Jump to content
This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

Martian Hale

Paint It Black

Recommended Posts

Interestingly I have just received the Xtradecal sheet for the Defiant and describe the colour as smooth night. I suppose its a lot better than a rough night! :coat:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interestingly I have just received the Xtradecal sheet for the Defiant and describe the colour as smooth night. I suppose its a lot better than a rough night! :coat:

I hadn't looked at the subjects on the Xtradecal sheet but the two Defiant squadrons were withdrawn from day operations at the end of August 1940 and they and the new squadrons formed were allocated to night flying duties from early September.

The Air Ministry meeting on 30 October 1940 mentioned in the Ducimus book shown by Troy above instructed that night fighters were to be painted in "special night flying black dope", almost certainly meaning the RDM2 Special Night finish. This instruction was promulgated on 11 November. Those in operational use by Fighter Command were to be painted by units and replacement aircraft by the ASUs. Meanwhile factory production finish would be switched to overall Special Night, with at some point the smooth Night undercoat being applied, perhaps in response to the poor adhesion and wear issues being experienced with the Special Night finish.

So the serial number chronology is important, whether the subject Defiant to be modelled was originally in Temperate Land scheme (TLS) and re-painted or a new aircraft delivered from production in Special Night. For example, the L serials were delivered only up to June 1940 and the N serials from June 1940 to February 1941. Looking at the Xtradecal subjects in night fighter finish:-

V1116 - delivery 6 May 41

N3340 - 22 Nov 40

V1110 - 30 Apr 41

N1773 - 21 Oct 40

AA583 - 15 Mar 42

The Airfix kit subject:-

N3328 - 13 Nov 40

Just to avoid any doubt:-

Special Night RDM2 is the dead flat, sooty black finish which tended to wear badly

(Smooth) Night is the 'black tinged with blue'

Although it's a bit off topic at my blog the Defiant seems topical with release of the new Airfix kit so I'll put some further data and documents about the Special Night finish there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for taking the time to post that information Nick,

Looking at the delivery dates listed above all the Defiant night fighters on the Xtradecal sheet would have been finished in Smooth night from the factory so looks like I won't be doing a heavily weathered one with the original colour showing through. Still it means I will get it finished quicker!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for taking the time to post that information Nick,

Looking at the delivery dates listed above all the Defiant night fighters on the Xtradecal sheet would have been finished in Smooth night from the factory so looks like I won't be doing a heavily weathered one with the original colour showing through. Still it means I will get it finished quicker!

They would have been finished in Special Night RDM2 according to those Air Ministry instructions.

The Boulton and Paul drawings quoted by Ducimus specify Special Night Finish D.T.D./R.D.M.2A. for all surfaces applied over primer 33/B207-209 which was Dark Grey or 33B/260-262 which was Light Grey but in the text it is asserted that Boulton and Paul got several days advance notice of the scheme and were applying a 'primer' finish of Night to D.T.D. 308 over which the R.D.M.2A was applied.

That is interesting because DTD 308 was a two part finish consisting of a primer and a finishing coat. The implication therefore is that at the factory the Defiants were first painted with dark or light grey primer, then with a coat of smooth Night and finally the sooty black finish of RDM2. According to Paul Lucas RDM2 was abandoned in December 1942 and replaced with Night.

However, according to the RAE Special Night RDM2 was never intended as an overall finish for nocturnal operations but only as an anti-searchlight finish on the under surfaces of night bombers. They were alerted to its 'misuse' as a night fighter finish in January 1941 but there the trail goes dead as to if and when it was replaced by Night for Defiant production. The May 1942 Boulton and Paul drawings which included the revised roundels specified no change to the finish other than that 'coloured primer' to DTD 314 (a synthetic matt oil varnish) could be used. The final abandonment of the Special Night finish followed RAE trials in September 1941 after concerns were raised about the drag it caused. Those trials revealed that Special Night was actually less effective in countering searchlights than smooth Night. According to the RAE Special Night was abandoned in October 1942.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for clearing that up Nick and providing the extra info who would have thought a black finish would be so complicated.

Looking at some photos of the Defiant the Black seems to have a finish that is more matt than the roundels.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/06/11/article-2339428-1A428C82000005DC-962_964x685.jpg

http://www.asisbiz.com/il2/Defiant/Boulton-Paul-Defiant/images/Boulton-Paul-Defiant-NFII-AA370-England-1941-03.jpg

Pulling off a finish like this would be tricky as the finished model might look like glossy decals have been applied over a Matt finish I bit like I used to build them many years ago!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another interesting wrinkle is that Ducimus assert that the colours of the upper wing roundels were painted in a non-standardised pale shade to stand out more clearly against the black finish. Whether that was really true I couldn't say.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I'll make all my old Revell/Frog/Airfix/Lindbergh kits as whiffs, paint them black-ish and try to replicate the natty finish. Once I figure it out, replicate the best-est look on the Defiant. Give me something to do with those riveted monstrosities.

Oh, and have loads of modeling fun with the trying!

Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another interesting wrinkle is that Ducimus assert that the colours of the upper wing roundels were painted in a non-standardised pale shade to stand out more clearly against the black finish. Whether that was really true I couldn't say.

Both blue and red?

At least the roundel blue looks extremely light in the video I posted in the Defiant thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'Bith blue' is a nice colour! ;-)

Kind regards,

Joachim

Lol, and buth blue is probably even better :)

Thanks for the hint to my typo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×