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Hurricane IIC - Desert colours


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Hi, quick question - is there a definitive view on the underside 'blue' colour used on these? I am doing the Arma Hobby kit that advises a light sky blue, whereas I always thought it was 'azure'. Any (helpful!) input appreciated.

 

Thanks

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Before it all kicks off, have a look at the opening salvoes of this thread and see which of the claimed paint versions of Azure you are carrying in your mind's eye. If like a lot of us your instinctive expectations of Azure were formed by several of the deep blue shades that model paint manufacturers have served up over the years, you may well find that the actual Azure used in the desert scheme, as depicted by the official RAFM chips, is a lot closer to a light sky blue than what you had in your mind.

 

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I read the above thread when it first came out with great interest as at the time I was planning to build a Hasegawa 1/32 P-40F (from a P-40M and a resin nose) in the desert scheme and needed to source some decent paint for the underside. I had previously built a number of 1/48 kits and painted the azure blue out of the tins so marked and was happy enough until I saw the picture of the Hurricane in post #65. All the available paints seemed to miss the purple caste so I mixed my own using a WW1 purple paint as and additive into a light blue, the brands of which escape me. I now look at my 1/48 kits and know that they are wrong but it's too hard to change them. Just before I posted this I looked in my copy of BS381C: 1980 and colour #104 is listed as Azure Blue but as mentioned in the thread above is a dark blue and not really anything like the colour on the Hurricane. A truly interesting colour that adds to the desert browns if you get it right. Lots of luck.

TRF

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Try looking at a chart of the wartime MAP colours  Ministry of Aircraft Production - these were the Air Ministry colours before the foundation of the MAP.  There are a fair number of wartime colour photos showing light blue undersides on desert aircraft, including an often-published here photo showing a Hurricane being painted. in the factory.  Even then, the colour on the Hurricane is somewhat darker than that seen in the theatre photos, but not a dark blue.  It is certainly possible to do your Hurricane in a darker blue as Light Mediterranean Blue was permitted.  As it is adjacent to Azure Blue on the charts, it remains my opinion that it was this that was matched by the Humbrol researchers anyway - but even then I wouldn't call it purplish.

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Thanks all, I don’t want to open a can of worms! I was just concerned that Arma had made an error. Looking at this info there seems to be a lot of wriggle room re the precise shade.

Thanks again

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5 minutes ago, ForestFan said:

Thanks all, I don’t want to open a can of worms! I was just concerned that Arma had made an error. Looking at this info there seems to be a lot of wriggle room re the precise shade.

Thanks again

 

Not really much wriggle room, more mistakes made by lots of people making models or selecting the wrong reference for model paints. That's not to say that there weren't minor variances around the nominal standard as with any paint, but BS381C-104, for example, is quite simply not the colour used by the RAF and is an irrelevance dragged into the discussion owing to them having the same name.

 

It was the MAP Azure Blue used on British aircraft in the desert. That's it. There's no "sliding scale" between the MAP colour and the BS381C colour where it could land within - the BS381C colour simply isn't relevant to aircraft.

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Just to add that as we are talking abut the Mk.IIc there's very little wiggle room at all, as these will have been painted in the factory before delivery using the official Azure Blue.  if we were talking about the Mk.Is then there's quite lot of room for discussion, depending upon just when they were delivered.  These may well have been repainted in the Middle East Blue that was created in the Middle East (sometimes referred to as Iraqi Blue) in 1840 and upon which Azure Blue was created.  Even then, despite the apparent laxity permitted b y the 1942 regulations to use Light Mediterranean Blue, this does appear to have been rarer than presumed on model magazines in years past.

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8 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

There are a fair number of wartime colour photos showing light blue undersides on desert aircraft, including an often-published here photo showing a Hurricane being painted. in the factory. 

KZ295

49743629378_6bd7dc757d_o.jpgHurriKZ295tropproductionline by losethekibble, on Flickr

 

note purple hue to the Azure Blue in the parts that are not the near UC door

 

 

HW189 (from a film)

45791221395_c9fd1c421f_o.pngHurrican HW189 B front by losethekibble, on Flickr

 

