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roym

Ark Royal colours?

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Revell 1/720 says green flight deck. Trumpeter 1/700 says dark sea grey. Historically experience tells me both can get it wrong but Trumpy more likely to. Neither also agree on the hull. Can anyone advise on most likely scheme preferably in humbrol shades? Tia Roy.

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Go to Sovereign Hobbies/Colourcoats for the correct deck colour, as I believe both are indeed wrong.  Sorry, I don't know any equivalent Humbrol.  Jamie will help (although being a good Scot, possibly not today or tomorrow).  His recent research into the real RN colour can probably help you with the main camouflage colours too.  Basically pretty well all published works need correcting in some areas.

 

PS.  Oops.  The deck colour was Bronze Grey, NARN 45.

Edited by Graham Boak

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Morning,

 

Yes Graham is correct - the most likely flight deck colour would have been Admiralty Pattern 631 Bronze Grey, a dirty olive shade pigmented with white, ochre yellow and some black.

 

Hull colour depends on when exactly you have in mind. She was commissioned in Admiralty Pattern 507C. She wore Home Fleet Grey next, and the two-tone scheme worn when sunk which was much debated and for transparency which I challenged quite strongly was proven by @iang who came up trumps with the one thing nobody else hitherto was able to provide - a photograph of the 2-tone emergency scheme in good condition and showing the demarcation down the midships of the hull where it could not be created by a shadow below the hull knuckles fore and aft. The 2-tone emergency scheme is possibly this one described in Confidential Admiralty Fleet Order 2515/41 and later in 1112/42, Section V, Paragraph 21 as below:

 

(b) Equivalent of LIGHT MEDIUM TONE Designs. – All weather work should be painted Light Grey Admiralty Pattern 507C except for a band right round the ship, extending from the water-line half-way up to the forecastle deck or half-way up to the upper deck in ships without a forecastle deck. This band should be painted with a mixture of equal parts Light Grey Admiralty Pattern 507C and Dark Grey Admiralty Pattern 507A, and should cover the boot topping (vide C.A.F.O. 2515/41).

 

You can read the whole thing here

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0730/0927/files/CAFO1112_Camouflage_of_Sea_Going_Ships_Policy_June_1942.pdf?11210309288652758831

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Posted (edited)

Though we still don't know exactly when the scheme was worn. Since photographs of Ark Royal in this scheme are rare, and the ship was quite well photographed, it is likely that it was short-lived.  There is one Swordfish on deck in the photograph, and potentially the markings carried could help broadly date the scheme, but even with a high resolution scan, it is hard to be absolutely sure about the markings. However, it looks to have the squadron code and individual aircraft letter on a full width, full height, fin flash, which would definitely date the scheme to sometime between about May 1940 and October 1940, which is not what one might expect.  

 

Edit

And sometimes it is easy to miss the obvious.There is no splinter shield present under the aft island pom-pom at flight deck level. This  was added during the Liverpool refit in October 1940, so the photo definitely pre-dates Ark Royal's return to the UK.

Edited by iang

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Interesting indeed, though my brain is starting to hurt re dates.  CAFO 1112 [@Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies link] was published in 1942, so after Ark was sunk - but @iang's photograph shows the 2-tone Emergency Scheme sometime late in 1940, at least 18 months earlier.  Are we saying that the scheme was applied relatively early [as I believe some were, at the discretion of local Flag Officers et al - q.v. discussion in a different thread about Illustrious' "Alexandria" schemes in late-40 / early-41], and official policy later caught up?

 

Assuming that to be the case, the upper parts of the hull are therefore 507C in Ian's photo - but by the time she went down large areas of her hull were very significantly weathered, and appeared to show 507A showing through an eroded (in places extremely eroded) coat of 507C.  Here, for instance [fairly obviously, IWM photo]:

Ark Royal sinking, 13 November 1941 - seen from HMS Hermione

 

So am I interpreting this correctly?

 

Flight deck = bronze green

Upper hull = 507C, but eroded in numerous places to show underlying coat of 507A (Home Fleet Grey, which we know from numerous sources that she wore for a while)

Hull below the knuckle = band of 50:50 507A:507C...

 

...which itself looks as though it has been patched in some places [for instance, I don't think the apparent change in colour just ahead of the quarterdeck gallery openings is the light; it looks like different (older?) application to me].  There's also that pale area just above the boot topping right aft: that could also be 507C showing through a later locally-applied coat, rubbed by fenders, cats, tugs, or whatever. 

 

Local patching would make sense, since the ship's company could do it themselves alongside in Gib [and anyone who has served in the RN for more than 10 minutes knows that if a ship is alongside for even half a day, you can be certain that the XO will have the ship's company out painting].  The overhanging round-down section and underneath the 4.5" sponsons would be much harder to reach and thus harder to do at short notice.  And local / ship's company patching / touch-up painting would not be as well prepared or applied as a full-on dockyard repaint, so might well erode quite quickly - she was worked extremely hard throughout the early war in all sorts of hideous weather (not least during the Bismarck action), so it's not surprising that she looked a little tired by the time she died.

