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P-38 night intruder


ckw

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I've just ordered the Italeri P-38 and am intrigued by one of the suggested schemes - Miss Ann, in a night intruder scheme of black undersides and blue topsides. The question is what blue is it? Italeri suggests FS 35190 "flight blue". This seems to correspond to the lighter of the components of the synthetic haze scheme used on some F5 recon aircraft. The other component being a significantly darker blue. The problem is that in haze camo, the dark colour is applied on the upper surface, the lighter colour in shadow areas (its more complicated than that, but the point is that 'flight blue' does not seem to belong on the top surfaces).

 

I did find a B&W photo - which I've managed to lose the reference to - which confirms the black underside, with a light to medium toned uppersurface. I have read that many of the F5s were later painted in RAF PRU Blue ('cause the haze paint was a real pain to apply), so I wonder if this is the correct top colour for Miss Ann. PRU Blue appears to be very close to FS 35190 anyway. Also it doesn't seem to make sense to go to the trouble of applying haze paint and then paint the underside black which would rather defeat the purpose.

 

i had originally planned to go NMF for this, but the the Miss Ann scheme is so unusual I can't resist it.

 

Thoughts on the correct shade of blue?

 

Cheers,

 

Colin

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4 hours ago, ckw said:

Thoughts on the correct shade of blue?

 

I have seen several written sources that stated that FS35189, USN blue-grey, is a close approximation for PRU blue. The Elliot reference  books state  that FS35042 was a close match to PRU blue, but the chip in his books appears much too dark when compared to the PRU blue chip I have in my copy of  British Aviation Colours of WW2. There are several print references I have seen that give FS35164, USN intermediate blue, as an equivalent for PRU blue, and it looks very good, but is a little greyer and lighter than FS35189. I have a bottle of Modelmaster enamel labeled PRU blue, and it is a close match to 35189, being a little darker and with a bit more blue than 35164, and is an almost exact match to the PRU blue color chip in the British Aviation Colours book.  I like it for fresh PRU blue and 35164 for faded PRU blue. I'm thinking @Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies and/or @Troy Smith would have better information, and I'm betting the Colourcoats enamel PRU blue will be dead-on. FWIW, back in the day, I did a 1/72 F-4B conversion from a P-38J and I used 35189, and it looked pretty good to me.

Mike

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Hi 

    The decals by Iliad, suggest a top colour of olive drab.

 

 

 

https://www.1001hobbies.com/lockheed-p-38-lightning-model-kit/61660-iliad-design-ild72008-decals-lockheed-p-38j-p-38l-lightning-8-black-7-80th-fs-8th-fg-lt-ken-ladd-new-guinea-79th-fs-20th-fg-c.html

 

 

 

a flight sim site suggest both schemes 

 

 

 

https://www.mission4today.com/index.php?name=ForumsPro&file=viewtopic&t=25045

 

Photos 

 

 

http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205363290

 

 

http://www.station131.co.uk/images/Visitors/110Gp Miss Ann.jpg

 

 

A/c of 100 group by streetly

 

has info on the colours for a p-38J intruder as medium sea grey and dark green at little snoring in April  1944

 

Cheers 

  Jerry 

 

 

Edited by brewerjerry
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6 hours ago, ckw said:

Miss Ann, in a night intruder scheme of black undersides and blue topsides. The question is what blue is it? Italeri suggests FS 35190 "flight blue". This seems to correspond to the lighter of the components of the synthetic haze scheme used on some F5 recon aircraft.

I doubt it's blue if this is a night intruder.    Why would a non photo Lightning be in a photo recon scheme.  Sounds like cobblers.  NMF seems more likely, and poor photo interpretation for the rest.

 

this one

IT1446_2.jpg?t=1604515633

 

 

I'm not turning up any images,  

 

there maybe something in the Ducimus guide ,  I'll have a flick through mine in mo, but you may spot something before

P-38%20Lockheed%20Lightning%20Camo%20&%2

https://boxartden.com/reference/gallery/index.php/Camouflage-Markings/Lockheed-P-38-F-4-F-5-Lightning

 

Or hope that @Dana Bell sees this ;) 

 

anotehr search (

OK, here https://forgottenairfields.com/airfield-little-snoring-1470.html

 

large_000000.jpg

 

Unless there are notes to the contrary, I'd suggest this is NMF,  I was going to suggest faded OD, but note the P-38 in the background, and shine on the uppers.

