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Spitfire Mk I Undercarriage Struts and wheels: Sky or Silver?


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I can differentiate between a Mk I and a FR 18, and that's about where my Spitfire expertise ends.

 

Finishing up a 1993 Vintage Tamiya Mk I in 19 Squadron markings. 1993 Tamiya kit guidance says to paint the gear struts and wheels with Sky, but painting guidance in the NEW Tamiya Spitfire recommends silver.

 

Are both correct? I don't want to be accosted by "That Guy" who says, "You know, its a Lovely model, but on a Mk I Spitfire..."

 

Standard "Type A" camo scheme. QV * H, P9546.

 

Thanks,

 

david

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Both were seen, so it's down to individual airframe. They were generally painted Aluminium out of the factory but often repainted in other colours including Sky during unit-level maintenance

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

Both were seen, so it's down to individual airframe. They were generally painted Aluminium out of the factory but often repainted in other colours including Sky during unit-level maintenance

I've never seen the undercarriage legs themselves being painted - totally new to me. 

 

Have you got any photos of the legs painted sky?

 

The oleos would not have been painted. 

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You've probably never actually seen an unpainted Spitfire undercarriage leg in service. People often seem to assume that metal parts of aeroplanes painted in aluminium paint are unpainted.

 

The few inches of actual shiny telescoping section is of course not painted because the seals would scrape the paint off straight away, but above and below the telescoping section every production Spitfire and Seafire undercarriage leg was painted when the aircraft left the factory.

Edited by Work In Progress
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On 26/11/2020 at 21:15, David H said:

Finishing up a 1993 Vintage Tamiya Mk I in 19 Squadron markings. 1993 Tamiya kit guidance says to paint the gear struts and wheels with Sky, but painting guidance in the NEW Tamiya Spitfire recommends silver.

 

Are both correct? I don't want to be accosted by "That Guy" who says, "You know, its a Lovely model, but on a Mk I Spitfire..."

 

Standard "Type A" camo scheme. QV * H, P9546.

P9546 Ia 673  EA MIII FF 3-5-40 38MU 6-5-40 257S 18-5-40 19S 3-9-40 457S 14-8-41 58OTU 22-10-41 52OTU 7-2-42 struct fail in flight crashed nr Dymuck Station Glos 12-2-42 

 

From date of manufacture, when built it would have had the underside factory finish 

which was this

48992641552_39cc4f653c_b.jpgSpitfire Mk.I maintenance film UC well colour by losethekibble, on Flickr

 

this is from a maintenance film. shot mid June 1940, and  the plane R6692 actaully got the undersides repainted at this time

50255159582_c8b0c9a315_b.jpgSpitfire Mk.I maintenance film Sky repaint reel 5 by losethekibble, on Flickr

 

note the underwing roundel bleeding through.  Note the door is still white, compared to the cowling, so it's probable that the leg/door/wheel hub stayed in white and black on the port side.  Note the actual external outer well got a respray as well.  The film sadly does not show the port side after the repaint.

 

But, the black port leg and wheel hub is seen here 

Spitfire-MkIa-RAF-19Sqn-QVK-Sqn-Ldr-BJE-

 

So, you could do this, and state why, which makes for a different finish. 

 

AFAIK the only image of QV-H floating about is this

Spitfire-MkIa-RAF-19Sqn-George-Unwin-at-

 

 

unless tamiya got the serial wrong, and it's this one

Spitfire-MkIa-RAF-19Sqn-QVH-X4425-at-Fow

 

 

IF QV-H is actually X4425, as above

http://www.airhistory.org.uk/spitfire/production.html

 

"X4425 Ia  1141  EA  MIII FF 13-9-40 8MU 14-9-40 19S 18-9-40 92S 57OTU 8-3-41 CAC ops 2-7-41 61OTU 20-11-41 RAE 1-42 Flew into sandbank and crashlanded on beach Llanddulas Denbigh FACE 4-4-43"

 

Then this was built after the change over to Sky, and may have Sky legs.

 

this is a X4179, and

"X4179Ia1019EAMIII FF 12-8-40 24MU 15-8-40 266S 18-8-40 19S 13-9-40 609S 27-9-40 66S 24-2-41 57OTU 14-3-41 FA 8-5-41 MMO 131S 24-8-41 140S 3-4-42 FAAC 8-1-43 ros 57OTU 9-6-43 engine failed on takeoff wheels up landing overturned Eshott CE 24-10-43" 

 

which looks to have Sky legs/hubs/doors

46916210331_1911d6ec18_b.jpg19 Squadron 28 by Сергей Кривицкий, on Flickr

 

the Fundekals sheet has QV-H as X4425, and maybe have some more information in the instructions pdf

http://fundekals.com/spitfiresPart2.html

 

which is well worth a read for general Spitfire finish.

 

Enough ammo there to satisfy most inquiries as to you choice I think ;) 

 

3 hours ago, wellsprop said:

I've never seen the undercarriage legs themselves being painted - totally new to me. 

 

Have you got any photos of the legs painted sky?

 

 

Painted legs were pretty common.   

 

have search through @Etiennedup flicr of WW2 colour

Problems is, underside colour and aluminium paint often look pretty similar in B/W, and hubs were also aluminium, often in shadow as well,  and like all of this stuff, there are variations and changes over time.

41402963810_84dfbbab41_b.jpgSpitfire Mk.II, 1941 by Etienne du Plessis, on Flickr

 

Med Sea Grey

 

40081280613_bf5a14854b_b.jpgRCAF Spitfire Mk. V, 1943. by Etienne du Plessis, on Flickr

 

Azure blue or Light med Blue

 

3269411347_7010b64e9e_b.jpgSpitfire FR.IX by Etienne du Plessis, on Flickr

 

PRU pink

 

3269412203_964be18600_b.jpgSpitfire P R Mk. XI by Etienne du Plessis, on Flickr

 

PRU blue

 

7617060184_c61229be5d_b.jpgSpitfire Mk.IXC      1945 by Etienne du Plessis, on Flickr

perhaps MSG, perhaps weather alu paint? 

