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ErikB

Belgian Air Force roundels & codes; which are correct?

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Hi guys,

Before I bought the Airfix Hurricane "Ragwing" kit that also includes Belgian markings I had already bought the Kora Models decals.

DSC01540.jpg

There are significant differences in colour, proportions and dimensions. What are your opinions as to which does resemble the originals best?

Cheers,

Erik.

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Hi Erik

you asked this over on ARC as well....where I posted the following, but this maybe of interest here too.

this site
has photos of a lot of the Belgian planes, note the camera logo leads to a photo, but for ease of reference.
here's H 22
H22_ROBA_B138_7_2_HURRICANE_.jpg
this line up shot shows the roundel proportions
well
h30_rb.jpg
this hows the style of underwing numbers, and roundel placement well
h42_vdm_04.jpg
Looks like the Kora are not good, and the Airfix one are the ones to use.
HTH

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The kora ones look to light on the yellow that's for sure.

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You might seek advice on DACO products (Belgian company) homepage. The Kora decals may have a yellow too bright, but the Airfix decals may be too dark (not much).

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Hello,

If you go t the site of the belgian "musée royale de l'air" you may find a color picture of a (britisch) Fairey Battle in the Belgian colors.

There you will notice that te cocades of Airfix are better than those of Kora.

The cocades of DACO are after WWII and I believe also too yellow.

I also think that the thistle was surrounded by a brown belt, as the official sqaudron emblem is a thistle surounded by a leather belt with the inscription "Nemo me impune lacessit" (Although one picture I posses -copy-right musée royale de l'air- can make us think it might have been red - so a bleu or green belt might be possible as there are, still now, in a squadron red, green and bleu sections - but nothing confirms that it was already applied that time in the Belgian Air Force, lesser on the fuselage)

So again airfix is preferred above Kora (except if you cut out the belt around the thistle) i.e. H-39 did not had the belt around it's thistle... Pictures also show Belgian Hurricanes with only the thistle.

Concerning the black coding H-XX I personally would prefer those of kora as in my opinion they match more those on the pictures (see the picture of H-42 - to be noted, without thistle and only 4 wingguns as it is the first Belgian produced Hurricane). The Airfix black coding is way too narrow - those of Kora, it has to be admitted, a tad too large, but closer to those of the pictures.

For the white coding on the rudder you are free to use either Airfix or Kora.

It has also to be noted that H-36, H-37, H-38 and H-39 are interned English planes and had the underside of the wings white and black.

H-39 has a three blade (following me DH propeller wirh a Rotol spinner) - anyway if you look at the picture it is, following me, obvious a Rotol spinner, but not very obvious the blades are Rotol.

Also is to be noted that H-24 has a personal emblem, that is correctly represented on the Kora sheet. If that emblem was on both side of the plane is unknown to me.

I think I wil do the H-24 (as it is supposed to be the only Hurricane with one victory on its palmares -10-05-1940. Destroyed at Le Culot - Beauvechain on 11-05-1940) and H-39 because it's propeller seems so contradictory and it black and white wings that I personally like.

So I do hope that might help you and give also some additional information that might be needed when building your Belgian Hurricane.

Best regards

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Thank you for some additional details. A very useful first post. :)

I'm guessing you are Belgian?

a couple of additional points.

You are correct, this is a Spitfire type Rotol propeller on H39, though unusually this aircraft has fabric wings.

h39_ed_01.jpg

As for roundel colours, the roundels were applied before delivery by the British, so RAF yellow is the most likely colour.

EDIT

By Fairey Battle, you mean this one. not a ww2 era photo?

6169267753_91ea1b5fe0.jpg

No idea there was a Battle in Belgium!

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The Kora sheet also has the centers black instead of dark blue

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Hello;

yes indeed, I am Belgian, Living in Diest, the Belgian Hurricanes and Gloster Gliadiators "home".

If you look the Hurricane just delivered in Evere (with even the wrong code "H-"19 on the rudder), you can presume that it might be british RAF yellow.

Though I am pretty sure that the coding were done at Evere before their transit to Schaffen - so we might presume the cocades where repaint to the correct Belgian colours. The squadron emblem was painted at the base of Schaffen following my informations.

Yes I mean that (Britisch) Fairey Battle that has been restored at the museum as a Belgian Fairey Battle :).

The Battle has been acquired by the Belgian MoD in April 1937, 16 were delivered and assigned to the 5th squadron of 3rd aironautical regiment, based at Evere and assigned to the "reconnaissance" (scouting).

the serials are from F3258 till F3273, the two last digits of the serial preceded by a T made the Belgian identification (T-58 -> T-73)

There is a color picture (of the era) of the Brewster Buffalo (339b) in Belgian colours, the NX-56B, On that picture the yellow is also more yellow than usual on the normal Belgian cocades.