One detail point, HW189 is from the Seventh Hawker batch,

Quote

Block 7, Seventh Hawker Produced Block

Serial Range BN988 - BN992 (5), BP109 - BP141 (33), BP154 - BP200 (47), BP217 - BP245 (29), BP259 - BP302 (44), BP316 - BP362 (47), BP378 - BP416 (39), BP430 - BP479 (50), BP493 - BP526 (34), BP538 - BP566 (29), BP579 - BP614 (36), BP628 - BP675 (48), BP692 - BP711 (20), BP734 - BP772 (39), HL544 - HL591 (48), HL603 - HL634 (32), HL654 - HL683 (30), HL698 - HL747 (50), HL767 - HL809 (43), HL828 - HL867 (40), HL879 - HL913 (35), HL925 - HL941 (17), HL953 - HL997 (45), HM110 - HM157 (48), HV275 - HV317 (43), HV333 - HV370 (38), HV396 - HV445 (50), HV468 - HV516 (49), HV534 - HV560 (27), HV577 - HV612 (36), HV634 - HV674 (41), HV696 - HV745 (50), HV768 - HV799 (32), HV815 - HV858 (44), HV873 - HV921 (49), HV943 - HV989 (47), HW115 - HW146 (32), HW167 - HW207 (41), HW229 - HW278 (50), HW291 - HW323 (33), HW345 - HW373 (29), HW399 - HW444 (46), HW467 - HW501 (35), HW533 - HW572 (40), HW596 - HW624 (29), HW651 - HW686 (36), HW713 - HW757 (45), HW779 - HW808 (30), HW834 - HW881 (48) Total 1,888

The seventh production batch of aircraft producrd by Hawker Aircraft Limited, at Langley, and Brooklands. Powered by Rolls-Royce Merlin XX engines. Aircraft were delivered betwwen the 17th March, 1942 and the 23rd November 1942. Average rate of production was 7-8 aircraft per day.

and has Aluminium painted wells and UC legs and doors, and so most likely the rest of the internals apart from the cockpit walls and bulkhead are Alu paint

 

 

KX295, from the Eight Hawker batch,

Quote

Block 8, Eighth Hawker Produced Block

Serial Range KW696 - KW731 (36), KW745 - KW777 (33), KW791 - KW832 (42), KW846 - KW881 (36), KW893 - KW936 (44), KW949 - KW982 (34), KX101 - KX146 (46), KX161 - KX202 (42), KX220 - KX261 (42), KX280 - KX307 (28), KX321 - KX369 (49), KX382 - KX425 (44), KX452 - KX491 (40), KX521 - KX567 (47), KX579 - KX621 (43), KX691 - KX736 (46), KX749 - KX784 (36), KX796 - KX838 (43), KX851 - KX892 (42), KX922 - KX967 (46), KZ111 - KZ156 (46), KZ169 - KZ201 (33), KZ216 - KZ250 (35), KZ266 - KZ301 (36), KZ319 - KZ356 (38), KZ370 - KZ412 (43), KZ424 - KZ470 (47), KZ483 - KZ526 (44), KZ540 - KZ582 (43), KZ597 - KZ612 (16) Total 1,200

The eighth production batch by Hawker Aircraft Limited, at Brooklands, and Langley. To contract 62305/39/C/Va, powered by Rolls-Royce Merlin XX and 27 engines. The aircraft were delivered between the 20th November, 1942 and the 19th April, 1943. Average rate of production 7-8 aircraft per day.

has Azure Blue (underside colour) wells and UC legs, and all Grey Green internals,so the internals colour switch occurs in between these two aircraft, 

 

 

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I’m modifying the clunky old Revell 1/32 Hurricane Mk. IIc using the Grey Matter cockpit, wheel wells and new nose.  I bought the Xtradecal see that provides an option for a desert machine , though I am wavering on whether I should opt for the SEAC scheme which is also included.

 

My question relates to the demarcation lines between the two camouflage colours on the topside.  On the Phony War / Battle of Britain machines in 1939/1940, the demarcation lines looked to be quite crisp as if they were done with masks, while the later Mk.IIc in the factory photo above looks to have softer demarcation between the Middle Stone and Dark Earth colors.

 

Would be interested to hear what the ground truth on this is.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/5/2020 at 4:30 PM, Troy Smith said:

KZ295

49743629378_6bd7dc757d_o.jpgHurriKZ295tropproductionline by losethekibble, on Flickr

 

note purple hue to the Azure Blue in the parts that are not the near UC door

 

 

 

I have grave suspicions that is a b/w shot that some vandal has colourised

originally looking more like this

schowek01-jpg.343970

Edited by Work In Progress
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3 hours ago, Work In Progress said:

I have grave suspicions that is a b/w shot that some vandal has colourised

Fair observation, but, if so the colourised is amazingly observant in fine detail, the two that if you were not really paying attention to, and had scrutinised other images from this sequence of photos are the faint over spray of Azure Blue on the tyre, and the as yet unpainted tail fin fillet.

