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Defiant Turret colour


Spit Fan
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Hi, I am currently working on Airfix’s fantastic  1/48th B.P. Defiant MK.I which we’ll be finished as a 264 squadron aircraft July 1940 and have come up against a bit of a wall when it comes to what colour(s) to paint the turret. For quite a few years I thought the entire turret, frames and base, was black, which was the way it was depicted in all the profiles and photos I had come across.  However after looking at Richard A. Frank’s Airframe Details No. 5, “ The Boulton Paul Defiant”  it appears that many Defiants had their turret, except the upper vertical frames, painted in the appropriate camouflage colors. From the profiles it seems that when the turret was painted it was facing aft. So far I haven’t found any references that state what colour the turret was to be painted. Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. 
 

If I can add another question to this post there was a rumor that a new book on the Defiant focused on 141 squadron during the Battle of Britain was in the works and with a possible release this year. Does anyone have any further news? TIA John R
 

 


 

 

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In the photos on here the the main body of the turret certainly look to be camouflage colours on the camouflage painted aircraft.  Only on the black night fighters does the turret body look to be black.

 

Looks to match the fuselage colour where the turret sits - which looks like dark green in all those photos.  Looks like they may have have used patterns where the boundary between dark green and dark earth never fell on the turret.

 

http://silverhawkauthor.com/warplanes-of-the-second-world-war-preserved-in-the-united-kingdom-boulton-paul-defiant_759.html

 

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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The Ducimus "Camouflage and Markings" booklet on the Defiant states that on most Defiants the metal frame of the turret was black. I take this to mean just the frame around the transparent part which is how it looks to me in the photos.

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Interesting question - I've gone through my Defiant photos and there are a handful of all black turrets fitted. I have an image of Defiant L6966 taken at Hornchurch which shows an all black turret, plus another of a replacement Defiant delivered to 141 Squadron showing the same; and from the album of the late John Gard'ner, there's a photo of him and Dudley Slatter sat in their Defiant. This image is pre-19th July 1940 and shows an all black turret. 

 

Reference the 141 Squadron book - it might be my history of the Defiant, which has a lot of 141 material, and what I think is the most up to date account of their action on 19th July 1940. I am just revising the draft of the Battle of Britain chapter after some new material came to light with regard to a hitherto unknown Defiant crew that actually tried to play a part in the earlier mentioned action - I am having to add in material taken from letters written by the pilot, and notes from his log book. I am currently working my way through the night fighter chapter, which I have broken down into six month segments; this is by far the largest part of the book. Most of the manuscript is complete, however one fly in the ointment is the now lack of book cover. I had been given permission to used the painting by Australian artist Steven L Heyen which shows Defiant L7009 on 19th July. However this has since been dropped by my editor.

 

I'm looking forward to seeing your build when you start it.

 

Regards

 

Andy

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On 24/07/2021 at 05:23, Spit Fan said:

From the profiles it seems that when the turret was painted it was facing aft.

Artist - Richard Caruana.   There is a reason why I have the sig line about profiles, and he's one of them.   Very pretty.  Often inaccurate.   Refer to photos whenever possible.

the Franks book on the Hurricane is a very pretty, but shoddy book, full of mistakes, omissions and downright fantasy.    Similar comments have been made about the Airframe and Miniature Mosquito and Boomerang books.    I do not have the Defiant book,  but just a note of caution as to why if in your research you find conflicting information, a possible reason.  Caveat Emptor. 

On 24/07/2021 at 15:49, rossm said:

The Ducimus "Camouflage and Markings" booklet on the Defiant states that on most Defiants the metal frame of the turret was black. I take this to mean just the frame around the transparent part which is how it looks to me in the photos.

 

available here

https://boxartden.com/reference/gallery/index.php/Camouflage-Markings/Boulton-Paul-Defiant

 

Old, but published just after a load of wartime material was declassified.   