 

Since I am depicting her at the time of the attack on Bismarck, my plan is to paint her broadly as above but with the weathering less developed since it was a few months earlier.  Does that make sense to Ian & Jamie (since you two know way more about this stuff than me!)?

 

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Hi Crispin,

 

CAFO 1112/42 is the one I happened to have complete and to hand, but you'll note that it makes reference to CAFO 2515 from 1941 where these emergency schemes were previously described. Therefore we can be comfortable that the schemes were widely known and in use well before CAFO 1112/42, and possibly before CAFO 2515/41 also.

 

58 minutes ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

Since I am depicting her at the time of the attack on Bismarck, my plan is to paint her broadly as above but with the weathering less developed since it was a few months earlier.  Does that make sense to Ian & Jamie (since you two know way more about this stuff than me!)?

 

Yes, I believe it does. :)

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Crispin,

 

In case you have not seen them, there are a series of photos on the IWM site said to show Ark Royal in May 1941. From these ones you will be able to link to the others https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205138400

 and https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205138388 and https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205138393

 

Her paintwork looks in quite good condition then.

 

(The dark hull/light upperworks so called emergency scheme was first trailed by the Med Fleet in the fleet exercises in the late summer of 1932. It was adopted by destroyers of the Med Fleet before the outbreak of WW2 (at the time of the Munich Crisis if I recall correctly) and then immediately after the outbreak of war was used by some ships on other foreign stations – so it was alive and well throughout Ark Royal’s lifetime.)

 

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Thanks very much, @dickrd.  I love the IWM photo archive, but I don‘t find the search engine very intuitive, so I had missed some of those.  It’s incredibly hard to be definitive, but I think my basic plan (dial down the weathering from the sinking photos) isn’t far wrong.  Among the May 1941 photos - so taken within a week or two of the Bismarck action - is this one:

ON BOARD THE CRUISER HMS SHEFFIELD. APRIL 1941.


Fairly clear band of different shade along the lower hull... and some obvious areas of weathering (for instance on the round-down).

 

Happy.  Thanks, all

 

Crisp

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...but now I am finding other areas of challenge which might need the expertise of an @iang to answer.

 

Until now I’d always believed that the port 8-barrelled pom-poms weren’t fitted until after the Bismarck action.  But... the photo above is one of a series taken from Sheffield in the Med [“On board the cruiser HMS Sheffield in the Mediterranean, May 1941”].  Here is another:

ON BOARD THE CRUISER HMS SHEFFIELD OPERATING IN THE MEDITERRANEAN WITH AIRCRAFT CARRIERS. 1941.


Hard to be 100% certain, but I reckon there are pom-poms visible in that photo.  Even if there are, it might be that the date label is wrong; IWM does sometimes make mistakes (e.g. a photo of Ark that shows her *cough* port-side island in 1940).  But it has made me ask the question again: Bismarck action May 1941 - port pom-poms or not?

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Crisp, the IWM caption for that photo (A4377) is simply "ON BOARD THE CRUISER HMS SHEFFIELD OPERATING IN THE MEDITERRANEAN WITH AIRCRAFT CARRIERS. 1941."  No mention of a date during 1941, so if the port pom-poms are present, the photo doesn't help with the question of exactly when they were fitted. However, the available evidence points to a date after May 1941, so, personally, I think you're fine leaving them off for the Bismarck chase  As a side note, I have a print of A4377. The same photo is in the FAAM collection  as ARK62 , and is somewhat clearer as it is a crop of just the ship. It is still difficult to be sure whether the pom-poms are present. There seems to be something on the mounts, but what is there looks more like crates than pom-poms, as unlikely as that sounds. 

HTH,

 

IG

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It helps a lot.  At least I’m not going mad(der).  Thanks.

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Dear Ian,

 

Can I ask your opinion re exactly when Ark Royal had these deck markings (the light cross as it were) on her flight deck? (I think the two white blobs at the rear edge of the flight deck may be crewmen. The photo was taken at Gibraltar.

Ark Royal when (2)

 

Edited by dickrd

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Dick,

 

That one has me stumped. I don't think I've seen it before. What aircraft are on deck?

 

IG 

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None that I can see I'm afraid: 

Ark Royal when Copy (3) - Copy

 

You can see why I am interested - is this or is this not another glimpse/hint of the possible dark hull light upperworks type scheme on Ark Royal as per your photo? 

Edited by dickrd

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Enhancing that image makes it look the same all over.  If you follow the line directly down from the funnel to the waterline, the colour/shade looks the same.  The area towards the stern curves in, thereby showing less sunlight. The darker area just looks as if it is reflecting the darker effect from the sea.

 

Mike

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This  IWM image of Ark Royal (A6318) taken in November 1941, just before her sinking,  shows the two-tone scheme to good effect (and  I believe is the image cited by Alan Raven as evidence for his art work). However, it was taken at least a year after the image that I posted.

 

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205185500

 

 

Images of Ark Royal's round-down are not that common. I've found three or four, but none show the markings seen in Dick's image.

 

 

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That last IWM image appears to show that Ark's superstructure (except the mast) had been repainted in the same tone as the band around the lower half of her hull. Is it conceivable that she was part way through repainting in overall medium grey? Alternatively, could these areas actually be painted Home Fleet Grey?

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