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a couple of question about B5N2 Fuchida's color scheme


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so, in short, i'm waiting for a hasegawa 1/48 kit to arrive, and i was planning to make it in Mitsuo Fuchida Pearl Harbor color scheme. 

 

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so, couple of questions:

 

1 - the underside. according to hasegawa instruction sheet is silver. I've read somewhere that fuchida's plane was all silver during training ( that's why you sometime see the all silver livery depicted ) and overpainted with green for the attack. But i've seen it depicted everywhere with the underside in the usual IJN gray like you have in the zero, plus i've read somewhere akagi planes were all in gray/green camo.  So wich one is correct? In the picture ( few and grainy ) it looks like underside is a different more dull color compared to the peeled part, but also the peeled part is in direct light so it could be the result of the shadows. In the pictures also the underside has no peeling at all, so it could be bare silver, but for what i know it could also be that gray paint was less subject to peeling.

 

2 - the weathering. there are a couple of picture supposedly showing fuchida's plane on the carrier's deck the day of the attack. What's going on there? Its paint is extremely worn. I've heard japanese planes at the end of the war suffered from  peeling cause they went short of primer but here we are in 1941. So what's happening there? is that a proof that the plane was bare silver with overpainted green, therefore with no primer it just peeled quickly? 

 

i may have some other questions as the discussion comes along but for now i'll focus on these two.

 

Edited by cambridge
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Contact me offline at prestoncm@shaw.ca - I may be able to help.

 

Cheers,

 

Chris Preston,

Victoria, BC

Canada

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A pity that we don't see what Chris Preston will answer.

 

My learned understanding of the camo is as follows:

 

In 1941 all IJN carrier planes were camouflaged in J3 grey. There has been a controversy about the exact hue of the colour which can be followed in older blogs at aviationofjapan.com.

The B5N, due to their low level role, had the upper surfaces overpainted either at the depot before delivery or on the carriers.  I guess the latter because the camouflage varied by carrier, IJN green (solid or blotched) or green/brown blotches.

The blotch effect on Fuchida's plane is chipping most likely. Since the overpainting was put over the previous grey and not over primer it wouldn't last long.

 

Cheers, Michael

 

30997011857_f62d6d26c9_b.jpg

 

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Cambridge, can I also suggest you jump on hyperscale and search this. It has been widely discussed there as well. One of the pre eminent researchers on Pearl harbour, David Aiken , recently sadly passed away, was fairly active on the site 

 

hope this helps

Bruce 

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4 hours ago, Toryu said:

A pity that we don't see what Chris Preston will answer.

 

My learned understanding of the camo is as follows:

 

In 1941 all IJN carrier planes were camouflaged in J3 grey. There has been a controversy about the exact hue of the colour which can be followed in older blogs at aviationofjapan.com.

The B5N, due to their low level role, had the upper surfaces overpainted either at the depot before delivery or on the carriers.  I guess the latter because the camouflage varied by carrier, IJN green (solid or blotched) or green/brown blotches.

The blotch effect on Fuchida's plane is chipping most likely. Since the overpainting was put over the previous grey and not over primer it wouldn't last long.

 

Cheers, Michael

 

 

 

Comparing David Aiken's suggestion, quoted below, with the pictures of the landing plane, I'd say his interpretation is most likely correct in the case of Fuchida's B5N:

 

"While some folk continue to suggest that the lower surface was still natural metal, based on Fuchida's memory...or imagination... others look at the film stills to say that paint chips are flaking from the upper surfaces to show natural metal while the undersurface is painted with the same GLOSS Gray-GREEN viewed on Akagi VALs.....and the painting of the plane was accomplished NOT "enroute", but where the landing base paint shops sprayed the plane...with gray-GREEN, then the dark green upper surface.
Given the errors in Fuchida's memory, I side with the movie film and the layers of paint FLAKING to NMF shining brightly on the uppersurface/fuselage side...while the undersurface is darker, like the darker appearance in the photo of BI-323, which reveals BI-323 is covered OVERALL with the first layer of 'undersurface' paint before application of the upper surface dark green."

 

Michael
 

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The other comment I've seen is that the photo showing the aircraft in its weathered or chipped state was not taken at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack but later.  This would certainly help to explain its poor condition compared with other Kates and indeed other aircraft in the PH operation.  It really is in a very poor state for a short time between the painting and the operation.

 

This would affect the model that you chose to produce representing the attack.