 

On 24/07/2021 at 05:23, Spit Fan said:

which we’ll be finished as a 264 squadron aircraft July 1940

Which one.  There are only so many,  is this the kit option, PS-V/L7026?  If so, being specific helps. 

 

Boultan-Defiant-MkI-RAF-264Sqn-in-format

 

On the IWM site, which @dogsbody linked you too.

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205126775

 

there is a zoom button.  Do that.  Up really close, the turret look to have the base ring and the rear part, the sliding turret doors, in Dark Green, the front part, round the guns, look to be black.

 

if you conform that this L7026 is your chosen subject,  perhaps @AndyL  maybe have another picture which could confirm my assessment,  or, if another airframe,  say which one, as you won't get a better answer than that.

 

Sorry if sounds like a lecture, just years of being on here has shown it  best to ask detailed specific questions for a query such as yours.

 

HTH

 

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Here are a couple more from the IWM, showing the black frames and different turret body colour.

 

51340921880_aa07edda8c_b.jpg

 

51340921900_d454450b50_b.jpg

 

 

 

 

Chris

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On 7/27/2021 at 3:30 PM, Troy Smith said:

Artist - Richard Caruana.   There is a reason why I have the sig line about profiles, and he's one of them.   Very pretty.  Often inaccurate.   Refer to photos whenever possible.

the Franks book on the Hurricane is a very pretty, but shoddy book, full of mistakes, omissions and downright fantasy.    Similar comments have been made about the Airframe and Miniature Mosquito and Boomerang books.    I do not have the Defiant book,  but just a note of caution as to why if in your research you find conflicting information, a possible reason.  Caveat Emptor. 

 

available here

https://boxartden.com/reference/gallery/index.php/Camouflage-Markings/Boulton-Paul-Defiant

 

Old, but published just after a load of wartime material was declassified.   

 

Which one.  There are only so many,  is this the kit option, PS-V/L7026?  If so, being specific helps. 

 

Boultan-Defiant-MkI-RAF-264Sqn-in-format

 

On the IWM site, which @dogsbody linked you too.

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205126775

 

there is a zoom button.  Do that.  Up really close, the turret look to have the base ring and the rear part, the sliding turret doors, in Dark Green, the front part, round the guns, look to be black.

 

if you conform that this L7026 is your chosen subject,  perhaps @AndyL  maybe have another picture which could confirm my assessment,  or, if another airframe,  say which one, as you won't get a better answer than that.

 

Sorry if sounds like a lecture, just years of being on here has shown it  best to ask detailed specific questions for a query such as yours.

 

HTH

 

 

On 7/25/2021 at 12:30 AM, AndyL said:

Interesting question - I've gone through my Defiant photos and there are a handful of all black turrets fitted. I have an image of Defiant L6966 taken at Hornchurch which shows an all black turret, plus another of a replacement Defiant delivered to 141 Squadron showing the same; and from the album of the late John Gard'ner, there's a photo of him and Dudley Slatter sat in their Defiant. This image is pre-19th July 1940 and shows an all black turret. 

 

Reference the 141 Squadron book - it might be my history of the Defiant, which has a lot of 141 material, and what I think is the most up to date account of their action on 19th July 1940. I am just revising the draft of the Battle of Britain chapter after some new material came to light with regard to a hitherto unknown Defiant crew that actually tried to play a part in the earlier mentioned action - I am having to add in material taken from letters written by the pilot, and notes from his log book. I am currently working my way through the night fighter chapter, which I have broken down into six month segments; this is by far the largest part of the book. Most of the manuscript is complete, however one fly in the ointment is the now lack of book cover. I had been given permission to used the painting by Australian artist Steven L Heyen which shows Defiant L7009 on 19th July. However this has since been dropped by my editor.

 

I'm looking forward to seeing your build when you start it.

