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Roman Schilhart

Russian P-400 Color Scheme question

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Dear fellow Britmodellers,

I just got my 1/72 RS Models P-400 Airacobra (#92181).

There is one Russian option(Red 60)  provided.

The caption below reads "Winter 1942/1943".

 

e52bd538-92b4-4d50-90db-3fb99e8f0507.jpg

 

 

RS instructions quote "Silver" overall for the colors.

Shouldn't this be actually White - as it did operate during Winter time?

 

Suggestions are most welcome.

Thanks in advance,

Roman

 

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Hi, Roman,

 

If you google "Soviet P-400", in the "images" section there are several pics, profiles and models of one in a similar scheme as yours. A couple of the vintage pics have a shine that could be a silver paint. Besides, aluminium paint was widely used in pre-war.

 

Fernando

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Ive seen the photo’s and profiles for a few p-39/400’s in winter camouflage.many of them notated as overall white, overall silver, and once as overall light blue ? Without a witness or a very serious study of the photos i think its modeler’s choice at least for the white vs. silver argument. I personally agree with you and think it is a white distemper over the standard camouflage. 

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Thanks for your replies, gentlemen.

Skipping through the "sovietwarplanes" thread, there are some contradicting statements regarding the color;

some sources claim there were NO silver (or natural metal) aircraft in VVS service, so it must be either White or Light Blue?

However some period photographs seem to confirm Silver as a possible color (as Fernando has explained above).

I could not find a photograph of "Red 60" by now, if someone has specific info on that marking option, you're most welcome to post here.

Thanks again and best greetings from Vienna,

Roman

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Roman Schilhart said:

some sources claim there were NO silver (or natural metal) aircraft in VVS service, so it must be either White or Light Blue?

However some period photographs seem to confirm Silver as a possible color (as Fernando has explained above).

I could not find a photograph of "Red 60" by now, if someone has specific info on that marking option, you're most welcome to post here.

aluminium or silver paint is NOT natural metal.

 

Overall aluminium dope was used pre-war.

 

 

 

red 60 is the 2nd plane  in this line up

photo-alum-vmf.jpg

from

http://vvs.hobbyvista.com/Markings/P39/color_mark_2.php

note, for once I think Pilawskii is probably right about these, aluminium dope uppers with undersides in Neutral Gray.

 

the use of aluminium paint for winter camouflage is noted  in other cases,

eg Yak-7 

post-381-0-05771500-1391367566.jpg

 

and was a standard VVS colour, used for markings.

 

 

 

HTH

T

 

 

 

 

Edited by Troy Smith
add details

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From the line up Troy posted above I'd say it is silver but not not overall.

The undersides look like they were light blue (or in original Neutral Grey) as can bee seen on the undercarriage covers.

Only my two cents of course ...

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14 hours ago, occa said:

From the line up Troy posted above I'd say it is silver but not not overall.

The undersides look like they were light blue (or in original Neutral Grey) as can bee seen on the undercarriage covers.

Only my two cents of course ...

A P-400 from a British order has no Neutral Gray nº43 undersurfaces, but a lighter colour (whose exact nature is argued) according to the British specs.

 

Fernando

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1 minute ago, Fernando said:

A P-400 from a British order has no Neutral Gray nº43 undersurfaces, but a lighter colour (whose exact nature is argued) according to the British specs.

 

Fernando

 

Thanks again, Fernando.

You mean, the lower surfaces could be something like "Sky"?

 

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1 hour ago, Fernando said:

A P-400 from a British order has no Neutral Gray nº43 undersurfaces, but a lighter colour (whose exact nature is argued) according to the British specs.

 

I don't know if from a small  photo like this you could tell a P-400 from a P-39D (?)

If  the undersides were "sky"  or whatever the lighter colour for the UK order was (see links further down for more on this) it would photograph near white against snow.

Russian_Cobra_1.jpg

Ex RAF  order Airacobra Mk.I's,  later batch without the high nose demarcation, note how the "sky" curves up under the tailplane.

 

BUT, there were Airacobra Mk.I's supplied that had been repainted in RAF Day Fighter Scheme.

see

http://massimotessitori.altervista.org/sovietwarplanes/board/index.php?topic=1363.0

this is a VVS ex-RAF DFS Airacobra Mk.I

Russian_Cobra_3.jpg

the giveaway is the masked off stencilling

here's one against snow, underside look dark.