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'Morning All,

 

I have to dig out my references - a number of which are Japanese. From what I can see, Fuchida's Kate had a grey underside, not natural metal. This makes sense, as the Zero's and Vals were also in Grey overall. The Green upper surface was applied prior to the strike which leads me to believe all the aircraft were overall Grey. Also, the photos showing Fuchida's Kate with a well worn upper surface Green are supposedly taken in early 1942 during the Indian Ocean operation, hence the worn finish with patches of natural metal showing through the Green upper surface. My thoughts are that as ALL the aircarft - Zero's, Val's and Kate's, were carrier-born naval aircraft and operated in an exposed marine (and tropical marine) environment, they would all be painted with marine-grade paint - in this case IJN Grey. As I mentioned above, the upper surface camouflage - Green for the AKAGI's Kates, was applied during the voyage to Pearl Harbor, and therefore, Fuchida's Kate should have a somewhat cleaner and pristine finish for the Pearl Harbor attack. 

 

My references include the Japanese "Model Art" publications No. 378 "Pearl Harbor", and Model Art  No. 573 "Pearl Harbor" both with extensive colour aircraft profiles and colour chips. I also have Ian Baker's excellent series on Japanese naval aircraft, which tend to support this.

 

Hope this helps. (Wasn't expecting the interest in my reply).

 

Cheers,

 

Chris - in Victoria.

 

 

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Well i think i will use the pictures as reference, both because i like to make something with an historical verified background and cause i'd like to do some peling on this model that would certain make it more interesting that a flat freshly painted green one :D 

so overall you think the most correct interpretation would be underside gray ( let's say tamiya XF-12 ) and overside green ( let's say tamiya xf-11 ) with the peeling revealing a bare metal skin, with no traces of primer. 

 

how come the green would peel that much and the gray not?

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The green would only peel that much if it were a poorer quality paint than the grey (unconvincing), or if the grey was properly primed and the green wasn't (which seems very odd, there being no mention of any IJN sechem of bare metal over grey), or if neither was properly primed but the green was exposed to much more wear and tear.

 

 

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1 hour ago, cambridge said:

how come the green would peel that much and the gray not?

A suggestion.

Field applied Green applied over factory grey, which was not properly prepared or cleaned, possible if applied on-board or in a rush?  

So the "bare metal patches" maybe just underlying grey showing though work off green?

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1 hour ago, Troy Smith said:

A suggestion.

Field applied Green applied over factory grey, which was not properly prepared or cleaned, possible if applied on-board or in a rush?  

So the "bare metal patches" maybe just underlying grey showing though work off green?

applying green over gray would make sense, but usually a paint sticks well over another paint, so green peeling exposing gray i dont really see that happening.

but it can be that green peeled off also the gray layer exposing metal.

or maybe the upper side is more exposed to sun and rain therefore it weather quite more heavily than the underside.

 

i've found this video, it kinda gives an idea of a weathered b5n2, i'm still convinced it's metal showing under there.

also i've discovered a new interesting thing, apparently there was some weathering also on the half wings that were folded as you can see at the start of the video. It's like the wings had 2 different colors, what could that bee? just fading paint? gray? spare half wings from a different plane not being repainted? that's kinda weird and i kinda wanna show that in my model

 

 

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33 minutes ago, cambridge said:

but usually a paint sticks well over another paint,

not dirty or oily or salty base paint.   Then it is quite  likely to flake off.   Anyway, it was just a suggestion.  

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'Morning All,

 

Further to my last regarding Fuchida's Kate - the photos one usually see's of this particular aircraft were taken around April 1942, after the aircraft had seen a lot of operational service. Keep in mind that this was in a tropical marine environment, with the sun beating down on the upper surfaces, which were painted green on-board ship, during the transit to Pearl Harbor, and not a factory applied finish - IE - it was done quickly! The bare-metal patches on the upper surfaces were due to paint-peeling/fading/weathering, and the abuse paint takes during servicing by deck crews and aircraft handlers. The light grey under-surfaces were not exposed to the same amount of harsh tropical sun or abuse, etc. For the Grey and Green - make sure you use the IJN colours and not IJA. If you have access to them, the In K. Baker and Model Art publications are EXCELLENT sources of reference (IMHO).

 

Hope all this helps. Feel free to contact me off-line if you need more detailed info.

