone scheme officially stated.

AMO A.513 Camouflage Colouring and Markings of Aircraft 10th July 1941 para 3(ii)(a)(i):-

". . or dark green and mid-stone, according to the nature of the country in which they are to operate."

It might have been an error but it was an officially stated error.

Edited by Nick Millman

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