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Desert P-40F Colour question


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30 04 2020

'Morning campers!

I'm currently building the AMT/Ertl 1/48 P-40F Warhawk.

I plan to use a combination of Aeromaster Decals 48-219 and Superscale 48-844 to make White 10 'Sweet Stuff' of 69th Fighter Squadron, 57th Fighter Group, 9th AirForce Western Desert 1943.

 

So, my query revolves around the actual colours to use … I know - a potential Pandora's box. Both Aeromaster and Superscale advise that the colours to use are Dark Earth and Sand on top and Azure blue underneath. So far so good. 

However, on the reverse side of the colour call-out page there's a Colour note that references the US Desert Camouflage p-40's. It states that the aircraft on the sheet did not wear the standard RAF Desert camouflage scheme of Mid-stone ( I assume this is Sand), Dark Earth and Azure blue but instead wore US Sand (616) and Dark Earth (30118) on top and US Neutral Gray (ANA 43) which "photographs much like Azure blue." They also state that "this is our opinion" and that they have no way to confirm or deny this.

 

I would think that given that the aircraft were made in USA, painted in USA for USA squadrons in the Desert that I should therefore use the American colour call-outs. 

 

The colour 'tones' are very different so what do y'all think? American or British?

 

Thanks in advance

 

Liam

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The RAF colour Mid Stone was called just that, not Sand.  Sand was a US colour, and a rather pinkish hue in comparison.   Either it or a rather poor match of Dark Earth is sometimes seen on early P-40s as a substitute for Dark Earth in the Dark Earth/Dark Green schemes.

 

I'm not sure just which P-40s you are doing, but I presume these are the ones delivered after operation Torch to Western North Africa as the ones operating out of Egypt seem to have worn a single colour uppersurface of Sand over Neutral Gray.  (Possibly the Sand here was an over-paint of Olive Drab.)  Colour photos of those delivered on Ranger to the west, with a disruptive pattern on top, strongly show the yellow appearance of Mid Stone rather than the pink of Sand.  The Dark Earth may well have been a US equivalent.  I recall that the undersides were indeed a blue rather than a neutral grey. but would not press the point without finding the pictures again.  At this stage of the war, Neutral Gray was a rather dark colour, and would appear dark in b&w photos.  Azure Blue was much lighter - that matter may have been confused because some dark undersides on RAF fighters have been mistaken for Azure Blue, and Humbrol misidentifying Azure Blue can't have helped.  Their colour was much closer to Light Mediterranean Blue, the adjacent chip on the colour chart, but I gather this has fairly recently been corrected.  USAAF aircraft undersides were later painted in a lighter grey, which may have been a variant of Neutral Gray or another colour.  All causes for possible misinterpretation of b&w photos.

 

So overall I would incline to disagree with the transfers' instructions.  Aeromaster were, after all, often called "Errormaster".

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7 hours ago, yeehah1 said:

30 04 2020

Thanks Graham.

It's this one:

https://modelingmadness.com/review/allies/us/cleaverp40f.htm

 

So, are you saying that I should go with the Dark Earth and Sand on top and Azure blue underneath?

 

Liam

I think you should go with Dark Earth and Middle Stone on top. The Dark Earth would be DuPont No. 71-035 (the darker shade), sometimes mistakenly labeled 71-065 due to a probable typo by Curtiss. DuPont also produced a Mid Stone, 71-069, which was very similar to the RAF color. The DuPont Dark Earth is somewhat darker and more chocolate than the RAF color.

 

DuPont chart FWIW:

spacer.png

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I'll have to go looking for examples in Egypt with the two-colour tops, as the ones I've seen were delivered to NW Africa.  Or perhaps just West Africa?  If they were delivered to Takoradi followed by a flight across Africa to Egypt, they would have possibly been consistent with the examples in British-equivalent colours.  However the initial batch were delivered to Egypt by ship to the Red Sea, either in single uppers Sand or painted that way before entering use.  If the one you want to do also came that way, why the change from Sand to Sand plus some brown?  Beyond my knowledge, I'm afraid.  There may be more in Ken Rust's books but any colour comments are likely to be obsolete.

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Might this be of assistance - First Photo is from the Life Images Library, the second from my own collection.

 

49841690462_568cb92304_b.jpgCurtiss-P-40-Warhawk-57FG64FS-service-in-Tunisia-01 by Buz 1970, on Flickr

 

 

49841403821_07071371c5_b.jpgP-40F 41-14581 X75 &(FG by Buz 1970, on Flickr

 

 

The use of the filters has changed the colours a bit, but basically US Middlestone was more yellow than RAF colours (Top photo looks like they've used a light blue filter, the bottom one a Yellow one).

 

GB - The later F models were factory finished in the Desert Markings, afaik the only ones not were the initial batch of F models with the 57FG, and some of the Later L models that were taken from US stores and flown into North Africa (325FG rings a bell)= - these were still in OD/NG).

 

Buz

 

 

Edited by Buz
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02 05 2020

Thank you all for your replies.

@Buz  I've never seen those photos before. The top one is amazing. Love seeing the tread pattern on the tyres.

So, it's the American colours then? Dark Earth and Middle Stone on top but should I use the Neutral Gray or Azure Blue then? I understand that there's a blue filter on the top photo but would a blue filter change the tone of Neutral Gray to make it look so blue?

 

Liam

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I've long had an interest in P-40s in the MTO and I'm finding that the more I learn, the more I doubt my preconceived notions.

 

In Buz's second photograph, of 87th FS/79th FG P-40Fs, it's been pointed out by some that the lower color might be Neutral Grey, instead of the often-stated Azure Blue, and it's obvious that the color is different than the patch on the nose where the "Skeeter" emblem usually goes. 

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Gents

 

The yellow filter, angle and glare may have changed the colour to make it look greyer, this I can tell. Certainly doesn't look NG to me, I would expect darker than that and more grey even with the filter. I'll see if I have any more colour shots.

 

I know the Jeff Ethell collection had one or two nice colour shots of P-40F's, iirc these were Azure blue undersides as well.

 

Buz

Edited by Buz
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A few more USAAF P-40F/L shots. Colour shots are of little value in determining hues of colour, but can help in determining the basic  colour. Make your own judgements. As you can see the hues of the Mid Stone and Dark Earth vary markedly in the reproductions. I won't comment on filters used or not used, processing of transparency, reproduction as print, any editting, etc, etc.. 

Peter M

 

1920d709-3514-4d0d-bc44-4f27fa9fe4c9.jpg

 

de385308-7b1a-41f8-b603-cdce34a32bce.jpg

 

b40dbd83-64bc-467d-a859-d746e543e6dd.jpg

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