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Troy Smith

Spitfire Vc paint oddity - and a bit of Airfix Bf109 nostalgia as a bonus

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I used this shot in the Vc  UC and prop thread

 

having missed a very interesting detail....

raf-spitfire-mk-v-sicily-774184.jpg&key=

 

plane appears to be black(?) under the fuselage and port wing,  which is first in that the well does not appear to have been repainted! 

The cannon on the starboard wing look black underneath.  What is visibke under the rear fuselage is either dust, or a the same paler tone as the starboard wing.

 

 

 

I suspect the photo is in Sicily, purely as I'm having a dim hallucination that the Bf109G-6 trop in the background .... the dim hallucination was this was one of the marking options of the ancient Airfix Bf109G kit...

boo-yah! 

01006_Bf109G-6_T4_1973_Blister_Rear_800.

crikey that stuff got burned into my brain.... mmm Airfix paint codes  

from here https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/airfixtributeforum/1965-messerschmitt-bf109g-6-1-72-t601.html

with more images..  

 

slapping Bf109G6 trop white 14 JG 53 into google gets this....

 

No 243 Squadron RAF Spitfire V trop at Siciliy 1943 & JG 53 Bf 109G

Different Vc,  which looks extensively repainted,  

 

I'm going to put a @tonyot  as he'll either know something about this, or find it interesting if not.

 

The Bf109 is this BTW

http://falkeeins.blogspot.com/2018/03/bf-109-g-6-wnr-15-270-formerly-gelbe-14.html

Quote

Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. 15 270, formerly "gelbe 14", 6./JG 53, captured at Comiso, Sicily, summer 1943. Sent to RAF Collyweston, 4 February 1944 and flown as VX 101. 

 

cheers

T

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Sorry Troy, but by that logic the upper part of the Spitfire's undercarriage leg is also painted black.  This is just shadow.  I do recall visiting Pima Air Museum, and there were a lot of photos of one B-17 Group whilst training in the states, and a lot of those had black undersides too!  Speaking to attendant veterans, they denied that their aircraft we ever painted black.  It was just that in the bright desert sun the difference between the lit areas and the shadow was much more dramatic than we see it in the UK.  Although Sicily isn't desert, it is still pretty bright.

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4 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

Sorry Troy, but by that logic the upper part of the Spitfire's undercarriage leg is also painted black.  This is just shadow.  I do recall visiting Pima Air Museum, and there were a lot of photos of one B-17 Group whilst training in the states, and a lot of those had black undersides too!  Speaking to attendant veterans, they denied that their aircraft we ever painted black.  It was just that in the bright desert sun the difference between the lit areas and the shadow was much more dramatic than we see it in the UK.  Although Sicily isn't desert, it is still pretty bright.

OK,  I appreciate that point, but  if that is the case, why is the port UC well much lighter, and the starboard wing a mid tone, compared to a very dark tone of the port wing.

Also, while the exhaust cast a dark shadow, the cowl underside is dark along a panel line. 

raf-spitfire-mk-v-sicily-774184.jpg&key=

 

These could be trick of the light,  and if both wings appeared very dark, I'd agree. 

 If the port wing is in deep shadow, why is the port wheel well so light? 

 

 I don't know the answer, I'd not seen the image before, and thought it worth discussing. 

 

 

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Could it be a combination of a relatively dark undersurface (like light mediterranean blue) with one wing coming from a different aircraft ? Or maybe an aircraft caught on camera in the middle of a repaint job ?

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I'd certainly agree about the panel under the engine not being in shadow, but I see that as a replacement part.  There's work being done on the engine manifold - or possibly faking being done, to be honest.  There's a particularly filthy oil streak down the underside of the rear fuselage.  Are we seeing just after an engine change?  The front of the Vokes intake appears lighter, with a very curious light streak as you look upwards. The inner wing root appears lighter too. Is the fairing missing and we are seeing the part of the wing normally hidden?

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On 4/3/2019 at 9:28 AM, Troy Smith said:

I'm going to put a @tonyot  as he'll either know something about this, or find it interesting if not.

I'll be interested to see what Tony has to say about it too. I've not seen that clip before but the Spitfire in it is simlar to another 243 sqn Vc SN-A which was the mount of Kiwi ace Rosie Mackie. I've seen Mackies mount variously interpreted as being finished in a Malta blue type scheme but to my mind the time scale is all wrong & in Mackie's biography, he stated that after the German capitulatation in Tunisa, 243 moved to Malta where they were repainted in a Green & Grey scheme prior to the invasion of Sicily. This is the photo set normally associated with Mackie's Spitfire  & my opinion has long been that the appearance of Mackies machine is largely due to lighting &/or filters. The Spit in the clip, SN-C, shows clearly , to my eye,  a two colour upper scheme & I've long wondered if the colours used might have been US equivalent colours as seem to have been prevalent in the Med & rather than RAF Dark Green & Ocean grey were perhaps ANA613  Olive Drab &  603 Sea gray, which supposedly gave less contrast than the RAF shades & have resulted in these machines being interpeted as having single colour uppers.  :unsure:

Steve.

