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plasticmasher

Miles Magister L5912 - Colours? 1937 Photo

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Hi All - I'm looking at the subject of this photo - Magister L5912 which was lost from A&AEE Martlesham Heath in the North Sea off Felixstowe, Suffolk 22 July 1937. Pilot Flt Lt Eric Simonds bailed out after an irrecoverable spin (notice this Maggie has no fuselage strake yet)….. The 28 year old was presumed drowned when 2 possible rescue vessels assumed the other would recover the solo pilot. Tragic miscommunication.

The image appears to be the trainer scheme extant for the Magister at the time, and should be overall yellow. Is the dark appearance likely to be the film type used - I was wondering why the tonal value matches the red centre of the fuselage roundel?

I recall seeing a picture of a red Maggie, but is this a red herring? Will attempt to show a 'normal' b&w yellow Maggie as comparison.

 

This aircraft was the first in production block allocated an RAF serial as far as I am aware.

 

All comments most welcome!

Ed

 

Edited by plasticmasher
Removed link

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Both those links lead to L5971, I presume you meant to post this: https://www.krulantiquarianbooks.nl/catalogs/miles.magister.1.l5912.jpg

It is very dark, but still likely trainer yellow, colours on roundel are typical for orthochromic film.  You can just see the black serial on the tail.

Sad story about the pilot.

Cheers

Will 

Edited by malpaso
Edited link, hopefully right this time!

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Thank you Will...yes having a few issues manipulating links and pictures here.

 

As I suspected with L5912, most likely yellow as standard.

 

Is the illustration of a red L5933 also a perpetuated error, do you believe?

 

Ed

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Yeah I'd concur, that rich dark texture seems like yellow +orthochrome film to me.

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Looking in:

 

https://www.abebooks.co.uk/BRITISH-FLIGHT-TESTING-MARTLESHAM-HEATH-1920-1939/19792653967/bd

 

I cannot find a picture, but on page 41:

 

"Flt Lt E W Simonds on 22 July....baled out of the first Miles Magister when it failed to recover from a spin.  He descended into the water near a ferry which had seen the RAF launch approaching and consequently failed to stop.  The crew of the launch assumed that the ferry, being nearer would pick up Simmonds and turned about.  As a result of this grievous misunderstanding Simmonds drowned; he is buried in the Ipswich cemetary."

 

And on page 187 is a picture of  Parnall T.1/37 that looks remarkably like a Magister to me.

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This is hardly an original thought, but what was the rationale behind using orthochromatic film in the first place? Something that completely distorts the tonal quality of the original color. That "black" in John's picture is yellow, which is about as counter-intuitive visually as it is possible to be. What was the original purpose? What problem were they trying to solve or clarify that gave us this sort of film? This has driven me nuts for a while now, and I don't remember ever seeing a good explanation of how/why photographers used it. 

Edited by Kevin Callahan

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This explains it quite well:

https://filmphotographyproject.com/content/howto/2018/07/panchromatic-orthochromatic-film/

I think professional photographers at the time would have argued the ortho films gave better grain and detail.  They were often aiming to record detail, shapes and composition - clearly they couldn't make a record of colour in B&W.  Remember at least until the 90s the colours of colour slide pictures would vary depending on Kodak, Agfa or Fuji, so much so once were tuned in you could tell which had been used!

Edited by malpaso

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Bear in mind that viewers of official photographs at the time were perhaps used to the ortho effects so it may not have seemed as weird to them as to us.

For recording colours officialdom used different methods such as paint chips,swatches, B&W(!) diagrams, notes and paintings.

That Martlesham Magister photo was taken to record the shape of the aircraft in detail - everyone allowed to read the secret report would have known an RAF trainer would be yellow, if they cared about the paint at all!

Cheers

Will

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Well, that actually makes sense if they were shooting for detail, grain, and shape fidelity. I guess it is only in retrospect that we are trying to deduce color from B&W photos. You probably would have gotten a weird look from a photographer if you told him your main goal was determining what color the plane was...

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Even well known historians, if they weren't model makers didn't much bother about colour. I still have correspondence from the great civilian aircraft historian A.J. Jackson, which in answer to some of my colour questions, he replied that,"we didn't much bother about colours in those days".

 

Fortunately he could recall some of those he had seen and included them in the letters to me.

 

 E. J. Riding was a prolific modeller , so he did record colour details which he passed on via Aeromodeller and other sources, as was the late Owen Thetford who was a customer of mine in the 80's.

 

For Ortho the dead give a way is the Red centre of the roundels is Black when compared to the Blue.

 

John

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As an addition to the above. Interpretation of Ortho film is the reason that WW.1 and 30's roundels on some models and sources feature a light Blue.

 

John

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