2-02.jpg
 

 

the identifier is the masked of stencil from original delievery scheme, 

7d021dbb5d438b7164096b4adf10b6f6.jpg

for more see here

http://massimotessitori.altervista.org/sovietwarplanes/board/index.php?topic=1714.msg19118#msg19118

 

 

Note the original high "sky" from the Bell delievery scheme which is why the light background.

Airacobra+Mk+I+AH621+1.jpg

 

1 hour ago, Roman Schilhart said:

You mean, the lower surfaces could be something like "Sky"?

 

see above linked thread

and

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235015252-bell-airacobra-mk1-cockpit-colour/&

 

note this for a recovered EX-RAF  Airacobra Mk.I in original US British specification paint

http://massimotessitori.altervista.org/sovietwarplanes/board/index.php?topic=1714.msg19118#msg19118

 

HTH

T

 

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On 10/11/2017 at 1:43 PM, Troy Smith said:

 

I don't know if from a small  photo like this you could tell a P-400 from a P-39D (?)

If  the undersides were "sky"  or whatever the lighter colour for the UK order was (see links further down for more on this) it would photograph near white against snow.

Russian_Cobra_1.jpg

Ex RAF  order Airacobra Mk.I's,  later batch without the high nose demarcation, note how the "sky" curves up under the tailplane.

 

BUT, there were Airacobra Mk.I's supplied that had been repainted in RAF Day Fighter Scheme.

 

Hi, Troy!

 

Yeah, I agree with you. It would be difficult to tell a P-400 from a 20mm armed P-39 (D?), other by the scheme. But what I say is "A P-400 on British orders (a redundancy, all were) doesn't have NG nº43 undersurfaces", which stands, provided we are talking of one!

 

I also agree that many were repainted in Day Fighter (I wondered if they kept the Du Pont Dark Green, though it seems unlikely), but in those cases the undersurfaces would be Med Sea Grey, darker than Sky (or whatever) bu still sensibly lighter than NG.

 

In a shadowy B&W vintage picture, a OD/NG airplane would look as if in a single dark colour.

 

Fernando

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On 10/11/2017 at 11:56 AM, Roman Schilhart said:

 

Thanks again, Fernando.

You mean, the lower surfaces could be something like "Sky"?

 

Hi, Roman,

 

Yes, if delivered in "factory" scheme (the argument about what colour exactly goes on). Many were repainted  in the UK for RAF use (but subsequently sent to the URSS) in Day Fighter Scheme. Then the camo would have been Ocean Grey (or some "Mixed Gray") and Dark Green, over Sea Grey Medium undersurfaces.

 

Fernando

Edited by Fernando

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Thanks for your reply Fernando.

I am tempted towards a White upper surface with Medium Grey RAF undersides.

It would make little sense for the Russians to paint their newly acquired (and camoflaged) aircraft Silver overall, especially when they were operating under Winter conditions!

Apart from that, most Lend Lease aircraft were flown in the original colors (grey/green Spitfires, olive drab Airacobras, etc.) as far as I know.

Even though the original photo (as posted above) suggests a 'shiny finish', I hardly believe this is Silver.

(Interestingly, also Eduard suggests a "Silver" finish on their 48 scale kit.)

Greetings

Roman

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Roman Schilhart said:

Even though the original photo (as posted above) suggests a 'shiny finish', I hardly believe this is Silver.

Why?

 

white photographs differently from silver paint, silver paint has a certain reflective lustre to it,   which is what the P-39s show

On 9/11/2017 at 18:31, Troy Smith said:

Overall aluminium dope was used pre-war.

 

 

 

red 60 is the 2nd plane  in this line up

photo-alum-vmf.jpg

from

http://vvs.hobbyvista.com/Markings/P39/color_mark_2.php

note, for once I think Pilawskii is probably right about these, aluminium dope uppers with undersides in Neutral Gray.

 

the use of aluminium paint for winter camouflage is noted  in other cases,

eg Yak-7 

post-381-0-05771500-1391367566.jpg

 

 

and, unless the white was factory applied oil paint, it was a washable distemper, which is rarely really solid white.   White does not give the same lustre as seen in the above photos

 

see here for examples of VVS winter camo

http://massimotessitori.altervista.org/sovietwarplanes/pages/il-2/il2-camo/il2-1942/il-2model1942wintercamo.htm

note

Quote

2vitruk2.jpg

Good photo, likely of the same plane, that looks to confirm the use of silver paint instead of the usual white for its winter camouflage.

