Jump to content

As a result of the close-down of the UK by the British Government last night, we have made all the Buy/Sell areas read-only until we open back up again, so please have a look at the announcement linked here.

This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

Sign in to follow this  
iang

HMS Indomitable colours 1942

Recommended Posts

For her second Admiralty disruptive scheme, Raven gives Indomitable in MS2, B5 and MS4a (Warship Perspectives Vol 3, p.31).  I've read  Brown et al's Royal Navy Colours of World War Two B5 and B15, where B5/B15 is believed to be a more vibrant blue than previously described.   Colour footage of Indomitable exists during Operation Pedestal.  I'm aware that the colours rendered in this film are unlikely to be a true representation, but in this port side image, the "B5" shade looks distinctly grey to me. If not B5, what colour is it likely to be?  Is 507c a possibility, or does the contrast between the medium grey and the lightest colour (assuming this is MS4A), make 507c unlikely?

 

spacer.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by iang

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ian,

 

This particular subject has cropped up in our discussions, and that particular film reel is fairly consistent in that it really washes out blue hues. The footage of Rodney is the same, and notable in that the distinct blues on Stephen Bone's contemporary paintings appear absent in the colour footage from Pedestal:

resized_2e1f1977-2a3a-4ad9-9c0b-ba9ecf36

 

2830c3c6-86aa-43b9-8ccd-b77ac37a43ec.jpg

 

e5ad2b7b-a866-4175-a77d-3a8998ddb977.jpg

 

 

Perhaps Richard (whom I still can't tag) would care to add more, but as I perceive it, I think the tonal gap between the darkest and mid tone is far to great for those to be MS2 and B5. They should only be 5% LRV apart.

 

1942_08_12_a.jpg

 

Apologies for the quality here:

d8c57814-d8b6-410b-87ed-0b095508566c.png

 

 

I feel that if the mid-tone is indeed B5 (which is not out of the question given the consistency of that film to wash out the hues) then the darkest tone is more likely MS1 rather than MS2, and whilst this next bit is a bit touchy-feely, a combination of MS1, B5 and 507C would be more typical than a large ship including MS4A in vast quantities.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to RE/CAM/30/1/1 the reflection factors (light reflectance values) of the 1942 colours were:

 

Black - 2%

MS1 - 4%

MS2 - 9%

H.F. Grey - 13%

B5 - 15%

MS3 - 20%

B6 - 30%

MS4 - 32%

Mediterranean Grey (507C) - 45%

MS4A - 55%

White paint - 75-80%

 

Raven's tones would thus look a bit like this in B&W:

d8fcccc6-bc1b-40f1-8006-c98aab26405d.pngc5e2850b-10bd-4dd0-a1af-3547105d75ff.pngc24e98ab-ee3d-49a3-8196-2d9aa8114197.png

I think the two darker tones there are much too close together.

 

MS1, B5 and 507C would look look similar to this in B&W - this seems more likely to me in the absence of looking for any written documentation which someone like Richard may have memory of:

e866da0c-02fa-4d12-8d22-ff48a8fa9855.pngc5e2850b-10bd-4dd0-a1af-3547105d75ff.pngd18da29c-6cf8-4e50-aceb-9dcfd38e90f0.png

 

IF (and I'm not sure how credible this is) the mid-tone were B6 which the Kew sample does look rather greyish, then the comparative tones look a bit like this with MS1 and 507C - here we may have the opposite problem to Raven and the two lightest are too close together?

e866da0c-02fa-4d12-8d22-ff48a8fa9855.png7034bfe0-c41f-4140-bdb7-24ce7b2b437d.pngd18da29c-6cf8-4e50-aceb-9dcfd38e90f0.png

 

And lastly, MS1, B6 and MS4A. I think in real life this would look a bit extreme. These tones are theoretically correct in sRGB colourspace, but that doesn't translate perfectly to comparing photographs. Indeed sometimes it can be quite drastically wrong compared to photos of ships which we have written observation reports which name the paints!

e866da0c-02fa-4d12-8d22-ff48a8fa9855.png7034bfe0-c41f-4140-bdb7-24ce7b2b437d.pngc24e98ab-ee3d-49a3-8196-2d9aa8114197.png

