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Airfix Spitfire U-GR N3290 colour scheme question


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Hi all,

 

I'm currently building the Airfix Spitfire U-GR N3290. The instructions state that the underside of the port wing should be painted black and the starboard wing white. However, the instructions also state that the port side wheel well should be painted white and the starboard wheel well black. I'm wondering if this is a mistake as the wheel well is the colour of the opposite wing if that is the case. Is this correct?

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Mike

Edited by Flying Rodent
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Unless Airfix has special information on this particular airframe, then both port wing underside and wheel well are black. If you go here http://aircrewremembered.com/gillies-j.html you will see the wreck. There is no clear image of the port wing, however you can see the light colour of the underside of the starboard wing at the leading edge.

 

Ray

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Apologies, I meant to say is it correct for:

 

The port wing underside to be black and the port wheel well to be white.

 

The starboard wing underside to be white and the starboard wheel well black?

 

That is what Airfix states but should the wheel well match the corresponding wing?

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2 minutes ago, Flying Rodent said:

 

That is what Airfix states but should the wheel well match the corresponding wing?

In short, yes. I'm not sure whether N3290 left the factory with that underside scheme or in the earlier aluminium colour (and then was oversprayed black/white) but I can't think of any logical reason for the wheel wells to be sprayed opposing colours.

I think it's generally accepted that the black/white scheme when applied to formerly Aluminium painted aircraft was just applied straight over wing, undercarriage leg, wheel hub, undercarriage bay and all. On the aircraft where the b/w scheme was applied in the factory, I guess Aluminium wheel wells as Graham suggests might have been a possiblity?

 

As an aside I am sure I have heard of an instance of ailerons being finished in the opposing colours, but as these would presumably have been painted while off the machine it's presumably just an error by a tired fitter at the end of a long day!

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Interesting about the Airfix mix up. I'm just starting to build their yellow nose 1:48 Mk.I LV⦾N AR213 and in my eye they made a mistake with the colours on the instructions. This is how the right side of the aircraft is shown on the instructions...

 

1612219197826-png.610986

 

...and this is what my eye sees

 

1612219041004-png.610984

Edited by fubar57
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4 minutes ago, Vulcanicity said:

As an aside I am sure I have heard of an instance of ailerons being finished in the opposing colours, but as these would presumably have been painted while off the machine it's presumably just an error by a tired fitter at the end of a long day!

When the Spitfire was introduced the undersides including the undercarriage wells were painted aluminium

The underside colours were then changed to Black port side, White Starboard side.

Aircraft already delivered would have had their undersides repainted either on squadron or at maintenance units.

Most photographs where it can be determined show that the inside of the wheel well, but not the leg well was repainted either black or white to match the surrounding wing surface. Some aircraft had the undercarriage leg and the inside of the door painted to match as well as the outside of the door.

Due to having to rebalance the ailerons if they were repainted, those on Squadron service at least, and initially at least, didn't have their ailerons repainted black or white, they remained in the aluminium paint. This has been misinterpreted on photographs due to the reflectivity of the aluminium as being painted white on the black wing and black on the white wing. The ailerons may have been refinished in matching black and white at a later date if time was available to remove the ailerons, repaint them and rebalance them.

Aircraft that left the factory with the black/white undersides would have had full black and white undersides including the ailerons and wheel wells painted to match the rest of the wing.

14 minutes ago, fubar57 said:

...and this is what my eye sees

Both A & B scheme Temperate Land Schemes for fighters had the dark green area passing through the cockpit as per the Airfix diagram. Contrast between the green and brown in the photo is very low and not helped by highlight and shadow. I see where you're coming from, but I'm inclined to agree with Airfix on this one.

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The odds are certainly in Airfix's favour, but I can name at least one other Spitfire where the colours were exchanged (Wing Cdr Minden Blake's personal Mk.V) so it isn't impossible.  Given that this is not a photo taken on ortho film (as the red is lighter than the blue in the roundel)  then it would be most surprising to find a photo where the Dark Earth was the darker colour.  Is there a photographic filter that could give this effect?

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Further information for the OP, Aircrew Remembered also has images for one of the other aircraft from 92 Squadron (N3194) shot down at the same time as N3920  May 23, 1940. The text actually mentions black and white undersides, but gives no source. The images in the link do show the N3194 port wing and it does have a darker leading edge than the light underside starboard wing of N3920. Perhaps confirming black port underside. This can be found here:

 

http://aircrewremembered.com/bushell-roger.html

 

I think reasonable to assume both aircraft similarly painted.

 

In lieu of better information I would go with the Goulding reference and use either the official standard that covers the period leading up to the loss of the aircraft 23 May 1940 that being:

 

Spitfire underside colour scheme May 1940

 

However, the standard factory scheme for the period  was as follows and looking at the image of N3192 there is no rear fuselage demarcation so this may be more accurate, with the Aluminium fuselage underside finish. Again from Goulding:

 

Spitfire underside colour scheme May 1940 2

 

Still black port wheel well and wing and white starboard wheel well and wing. 

 

Ray

Edited by Ray_W
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Alfred Price's book, "Spitfire A Complete Fighting History" and the Aerodata International book, "Spitfire I & II" both show a Spitfire Mk.Ia, X4179 of 19 Squadron with the DG and DE reversed on the tail. Someone has mentioned there is a second photo of AR213 but I've never seen it. Sorry about hijacking your thread

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51 minutes ago, fubar57 said:

Aerodata International book, "Spitfire I & II" both show a Spitfire Mk.Ia, X4179 of 19 Squadron with the DG and DE reversed on the tail.

If you're referring to the photo at the bottom of page 35, that's standard B scheme. AR213 is A scheme.

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IIRC, GR-U of 92 Sqn appears in a couple of photos showing a vic of the Sqn's Spits at Paris.  All the airframes appear to show the factory-delivered scheme with black/white wing undersides and aluminium beneath the cowling and rear fuselage.  The individual airframe code letter was repeated on the underside of the cowling.  

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