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Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies

Royal Navy B5 and B15 blue paints

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Admin and Mods, I hope this is ok to post here. It's a free PDF file a small group has input to publishing new research on the appearance and nature of the Royal Navy's WW2 era blue paints known as B5 and B15. It was written because I've made a drastic change to the corresponding Colourcoats shade which I felt I had to justify as it diverges from what people currently believe, but I anticipate the document will make interesting reading for RN WW2 modellers regardless who's paint they use:

 

It's a 1.16Mb file and 14 pages long.

https://www.sovereignhobbies.co.uk/pages/royal-navy-colours-of-world-war-two-b5-and-b15

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Thanks, Jamie!

 

Very informative.

 

Mike.B)

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Yes, quite interesting. Wonder if Snyder and Short will amend their paint charts !

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Fascinating stuff and quite compelling.  Thanks for sharing this Jamie.

In terms of B15 alone, and as someone particularly interested in Coastal Forces I'm reminded about this well known pic with it's bewildering variety of shades.  If nothing else it's a potent reminder about all the issues around weathering, fading and non standard shades

 

589a7c0fcdf02_058DtypeMTBDeckColours.jpges

 

I presume the middle "D" has it's bow in B15  but who knows??

(And if Kev is looking in - yet more of those pesky Dentons!)

 

Rob

 

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Hi Rob,

 

I've seen that photo before and it came up recently when discussing with the other researchers. Your interpretation matches ours in believing the middle boat is wearing B15.

 

We haven't discussed the rest of the shades on it yet, or at least haven't reached consensus on what they are. G55 may be a candidate for the greenish hue on the middle boat. The one to the right may be sporting G10 and the one to the left B30. I stress MAY!

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Found this quite by chance while searching "Coastal Forces art" on Google.

A watercolour by Roland Pitchfork in the IWM collection.  He was a wartime artist and whilst I appreciate interpretation vis a vis watercolour is a potential criticism, I was tickled by the B15 match with your Colourcoat re-interpretation Jamie.

 

spacer.png

 

Rob

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reminds me of an artist from Repton, during the WW2 he was a Royal Marine was was Admiral Burrents batman, so was on HMS Edinburgh  when lost, he also painted lots of ships in water colours, he showed me 100s of pics he painted.  He also told me that they had started to repaint Edinburgh before her last patrol basically the same colours BUT with the addition of an off white, they only had time apply to add 1 area of white which was on the bridge area. I related this info to an "expert" most of you have heard of him likes whiskey and cigars but he did not view it as creditable because it was not from his sources!!.

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Even just considering the Standard Camouflage colours, "off white" might be how a non-paint afficionado might recall MS4A actually, especially if viewed in bright light. At 55% Light Reflectance Value and fairly neutral in the colour stakes it would probably still be described as "very light grey" by most, but I wouldn't dismiss the claim out of hand just because the description was "off white".

 

MS4A, a 55% LRV shade and two well preserved samples exist in file ADM212/124 at TNA, Kew:

NARN32rgb_ab6591c5-d1d2-4b66-99cd-d155e1

 

As compared to 507C, a 45% LRV shade which looks very light in bright conditions:

NARN22rgb_bea43574-1b61-4a7a-af2d-13640b

 

...and when compared to what some *thought* MS4A looked like (and probably still do despite our work):

RN13rgb_1024x1024.jpg?v=1534170358

... somewhat darker and greener and not at all what a layman might call "off white".

 

For clarity I am not leaping to the conclusion that Edinburgh wore any MS4A. I haven't even looked at it before now. All I'm saying is that I wouldn't dismiss the claim straight off because, at a push, there was something even ignoring the possibility of non-standard paints, which may with a bit of leeway given for memory and terminology fit the description.

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4 minutes ago, grahamwalker said:

Jamie how close are the snyder & short colour chips?

 

For MS4A?

 

That's what the greenish one above is. The new Colourcoats one (at the top) is based on the hue of the two samples at Kew chiefly (there is another at Portsmouth which doesn't particularly contradict) and with the tone tweaked slightly to match the written documented values measured by (I think) Schuill in 1942 - the latter check done on all our new paints to ensure the tones were graduated in the correct manner and the correct distance apart.

 

The colour table at the back of my Standard Camouflage Colours 1941-1943 paper shows a direct comparison of the Snyder & Short primary and alternatice chips versus what we believe they really looked like. Some aren't a million miles away but the ability to objectively measure colours easily today is a big help Snyder & Short didn't have access to but which the people who issued the shade cards out in 1941-1942 did have (albeit in the old fashioned colourimeter plus lots of hand calculations on paper method).

 

It's a bold thing to say every batch made was correct (and indeed some written correspondence complains that they weren't and needed to improve their efforts) but we can at least match what they were supposed to be.

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"It's a bold thing to say every batch made was correct" especially when made aboard ship, my brother served aboard in the 70s and he told me they used to mix paints if they ran out of a colour and add course sand to deck green paint (survey fleet)(aka the white fleet or buff line).   Do you know if the Vallejo Model Color Camouflage for the RN is any good, as I cant use enamel paints any more even wearring a paint sprayers mask dont help.

 

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Hi Graham,

 

I can't think why they would be good. Vallejo doesn't enjoy a reputation for accuracy when the colour references have been completely understood for decades. If their Royal Navy colours are accurate, it'll be a coincidence and a half.

 

All other model manufacturers appear to use Snyder & Short. Some of those faithfully matched Snyder & Short and others have dug out something else from their existing range and said "close enough if viewed at night and you squint a bit".

 

If we thought Snyder & Short was correct we wouldn't have needed to spend so much time and money touring TNA, Portsmouth and on linseed oil and pigments remaking the original formulae to find out what they looked like!

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