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All the Wildcat/Martlet questions you wanted to ask


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On 01/10/2022 at 16:15, Mike said:

I'm building one of the new Eduard kits, and the decal option I'm depicting shows it carrying bomb carriers/pylons, and although it doesn't show a paint code for them, they're shown as grey in the accompanying profiles.  in fact, they use the same printed colour as the wheels.  Question is, does this represent black, grey, or a dark metallic?  It's hard to tell, and Google hasn't been much use either so far.

a bit late, as I just been sorting out the library,  looking through  the @Dana Bell  Air Pictorial 4, F4F Wildcat, on pages 56/57 there are B/W pics of the racks close up and the look metallic,  likely some kind of corrosion resistant metal.

So, if you did some some steely colour,  that looks to be about right....

 

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I notice a separate thread started by @MDriskill on Martlet II variants in January of this year. In it there was mention of the lower fuselage  fairing differences (below the undercarriage bays). Why they were different on some of the Martlet II series, I do not know but, for your information, the fairings cover fuel dump piping. The long fairing was unique to some of the Martlet II series, but the Grumman records do not show that there was any difference in the piping arrangement for these machines.

 

Maurice

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6 hours ago, mdesaxe said:

I notice a separate thread started by @MDriskill on Martlet II variants in January of this year. In it there was mention of the lower fuselage  fairing differences (below the undercarriage bays). Why they were different on some of the Martlet II series, I do not know but, for your information, the fairings cover fuel dump piping. The long fairing was unique to some of the Martlet II series, but the Grumman records do not show that there was any difference in the piping arrangement for these machines.

 

Maurice

To this I add my similar query 

Yet to have an answer about these extended lower fairings.  Perhaps linked to the RN catapult (accelerator?) fit?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dear All,

I very appreciate some help with two F4F-4 technical issue that I am not able to identify properly. This is small airscoop on the right side behind the cockpit, respectively opened canopy, plus small round opening/hole (unknown purpose for me) in close area and located slightly higher then airscoop but within one fuselage segment.

Both feature was not intruduced on F4F-3 or 3A with the exception of last production run of 100 planes that was built in spring 1943 after ceasing production of F4F-4 serie at Grumman factory.

Many pictures of F4F-4 show this both feature but not every ones, unfortunately. It seems that this both feature was introduced gradually somewhere during second production run (BN 5030 – 5262) in early Spring of 1942, i.e. not from the beginning. Several pictures show F4F-4 without airscoop as well as round hole (aproximately till Guadalcanal campaign), some only with the round hole and mostly ones with both feature.

For example – picture of white 10 of VF-3 (BN 5149) from Midway or black 41-F-8 of VF-41 (BN 4084) from April 1942 clearly show planes without any of a/m features.

On the contrary, F4F-4 black 13 of VF-6 (BN 5193) from the beginning of Guadalcanal campaign has only round opening/hole and no unit-marked F4F-4 of BN 5262 (served for testing of new system od double flaps) as last machine of second production run has already both fearures,   

Well, there is several related questions,

a/ when was airscoop officialy intruduced and based on what (some technical USN bulletin or so)?

b/ purpose of round opening/hole (perhaps first unsuccessfull attempt for better ventilation of radio and other avionic equipment in fuselage, my guess)

 

Many thanks in advance.

 

Picture of BN 5262 is on previous page

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Carrier deck crash of a F4F-3 in the Neutrality Gray scheme, starting at 21:03 minutes.

 

 

Note it is a R-1830-76 engined machine (carburettor intake on top of cowling, no side bulge on the forward fuselage) and its windscreen has the additional reinforcement brace. The aircraft is seemingly fitted with an armoured glass windscreen, but appears to have a telescopic gunsight, that does not protrude through the glass.

Aircraft number is '1', I'd guess 71-F-1, maybe?

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Been looking at the ex French contract Martlet 1 images from the FAA museum exhibit and the unusual  "FAA equivalent"  camouflage colour scheme.  I then saw this image posted on the web and something occurred to me.

 

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so this is my question, is it actually a FAA equivalent Scheme, or is it the colour scheme originally specified by the French? Taking into account it still has the modified French style tail stripes although with French roundels painted over with British markings could this be possible? As stated in the thread above Grumman's Equivalent colours were reputed very good matches to the FAA colours, but strangely not so in this case.

