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Me 262 / JV44 question


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Hi all - and seasons greetings, even though it doesn't feel much like the festive season ;) 

 

I'm currently building a Hobbyboss Me262A-1a to represent Johannes Steinhoff's 'white 6' mount while he was with JV44.  Most of the images and profiles I can find of JV44's aircraft seem to show a heavily mottled dark/light green fuselage with no demarcation, as far as I can tell, but the upper wing scheme seems less clear.  Unfortunately, my references are currently limited to whatever I can find on the web.  So, with that in mind, my questions are these:

 

1. Would these aircraft have had a standard 'splinter' scheme on the wings, or would the mottling have extended over the wings as well?  Currently, I'm leaning towards an all-over mottled finish.

 

2. As far as I can tell, the undersides are standard RLM76 - but would these aircraft have had some part bare metal finish on the underside, or an all-over 76 finish?  I've seen examples of 262s with both, but nothing which references JV44 aircraft in particular.

 

I realise there may not be any definitive answers, so comment, discussion and speculation is welcome :) 

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The majority of Me 262s (he said, taking a severe hostage to fortune) were painted like Messerschmitt's other fighters.  Early ones were in the usual splinter 74/75/76, later ones in the late-war green/brown, with a high demarcation and fairly heavy mottle on the fuselage.  They will have continued being painted with 76 undersides until paint ran short.  According to the practice of Focke-Wulf, leading edges would continue to be painted and ditto control surfaces, with the central wing surfaces left bare metal.  I must admit not having seen whether this was also the case with Messerschmitt, but it seems likely: depending of course on the supply of paint.  I have seen profiles of Me 262s in the two late-war greens but have some doubt about their accuracy.

 

I would not expect to see mottle on the wings.  This was not a normal German practice at any time, except sometimes those with a single tone uppersurface  eg desert or later night fighters and bombers.  Even then there are photos of Bf 110Gs showing 74/75 splinter on the wings.

 

Now let the torrent of comments descend.

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Thanks Graham - Point taken about the wing mottling (or general absence of), I think I'll lean back towards a splinter scheme for the wings then.  Most of the profiles I've seen of JV44's 262s (incl. those of Galland, Baer, Barkhorn, Steinhoff, etc) seem to show a heavily mottled 81 (green version) and 82 combo with no RLM76 apparently visible on the fuselage sides.  

 

Happy to see a torrent of comments.. ;) 

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By green 81 presumably green 83 was meant.  81 was brown violet, and commonly seen on Bf 109s.  I don't feel well-enough informed to do more than have some doubts about the widespread use of two greens on the Me 262.

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7 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

By green 81 presumably green 83 was meant.  81 was brown violet, and commonly seen on Bf 109s.

 

Not sure.  Legend has it that there was more than one iteration of the 81 colour, (possibly three, including brown, olive and a green) and that 83 was a whole different colour entirely.  Anyway, that's a debate for another time.. ;)  Either way, there's no sign of any brown on any of the profiles I've been referring to - closest might be a dark olive, at best....

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47 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

By green 81 presumably green 83 was meant.  81 was brown violet, and commonly seen on Bf 109s.  I don't feel well-enough informed to do more than have some doubts about the widespread use of two greens on the Me 262.

 

Me 262 JV44 Innsbruck 1945 colour

 

This is Me 262 Wk Nr 111751 claimed to have belonged to JV44 photographed at Innsbruck in 1945. There are a number of well-known black and white shots of this bird, but this well-balanced colour picture illustrates the camouflage scheme well. Two green uppersurfaces  (I no longer believe in the old 81/82/83 notation since Ullman provided evidence that RLM83 is in fact blue - but as has been said, let's leave that debate for another day). 

 

Interestingly this aircraft doesn't appear on the summary of airframes presented here http://falkeeins.blogspot.com/2010/01/jv-44-me-262-at-innsbruck.html

 

HTH

 

SD

 

 

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It's worth noting the background to this shot - Austria in the spring is green, and aircraft operating from airfields there would be best camouflaged to blend in to the overall background. Search for JV44 aircraft and many, if not most, appear dark green(s) overall.

 

SD

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I believe that Uhlmann actually showed that 84 was used for a dark Blue, not 83.  However the use of 84 for a light blue/green was never meant as reflecting actual period usage, and Uhlmann's documentation only referred to trials.  It is only presumed that this was the blue seen on several Ju.88s in Italy.

 

I was careful not to claim that two dark greens were never used on Me 262.  I still have doubts about it being dominant or even common.  I am not entirely convinced by this photo which appears to have a strong greenish tinge overall.