It's totally new scheme for me,  so this is just a guess from the photo.  

 

 

Ah, read the page link....

" In November 1943, the airfield was taken over by 100 Group and Mosquito IIs and Beaufighter VIs moved in, to use the airfield for Electronic Warfare missions to mainland Europe.
Units known to have used Little Snoring are: 

1678 Heavy Conversion Flight (Aug - Nov 1943) Avro Lancaster II 

115 Squadron (Aug - Nov 1943) Avro Lancaster II 

169 Squadron (Dec 1943 - Jun 1944) de Havilland Mosquito II 

515 Squadron (1943 - 1945) Bristol Beaufighter, de Havilland Mosquito II and VI   

23 Squadron (1944 - 1945) de Havilland Mosquito VI and XX 

141 Squadron (1945) de Havilland Mosquito XXX 

During March and April 1944 they were briefly joined by a detachment of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), flying P-51 Mustangs and P-38 Lightnings in long-range escort trials."

 

I was going to suggest perhaps the use of RAF style intruder camo, which was Medium Sea Grey with Dark Green, but I see no Dark Green.... 

 

 

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Hi 

     Slight Thread drift 

 

 

"During March and April 1944 they were briefly joined by a detachment of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), flying P-51 Mustangs and P-38 Lightnings in long-range escort trials.". 

 

 

  I am curious as to how the p-51's were camo'd as intruders 

    Cheers 

       Jerry 

 

 

 

 

Edited by brewerjerry
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Thanks everyone - for the info and finding one of the pics I'd lost.

 

Very hard to interpret that top colour - it certainly doesn't look like OD to me but I'm not convinced by NMF either -

 

In this pic http://www.station131.co.uk/images/Visitors/110Gp Miss Ann.jpg it looks like the radiator shutter on the tail boom is bare metal and its definitely brighter than the radiator housing - though of course this could just be the angle of the shutter. Also looking at the upper portion of the tail fin I think I'm seeing 2 different shades. Hard to be sure on this pic.

 

However I have since found that Martin Streetly in his book 100 Group Aircraft refers to a p-38 with NMF uppers and black underside with a yellow lightning decoration. Will try and follow up that line of inquiry. What has become clear is that USAAF single seat night intruder ops were experimental and limited (possibly only 2 p51s and 2 p-38s involved), so additional pics are likely to be rare or non-existent and I guess any scheme used could be non-standard and temporary. 

 

Well NMF with black undersides would be a pretty cool look for a P-38, esp with the lightning flashes. 

 

Cheers

 

Colin

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Hi 

     Link has info one of the a/c 

 

 P-38J -10 42-67862 lost 12 April 1944 painted a dull black 

 

I wonder if different paint schemes were trialled whilst the aircraft were at little snoring ? 

 

   Cheers. 

      Jerry 

 

 

 

 

https://books.google.com/books/about/Lightning_Strikes.html?id=0cwAEAAAQBAJ

Edited by brewerjerry
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OK some more info uncovered.

 

The 100 RAF group website refers to 'P-38Js' https://raf100groupassociation.org/aircraft/ from the USAAF 7th PRG though as far as I can make out the 7th only operated F-5s - could they have had p-38Js as well? If so we know some US PRG units did use RAF PRU blue, which makes the blue top service perhaps more credible - the aircraft started out in PRU blue, or maybe Haze, but had its underside painted black for its attachment to 100 group.

 

43 minutes ago, brewerjerry said:

I am curious as to how the p-51's were camo'd as intruders

The above website also has a colour pic of a P-51 - what is unclear is if the pictures here are of the actual aircraft on attachment, or simply representative.

 

Cheers

 

Colin

 

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curiouser and curiouser. Too much information?

 

What we know

 

P-38J Miss Ann was photographed at Little Snoring, apparently on attachment to the RAF 100 group from the USAAF 7 PRG group for trial night intruder ops.

 

Undersides are almost certainly black based on available photos

 

We have Martin Streetley's reference to  a P-38 with black undersides and a lightning flash with NMF topsides

We have the pic with T.Cushing which is captioned as having OD topsides (book reference in the Czech forum). I think this is wrong when compared to the aircraft in the background.

I have a number of colour pics of 7 PRG F5s in overall PRU blue ( Mighty Eighth in Color, R. Freeman)

 

BUT I can find no record of the 7th PRG ever using the P-38J (only F-5s)

 

So there are gaps and inconsistencies in the available evidence.

