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English Roundel 'Dull Red'


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Time to build the clunky old 1/24 Hurricane, but old Airfix being old Airfix the painting instructions are terrible and there is no decal for the red part of the fin flash. Does anyone know of a good paint colour equivalent, either in Humbrol or better still Tamiya? I assume I'll never get an exact match for the decals and will have to paint the red bits of those too so it would be nice to use something reasonably accurate.

Also, would the Red spinner likely be a similar dull red or something a little brighter?

airfix_3503_title.jpg

Edited by 487 Squadron
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Time to build the clunky old 1/24 Hurricane, but old Airfix being old Airfix the painting instructions are terrible and there is no decal for the red part of the fin flash. Does anyone know of a good paint colour equivalent, either in Humbrol or better still Tamiya? I assume I'll never get an exact match for the decals and will have to paint the red bits of those too so it would be nice to use something reasonably accurate.

Also, would the Red spinner likely be a similar dull red or something a little brighter?

airfix_3503_title.jpg

The only really satisfactory match for British dull roundel red that I am aware of is White Ensign Colourcoat ACRN22 RAF/FAA Red (matt). That's an enamel.

Nick

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Yes I'll go with that, WEM Colourcoats ACRN22 RAF/FAA Red.Not sure about the spinner though.

Cheers

Den

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Tamiya Red Brown is very close to Dull Ident Red (which isn't red at all, it's brown).

J

HI

I can't find the relevant book at the moment but if the plane A-LK is a Gloster built plane (which I think it is) then they carried on using bright blue and bright red on the production line well into 1940.

The reason for the overlarge fuselage roundel is it would have been factory painted with a 35" type, and the yellow ring added in may 1940, in this case bringing it up to 49".

I think think was also the time that fin stripes were also introduced. (so the red does not actaully have to match the roundels!)

And, yes, the spinner is red, there are a good pics of this plane in "Hurricane at war" and the spinner is not black, and this a pretty famous plane, 87 was in France in early 1940, and Sq Ldr Ian Gleed flew in France, all through the Bob and eventaully it was painted black and used as a nightfighter (with 6 stub exhaust) also photo documented.

Black spinners became standard in the BoB but there are noted execptions, 56 Sq has light coloured spinners, as did 17Sq, and 85 sq had flight coloured spinners in june 1940 as well. Like this

image001.jpg

and this, note striped spinner , also added fin stripes and thin yellow ring to roundel, and high cowling sky line, result of in field repainting

image004.jpg

DickieLee.jpg

a few more pics here http://homepages.tesco.net/~mrogers/CBFS/story-pg6.html

including pics of the 85 sq scheme in the Airfix kit

There is no serial number in the photos, but that because serials were overpainted in France for security. It also means the sky undersidces would likely have been a in field repaint, as these were introduced in june 1940.

The escape hatch from A-LK (it's NOT an access hatch) from this plane is in the RAF musuem at Hendon, still with the cat emblem.

Finally, general Hurricane points, flaps are almost always up on the ground, and the area just under the cockpit canopy is plywood covered in fabric and therefore should not show scuffing back to bare metal.... (both commonly seen on models)

HTH

T

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There's all kind of discussion on when the RAF went to the dull colors for the roundels. Edgar Brooks says it was mid-1942. I'm not an expert, so I can't say. But I can say that I've held my FS595b fan deck next to several later war RAF roundels, both original and quality museum repaints (like Duxford's Lanc), and FS 30109 (which is brown) is a dead ringer for the dull ident red color. Tamiya Red Brown is very close to that.

J

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There's all kind of discussion on when the RAF went to the dull colors for the roundels. Edgar Brooks says it was mid-1942. I'm not an expert, so I can't say.

..and others, including the late Ian Huntley, suggest that it came into use from 1936 onwards. The jury is still out, so you pays yer money....... BUT....part of that discussion revolved around references that certain manufacturers used the brighter pre-war colours. Glosters were one of those manufacturers, and LK:A P2798 (Ian Gleed's aircraft BTW) is noted (in Paul Lucas's/Neil Robinson's Camouflage & Markings No 2 "The Battle for Britain-RAF May to December 1940") as having its markings (and spinner) in the bright matt shades...

