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P-40B/C Tomahawk II undercarriage bay colours


Nobby Clarke
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I'm building two 1:48 scale P-40Bs one in AVG colors and the other in RAF desert scheme. I have seen photos of several restored aircraft that show the interiors of the undercarriage bays painted in either green zinc chromate or the same colour as the wing undersides. Can somebody provide guidance on the correct internal undercarriage bay colour? Both aircraft were originally destined for the RAF and would have been delivered in temperate land scheme (TLS) I believe.

Thanks, Nobby

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Dennis,

Thanks for the great pictures! They clearly show the wheel wells, but the P-40 main undercarriage struts/oleos are not recessed into the wings, only the wheels are enclosed by the wing volume when the undercarriage is retracted. The undercarriage struts fold backwards and lie on top of the underwing surface, there are fairings and doors that surround the struts when the undercarriage is retracted. My question is regarding the paint colour of the insides of the fairings and undercarriage doors.

.

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Nobby,

 

Just now saw this post. Based on the previous discussion we have had on this subject, as well as input from experts like Dana Bell, I think the bay that housed the wheel as well as the area on the wing that the retracted strut rested against, and the inner surfaces of the strut doors would have been finished with an initial coat of yellow zinc chromate primer, along with a second coat of tinted zinc chromate primer- this would provide evidence that the initial primer coat had been covered, IIRC. This would be what was done at the factory before delivery. The amount of black added to tint the chromate primer probably  varied, as you can see  shades that ranged from a greenish-yellow to a darker green, as demonstrated by the color factory photos I posted in our initial discussion- most of the color photos we have now are of  restored aircraft, so they aren't very useful as a color reference. As for what these same areas would look like after delivery, re-painting, or repair, you can only make assumptions. My guess, and it is only a guess, is that after being finished at the factory, the canvas wheel bay liners were frequently re-painted in the undersurface color or possibly  removed altogether while in service; the wing surface and the inner surfaces of the strut doors could have had the same re-painting. Maybe a newer aircraft would more likely be in the factory-applied primer, and an example with a lot of hours on it might have had these areas refinished in the undersurface color. @Nick Millman would be the man I would ask for a more definitive answer, especially where the AVG and RAF examples are concerned. Hope this helps!

Mike

Edited by 72modeler
corrected spelling
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  • 3 months later...

I have recently discovered the photo below of AVG Tomahawk wings being transported, presumably as the unit retreated from Burma. What is interesting is the colours of the wing undersides at the landing gear location. The gear has been removed as well as the fairings and the doors that cover the oleos when the gear is retracted in flight. It appears that the wing areas that were originally covered by the fairings are a darker colour - maybe the Curtiss green primer seen in the colour photos taken in the factory (above). But the exposed underside wing area where the oleo retracts is painted a lighter colour - perhaps the same as the wing underside. I would appreciate comments on this observation, or any definitive information on the colours of the insides of the landing gear doors and the underwing surface enclosed by the fairings and doors.

Thanks, Nobby

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two pictures showing the underside with oleo leg fairings removed.
The colour seems as the underside paint, not dark as the wheel well or the wheel pocket liner(12oz cotton duck waterproof)
the oleo leg area seems lighter than around, may be clean off before photography shot.

spacer.png

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1 hour ago, BS_w said:

the oleo leg area seems lighter than around, may be clean off before photography shot.

BSw,

 

It almost appears to me that the section where the strut retracts has been painted with the undersurface color, because if you look at the areas that will be covered by the belly fairing and the rectangular panels at the front, you can see the rivet/fastener detail and the panels themselves are darker than the surrounding surface, which I would think would not be visible if they had been covered with paint beforehand. No need to paint the area covered by the belly fairing, as it will be hidden when the fairing is installed, but not the case for the wheel bay section that will be only partially covered when the fairing and strut fairing doors are in place. Just a guess, you understand. BTW, thanks for sharing the excellent detail photo of this section of the airplane!

Mike

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Thanks BS_w,

These are great photos. Do you know where they came from? I agree that the area where the oleos retract are a lighter colour in the B&W photos, but it’s difficult to know what colour this really is - it could be a primer or could be the undersurface colour.  

Nobby

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Hi All,

 

Hope this might help?

 

This is the Preserved/Restored P40E at MOTAT here in Auckland (NZ3039 an RNZAF P40E-1- Mostly - has some parts from other

RNZAF P40's)

0bea855a-2de6-400d-a8fe-a94a7650bfcd.jpg

 

Note the painted under wing surfaces around the gear (sans gear doors) and Wheel well liner.

 

of the wheel well liners, Bryan Cox who flew the P40 with the RNZAF in WWII, stated in his

book "Too Young to Die", that while flying the P40 as an advanced trainer, the pilots were

taught to tap the toe brake to slow/stop the spinning main wheel while retracting, or it would

shred the well liner.

 

Regards

 

Alan

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  • 2 years later...

This is a great photo, but it’s very difficult to invoke colors from a black and white image like this. Case in point is the color of the inside of the undercarriage door on the far right. This almost looks to be a reflective color like aluminum.

Thanks for adding this photo to the thread.

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finishes of P 40 F & L :

"Exterior surfaces:

...

(d) The area exposed by opening landing gear

flaps shall be finished with one coat of primer and one

coat of yellow-green finish."

 

the "yellow-green finish" and "cockpit-green" are same.

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