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Pedro Conejo

Keith Park's Spitfire in Malta?

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I'm at the very early stages of thinking about having an idea. It is to model at 1:48, the -or one of- Spitfire V used by Keith Park in Malta. At this point, I know next to nothing about it, except for this photo. It's not tropicalised, which I prefer. Unfortunately, apart from this photo, my researches have produced bubkis about the machine. Does anyone have any more info, or pointers to sources of info on this particular machine, please?

large.jpg?action=e&cat=photographs
THE ROYAL AIR FORCE IN MALTA, MAY 1943. © IWM (TR 1066)IWM Non Commercial Licence

This photo cropped up on here some years ago but only in a discussion about the colour scheme, not the markings or serial.

Thanks for any help,

Pedro

(struggling to get the image to display, bear with, bear with)

Edited by Pedro Conejo

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The same photo appears in the RAF of WW2 in colour.

Caption reads :- Air vice- marshal Keith Park about to taxi out in his personal Spitfire V to mark the opening of Malta,s new air strip to Safi before a throng

of civilian on lookers.

Also a nice shot of the Spitfire climbing away but no pics of the aircraft from the side.

Perhaps our friends in Malta can shed some light on this Spitfire ?

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If it was delivered to Malta direct in 1943, the laid-down scheme was Day Fighter over Light Mediterranean Blue.

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I don't think this aircraft has been identified; Brian Cauchi has this photo in his book but as that only runs to the end of 1942 it is outside the period. I have assumed it was a survivor of the earlier deliveries, and as a somewhat tired airframe it was made available as a hack. Logically, deliveries in 1943 would have been fresh airframes going straight into unit service. I'm uncertain whether Mk.VB were still being delivered this late - but then as a hack it could be a Mk.Vc airframe anyway, or even a hybrid. The colour scheme is either a tribute to his Battle of Britain days or representative of Mediterranean-based fighters in this period. (Even at this stage, at least 249 Sqn. were still repainting their aircraft in the dark blue-grey.)

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Good choice for an early question Pedro!

Has anybody any thoughts on a good enamel match for Light Med Blue please? IIRC Humbrol 96 was mentioned in a post here many moons ago....

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White Ensign/Colour Coats do a Light Mediterranean Blue. But I think the colour on Park's aircraft is Azure Blue. LMB is darker, closer to RAF Ensign Blue and PRU Blue.

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Whatever the underside colour, it was a good match for the actual sky on the day the image was taken. :)

The Type C1 underwing roundel is of interest. Hadn't seen that before.

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Also the angle of the undercarriage points to a Mk.Vb.

I also agree with the DFS, even if the lower surfaces seem a tad light for LMB and look (to me) a little more like AB.

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I admire the imagination of anyone suggesting DFS, but having seen at other printings of this photo, I've no doubt that it is in TLS. I've yet to see any version of Ocean Grey looking brown.

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Hi

I wonder if the spitfire codes were OK-3,one of his hurricanes was OK-2, the other OK-1.

cheers

jerry

hurricane photo at bottom of link

http://rnzaf.proboards.com/thread/6667/ok-1

Edited by brewerjerry

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Hi

OK-1 was a mk I , serial i think P3854

OK-2 from photos is a IIc, (i dont know serial)

cheers

jerry

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I admire the imagination of anyone suggesting DFS, but having seen at other printings of this photo, I've no doubt that it is in TLS. I've yet to see any version of Ocean Grey looking brown.

Interesting, my first impression was TSS due to low contrast and I'm not seeing brown at all, Edgar's mention of DFS had me rethinking until you mention TLS. But I still don't see brown...I'll admit the whole photo doesn't appear true color to me, but I'm not smart enough to put it in the right words, like a filter was used and it's altered all the colors just slightly.

Tim

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I admire the imagination of anyone suggesting DFS, but having seen at other printings of this photo, I've no doubt that it is in TLS. I've yet to see any version of Ocean Grey looking brown.

With all due respect, if that is Dark Brown, it is the least brown Dark Brown I have ever seen... Even the exhaust stubs look browner than it:

large.jpg?action=e&cat=photographs

I would expect Dark Brown to look, well.. browner...

841231a69dec5823cfbf35d49257ade3.jpg

f4675e66ae49475fd6fae0d9bbce22e9.jpg

large.jpg?action=d&cat=photographs

And by then all Spitfires *should* have been in either DFS or Desert Scheme.

To quote Edgar again:

23-2-43 a DTD Technical Circular was issued, in which it said that fighters for desert areas were to be in desert scheme, with azure blue undersides; other fighters for overseas were to be in Day Fighter Scheme, except for fighters destined for Malta, which were to have Light Mediterranean Blue undersides.

So, I am not too convinced about that particular Spitfire having any Dark Brown on her upper surfaces...

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Underside is too light to be LMB, it looks like azure blue to me ...

That what appears to brown at first sight is an enigma, could it be Dark Slate Grey ?