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From many discussions about b&w aircraft photos, it is clear that photographs taken on orthochromatic film will lighten the blues, and ortho film was the most common in the UK during WW2.  Ortho film will also darken reds and often (apparently depending upon the filter) yellow and brown.  Fortunately on RAF aircraft there are the roundels as a check, and commonly a brown.  It is interesting, if unsurprising, to see the same effect appearing on naval subjects, which unfortunately usually lack the red/yellow/brown colours for a comparison.  The lesson I draw is that any light colour on a WW2 RN warship (on a b&w photo) is quite possibly a blue.  Light reflection factors can be completely misleading.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They can be, I agree. They can be useful though in a wider context of sense checking a few other approaches. These can include comparing part or the totality of one ship to another. Given the distance, both in the B&W and colour Pedestal footage, the MS2 call-out is still something which I am suspicious of as the photo records of Indomitable suggest a very dark appearance. MS2 should (and usually was) difficult to distinguish from HF Grey (which is why MS2 was dropped and not given a replacement name in 1943 - which presumably would have had to have been G10 if they were going to keep it).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies.

 

This photo shows Indomitable still in her second Admiralty disruptive pattern in 1943 (though I think the scheme is modified between 1942 and 1943, with the addition of white patch on the starboard side under the rear 4.5" sponson and to the sponson itself - see below)

 

spacer.png

 

 

The lighter tone  on the island looks similar to RAF Sky on the wing undersurface, if a little darker,  and the mid-tone has more blue than the Pedestal film.  So perhaps MS4A, B5 and MS1?

 

+++++++++++++++++

 

Indomitable 1942:

 

spacer.png

 

Indomitable 1943

spacer.png

 

Edited by iang

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, iang said:

spacer.png

 

 

The lighter tone  on the island looks similar to RAF Sky on the wing undersurface, if a little darker,  and the mid-tone has more blue than the Pedestal film.  So perhaps MS4A, B5 and MS1?

 

This is where things get interesting. That photograph is oversaturated. I've played with it before and if you care to crop a bit of Dark Slate Grey from the Seafire's cowling and run it through MKWEB Color Analyser (a free website) you will get an average colour back which is markedly more vibrant and intense than the real Dark Slate Grey either as digitally measured from the RAF Museum chips or indeed from the published colourspace coordinates for BS381C-634 Dark Slate Grey which is the same thing. That tells us beyond any doubt that the photograph isn't giving a true representation of the colours.

 

 

Now, I'm sure you're aware but this photograph is in the same collection in the IWM. It was almost certainly taken at the same time, probably by the same photographer and I wouldn't mind betting using the same reel of film in the same camera.

4ad40878-ce7e-4994-b1ee-65d12f7706db.jpg

 

Already that blue looks different, but it's even more deceiving than first meets the eye. If you crop the island below the funnel and try to get all three camouflage paints in the same crop exclusively (I sampled a bit of the blue and pasted it over the shadow below that annoying gallery) and analyse that on MKWEB you get significantly darker shades than the overall impression of the photograph suggests.

8718c498-d269-4dee-921a-b4bd3ea64ad5.png

 

This is the darkest - I'd have no issue believing this was MS2 - but I'm not convinced that's the same paint we see during Pedestal:

ff685fa7-a884-4283-adcc-1b0fd52dfa95.png

 

This is the mid tone - the blue:

f8505aa3-beea-4c21-b7ea-4cca7caa9769.png

 

And this is the lightest greeny shade:

8029fb1c-b805-4d4c-aa16-4ebaf6251440.png

 

 

Comparing these to each other (and their LRVs to get a sense of lightness/darkness and spacing - acknowledging that it is not reliable AND that we already know this film whilst striking is some way from being high fidelity) we get some options, some more credible than others. I haven't bothered including 507C as a candidate for the lightest tone here because for all the faults in the film, it plainly isn't a 45% grey tinted with ultramarine.

c8c3fd8a-c24c-4c29-be17-85bfa3f7c561.png

 

Even allowing for issues with the film, I'm yet to be convinced that the colour application is the same even if the design of the colour panels is similar from 1942 to 1943.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I take it you're familiar with Roland Smith's film?

 

This capture of HMS Illustrious shot in April 1942 caught my attention because Alan Raven also states that to be in MS2, B5 and MS4A in the same publication:

resized_7bc040df-22ee-40d6-a12d-3ce3eb1a

 

Noting the date and that the camouflage paints were fairly well standardised by mid/late 1941, way back in August 1940 a design proposal was submitted for camouflaging Illustrious using 4 greys overall, but it is explicitly stated in the accompanying correspondence that not all four are used on the sides and on the flight deck. Sadly (frustratingly?) the accompanying design for this and indeed all other camouflage design submissions appear to be missing - they are not in the archives with the wordy stuff discussing them.

