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Hamsterman

1re escadrille du GR 2/33, F-5 lightning colors?

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Does anyone have a feeling for the colors on this 1re escadrille du GR 2/33, F-5 lightning? I've seen it interpreted as olive drab over natural metal, olive drab over a light (PRUish) blue, olive drab/dark earth over sky and I'm probably missing at least one or two other interpretations. Just wondering if the real answer is known. Thanks. Cheers!

 

43442095_10217194244798472_7580945434416

 

43349984_10217194244718470_5660795719653

 

43406037_10217194245078479_7418671008648

 

43467059_10217194245678494_6594031837503

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Isn't this in the Haze scheme?

 

Or a worn version of it at least.

 

Thanks for sharing these pictures.

Edited by Wez

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Dunno, but I bet there's a big bad tempered thread on the Francaismodeller, or whatever it's called on this very topic.🇫🇷.

 

Love to see one in that scheme, whatever it is.

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I haven't seen the French thread on this aircraft, nor do I speak French, but I've little doubt that this aircraft is in well-worn Haze Paint.  It was a two-layer scheme, and you can see the darker base coat everywhere that the top coat has been stripped away in the slip stream.

 

Cheers,

 

 

 

Dana

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42 minutes ago, Dana Bell said:

I haven't seen the French thread on this aircraft, nor do I speak French, but I've little doubt that this aircraft is in well-worn Haze Paint.  It was a two-layer scheme, and you can see the darker base coat everywhere that the top coat has been stripped away in the slip stream.

 

Cheers,

 

 

 

Dana

 

1 hour ago, Wez said:

Isn't this in the Haze scheme?

 

Or a worn version of it at least.

 

Thanks for sharing these pictures.

Ha!  No French thread, Dana, just a bunch of pictures that I've collected from various sources.  Haze paint sounds like the most likely candidate and I would tend to agree.  Looking at the top photo I would have guessed there was an area of natural metal between the dark base coat on top of the nose and the lighter paint on the bottom 1/4 of the nose.  I don't see that on the engine nacelles.  Is it possible the top coat was never applied to the top of the nose, engine nacelles and booms?  

I also just noticed that the prop spinners are two different colors.  White on the port side but what's the color on the starboard side.  Red, haze blue base coat?  Red would be a theater color. 

Thanks for all the thoughts!

Chris Hammerbeck

P.S.  Hey Dana, good to hear from you.  Did you happen to see that email I sent you about Lightning Liz from the 40th PRS?

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I'm not sure that arguing with Dana is too wise, but would the slipstream really have had more effect on the underside of the aircraft than on the uppersurface?  The air travels faster on the uppersurface of the wing, hence more friction.   The dark leading edge of the wing is consistent with this, but the propwash would have blown away the lighter uppercoat from all around the cowling, not just the sides (in a particular swooping pattern).  The entire underside and fuselage sides look too monotone.  I suspect we may be looking at a Haze or Synthetic Haze finish with additional dark areas as anti-glare panel on the nose and the  cowlings, plus dark exhaust stains on top of the rear fuselage and lower part of the fins.  I think a well-worn Haze finish would have looked much darker overall on such a used aircraft, so I suggest an overall coat of Synthetic Haze modified in the field.

 

Isn't interpreting b&w photos ... interesting?

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Badly faded Haze Blue scheme as far as I can see,

Cheers

          Tony

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Hi all,

 

I would urge caution in concluding this is the remains of a Haze finish.  Some years back I did the same aircraft, finishing her in a three color camo pattern.  Months later, you know what happened; I found a French aviation publication named "Icare" with a long story of both the aircraft and the man.  That led me to a small monograph on the French P-38 reconnaissance types including this a/c.  Naturally I cannot find the monograph, which frustrates me no end, but their evidence and conclusions were also a three-color scheme, very worn.  And not the one I had chosen, or course.

 

I will keep looking for the goods, but I hope one of our French cousins will remember/possess the monograph.  Caution- spaghetti ahead!

 

HTH, Jim

Edited by Jim Kiker

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I don't know where they got the info from but RS Models depicts that AC as DE/DG and sky on the sides and bottom.

The left spinner is white with a red tip and the right spinner is red.

 

(RS Models kit # 92123)

 

I have a color photo saved somewhere where an F5 with French roundels is standing in the background which seems to support these colors.

