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robgizlu

HMCS Eyebright - Camouflage scheme?

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Posted (edited)

Having built HMS Crocus, I was planning to attempt HMS Clematis and likely still will.  However, researching Corvettes on the web I came across some startling pictures of HMCS Eyebright and I am indebted and grateful to Mr Ron Bell for his permission to download his images via http://www.forposterityssake.ca/GALLERIES/EYEBRIGHT.htm.   Thankyou Sir, you are a gentleman.  Picture quality is superb and several angles convey one of the ten British built/designed Corvettes that were loaned to the Canadians.

 

d4871aaf-d0c1-4bae-88a8-a8fc6998a08b.jpg

 

35f04bfa-8753-4a3e-a0dc-bec0ea1e512d.jpg

 

0b01d6a1-02a6-477e-9781-158b7aa9ddd0.jpg

 

The Camouflage is the "Admiralty Light" scheme that seems to have come into use around 1942 and features in many 1942 onwards pictures of Corvettes with good pictures/example being available of HMS Violet and HMS Jonquil amongst many others.  I have singularly been unable to find a picture of HMS Bluebell despite this scheme being portrayed by Matchbox/Revell in their 1/72 offering with most models being represented with a 507C light hull and B15 stripe shading with an MS4a Funnel and upper bow area.

 

8d7baf1f-4722-461d-a340-f6f4efb1ffe2.jpg

 

HMS Violet with thanks to the Imperial War Museum photo archive.

 

e38f114a-ce8b-4769-ac2e-2ad84bcdd7f5.jpg

 

And here's HMS Jonquil (IWM photo archive) with area "1" showing the ?MS4a bow area, a distinctly different shade from the ?507C Light grey main hull seen in segment "3".  The Funnel is a distinctly different shade from the main hull colour and most seem to agree that this was MS4A.  Jonquil appears to extend this colour along her aft superstructure.

 

Returning to HMCS Eyebright .......

 

c57461af-d301-4501-be12-25674da10bae.jpg

 

...she has a similar 3 colour hull demarcation ("1") with 507C being I feel the likeliest colour for the main hull (vs white).  The bow colour ("1") is distinctly different from the rest and seems to match the funnel "5", the aft superstructure may be funnel or Hull - it's not entirely clear though the cowl vents I feel are definitely hull (507C) colour.

Eyebright has a quirk (a little bit like Crocus) in that the middle disruption stripe "4" is made up of 2 colours with a distinct division , the aft colour being lighter possibly matching that of the funnel.

 

The disruption stripes echoing those on Bluebell and others as above have been portrayed most often as B15 (bluegrey) and this is a colur profile presented in The Shipcraft 'Flower Class Corvette' book though John Lambert records HMS Hydrangea and HMS Armeria as having stripes pf 507A (dark grey) in 'Warship Perspectives' .  There is no evidence that I can find that paint colours differed drastically between and Canadian and British vessels.

 

I'm struggling with the disruption stripes being B15 or 507A??   And is there  a consensus about  Light Grey hull and MS4a bow and funnel?

 

Jamie, Kev et al - what do you all think?

 

Thanks Fellas

Rob

Edited by robgizlu
Spelin

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Hi Rob,

 

Firstly we need to get the timescale right. Prior to May 1943 the official camouflage colour palette was 507A, 507C, MS1, MS2, MS3, MS4, MS4a, B5, B6, Western Approaches Blue, Western Approaches Green and White. After May 1943 the palette was G5, G10, B15, G20, B30, G30, G45, G55, B55. Therefore I would not expect to see a scheme comprising MSanything and B15 because by the time B5 would be called B15 the MS shades were gone and the whole lot replaced by the B&G series paints. It will become apparent in the next year or so that MS2, MS4 and Western Approaches Green had no equivalent in the B&G series, being fairly redundant from the outset because MS2 is so close to 507A and MS4 so close to 507C that they offered nothing not already available. You'll see at the bottom of this post that there were no Light Admiralty schemes featuring MS2 and 507A together nor MS4 and 507C together for this reason.

 

Second of all - the common wisdom on 507C is slightly incorrect as is the common wisdom on MS4 and MS4a.

 

I haven't been able to write my proofs on this statement yet, but the one for 507C in particular does exist and I am incorporating comments/improvements from the co-researchers. I hope publication of that (Royal Navy Colours of World War Two - The 507s, G10 and G45) will happen fairly soon to follow on from my previous one, Royal Navy Colours of World War Two - B5 and B15.

