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Spitfire PR.19 spinner colour


Jon Bryon

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I am modelling this aircraft using the Airfix 1/48 kit and Xtradecals:

 

15-2.jpg

 

Xtradecals state the spinner is pale blue. Airfix also show the spinner of PS888 as a pale blue. Does anyone know what the source is for the spinners being pale blue rather than, say, white? At least one profile (in Model Aircraft Monthly) shows the spinner as white. 

 

Also, if anyone knows the date the above photo was taken, it would be much appreciated.

 

Thanks

 

Jon

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5 hours ago, Jon Bryon said:

I am modelling this aircraft using the Airfix 1/48 kit and Xtradecals:

 

15-2.jpg

 

Xtradecals state the spinner is pale blue. Airfix also show the spinner of PS888 as a pale blue. Does anyone know what the source is for the spinners being pale blue rather than, say, white? At least one profile (in Model Aircraft Monthly) shows the spinner as white. Yellow would be another possibility, but don't think so in this case, as the spinner doesn't match the yellow prop tips.

Mike

 

 

5 hours ago, Jon Bryon said:

 

Also, if anyone knows the date the above photo was taken, it would be much appreciated.

 

Thanks

 

Jon

Found this- the profile can't be used as a confirmation for the colors and markings, but looking at the photo you posted, as well as the one in the link below, the spinner looks to be the same color as the white of the roundels and fin flash.

Mike

 

https://www.pinterest.com.mx/pin/571886852689000146/

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Thanks. I'm pretty sure that's the same profile in MAM, and I've since found a page (https://ww2aircraft.net/forum/threads/finished-gb-49-1-48-pr-xix-spitfire-favourite-a-c-of-wwii.55605/) where clearly a fitter who worked on PS888 states the spinner should be white, and not pale blue.

 

I've also discovered there's a protrusion of some sort on the lower fuselage behind the wing which is visible on photos (and the profile linked) but has yet to be reproduced on any kits. It looks like it's not on restored airframes and is thus proving a little difficult to replicate...

 

Jon

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4 minutes ago, Jon Bryon said:

I've also discovered there's a protrusion of some sort on the lower fuselage behind the wing

That is what was known as the 'boat' antenna. It was  a beam approach antenna designed to home in on signals generated from a ground station so as to approach the runway under poor visibility conditions. The quote below was taken from The Spitfire Site, and the link below includes a photo that shows  what the antenna and fairing looked like- on a PR XIX like your modeling project!

Mike

 

'Later in 1943 some Spitfires started being fitted with “Rebecca” Mk II beam approach equipment. This responded to “Lorenz” ground signals transmitted by “BABS” beacons, allowing pilots to line up on runways and airstrips in conditions of poor visibility. Spitfires with this equipment had a small, semi-circular blister out of the back of which projected a short antenna. This was fitted underneath the fuselage, in line with the rear wing fillet. Some of the first Spitfires so equipped were Mk XIIs.'

 

http://spitfiresite.com/2010/04/spitfire-masts-and-aerials.html/2

 

Here's a photo collection of one being offered for sale in the UK! Great modeling reference photos!

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/234158676994?mkevt=1&mkcid=1&mkrid=710-53481-19255-0&campid=5338722076&customid=&toolid=10050

 

 

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Hello Jon,

 

No 81 Squadron had the spinners painted with white just before Spitfire PR.19 retired from service. According to photos and diaries of a service pilot, the spinners remained white for only a couple of days.

 

Flight -magazine's photographer took those well known shots of PS890 at RAF Seletar showing the spinner still painted with PRU Blue. The pilot was Flying Officer P. Giddens.

 

Note also the serial: the last two digits sit higher on the fuselage than the rest. PS890 also carried larger roundels than PR.19s usually did. For example PS888 carried smaller ones.

 

Peter Gidden's photos can be seen here: http://www.rafseletar.info/Personal Pages/Peter Gidden/Photos 1/The Late Peter Giddens - Photo Gallery page 1.html

 

Cheers,

Antti

 

 

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1 hour ago, 72modeler said:

That is what was known as the 'boat' antenna. It was  a beam approach antenna designed to home in on signals generated from a ground station so as to approach the runway under poor visibility conditions. The quote below was taken from The Spitfire Site, and the link below includes a photo that shows  what the antenna and fairing looked like- on a PR XIX like your modeling project!

Mike

 

'Later in 1943 some Spitfires started being fitted with “Rebecca” Mk II beam approach equipment. This responded to “Lorenz” ground signals transmitted by “BABS” beacons, allowing pilots to line up on runways and airstrips in conditions of poor visibility. Spitfires with this equipment had a small, semi-circular blister out of the back of which projected a short antenna. This was fitted underneath the fuselage, in line with the rear wing fillet. Some of the first Spitfires so equipped were Mk XIIs.'