Edit: Just seen Troy's post above..

Edited by Bill Clark
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Tamiya Red Brown is very close to Dull Ident Red (which isn't red at all, it's brown).

J

Tamiya Red Brown is not a even close to MAP Dull Red. I have a complete set of Tamiya acrylics and there is nothing even close in that series. The shade you need is a dirty orange. I will run a rough mix test this afternoon and see what I can come up with.

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I would go for White Ensign WEMCC ACRN22 RAF/FAA Red(Matt). This paint matches very well the sample in the RAF Museum book (but I would never call it a dirty orange).

Nils

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FWIW I measured the MAP Dull Red as 1.4 YR 3.4/7.6. There is no close FS595B equivalent. The closest is 20109 @ 3.87 where 2.0 or less = a close match. In Methuen 9 E 8 is close but just a little darker - the colour is described there as a "violet brown" but is towards "brownish red". "Brick Red", "Terracotta" or "Indian Red" would also be reasonable descriptions. The pigment colour has its origin in natural iron oxides but the MAP paint colour has a strong chroma.

Nick

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Now, here's a funny thing; last year, I found a fragment of "dull red," left in a booklet, held by the RAF Museum. When I checked it against my FS595 chips, it (as you can see) was closest to 20109. And, no, there was no communication, connivance, or anything, whatsoever, between Nick and myself. The intriguing question (which, to my mind, needs looking at) is, was the 1939/40 Dull Red the same colour as the 1942 Dull Red, or was it simply a darker (therefore duller) red than the 1930s biplane-era (bright?) red? One letter, from the Air Ministry, to one leading light in the paint manufacturing world, complains that their dull red is too glossy, which seems like a contradiction in terms.

PICT0037.jpg

Edgar

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Now, here's a funny thing; last year, I found a fragment of "dull red," left in a booklet, held by the RAF Museum. When I checked it against my FS595 chips, it (as you can see) was closest to 20109. And, no, there was no communication, connivance, or anything, whatsoever, between Nick and myself. The intriguing question (which, to my mind, needs looking at) is, was the 1939/40 Dull Red the same colour as the 1942 Dull Red, or was it simply a darker (therefore duller) red than the 1930s biplane-era (bright?) red? One letter, from the Air Ministry, to one leading light in the paint manufacturing world, complains that their dull red is too glossy, which seems like a contradiction in terms.

PICT0037.jpg

Edgar

As promised my rough mix for Dull Red in the RAF Museum book using Tamiya acrylics: 5 prts XF7 + 3 prts XF3 + 1 prt XF52. This is slightly lighter than the book sample but would be adequate on a model. Nick may not agree with the 'closeness' but it was a rough mix yesterday. I always believed that the term 'dull' as in roundel colours was referring to the surface finish not the shade, if that is the correct term.

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I always believed that the term 'dull' as in roundel colours was referring to the surface finish not the shade, if that is the correct term.

Surely the surface finish is/was accounted for by the glossiness; i.e Matt or Gloss? The terms "Bright" or "Dull" accounted for the shade? i.e Bright was the Bright Pre-War/Post Office Red, and "Dull" was the WW2 "Terracotta" shade - which you've descibed and mixed above? The same "Dull" colours were used on and prescribed on Type "S" which was smooth.....and somewhat glossy.

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Unfortunately, Bill, I can find no reference to "Bright," or "Dull," regarding roundels, in any of the official instructions, especially at the beginning of the war. Most of the time, it's simply red, white, blue, yellow; in a September, 1941 letter, to an MD (presumably) of a paint manufacturer, a Ministry official mentions dull red and dull blue, and says that the type S paints, in use, are too glossy, and need matting down.

Doubly unfortunate is that (understandably) Paul Lucas couldn't find a complete list of paints, for his "Camouflage & Markings No.2," and a 5-12-41 letter, to the M.O.S., asks them to use, in some future experiments on reflectivity, Red 33B/73-74, White 33B/75-76, Blue 33B/69-70, Yellow 33B/77-78, and we have no clue as to what these colours were.