 

 

I'll get right to the point. The tones of all these colours as we understand them all is all to pot. We know this for certain because the real samples correlate well with written documentation which still exists in the archives. The Admiralty had several people dedicated to this stuff over the duration of the war and some of them were very scientific in their methods. As such, reflectance factors and photometer colour values do exist. These contradict the currently accepted understanding of the colours. Crucially, in practise, 507C was darker than MS4a, not lighter.

 

Snyder & Short's 507C is a bit too light at around 54% Light Reflectance Value and MS4a is far too dark at 33% LRV. The real values were 40~45% and circa 50% respectively. Thus, when you view photos like the above your interpretation of them relative to each other is backwards. In addition, I have a belief that the hues of Snyder & Short's MS4 and MS4a *might* have been switched. I hope to have more concrete proof on that next month (trying to arrange a visit to Portsmouth to view the Admiralty Library's shade cards right now actually) but Richard who has been a fantastic help (and may look in here) has already seen them and given me closest NCS1950 colours to them. I did the same with Kew's samples and whilst not completely aligned with each other they both suggested that MS4 should have a VERY slight greenish undertone whereas MS4a should be the warmer khaki hue. Snyder and Short's are the other way round. We have a new digital gadget on the way so I intend to leave Portsmouth with measured colour values from all their cards.

 

Here is how 507C should look compared to what you've been thinking it looks like:

507Ccomparison_large.jpg?v=1513024400

 

The correct cascade of tones from darkest to lightest is as follows:

MS1 - ~6%

507A & MS2 - ~10%

B5 - ~ 15%

MS3 - ~20%

B6 - ~ 25-30%

MS4 - ~ somewhere between 28 to 41% - we're honestly not sure yet

507C - 40-45%

MS4a - ~50%

WA Green & Blue - ~55%

White - ~ 75%

 

This gives us quite a few anomalies with the current understanding of paint colours and specifically their tones and how they relate to each other.

 

We do however have Confidential Admiralty Fleet Order 679 (1942) in Kew which lists colours to be used in Western Approaches, Admiralty Light, Admiralty Intermediate and Admiralty Dark schemes along with colour plates / standard designs for small ships (i.e. destroyers and below). I don't have access to those right now but have them at home. :)

 

Light Admiralty Type:

1) 507.C., M.S.4A., B.5.

2) B.5., M.S.4., M.S.1.

3) 507.C., M.S.2., M.S.4A., B.5.

4) M.S.2., M.S.4., M.S.4A.

5) 507.C., M.S.2., M.S.4A

6) 507.C., M.S.4A., B.5., 507.A.

7) M.S.4., M.S.4A., B.5.

8) 507.A., 507.C., M.S.4A., M.S.3.

9) 507.A., 507.C., M.S.4A.

 

What we can see is that Eyebright is most certainly a 4 colour scheme, so that discounts 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 9 above, leaving the following as likely candidates for a fairly unremarkable (in terms of likelihood for getting special paint schemes I mean!) Flower class :)

 

 

3) 507.C., M.S.2., M.S.4A., B.5.

6) 507.C., M.S.4A., B.5., 507.A.

8) 507.A., 507.C., M.S.4A., M.S.3.

 

All that said, the hull midships does look very light and could well be white. Let me get the colour plates though and we can see if any look similar to the pattern evident here. It may give a clue :)

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First off cracking shots of HMCS Eyebright, going to give you a good start .....

 

Me comment after wot Jamie just wrote. I can only understand about 1/3 of what he said.

Me thinks you go with the man who clearly is doing some heavy research :nodding:

 

What small detail I would point out. HMS Violet ex IWM area 1 could the darker shade running from above the anchor to below the numbers be caused by shade from the flair of the bow. Look at the heavy shade under the anchor

 

Kev

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Jamie, I hoped you'd pick this up - I applaud your scholarly analysis and erudition.  I'm very taken by your B15 analysis and am a convert to the 507C/G45 eqivalence argument.

The only issue I take with above is that I think there are only 3 colours - main hull, dsiruptive stripes and funnel (?aft superstructure) and divided aft disruptive stripe which is itself unique in this Admiralty "Light" scheme (to my experience).  I feel that the tone apparent there is identical to bow and Funnel?

