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desert pink paint


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hi all,

 

Is the colour of desert pink used during the Gulf War on Tornadoes the same as that used on Victors?

 

Also, is the MRP Paint colour good or is there a preferred enamel to use?

 

thanks very much

Andy

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Desert pink was not the same as the colour used on the Victors, these were in the then standard Hemp over Light Aircraft Grey scheme, also carried by Nimrods.

Desert pink is, well, more pink...

 

Can't comment on the MRP paint as I never used this

Edited by Giorgio N
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If you're planning to build a Tornado based at Muharraq in a weathered finish the paint we initially used to touch up the areas where the desert pink had worn off was Leyland 'Blush' emulsion which was readily available and, I believe, had been used to paint the RAF & Army vehicles & ground equipment already in theatre.

 

The larger 2250 ltr Hindenburger underwing tanks were also hand painted using Leyland Blush.

 

Towards the end of the conflict supplies of the alkaline desert pink were readily available and used instead of the Leyland Blush.

 

What you ended up with were aircraft in their original weathered Desert Pink with Leyland Blush & freshly painted Desert Pink added giving the appearance of a three tone camouflage.

 

Apparently the painters & dopers back in Germany were not impressed when they tried to remove the emulsion from the aircraft on their return.. 😅

 

XVTonker  :pilot:

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I understand that the temporary paint for normal airframes ARTF - Alkali Removable Temporary Finish - "desert pink" colour on RAF Aircraft in Operation Granby was actually the same as / matched to FS30279 Desert Sand and not to a British Standard shade, as may be supposed. Although I also understand there was some variation in the colour ("pinkieness"? 🙂) observed on RAF Tornado's; seemingly  down to where they were despatched from - with RAF Germany having to mix their own paint, there being none of the ARTF paint available  in RAFG stores. So there is the potential for some further latitude.

 

There are now actually quite a few model paint options for the FS30279 shade including from Hataka, AK Interactive Real Colour, Vallejo Model Air,  LifeColor etc  in addition to MRP and old favourites from Humbrol and Xtracolor as "desert pink".

 

The colour used on the larger RAF aircraft of the period (Victors, VC10's, Nimrods & Canberras) predated Operation Granby and was originally British Standard shade (unofficially?) called "Hemp" ( BS4800/10-B-21); which has subsequently become officially "Camouflage Beige" (British Standard BS381C 389).

Edited by RichG
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BTW: does anyone know when the Desert Pink scheme was developed? Did the RAF choose this paint spontaneously in 1990 when Operation Granby became a possibility? Or did they plan ahead for the case of fighting in the desert and had already decided on a colour and paint much earlier?

Did the RAF ever use Desert Pink before 1990/91? The only RAF desert schemes, I know, used between the withdrawal from the Gulf in 1972(?) and Operation Granby are those used by Buccaneers in the Ref Flag exercises. They look more like traditional Light Stone/Dark Earth, however.

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I did write a letter to Ian Huntley of Scale Aircraft Modelling after the Gulf War details of which were used in his monthly column in Volume 14 Issue 4. For those that are interested this the content of the letter sent to Ian in 1992:

 

Dear Mr Huntley,

 

Firstly let   me   introduce   myself,   my  name   is John Cotterill and I am a SNCO aircraft electrician currently serving on, the soon to he disbanded, XV Squadron Tornado's here at RAF Laarbruch.

 

I read, with great interest your article on Middle East colours in the June edition of SAM and, after being based at Muharraq for four months, including the full period of the conflict I would like to try and throw some light on the various schemes used on aircraft based at Muharraq.

 

As you rightly say the initial  scheme  on the Tornado GR.1's was, and basically  still  is,  an  alkaline  based  paint  closely  resembling FS30279. Needless to say, in  the  run  up  to  the conflict the finish tended to become very weathered and also  had a tendency to flake off, especially  around the base of the fin area. The weathering caused the paint to appear darker in hue.

 

Accordingly, the overall desert  finish  had  to  be maintained and we subsequently applied "Leyland" eggshell emulsion (colour Blush) to the offending areas, which gave the appearance  of a lighter shade of sand thus giving a false impression  of  a  two  tone camouflage scheme, in addition the original squadron tail  codes  were partially painted out to  introduce  an  alphabetical  tail   code   sequence  for  ease  of identification for the groundcrew and especially the aircrew.