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I don't see how Malta would have had significant supplies of US paints, and can't say that I've previously seen any comment regarding their use on other than US-supplied aircraft.  Either way, 249 Sq were still repainting their Spitfires into a dark blue-grey (DMB or EDSG?) well into 1943.  In this case the dark appearance of the cowling (and aft fuselage) does suggest a local partial repaint on top of an earlier scheme.  It's a shame that the film didn't proceed a few more frames to get a good look at the upper wing.

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1 minute ago, stevehnz said:

I'll be interested to see what Tony has to say about it too. I've not seen that clip before but the Spitfire in it is simlar to another 243 sqn Vc SN-A which was the mount of Kiwi ace Rosie Mackie. I've seen Mackies mount variously interpreted as being finished in a Malta blue type scheme but to my mind the time scale is all wrong & in Mackie's biography, he stated that after the German capitulatation in Tunisa, 243 moved to Malta where they were repainted in a Green & Grey scheme prior to the invasion of Sicily. This is the photo set normally associated with Mackie's Spitfire  & my opinion has long been that the appearance of Mackies machine is largely due to lighting &/or filters. The Spit in the clip, SN-C, shows clearly , to my eye,  a two colour upper scheme & I've long wondered if the colours used might have been US equivalent colours as seem to have been prevalent in the Med & rather than RAF Dark Green & Ocean grey were perhaps ANA613  Olive Drab &  603 Sea gray, which supposedly gave less contrast than the RAF shades & have resulted in these machines being interpeted as having single colour uppers.  :unsure:

Steve.

 

I personally doubt that USAAF colours may have been used as these were not really more available than proper RAF ones. US colours on Mustangs yes, as these were originally painted in the US, but on other types I doubt it.

Said that, the presence of Spitfires with low contrast upper surfaces in the Med and Italy is not rare and there are example of other Mk.Vs with similar schemes. One possibility is that the scheme was the prescribed green and grey but with a darker grey resulting from some factor, be it a different preparation of the paint or the application of the paint over the existing Dark Earth. Of course the MU that repainted these aircraft could have used other greys due to a lack of Ocean Grey, but in this case why use a USAAF colour ? There were other greys available in theatre and a "dark grey" could have been made by mixing Medium Sea Grey and black. Malta based units would have also had easy access to Extra Dark Sea Grey.

Some have suggested that a number of aircraft were repainted in Temperate Land Scheme, so what we see is a green/brown scheme, but this is debated

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Posted (edited)

I see that I have been copied into this discussion,...... and tbh it is a quandary to me too!

 

For the SN coded Spit`s of 243 Sqn I have long wondered whether they could be Dark Earth & Dark Green,...... or maybe the finish applied to the well known aircraft flown by Keith Park when he opened Safi Strip;

 

efe94f0e-f4be-44fc-959a-7f90c0edfb19.jpg

8376bc3d-fd54-4926-9a1a-f9070650961d.jpg

 

 

which I tried to replicate by painting my model of a 1435 Sqn Spit using Dark Earth and Dark Slate Grey with Azure Blue undersides;

resized_bd488e78-b072-4f64-a8b9-973988ca 

Now before anybody goes off on one,......please note that I stated `could' , `might' and `quandry',.........  these are my own personal thoughts,...... if anybody has hard evidence I would love to hear from you like everybody else as I`ve wanted to model one of these Spit`s for years! Sod`s law,..... as soon as  build one,...... the clear evidence will appear and prove me wrong,..... as usual!!

 

As for the Spit with the Bf109 in the background,...... it does indeed look to have dark undersides and one lighter coloured wing,........ all I can suggest is that it was finished in the Dark Mediterranean Blue finish seen on many desert based Spits,..... but that it has been fitted wth a new wing with lighter coloured Azure Blue undersides?

 

That is the best I can do I`m afraid,

 

All the best and good luck,

Cheers,

            Tony

 

Edit,...... Interviewing veterans for my book, I was told that more temperate land style schemes were adopted for fighter sweeps over Sicily and remember that Dark Slate Grey and Dark Earth later became the RAF`s post war desert scheme,....... plus Dark Slate Grey was quite readily available in Malta at this time from the flying boat maintenance unit at Kalafrana.  

Edited by tonyot

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12 hours ago, Giorgio N said:

Malta based units would have also had easy access to Extra Dark Sea Grey.