 

Selwyn

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Not French rudder stripes but British ones: red leading and a dark blue.  French Naval camouflage of the period was gris blue fonce, a medium-dark blue grey much like the USN's Blue Grey but maybe a little darker.  These colours are what was recommended to Grumman by British staff at the appropriate office in Washington.  The bright green is Dark Sea Green, as included in the standard chart of AM colours.  This was tried prewar in a number of experimental schemes but not adopted.  Perhaps a good use for Humbrol 30?  Paul Lucas turfed out the appropriate correspondence in an article a few years back - the above is what I remember of it.  There was quite a lot of variation in the type's early days of service. 

 

I recall staring closely at the Martlet at Yeovilton when it first went on show after restoration, and was convinced that it was in two shades of a non-olive dark green rather than the expected EDSG that this photo shows.  Other peoples' opinion welcomed - although I don't think that you can get as close to it nowadays 

 

 

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12 hours ago, Selwyn said:

As stated in the thread above Grumman's Equivalent colours were reputed very good matches to the FAA colours, but strangely not so in this case.

 

2 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

These colours are what was recommended to Grumman by British staff at the appropriate office in Washington.  The bright green is Dark Sea Green, as included in the standard chart of AM colours.  This was tried prewar in a number of experimental schemes but not adopted.  Perhaps a good use for Humbrol 30?  Paul Lucas turfed out the appropriate correspondence in an article a few years back - the above is what I remember of it.  There was quite a lot of variation in the type's early days of service. 

 

I recall staring closely at the Martlet at Yeovilton when it first went on show after restoration, and was convinced that it was in two shades of a non-olive dark green rather than the expected EDSG that this photo shows.  Other peoples' opinion welcomed - although I don't think that you can get as close to it nowadays 

was discussed here

 

Note the colors are gloss,  

50424449713_d2e74f218b_b.jpg1940 Grumman Martlet Mk1 F4F-4 G-36A Royal Navy AL246 by Chris Murkin, on Flickr

 

  

On 24/06/2019 at 20:16, expositor said:

Paul Lucas wrote an article 15+ years ago in SAM about the early Martlets.  His opinion, confirmed by those photos posted here a few years ago, was flag blue, willow green, and a light blue which may have been mixed at the factory, if memory serves.

 

The colors are in the chips in this book

516a+z1SfdL._SX369_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

which has an extensive set of 44 paint chips 

Looking at the chips, (and it wet and over cast at the mo), Blue(flag color)24 is believable, the lighter green color is more match by Sea Green 28.

 

Also, Light Blue 27 looks possible for the underside color.  

 

Anything from @mdesaxe @captnwoxof files on this perhaps? 

 

 

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In his 2003 book 'Britain Alone -June 1940 to December 1941' from Aviation Workshop Publications, Paul Lucas suggests the early Martlet Is were erroneously painted in the US interpretation of the 'Tropical Sea Scheme' of Dark Mediterranean Blue, Extra Dark Sea Green (shadow shades Light Mediterranean Blue, Dark Sea Green) and Sky, which was adopted as an official scheme in May 1938, but not used by the RAF/FAA.

 

Apparently, The only reason that it was applied to the early Martlet Mk.I`s was because the wrong Sea Scheme drawing was sent to Grumman in the US.  Grumman used US colours based on colours from the Tropical Sea Scheme.  The colours found on Yeovilton's Mk. I appeared (to Paul) to be similar to American colours Blue (Flag Colour) 24, Sea Green 28 and Light Blue 27.

 

See the book in question and 

 

Edited by detail is everything
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11 hours ago, detail is everything said:

Apparently, The only reason that it was applied to the early Martlet Mk.I`s was because the wrong Sea Scheme drawing was sent to Grumman in the US.  Grumman used US colours based on colours from the Tropical Sea Scheme.

Colour names given in the Grumman camouflage diagram for the G-36A are Extra Dark Sea Grey, Light Sea Green, and Sky Blue. They are evidently British names and must have come from some RN source, but the combination is odd and, to my knowledge, does not even match the Tropical Sea Scheme. Whatever actual colours Grumman used, the end result was unusual.

Very early Martlets (AX824-829) seem to have been repainted on arrival in Britain. In this photo of AX828 I think I can even see some trace of the previous wavy demarcation between the Sky Blue undersides and the upper camouflage colours on the lower fuselage.

Ray_Wagner_Collection_Photo_(15466106604

SDASM Archives, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Whereas NX-G1 appeared with the French blue-white-red tricolour on the rudder, the (reversed) red-white-blue tricolour was applied from NX-G2 up to at least NX-G8 (documented in photos at Grumman).