 

http://spitfiresite.com/2010/04/spitfire-masts-and-aerials.html/2

 

Here's a photo collection of one being offered for sale in the UK! Great modeling reference photos!

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/234158676994?mkevt=1&mkcid=1&mkrid=710-53481-19255-0&campid=5338722076&customid=&toolid=10050

 

 

 

This is why Britmodeller is so useful. Excellent information and enough for me to find something suitable from the spares box!

 

Many thanks indeed

 

Jon

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1 hour ago, Antti_K said:

Hello Jon,

 

No 81 Squadron had the spinners painted with white just before Spitfire PR.19 retired from service. According to photos and diaries of a service pilot, the spinners remained white for only a couple of days.

 

Flight -magazine's photographer took those well known shots of PS890 at RAF Seletar showing the spinner still painted with PRU Blue. The pilot was Flying Officer P. Giddens.

 

Note also the serial: the last two digits sit higher on the fuselage than the rest. PS890 also carried larger roundels than PR.19s usually did. For example PS888 carried smaller ones.

 

Peter Gidden's photos can be seen here: http://www.rafseletar.info/Personal Pages/Peter Gidden/Photos 1/The Late Peter Giddens - Photo Gallery page 1.html

 

Cheers,

Antti

 

 

 

I'm glad you've answered Antti, as I've read many of your previous posts on the PR.19 and benefitted from those.

 

However, I am still confused. The photo I linked to clearly shows the spinner in a paler colour than PRU blue (to me anyway), but you say it is PRU Blue? Just interested in sources for this. The page I linked to above (https://ww2aircraft.net/forum/threads/finished-gb-49-1-48-pr-xix-spitfire-favourite-a-c-of-wwii.55605/) also seems to have a good source for white.

 

I have considered using stencils to get the misaligned serial number, but I think I'll just go with the decals and live with the inaccuracy.

 

On another matter, photos seem to show the little hatch on the port fuselage just at the wingroot (the radio and electrical systems socket?) as a darker colour. Any idea what colour it might be?

 

Many thanks for your help

 

Jon

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Hello Jon,

 

you are right; the spinner is white in your photo of PS890. If I remember correctly, this particular picture was taken at RAAF Butterworth or at Kuala Lumpur. It certainly isn't from RAF Seletar but it could be from RAF Tengah (the hills look something like that when you are standing on the main ramp facing towards the ATC Tower).

 

An earlier photo taken at Seletar (a high speed flyby with distorted hangars in the background) shows PRU Blue spinner. The last two digits are an interesting detail, as they appear in many PR.19s in the original paint. Peter Gidden's photos also clearly show the correct size roundels for the three different airplanes. Flt Lt Edward C. Powles took two Spitfires to RAF Kai Tak and they were in their original war time paint with "small" roundels.

 

That small hatch then: it is for ground power and possibly it was clearly marked, especially if there were other marks (like those Mk. 24s at Kai Tak) around as they had a 24 Volt system when PR.19 was the last one with 12 Volts.

 

Cheers,

Antti

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I found a photo of the well-known Mk XII, MB882, the last one built, that shows the boat antenna and fairing. IIRC, it was mounted slightly to the LH side of the centerline. (I'm still waiting and hoping for an Arma Mk XII one of these days..they could engineer it for a Mk XII or  Seafire XV!)

Mike

 

https://1000aircraftphotos.com/Contributions/PippinBill/7248.htm

 

https://1000aircraftphotos.com/Contributions/MenziesJohn/13313.htm

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17 hours ago, Antti_K said:

Hello Jon,

 

you are right; the spinner is white in your photo of PS890. If I remember correctly, this particular picture was taken at RAAF Butterworth or at Kuala Lumpur. It certainly isn't from RAF Seletar but it could be from RAF Tengah (the hills look something like that when you are standing on the main ramp facing towards the ATC Tower).

 

An earlier photo taken at Seletar (a high speed flyby with distorted hangars in the background) shows PRU Blue spinner. The last two digits are an interesting detail, as they appear in many PR.19s in the original paint. Peter Gidden's photos also clearly show the correct size roundels for the three different airplanes. Flt Lt Edward C. Powles took two Spitfires to RAF Kai Tak and they were in their original war time paint with "small" roundels.

 

That small hatch then: it is for ground power and possibly it was clearly marked, especially if there were other marks (like those Mk. 24s at Kai Tak) around as they had a 24 Volt system when PR.19 was the last one with 12 Volts.