 

As to the time of these pics - Eyebright was launched Jan 1941 with the "B" bridge and mast forwards on the Fo'csle.  There are web pics that show her in this configuration with Western approaches colour scheme.

She was refitted in Charlottetown Nov 1941 and then again in July 1943.  Several wweb pics show her with a "C" bridge mast abaft the bridge and with rocket launchers on the 4" gun housing. 

 

I thus infer that the mast abaft the bridge with a "B" bridge indicates her mid period from Nov 1941 to July 1943

 

Here are some more pics

 

1b705c3e-cfa3-4588-8db0-08ee203884e2.jpg

 

1b639d7e-45b5-4fc5-97ff-7ea6ada8cf4f.jpg

 

The port side pic does not show such contrast with the hull shade - she is clearly not so weather beaten in this pic

 

180f1e7c-28df-4a3f-bf7b-b7d2829a86a5.jpg

 

Rob

 

Edited by robgizlu
Addition of pics

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1 hour ago, longshanks said:

First off cracking shots of HMCS Eyebright, going to give you a good start .....

 

Me comment after wot Jamie just wrote. I can only understand about 1/3 of what he said.

Me thinks you go with the man who clearly is doing some heavy research :nodding:

 

What small detail I would point out. HMS Violet ex IWM area 1 could the darker shade running from above the anchor to below the numbers be caused by shade from the flair of the bow. Look at the heavy shade under the anchor

 

Kev

 

Thanks Kev - I know what you mean but looking at multiple pics of different vessels I am convinced that it's not a shading phenomenon.  However............

 

Rob

 

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In which case by elimination:

 

Light Admiralty Type:

1) 507.C., M.S.4A., B.5.

2) B.5., M.S.4., M.S.1.

3) 507.C., M.S.2., M.S.4A., B.5.

4) M.S.2., M.S.4., M.S.4A.

5) 507.C., M.S.2., M.S.4A

6) 507.C., M.S.4A., B.5., 507.A.

7) M.S.4., M.S.4A., B.5.

8) 507.A., 507.C., M.S.4A., M.S.3.

9) 507.A., 507.C., M.S.4A.

 

I will be bold and state that the darkest colour isn't M.S.1. leaving:

 

1) 507.C., M.S.4A., B.5.

4) M.S.2., M.S.4., M.S.4A.

5) 507.C., M.S.2., M.S.4A

7) M.S.4., M.S.4A., B.5.

9) 507.A., 507.C., M.S.4A.

 

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Thanks again Jamie - that definitely brings a framework to work within.  I'm fascinated by your thoughts on M.S.4 and M.S.4A.  The green hue has an attraction in aesthetic terms and provides more of a "contrast" in colour tones than the warm grey tone that you would feel would blend with the 507.C, hardly worth the effort of demarcating the zones.

 

I'd be hugely grateful if you kept me abreast of your thoughts after Portsmouth.  It's real detective work.

This build is not imminent and I've deliberately kicked this off for some time to reflect.

 

Rob

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Rob,

 

This isn't very scientific, but maybe it will inspire some better thinking?

 

I took 3 samples of each colour evident, and used easyRGB.com to give me a Light Reflectance Value (The Y value in Yxy data provided), then averaged them for each colour. I also took a sample of black from the underwater hull, which averages out at 2% LRV on this image.

 

That, in itself, isn't very useful because we don't know how light or dark the photograph really is. There are also dangers with over/under exposure evident, and the effects of blues and reds appearing darker or lighter on panchromatic versus orthochromatic film but there's nowt any of us can do about that. I'm just saying this to qualify the following - it's not an exact science!

 

What I next did (bottom left) was take the given LRVs in the official documents and divided each of them by the LRV for official black paint*. This gives the "x Black" column. It's telling you how much brighter than black each colour should be in real life ignoring the issues above!

 

Then, I applied the same criteria of dividing the photo sample average LRVs by the photo's own black (from the underwater hull) to get a view on how much brighter than the photograph's own black each of those three colours are.

 

As you can see, 507C, B5 and White appear to fit well according to the numbers. However, the white caps are rather whiter still so colour 7/8/9 may yet be our old friend MS4A and the sampling a victim of the limitations of trying to do this sort of thing. A combination of 507C, B5 and MS4A would make this a Light Admiralty scheme type 1.

 

ed39882e-aba6-4e2b-be6d-4bb03239a606.jpg

 

But, it's NOT something I'd be betting my house on!

