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WW2 US Colours on British Aircraft


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I'm just about to stock up on paints, and I have a question about US lend-lease aircraft used by the UK during WW2.

As I understand it, some US built aircraft coming out of the factories used existing US approximations of the UK colours. Does anyone have a list of these colours that were used?

Cheers,

Nick

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I think you probably mean the ANA Standards but FWIW these are the Du Pont paints used to match US equivalent colours prior to the Joint Committee standardisation and the ANA Standards:-

63-038 Zinc Chromate Primer

71-001 White

71-006 Black

71-007 Dull Red

71-010 Yellow

71-012 Dull Blue

71-013 Dark Green

71-021 Sky Type S. Gray

71-035 Dark Earth

71-036 Cockpit Light Green

71-047 Light Green

71-048 Light Earth

71-052 Deep Sky

71-061 Sky Blue

71-062 Azure Blue

71-063 Light Mediterranean Blue

71-064 Dark Mediterranean Blue

71-065 Deep Sky Blue

71-066 PRU Blue

71-067 Dark Sea Green

71-068 Ocean Gray

71-069 Middle Stone

71-19323 Dark Slate Gray

71-19324 Extra Dark Sea Gray

Attached is a scan of the Du Pont 71 Series colour card for MAP (Ministry of Aircraft Production) equivalent paints courtesy of John Melson. Note the appearance of 71-021 (also confirmed by a paint swatch) and the absence of any colour approximating 'Sky Grey'. Also the two colours 'Deep Sky' and 'Deep Sky Blue' and the bright appearance of the 'Dull Blue'. Before its actual appearance was identified some people believed that Du Pont 71-021 was matched to AM Sky Grey in error - I think the colour card speaks for itself. You may also be interested in my blog 'American Aircraft for the RAF' - here is the link:-

http://amair4raf.blogspot.com/

Not much on there at the moment but I have a lot more to add. Simplistically the main ANA colours used on British aircraft were ANA 613 Non-specular Olive Drab (FS 34087) used instead of AM Dark Green, ANA 603 Non-specular Sea Gray (FS 36118) used instead of AM Ocean Grey and ANA 602 Non-specular Light Gray (FS 36440) used instead of AM Medium Sea Grey. From January 1944 ANA 602 was eliminated and replaced by ANA 621 Non-specular dark gull gray (FS 36231).

DUPONT.jpg

Edited by Nick Millman
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Thanks Nick that's great :)

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Thanks Nick that's great :)

Hello Nick,

how close are the Dupont 71 srs colours to the ANA colours ? I have the chips from the Official Monogram US Navy and Marine Corps Aircraft color guide Vol2. How usefull are this ANA chips for the colours of early Lend Lease aircraft?

71-021 and ANA610 are not the same colour. Also interesting for me is how close are 71-013 Dark Green to ANA612 Medium Green, because the Medium Green 42 Chip in the Archer Book about USAAF colours is also different to the ANA Chip. It is only a Idea from me that ANA612 is influenced from 71-013.

Many Thanks

Claus

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Hi Claus

The colours are generally different. The ANA rationalised the Standards from a US/British requirement perspective in 1943 whilst the Du Pont paints represented commercial matches to the (then current) MAP Standards in 1941/42. The Standards were effectively the official requirement whilst the paint manufacturer colour cards provided the commercial equivalent paint to be provided at that time. This has not been well understood and colour standards/requirements and actual paints have sometimes been confused together. If you have the generic colour standard you still need the paint samples or swatches matched to that standard by the different manufacturers in order to appreciate the differences (if any). Thus the BAC requirement was for Sky via the MAP Standard whilst the supplied equivalent (in most but not all cases) was Du Pont 71-021 - or paints matched to 71-021 - which were not exactly the same. The ANA Standard for Sky (ANA 610) was exactly similar to the MAP Standard but the paint manufacturers, via the aircraft manufacturers, each had their own commercial formulae (pigment mixes, tinting, binder, additives) to provide an equivalent to the Standard. The paint had to be close enough to the Standard to pass acceptance but it would be more correct to think in terms of an acceptable range of colour within the same hue (also allowing for batch and mix differences, application differences, etc.) rather than a single hard and fast colour. Some equivalent matches were better than others. But this should not be viewed as meaning that anything goes. If the service user required Red, say, then the supplier was not expected to provide Blue (to use an extreme example).