The ordered Belgian Buffalos never arrived in time. And a part of the ordered batch has been taken over by the RAF. The other part (6) that was in transit on the french carrier the Béarn where stocked in the Martinique. The first build Belgian Buffalo arived in Bordeaux on 28 of may 1940 and was braought overto Germany by the Germans. If it has been tested by them is unknown, but they probably have.

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the belgian cocade is red, (light ocre) yellow and black; that are the correct colours.

The red,yellow and dark bleu is not Belgian, I thought Romanian (but not sure of it)

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I also think the colours of the cocades used by Airfix are probably based on the cover of the book of John Pacco "Het Militair vliegwezen- l'Aéronautique militaire -1930-1940"

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For weathering a Belgian military plane during the interlude (thus, till 10-05-1940),; you have to know that the aeroplanes were washed everyday at the end of the day, If you observe the pictures you might notice very few wheathering and oil strakes.

From the independence of Belgium onwards, the defence budget has always been low, and the Belgian army had very quickly learned to take very well care of it's (mostly obsolete) material.

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This is fun. Apart from DACO, Syhardt (or whatever the name) also have cocardes for the Spitfire with a yellow strongly matchung DACOs. If we use the Belgian flag as a guideline, the yellow seems rather yellowish, but again, I do not have access to the original. But again, are there official matches for the yellow and the red around?

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I did a little extra digging:

Found these:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Roundel_of_the_Belgian_Air_Force.svg

http://www.pj-production.be/en/decals/45-pjdec002-cocardes-belges-type-1.html

PJ-productions decals seems not far removed from DACOs interpretation.

By the way, the list of cocardes with a dark blue centre indicates Tchad. Tchad's yellow is also more brownish that the Belgian ones are supposed to be.

So we have a little riddle here? (and I will in a moment return to se another episode with this famous Belgian detective, Ercule Poirot).

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I also think the colours of the cocades used by Airfix are probably based on the cover of the book of John Pacco "Het Militair vliegwezen- l'Aéronautique militaire -1930-1940"

the colours used by Airfix are the same as the RAF ones, as is the red. Look at the sheet, only one shade of red and yellow on it.

But, as I said, the British painted on national markings before delivery, at the factory, so unless the Belgians specified a particular yellow, Hawker would have used the yellow they had, which is RAF yellow.

What colour was used for touch up in Belgium? as Aero paint is specific, I guess some paint was supplied along with aircraft? As the Belgians used other British types, Battle and Gladiator for example, painted in RAF colours, then it makes sense to supply paint for maintenance.

Certainly there are case of this, the Romanians used British paint, not only on British types

The IAR 80/81 aircraft were delivered from the factory in 1940 - 42 were painted with Cerrux cellulose based paints manufactured in the UK by Cellon and imported during 1939-41, as evidenced by documents in the IAR Brasov archive.

See Page 77, Romanian Fighter Colours.

Xtain, do you know any more about where Belgian paint came from?

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As I wrote in the first reply before, the roundels from DACO and PJ Productions are those after WWII and are more yellowish in comparision with the roundels before WWII. The reason why ??? Good question but I can not give an irrevocable answer.

Fact is the yellow was a tad more ocre than the roundels now.

A probable factor, that has to be considered, is the texture of fabric.

The day glow orange of the SV4 bis post WWII has also an very different hue compared to those on the Fouga Magister and the Savoya Marchetti (with a metal surface). The yellow on the SV4 has also a very slight ocre hue compared to those other planes.

As I did often went on the musee royale de l'air, the roundels on their sopwith camel (with a thistle btw) is defenitively more ocre. (it is also to be mentionned that the green on those WWI planes tend to be morewith a brownish hue than green)

Also we have to take in mind that getting a perfect cleaning on a fabric surface is more difficult than on a metal surface.

That may be some factors of that slight more ocre hue in the yellow.

And that's why in my personnal feeling I really tend to prefer the Airfix sheet, even over DACO and PJ Productions. It's just my feelings, I might be completely wrong.

The British red has a more a brick hue in comparision with the Belgian red. The British surrounding yellow is also more yellowish than the Belgian one (that can surely be discussed, I agree about that - but again that's my personnal feeling.)

And honnestly, in my opinion the fact that the Airfix sheet seems to have the same yellow and red colours are not hystorical considerations but more cost-reducing ones. :)

In my experience in the baf, there has never been colour given together with the planes. Although color references are found in the maintenance manuals. So probably the RAL references could be found in the British manuals.

