Jump to content

Malta blue spitfires


Recommended Posts

Apparently some kind of 'Navy' blue was used...

Sorry, have I just opened the can?

:worms:

Link to post
Share on other sites

I used an old tin of Airfix RAF Blue. Look to match the faded appearance of Extra Dark Sea Grey, which had been described as being used on Spitfires by a ground-crewman on Beaufighters on Malta. Malta Spitfire ace and artist Dennis Barnham described it as blue and as blue grey, using for his art a colour with a stronger blue tint than EDSG might imply. The colour does look very dark when fresh, but more of a medium colour once faded, which certainly fits the behaviour of EDSG. Light Mediterranean Blue appears a little light, and perhaps not grey enough? PRU Blue is perhaps too grey, but something in the range of those three colours would suffice.

Just beware which aircraft actually used this colour: those from Calendar overall uppers but Bellows had Temperate Sea Scheme, plus those that had the Middle Stone of the Desert Scheme overpainted. Not all did. It does seem that the overpainting was largely restricted to those units at Takali, particularly but not uniguely 249 Sqn.

Now let the worms wriggle.

Edited by Graham Boak
Link to post
Share on other sites

There were several different colours used. Different batches seems to have been painted in different colours - there was not just one "blue"..

Which is a boon - plenty of opportunities.. ;)

I built a Special Hobby Vc and used Extra Dark Sea Grey. It looks okay but a bit too much like a Sea Fire. More blue next time.. That would look sweet! :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

The designated colour was Dark Mediterranean Blue (Malta referred to it as "sea scheme," hence the years of confusion,) going back as far as some Hurricane deliveries; some of the first Wasp delivery were painted "correctly," with the rest painted on board, which would explain the use of Wasp's own blue paint.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

Well if it is a re run, my old comment ..

there was a webpage of a Wasp vet, who said he used deck paint

The link is long lost in my harddrive,i doubt i could find it now :(

cheers

jerry

Link to post
Share on other sites

Up until recently the Royal Navy used a glossy blue colour on its Motor Transport which dated back to before WW2 and it appears that stocks of this colour were still available in the Malta Dockyard during the Siege of Malta after all Motor Transport changed over to wartime camouflage. To make the submarines of the 10th Submarine Flotilla harder to see in the clear water this MT colour was used on the subs and it proved to be so successful that a very similar colour was officially implemented using marine paint.

This same colour would be ideal for aero use too and having seen the blue colour on the submarines below it must have been quite easy to lias with the Navy and obtain supplies of this stored paint, especially after stocks of Extra Dark Sea Grey at the maintenance and seaplane base at Kalafrana began to be used up.

Although it was a glossy colour it would soon matt down in the hot sunshine and was probably thinned down anyway and even mixed with other colours, especially using black. Some units, especially 249 Sqn like to have `bulled up' their Spitfire`s using polish to eak out some extra speed. Other Malta Spitfire`s and Hurricane`s appear to have had the nose and leading edges of the wings bulled up for a similar reason.

Here is a post war RN lorry wearing a version of this colour, which can look vastly different viewed under different lighting conditions or even from another angle;

DSCF6089_zpswdxbj2wj.jpg

DSCF6092_zpszhaq36qi.jpg

Here is one of my rare marine models, representing a sub of the 10th Sub Flotilla painted up in the blue scheme;

DSCF2371_NEW_zpsvbw0unvb.jpg

And for what it is worth,.....here are some of my Malta Spit models painted in the blue scheme,.......

First of all a 249 Sqn bulled up Spit and as this particular one appeared quite dark and glossy I added some black to the blue too;

DSCF0549_zpssmhouixc.jpg

The rest show what I imagine the colour would have looked like after weathering;

Blue%20codes_zpsdys6cpt9.jpg

DSCF6728_zpsyc13f9vf.jpg

SH%20Kit_zpsare5hsjx.jpg

DSCF3306_zpssxgjrnfj.jpg

Well after all of that,....what colour did I use?