250056f0-87ab-4abe-b63c-383da47c4bc1.jpg

 

95058084-6981-4de1-8b48-575fa2b3ad5a.jpg

 

5e38090d-b8db-493a-b083-088f8342a47d.jpg

 

You can tell from the wording and even the nature of the subject discussed that an official colour palette was not in place to select from. The camouflage designs were in their infancy at this point, so it's fairly unlikely that these are the same mixed greys that we see above later in 1942.

 

 

And this carrier, which Smith believes is HMS Indomitable has some very close up footage shot whilst refuelling HMS Laforey:

e7aa16e3-60fb-40f8-9f4b-b4dd7094c372.png

 

resized_e432cac4-8cfd-429f-8d31-84f8c14a

 

resized_818d1e3f-5f84-4c82-a766-2bc56b6f

 

resized_a9f9e897-03c0-49ea-8d23-fe793666

 

This footage was taken some time between Op Ironclad in April 1942 and June 1942 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really need to get a life, but I've just sampled one of those grabs of the starboard side of (what Smith believes is) HMS Indomitable in spring 1942. Obviously this is filmed in the shade on the down-sun side of the carrier from a destroyer. Whilst the film is easily over-exposed in the sun shine and turning almost white, this snippet is underexposed. Hand held cine cameras were not sophisticated items...

This reel of film is bias towards violet, but even still I am even more sceptical of the colours being the same in 1942 as in mid 1943:

 

cf558afe-acb8-4dc3-acdd-6e3bb933f418.png

 

34d028be-b25b-46e3-a843-0885b12d1d01.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies said:

I take it you're familiar with Roland Smith's film?

 

This capture of HMS Illustrious shot in April 1942 caught my attention because Alan Raven also states that to be in MS2, B5 and MS4A in the same publication:

resized_7bc040df-22ee-40d6-a12d-3ce3eb1a

 

 

 

This is not Illustrious - It's Indomitable. Note the shallow rear 4.5" sponson, 8 quarter-deck openings and narrow squared-off round-down (all unique to Indomitable). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 hour ago, Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies said:

Noting the date and that the camouflage paints were fairly well standardised by mid/late 1941, way back in August 1940 a design proposal was submitted for camouflaging Illustrious using 4 greys overall, but it is explicitly stated in the accompanying correspondence that not all four are used on the sides and on the flight deck. Sadly (frustratingly?) the accompanying design for this and indeed all other camouflage design submissions appear to be missing - they are not in the archives with the wordy stuff discussing them.

250056f0-87ab-4abe-b63c-383da47c4bc1.jpg

 

95058084-6981-4de1-8b48-575fa2b3ad5a.jpg

 

5e38090d-b8db-493a-b083-088f8342a47d.jpg

 

You can tell from the wording and even the nature of the subject discussed that an official colour palette was not in place to select from. The camouflage designs were in their infancy at this point, so it's fairly unlikely that these are the same mixed greys that we see above later in 1942.

 

This is a very interesting document, which I had not seen before. Thanks for posting. I have a number of 1940 photographs of Illustrious showing her in a non-standard camouflage, which I believe she was wearing at Taranto. The later 1940/early '41 scheme pattern,  which is better photographed, shows some similarity  to this earlier scheme. I have been through Illustrious' log and have the dates of painting in September 1940, but no other details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 hour ago, Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies said:

 

And this carrier, which Smith believes is HMS Indomitable has some very close up footage shot whilst refuelling HMS Laforey:

e7aa16e3-60fb-40f8-9f4b-b4dd7094c372.png

 

resized_e432cac4-8cfd-429f-8d31-84f8c14a

 

resized_818d1e3f-5f84-4c82-a766-2bc56b6f

 

resized_a9f9e897-03c0-49ea-8d23-fe793666

 

This footage was taken some time between Op Ironclad in April 1942 and June 1942 

 

I have seen this film, and it is Indomitable. She was in her first Admiralty disruptive scheme for Ironclad, so the date is a bit later. I believe she was repainted in Mombasa in June 1942 into her second scheme.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies said:

 

This is where things get interesting. That photograph is oversaturated. I've played with it before and if you care to crop a bit of Dark Slate Grey from the Seafire's cowling and run it through MKWEB Color Analyser (a free website) you will get an average colour back which is markedly more vibrant and intense than the real Dark Slate Grey either as digitally measured from the RAF Museum chips or indeed from the published colourspace coordinates for BS381C-634 Dark Slate Grey which is the same thing. That tells us beyond any doubt that the photograph isn't giving a true representation of the colours.