 

Here is a speculative idea - we know that the USAAF wanted to trial night intruder missions with single seat aircraft (P-38 and P-51) on attachment to RAF 100 group (specialists in this sort of operation). They decided to use crew from 7 PRG because they had the experience of long range solo missions, however, the P-38J was sourced elsewhere for the trial, and painted for the mission. If the 7 PRG did the painting, it is possible (probable?) they would have used their PRU paint stocks OR left the upper surfaces NMF OR the aircraft was initially left with NMF uppers and later painted PRU blue. It seems unlikely to me that if the aircraft was painted specifically for night intruder missions that the topsides would be left NMF.

 

So I think on balance I'm going to go with PRU blue topsides - but would be very happy to see evidence to the contrary.

 

Cheers

 

Colin

 

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I would urge caution, I strongly suspect that the 7th RG Lightnings you are referring to are not F5's, nor were they painted in PRU blue.

 

While nominally designated P-38J's, the 7th RG aircraft were in fact Droop Snoots engaged in Radio Counter-Measures ( RCM) missions, not intruder ops.

 

All of them were in overall NMF finish, not any form of camouflage.

 

IIRC these airframes were only attached to the 7th RG, think their main unit was the 36th BG.

 

Away from references at the minute, but will send links to photos later.

 

For what it's worth, there was a P-38J Pathfinder in NMF with a gloss black underside, which definitely was used on intruder missions - so the possibly of Barbara Ann being in the same scheme is possible.

 

Also, the booms of the P-38 are similar to the wings of the P-51 - they are a combination of NMF and silver paint and not a uniform colour.

 

Will send links later...

 

HTH.

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5 minutes ago, Sky dancer said:

I would urge caution, I strongly suspect that the 7th RG Lightnings you are referring to are not F5's, nor were they painted in PRU blue.

OK I'm no expert but I'm going by info found here http://www.americanairmuseum.com/unit/522 which is pretty clear on 7th PRG operating F-5s (and no other P-38s) - and the colour pics I have in the afore mentioned Freeman book are not droop snoots and very definitely are in PRU Blue (or possibly the mysterious 'Haze') but certainy not NMF (that's not to say there weren't others in NMF).

 

Also this aircraft was not operating with 7th PRG - it was a trial detachment for night intruder ops with RAF 100 group - and Miss Ann (not Barbara Ann) is clearly a P-38J not an F-5 (unless of course they took the cameras out and stuck the guns back in :))

 

But any references you can supply will be most welcome! I didn't think the Italeri scheme would be so difficult to confirm/disprove as its turning out to be.

 

Cheers

 

Colin

 

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Secret Squadrons of the Eighth by Pat Carty reports starting February 1945 three P-38 droop snoots, one of which was 43-28479 which crashed on take off, another was MIA, flew six ELINT missions, pilots from 7th PRG, observers from 36th Bomb Squadron, Lieutenants Zeide, Holt and Stallcup, from Alconbury.  Monitoring radar in Holland and the front line.  The appendices say 8 P-38 missions from 17 March to 13 April 1945, and the 36th Bomb Squadron had four P-38 44-23146, 43-28479 (crashed 25 June 1945), 44-23501, 44-23515 MIA.  The last night mission flown by the squadron was 2/3 January 1945.  All mission were night 5/6 June 1944 to 23/24 November 1944, then mostly day missions in December. The photograph of the crashed 43-24879 looks natural metal except for the upper part of the forward fuselage and a band on the engine at exhaust height.  Squadron letters R4 painted on the boom.

 

Mighty Eighth War manual by Roger Freeman reports in the summer of 1944 three P-38J droop snoots with special electronic detection equipment were prepared and assigned to 7th PRG, operating from RAF Foulsham August 1944 to March 1945, then they moved to Alconbury.  Meant for lone high altitude sorties into enemy airspace, one lost over the North Sea in October 1944.

 

 

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Hi Colin,

 

Apologies, I should have made my reply clearer - I was referring specifically to the P-38 variants operating in the RCM role in support of 100 Group, not generic 7th RG F5's.

 

As stated, they were attached to the 7th RG - one of them may have worn their unit markings:-

 

spacer.png

 

The second aircraft in the lineup appears to have the insignia blue spinners and red horizontal stripe on the nacelles that the 7th RG F5's wore, but it is clearly a Droop Snoot.