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1 minute ago, Graham Boak said:

I believe that Uhlmann actually showed that 84 was used for a dark Blue, not 83.  However the use of 84 for a light blue/green was never meant as reflecting actual period usage, and Uhlmann's documentation only referred to trials.  It is only presumed that this was the blue seen on several Ju.88s in Italy.

 

I was careful not to claim that two dark greens were never used on Me 262.  I still have doubts about it being dominant or even common.  I am not entirely convinced by this photo which appears to have a strong greenish tinge overall.

 

I agree with part of this Graham - I suspect that the JV44 aircraft were overpainted at a unit level as I'm not aware of this scheme in wider use. Other pictures available (see Neil Page's block referenced in my earlier post) show other dark overall Me262s of JV44.  I think the picture is balanced enough to serve as at least a source of debate, if not reference. Point taken about your use of words, and I in turn I took care not to contradict your post. Well-mannered debate and discussion always in my book. :like:

 

It is RLM 83, rather than '84', that Ullman has theorised over - and yes, it is to do with Mediterranean-based Ju88s. 'RLM84' is a notation of convenience adopted by some contemporary modellers and decal makers to conveniently indicate the light green undersurface colour in widespread use on late war fighters. This is not an RLM designation but has been widely used in current debate - however it is a modern term, not an RLM one.  

 

HTH

 

SD

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2 hours ago, Werdna said:

 

Not sure.  Legend has it that there was more than one iteration of the 81 colour, (possibly three, including brown, olive and a green) and that 83 was a whole different colour entirely.  Anyway, that's a debate for another time.. ;)  Either way, there's no sign of any brown on any of the profiles I've been referring to - closest might be a dark olive, at best....

Actually we had that debate way back when (I was a bit more active). Sorry I can't be of any help re the original question - have you checked the Classic books? At least Vol. 3 was available a couple of weeks ago for something like 20 quid delivered (on Abe), Crécy seems to have cheaply ditched their remaining stock.

 

Smith/Creek are 83 "light/Medium Green" proponents, but anyway, the one in the pic by SD is obviously dark - I can't distinguish anything like demarcations on the wing. Which may  ***may*** MAY even mean it was painted in 70/71. Even if it means nothing (re your question and in general), I tend to be in the camp for which 81 was an Olive that looked brown on occasions, because of a lack of/a defective component. And I also tend to believe that no one would have risked being shot due to delaying delivery of badly needed planes because the specified tone was unavailable, unless use of 70/71 would have led to disintegration of the airframe. IIRC life expectancy of a Luftwaffe plane in '44 was something like 15 to 20 flying hours. And also IIRC, the official Dornier drawings reproduced in all the iterations of the Smith/Creek 335 book expressly state something like "stocks of 70/71 may (or: are to be?) exhausted". Which may not have affected many of the 262- building plants that much, as they would possibly not have had that much stocks of paints essentially phased out of fighter use by mid 1940. But then the stocks may have been available at some supply depot while the specified paints were not. I do not say "anything goes", but I guess if you were still believing in the Endsieg by 1944, you would want to continue sniffing the solvents in 70/71 to live happily ever after.

 

BTW, the Werknummer is very prominent (and well visible), would that be any clue re the plant of production and schemes used by direct siblings?

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1 hour ago, Graham Boak said:

I was careful not to claim that two dark greens were never used on Me 262.  I still have doubts about it being dominant or even common.  I am not entirely convinced by this photo which appears to have a strong greenish tinge overall.

 

There's certainly a lot of green in the pic, but as S-D says, I think it looks well balanced.  The meadow colour doesn't look unreasonable and the roof colours in the background compare well to Austrian/Bavarian/Alpine buildings both then and now.  To me, at least, the colours appear to be pretty well in register.

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2 minutes ago, tempestfan said:

 

 

Smith/Creek are 83 "light/Medium Green" proponents, but anyway, the one in the pic by SD is obviously dark - I can't distinguish anything like demarcations on the wing. Which may  ***may*** MAY even mean it was painted in 70/71. Even if it means nothing (re your question and in general), I tend to be in the camp for which 81 was an Olive that looked brown on occasions, because of a lack of/a defective component. And I also tend to believe that no one would have risked being shot due to delaying delivery of badly needed planes because the specified tone was unavailable, unless use of 70/71 would have led to disintegration of the airframe. IIRC life expectancy of a Luftwaffe plane in '44 was something like 15 to 20 flying hours. And also IIRC, the official Dornier drawings reproduced in all the iterations of the Smith/Creek 335 book expressly state something like "stocks of 70/71 may (or: are to be?) exhausted". Which may not have affected many of the 262- building plants that much, as they would possibly not have had that much stocks of paints essentially phased out of fighter use by mid 1940. But then the stocks may have been available at some supply depot while the specified paints were not. I do not say "anything goes", but I guess if you were still believing in the Endsieg by 1944, you would want to continue sniffing the solvents in 70/71 to live happily ever after.