I have tried quite a few departments of the MoD, the RN and RN Museum to find an exact colour reference for the RN colour and also some vintage military vehicle organisations too,... but to no avail,.....if anybody knows the exact BS colour and name I`d love to know because it has apparenty remained the same colour since the 1920`s!

Rightly or wrongly I have used various versions of US Sea Blue aircraft paint on my model from a number of different manufacturers,......ie the dark blue used on top of the tri colour US Navy aircraft scheme.

I do hope that this helps,...if not,.....oh well,..at least I tried!

Cheers

Tony

Edit- I had been saving this info for my 2nd Malta book but as it doesn`t look like it will ever see the light of day,...here it is,....and .most of you probably know this stuff anyway!

Edited by tonyot
  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Up until recently the Royal Navy used a glossy blue colour on its Motor Transport which dated back to before WW2 and it appears that stocks of this colour were still available in the Malta Dockyard during the Siege of Malta after all Motor Transport changed over to wartime camouflage. To make the submarines of the 10th Submarine Flotilla harder to see in the clear water this MT colour was used on the subs and it proved to be so successful that a very similar colour was officially implemented using marine paint.

This same colour would be ideal for aero use too and having seen the blue colour on the submarines below it must have been quite easy to lias with the Navy and obtain supplies of this stored paint, especially after stocks of Extra Dark Sea Grey at the maintenance and seaplane base at Kalafrana began to be used up.

Although it was a glossy colour it would soon matt down in the hot sunshine and was probably thinned down anyway and even mixed with other colours, especially using black. Some units, especially 249 Sqn like to have `bulled up' their Spitfire`s using polish to eak out some extra speed. Other Malta Spitfire`s and Hurricane`s appear to have had the nose and leading edges of the wings bulled up for a similar reason.

Here is a post war RN lorry wearing a version of this colour, which can look vastly different viewed under different lighting conditions or even from another angle;

DSCF6089_zpswdxbj2wj.jpg

DSCF6092_zpszhaq36qi.jpg

Here is one of my rare marine models, representing a sub of the 10th Sub Flotilla painted up in the blue scheme;

DSCF2371_NEW_zpsvbw0unvb.jpg

And for what it is worth,.....here are some of my Malta Spit models painted in the blue scheme,.......

First of all a 249 Sqn bulled up Spit and as this particular one appeared quite dark and glossy I added some black to the blue too;

DSCF0549_zpssmhouixc.jpg

The rest show what I imagine the colour would have looked like after weathering;

Blue%20codes_zpsdys6cpt9.jpg

DSCF6728_zpsyc13f9vf.jpg

SH%20Kit_zpsare5hsjx.jpg

DSCF3306_zpssxgjrnfj.jpg

Well after all of that,....what colour did I use?

I have tried quite a few departments of the MoD, the RN and RN Museum to find an exact colour reference for the RN colour and also some vintage military vehicle organisations too,... but to no avail,.....if anybody knows the exact BS colour and name I`d love to know because it has apparenty remained the same colour since the 1920`s!

Rightly or wrongly I have used various versions of US Sea Blue aircraft paint on my model from a number of different manufacturers,......ie the dark blue used on top of the tri colour US Navy aircraft scheme.

I do hope that this helps,...if not,.....oh well,..at least I tried!

Cheers

Tony

Looks like BS 114 Rail Blue.

Don't be put of by the name, many BS 381c colours have been renamed over the years.

Selwyn

Link to post
Share on other sites

I reckon you should paint it the first dark blue/grey colour you can find, put photo's on here, and challenge peeps to prove you wrong, could last for months.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a two penny worth, but it might provide context. I've seen some pictures on the interweb of several Spitfires aboard a USN carrier. I can't remember which one, but there were several photos, of several Spitfires, pictured in close proximity to several F4 Wildcats. All black and white pics, of course, but the point I took home was that the Spits are one colour all over, and there is no visual contrast between the tone of the Spits and the Wildcats. Whatever colour the Spitfires were, it was appeared tonally close to whatever was being used on the Wildcats.

