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Grey and teak shade gradation on battleships


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Sorry for bothering you with such a basic question, but after some 40 years of aircraft and railway modelling I'd like to build some 1/700 battleships.

Urban legend says that every one of them should have brown (teak) deck and grey hull. OK - but surely not the same shade of brown and grey.

How could you put in order (from the very light to the very dark) the hull and deck colours of:

  • HMS Hood in 1939
  • Littorio in 1940
  • Richelieu in 1941
  • USS North Carolina in 1942
  • Tirpitz in 1943
  • Yamato in 1944
  • USS Iowa in 1945
  • HMS Vanguard in 1946

Of course I have the kit manufacturers instructions, but before following them I'd like to know your opinion

Cheers

Michael

 

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It is certainly true than not all of these ships were in a single plain grey, or even (perhaps) not any grey at all.  The US ones are likely to be in shades of blue, often multiple shades.  (OK, maybe blue-grey....)  And decks would normally be camouflaged during the war, dark blue in the case of the USN.

 

The Hood was likely to be in Home Fleet Grey, which is dark, but has recently been found to be not quite as dark as often represented.  Yamato was in one of the four main Japanese greys, depending upon which port she was last repainted - I suspect Kure Grey.  

 

For fuller information on the colours I suggest you also visit the Sovereign Hobbies website, which contains lists of the appropriate paints for the British, German, US and Japanese ships.  You'll find that Jamie is very helpful on such matters.

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For Richelieu when I say "no information", what I mean is that I have nothing meaningful. The ship was painted in what most describe as "medium grey" in 1941. I cannot vouch for the qualifications of those citing that nor what "medium grey" means to them. Generally a medium grey would be approximately in the range of 20~30% Light Reflectance Value but there is a difference which even aging men (statistically the poorest at colour perception) would generally notice between the darkest and lightest end of that. Perhaps not the end of the world for one model on a shelf on its own, but I am not comfortable using such woolly information to place the Richelieu in a graduated list of tones. In addition, there is no information that I recall seeing which has anything to say on the subject of the hue of said medium grey.

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Jamie - you are THE GREAT !

That's exactly what I was looking for.

Hope that it will be helpful not only for me.
Great thanks

Michael

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21 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

I've not seen any comment on Richelieu's colours, but I believe she was last overhauled and updated, hence presumably painted, in the US.  A desperate modeller might take that as a hint. if no more.

John Snyder told me at the WEM stand at Telford that Richelieu was painted postwar in the wartime German colours: Dunkelgrau 51 for the hull and Hellgrau 50 for the upperworks. Those would be KM02 and KM01 respectively.

Edited by JosephLalor
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10 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

Blinkers on there I'm afraid:  I was meaning her last one in WW2 before she served alongside the RN and should have been more precise.

No problem Graham.  There's a build article on Steelnavy by Claudio Matteini.  He opted for Measure 32 colours for Richeliu after her 1943 sojourn at New York Navy Yard: 5-N Navy Blue, 5-O Ocean Gray, 5-L Light Gray and 20-B Deck Blue.

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But all this applies to Richelieu serving along the Allies after the US-refit. And I'd like to build Richelieu with Loire 130 on the catapult...

Perhaps the colours should be similar to Dunkerque and Strasbourg.

Cheers

Michael

 

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Just a quick note on the teak deck colour, this can change dramatically as it weathers and depending on if it's dry or wet.

Dry scrubbed teak will be similar to the shade Jamie posted

As it weathers, it becomes greyer and darker (as per the shade posted for Yamato)

Bare weathered teak when soaking wet goes a very dark brown.

All shades inbetween are possible!

 

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Still two more questions:

  • the Vanguard foredeck is pictured sometimes in teak, sometimes in grey, and sometimes in "something between" - what's the true for the 1946 scheme?
  • the deck of Littorio in 1940 is frequently pictured as grey with red/white diagonal stripes on fore- and afterdeck, but there are also some pictures showing stripes only on foredeck and bare teak on afterdeck. However I cannot meet 1940-41 Littorio with teak on whole deck lenght :( Do you mean the deck grey being also Grigio Chiaro?

Cheers

Michael

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Than you, Jamie, once again.

Littorio solved thanks to a PM from a friend from Italy: Grigio Piombo (lead grey) should be very close to IJN Kure Gray, while Grigio Scuro is closer to Tamiya XF-24. Scuro was used for vertical areas as darker camo colour, while lighter Piombo was applied to horizontal surfaces (metal and wooden ones). The foredeck was red/white striped all the time between July 1940 and November 1942, while afterdeck was either teak wood (July/August 40, then January 41 till March 42 and then July 42 onwards) or striped (September/December 40 and April/June 42 only). These periods apply to Littorio only however, as its sister ship Vittorio Veneto sported rear stripes only between August 40 and April 41, while Roma never sported colour stiping during her (brief) operational service.

But the Vanguard question remains :( Ok, the foredeck is plated - but what about the colour? Some artists show it Light Grey (as the hull sides), others use darker blue-grey (using the same colour for all the metal horizontal surfaces of the vessel) and others even show it in some kind of brick red/rusty chestnut brown. How did it really look in 1946?

Cheers

Michael

 

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Well the Royal Navy were ever a rigid and prescriptive service. Unlike how many choose to believe, paints were never chosen at random. If nothing else, there is no mechanism to buy something at random and have the service pay for it! Actual money isn't wasn't often used but rather supplies were bought on account and paid for by administration staff. As such, there were approved suppliers already organised for stuff like paint and the fleet orders told the naval officers who the approved suppliers and what the approved supplies were!

 

The paints in use immediately after the war reverted to the same as those used before the war: Red Lead Oxide used for primer, Admiralty Pattern 537 White, Admiralty Pattern 507B Dark Grey, Home Fleet Shade and Admiralty Pattern 507C Light Grey and it remained that way until the mid 1950s when the latter two were replaced with BS381C-632 Dark Admiralty Grey and BS381C-631 Light Admiralty Grey respectively.

 

The only difference was that proprietary non-slip paints were now available in the standardised colours.

 

I never say I am 100% certain unless I have primary source documentation to reference, but in this case I feel Dark Grey, Home Fleet Shade as a non-slip paint is far more credible than light grey or some non-standard paint colour.

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