I don't know if you just made the colour image into B/W or found one online, but those two details are not obvious in B/W.

Also, look at the colour details of the tube, clips and fasteners of the pipe leading back from the coolant tank to the radiator.

These are the subtle details that get missed by colourisers.

The photo has also been floating about for quite a few years online, before the fad for colourisation really started.  I maybe wrong,  others may know more.

 

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Posted (edited)

I found the b/w one on a thread somewhere else where it was described as a colourised shot. 

https://ww2aircraft.net/forum/threads/hawker-hurricane-mk-iic-trop.45093/

 

My personal reasons for suspicion are:

a) original ww2 colour photography of factory processes is very much more of a US phenomenon than a UK one and exceptionally unusual for the UK in period;

b) I've never seen it attributed to an original source or publication, even though it is obviously some kind of press or promotional shot, and;

c) as such it would normally be part of a series, especially in colour, and it is seems very unlikely that others of the series would not be in one of the usual museum or commercial media archives somewhere.

 

This version of it claims that it's taken in England in March 1943, which makes sense in production terms, but alas that is all the info provided

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ww2images/6902158661

We can rule out Canada, a land comparatively overflowing with of milk, honey and Kodachrome, as the specific airframe, as mentioned here -

http://www.k5083.mistral.co.uk/APS.HTM

- is part of "the eighth production batch by Hawker Aircraft Limited, at Brooklands, and Langley. To contract 62305/39/C/Va, powered by Rolls-Royce Merlin XX and 27 engines. The aircraft were delivered between the 20th November, 1942 and the 19th April, 1943"

 

It might be legit but the odds are stacked against it, and in the absence of visible provenance for the shot I feel it cannot be relied upon safely as a colour reference.

 

Edited by Work In Progress
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3 hours ago, Work In Progress said:

a) original ww2 colour photography of factory processes is very much more of a US phenomenon than a UK one and exceptionally unusual for the UK in period;

yes, and as such you get a colour shot, plus more B/W from the same session.

 

Quote

b) I've never seen it attributed to an original source or publication, even though it is obviously some kind of press or promotional shot, and;

c) as such it would normally be part of a series, especially in colour, and it is seems very unlikely that others of the series would not be in one of the usual museum or commercial media archives somewhere.

 

 

Hurricane_assembly_and_production_wing_c

I suspect the is the same woman as the one in the green top  at the front, 

49743629378_6bd7dc757d_o.jpg

 

all good point @Work In Progress

but you have not responded to these

3 hours ago, Troy Smith said:

if so the colourised is amazingly observant in fine detail, the two that if you were not really paying attention to, and had scrutinised other images from this sequence of photos are the faint over spray of Azure Blue on the tyre, and the as yet unpainted tail fin fillet.

I don't know if you just made the colour image into B/W or found one online, but those two details are not obvious in B/W.

Also, look at the colour details of the tube, clips and fasteners of the pipe leading back from the coolant tank to the radiator.

These are the subtle details that get missed by colourisers.

 

and, for comparison, this shot taken later, again, the colour details on the engine bay pipework,  and in the B/W shot above, the tyre overspray, that in B/W just looks like dust. Another, look at the roundel, behind that in the background is a black vertical mark, above that is a reddish blur, some factory notice I presume.  

Why would a colouriser a reddish blur in the background.  Or several metallic tones in the radiator pipework area, look at the joint from the black down.  Look at the colour detail just above the kneeling woman by the wing tank.

none of these are at all clear in the B/W image below.   And these are really subtle details,  ones I'd not noticed until this discussion.

Hawker_Hurricane_Assembly_MW336.jpg

also of note, the masking tape on the canopy perspex on both shots.

 

and as for colourisation

this is a well know genuine colour shot

5480779565_81e4e04c37_o.jpgSpitfire II        April 1941. by Etienne du Plessis, on Flickr

 

and a colourised B/W shot.  I have not seen the B/W of this, neither has Etienne as he notes. 

49509639521_f0bb177184_o.jpgSpitfire Mk.IIA, 1941. by Etienne du Plessis, on Flickr

 

Spitfire_Mk_IIa_P7895_72_Sqn.jpg

 

 

 

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Isn't there a partner colour view showing the centre-section being worked on in a jig, with lots of odd overspray and peculiar details that just wouldn't have been put on a colourised photo?