 

Hi - I tend to agree with that.  The fuselage colour in that pic makes me think "what green is that?"  Possibly too dark for 82 and too pale for 70..?  Unless it is the speculated RLM81 green?

 

It might just be me (or my eyesight), but I can just about identify some faint demarcation on the wings.  I wouldn't want to bet money on it though.. ;) 

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26 minutes ago, Antti_K said:

I was looking at the rudder; it seems to be mottled with darker colour (RLM 81 Braunviolett perhaps?) Or is it just something that appeared during processing?

 

Cheers,

Antti

 

You're right, it does look like mottling.  I don't know enough (ie anything) about photo processing to know whether that might be a cause, or if the appearance is genuine..

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I'm just flipping through pages of a book called "JV 44, Galland's Circus" (by Robert Forsyth) and there are some nice photos in it. One close-up shows the fin and rudder of W.Nr 111751 (the very same a/c as in photo above) and there is mottling visible. In B+W photo it looks like that the whole airplane was thinly sprayed with "green" and then mottling was created simply with the same green. The mottling is only visible on the rudder.

 

There is also one photo showing "White 6". The aircraft is partially under a camouflage net. You've probably seen that photo?

 

Cheers,

Antti

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1 hour ago, Antti_K said:

 

There is also one photo showing "White 6". The aircraft is partially under a camouflage net. You've probably seen that photo?

 

Hi Antti - no, I've not seen that.  If you have any way of sharing it, I'd be keen to see it.

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Werdna,

 

My colleague David E. Brown has extensively researched the 262s of JV44 and is also a member here on BM.

It's quite possible that David may see this thread and respond but if not, you could always send him a PM with the chance that he could help out.

AFAIR, the only known photos of Steinhoff's 262 are those taken following his near fatal crash.

Cheers

Dave

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8 minutes ago, tango98 said:

Werdna,

 

My colleague David E. Brown has extensively researched the 262s of JV44 and is also a member here on BM.

It's quite possible that David may see this thread and respond but if not, you could always send him a PM with the chance that he could help out.

AFAIR, the only known photos of Steinhoff's 262 are those taken following his near fatal crash.

Cheers

Dave

Thanks Dave. 

I've seen the pictures of Steinhoff's 262 you are referring to and they don't seem to be much help for determining markings - the plane was destroyed and the photo quality is not wonderful

 

SD

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15 minutes ago, tango98 said:

Werdna,

 

My colleague David E. Brown has extensively researched the 262s of JV44 and is also a member here on BM.

It's quite possible that David may see this thread and respond but if not, you could always send him a PM with the chance that he could help out.

AFAIR, the only known photos of Steinhoff's 262 are those taken following his near fatal crash.

Cheers

Dave

 

Thanks - I'd certainly be interested in any input that David might be able to share.  As S-D says, Steinhoff's 262 ended up as a burnt-out wreck and the photo (or at least the one I've seen) doesn't give much away in terms of markings or colours.  A lot of profiles of JV44 aircraft do seem to follow the same pattern though.

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Hello Werdna,

 

here we go:

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White 6 partially visible with camouflage net thrown over the rear fuselage.

 

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A line-up photo. In the original picture a faint white 6 is visible on the first aircraft. The quality of the original isn't great. Note the light area around the swastika and compare the the colour demarcation line at the rear end of starboard engine with the previous photo.

 

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A close-up of W.Nr 111751's tail. Note the mottling and crudely painted swastika. Aircraft on the background is white 12.

 

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An unidentified example; note the non-standard mottling.

 

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One colour photo. There are better pictures of this example.

All of these photos are from the book I mentioned earlier.

 

Cheers,

Antti

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Werdna,

 

I am working on an article for Morten  Jesson and Andrew Arthy’s “Air Warfare” on Steinhoff’s Me 262 and his last flight. Hopefully it will be completed and published in the first half of 2021. 
 

Dave, thanks for the kind words!

 

Cheers,

 

David, 

 

 

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