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wilsan

Colour scheme for HMS London ~1943?

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I'm working on a 1/700 London kit, and I'd like to have it depicted in its early 1943-stage. While the pattern itself is easy to reproduce, finding the correct colours for it is proving to be like finding a piece of hay in a stack of needles, with a lot of sources and "sources" contradicting eachother. Some say it's G10+B30+G45, others say G10+B15+B30+B55 or white+B10+B30+G45, others say it's shades of green with grey (I doubt that though). I know London had a peculiar and unique camouflage called "SPECIAL IDENTITY AND INCLINATION TYPE" with plenty of colours, but that seems to predate this one. I've snooped around a bit to find more info, and James Duff from Sovereign Hobbies already kindly replied to my email that it's very likely G10+B30+G45. But anyone with a definitive source?


The pattern I'm talking about:
spacer.png

(there is especially confusion about the hull, since on the side-shots, it appears the bow is darker than the stern, which would suggest a 4-tone camouflage like HMS Suffolk had around that period. But it could very well be a chromatic artefact from poor-quality film).

 

 

spacer.png

(HMS Suffolk, May 1943)

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19 hours ago, wilsan said:

(there is especially confusion about the hull, since on the side-shots, it appears the bow is darker than the stern, which would suggest a 4-tone camouflage like HMS Suffolk had around that period. But it could very well be a chromatic artefact from poor-quality film).

I'd say lighting is having a far greater impact on the tonality than any film artefact.

The lower photograph of London is lit by strong low sunlight from the port quarter (note the shadows of the Auxilliary alongside and in particular of the anchor on the bow). With a small amount of tumblehome around the quarterdeck and on A turret, the light is pretty much perpendicular to these surfaces and is reflecting off them strongly making them appear very light. With the bow curving away from the light, and a small amount of flair there is a degree of shadow and much less light being reflected, giving a darker appearance.

The photograph top left is again in strong sunlight, this time fairly high and off the port bow. ( Note highlight reflections on the forward side of both funnels, and rear face of deckhouse behind forward funnel in deep shadow). Light painted surfaces with tumblehome ( A turret, hull side at quarterdeck) appear very bright in direct sunlight, vertical light surfaces less bright (midship hull, deckhouses) and again the light surfaces under the bow flair appear darker.

The photograph top right appears to be under overcast conditions with no really strong shadows (though the knuckle under the bow is in shadow and the top of the midship armour belt is in highlight, so maybe not heavy overcast) The hull here appears to be an overall light grey with two medium/dark grey disruptive panels (ie two tone scheme)

The photograph centre right appears to be under stronger lighting from above and astern, possibly from slightly to starboard (not aft funnel aft side highlited, forward side in shadow) Both forward turrets appear to be in shadow from the bridge, Hull with tumble home and vertical sides are highlighted, bow area under the flair is in shadow. There is also a significant difference in film/filter combination  between this shot and the previous one, the hull disruptive patterns being rendered much darker in this shot, though the pattern is clearly the same.

Suffolk is being lit quite strongly fro above the port quarter (Y turret shadow particularly noticable). The hull side with tumble home around the quarterdeck is reflecting more than the verical side at midships, and more again than the bow in shadow under the flair. Is this scheme documented as 4 colour, as it looks to me to be just 3 shades, overall light grey with 2 medium grey and 2 dark grey disruptive patches.

There is a possibility that the darker shade of the bow on London is a slightly darker grey and not just the effects of light/shadow, but the inclusion of the starboard side photo under overcast conditions strongly suggests to me that the light areas at the bow and stern (and in between) are the same colour.

James advises on the colours being G10+B30+G45, and this matches Alan Raven's scheme in his Warship Perspectives Vol 3, I'd be happy to go with them unless there is stormg evidence to the contrary.

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Posted (edited)

As the chap in question I thought you might like to see the relevant bit of the document. It is dated 5 Feb 1944 and the air sortie referred to was 15 Sept 1943. One of your photos above is dated later in 1943 than the air sortie. Hope this works: 

 

1944  2 5 HMS London colours B55 and G10 - Copy

 

Edited by dickrd

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Wow, that's some great information, and a twist I didn't expect. In the game World of Warships there is also the HMS London, so I messed with the colour-values a bit.  
 