 

11119962003_52ac6f8f04_c.jpgEngine overhaul   c1943. by Etienne du Plessis, on Flickr

 

MSG? 

 

3847848523_2ec5a47aea_b.jpgSeafire by Etienne du Plessis, on Flickr

 

MSG

 

2527522690_8dd6b585b4_b.jpgSeafire by Etienne du Plessis, on Flickr

 

Sky

 

As always, refer to photos,  the linked Flickr is invaluable for these details.  

 

HTH

 

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Well, while i appreciate all the input, it doesn't really nail down the answer.

 

I do like the thought of doing one gear leg and wheel hub in black, though as matter stand i have the struts, wheels and doors done up in Sky. However, i still have plenty of time to change my mind. I shall ponder this further.

 

There were TWO Spitfires coded QV*H. P9546 was the first of two, i think.

 

Thanks everybody!

 

david

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OK, I'll nail down the answer: You can't nail down the answer!  As people have demonstrated, it depends when it was built, what was done to it after, and whether a butterfly fluttered its wings in the Amazon.  Unless you choose a subject you've got a good photo of, you can make an educated guess, but that's about it.

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59 minutes ago, gingerbob said:

Unless you choose a subject you've got a good photo of, you can make an educated guess, but that's about it

True. If there are no reliable photos then it is always defensible to choose the legs either being painted aluminium or the current underside colours, and neither you nor anyone else will ever know different.

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7 hours ago, David H said:

There were TWO Spitfires coded QV*H. P9546 was the first of two, i think.

Check the dates.  Both P9546 (arrive 3 sep) and X4425 (arrive 18 Sep) stayed with the squadron until 1941.

While there certainly are examples of multiple aircraft bearing the same individual letter,  it's very rare they do at the same time, (you see it in bomber units later on) but even then they are distinguished,  by an added bar or a number. 

Since we know X4425 was H,  I doubt that P9546 was as well, and it's just a long standing mix up.

If P9546 was listed as being lost in mid Sep, and X4425 was the replacement,  that makes sense.

7 hours ago, David H said:

I do like the thought of doing one gear leg and wheel hub in black, though as matter stand i have the struts, wheels and doors done up in Sky. However, i still have plenty of time to change my mind. I shall ponder this further.

P9546 is a candidate for a Black port and white starboard leg,  X4425 is not.

 

HTH

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@David H:  Apparently like you, I agonize over color choices for my models.  And I'll repeat what is always said in these situations, that you need to refer to the documentation that exists for the specific airplane that you are modeling.  Failing THAT, use the best info you can find.  And, finally, at the end of the day, unless you plan to enter your model into competition, where 'That Guy' is going to have the power to either give you an award, or not, do what looks good to you.  I know that last phrase is often difficult to address, because what looks good to you is only going to be what the real thing looked like.  But you may never know the answer, and barring that definitive evidence, go with what could reasonably have been the case.  My $0.02.

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Competition judges don't care whether the undercarriage leg is the "right" colour or not, though presumably fluorescent orange might not be overlooked.  They are judging on the modeller's skills in assembly and painting, not research.

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On 11/28/2020 at 9:10 AM, Graham Boak said:

Competition judges don't care whether the undercarriage leg is the "right" colour or not, though presumably fluorescent orange might not be overlooked.  They are judging on the modeller's skills in assembly and painting, not research.

I wish all judges did. On debrief my model of a Camel was dinged for having the wrong finish on the roundel. Photos showed it was either glossy or smooth, the camo being a matte and the contrast obvious. However I did not include that in the description and the judge assumed I did not know the “correct” finish. I haven’t competed since. 
 

Tim

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And here we go again.  I don't really understand "taking my ball and going home" just because some random person made a decision you don't like, though I certainly understand that it is frustrating having some judge think they know more about the subject than the builder does.  Of course, there are plenty of builders who think, "Well, it's all about how well I build the model, who cares whether it is 'accurate'?"  And you know what?  I enjoy looking at built models from either category- and I enjoy the monday-morning quarterbacking (what's the British equivalent?) where me and my chums [sic] question the decision making of all other builders, judges, shoppers...

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Griping, perhaps.  Or back-biting, or the more general whingeing, moaning, and nattering.

 

My only experience of judging was at my local model club, but I do recall a friend describing his first experience at the IPMS UK Nationals.  The front runners were two large scale Tigers or a small scale Italian tank.  He said that the Italian one was beautifully made and clearly superior, but the two other judges recoiled in horror, exclaiming "But they're Tigers!"  The class winner was a Tiger.  I'm afraid judges are only human.

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I never compete at model shows, partly because my models are nothing special but mainly because if you compete it means hardly anyone can see them - the competition area being typically closed off for long periods for judging - and you're not avaialble to talk to whoever does get in to see it. Whereas on the club stands you get a lot of people wanting to look at, and talk over models, even terrible ones like mine. It's much more social.

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Sadly that doesn't seem to happen in the US- you can bring kits "for exhibition only, not to be judged", but they still go with the others- I don't recall seeing significant "club displays" and such.  The shows I go to though (limited, I admit) are pretty good about not having judging interfere with access.  I HAVE experienced "the room" being closed for a significant period of time, and agree that's a bad way to do it.

 

 

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Sounds like your big events are primarily competitions, where as our big events are primarily about local IPMS branch and SIG displays. I'd say at a big UK show like Telford or Cosford, those make up about 50% of the floor space, retailing maybe 35% and the competition area no more than 15%

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