 

As the war progressed wear and tear on the aircraft again became a problem, by which time supplies of FS30279 were readily available and after touching up, some aircraft appeared to have adopted a three tone scheme

 

The introduction  of  2250  litre  "Hindenburg"  underwing  fuel tanks caused further problems as they  were  issued  to us in their original air defence grey finish. All the  tanks were subsequently hand painted in the Leyland Blush emulsion before being fitted to the aircraft.

 

I have enclosed a sample of the emulsion that was used on a wide range of  items  of  equipment  including   aircraft,  vehicles  and  ground equipment, in addition I have also  enclosed  a sample of the original alkaline paint used during  the  initial  preparation of the Tornado's for deployment to the Gulf.

 

In your article you mentioned  that  the  Victor  K.2's of 55 squadron were also- finished in the desert  scheme, in actual fact they retained their  Hemp  and  light   aircraft   grey   finish,   which  stood  up exceptionally well to the harsh weather conditions experienced.

 

I hope that some of  this  information  will  help  you in some way to making a thorough listing of the various schemes used during Operation Granby.

 

Further to the above I later identified the Leyland 'Blush' emulsion being a match to BS381C-369 'Biscuit' which in turn is a very close match to FS33711.

 

Here's a picture of a battle weary ZD790 'Debbie' taken just after the cease fire had been announced, showing the various colour variations

 

Tornado%20GR%201%20Debbie%20ZD790%20DL-D

XVTonker  :pilot:

 

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15 hours ago, Doc72 said:

BTW: does anyone know when the Desert Pink scheme was developed? Did the RAF choose this paint spontaneously in 1990 when Operation Granby became a possibility? Or did they plan ahead for the case of fighting in the desert and had already decided on a colour and paint much earlier?

Did the RAF ever use Desert Pink before 1990/91? The only RAF desert schemes, I know, used between the withdrawal from the Gulf in 1972(?) and Operation Granby are those used by Buccaneers in the Ref Flag exercises. They look more like traditional Light Stone/Dark Earth, however.

Spooky - had this very conversation on a FB group last night.  Answer seems to be yes - at least one herc was painted as such for a Red Flag exercise at Nellis in 1988:

 

http://www.airpics.net/photo/XV206-Lockheed-C-130K-Hercules-Royal-Air-Force/7130?fbclid=IwAR1jQj09zQXPBBvgRASR3lAq7fBoUOyw7k_QZfL2y61nvApBAXuozk8y5lY

 

Whether that's the same shade or not, I don't know...

 

Al.

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From memory the initial trials with overall ARTF Desert Pink were held in Cyprus a year or two prior to the first Gulf War involving one LTW C-130 and one 6 Sqn. Jaguar , cannot lay my hands on the Aircraft Illustrated article which had an excellent colour spread on it at the moment but I do recall that the Jaguar retained squadron markings and am pretty sure that both aircraft had dark blue/red national markings.

 

Around 2000'ish just before the second Gulf War there was the 'Flashman' scheme ARTF finish trial involving one Jaguar and one Tornado GR.4 which used the later grey colour on the sides and undersides with wing, tail and spine upper surfaces  in Desert Pink , both carried subdued pale blue/pink national markings.

Edited by Des
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Very interesting! The 2000ish Desert Pink/Grey scheme looked ver cool, BTW. Sad, it was never adopted after the trials.

Were there any other ARTF schemes tested for eventual use in different climates (apart from Desert Pink and, most likely, Arctic white)?

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6 Squadron had an exchange with Ala 46 of the Spanish Air Force in March 1989. One of the Jaguars, XZ104/EE, was painted in desert pink and photos appeared in the June and July 1989 issues of Aircraft Illustrated.  It had full colour red/blue roundels with standard 6 Squadron markings on the intake and fin. The photo in the June issue of the magazine showed it carrying wing fuel tanks in the normal grey/green camouflage.

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1 hour ago, rod mcq said:

6 Squadron had an exchange with Ala 46 of the Spanish Air Force in March 1989. One of the Jaguars, XZ104/EE, was painted in desert pink and photos appeared in the June and July 1989 issues of Aircraft Illustrated.  It had full colour red/blue roundels with standard 6 Squadron markings on the intake and fin. The photo in the June issue of the magazine showed it carrying wing fuel tanks in the normal grey/green camouflage.

 

Thanks for that it would have taken weeks for me to dig that out of my 'filing system'.

 

1 hour ago, Doc72 said:

Very interesting! The 2000ish Desert Pink/Grey scheme looked ver cool, BTW. Sad, it was never adopted after the trials.

Were there any other ARTF schemes tested for eventual use in different climates (apart from Desert Pink and, most likely, Arctic white)?