 

Cheers,

Antti

 

That's fascinating, because I'd always assumed this image:

 

005984db9d238e8b1625f16f1b2706b7.png

 

was the later image, but your information is that it's the other way round. Which means the 'High Drama' photo must be 1954?

 

I'm beginning to think I might have to do something about the misaligned serials...

 

Thanks!

 

Jon

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1 hour ago, 72modeler said:

I found a photo of the well-known Mk XII, MB882, the last one built, that shows the boat antenna and fairing. IIRC, it was mounted slightly to the LH side of the centerline. (I'm still waiting and hoping for an Arma Mk XII one of these days..they could engineer it for a Mk XII or  Seafire XV!)

Mike

 

https://1000aircraftphotos.com/Contributions/PippinBill/7248.htm

 

https://1000aircraftphotos.com/Contributions/MenziesJohn/13313.htm

 

Thanks. The photos from the ebay page and from the suspended PR.19 in the Swedish museum are excellent and show the location really well. 

 

spitfire-7.jpg

 

Cheers

 

Jon

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Hello Jon and Mike,

 

that's the photo I was talking about. Taken by "Flight's" photographer (Norman McMillar?). I have a copy of the original article showing the date. I can try to find out that copy. Main point being that white was applied on the spinners only a couple of days (give or take) earlier than the last flight was made.

 

Cheers,

Antti

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And more...

 

here is a photo showing a Swedish PR.XIX (or S31 as they were called in Sweden) after a landing mishap. Note that the boat antenna is slightly off to port side; not on fuselage center line.

 

spacer.png

 

Cheers,

Antti

 

 

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Hello Jon,

 

that's a detail still confusing me. At one point I began to think that possibly the squadron badge was painted only on the port side. As you may know PS888 had the squadron crest painted under the windshield and possibly PS836 never carried any.

 

Cheers,

Antti

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19 hours ago, Antti_K said:

Note that the boat antenna is slightly off to port side; not on fuselage center line.

How 'bout that? I got something right, for a change! Great photo! Hyvaa Joulua, Antti!

Mike

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You have a keen eye for details Mike😉 I couldn't be sure about the museum example; does it have this antenna in the right spot. This Spitfire was in very poor condition (and a lots of parts were missing) when they started the restoration work at Lindkoping. My photo also "show" two hooks just in front of the flaps (those dark streaks located slightly inwards of the radiators). Better pictures can be found online. The rear end of the drop tank was attached into these hooks.

 

Hyvää Joulua Mike, Merry Christmas my friend🙂

 

Cheers,

Antti

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Thank you both, Mike and Antti.

 

Were those hooks on RAF PR.19s as well, or just the Swedish ones? I've seen them on walkarounds.

 

Also, it's the research scientist in me, but I would love to know the primary sources for the information on the white spinners being a very late and short-lived change. Is it in the High Drama article? I have a rather insatiable desire to pin down how we know what we know :)

 

Thanks for such an informative thread.

 

Jon

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1 hour ago, Jon Bryon said:

Thank you both, Mike and Antti.

 

Were those hooks on RAF PR.19s as well, or just the Swedish ones? I've seen them on walkarounds.

 

Also, it's the research scientist in me, but I would love to know the primary sources for the information on the white spinners being a very late and short-lived change. Is it in the High Drama article? I have a rather insatiable desire to pin down how we know what we know :)

 

Thanks for such an informative thread.

 

Jon

 

Hello Jon and Mike,

 

at least those RAF examples that carried drop tanks had the hooks. I remember seeing them also in some Mk.XIIs (well known MB882 as an example).

 

The information about white spinners wasn't in "High Drama" nor was it in "Spy Spitfires over China". It also looks like that Flt Lt Powels got the colours wrong when he said that PS852 he flew in "High drama" carried PRU Blue/MSG paint scheme. If his recollections about the time of the repaint of those two Spitfires is correct, the plane was still in overall PRU Blue during that record setting flight. To Jim Kiker (Jim is here on BM) Powels told that the spinner was white during his high speed dive. Both PS852 and PS854 remained in PRU Blue overall until the new paint scheme was applied. There is a well known photo of PS854 in PRU Blue/MSG paint scheme and with a white spinner. Unfortunately there is no details about the date. When PS890 was handed over to RTAF it had a white spinner.