The correct square fin flash was later applied by Grumman, but possibly some of the Mk. Is were delivered with no fin flash and this was applied in Britain with British colours. At least, this is my own interpretation of some grey-tone variations between the (duller) fin flash and the (brighter) roundel. Perhaps this occurred on the early machines, where the coloured rudder had to be refinished in any case.

The narrow yellow ring was typical of all G-36A and G-36B aircraft, and the first Mk. IV (FN100) also had it.

Edited by ClaudioN
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3 hours ago, ClaudioN said:

Very early Martlets (AX824-829) seem to have been repainted on arrival in Britain.

Paul Lucas says the following in his book.... 'Photographs suggest that the Tropical Sea Scheme was applied to Martlet Is at least as far as BJ513'... 'The first Martlet Is to enter service did so with No. 804 NAS in September 1940.  Here the Tropical Sea Scheme upper surfaces did not find favour and they seem to have been overpainted with the Temperate Sea Scheme.  However, it is thought 802 NAS, the second FAA unit to receive the Martlet I in November 1940, did for a time at least fly their aircraft in the Tropical Sea Scheme.

 

Looking at AX828 above, it is interesting to note that when 804 repainted their aircraft, they had the correct low demarcation line between upper and lower camouflage colours and Fighter Command identification markings.  Some had some or all the cowling panels left in the original US colours 

 

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I've often wondered why the AX series Martlet Is had such an unusually high demarcation line. Contemporary imported Brewster Buffalos had the low demarcation line as did the original Tropical Sea Schemed Martlets, I wonder if this is Grumman's next attempt at getting the Temperate Sea Scheme right.  Perhaps they were conflating the TSS with the earlier S1E scheme or perhaps it was because of the unusually high position of the Martlet wing?

 

Interestingly, when Grumman originally delivered the 10 fixed wing Martlet IIs (AM954 to AM963 later redesignated as Martlet IIIs), these also had a high demarcation line, though this seems lower by the time they ended up on HMS Audacity. 

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Martlet 1 in the BJxxx range seem to have been repainted in the UK in stages.  I have a series of photographs showing BJ561, BJ562, BJ566 and possibly one other with 804 Squadron at Hatston taken in the autumn of 1940/spring of 1941. One of these Martlets, in original wavy camouflage demarcation finish,  carries the name "Nevada Nemesis" on the cowl and has a spade shaped motif (possibly with  a sceptre) behind the canopy. They were definitely flown in the original US applied camouflage for a while. In the photos I have, Sky rear fuselage bands, black  undersurfaces to the port wing, and rectangular fin flash have been added to the original camouflage. Squadron codes S7x are also carried, painted in what clearly is a washable distemper. On two aircraft these codes have almost been scrubbed out. These codes were painted over the original BJ56x serials, which were larger and carried  lower on the fuselage than evident in the photo posted above. All of them carry a yellow concentric to the roundel under the port wing. and all have coloured wheel covers outlined in white.

 

Another photograph in this collection shows 3 Martlets in flight with what appears to be the original wavy demarcation camouflage roughly levelled off on two of them  by the addition of camouflage to the original pattern to extend the demarcation to a low straight line (ie not low demarcation TSS). Finally, the original scheme may have been overpainted in TSS and single code letters applied. I have a much better print of the photograph posted above of BJ562:A, BJ561 (previous S7x code still visible) and BJ566. If these are in TSS (with original camouflage to the cowlings of BJ566 and BJ561), then the S7x codes were also reapplied after they were repainted, before the squadron moved to single letter identification. 

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17 hours ago, detail is everything said:

it is interesting to note that when 804 repainted their aircraft, they had the correct low demarcation line between upper and lower camouflage colours and Fighter Command identification markings.  Some had some or all the cowling panels left in the original US colours 

 

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I am always concerned with photograph dates, that may add a lot to what we can learn. According to the caption in Osprey "Wildcat aces of WW II", this photo was released in September 1941. If this is correct, what we see is probably a line-up of aircraft from No. 881 Squadron, that was formed around that time. Initially intended for Ark Royal, it kept Martlet Mk. Is while working up and converted to Mk. II for service in Illustrious.

The code S7L on the second Martlet in the line is indicative of previous service with No. 804 Sqn. I believe what we see are just traces of the obliterated, or overpainted code.

The Fighter Command style markings are indeed peculiar of No. 804 Sqn. that, for a time was the resident shore-based station at RNAS Hatston. However, 804 converted to Sea Hurricanes (some of them also marked 'S7x') around March 1941.

