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Spitfires in natural metal finish


Whofan
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Having just finished an OOB spitfire Mk.22 (air fix, 1/72) in hi speed silver, I wondered 

 

1) were spitfires used in any theatre during the war unpainted i.e. natural metal finish ?

 

2) is high speed silver a paint, or another way of saying unpainted metal?

 

Thanks for your expertise, chaps.

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Whofan said:

2) is high speed silver a paint, or another way of saying unpainted metal?

High Speed Silver is a paint, definitely not natural metal finish.

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Wow! Thanks again both for the help.

 

Some spitfires flew unpainted during the war, High Speed Silver is definitely a paint.

 

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The RAAF flew with unpainted Spitfires, for a time.

Similarly, at least two RAF units operating in Australia during WWII - 548 and 549 Squadrons - also flew Spitfires in natural metal finishes.

 

http://www.adf-gallery.com.au/_data/i/gallery3/var/albums/SPITFIRE/Spitfire-A58-319/Dad_in_Oz-me.jpg

and

http://www.adf-gallery.com.au/_data/i/gallery3/var/albums/SPITFIRE/Spitfire-A58-319/Spifire_Mk_VIII_A58_319_TS_O-me.jpg

and

16252206_1543574715657470_33857633990654

and

02.jpg

and

Spitfire-LFVIII-RAAF-549Sqn-ZFZ-FL-David

and

Sample_Image_14_fs.jpg

Sample_Image_15_fs.jpg

 

 

There's an interesting study in bureaucracy, regarding 548/549 Squadrons' adoption of natural metal finishes (quoted from the instructions for CMR's Spitfire VIII kit, prepared by Peter Malone):

"Two new RAF squadrons, Nos 548 and 549, were formed at the end of 1943, with RAF pilots and RAAF ground crew. In April 1944 they began to receive their new aircraft from each of the three aircraft depots. They were delivered camouflaged, mostly in the Foliage Green over Sky Blue scheme. At the end of April the RAAF issued a new instruction stating that camouflage on day fighter aircraft was to be removed to bring them into line with P-40Ns being received from the US and the anticipated Mustangs. In the event this order was subsequently modified at the request of commanders in the north to allow camouflage to be retained for operational aircraft. However the point does not seem to have been understood by the RAAF’s Eastern Area Command who ordered that all of 548 and 549’s Spitfires were to be stripped of paint shortly before the squadron moved north. This extremely unpopular order had to be carried out by the few remaining ground staff and the pilots. The two squadrons eventually proceeded north to Darwin in June. There, they were amazed to be told by the North Western Area Headquarters that their aircraft would have to be camouflaged before the squadrons would be considered operational! The repainting was done over a period of time and it was not accomplished before the end of the year."

 

If I recall correctly, a number of 548/549 squadron members were briefly hospitalised, due to the effects of paint stripper during the great stripping exercise at Amberley!

 

 

 

Edited by Blimpyboy
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Pedantic mode on: High Speed Silver was not a paint, it was a finish that involved a certain process to guarantee the adhesion of the paint at the higher speed that postwar jets could achieve. The name of the paint used for the final coat was Glossy Aluminum. 

It is extremely unlikely that any Spitfire was ever finished in High Speed Silver as this was introduced in 1949, Spitfires would have used the previous Aluminum paints to the required tecnichal specifications.

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1 hour ago, Giorgio N said:

Pedantic mode on: High Speed Silver was not a paint, it was a finish that involved a certain process to guarantee the adhesion of the paint at the higher speed that postwar jets could achieve. The name of the paint used for the final coat was Glossy Aluminum. 

It is extremely unlikely that any Spitfire was ever finished in High Speed Silver as this was introduced in 1949, Spitfires would have used the previous Aluminum paints to the required tecnichal specifications.

No, it's not a pedantic point at all, very helpful. I was asked by a friend after he saw my 603 squadron Mk.22 post war so it in silver ( I used the wrong paint)  were spits ever flown in the war without camouflage, and that part of the question has been explained.

 

My query  has now been answered fully by your explanation .

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2 hours ago, Giorgio N said:

It is extremely unlikely that any Spitfire was ever finished in High Speed Silver as this was introduced in 1949

However, Spitfires were being repainted in Aluminium / HSS much later than 1949

"On December 18th, 1952 AMO A.685/52 came into force. It stated that all PR aircraft must be painted with High Speed Silver overall. Flt Lt Powles' "Tour" in the Far East was complete a few days before Macmillan pictured the two camouflaged Spitfires at RAF Kai Tak. So Powles never flew a silver coloured PS852 or PS854".