One of the most prevalent issues in research (together with interpreting colour from b/w photos!) is for paint colour to be identified from extant aircraft artifacts and then presumed to be a separate colour because it does not appear to immediately match a known Standard. This does not take into account colour equivalent paint matching and batch variation to begin with, followed by the age, environment and handling related changes in the 60+ year old paint composition and surface appearance - which are inevitable. Thus, 60 years after the war, "new" paint colours are suddenly being discovered and there is then an imperative to hypothesise why they are different from the Standards known for decades. The clue lies in the fact that these "new" colours were never mentioned by observers or recorders in contemporaneous or post-war documents and have only surfaced recently. This has more to do with the physical and chemical realities of paint rather than any shortcomings in the way the early accounts were compiled. Expert paint specialists like Kiroff (and others) have explained at length the difficulties in trying to assess the contemporary appearance of paint from extant paint samples and the margin of error involved but the extant samples are still too often interpreted literally, with no allowance for the colour shift and/or degradation inevitable with their age.

Sorry for a rather long winded non-answer! If you keep an eye on my blog I will be gradually posting rendered chips of the colours (and comparisons) with the relevant Munsell, FS, sRGB and other values, beginning with the export P-40E. In addition we are preparing some guides to the colours with the best hobby paint mixes. Whilst the colour Standards requirements are easy enough to find, the manufacturer paint swatches and colour cards are much more elusive.

Regards

Nick

Edited by Nick Millman
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Hi Claus

The colours are generally different. The ANA rationalised the Standards from a US/British requirement perspective in 1943 whilst the Du Pont paints represented commercial matches to the (then current) MAP Standards in 1941/42. The Standards were effectively the official requirement whilst the paint manufacturer colour cards provided the commercial equivalent paint to be provided at that time. This has not been well understood and colour standards/requirements and actual paints have sometimes been confused together. If you have the generic colour standard you still need the paint samples or swatches matched to that standard by the different manufacturers in order to appreciate the differences (if any). Thus the BAC requirement was for Sky via the MAP Standard whilst the supplied equivalent (in most but not all cases) was Du Pont 71-021 - or paints matched to 71-021 - which were not exactly the same. The ANA Standard for Sky (ANA 610) was exactly similar to the MAP Standard but the paint manufacturers, via the aircraft manufacturers, each had their own commercial formulae (pigment mixes, tinting, binder, additives) to provide an equivalent to the Standard. The paint had to be close enough to the Standard to pass acceptance but it would be more correct to think in terms of an acceptable range of colour within the same hue (also allowing for batch and mix differences, application differences, etc.) rather than a single hard and fast colour. Some equivalent matches were better than others. But this should not be viewed as meaning that anything goes. If the service user required Red, say, then the supplier was not expected to provide Blue (to use an extreme example).

One of the most prevalent issues in research (together with interpreting colour from b/w photos!) is for paint colour to be identified from extant aircraft artifacts and then presumed to be a separate colour because it does not appear to immediately match a known Standard. This does not take into account colour equivalent paint matching and batch variation to begin with, followed by the age, environment and handling related changes in the 60+ year old paint composition and surface appearance - which are inevitable. Thus, 60 years after the war, "new" paint colours are suddenly being discovered and there is then an imperative to hypothesise why they are different from the Standards known for decades. The clue lies in the fact that these "new" colours were never mentioned by observers or recorders in contemporaneous or post-war documents and have only surfaced recently. This has more to do with the physical and chemical realities of paint rather than any shortcomings in the way the early accounts were compiled. Expert paint specialists like Kiroff (and others) have explained at length the difficulties in trying to assess the contemporary appearance of paint from extant paint samples and the margin of error involved but the extant samples are still too often interpreted literally, with no allowance for the colour shift and/or degradation inevitable with their age.

Sorry for a rather long winded non-answer! If you keep an eye on my blog I will be gradually posting rendered chips of the colours (and comparisons) with the relevant Munsell, FS, sRGB and other values, beginning with the export P-40E. In addition we are preparing some guides to the colours with the best hobby paint mixes. Whilst the colour Standards requirements are easy enough to find, the manufacturer paint swatches and colour cards are much more elusive.

Regards

Nick

Hello Nick,

thank you very much for that long posting. I will always keep an eye, or two, on your bloq's. They are always very informative for me.

Claus

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