For a photo of a Martlet of 804 Sqn. in the original Grumman camouflage, Aeromilitaria no. 3/83 shows 'S7B' after a landing mishap, its nose in the mud at Skeabrae, November 1940.

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Initially the RAF had no air base on Orkney, so fighter defence was in the hands of the FAA.  The RAF eventually had Skaebrae built and moved in, but until then a Hatston-based FAA fighter unit operated under Fighter Command operational control.  Hence, presumably, the distinctive Sky band and spinner with yellow leading edges.  This was also seen on 881 Sq's Sea Hurricanes up until returning to the UK after Operation Pedestal.

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10 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

Hence, presumably, the distinctive Sky band and spinner with yellow leading edges.  This was also seen on 881 Sq's Sea Hurricanes up until returning to the UK after Operation Pedestal.

The Sky band was worn by several RN aircraft, probably in units that remained shore-based for some length of time. Yellow leading edges were introduced by the RAF with the change from Temperate Land Scheme to Day Fighter Scheme camouflage, but seemingly the FAA did not follow, possibly except a few instances. 880 Sqn. (not 881) had the Sky band, but wore yellow wing leading edges only as part of the special identification markings for Pedestal. I cannot remember any photo of a Martlet carrying them.

Edited by ClaudioN
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When the French aircraft were taken over by the British Purchasing Commission, Grumman refinished the aircraft from the French overall grey finish into a colour scheme apparently provided by the Royal Navy's Aeronautics Branch representative, Lt. J. H. Millar, RNVR.  This was a disruptive scheme of Extra Dark Sea Grey and Light Sea Green on the upper surfaces with Duck Egg Blue under surfaces.  Roundels were 40" A Type above and below the wings, 30" A1 Type on the fuselage side with 6" Yellow surrounds, and the whole rudder striped like the French machines, but with Red leading.  All this comes from the camouflage diagram 23350-3 in Grumman's archives for Contract F-292. The colors applied to the first ten machines were high gloss.  While awaiting delivery these aircraft carried the same special US civil registrations applied in white to the upper starboard wing, and the number alone applied in white on each side of the fin.  Propellors also acquired standard USN Blue-Yellow-Red tips.

 

To be blunt, the colours suggested by Paul Lucas seem to have been based on his interpretation of the several colour photographs of these gloss-finished machines and they are not born out by the colours revealed by the restorers at the FAA Museum, which match the colours specified in the Grumman diagram. As I recall, he first put forward the Flag Blue 24, Sea Green 28, Light Blue 27 theory in an article in SAM or SAMI, after which I wrote to Neil Robinson (then the  editor) and pointed out there was no evidence for this idea and that the Grumman archival material existed (and sent him a copy) but it was ignored. It seems Mr. Lucas has simply carried over that article theory to his book.

 

I am curious - the Martlet exists in a publicly-funded museum, so has anyone thought of asking Yeovilton what colours were used?

 

As a PS - Flag Blue is the official colour for the blue component of the United States flag and is nothing like the shade visible on the Martlet at Yeovilton. It is worth noting that the Grumman colour photographs of the first British Martlets almost certainly were Kodachrome images - and Kodachrome is notorious for emphasising blues.

 

Maurice

Edited by mdesaxe
Kodachrome comment
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6 hours ago, Selwyn said:

Guys you might find this interesting?

 

American fighters for the RAF 1941

 

Selwyn

Well that Martlet is has had a respray into British colours by a skilled painter - note the freehand tight soft edge around the roundels and fin flash!

Interesting to see the hand cranked start as well 🙂

 

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Just picked up the  AZ Martlet 1 kit, looks quite nice, but the Decal sheet looks to be an absolute dogs breakfast.  It would  have you modelling BJ 561  S7L with grey codes on one side and red on the other, not that it matters as the decal sheet presents the "Grey" S7L side in white decals anyway!

 

The other two schemes  for 802 and 804  NAS show them having white code letters "Q" and "A" respectively in white, again not sure about this, should surely be in grey? can anyone confirm as i am finding online profiles in both colours. 

 

Selwyn

 

 

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'Q' is, I assume, one of the Martlet Mk. Is of 802 Sqn. that were photographed while flying alongside a Pan Am Boeing Clipper by that plane captain. You can find the photo on page 78 of "Wildcat Aces of World War 2" (Osprey)

Sub. Lt. Eric Brown in 'R' led the trio flying inverted. The other two, flying upright, were Sub. Lt. Graham Fletcher in 'K' to starboard and Sub. Lt. Bertie Williams in 'Q' to port. Codes appear indeed to be white. 