So let's consider following facts

Point a ; Belgium had built under license the Hawker Hurricane and other British fighters and scout planes (i.e the Fairey Firefly and Fox)

Point b : that the general painting of the Belgian planes was under aluminum dopetille mid level and from there upper surfaces green (very similar to the British dark green, although there is a tedency to believe there was a olive green heu) - exeption of all the planes bought after 1938, those took the paints of the nation bought i.e the Fiat CR42 "Falco" with the typical mediteranean cammo , Battle, Hurricane (and as in the french language there is again an exeption on the exeption: the Brewster Buffalo had the British sheme of dark green on dark brown with aluminium undersurfaces)

Point c: it is mentioonned that the Belgian Battles had the Britisch scheme but was more "softer"

We might conclude that the paint was produced locally, Nothing proves the contrary, nothing proves the conclusion is right.

And as mentionned before, the defence budget was spartatic.. so the one who gave the cheapest offer got the deal....

The Belgian Gladiator had the typical (for that period) Belgian sheme: aluminium dope under, "dark green" upper, to be noted some Gladiators has been build under licence by SABCA

I know Troy, it is more a Jesuit answer, but I hope it clears you why it is nearly impossible to answer, because of how the budgetary defence politics had/have to work.

Though; as in that period there was no EEC and that importing "daily use" material implies a surcost of importation, I am more tended to believe the conclusion: "locally produced products"

Best regards

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@ NPL

In the interbellum Tchad was a colony of France and did not had it's national flag and "roundels". I do know one of the balkan states did have a very similar roundel to the Belgian one and the dark bleu was the difference. The dark bleu was so dark it looked nearly black. Please don't shoot to the pianist, I don't remember where I saw it. I think it was also an interbellum roundel that has not been applied after WWII in Europe. As I said I am not sure it was Romania.... but some of those countries in the vincinity :)

The hero of Agatha Cristie is Hercule Poirot an ex Belgian officer (probably an officer of the Gendarmerie - and he became an notorious detective ;) )

It might not be a very bad idea to put him on that case, although I am affraid that as for Mr Holmes with his friend Watson, these are very boooooring subjects to investigate....:P

PS the Belgian Gendarmerie was the "same institution" with the same statute as the French Gendarmerie ( the Netherlands still have their "Gendarmerie" called the Marechausée). So we can consider it a legacy of Napoléon. I mention "was" in Belgium because there has been a police reformation in Belgium after the case Dutroux.

Here we are going out of topic

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Probably the bleu color of the roundel I saw that time was incorrect ...

I remember the fact very well, because it struck me that a plane Belgium never had, seemed to have Belgian cocades... it's after looking well I realized it was bleu instead of black. :-)

I did the reflection that ime that this cocade was strongly similar to the Belgian one and surely could involve confusion.

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I came across this post when researching about Belgian Air Force Hurricanes as I like to finish my ragwing Airfix model as H-24.

Coming back to the original question, in my opinion neither decals are correct. Airfix got the roundel size correct, Kora's Fuselage roundel are too large and the wing roundels are too small. But Airfix has the yellow too dark.

Airfix has the aircraft serial too skinny and Kora a little too fat.

In regards to the squadron markings, I think the circle is in brown, but with a black or dark brown outline. Airfix got the brown correct, but the size is too small. Aifix has it the same size as the fuselage roundel, but it is substantial larger than the roundel. Both points can be seen on this picture.

h30_rb.jpg

As I wrote in the first reply before, the roundels from DACO and PJ Productions are those after WWII and are more yellowish in comparision with the roundels before WWII. The reason why ??? Good question but I can not give an irrevocable answer.

Fact is the yellow was a tad more ocre than the roundels now.

A probable factor, that has to be considered, is the texture of fabric.

Xtian has a good point here as paint on fabric has a lighter appearance.

In regards to the yellow in the roundel, here are some pictures of some WWI aircraft I took in the "musée royale de l'air" earlier this year.

BAF-1.jpg

BAF-2.jpg

BAF-3.jpg

BAF-4.jpg

But keep in mind that these aircraft are restored.

But the following picture I think is of an original ruder.

BAF-5b.jpg

But the colours have faded over the years.

If you look the Hurricane just delivered in Evere (with even the wrong code "H-"19 on the rudder), you can presume that it might be british RAF yellow.

Xtian, do you have a link to this picture or a reference where it is published.

I came across this picture of H19, but with the code on the Fuselage. The picture is most likely taken after the delivery flight.

H19.jpg

There is some interesting information on this aircraft here:

http://forum.keypublishing.com/showthread.php?62982-Researching-Belgian-Hurricanes

And this is interesting too:

https://forum.warthunder.com/index.php?/topic/216406-belgian-tech-tree/page-8

To close, these two pictures show the Hurricane after German souvenir hunters had a go at them.

