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Pauly Boy

PBY4 Catalina 1941

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 Would like to build a PBY 4 Catalina that flew in the Phillipines 1941/42. Curious as to the colour of said aircraft. Overall blue over white?? or possibly a camo of greyish/blues over white or other. I've heard of both and just wondering if anyone has a definitive answer.

 

  Thanks  Paul

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One would expect USN Blue/Grey over Light Grey as a general rule . However, there are records that " 6 Catalinas of VP-11 were given graduated schemes consisting of dark blue-grey upper surfaces (precise colour unknown) grading through lighter tones down the sides to create a shadow counter-shading effect: through  six shades in all"  (Ian K Baker V.33 Catalina collection)

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Paul,

 

As of 30 December 1940, all USN patrol aircraft were required to be finished in (non specular) LIGHT GRAY with the surfaces as seen from above to be painted in (Non specular) BLUE GRAY. The exact shade of the latter color is open to interpretation and has been argued over for some time.

 

The PBY-4 aircraft of Patrol Wing 10, (consisting of VP-101 and VP-102), arrived in the Philippines just before this instruction was issued. At that time they would have been carrying the aluminum scheme with Yellow painted upper-wing surfaces. It is reasonable to assume that they were probably camouflaged after arrival, but when is a matter for conjecture. In September 1941 a further instruction was issued that stated that the two colors were to be applied to all fleet aircraft, and should meet in an irregular wavy line and be feathered in to avoid a definite line of demarcation. This may be related to Baker's reference mentioned above - certainly four Pat Wing 10 aircraft, that had been un-serviceable, did go for camouflaging in mid December, but perhaps they were still carrying their original aluminum / Yellow scheme.

 

By mid December, Pat Wing 10 had lost half its aircraft and at the end of the month they withdrew to Surabaya and Ambon where they were reinforced by 12 PBY-5 aircraft of VP-22. Initially the aircraft carried codes in the form of '101-P-12', '!02-P-19', etc on the nose,but later, (after the Wing had left the Philippines), the the squadron number was dropped and the aircraft just received two digit aircraft numbers, e.g '42'..

 

Four of those PBY-4s managed to reach Australia in March 1942. Two were sunk by the Japanese at Broome on 3 March. The other two reached Perth and one eventually entered service with the RAAF.

 

Magpie 22

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Four of those PBY-4s managed to reach Australia in March 1942. Two were sunk by the Japanese at Broome on 3 March. The other two reached Perth and one eventually entered service with the RAAF

 

The other survivor of that whole debacle was the Curtiss SOC3 off the USS Houston. All the way from the Java Sea to Perth Water. HMAS Perth being the other ship lost. 

Grant

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The PBY-4's of PatWing 10 are one of the holy grails of USN camouflage history.  We have a couple of poor photos, and no reliable matches for the colors, but they were painted locally in multi-tone upper surfaces.  The photos and a brief discussion are contained in the Osprey "US Navy PBY Catalina Units of the Pacific War" by Louis Dorny.  There's a reasonable depiction on a model at http://imodeler.com/2015/06/consolidated-pby-4-academy-172/   Here's another that was posted on Hypescale:

CIMG0039-2.jpg

As noted, the colors are up for grabs but these models certainly seem in the ballpark.

Edited by jimmaas
grammar

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 Thank you all for the responses!

 The early Pacific campaign is a favourite of mine and the early PBY- 4's of PatWing 10 is of great interest. Hopefully I will start with this project in the new year(hopefully).

 Thanks again to all and Merry Christmas!

  Paul

  

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if you're intrested in Pat Wing 10,you ought to read 'In The Hands Of Fate' by

Dwight Massimer. - the story of Pat Wing 10 from December 1941 - May 1942

It's on Amazon.uk & it's not too expensive

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So that's where the Iranians got there  inspiration from for their P3's! Very interesting article and yet another scheme to add to a very long list for the Cat. Sorry to venture away into what if,s, but would the Catalina and its sub variants be a fantastic subject for Airfix to cover?

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 I've read "The Hands of Fate". Great read. I like to build different subjects and the PBY-4 is not a common build as the PBY-5 is. For that matter I'd like to build a B17-C ,Philippines campaign as opposed to an F or G version.

 I find the PBY-4 being used as a bomber, transport, recon, rescue aircraft during the Philippine invasion amazing. At that point in the war it was use what you have any way you can!