Both 'S7L' and 'A' are suspect for some reason, IMHO.

 

Claudio

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been reluctant to chime in as I have no expertise, but as I have been in a prior exchange on these color questions that has been ignored, I will now.

Maurice, a simple question; what gloss colors match or are closest to those on the upper surfaces of that plane?  The only camou  color on it is the underside blue.  The very dark blue on the upper surface, your words, doesn't look anything like Flag blue gloss?  Really?  Then what gloss color is it if it isn't the blue markings color?  Occam's razor might suggest a simple explanation.  As for the green, it can't t be 28 as you stated, again as it's a gloss markings color.  Yes, Grumman had the correct factory scheme diagrams, but they obviously had not yet rec'd the correct paint.  As I have previously mentioned, every US manufacturer had a contract provision with the BPC that US construction would not be held up by paint color requirements despite the fact that at that time they were paying customers, and in the absence of the expected colors they,

Grumman, slapped on colors they had for USN Wildcat production.  Said colors were the Flag/Insignia Blue, and Willow Green gloss markings colors.  As planes pre-assigned for USS Ranger were on the line with the G-36's, the use of the gloss green, and blue, is obvious as they had plenty in the absence of the Du Pont camouflage paints for the first ten or so of those planes built.  Why did they not just paint them the light grey they had for what would have been the French planes?   One of many questions that remain unanswered.  The grey would have have made more sense.

 

Jim

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A very humble doubt:

14 hours ago, expositor said:

Said colors were the Flag/Insignia Blue, and Willow Green gloss markings colors.

Willow Green appears much brighter in contemporary photos.

 

14 hours ago, expositor said:

As I have previously mentioned, every US manufacturer had a contract provision with the BPC that US construction would not be held up by paint color requirements despite the fact that at that time they were paying customers, and in the absence of the expected colors they, Grumman, slapped on colors they had for USN Wildcat production.

This might be a reasonable explanation, in alternative to the suggested Tropical Sea Scheme that I found totally unconvincing, with 'Light Sea Green' being rather unusual.

 

The combination proposed by Paul Lucas, I seem to recall, was (US pre-war reference number) 24 Flag Blue, 28 Sea Green and 27 Light Blue. We'd at least have a Sea Green there, although Flag Blue is still debatable. I was unable to find another single colour close to what we see, short of considering some mix.

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I must start by warning readers and apologising in advance to those who might be offended by the length of what  follows.

 

First: in response to Expositor, it was Paul Lucas who first propounded those colours and all I have ever said is that I think he was wrong and his interpretation was based on false assumptions.

 

The fundamental issue with all the efforts to explain the finish of the very first Martlets while in Grumman’s hands is that they are based entirely on interpretation of colour photographs taken over 80 years ago and matching the shades in them to the limited palette used in 1940 by the United States Army and Navy for their aircraft. There are several problems with this:

 

1.       There are two sets (for want of a better word) of images, one air-to-air and one on the ground. Colours appear different under various light conditions and that is very obvious when looking at the in-flight and on-the-ground images side by side.

2.       Colour photographs themselves do not accurately capture real life. Kodachrome, for example, was deliberately designed to produce brilliant colours—think Simon & Garfunkel. It was used extensively during World War II. One can look, for example, at a colour photograph of a freshly-painted carrier island, compare the hues visible to the known paints used, and instantly notice the colours in the photograph do not match the Navy’s paint colours.

3.       One cannot examine reproductions of these photographs using a computer monitor—each monitor presents colour differently, usually quite significantly so. Even if the scan of the original was completely accurate (a huge assumption) looking at the scan on different monitors will produce different results. I hate to say this but I very much doubt that any of those putting forward these interpretations do so from studying the original prints.

4.       Paint manufacturers at the time had long had much bigger commercial catalogues of aviation-specific paints than just those in the palettes of the Army and Navy. If people really want to find paint colours that were already then available, why are they assuming the Grumman could only use military colours and  limiting themselves to such a relatively small palette? Furthermore, limiting options exclusively to all the palettes available at the time assumes that neither Grumman nor Dupont (its principal paint supplier) nor any other manufacturer was capable of producing new colours quickly, which is demonstrably mistaken.

 

Some background: in 1998 I started a research project examining American aircraft in Fleet Air Arm service. This concentrated primarily on the changes made to make them fit British requirements. Along the way, I also examined camouflage and colours but this was not my main focus. I completed essentially all the research by 2003 and started to put together my analysis.