One nagging question, to which I've found no answer, is the references, mid-war, to (as usual) red, white, blue, and yellow, in the roundels, but dull red for the serials and codes on bombers; if they were the same colour/shade as the roundel centres, why differentiate?

This subject is one of those "The more I find, the less I know" items.

Edgar

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Unfortunately, Bill, I can find no reference to "Bright," or "Dull," regarding roundels, in any of the official instructions, especially at the beginning of the war. Most of the time, it's simply red, white, blue, yellow; in a September, 1941 letter, to an MD (presumably) of a paint manufacturer, a Ministry official mentions dull red and dull blue, and says that the type S paints, in use, are too glossy, and need matting down.

Doubly unfortunate is that (understandably) Paul Lucas couldn't find a complete list of paints, for his "Camouflage & Markings No.2," and a 5-12-41 letter, to the M.O.S., asks them to use, in some future experiments on reflectivity, Red 33B/73-74, White 33B/75-76, Blue 33B/69-70, Yellow 33B/77-78, and we have no clue as to what these colours were.

One nagging question, to which I've found no answer, is the references, mid-war, to (as usual) red, white, blue, and yellow, in the roundels, but dull red for the serials and codes on bombers; if they were the same colour/shade as the roundel centres, why differentiate?

This subject is one of those "The more I find, the less I know" items.

Edgar

"This subject is one of those "The more I find, the less I know" items." You're not wrong there Edgar!!

...Yet despite the lack of official instructions/letters etc., there's still an abundance of references to dull colours being used. Particularly so by the late Ian Huntley, in his article/column published in SAM Vol 3 No 8 May 1981 "The British Roundel 1937-1945".

"....Camouflaged aircraft, with Type "B" identification markings in dull colours were designed for hostilities as early as 1935. Such colours appear to have been put into production during 1936, and both the list of colours and the stores reference numbers applicable to any given colour did not change throughout the war. Reference numbers applicable to any given colour did not change during the duration of the war. Reference to the various issues of Fairey Swordfish camouflage drawings (Huntley was an apprentice at Faireys at the time - I seem to recall?), from July 1939 to July 1944, for the Cellulose finish DTD 83A, shows no change in nomenclature. Had any change of hue for a material on DTD 83A occured, such as "bright red" being replaced by "dull red", then a separate product, the new medium would have been given a separate stores reference. The change in hue too, would have meant a new shade card being issued, but in the case of Ident. Red and Blue (Dull), the same cards appeared in 1944 as appeared in 1935, 1937, 1940, 1942 and 1943."

He concludes........" I hope this explains a situation which has, due to the passage of time and confusion amongst authors who wrongly translated the letters giving authority for colour series and markings in the same way as their wartime predecessors, led to many false statements and the existence of colours which were total myths" !!!

I need to sit down and read a few more of his columns I think. He does refer to and show, copies of official letters to manufacturers, though none, it seems for the 1935/6 period explaining the change (plenty of references though), however in his SAM article "Camouflage and Markings Development for Home defence Fighter Squadrons, 1940, the Battle of Britain Special edition (Vol 1 No.12 September 1979), there are copies of letters to the Observer Corps referring to the under surfaces of Fighters beingpainted "very Pale Green!" (But thats for another day!!). References in the colour chart and in Mike Keep's drawings (also referring to "Dull Red") has "Ident. Red Dull Meth ref 8D7 (something for Nick to translate maybe?).

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References in the colour chart and in Mike Keep's drawings (also referring to "Dull Red") has "Ident. Red Dull Meth ref 8D7 (something for Nick to translate maybe?).

I can't give a precise measurement for Methuen 8D7 but it it is lighter and less saturated than my suggested 9E8, being one "stage" less in all aspects of hue, lightness and saturation. I'm guessing it was perhaps matched from an actual sample of paint slightly faded or "bleached" or perhaps made in a watercolour match. In FS595B terms it is very close to 12160 (about 2.28 in difference) being just a tad deeper.