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3 hours ago, Work In Progress said:

However, Spitfires were being repainted in Aluminium / HSS much later than 1949

"On December 18th, 1952 AMO A.685/52 came into force. It stated that all PR aircraft must be painted with High Speed Silver overall. Flt Lt Powles' "Tour" in the Far East was complete a few days before Macmillan pictured the two camouflaged Spitfires at RAF Kai Tak. So Powles never flew a silver coloured PS852 or PS854".

 

But was the complete High Speed Silver finish applied to these Spitfires? This required specific primers that may or may not have been appropriate for the materials used on the Spit.

Not that this would make any difference from a modeller's point of view of course

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15 minutes ago, Giorgio N said:

But was the complete High Speed Silver finish applied to these Spitfires? This required specific primers that may or may not have been appropriate for the materials used on the Spit.

Not that this would make any difference from a modeller's point of view of course

 

That is an excellent question. I was more interested in the PRU Blue schemes and didn't take the time to find out more about the "silver" paint. PS852 is visible in a colour film (someone just posted a link here a couple of weeks ago). That may reveal some further details to trained eye.

 

Cheers,

Antti

 

 

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Another pair of NMF Spitfires can be found here

 

https://saafww2photographs.yolasite.com/peter-during.php

 

Scroll down to pic 34. Normally I would link directly, but the photograph owner has specifically requested that this is not done. Pictures 43 and 68 also show these aircraft, and one might be in the background in Pic29. 

 

9 Sq SAAF High Altitude Flight - one Spitfire has no guns, the other no radio. MH545 seems to be the one closest to the camera from the information I have, but I stand to be corrected as a Spitfire expert I ain't!

 

Apologies if this has been posted before and is therefore old news

 

SD

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How about Seafires? 

 

LtCdr Baldwin had his 807 NAS Seafire LIII NN300 D*5Ø in polished aluminium finish.   With theatre stripes in black.

 

I understand that the CO of 24th NFW had his Seafire stripped of paint just before VJ Day and two other Seafires were painted Aluminium (I would need to check references).  

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Thanks everyone who's given some time to let me know about a minor point in real life aviation, but turned out to be fascinating.

 

I've distilled as best I can the information everyone has given and passed it on to my friend in Canada who first asked the question - were spitfires in natural metal finish during the war?

 

And oof course retained it for myself for the future !

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On 11/9/2022 at 7:33 AM, Jure Miljevic said:

Hello,

there was at least one another operational NM/silver Spitfire IX in Italy:

spacer.png

There is a photo of this aircraft in IWM collection, but I could not find it right now. Will post the link or the photo later. Cheers

Jure

 

Would love to see this picture or get additional info.  The Tamiya 32nd IX is in the queue and I'm looking for an odd-ball scheme.  Just find the green/grey standard scheme to be a bit boring (and overdone).

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Hello, 11bravo

I browsed through IWM collection and I could not find the photo in question. I probably saw it somewhere else. If it helps: the photo was taken in the south of France in summer/autumn 1944 and it shows busy airfield with plenty of B-24s all over the place and the single Spitfire in the middle of them. Due to a distance her serial is not discernable, but letters HN-S are clearly visible. Cheers

Jure

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Pre-war paints were cellulose lacquers, but these were generally replaced by a different solvent more suitable for metal surfaces before the start of WW2.  I don't know whether this was true for Aluminium as there may have been a difference for the metallic pigmants, though I suspect not.

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The USAAF's 7th Photo-Reconnaissance Group also used some NMF ships - I think some were operational, but someone out there might know for sure that they were/weren't all unit trainers and/or runabouts.

 

MB946

Spitfire-PRXIT-USAAF-7PG7PS-MB946-landin

 

PA842

Profile: http://www.airwar.ru/image/idop/spyww2/spitpr11/spitpr11-c2.jpg

and

usafspitfire_05.jpg

 

PA892

8033938131_65ff12aebb_b.jpg

89dad8323cb33571ee0dba074aa165af--disney

 

 

AR404 (a war weary ship, used as a runabout - this one has a British roundel on the wing)

media-387642.jpg

usafspitfire_10.jpg

 

 

Edited by Blimpyboy
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