 

 

 

* Theoretical black has an RGB of 0,0,0 and a Light Reflectance Value of 0%. Theoretical white has an RGB of 255,255,255 and an LRV of 100%. In practise, that is unachievable just as 100% efficiency is impossible from a real life machine. Schuil (paint scientist working on camouflage for the Admiralty, killed in action whilst aboard a vessel) recorded the black paint the RN used at 4% and white at 75%.

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1 hour ago, Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies said:

Rob,

 

This isn't very scientific, ......................................

 Jamie - I'm not so certain.  I think it's fascinating and really quite compelling. 

Very obviously - for the Pennant letters (that are white) to stand out, they must contrast with a grey clour and I'm of course reminded of the 2 Very well known colour (I have always presumed not colourised) pics of HMCS vessels Weyburn and Regina

 

270cea25-4ca7-410b-ba90-1768de91c748.jpg

 

d5b4151f-45d3-4759-af3a-0d30c52fadf6.jpg

 

Regardless of the hull colours both run with grey (vs Western approaches Blue to my mind) on the superstructure, Regina (No pennant number) using presumably 507.C and 507.B.  

I'm drawn to White, B.5 and 507.C.  When you postulate M.S.4a - do you mean the green grey or warm grey?  It's interesting how much whiter the bow wave is than the white of the hull for Regina, reflecting that Admiralty white is "off-white".

I am fascinated:yahoo:

 

Rob

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My go-to reference book for RCN corvettes is 'Canada's Flowers History of the Corvettes of Canada 1939-1945', by Thomas G. Lynch, ISBN 0-920852-15-7.  

 

The book includes a port side photo of Eyebright in the same camo pattern shown in the above photos, & with the following caption, "HMCS Eyebright, May 1943. ... Ship is overall off-white with light Admiralty Disruptive pattern, with medium grey over off-white." 

 

 

John

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As for the colours themselves, please treat this as strictly provisional because the truth is that the MS colours haven't been addressed yet. Nevertheless, based on our visual matches to The National Archives  (Kew) and the Admiralty Library's (Portsmouth) original samples (digitial ones will be taken now we've bought portable kit), MS4A does look different.

 

Based on the Snyder & Short colours which for the last 20 years have been the accepted colour palette for the Royal Navy, Light Admiralty scheme 1 would look like this:

26a5f8d2-d88f-425f-9553-3fdc208460d5.jpg

 

I am absolutely certain about 507C and B5, whilst I merely have a Pretty Good IdeaTM what MS4A really looked like. Using that, Light Admiralty scheme 1 would really look like this:

24b5934f-be6b-41ee-82ef-9253b25cc58c.jpg

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37 minutes ago, JohnWS said:

My go-to reference book for RCN corvettes is 'Canada's Flowers History of the Corvettes of Canada 1939-1945', by Thomas G. Lynch, ISBN 0-920852-15-7.  

 

The book includes a port side photo of Eyebright in the same camo pattern shown in the above photos, & with the following caption, "HMCS Eyebright, May 1943. ... Ship is overall off-white with light Admiralty Disruptive pattern, with medium grey over off-white." 

 

 

John

Thanks John, there's now a copy winging it's way to me.

 

Rob

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39 minutes ago, Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies said:

As for the colours themselves, please treat this as strictly provisional because the truth is that the MS colours haven't been addressed yet. Nevertheless, based on our visual matches to The National Archives  (Kew) and the Admiralty Library's (Portsmouth) original samples (digitial ones will be taken now we've bought portable kit), MS4A does look different.

 

Based on the Snyder & Short colours which for the last 20 years have been the accepted colour palette for the Royal Navy, Light Admiralty scheme 1 would look like this:

26a5f8d2-d88f-425f-9553-3fdc208460d5.jpg

 

I am absolutely certain about 507C and B5, whilst I merely have a Pretty Good IdeaTM what MS4A really looked like. Using that, Light Admiralty scheme 1 would really look like this:

24b5934f-be6b-41ee-82ef-9253b25cc58c.jpg

 

That's really interesting and has made me take a second look at Weyburn K173's hull again.  

 

Rob

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Yeah I think quite a few things start to fall in to place as we resolve each colour.

 

You can't imagine how excited I am about the prospect of producing a full set of new colour chips - but jumping the gun and doing it prematurely would just make us all look stupid and attract scepticism of even a corrected set if we don't finish our homework properly first.

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