 

Cheers,

 

Chris  

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On 19/11/2018 at 16:52, cambridge said:

 i've discovered a new interesting thing, apparently there was some weathering also on the half wings that were folded as you can see at the start of the video. It's like the wings had 2 different colors, what could that bee? just fading paint? gray? spare half wings from a different plane not being repainted? that's kinda weird and i kinda wanna show that in my model

 

On 19/11/2018 at 17:34, Chris Preston said:

'Morning All,

 

Further to my last regarding Fuchida's Kate - the photos one usually see's of this particular aircraft were taken around April 1942, after the aircraft had seen a lot of operational service. Keep in mind that this was in a tropical marine environment, with the sun beating down on the upper surfaces, which were painted green on-board ship, during the transit to Pearl Harbor, and not a factory applied finish - IE - it was done quickly! The bare-metal patches on the upper surfaces were due to paint-peeling/fading/weathering, and the abuse paint takes during servicing by deck crews and aircraft handlers. The light grey under-surfaces were not exposed to the same amount of harsh tropical sun or abuse, etc. For the Grey and Green - make sure you use the IJN colours and not IJA. If you have access to them, the In K. Baker and Model Art publications are EXCELLENT sources of reference (IMHO).

 

Hope all this helps. Feel free to contact me off-line if you need more detailed info.

 

Cheers,

 

Chris  

 

The two-tone wings in the movie seem really odd. I would have the following two interpretations:

  • The wings were bent more upwards starting at the wing-fold point. It is possible that they reflected stronger.
  • The flight deck looks wet. It could mean that the folded wings were dry on the upper surface while the stubs were wet, again resulting in  different reflections.

I would not assume that the wing was painted differently or had peeled so strongly.

 

Furthermore, I agree with everything that Chris has stated. Either the quality of the colours was different (dark green was not a factory paint at that time, while grey was) or - if the whole plane had been painted grey initially - the green overpaint had affected the chemical composition of the grey underneath and pulled it away when it peeled off. We can't even be sure that the grey has not peeled either since we don't have pictures showing the plane underside.

Japanese carrier planes of the period were not transported in the open while at sea (like in the US Navy). They were stowed on hangar deck and even armed there before lifted on deck.

 

Cheers, Michael

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Hi Michael,

 

From what I've found out, and as I indicated above - the camouflage colours applied to Kate upper surfaces (the other carriers also used brown for a two-tone pattern), were applied on-board ship during the transit to Pearl Harbor, and most likely "at the rush", on surfaces that weren't properly prepared (clean, etc.). Coupled with exposure to a harsh marine environment, this could lead to paint pealing after several months of operational service. The IJN Grey was a factory applied finish, with all the necessary surface preparations. If you're able to locate a copy of the Model Art books, particularly the first one, they're excellent!

 

Feel free to drop me a line at prestoncm@shaw.ca if you need more help.

 

Cheers,

 

Chris

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All Zeros at PH were manufactured by Mitsubishi and painted at factory with IJN standard J3 Olive Gray (hairyokushoku) after the application of red oxide primer. J3 was of high quality (based on German paint for light metal alloys) and glossy.Kates and Vals factory finish was natural metal surface, silver doped fabric covered surfaces, black cowlings, anti-glare panels and red hinomarus. They were painted in J3 at Japan home bases while training for PH attack, no primer. Green camo was added on board of the air carriers enroute to PH. There is insufficient evidence that brown camo paint was used on top surfaces in addition to green.

Cheers,

Mario

in NYC

Edited by mholly
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11 hours ago, mholly said:

All Zeros at PH were manufactured by Mitsubishi and painted at factory with IJN standard J3 Olive Gray (hairyokushoku) after the application of red oxide primer. J3 was of high quality (based on German paint for light metal alloys) and glossy.Kates and Vals factory finish was natural metal surface, silver doped fabric covered surfaces, black cowlings, anti-glare panels and red hinomarus. They were painted in J3 at Japan home bases while training for PH attack, no primer. Green camo was added on board of the air carriers enroute to PH. There is insufficient evidence that brown camo paint was used on top surfaces in addition to green.

Cheers,

Mario

in NYC

Sounds interesting and plausible. What evidence do you have?

Michael

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12 hours ago, mholly said:

J3 was of high quality (based on German paint for light metal alloys) and glossy.

 

Mario

in NYC

That is interesting - wonder if the RLM02 also influenced IJN choice on the shade of their overall colour?

 

regards,

Jack

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