OE2xPrV.jpg
G10+B30+B55

qWdOY9A.jpg
G10+B30+G45

When turning those renders in B&W, and then applying some "vintage distortion" to it, both look very plausible, with the B55-kind having a tad more contrast to it than the G45 one. But those contrast-values can also be from the quality of the film.

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Posted (edited)

I think you may be using a flawed reference. B55 was a very light-toned blue grey affair and a good candidate for the lightest-toned paint we see in your photos of London. The only official paint lighter than it in the RN's 1943 palette was white.

B55 Copy

 

Edited by dickrd

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@dickrd: The colour RGB-values I use are coming from here (page 15) (the document from Sovereign Hobbies). That game sadly oversaturates colours and gives a yellow-ish tone to them, but it's good enough to get a general idea.

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 I don't think we gave actual rgb values in that paper. Anyhow if we are lucky Jamie might do one of his camouflage illustrations showing G10, B30 & B55

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There aren't indeed, but I loaded that picture into paint.net, and then used the "colour-picker" tool to extract the RGB values from whatever colour one has chosen. 

 

 

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57 minutes ago, wilsan said:

G10+B30+B55

Note the reference @dickrd shows only quotes 2 colours, G10 and B55, ie it's a two colour scheme not a 3 colour scheme, so no B30.

The photo's above showing the Stbd side, in particular the one under overcast conditions show only 2 colours.

The strong lighting of the above photo's of the port side could be interpreted as 4 shades (2 light, 2 dark). My post above was intended to show it was possible the two lighter shades were in fact the same colour under different lighting conditions.

After perusing Iain Ballantines book on HMS London this morning I found 2 further photo's of the port side in this scheme, where the darker disruptive patches all appear to be the same shade, so it would appear that the strong lighting conditions is also affecting the darker patches (in particular those on the bridge deckhous and the hull immediately below it) and making them appear lighter.

As the primary source document above only cites 2 colours and specifically names them whilst talking about effeciveness of camouflage I'd say it was highly unlikely there was a 3rd colour involved in the scheme at the time (except, possibly for the decks and turret roofs, which generally weren't considered as part of a disruptive scheme), and with the inclusion of the photo's in Ballantines book I think the photo's support this.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/7/2020 at 11:52 AM, Dave Swindell said:

 

Hmm. Whilst I agree with you on the issues with the photos we have, the document says "....the main areas of which..." which to me leaves open the possibility of a small amount of another colour. We have come across numerous documents where only some of multiple colours on a ship are mentioned. This can be because of the context of the document, what issue it was addressing. In this case the letter was part of a supportive reply to someone about the effectiveness of a scheme on another county class cruiser that was in only two tones.

The few photos we have are I think open to varying interpretations. On the starboard side for example I think the forwardmost hull camouflage panel is open to question. Perhaps what we can agree on is the need for better photos! 

London montage

 

Edited by dickrd

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Better photo's are always welcome, and that trio you've just posted is interesting, especially the light section of hull under the bridge. Judging by the staining below the various scupper outlets along the hull, none of the paint is fresh. The light section below the bridge shows two distinct shades, visible in all 3 photo's, but most noticable in the middle one. The main area is darker and similar to that of the light section of the bow, but there is an area at the lower aft of this section that is lighter, with a forward vertical edge between the 4th & 5th portholes from fwd in this section, a horizontal edge just over half way up from boot topping to deck, and an aft edge on the dark disruptive patch. This lighter patch is similar to the lighter sections aft of it.  This doesn't appear to be part of the camouflage pattern, it looks to me more like a partial repaint of this panel with (presumably) the same paint used to paint the two after panels, and at the same time. Either that or the panels were painted at the same time, but the gangs starting at the bow were using a different batch of paint to the gangs that started at the stern, and that's where they met up?

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