 

 

Now, I'm sure you're aware but this photograph is in the same collection in the IWM. It was almost certainly taken at the same time, probably by the same photographer and I wouldn't mind betting using the same reel of film in the same camera.

4ad40878-ce7e-4994-b1ee-65d12f7706db.jpg

 

Already that blue looks different, but it's even more deceiving than first meets the eye. If you crop the island below the funnel and try to get all three camouflage paints in the same crop exclusively (I sampled a bit of the blue and pasted it over the shadow below that annoying gallery) and analyse that on MKWEB you get significantly darker shades than the overall impression of the photograph suggests.

8718c498-d269-4dee-921a-b4bd3ea64ad5.png

 

This is the darkest - I'd have no issue believing this was MS2 - but I'm not convinced that's the same paint we see during Pedestal:

ff685fa7-a884-4283-adcc-1b0fd52dfa95.png

 

This is the mid tone - the blue:

f8505aa3-beea-4c21-b7ea-4cca7caa9769.png

 

And this is the lightest greeny shade:

8029fb1c-b805-4d4c-aa16-4ebaf6251440.png

 

 

Comparing these to each other (and their LRVs to get a sense of lightness/darkness and spacing - acknowledging that it is not reliable AND that we already know this film whilst striking is some way from being high fidelity) we get some options, some more credible than others. I haven't bothered including 507C as a candidate for the lightest tone here because for all the faults in the film, it plainly isn't a 45% grey tinted with ultramarine.

c8c3fd8a-c24c-4c29-be17-85bfa3f7c561.png

 

Even allowing for issues with the film, I'm yet to be convinced that the colour application is the same even if the design of the colour panels is similar from 1942 to 1943.

 

Interesting stuff, Jamie - thank you. Indomitable was repainted  in the USA at the end of 1942, so quite possibly in different paints, but following the same pattern as 1942.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How do you tag someone on this site?!

 

Ian, to avoid total confusion here, there is more on that file and it is clear that Illustrious never painted into that 1940 scheme of Yunge Bateman's.  My interpretation of things is however that, with modifications, the design may well have become Victorious's first disruptive scheme. The only value in that document is in showing the possible genesis of the paints MS1, MS2, MS3 & MS4 but by the time these became codified in 1941 they had obviously evolved somewhat. The ideas for paints referred to in that August 1940 letter/design are, if you like, the pre-prototypes!

 

(Richard)

 

Edited by dickrd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, iang said:

 

spacer.png

I am very far from being an expert on all this (but it’s fascinating to read you lot who are).  However, @Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies‘s belief that this photo is over-saturated is backed up, IMHO, by the apparent colour of the pilot’s No.5s (uniform).  This photo makes it look black, which it most emphatically is not, and never was.  The “blue-ness” of Naval uniform (even then; I still have my Uncle’s WW2 greatcoat) is subtle, but it is definitely there.

 

My, but that Seafire has seen some work, hasn’t it?  The port leading edge is not far off bare metal, and even in wartime they’d have done their best to protect the cabs against salt water corrosion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry to drag this slightly off topic, but I'm intending, in the near future, to build an Illustrious as at Taranto - so what colour(s) was she in for the attack? I thought she was an overall dark grey at that time, that camo wasn't applied until after the raid. Should we start a separate thread on this? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Paul Bradley said:

Sorry to drag this slightly off topic, but I'm intending, in the near future, to build an Illustrious as at Taranto - so what colour(s) was she in for the attack? I thought she was an overall dark grey at that time, that camo wasn't applied until after the raid. Should we start a separate thread on this? 

 

Probably safest in the long run - if only to keep responses married to the right subjects :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

I am very far from being an expert on all this (but it’s fascinating to read you lot who are).  However, @Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies‘s belief that this photo is over-saturated is backed up, IMHO, by the apparent colour of the pilot’s No.5s (uniform).  This photo makes it look black, which it most emphatically is not, and never was.  The “blue-ness” of Naval uniform (even then; I still have my Uncle’s WW2 greatcoat) is subtle, but it is definitely there.

 

My, but that Seafire has seen some work, hasn’t it?  The port leading edge is not far off bare metal, and even in wartime they’d have done their best to protect the cabs against salt water corrosion.

 

 

Good catch on the uniform. I agree that Seafire is a bit beat up. The cowling panels under the chin appear to be from a donor aircraft also, and may be an elusive example of BS1 Sky Blue having been used on the underside of a Spitfire or Seafire.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies said:

Probably safest in the long run - if only to keep responses married to the right subjects :)

 

And done - thanks, Jamie!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...