In Methuen the first number represents the position of progression (in this case) from a primary yellow (2) to a primary red (10), so the Huntley/Keep value moves from red towards yellow in hue, but both are still in the final quarter towards red. The letter D refers to the degree of lightness from A to F with A being lightest and F darkest. The last number refers to a scale of saturation - or chromatic intensity (the denseness of the colour) - from 1 to 8 with the latter being the most saturated. Methuen categorise 8D7 as being in a "reddish brown" grouping and as a specific colour "fox" (the colour of the pelt of the common red fox, in German "fuchsrot") but it is also close to the colours known as "English Red" and "Venetian Red".

In paint terms primary red can't be taken in this direction by the simple addition of yellow because the colour then becomes too bright and moves towards pure orange. It requires the addition of umber as well to "dull" the colour. Another complication affecting this topic is the way that (typical) red and blue paint colours of the time degraded and faded with exposure, red on particular.

As a passing note Bowyer (Bombing Colours) seems to distinguish between roundel colours and "dull red codes" but is a little ambiguous. I wonder what happened to C Rupert Moore's famous "colour sticks" and files, displayed briefly at the IWM in the late 1970's and containing a wealth of contemporaneous colour matching notes and sketches of wartime RAF aircraft in service? What a book they would make.

Nick

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I wonder what happened to C Rupert Moore's famous "colour sticks" and files, displayed briefly at the IWM in the late 1970's and containing a wealth of contemporaneous colour matching notes and sketches of wartime RAF aircraft in service? What a book they would make.

Mind you, by modern standards the published works by C Rupert Moore and O. G. Thetford are more than a little imprecise and tend to generalise a lot. In their time they did also create some misconceptions, mostly regarding foreign aircraft and possibly based more on hearsay than hard facts. Personally I think that the work of Michael J. F. Bowyer and Bruce Robertson were a great improvement on whatever was written and depicted previously.

IMHO, of course.

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I think that you might be doing Moore a slight disservice. His method was to match, using his paintbox, the colours on a particular aircraft, creating samples on wooden sticks, then go home and check them against official colour samples. This is why, when he said that he saw, post-war, 617 Squadron Grand Slam Lancasters in Light Green, Light Earth and Ocean Grey, I'll give it more credence than some of the later researchers.

He used the same system, between wars, which was why modellers read, and used, Aeromodeller, for their schemes; his cover paintings were legendary for their accuracy. It's possible that his work is back with his family, in which case we can only hope that someone will, eventually, realise their (historical) worth; the other possibility is that they're somewhere in the IWM's archives, or (God forbid) on Duxford's North Side.

Edgar

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I agree with Edgar. The body of C Rupert Moore's chronicling work, most of it unpublished, should not be assessed on the basis of Thetford's 'Camouflage '14-18 Aircraft' and 'Camouflage 1939-42 Aircraft' where he was just the contributing artist not the writer. And I was referencing him specifically iro RAF aircraft colours. I do hope his files have not been lost or destroyed.

Nick

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The shade you need is a dirty orange.

Huh? For *what*??? Certainly not Ident Red! At least no RAF Ident Red I've ever laid eyes on. It's a dark brick red-brown color, not "dirty orange" by any stretch of the imagination.

J

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I think that you might be doing Moore a slight disservice. His method was to match, using his paintbox, the colours on a particular aircraft, creating samples on wooden sticks, then go home and check them against official colour samples. This is why, when he said that he saw, post-war, 617 Squadron Grand Slam Lancasters in Light Green, Light Earth and Ocean Grey, I'll give it more credence than some of the later researchers.

He used the same system, between wars, which was why modellers read, and used, Aeromodeller, for their schemes; his cover paintings were legendary for their accuracy. It's possible that his work is back with his family, in which case we can only hope that someone will, eventually, realise their (historical) worth; the other possibility is that they're somewhere in the IWM's archives, or (God forbid) on Duxford's North Side.

Edgar

I wasn't aware of this procedure of his and I am very happy to stand corrected.

I do wonder if his papers could possibly be with the IWM, in which case they would have been donated by the family, one presumes...

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Surely the surface finish is/was accounted for by the glossiness; i.e Matt or Gloss? The terms "Bright" or "Dull" accounted for the shade? i.e Bright was the Bright Pre-War/Post Office Red, and "Dull" was the WW2 "Terracotta" shade - which you've descibed and mixed above? The same "Dull" colours were used on and prescribed on Type "S" which was smooth.....and somewhat glossy.