Cheers Paul

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John, I've just finished the copy I picked up off eBay late last year, a hell of a story, always hard reading something you know there is no happy ending to. I'd love to do a Patwing 10 PBY-4 one of these days but for now, I've plenty ahead of me. Thanks for the recommendation.

Steve.

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Maybe the colors were similar to this ?

 

31038868953_22b1e28dbe_b.jpg

 

31848579125_debb546143_b.jpg

 

https://hiveminer.com/Tags/314,clipper

 

Obviously the pictures are from a ww2 edition of the Life Magazine

 

PS:

Found more about this plane:

An Australian and New Zealand Army Corps Clipper is pictured by an American Flag.

 

1024x1024.jpg

 

http://www.seattlepi.com/business/boeing/slideshow/75-years-since-Boeing-Clipper-first-flew-64021/photo-4746414.php

 

Pretty interesting if you ask me ...

Sorry for the thread drift tho

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Believe it or not, that paint scheme was an attempt to get to the 1943 "three'tone" color scheme you'very seen on F6F's and F4U's.  Not related to the Pat wing q0 colors, though, but it is a great set of shots of the Boeing!

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2 hours ago, occa said:

Maybe the colors were similar to this ?

 

31038868953_22b1e28dbe_b.jpg

 

31848579125_debb546143_b.jpg

 

https://hiveminer.com/Tags/314,clipper

 

Obviously the pictures are from a ww2 edition of the Life Magazine

 

PS:

Found more about this plane:

An Australian and New Zealand Army Corps Clipper is pictured by an American Flag.

 

1024x1024.jpg

 

http://www.seattlepi.com/business/boeing/slideshow/75-years-since-Boeing-Clipper-first-flew-64021/photo-4746414.php

 

Pretty interesting if you ask me ...

Sorry for the thread drift tho

I would doubt the veracity of information (not of you Occa, just the original source) saying this was an ANZAC Clipper. For one thing it has a U.S. flag on it, and as far as I'm aware the RAAF and RNZAF never operated them.

 

DennisTheBear

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I'm guessing ANZAC Clipper was its name, befitting for Allies of the USA, the one Airfix did in 1/144 was called Bermuda Clipper if memory serves me.

Anzac Clipper, NC18611, 2nd last of this class built, the last to be scrapped in 1951.

Steve.

Edited by stevehnz
Additional info.

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9 hours ago, jimmaas said:

Believe it or not, that paint scheme was an attempt to get to the 1943 "three'tone" color scheme you'very seen on F6F's and F4U's.  Not related to the Pat wing q0 colors, though, but it is a great set of shots of the Boeing!

 

But it has more tones than 3, I could count 6 if I don't err ...

I agree tho that it's not related to the Pat wing, that's why I said 'similar' ...

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17 hours ago, DennisTheBear said:

I would doubt the veracity of information (not of you Occa, just the original source) saying this was an ANZAC Clipper. For one thing it has a U.S. flag on it, and as far as I'm aware the RAAF and RNZAF never operated them.

 

DennisTheBear

 

This is what wikipedia says:

The Clipper fleet was pressed into military service during World War II, and the flying boats were used for ferrying personnel and equipment to the European and Pacific fronts. The aircraft were purchased by the War and Navy Departments and leased back to Pan Am for a dollar, with the understanding that all would be operated by the Navy once four-engined replacements for the Army's four Clippers were in service. Only the markings on the aircraft changed: the Clippers continued to be flown by their experienced Pan Am civilian crews. American military cargo was carried via Natal, Brazil to Liberia, to supply the British forces at Cairo and even the Russians, via Teheran. The Model 314 was then the only aircraft in the world that could make the 2,150-statute-mile (3,460 km) crossing over water,[12] and was given the military designation C-98. Since the Pan Am pilots and crews had extensive expertise in using flying boats for extreme long-distance over-water flights, the company's pilots and navigators continued to serve as flight crew. In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt traveled to the Casablanca Conference in a Pan-Am crewed Boeing 314 Dixie Clipper.[1]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_314_Clipper

 

Obviously they did service for all Allies so it wasn't necessary they were operated by RAAF or RNZAF.

Tho the caption you are referring to is not fully correct indeed.

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10 hours ago, occa said:

 

But it has more tones than 3, I could count 6 if I don't err ...

I agree tho that it's not related to the Pat wing, that's why I said 'similar' ...

I'm now on the scout for a Clipper kit, that scheme is going to take some doing though. :o

Steve.

