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RAF PRU Pink?


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The forthcoming KP 72nd scale Spitfire PR.X shows an example from 541 squadron in PRU Pink but did this colour ever exist or is it a perpetuated myth perhaps? I know Xtracolor do such a colour but this may not relate to WW2 PR Spitfires.

 

The Alfred Price book, 'The Spitfire Story' has some pics of FR.IX's which are described as being in pale pink so I'm assuming there is some credence behind the use of this colour.

 

Regards

Colin.

 

 

Edited by fishplanebeer
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It is a real color, actually applied to some Spitfires used in low level tactical reconnaissance. Unlikely to be seen on any high altitude PR Spitfires.

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Spitfire FR.IX

 

A simple internet search for PRU Spitfires will give you a ton of hideously bright pink models and profiles and also the above picture which is thought to be a genuine colour photo.

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Wow pink. I would have thought the pink would have been a better color for high altitude concealment than for low altitude. Doesn't make sense to me at all. Then again I'm not familiar with the types.

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The late Edgar Brooks managed to find a sample of the PRU Pink in an archive. He said it was so pale that the only way to know it was pink was if you held something white to it. Then you could see the contrast. 

 

When I built my FR IX, I did just that and used the invasion stripes to provide the contrast. 

 

IMG_20160309_160428-600x413.jpg

 

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2 hours ago, Mycapt65 said:

Wow pink. I would have thought the pink would have been a better color for high altitude concealment than for low altitude. Doesn't make sense to me at all. Then again I'm not familiar with the types.

 The skies of industrial Europe in the 1940's were filled with industrial pollution which could give a yellowish coloured tinge to the predominantly cloudy sky. Add in the reddish low-angled sun at dawn and dusk - ideal illumination for some targets in low-level photography - and you have the basis for a "warm-off-white" overall camouflage...

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In reality PRU Pink was little more than an off white and is often described as white in various documents. The colour was used on some Spitfire Type Gs when it (the colour) was introduced for dicing in 1941. It was later used on 16 Sqn's FR.IXs when they started to fly more low level sorties. The colour was found to better blend into low cloud under certain light conditions.

Edited by Andy Fletcher
Typo
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It is a colour, but I don't believe it was used on PR Xs - it was intended for low level use, and the PRX was a high altitude aircraft. I think it's a mis-interpretation of the fact that blue/greys often appear lighter in WW2 BW photos

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As mentioned above, this is what Edgar had to say.

Posted 09 March 2014 - 10:04 AM

Off-white; there's a sample in the National Archives, and, in order to see that it is pink, it was necessary to lay it on a sheet of white paper. I've had it matched, but it's pointless putting it on here, since you wouldn't see it.

Before anyone says that it will have faded, in all the ensuing years, in the same envelope (kept in a folder, in a file, in a darkened room,) there's a sample of P.R.U. blue, and it still matches the prescribed colour (tested by machine, not just eyesight.)

Edgar

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

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I think the general thinking is that the Mk.X were not painted PRU pink - 

 

As for Xtracolor PRU Pink, the old tin I have is far too pink. White with a little pink or red added would be better.

 

 

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35 minutes ago, Dave Fleming said:

Somewhere I have a note of the mix, which was one part red to 4 parts white if I recalll

 

That doesn't sound right to me, that's is a very pink mix. Even something like 20:1 is probably a bit too pink. Unless your after this incorrect colour that is 😉

 

Supermarine_365_Spitfire_PR11_AN0704753.

 

This modeller used two drops of red into a tablespoon of white.

 

100_4075.jpg?ssl=1

 

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15 minutes ago, Dave Fleming said:

Somewhere I have a note of the mix, which was one part red to 4 parts white if I recalll

 

I have vague memories of something along the lines of one pint of red per one gallon of white, that would be a 1-10 mix... but it may have well been 1 pint of red per 4 gallon of white, that would indeed lead to a white with only a trace of pink

Edited by Giorgio N
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Having dug into my saved files, I'd saved a photo of an archive chip of PRU pink alongside a PRU blue one. I think it was on here, but not sure so I won't share it but it is a very light colour.

Edited by Dave Fleming
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So a very, very pale 'pink-ish' of sorts for low level sorties by FR.IX's but not for high level PR.X's is what I'm taking from this.

 

As such the pink scheme by KP for one of their forthcoming PR.X's (SR396 of 541 squadron) is to be avoided, so should it then be PRU Blue all over and/or PRU Blue under surfaces with MSG uppers as also shown in their box art perhaps?

 

Regards

Colin.

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9 hours ago, Dave Fleming said:

Having dug into my saved files, I'd saved a photo of an archive chip of PRU pink alongside a PRU blue one. I think it was on here, but not sure so I won't share it but it is a very light colour.

IIRC it was posted by the late Edgar Brooks,  some of his photobucket is still up, some not.   As it's a photo of a chip,  I can't see why sharing that would cause a problem, 

Edgar posted he had found the chips in the archives, but didn't say where, and didn't want to either,  but did post up the image. This was years ago.   If I can find the thread, I'll add a link.  