 

Regards

 

Andy


Thanks to for all the great replies.  I have quite a few references on the Defiant but I must have been blind or rather saw what I expected to see when viewing photos showing turret details. My mind set was the entire turret,  frames and base were black. The take away is you can’t trust profiles.  It makes sense that the turret base/ring would be one color and that color would be Dark Green on those Defiants camouflaged in Dk Earth and Dk Green given the way both A and B camo patterns have Dk Green running through the cockpit/turret area.  
 

Andy I am looking forward with great anticipation to the publication of your book on the Defiant.  I hope that when it’s released you will post an announcement here on BritModeler.  Given it’s intended role as a bomber killer and the tactics that were developed for that role I have long thought that the Defiant was poorly handled during the Battle of Britain. Perhaps it would have been better employed by being kept further inland, just out of range of the 109s, and hitting the bomber formations as the escort had to break off as they reached their fuel limit.  Of course this would have been in a perfect world and hindsight is a luxury denied to those making the minute to minute decisions 

 

I hope to post pictures of my  Defiants here on BritModeler when I finish them.  One is in the markings of 141 squadron L7009 TW@H “Cock O’ the North”. The second one will be a 264 Defiant. Most likely PS@O. Please don’t hold your breath while waiting. I am a slow builder but both are in the painting stage so once life quits interfering with modeling I hope to get them done by November. Once again many thanks to all. My thanks also to Airfix as I never thought I’d seen a Defiant in 1/48th let alone one as lovely as the one Airfix released! Keep up the great work. 

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@Spit Fan - if you do L7009, do not finish it with a Sky spinner. All my images of 141 Squadron Defiants have them in black. I'm still trying to get access to the pilot's photo album - Ian Donald was an avid photographer and I'm hoping there will be some images of 141 - he was ex Spitfires, joining them from 64 Squadron.

 

As a good example, here's L7012 showing the difference between the turret base and framing colours.

jMsQW8w.jpg

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Thanks Andy for the heads up on the spinner color. I have the Ducimus book on the Defiant sitting in front of me, open to pages 186-187 showing the camouflage patterns. According to the notes at the top of the page these drawings are based on the B.P. Factory drawings for painting the Defiant in either the “A” or “B” pattern.  If these drawings are an accurate representation of how the Defiants were supposed to be painted then the turret base was painted either Dk Earth or Dk Green where the camouflage pattern past through the turret base with the turret facing aft.  This is also shown on the full color profile of L7006 shown p. 172. The B&W profiles show a mix of manly completely black turrets frames and base and one with the port side of the turret with the base in Dk Green. Why the discrepancy? Perhaps 🤔 it’s a simple matter of urgency. Initial production was at a slower pace allowing time to paint the turrets to meet the appropriate camouflage pattern. Then as time was of the essence then the entire turret base was painted Dk Green as it was close enough to satisfy both A&B patterns. As for those turrets that were painted entirely black perhaps they were replacement turrets installed by a M.U. and left to the gaining squadron to paint when time permitted. Food for thought.  
 

On Page 14 of the Mushroom Model Magazine Special by Mark Ansell there are formation images of six 264squadron Defiants. Does anyone know the serial number of PS@Z, the Defiant with the oversized fuselage roundel with the pre-war blue ring?  Unfortunately the images aren’t clear enough to show the camouflage pattern as to A or B. Once again greatly appreciate the input. 

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2 hours ago, Spit Fan said:

Does anyone know the serial number of PS@Z, the Defiant with the oversized fuselage roundel with the pre-war blue ring?  Unfortunately the images aren’t clear enough to show the camouflage pattern as to A or B. Once again greatly appreciate the input. 

Boultan-Defiant-MkI-RAF-264Sqn-in-format

 

IWM zoomable of this is here

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205442505

 

@AndyL may well know.

 

I'm not sure I agree with the 'pre war blue'  theory, if Defiant production used pre war blue, then you would see it more.  The fin flash matches the others.

Perhaps part way through repainting the roundel to standard size, and what is visible is all yellow?  Compare the roundel on PS-U,   Again, @AndyL maybe has an idea?

Interestingly the blue of the fin flash on PS-U is quite light.

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