 

Now to the Pathfinder:-

 

spacer.png

spacer.pngspacer.png

 

Reason I'm posting the photos is that the Pathfinder is NMF/Gloss jet black. I suspect that "Miss Ann" (apologies for my error! Was thinking of "Barbara" - a different Droop Snoot...) is in the same scheme - but I cannot prove it. The first Pathfinder photo does show similar tonal shades to the upper surfaces of "Miss Ann" but it's a black & white photo and everything that entails...

 

"Miss Ann" may have PRU blue upper surfaces, they may be medium grey, they may be NMF. Notably it doesn't have an anti-glare panel, which is unusual... Does this support the theory that it has been repainted? I really don't know.

 

One thing I am certain of - it is your model, and you are free to paint it as you wish and I don't think there is anybody that can prove you wrong.

 

As an aside, the RAF's 5 Group did experiment with a P-38 for target marking purposes, eventually obtain their own Droop Snoot for this. Flown by Guy Gibson, surviving the war, only to be scrapped in the 60's (I think!)

 

SD

 

 

Edited by Sky dancer
Text in wrong place!
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It is difficult to say for sure isn't it - but all pics are a help. Comparing the clearly glossy undersides on the F-5 to this one

 

http://www.station131.co.uk/images/Visitors/110Gp Miss Ann.jpg

 

I would say Miss Ann is a flat finish - the highlights on the gear door are too soft for gloss in my opinion and it does appear to be a sunny day.

 

That photo is also steering me towards blue because of the radiator shutters which I think look unpainted (but then again, why?) Medium grey is of course a possibility - but I haven't come across any period evidence yet to suggest this is the case. But I think the biggest oddity is that Miss Ann is clearly a P-38J and not an F-5. If we knew where she came from, that might offer some clues. 

 

Cheers

 

Colin

 

 

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Hi 

    If it is of help here is info on the p-38J that was lost 

   Maybe miss ann came from the same unit ? 

 

42-67862 (20th FG) lost in North Sea Apr 12, 1944. Pilot MIA MACR 3750

 

From 

 

http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/usafserials.html.

 

 

    Cheers 

       Jerry 

 

 

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@brewerjerry,

 

Looking at the photo of 'Miss Ann' you posted a link to, you can clearly see the panel lines on the nose cap and upper cowling, which I don't think would be as visible if the upper surfaces were painted in OD or blue. In  addition, camouflage paint was discontinued by the factory at the P-38J-10 block; if the serial of this Lightning can be determined, then at least you could tell if that Lightning left the factory in bare metal. My best guess for a night intruder scheme would be natural metal over black. It is a very neat-looking Lightning, reagrdless!

Mike

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Sadly I can't find a serial number. I did just find an Aeromaster decal sheet with Miss Ann which describes the scheme as 'experimental' Olive Drab over Gloss Black. But I pretty certain that we're not seeing gloss black in the 2 pics we have, so I have to question that. The sheet also says S/n unknown which is a shame.

On 02/03/2021 at 03:11, 72modeler said:

you can clearly see the panel lines on the nose cap and upper cowling,

Not sure I'm convinced by that. This is a 7th PRG F5 which I'm pretty sure is overall PRU blue

 

spacer.png

 

Shot under more subdued lighting. In fact I would suggest that the even tone across panel lines in the Miss Ann pics argues for paint rather than NMF. Note that both the Miss Ann pics seem to have been taken in sunny/bright conditions which might both highlight any panel lines anyway and should, I would think, bring out the panel tone variations of an NMF finish. Against that, the tones of the PRU Blue plane seem darker than Miss Ann's topside, but that could just be to be a lighting/exposure issue.

 

And anyway, I still don't know where Miss Ann came from as 7th PRG did not use P-38Js !

 

Following another trail. I wondered if the T.Cushing named in one of the Miss Ann pics might have been the pilot. But it appears not - I can't find a USAAF record for him, but on the 100 Group web page (https://www.heroesofourtime.co.uk/raf-little-snoring_100group.html) I did find that the Cushings were

 

 A family that has strong connections to RAF Little Snoring, not only being involved in the construction of the airfield but also in the support of the aircrew themselves

 

So barring a bizarre coincidence, T.Cushing probably has no direct association with the aircraft. 