Note that the truck, although painted white, hasn't the same shining look, so it can hardly be justified as an illusion due to light conditions.

 

 

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On 13.11.2017 at 4:25 PM, Troy Smith said:

Why?

 

white photographs differently from silver paint, silver paint has a certain reflective lustre to it,   which is what the P-39s show

 

 

Thanks for your reply, Troy!

It is really an interesting topic.

 

I tried to approach the issue with 'common sense'.

We know that these P-400s originate from RAF.

I assume these were all painted grey/green uppers and medium grey undersides.

I have never seen a Silver RAF Airacobra.

Now, why would the Soviets repaint them in Silver (not White), when they were to operate in Arctic/Winter conditions?

And, why would they only paint a partial Silver finish as evident on the first aircraft in the row (Bort 95)?

Looking closely, the outer wings as well as the tailplanes of "95" are significantly darker, as if the original camoflage was still in place.

The same is true for the area around the air intake on the spine, just aft of the cockpit.

You can also see a demarcation line on the tail that suggests a different underside color (Medium Grey?).

That is not so clear on the second aircraft in line ("60"), though.

I have also read that there were "no Silver aircraft in Soviet Air Force" in 1943.

The same photograph with the line-up of P-400s in the snow is also featured in the book "US Aircraft in the Soviet Union  and Russia" by Jefim Gordon, described as "in winter camoflage".

However I do agree that there is a difference in color between the aircraft nose and the starter truck on the last picture, and it seems to be the same color all over on the Airacobra.

Finally, I am none the wiser by now, but thanks again for your valuable help in research!

Much appreciated.

With kindest regards from Vienna,

Roman

 

 

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Roman Schilhart said:

Finally, I am none the wiser by now, but thanks again for your valuable help in research!

HI Roman

I'll try to clarify some points you raise

6 hours ago, Roman Schilhart said:

We know that these P-400s originate from RAF.

We know the VVS got ex-RAF Airacobras,  they also got P-39D's

From a pic  like  I couldn't tell the difference.... and then I  noticed the 20mm cannons. OK,  most likely ex-RAF.

photo-alum-vmf.jpg

 

8 hours ago, Roman Schilhart said:

Now, why would the Soviets repaint them in Silver (not White), when they were to operate in Arctic/Winter conditions?

Winter camoufage.

it works because Silver paint reflects and diffuses light,  as does snow.

If you  accept the  pics I posted of the Yak-7 and Il-2  infact show  silver paint,  you can see that this would work.

Silver paint was used by the VVS,  and if they did not have white then it works as winter camo.

8 hours ago, Roman Schilhart said:

And, why would they only paint a partial Silver finish as evident on the first aircraft in the row (Bort 95)?

Looking closely, the outer wings as well as the tailplanes of "95" are significantly darker, as if the original camoflage was still in place

This maybe due to the very low level direct sunlight, putting these parts in shadow,  note how part of the wing fillet is in shadow, while the inner wing matches the fuselage.

 

8 hours ago, Roman Schilhart said:

The same is true for the area around the air intake on the spine, just aft of the cockpit.

postulated as replacement part not painted silver

8 hours ago, Roman Schilhart said:

I have also read that there were "no Silver aircraft in Soviet Air Force" in 1943.

where?  And,  there is still much misinformation regarding VVS camouflage.   And, the photo is not dated,  so could  be  winter 41/42

8 hours ago, Roman Schilhart said:

The same photograph with the line-up of P-400s in the snow is also featured in the book "US Aircraft in the Soviet Union  and Russia" by Jefim Gordon, described as "in winter camoflage".

Forgot  it  was there,  a quick check shows the picture  is clearer than the one above,  but just says "temporary winter camouflage", not white or silver.

 

It could be nitro white, have  a read of this

http://massimotessitori.altervista.org/sovietwarplanes/pages/colors/winter/winter.html

but note this

Quote

 

mig3vnukovo.jpg

Besides MK-7 and similar washable paints, it looks that nitro white paint was occasionally utilized.

The finish of the first plane is clearly not MK-7 or similar distempers: it is uniform and glossy.

The second plane has clearly a nose painted with silver.

Nitro paint could have been chosen for a parade plane, or to avoid the loss of speed, or for the lack of MK-7.

 

if you accept that '02' is white, and '12'  is white with a silver nose,  note the slight lustre/shine to the paint,  as opposed to the white.