 

"Flight's" photographer first visited RAF Seletar where he photographed PS890 with PRU Blue spinner. He then moved to RAF Kai Tak where he photographed both PS852 and PS854 with PRU Blue spinners. It is possible that everything was shot in colour, as at least the photos taken at Kai Tak were originally shot in colour. I have the dates for these "photo sessions" somewhere... I think it was in February 1953 (I have a couple of binders full of notes about these five Spitfires). The last flight (PS888) took place in April 1st, 1954 and the spinners were white. Let me dig my archives...

 

Cheers,

Antti

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14 hours ago, Jon Bryon said:

Thank you both, Mike and Antti.

 

Were those hooks on RAF PR.19s as well, or just the Swedish ones? I've seen them on walkarounds.

 

Also, it's the research scientist in me, but I would love to know the primary sources for the information on the white spinners being a very late and short-lived change. Is it in the High Drama article? I have a rather insatiable desire to pin down how we know what we know :)

 

Thanks for such an informative thread.

 

Jon

Talk to the BBMF, one of the PR XIXs has been outshopped in this scheme with  white spinner. Their research and colour schemes applied are spot on.

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On 12/14/2021 at 8:48 PM, Antti_K said:

 

 

The information about white spinners wasn't in "High Drama" nor was it in "Spy Spitfires over China". It also looks like that Flt Lt Powels got the colours wrong when he said that PS852 he flew in "High drama" carried PRU Blue/MSG paint scheme. If his recollections about the time of the repaint of those two Spitfires is correct, the plane was still in overall PRU Blue during that record setting flight. To Jim Kiker (Jim is here on BM) Powels told that the spinner was white during his high speed dive. Both PS852 and PS854 remained in PRU Blue overall until the new paint scheme was applied. There is a well known photo of PS854 in PRU Blue/MSG paint scheme and with a white spinner. Unfortunately there is no details about the date. When PS890 was handed over to RTAF it had a white spinner.

 

"Flight's" photographer first visited RAF Seletar where he photographed PS890 with PRU Blue spinner. He then moved to RAF Kai Tak where he photographed both PS852 and PS854 with PRU Blue spinners. It is possible that everything was shot in colour, as at least the photos taken at Kai Tak were originally shot in colour. I have the dates for these "photo sessions" somewhere... I think it was in February 1953 (I have a couple of binders full of notes about these five Spitfires). The last flight (PS888) took place in April 1st, 1954 and the spinners were white. Let me dig my archives...

 

 

Sorry to bang on about this Antti, but the top four images at http://www.rafseletar.info/Personal Pages/Peter Gidden/Photos 1/The Late Peter Giddens - Photo Gallery page 1.html show Spitfire PR.19(s) in MSG/PRU Blue with very pale coloured spinners dated 1952 and 1953. Does this mean the spinners were white, then PRU Blue, and then very briefly white again?

 

Cheers

 

Jon

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Hello Jon,

 

so far the little "evidence" we have say that the spinners were originally PRU Blue and later white. This theory is based on known dates for certain photographs. The photos of PS890, PS852 and PS854 were taken between 22 February and 4 March 1953 and were all published in "Flight" in 29 May 1953. These photos show either PRU Blue spinner (PS890) or Medium Sea Grey spinner (PS852 and PS854). Flight Lieutenant Peter Giddens served at RAF Seletar between December 1951 and 4 June 1954, so he saw (and photographed) all the paint schemes 81 squadron's Spitfires wore. On the other hand we know that PS836, PS888 and PS890 all had white spinners on 1 April 1954. So this gives us a time frame of roughly one year during which the colour was changed. I remember reading that white was applied close 1 April 1954.

 

Flt Lt Powles had already left Hong Kong for good (although only days earlier) when PS852 and PS854 were photographed still with Medium Sea Grey spinners. PS890 was photographed by the same photographer (Norman MacMillan) at RAF Seletar only days earlier with a PRU Blue spinner. And yet Powles personally told Jim Kiker that PS852 had white spinner (and PRU BLue / MSG camouflage) during his high speed almost a year earlier (5 February 1952). On the other hand Powels wrote that the two Spitfires were painted with two colour camouflage sometime autumn 1952; at least six months later. I guess we all know that memory can make tricks to us all... One thing is for sure: Powels never flew PS852 in High Speed Silver paint scheme although Airfix gives this in their painting instructions. I'm still trying to find a note I made, which says that 81 Squadron painted the spinners with white on all of their Spitfires (PR.19s). I haven't found anything on the reason though; why the spinners were painted white. A "theatre" or "Campaign" marking perhaps?

 

It is of course possible that the spinners were painted with white twice (although it sounds odd). 

 

And no, I don't think you are "banging" on the subject, as it is a fascinating one🙂

 

Cheers,

Antti

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