 

Anyway the kit hasn't arrived yet, so still time to decide

 

Cheers

 

Colin

 

Edited by ckw
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Very interesting and spirited discussion, with a lot of knowledge and references shared. I don't have a horse in this race, but looking at the photo that @Troy Smith posted of 'Miss Ann,' I don't think there is any way that the upper surfaces are OD; if you look at the P-38J parked behind it, which is clearly OD/neutral grey, the upper surface of 'Miss Ann' appears 'way too light to be OD. Maybe PRU blue or even neutral grey, but the upper surface is lighter than the neutral grey on the Lightning behind it, so I don't think so. I tend to agree that my initial guess of bare metal upper surfaces is not correct for the reasons stated by others. Bottom line, @ckw,  I think it's the same situation we all have encountered at one tine or another- you have gotten about all of the written and photographic information there is to be found; you have tried to interpret  b&w photos, which is a real minefield, as we all know, and you have gotten feedback from several modelers who have a great deal of knowledge/reference materials. I can see why you want to model this particular Lightning, as it is very distinctive and unusually finished; I say sift through all the evidence, take your best guess, and build that puppy! (Taking the Laws of Modeling into account, as soon as you finish your build, actual color photos along with a serial number will surface!) Is this a great hobby, or what?

Mike

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4 hours ago, 72modeler said:

(Taking the Laws of Modeling into account, as soon as you finish your build, actual color photos along with a serial number will surface!)

So right! Even more likely, having waited and gone Italeri for my P-38, Tamiya will shortly announce the 1/72 version of theirs!

 

But as you've said, it has been an interesting bit of research and once again I am amazed how such a well documented and researched area (8th airforce in England) can still through up mysteries. I think I'm going with PRU blue as a) I can make a case for it b) its going to a unique scheme and c) I have a tin of Colourcoats PRU Blue which needs using

 

Cheers

 

Colin

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1 hour ago, ckw said:

 

I think I'm going with PRU blue as a) I can make a case for it b) its going to a unique scheme

I must have missed this. PRU Blue is what says it is.  The only non PR use  I can think of is the undersides of the high altitude scheme.   

Anyway,  

we have two photos.

 

they show a black underside, (I don't think Jet had been developed at this point, it was used later on) 

I have only ever seen fighter P-38's in OD/NG or NMF.  the pic with the OD/NG  P-38 means it's likely a NMF P-38 originally.

 

Q - why would a fighter P-38 have ended up in PRU Blue? 

 

The unit was on a RAF base, with night intruders, learning about intruder tactics..  RAF night camo was by this point Medium Sea Grey with Dark Green disruptive,  MSG was found to be the most effective overall camo for night fighters  (note the Luftwaffe reached the same conclusion) but some units had Night undersides. 

 

the uppers in the photos do not look like NMF, no panel variation, no anti glare.   

It does look like MSG though.   Maybe DG was added later, or is just not visible in the pics, as the uppers are not clearly visible.

 

Finally, why would a 100 Group unit have PRU blue about.   

 

Here's a page from the Ducimus guide on Mosquito camo,  with examples of the intruder scheme, and note the similar appearance of Miss Ann P-38 upper to the Mosquito below MSG uppers. 

De%20Havilland%20Mosquito%206%20(20)-960

 

this is the page describing the night intruder scheme

De%20Havilland%20Mosquito%206%20(16)-960

 

Miss Ann may have later got the DG disrupter added, which would make for a strikingly different P-38.  

 

@ckw, your model, your choice of course, just trying to summarise points made.

 

cheers

T

 

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9 hours ago, Troy Smith said:

Finally, why would a 100 Group unit have PRU blue about.   

Well it wouldn't BUT this aircraft is said to be on attachment form 7th Group. As far as I can make out this was a USAAF experiment using 7th PRG crew ... they certainly had loads of PRU and used it for their F-5s. My theory is they slapped some black on all blue aircraft for the trial. I confess the flaw in this theory is that I can find no record of a P-38J being operated by the 7th - though Miss Ann is associated with the 7th in both the pics we have.

 

You are right though - the tones of MSG on the Mosquito do look similar to that on Miss Ann - I just don't have any other evidence to support that and we all know the tricks light and exposure can play on tonal interpretations

 

Cheers

 

Colin

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  • 1 year later...

spacer.png

 

As you can see i went with PRU blue top sides as, well it's something different and the research and comments in this thread led me to believe that while other schemes might be correct, there is nothing to prove this one is wrong!

 

An enjoyable build by the way - certainly compared to the Dragon monster I'd previously attempted and given up on!

 

Cheers

 

Colin

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that is just beautiful...  I have followed this thread with great interest - thanks for everyone's thoughtful contributions, and your stunning model Colin

 

ilj

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