Then compare  that finish to the Airacobras above,  note the similar lustre/shine to  the finish.

 

 

finally,  http://massimotessitori.altervista.org/sovietwarplanes/pages/db3-il4/db3-il4camo/db3-il4camo.htm

AE-8 Aluminium was used as an overall scheme
 

Quote

 

The standard painting of DB-3 bombers was AE-8 aluminium overall.

db3-silver.jpg

 

Below: a piece of a Soviet bomber shot down by Finnish AA and preserved in the Finnish Museum (courtesy of Jan Vihonen). Traces of ALG-1 yellow primer are visible under the aluminium paint. (courtesy Jan Vihonen)

silverbomber.jpg

 

db-3fsilver.jpg


 

 

 

Note the DB-3 in overall aluminum against snow,  note lustre of paint.

 

I hope this adds some weight to the silver/aluminium paint upper theory,   it's unwise to be dogmatic in these areas,  so  I have tried to show examples  of this and indentfiers.

IIRC there are white P-39's in the linked thread on VVS Airacobras,  I'll have a look later if I get chance (there are 16 pages)

HTH

T

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14 hours ago, Troy Smith said:

where? 

And,  there is still much misinformation regarding VVS camouflage.   And, the photo is not dated,  so could  be  winter 41/42

 

Thanks again for taking your time to reply.

In the massimotessitori blog, user KL says (quote):

" 1.  You should be 100% sure that it wasn't bare duraluminium!  It was forbidden - there were no bare duraluminium planes in VVS....
2.  these are early (British?) P-39s so it has to be winter 1942-43 ->  Less likely to encounter permanent white or silver "

 

After reading your statement,

" it works because Silver paint reflects and diffuses light,  as does snow."

I am now leaning towards your suggestion for a Silver finish.

 

Thanks for explaining and clarification ....

much appreciated!

Greetings

Roman

PS. The 1/72 RS Model kit I'm building is a real pig. Poor fit, incomplete mouldings.

 

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5 hours ago, Roman Schilhart said:

Thanks again for taking your time to reply.

In the massimotessitori blog, user KL says (quote):

" 1.  You should be 100% sure that it wasn't bare duraluminium!  It was forbidden - there were no bare duraluminium planes in VVS....
2.  these are early (British?) P-39s so it has to be winter 1942-43 ->  Less likely to encounter permanent white or silver "

 

KL = Konstantin Lesnikov

He was a regular poster on Sovietwarplanes, and very knowledgeable.  He was a member here  as well.

Good quotes,  note it  was bare metal that was not allowed,  not silver paint and

"2.  these are early (British?) P-39s so it has to be winter 1942-43 ->  Less likely to encounter permanent white or silver "

Does not mean no.

It's an unusual scheme for sure!

 

5 hours ago, Roman Schilhart said:

The 1/72 RS Model kit I'm building is a real pig. Poor fit, incomplete mouldings.

 

I'm sure there are reasonable 72nd P-39s available?   Not that up on 72nd I'm afraid.   

Did you see all the research and profiles on VVS Kobras by 66Misos on Sovietwarplanes,  plenty of potential there!

 

5 hours ago, Roman Schilhart said:

Thanks for explaining and clarification ....

much appreciated!

Glad the information and reasoning was of  use,   I do try to  explain and give examples,   as I am  not a primary researcher,  more an information collator,  still keeps the  brain working.

Admitedly this is one of the few places where anyone is interested in these areas of my knowledge :rolleyes:

 

cheers

T

 

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1 minute ago, Troy Smith said:

KL = Konstantin Lesnikov

He was a regular poster on Sovietwarplanes, and very knowledgeable.  He was a member here  as well.

Good quotes,  note it  was bare metal that was not allowed,  not silver paint and

"2.  these are early (British?) P-39s so it has to be winter 1942-43 ->  Less likely to encounter permanent white or silver "

Does not mean no.

It's an unusual scheme for sure!

 

Thanks for explanation Troy, I didn't know this gentleman before.

 

3 minutes ago, Troy Smith said:

I'm sure there are reasonable 72nd P-39s available?   Not that up on 72nd I'm afraid.   

Did you see all the research and profiles on VVS Kobras by 66Misos on Sovietwarplanes,  plenty of potential there!

 

In 72, there's the Academy kit ... the old Heller kit ... and the most recent RS Models kit.