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30 minutes ago, Troy Smith said:

all good point @Work In Progress

but you have not responded to these

 

 

Don't have to, and don't intend to.  I didn't come for an argument, just to say why the absence of provenance for the shot leads me to treat it with suspicion given that I found another source suggesting it was a colourisation. If you trust it, then that's fine for you.

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8 minutes ago, Work In Progress said:

just to say why the absence of provenance for the shot leads me to treat it with suspicion given that I found another source suggesting it was a colourisation.

I had a look at the link,  the B/W look to be lower quality image of the colour one. And very vague argument, given by fairly uninformed thread. 

 No wish to argue, I was making observations a case why it look like a period colour image, rather than a colourised one.  

I would also be fascinated to know the provenance one way or the other.

As for the internal colours, photos of a Soviet  KX serialled Hurricane IID at the NII VVS show a uniform tone of the cockpit.

24-3.jpg

 

either KX171

22-6.jpg

 

or Possibly KX305, this maybe the same plane with the serial tampered with, though KX305 was a IID, and did got to Russia20-3.jpg

33 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

Isn't there a partner colour view showing the centre-section being worked on in a jig, with lots of odd overspray and peculiar details that just wouldn't have been put on a colourised photo?

yes, though I have no idea if a partner image.

31930566440_3517c660d3_o.jpgHawker Hurricane repairs,c1940 by Etienne du Plessis, on Flickr

 

A very odd picture, one theory of this is it is Canadian.  There was a discussion as to what this showed

 

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On 6/5/2020 at 10:30 AM, Troy Smith said:

This has been a very interesting and informative discussion, and while I don't have a horse in this race and cannot really comment one way or the other as to the photo being original or colorized,  I offer this observation, as I just now noticed it. In the photo being discussed, there is a small hydraulic piston and actuator attached to the landing gear strut that is the same color as the red fuel tanks in the wings. Not sure that I have ever seen this hydraulic cylinder  in any color other than natural metal or silver paint before, or that color being called out for it in any color guide.  In the b&w photo of the same view, the appearance of that cylinder seems to match the landing gear strut perfectly, and we know for certain that it was not red.  Just a thought. (We now return to our regularly scheduled program which is a heartfelt plea for Arma Hobby to give us a 1/72 Mk IV/V with correct wing panels and armored radiator!)

Mike

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Could it be a spacer placed on to lock the leg in place whilst being worked on?  Such things were normally red, as something to be removed before completion.  I'm not as convinced as you that the b&w tone is exactly the same as the underside, it appears to be at least as close to the red in the roundel.  If, as you say, there's no known reference or example, why should an artist chose to pick that particular detail?  Colourised photos are normally most suspicious when they are completely standard colours when something odder is expected, rather than something odd being introduced.

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2 hours ago, woody37 said:

My initial though would be a locking spacer too

If that is what it is supposed to be, it is on the body of the cylinder and not the actuating rod, so would have no way of  "locking" the actuator. The red locking collars that you and Graham have referred to are commonly seen on the oleo section  of a gear strut or on the hinge point of an actuating  assembly to prevent it from moving- frequently seen on museum and display aircraft. In the "color" photo that shows the Hurricane's landing gear in chromate primer, note that the same cylinder is natural metal or silver paint- a locking collar over that cylinder would have no effect in preventing the movement of that actuating rod. That being said, my comments really have nothing to do with answering the query of the original poster, nor do I have anything more definitive as to the degree, if any, of colorization of the photos. Also not sure if the Hurricane fuselage or wing fuel cells were of the same material as the exterior of the bladder tanks in the upper bomb bay of Mosquito, which were of a reddish-brown rubberized material, or if they were finished in red along with the actuating cylinder in the Hurricane factory photos as a training aid of some sort. @Troy Smith would know what the normal color of these fuel cells were, which I would guess would be the same color as the upper fuselage fuel tank of a Spitfire.

Mike

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14 hours ago, 72modeler said:

If that is what it is supposed to be, it is on the body of the cylinder and not the actuating rod, so would have no way of  "locking" the actuator. 

Good point well taken.  There remains the question as to why a colouriser would have chosen to paint it that way if it wasn't.  Use of this jig as a training aid is a promising solution.

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Are you sure its a small hydraulic piston? could it be the workwoman's screwdriver balanced there as a convenient place?

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Posted (edited)

I have enlarged the critical part of the image, and  I am none the wiser,

.........but  I do not see  the ' hydraulic cylinder ' on the other leg.

 

 

.

 

Edited by Etiennedup
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