Below the cockpit it seems to be rather a grey than a green but on the lower portion of the engine it looks like Dark Green inded.

Maybe a mixup of colors due to touch up ?

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I'd go with Extra Dark Sea Grey and Dark Slate Grey with Azure Blue undersides - like the Beaufighter that's on display in the RAF Museum, which wears contemporary Malta scheme for the same period as this pic.

Also like the Beau in Tony OT's build here.

Edited by maltadefender

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Folks,

Sorry for the diversion on TLS...my tongue was firmly in cheek about the "Dark Earth".

We'll now return you to your regularly-scheduled programming.

Cheers,

Mark

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Thanks for the input - I've realised that Malta a/c are a cause for great debate due to the lack of decent colour photos. I ordered Cauchi's book yesterday.

I'm going for a Mk Vb, Airfix?

For colours, I'd pretty well settled on Maltadefender's suggestion:

I'd go with Extra Dark Sea Grey and Dark Slate Grey with Azure Blue undersides - like the Beaufighter that's on display in the RAF Museum, which wears contemporary Malta scheme for the same period as this pic.

What is still a mystery is the exact identity, though it looks possible that no serials are on the machine, and any codes that were on it are not visible. OK-3 seems a good guess but I think that for the time being, I'll leave that off. The fuselage roundel is just visible but no clue as to any other markings other than the C.1 underside roundel.

I thought it was an interesting mix of machine a colours but more than that is a bit of an enigma.

Whatever markings it carried, it was jolly clean, as befits the AOC, I suppose.

Cheers, Pedro

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FWIW, I agree with Graham on this. I believe the original image is way too blue as was typical of Kodachrome film if indeed thats what this. Be that as it may, a fiddle around with this image in a photo manipulation programme (irfanview in my case) using known colours such as faces & uniform tan, tends to cut down the blueness & enriches the colours enough that its not too hard to believe that it could be TLF over azure. That being so, I could also make it look like Day fighter scheme complete with MSG under surfaces but then the knowns were all wrong. Before the swords come out, this is just my opinion & rather than proving what it is & this has long been a bone of contention for this photo, it perhaps shows that its also equally impossible to prove what it isn't.:unsure: I originally thought it was TSS over azure but then what is the fresh dark green panel doing where there should be EDSG? I like the idea of OK-3 & if (when) I model this, it'll be faded(ish) TLF over Azure Blue unless someone has come up with some new info that totally proves what it is in the meantime.

Steve.

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FWIW, I agree with Graham on this. I believe the original image is way too blue as was typical of Kodachrome film if indeed thats what this. Be that as it may, a fiddle around with this image in a photo manipulation programme (irfanview in my case) using known colours such as faces & uniform tan, tends to cut down the blueness & enriches the colours enough that its not too hard to believe that it could be TLF over azure. That being so, I could also make it look like Day fighter scheme complete with MSG under surfaces but then the knowns were all wrong. Before the swords come out, this is just my opinion & rather than proving what it is & this has long been a bone of contention for this photo, it perhaps shows that its also equally impossible to prove what it isn't. :unsure: I originally thought it was TSS over azure but then what is the fresh dark green panel doing where there should be EDSG? I like the idea of OK-3 & if (when) I model this, it'll be faded(ish) TLF over Azure Blue unless someone has come up with some new info that totally proves what it is in the meantime.

Steve.

I agree, one can see it in the face of Park in the cockpit ...

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FWIW, I agree with Graham on this. I believe the original image is way too blue as was typical of Kodachrome film if indeed thats what this. Be that as it may, a fiddle around with this image in a photo manipulation programme (irfanview in my case) using known colours such as faces & uniform tan, tends to cut down the blueness & enriches the colours enough that its not too hard to believe that it could be TLF over azure. That being so, I could also make it look like Day fighter scheme complete with MSG under surfaces but then the knowns were all wrong. Before the swords come out, this is just my opinion & rather than proving what it is & this has long been a bone of contention for this photo, it perhaps shows that its also equally impossible to prove what it isn't. :unsure: I originally thought it was TSS over azure but then what is the fresh dark green panel doing where there should be EDSG? I like the idea of OK-3 & if (when) I model this, it'll be faded(ish) TLF over Azure Blue unless someone has come up with some new info that totally proves what it is in the meantime.

Steve.

I agree that it is a difficult one to prove either way.

A lot of the "blueness" comes from the cloudless sky overhead too, and we should take into account both colour variation and colour deterioration due to UV rays (which can happen rather quickly) which acts on different pigments at different rates (I think blue hues can fade quicker than red ones, generally speaking, but I am happy to stand corrected).

An extra complication is the marked variance in tone of OG, often visible in b/n photos and commented upon by Bowyer.

To me that colour still looks too grey to be DE, even after colour correcting the photo, but then again, the green looks somehow less olive than I'd expect.

We are in a grey area, if you pardon the pun...

Flavio

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