3 minutes ago, gingerbob said:

Unless someone can convincingly demonstrate otherwise, I'd expect standard PRU Blue overall on PR.Xs.

Again, debated,  there was a verbal description from an ex -PRU unit pilot that the PR.X he flew  was in high flying fighter scheme,  of Medium Sea Grey uppers over PRU undersides. 

 

The information came from a member who has not been on here for years, but he had photos of the pilot in question in his photobucket.  

specifically this post

https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235071601-spitfire-pr-mk-x-camouflage-query/page/2/#elControls_3661382_menu

 

this was the post where @Colin S-K posted this

https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/29201-spitfire-mkx/#elControls_316812_menu

 

 

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Paul Lucas, RAF Photographic Reconnaissance Colours 1939 - 1945, Scale Aircraft Modelling, June 2020.

 

 

The origin of PRU Pink is even more obscure as there is so little information available about it.

It seems to have been available by August 1941 as on I7 August a memo from the Operational Requirements Branch of the Air Ministry to Research and Development (Materials) at the MAP concluded with the following paragraph

'4) A specimen cord of the Speciol Pink (as supplied by Titonine's) used for low flying P.R.U. aircraft in adverse weather conditions is also forwarded for record purposes.'

 

The colour of this specimen card is perhaps something like HexTriplet #DFD2D9 which when converted into a British Standard colour is most closely matched by BS4800 24 C 33 that is

sometimes referred to as 'Lilac’ This however is too dark and too heavily saturated thus appearing 'warmer' than PRU Pink with an approximate theoretical specular reflectivity of

6l %. There is no close FS 595 match.

 

It has been said that 1416 Flight which became 140 Squadron had a number of PRU Pink Spitfires on charge during September 1941 such as X4784 as illustrated here. Despite PRU

Pink apparently remaining available for the rest of the war in Europe, it never seems to have

been provisioned for the RAF Vocabulary of Stores and it can sometimes be seen as being

referred to as being 33B/NlV meaning 'Not ln Vocabulary’

 

It is well known that 16 Squadron operated a Flight of Spitfire FR lX's which were finished in overall PRU Pink during the summer and autumn of 1944. Less well known however is the fact that they also operated at least one Spitfire PR Xl in the low level role that was finished in PRU Pink. The Squadron ORB entry for 20 September 1944 states

 

'F/Lt. G.H. Bostow airborne at I 3.10 for the D.2's and L2's near Arnheim in pink spitfire No. PL834, with 14" oblique to take photographs, observe and report on a big drop, did not return.'

 

F/Lt Bastow was taken prisoner.

 

9df3aa0d-a774-4107-815c-08cea24c0aa0.jpg

 

Edited by 303sqn
Correction
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3 hours ago, 303sqn said:

The Squadron ORB entry for 20 September 1944 states

 

'F/Lt. G.H. Bostow airborne at I 3.10 for the D.2's and L2's near Arnheim in pink spitfire No. P1.834, with 14" oblique to take photographs, observe and report on a big drop, did not return.'

 

To clarify the serial number, according to Morgan & Shacklady PL834 was Cat E on 20 Sep 44.

 

Justin

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7 minutes ago, Bedders said:

PL834 was Cat E on 20 Sep 44.

Technically I suppose Cat Em if pilot POW. Any pictures of PL834? The serial is mentioned several times in internet posts about captured Spitfires but they are not very definite.

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No pix of PL834 in the M&S book I'm afraid but it does confirm it was a PR XI, an not an FR IX which one might be tempted to think given your reference to pink colour scheme. I think we can be pretty confident that it had the larger pointed rudder and not the early shaped one that was fitted to the pink FR IXs. 

Edited by Bedders
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On 11/03/2022 at 19:58, Troy Smith said:

IIRC it was posted by the late Edgar Brooks,  some of his photobucket is still up, some not.   As it's a photo of a chip,  I can't see why sharing that would cause a problem, 

Edgar posted he had found the chips in the archives, but didn't say where, and didn't want to either,  but did post up the image. This was years ago.   If I can find the thread, I'll add a link.  

 

 

Hi Troy, it wasn't Edgar (I don't think he ever posted his files) - although he may have been the original source of the images. They came from this post by Nick Millman. I've uploaded the image and the accompanying correspondence below. This is obviously the document that @303sqn mentions in his Paul Lucas quote.  The rear of the chips also references a DTD308-83A
 

51936696781_6c74740dca.jpgPRUPinkBlue-vi by Dave Fleming2, on Flickr

 

51937011759_f64529261b_b.jpgOR4170841-vi by Dave Fleming2, on Flickr

 

Edited by Dave Fleming
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On 3/11/2022 at 8:12 PM, Dave Fleming said:

Somewhere I have a note of the mix, which was one part red to 4 parts white if I recalll

This sounds about right. I read somewhere,ages ago, that if applied "in the field" or even touched up, the pink was achieved with the merest hint of red added to white. Apparently the planes were difficult to see if flying near the horizon during sunrise or sunset.

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