 

At this point, real life interfered—my work took me from the United States, where I then was based, to Japan, Germany, and eventually to France, where I ended up moving from a town somewhat outside Paris to Caumont, which is close to Avignon. This research was largely during what one might roughly term the pre-digital era, so almost the material I assembled took the form of paper copies or photographic prints. Every time I moved, it accompanied me in boxes. I don’t think I have lost any of it but most of  the boxes are stored and not immediately accessible. As you can imagine, the small proportion of material that was in digital form also has been moved and stored on various drives as I have changed out or replaced computers, so it can be less than readily immediately accessible.

 

The two main repositories I explored were the Grumman archive at Bethpage on Long Island and the Blackburn archive at Brough. I also searched for pertinent archival material in the British and American national archives, the Fleet Air Arm Museum, and the National Air & Space Museum. The archivists at Grumman and Blackburn were astonishingly cooperative and did everything they could to help me find all the relevant materials. Grumman provided me with 8x10 prints (not photocopies) of virtually all the pertinent photographs in their collection, along with photocopies of correspondence with the British Purchasing Commission (BPC), specifications, camouflage patterns, and some contract information. At Blackburn I had to be somewhat selective as there were literally thousands of specifications, engineering drawings, and photographs of the modifications made. Fortunately, Blackburn also had created contemporary chronological tabulations of the modifications for several of the types, which proved most useful in sorting out this mass of material.

 

Turning to the specifics of the Martlet I, let me throw out a few caveats. It is twenty years since I’ve done any serious work on this topic—and during that time I’ve had other things taking priority: my job (which involved moving rather too frequently), sustaining a marriage despite this (we celebrate our 35th anniversary today), raising two amazing daughters—so I may not be able to access all the primary documents I need immediately. Nevertheless, in my opinion on the basis of the fairly substantial documentation, the evidence from the FAA Museum restoration, and the colour photographs (always potentially the least reliable as I noted above), some things are quite clear:

 

1.       The first few machines from the French contract were finished to match a French specification of overall light grey with Aeronavale roundels and tricolour striping on the rudder and elevators.

2.       BPC required several significant structural modifications: reversal of throttle operation, re-arrangement of the armament (removal of the fuselage synchronized guns and equipment, replacement of the four to six French 7.62mm machines guns with four 0.05-inch guns in the wings), British instruments in place of French metric instruments. Further changes by Blackburn were made after the aircraft arrived in the UK (and the glossy aircraft were repainted).

3.       BPC gave Grumman specific instructions for repainting the ex-French aircraft. These instructions accompanied the correspondence covering the instructions for the other changes and are borne out by what the restoration team uncovered when restoring AL246.

4.       There are two sets of colour photographs of the very first Martlet I aircraft, one set air-to-air and one set on the ground. All seem to have been shot using Kodachrome film which is known to have a tendency towards producing images with a “blue shift”. The prints I have from Grumman of the set on the ground very clearly show a distinction between the definite blue of the “rondels” on the wings and the darker of the two shades (blue-grey?) on the wings (the other shade most certainly tends towards green). There is a quite accurate reproduction of one of these on-the-ground images a little further up this thread in a post by @Selwyn on November 14.

5.       Grumman was a very conscientious company. Meeting its customer’s colour specification demands was pretty much the least of its problems in completing this contract, illustrated by the fact that it switched almost instantly from gloss finishes to ultra-flat finishes when BPC so instructed. Grumman was under no great time pressure on paint issues. Dupont (the paint supplier) too was equally professional. Furthermore, gloss or flat finishes for the same colours are relatively quite simple for a manufacturer to produce by varying the carrier–it’s the pigment set that established the colour.

6.       From the Grumman records, Dupont produced and delivered the later Dark Sea Grey/Dark Slate Grey/Sky paints within a matter of weeks after being sent the order when BPC so instructed. There is no good reason to think that Grumman would have “slapped on colors” that were available for the earlier glossy machines, especially as the other modifications BPC was requesting were more time consuming to complete than obtaining paints complying with the original British specifications.

 

As I stated earlier, my interest is not in the colours used on these American aircraft in Fleet Air Arm service but the modifications the British required. However, all the primary source documentation—and the FAA Museum restoration—support my contention that Grumman followed the instructions received from BPC for painting the G-36A aircraft from the ex-French contract. Even the colour photographs favoured by those who would affirm some other scheme do not support such an outcome but tend to confirm Grumman’s compliance.

 

Maurice

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