I will try to dig it out tomorrow and post it ...

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14 hours ago, Jim Kiker said:

Hi all,

 

I would urge caution in concluding this is the remains of a Haze finish.  Some years back I did the same aircraft, finishing her in a three color camo pattern.  Months later, you know what happened; I found a French aviation publication named "Icare" with a long story of both the aircraft and the man.  That led me to a small monograph on the French P-38 reconnaissance types including this a/c.  Naturally I cannot find the monograph, which frustrates me no end, but their evidence and conclusions were also a three-color scheme, very worn.  And not the one I had chosen, or course.

 

I will keep looking for the goods, but I hope one of our French cousins will remember/possess the monograph.  Caution- spaghetti ahead!

 

HTH, Jim

Hey Jim,

Good to hear from you.  It's been a long time and there you go, upsetting the normal theories!  🙂  So there is a basis for that three tone scheme profile I've seen.  Now I'm really curious.  I'll do some digging and see if I can find that publication and/or monograph you mentioned.  Do you recall, were the French F-5s hand-me-downs from USAAF squadrons or were these new planes outfitted to Free French squadrons operating with other allied groups? (I'm really not up on how Free French squadrons were outfitted or how they operated during the war so I apologize for what is probably a very naive question.)

Cheers!

 

Update:  Was it this Aero Album that you're remembering?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Aero-Album-Volume-6-Summer-1969-French-Lightnings-Mustangs-F-100s-in-Viet-Nam/391799764828?hash=item5b3915f75c:g:N1AAAOSwSdZWgZN9

s-l1600.jpg

Edited by Hamsterman
Adding link to online resource

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13 hours ago, occa said:

I don't know where they got the info from but RS Models depicts that AC as DE/DG and sky on the sides and bottom.

The left spinner is white with a red tip and the right spinner is red.

 

(RS Models kit # 92123)

 

I have a color photo saved somewhere where an F5 with French roundels is standing in the background which seems to support these colors.

I will try to dig it out tomorrow and post it ...

Ok, This one?  This is the three tone scheme I was referring to but couldn't find any basis for.  Please post that photo if and when you find it.  Hopefully that will shed some light on the subject.

Thanks. 

Cheers!

h52zacgv2l_large.jpg

dgfgctlxta_katalog.jpg

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Here:

 

i5Qko3W.jpg

 

The caption said this:

Free French recce Lightning of the Groupe de Reconnaissance II-33

 

To me it looks like OG/DG on the uppersides and MSG below.

Unfortunately a pattern is hard to make out.

 

It's from the Jeffrey J. Ethell collection:

http://www.ww2color.com/search/webapps/slides/slides.php?action=update&primary_key=06616

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I tried to play with the brightness here:

 

Fqq2zEZ.jpg

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Off topic, but note the paint worn off the brass sheathing on the prop blades in foreground,  looks to be a Spitfire nose?

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25 minutes ago, Troy Smith said:

Off topic, but note the paint worn off the brass sheathing on the prop blades in foreground,  looks to be a Spitfire nose?

Most probably a Spit Mk VIII from the 31st Fighter Group, as this picture was taken by William J. Skinner, a member of that group, and whose colour pictures appeared in several of Jeff Ethell books a couple of decades ago.

Edited by silberpferd

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Yes it's a Mk.VIII from the 31st FG ... picture was taken in Naples Italy 1944

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4 hours ago, occa said:

Here:

 

i5Qko3W.jpg

 

The caption said this:

Free French recce Lightning of the Groupe de Reconnaissance II-33

 

To me it looks like OG/DG on the uppersides and MSG below.

Unfortunately a pattern is hard to make out.

 

It's from the Jeffrey J. Ethell collection:

http://www.ww2color.com/search/webapps/slides/slides.php?action=update&primary_key=06616

Do you think the colors and pattern were supposed to mimic the color combination and pattern used on early 1940's French planes?  Overall I am also having a difficult time making out the overall pattern but the colors do look more green and gray than blue to my eyes.  Nice find.  Thanks!

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17 hours ago, Hamsterman said:

Do you think the colors and pattern were supposed to mimic the color combination and pattern used on early 1940's French planes?  Overall I am also having a difficult time making out the overall pattern but the colors do look more green and gray than blue to my eyes.  Nice find.  Thanks!