 

There were various ARTF 'Arctic' schemes over the years on Harriers , Jaguars , Tornado , Sea King HC.4 and possibly the Puma which usually involved patches of White applied often seemingly at random but on occasion when the fast jets were still in Dark Sea Grey/Dark Green camouflage the White was used to cover only one of the camo colours leading to Dark Sea Great/White or Dark Green/White aircraft.

 

Back in the late 1960s/early 1970s by which time the Royal Navy's Commando Wessex were overall Dark Green there were a number of different theatre specific ARTF camouflage schemes trialed but other than a possible Arctic scheme with White patches I do not think they were ever really used.     I remember an article in the final large format style of Flying Review International about them from which I recall one was an overall Dark Reddish Brown named 'Devon Red' another was similar to the previous Commando Sand/Dark Green scheme but the others I am not too sure about although I seem to think there was as mentioned a blotchy White 'Arctic' arrangement for exercises in Norway.

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My memory let me down with one or two aspects of my comment above on temporary Wessex schemes but as it turns out rather than the article from my original copy of the magazine being buried somewhere in one of several large storage boxes of clippings I remembered that I had picked up a few complete issues at a model show last year which included the issue I mentioned.     So Flying Review International from April 1968 , Volume 24 Number 8 , and as said the final large format style with news items on beige paper , 'Janes All The World's Aircraft Supplement' on blue and the issue in question having an "XC' coded USAF F-4D on the cover.

 

The article was titled  'Chameleon Style Camouflage' and written by Raymond Hankin and described a trial started in July 1967 and due to finish during the month of publication to find a more suitable base colour for Commando Force Wessex as well as developing suitable 'instant' camouflage schemes for different operational theaters.     Previously 845 NAS flying from HMS Bulwark had found itself over a fairly short time operating over Malaya , Aden and the Radfan then the Arctic and the contemporary standard 'Sand and Spinach' colour scheme had been found wanting.     

 

846 NAS provided the aircraft for the test which initially looked at various acrylic overall base coats using Dark Earth , Olive Green , Devon Red and Dark Camouflage Brown over which standard markings in white and unit badges were applied and of which Green was chosen as the most suitable base coat which could then be adapted with a temporary finish for different environments.

 

The article describes the temporary finish as being 'household distemper' but I seem to recall at that time  in common usage the term was interchangeable with 'emulsion' although technically they differ.      With overall green having been decided on as a base it would seem that the other colours mentioned were also trialed as temporary camouflage for which Devon Red seems to have been most suitable for temperate settings although there is also mention made of Black being used in tropical settings , White for arctic and Pinkish-Buff for deserts.

 

The goal was to cover about 50% of the Wessex surface area to include the nose and mid-section with the 'distemper' colour in a disruptive pattern working around permanent markings where possible using brushes and rollers and which could be applied in 4 man hours and removed using hot water and muscle power in 20.       Mixed at a ratio of 20 lbs (9 Kg.) of distemper to 2 lbs (0.9 Kg.) water the temporary covering was said to have a life of around a month and was rain resistant.

Edited by Des
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On 3/6/2019 at 9:31 PM, Doc72 said:

Very interesting! The 2000ish Desert Pink/Grey scheme looked ver cool, BTW. Sad, it was never adopted after the trials.

Were there any other ARTF schemes tested for eventual use in different climates (apart from Desert Pink and, most likely, Arctic white)?

 

One other example of ARTF paints was the overall grey used on Jaguars and Harriers around the turn of the Century in operations over the Balkans and Iraq

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5 hours ago, Giorgio N said:

 

One other example of ARTF paints was the overall grey used on Jaguars and Harriers around the turn of the Century in operations over the Balkans and Iraq

 

Was also carried by the Tornado GR.4 during Operation Telic in 2003 as well.

 

Another possible 'temporary' scheme , depending on whether the word was used to describe the finish itself or merely the brevity of its use, was the  conspicuousity test carried out with the BAe Hawk T.1 in 1992 when in the 'Longview 2' trial four aircraft in different colour schemes were assessed to see which made the aircraft more visible to other fliers.      XX176 in Matt Black overall ,  XX281 in Gloss Black overall , XX179 Matt Dark Grey overall  and XX299 in a return to Matt Grey / Green camouflage with all carrying full colour red/white/blue national markings.      'Longview 1' may have been an earlier trial using a number of black painted Hawks inspired by observations on how clearly visible individual solo display aircraft with dark paintwork/designs had been.

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