Hi @Giorgio N this makes for an attractive alternative for a low contrast scheme & it is a possibility, maybe too, the fact that these aircraft were freshly painted enhances the effect. I guess the next question is, was the Azure underside retained on those 243 sqn machines or did they get MSG undersides at the same time as the uppers were repainted?

Steve.

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Note also that the paint on the port wing extends down the leading edge to the bottom of the cannon housings, while the starboard wings paint scheme seems two toned, lighter, and extends only to the midpoint of the cannon housing. Replacement wing? Repainting? Idunno.

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Troy, thank you for posting this! Very interesting questions posed. For what its worth, I agree - black lower surfaces on the Spitfire. One wing with lighter lower surfaces? I think Tony has the best explanation, replacement wing.

 

But you have touched an emotional chord - Yellow 14 Bf 109G from JG 53 - I bought and built the old Airfix kit when it was a new release (!) and have fond memories of that scheme so LOVE seeing that photo! I have been fighting a losing battle to model this plane.

 

So a question please for the 109 experts - colour scheme for yellow 14? I don’t trust the Airfix guide. My guess is two greys, with both used on the fuselage mottling, and light blue (?) lowers surfaces, but would be grateful for guidance on this from those who know more. RLM nos?

 

TIA

 

PR

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15 minutes ago, Peter Roberts said:

 

So a question please for the 109 experts - colour scheme for yellow 14? I don’t trust the Airfix guide. My guess is two greys, with both used on the fuselage mottling, and light blue (?) lowers surfaces, but would be grateful for guidance on this from those who know more. RLM nos?

 

TIA

 

PR

 

Standard RLM 74/75 over 76 scheme, with Med. theatre white identification markings and lower cowling in yellow

 

 

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I would like just to notice, that agianst "shadow only" hypothesis is the colour of wheel bay inside on Spit left wing (proper English term is "starboard" I think but I am not sure - the darker one on the photo ). It is much lighter then the wing surface whereas on right (port?) wing it is more dark than wing surface. The wheel bay inside should be interior green or rather colour of bottom of airplane? Moreover - the shadow line goes from right side of spinner toward left side air intake of tropical filter . Part of dark area is apparently not in shadow at all, remains still very dark.

The idea of "replacement wing" can be supported by weathering on leading edge - the right wing (left on photo!)  has no traces of weathering on leading edge and another (with dark bottom) has it.... Also the cannons are very dark even on areas which must be exposed to Sun if you look how shadow goes.

BTW - what is the colour of spinner? Is it the right wing one? Interesting is yellow leading edge identification strip, not so often in Med I think.

raf-spitfire-mk-v-sicily-774184.jpg&key=

No doubts, interesting photo!

Regards

J-W

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On 4/5/2019 at 12:37 AM, stevehnz said:

Hi @Giorgio N this makes for an attractive alternative for a low contrast scheme & it is a possibility, maybe too, the fact that these aircraft were freshly painted enhances the effect. I guess the next question is, was the Azure underside retained on those 243 sqn machines or did they get MSG undersides at the same time as the uppers were repainted?

Steve.

 

Can't comment on these specific machines, in general I've seen Spitfires repainted with the "proper" MSG undersides but there are also B/W pictures that seem to show darker undersurfaces, that some have interpreted as original LMB surfaces not repainted... by this logic, it is possible that aircraft with undersurfaces in Azure retained this colour.

At the same time I'm starting to doubt some of the B/W pictures, as machines that seem to show dark undersides carry all the signs of having been delivered directly in DFS... meaning good old MSG on the lower surfaces.

 

 

12 hours ago, JWM said:

I would like just to notice, that agianst "shadow only" hypothesis is the colour of wheel bay inside on Spit left wing (proper English term is "starboard" I think but I am not sure - the darker one on the photo ). It is much lighter then the wing surface whereas on right (port?) wing it is more dark than wing surface. The wheel bay inside should be interior green or rather colour of bottom of airplane? Moreover - the shadow line goes from right side of spinner toward left side air intake of tropical filter . Part of dark area is apparently not in shadow at all, remains still very dark.

The idea of "replacement wing" can be supported by weathering on leading edge - the right wing (left on photo!)  has no traces of weathering on leading edge and another (with dark bottom) has it.... Also the cannons are very dark even on areas which must be exposed to Sun if you look how shadow goes.

BTW - what is the colour of spinner? Is it the right wing one? Interesting is yellow leading edge identification strip, not so often in Med I think.

 

No doubts, interesting photo!

Regards

J-W

 

The spinner could be red, as this was the identicatin colour prescribed in theatre

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I don't know if it has been mentioned, but to my eye the radiator fairing is dark like the "other" underside, not like the wing it is on.  I agree that it "must be" a wing replacement, which begs the question, what about the top surfaces?  A casual look doesn't show anything as light as the Ocean Grey (starboard, "new" wing) on the other areas.

 

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