We'd need  better photos even if they are B/W to determine this.

From the irregularity of the demarcation lines it could well be they wanted to resemble a French pattern.

 

There is another French AC as option 5 in their other F-4 / F-4A (#92115) kit, it could be that they were inspired by the color photo, it states 'light brown' and 'dark green' for the upper side colors and light grey fore the undersides.

 

Edit:

Deleted a paragraph cause I think my conclusion were off

 

 

 

Cheers

Martin

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Hello all,

 

I have been searching the Internet, books and magazines to find out which camouflage and colours Saint-Exupery's Lightning carried. Note that this isn't the aircraft in which he disappeared on 31.7.1944!

 

The photo @Occa posted here is the only one in colour that I've ever seen.

 

Those black and white photos shown here were shot at Alghero AB (Sardinia) by John Phillips (from Life -magazine) in May 1944 after Saint-Exupery had returned to Squadron 2/33 from Algiers (Frederic d'Agay, Saint-Exupery's cousin). It is fair to think that Mr. Phillips used Pan-chromatic film with colour correcting filters.

 

I think the paint scheme is the original (yet well weathered) "Haze" paint because:

- top sides look rather dark and undersides light

- no hard colour demarcation lines are visible

- under the wing a dark paint runs from the leading edge up to the main spar

-the spinners have a soft colour demarcation lines

 

All these facts match with photos of other Lightning F4s carrying the original "Haze" paint. Remember that "Synthetic Haze" was a different story! Lightnings painted in "Haze" paint looked very much different to each other; some were very dark others looked almost white. This paint scheme was created in the following manner: first the whole aircraft was painted with gloss black. Then a special white coat was applied in a way that upper surfaces received a very thin coat of white and lower surfaces a heavier one. So a factor fresh Lightning would have very dark blue upper surfaces and light blue under surfaces with very soft colour demarcation. Haze paint weathered quickly and the dark blue turned toward black. Constant "touch-ups" were needed and of course they never matched the original factory paint work.

 

I have a French book that has a whole chapter about Squadron 2/33 but the photos only show later F5s in "Synthetic Haze" or natural metal schemes. Then there are colour profiles showing some "wild" camouflage schemes for the unit's F4s and F5s.

 

Cheers,

Antti

 

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Hello to Hamsterman and all,

 

To answer several questions that have been posed, I have been unable to find the little reference book I mentioned earlier.  For Hams, the Aero Album you displayed is not the publication I alluded to.  I also do not know where the RS kit's artwork came from.  Regarding the source of these a/c, I do not know where they came from, whether as new birds or used ones being passed along.  It is interesting as a side note that St. Ex spent just over two years in the U.S., and he had friends in the government.  The story of how he came to be back in the cockpit, especially in the Lightning, is fascinating in itself.

 

One thing I did find on-line is an art print of this aircraft.  The finish is dark green (perhaps representing the original OD on the plane), a French medium brown (fading lighter in that environment), and a French light gray-blue or blue-gray for under surfaces (not Sky).  The artwork proves nothing by itself, but it did jog my memory.  I think this is the combo I remember finding in that monograph, with a strong emphasis of "I think..." .

 

Finally,  I happily admit that I've never seen the color images before.  They do add to the discussion.  However, based on my own experience I will say that it does not take a lot of distance to make colors appear vastly different than they actually are.  Aircraft turn into dark-ish airplane-shaped blobs within 3000' or so of distance, varying with the light and the position of the observer, so even an aircraft parked on the ground looks much different from a few hundred feet away than it does up close.

 

I hope this helps a little and I will continue to look for the French monograph.

 

Cheers, Jim

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Hello Jim,

 

this P-38 F-4 was called "Peggy Back" and the USAF serial was 41-2363. Would this help us to get further information about the paint scheme? At least we can rule "Synthetic Haze" out I think.

 

These two close-up photos provide more detailed info: note how the paint has chipped.

 

5f8b74ea-9750-4550-af58-82434ce7f2ac.jpg

 

19624afd-c463-436b-b775-25b00457ba3e.jpg

 

It is also interesting to note that Saint-Exupery is wearing a parachute for the photographer. According to the persons who flew with him, he didn't wear parachute when flying the P-38.