BAF-8.jpg

BAF-7.jpg

There you go. I hope that this information is of any help to some. I most likely make my own mask and paint the code and maybe the roundels too.

by the way, the "musée royale de l'air" is one of my favored aviation related museum - old style, disorganized but lots to discover - and if you make a visit in winter, make sure you are dressed warm as there is no heating in the hall!

BAF-6.jpg

Cheers, Peter

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Hi Basilix

Concerning "H-19" My mistake I wanted to say after fuselage .. It is that picture you showed .

Concerning the thistle the official emblem is as u mentioned (white thistle surrounded by brown belt which is contoured by a darker brown border with gold buckle and a in gold writings the motto "nemo inpune lacessit") but I do not think the whole complete official emblem was ever paint on the planes (I have never seen any photo confirming it.

Indeed the sizes are not correct on both decal sheets, although Airfix is more close to the correct size concerning the roundels and yes the emblem is a little too small (or the fuselage roundel too big) and colors is in my opinion closer to the reality of interbellum used colors. Concerning the under wing serial I would use Kora's as the are more close the reality.

It is of course a choice of compromising and what you can and can not do.

I am already very happy that Airfix produced the emblem in (following me) correct colors.

Al other productions seems to have an "artistic" interpretation of the emblem.

And I am just telling what I would choose for making my Hurricane.

Best regards

Xtian

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H-20, H-21 and H-22 were delivered on 19 May 1939 (H-19 is probably a temporary registration during the ferry flight)

H-23 to H-34 are delivered between June and September 1939

From September on deliveries where canceled due to the invasion of Poland and the British declaration of war

H-35 -> LK - P (s/n L1619) emergency landed on 10 November 1939 at Aalbeke (Pilot Flt Dunn)

H-37 -> LK - H (s/n L1628) landed low on fuel on 14 November 1939 at De Panne (Pilot Major Cooper)

H-38 -> LK - O (s/n L1813) landed Low on feul the same day at Koksijde (Pilot F/O Glyde)

H-39 -> No code (s/n N2361) landed on 9 December 1939 at Espechain (near Tournai) just inside Belgium (Pilot Sgt "Dinkie" Powel of 43 Sqn)

For the small history . It seems that the local population tried to help Powel to push the plane back in France but the Gendarmerie was soon there and Dinkie had the only solution to go asap over the border for not being interned . He helplessly saw his plane being interned by the Belgian authorities.

H-36 is probably the Hurricane given in compensation for a shot down plane Fairey Fox by a Whitley. No references found yet.

Air Britain registers mentions that N2457 landed at Hingene at 11 May 1940 and L 1640 at Wevelgem on 15 may 1940 5but as the invasion had started (10 May 1940) it was of course not interned.

H-20 - s/n L1918

H-21 - s/n L1919 (may be this is the wrongly coded H-19)

H-22 - s/n L1920

H-23 - s/n L1993

H-24 - s/n L1994

H-25 - s/n L1995

H-26 - s/n L1996

H-27 - s/n L1997

H-28 - s/n L2040

H-29 - s/n L2041

H-30 - s/n L2042

H-31 - s/n L2043

H-32 - s/n L2044

H-33 - s/n L2105

H-34 - s/n L2106

H-35 should have been s/n L2107 but is LK - P (s/n L1619)

H-36 should have been s/n L2108 no references found yet

H-37 should have been s/n L2109 but is LK - H (s/n L1628)

H-38 should have been s/n L2110 but is LK - O (s/n L1813)

H-39 should have been s/n L2111 but is a not coded 43 sqn plane (s/n N2361) and the only with a 3 blade propeller

H-42 only operational hurricane license built by Avions Fairey Gosselies (with 4 FN .50 guns in stead of 8 .303 guns)

references "Het Militair Vliegwezen - L'aéronautique Militaire 1930-1940" by John Pacco, "the Hawker Hurricane - a comprehensive guide for the modeller" by Richard A Franks SAM publication (modelers datafile 2)

Hope that might also help you all

Xtian

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Great listing Xtian. Many thanks.

You mentioned that H-24 is the only Hurricane with one victory. Do you know when this happened and what aircraft it shot down?

And do you know what the personal marking on H-24 is representing?

Cheers, Peter

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data has to be confirmed but it seems it fired together with H-34 on a He111 on May 10th when ferrying to the war base Beauvechain (le culot) - both will be destroyed (with a third one) on May 11th during an air raid. (together with the rest of the Gladiators)

As Kora correctly depicted it it seems to be a sea-lion ( in french otarie) with tail up .

Look at the photo of the lined up Hurricanes - H-24: and if you look well H-29 also seems to have a personal marking.

Bets regards

Xtian

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