It will be a build for a modelling magazine.

That's why I have to stick with the schemes supplied in the box.

 

Thanks very much for your valuable input.

With best greetings from VIE

Roman

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The factory finish of the Airacobra in Temperate Land scheme (TLS) included the sweep up of the under surface colour under the tailplanes. This can be viewed as a fairly reliable identifying feature for aircraft retaining British TLS.

 

Aircraft re-painted after delivery in Day Fighter scheme had the upper surface colour continued under the tailplane, usually with the addition of the Sky fuselage band. It is apparent that aircraft so finished were also sent to Russia.

 

But there were exceptions/curiosities as unwanted British P-400 production morphed into the US P-39D, incuding at least one two "P-39D" aircraft in US finish of Olive Drab (OD) over Neutral Gray (NG) in US markings with British serial numbers still evident and without the usual US serial across the fin and rudder. Whether that was a factory paint job or a re-paint is unknown but (close examination of the serials and the fact that) some subsequent serials were in TLS which is puzzling suggests a re-paint. Both aircraft have US stars with the red central disc over-painted.

 

Nick

 

Updated - should have re-examined the photo before posting!

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Hallo!

 

Of the TLS (brown/green/sky) and DFS (Dark Green/Ocean Grey/Medium Sea Grey) camo on VVS Airacobras. My understanding is that the (repainted in UK) DFS Airacobras were among the ealry deliveries to Soviet Union. And only later arrived the TLS Airacobras directly from USA (some from UK, too). This "reversed time order" may cause some confusion? And all DFS Airacobras would have been painted such in UK.

 

Nick points out one identification feature: colour demarcaton under horizontal tail. I believe TLS Airacobras had 6 in high serial (confroming to the Bell painting instructions) while the repainted DFS Cobras had the standard RAF 8 in high serials. Photos of VVS cobras are many times so dark that no serials can be discerned.

 

Valeri Roman has written a book(let) about the early Cobras in VVS service "Aerokobry vstupajot v boj" (Bell P-400, P39D-1, P-39D-2) ISBN 5-7707-5170-03. While the camo chapter mainly tells the US instructions and paint materials in Russian the real worth is the short chapters of each Airacobra regiment  listing serials of the individual planes serving in their roster. If one has photo and knows the VVS Aircobra regiment the serials may be of help to deciding the camo.

 

Of the silver. I think that is a possibilily. If I want to speculate (why not?), I would say the reason to use permanet silver dope is performace. For Soviets Airacobra was high end performer so why slow it down some twenty knots with chalk-glue paint? AE-8 was aluminium pigment in A-17 alkyd resin (clear) dope. IIRC AE-8 also served as primer for cellulose type paints (AMT-/AMG-). So a remote chance is the silver Airacobras were in need for repaint and were later finished in summer camo and spent the snow season wearing appropriate primer? More so if the timeframe was Winter 42-43 and the planes had served one year already. Yes that is only my own speculation and attempt to make some logic out of this.

 

BTW Were Airacobras painted with Dupont paints? And if so were they Duco cellulose paints or Dulux alcyd paints? I believe I have asked this before, too. That might help guessing what Soviets used to repaint their Cobras. Brush painting cellulose over cellulose is at least no-no. Alkyd (like AE-8) might  have acted as barrier coat? I am assuming Soviet did not remove paint in the Murmansk region conditions. May be a wrong assumption.

 

 

Cheers,

Kari

Edited by Kari Lumppio
Typo correction. Should write these with reading glasses on.

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20 hours ago, Kari Lumppio said:

Hallo!

 

BTW Were Airacobras painted with Dupont paints? And if so were they Duco cellulose paints or Dulux alcyd paints? I believe I have asked this before, too. That might help guessing what Soviets used to repaint their Cobras. Brush painting cellulose over cellulose is at least no-no. Alkyd (like AE-8) might  have acted as barrier coat? I am assuming Soviet did not remove paint in the Murmansk region conditions. May be a wrong assumption.

 

Cheers,

Kari

Hi Kari

 

The Bell camouflage drawings for the Airacobra specify Dupont paints 71-013 Dark Green, 71-009 Dark Earth and 71-021 Sky Type S Grey and FWIW the Dupont Dark Earth 71-009 was described as a synthetic enamel (i.e. not cellulose) when applied by the Glenn Martin company to a wing in 1943 for surface irregularities tests.

 

Regards

Nick

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