 

Cheers,

Antti

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Hi all,

 

Thanks for the input, Antti, I had not heard nor read that St. Ex flew without a parachute; what an odd thing to do (to me at least).

 

Just when I thought I had exhausted my knowledge about his P-38 aircraft, I ran across a thread about St. Ex's aircraft here on BM- see  https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/65918-antoine-de-saint-exupery/  .  This thread mentions the French publisher, Ailes de Gloire and says that this is the publisher of the book I was writing about.  So that is one more datum in trying to find a copy of that book/monograph.  If you Google "St. Exupery britmodeller", I think there are several threads that show up.  The game is afoot!

 

Cheers, Jim

 

P.S.  Here is the book's title:  "Ailes de Gloire N 16 les P-38 de la 33e Escadre - St Exupery"  .  The French Amazon shows this title but I think it is out of stock/not available.

 

Edited by Jim Kiker
Additional content added.

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I have to go with a weathered original Cabot Haze application, very weathered and then touched up or repainted in available camouflage colors. As Anitti said

" I think the paint scheme is the original (yet well weathered) "Haze" paint because:

- top sides look rather dark and undersides light

- no hard colour demarcation lines are visible

- under the wing a dark paint runs from the leading edge up to the main spar

-the spinners have a soft colour demarcation lines"

These are all hallmarks of the original Cabot Haze application, even with the original paints it was difficult to touch up in the field given the application of light colors over a dark base.

eXkSY0X.jpg

 

Synthetic haze was a very different application

PvBXpJX.jpg

Here is a profile from many years ago I believe from Replic

HGPoliy.jpg

Edited by pat d

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Hi all,

Wow, I missed a lot over the weekend.  Thank you to all of you!  I genuinely appreciate your thoughts and discussion.  You're right Jim, the game is a foot, but what color is the foot!?!?  🙂 

 

Pat, that photo of the Cabot Haze scheme is very interesting and got me think of this photo; another Cabot haze scheme with the 90th photo recon group in North Africa.

F-5_71_90th_Photographic_Reconnaissance_

 

Antti, those b/w photos are quite compelling.  That haze topcoat did not weather well and could very well be what we're seeing on #80. 

 

Jim,  I took a look at that Britmodeller thread you mentioned and it's really interesting.  I'm not a Saint-Exupery expert by any stretch of the imagination (and truthfully wasn't only interested in that particular F-5 because he was the pilot) but think I need to start looking up his story.  You've piqued my curiosity.  I'm also curious, you mentioned that when you built that plane, you ended up using the wrong scheme.  Which scheme did you use?

 

One of the other tidbits that I thought was interesting from that thread is that the plane in question, #80, was 3080, which I believe corresponds to 42-13080.  According to Joe Baugher's website, Saint-Exupery belly landed in that plane on 14 February, 1944.  If that is the case, the plane must not have been too badly damaged if it was photographed in May, 1944 at Alghero AB (Sardinia) per Antti.  Assuming that any repairs necessitated touch up painting, what touch up colors would have been used during the spring of 1944?  Was the use of haze blue (be it synthetic or not) being phased out by that time?  I don't know which is why I ask.  I've seen another haze blue F-5 in the CBI which looks to have been repainted with topside OD.  Could this also explain why there appears to be three colors on the nose of #80, with the bottom most color looking darker than the color on the sides of the nose (possibly the lightest haze top color)? 

 

One other observation about the colors that I never noticed was the color on the bottom portion of the vertical stabilizer, below the horizontal stabilizer.  The rudder has the French tri-color but the vertical stabilizer portion is painted a uniformly dark color.  You can see the demarcation right on the seam between the tip of the boom (light) and the vertical stabilizer (dark).  Seems to be the same on both sides.  A replacement piece from a different F-5/P-38?  I also didn't know that Ultracast sells Carpena decals for this plane in 1/48.    

 

My other conclusion is that all this would help if I knew how to speak French....

 

Cheers!

Chris

 

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Hi Chris,

 

Well, remember that I painted my bird without the information and books that we have been discussing.  Limited material at the time led me to the only color combo you didn't mention: Olive Drab uppers from the (maybe) original camouflage, a medium cool gray RAF-style upper combination, with Sky undersurfaces.  Pretty, but mostly pants!

 

Cheers, Jim

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