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12 hours ago, occa said:

 

But it has more tones than 3, I could count 6 if I don't err ...

I agree tho that it's not related to the Pat wing, that's why I said 'similar' ...

All those tones are graded tones of Intermediate Blue, the middle color in the three tone scheme.  The same thing was used on a few PBY's.  Obviously a lot of work, and not an efficient method, so the simpler way prevailed.

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Back to the original topic.

As @jimmaas has stated above the mystery of VP-101, -102, -21 and -22 camouflaged PBYs is one of the USN holy grails. The matter touches at least 25 (maybe even 50 ) Catalinas operating in December 1941 and early (January-April) 1942 over the Philippines and the NEI archipelago. There are several poor quality b&w photos known - all of them show three shades of uppersides camouflage. But the colours themselves remain a mystery. At least one of them was some kind of blue gray, but what about the other two? 

What are the facts? The idea of camouflaging the Asiatic (yes, they didn't belong to the Pacific) Fleet flying boats was born in Admiral Thomas Hart's brain already when he took over the command of the AF at Luzon in July 1939. Both VP-101 and VP-102 (i.e. the 1st and 2nd squadron of Patrol Wing 10) were then equipped with mixed bag of PBY-3 and PBY-4s sporting non-specular silver fuselages and yellow wings. Most aircraft were repainted before the Japanese attack in December 1941, but on at least one photo you can find black diagonal stripes on the otherwise camouflaged wing

CATALINA US NAVY Pacific scheme post-6-1343629754

On another one (look at the wing pattern - this is NOT the same plane) a slightly darker rectangle on the lightest area of fuselage just ahead of the fin (originally occupied by "U.S. NAVY" letters)

pby42

suggests that the lightest colour of camouflage could (at least in this single case) be the pre-war non-specular silver. As to the colours there's no consensus at all. Academy in their PBY-4 kit give: Dark Blue Gray, Medium Blue Gray and Light Gull Gray (over Light Gray undersides). At first it sounds logical, but the aircraft have been painted BEFORE the Blue Gray/Light Gray scheme was introduced which makes using "non-invented-yet" colours hardly possible. My USN camouflage guru @Dana Bell asked for his opinion told me: dark yellow-green, medium blue-green and light purple-blue. Hundreds of modellers all over the world do build these PBY-4s according to their own invention - in the web you can find colours ranging from mauve and sand to deep Brunswick green and olive drab with dozens of gray and blue shades between them.

The whole matter becomes more complicated still when you realize that after the thorough decimation of PatWing 10 aircraft in mid-December half of Pacific Fleet PatWing 2 units (VP-21 and VP-22) were despatched from Hawaii to the Philippines leaving remains of VP-23 and VP-24 in Oahu. Of course no one can be sure whether these additional aircraft were camouflaged "in Asiatic mode" after arrival at Philippines. First - they were already camouflaged in USN standard of Blue Gray over Light Gray scheme when still in Hawaii before the Pearl Harbor attack. Second - there could be no time in those days to repaint the large flying boats just to make them similar to the others operating in the area. 

But there' one hint, however... In opposition to the VP-21 equipped with PBY-4s, the VP-22 had just received the new PBY-5s (with higher tail and waist blisters) and there are very few (if any) pictures showing the camouflaged VP-22 PBY-5s over the NEI in early 1942. In this case two colours can be sure: undersides Light Gray and Blue Gray (as the middle one of the topside three).

I have seen the model of such a PBY-5 # 22-P-3 reviewed 40+ years ago within the US Scale Modeler magazine, but now I'm unable to indicate the right issue (1969-79 volumes for sure). IIRC the very plane pictured used Olive Drab and Desert Sand as two additional uppersurface colours - very picturesque for the flying boat, isn't it?

In April 1942 the survivors of all four VPs were combined into the single unit - VP-101 (other three were thus disbanded). Over the years I've managed to gather the BuNos of some dozens of the VP-21/22/101/102 aircraft mentioned above. They are twenty eight PBY-4s (1214 and 1216-1243) plus nineteen PBY-5s (2291, 2293, 2301-2306, 2308-09, 2321, 2407, 2409, 2418, 2424, 2446, 2447, 2449 and 2455). Individual (tac) numbers are known for 31 of them. 

I'd like to know your opinion about this data - maybe some further "white spots" can be eliminated...

Cheers

Michael   

 

 

     

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