And no, I don't know what it means or whether it helps either!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hiya Mitch,

I know exactly what you mean and know which photos you mean but remember that judging by the early markings worn by the Wildcats that they have already had their paint on them for over a year and in a maritime environment at that, so they were faded in comparison to the freshly painted Spits.

According to one veteran who was aboard the Wasp the US paint was running out as they painted the Spits so they had to eak it out using thinners and black paint,.....which would make the final aircraft even darker still.

Cheers

Tony

Edited by tonyot
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Hiya Mitch,

I know exactly what you mean and know which photos you mean but remember that judging by the early markings worn by the Wildcats that they have already had their paint on them for over a year and in a maritime environment at that, so they were faded in comparison to the freshly painted Spits.

According to one veteran who was aboard the Wasp the US paint was running out as they painted the Spits so they had to eak it out using thinners and black paint,.....which would make the final aircraft even darker still.

Cheers

Tony

I think I'm going for the same colour as the wildcats upper camo( my opinion and not to be taken as gospel!)

My own opinion is that the Spitfires flown off USS Wasp may well have been painted in a US Navy colour, possibly non-specular blue-gray.

Likewise I'm going with that!

Link to post
Share on other sites

According to this thread the RN Museum stated the paint was special order not a BSi standard and was darker than 105 Oxford Blue but not as dark as 106 Royal Blue:-

http://forum.lro.com/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=85028

A dark oxford blue known as RN Blue or Admiralty Blue. I wonder if it has also been called 'Bosun Blue'?

FWIW I ran an analysis of the BSi published L*a*b* values for those two colours and calculated the mid-way hue which is Munsell 5.3 PB 2.5/2.2 - approximate in appearance to FS 25051 @ 2.19 where < 2.0 = a close match.

The closest blue to the colour of Edgar's pre-war Mediterranean Blue chip is FS 25052 but it is poor @ 4.57 - only just within likely variance in paint colours. The difference between the RN Blue and Med Blue is 9.73, the main reason being that the latter is more saturated and lighter/brighter.

The pigment formula for 25052 contains no black whereas 25051 does.

Nick

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...

Just seen the above on Facebook, posted by a Maltese man. Caption reads "75 years ago today... the 1st USS Wasp Spitfire VCT delivery to Malta.. Operation Calendar... 601 & 603 Sqdns... 601 Sqdn flight about to take off"

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

For the Calendar colours, look to last year's research by Paul Lucas (published in two issues of Scale Aircraft Modelling around January 2016) into original correspondence stored in the National Archives.  It was not the USN's Blue Gray (as is pretty clear anyway from photos from Wasp showing both types at the same time, or indeed the colour photo of Weaver's crash) but British colours.  In particular Dark Mediterranean Blue, although some aircraft were initially painted in Temperate Sea Scheme before delivery to Glasgow and there was at least some repainting.  To my great annoyance I have mislaid the folder containing these articles (and others!) and until this folder resurfaces I can't be more precise or detailed.  Presumably a few other modellers have read these articles?

 

As for comments supposedly based on anecdotes from sailors on Wasp, be very careful.  I recall one correspondent who informed us that his grandfather told him that the aircraft on Wasp were repainted four times because of changing signals during the journey.  Given the conditions in the hangar on this short journey, I don't consider this as having any credibility, but it would explain why they were running out of paint!  If they were - I have also seen it denied, supposedly from USN records, that Wasp took on any British paint at all.  That source refused to be drawn on whether the Wasp records included any of the Spitfires' necessary oils, coolant, or other spares likely to be required.   Grandfather's account may however contain a trace memory of the Malta contingent's rejection of the Temperate Sea Scheme: who knows?  . And perhaps there are boxes of Spitfires buried under Burma's runway(s).

Edited by Graham Boak
2016 not 2106. Duh!
  • Like 2
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
×
×
  • Create New...