Been following this topic with some interest,so when this weekend I was sifting through some old magazines, I came accross a "Scale Models warplane special" from 1982. In it is an article by Bruce Robinson on the Handley Page Heyford and with regards to colours it states,

" It was finished overall in the matt Nivo [methuen27F3] ,a protective scheme that became standard for night-bombers.Associated with this finish was the night roundel in matt colours of red centre and blue outer"'

Eslewhere in the profiles accompaning the article the colours are described as dull red and blue, so my question is was the term "dull" equated to matt versions of the pre-war roundel red and blue ?. Please note I am not referring to the wartime Dull roundel colour which have already been establised as different shades. I believe the late Ian Huntley also referred to dull versions of the inter-war roundel colours in his writings.

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Been following this topic with some interest,so when this weekend I was sifting through some old magazines, I came accross a "Scale Models warplane special" from 1982. In it is an article by Bruce Robinson on the Handley Page Heyford and with regards to colours it states,

" It was finished overall in the matt Nivo [methuen27F3] ,a protective scheme that became standard for night-bombers.Associated with this finish was the night roundel in matt colours of red centre and blue outer"'

Eslewhere in the profiles accompaning the article the colours are described as dull red and blue, so my question is was the term "dull" equated to matt versions of the pre-war roundel red and blue ?. Please note I am not referring to the wartime Dull roundel colour which have already been establised as different shades. I believe the late Ian Huntley also referred to dull versions of the inter-war roundel colours in his writings.

Ian Huntley's article (see above) specifically refers to the SHADE of colour, not the finish. "Dull" Red is the term used for the "terracotta" shade; "Bright" Red is the term used for pre(and post) -war "Post Office Red". The term "Matt" was used - to describe non-glossy paints. My understanding is that these "Night" roundel colours referred to were "Dull" i.e Terracotta and erm....Dull Blue. these were the shades used from 1936 onwards on Fighters etc.,

I'll add some more from Huntleys 1979 article later this evening which may explain a bit more .....

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Been following this topic with some interest,so when this weekend I was sifting through some old magazines, I came accross a "Scale Models warplane special" from 1982. In it is an article by Bruce Robinson on the Handley Page Heyford and with regards to colours it states,

" It was finished overall in the matt Nivo [methuen27F3] ,a protective scheme that became standard for night-bombers.Associated with this finish was the night roundel in matt colours of red centre and blue outer"'

Eslewhere in the profiles accompaning the article the colours are described as dull red and blue, so my question is was the term "dull" equated to matt versions of the pre-war roundel red and blue ?. Please note I am not referring to the wartime Dull roundel colour which have already been establised as different shades. I believe the late Ian Huntley also referred to dull versions of the inter-war roundel colours in his writings.

This may help explain. This is taken, more or less verbatim from Ian Huntley's column.."The British Roundel 1937" published in SAM Vol 3 Number 8 May 1981

"....the Red, White and Blue of the British roundel went through several changes until a suitable composition and pigment were found, which would both adhere to fabric and not fade too rapidly in sunlight.

But, ever since 1917, there had been two types of Idendification Colour, a day flying, or "bright" form, and a night flying, or "dull" form. The roundel too had taken on a number of different styles in order to aid its recognition under day and nigjt conditions. This had resulted in in a "bright" Red, and Blue, and a "dull" Red, and Blue (excluding the White form), and it seems that the four distinct hues have been the subject of confusion and misrepresentataion ever since in terms of modelling colours.

Taking the formation of the RAF in 1918 as a convenient starting point, the then standard day and night identification colours changed little in hue over the subsequent years, and this is certainly true even to the present day."

(I have skipped the next couple of paragraph's - this deals with DTD specifications etc.,)

"1935 AND WAR CAMOUFLAGE. ...Camouflage trials began during the early part of 1935. every effort was made to establish a common system, designed to cover all of the various aircrafts roles, with as few colours as possible. By 11 September 1935 the work was finalised and scheme specifications were ready for issue to the service and contractors alike. New colour standards were issued, and production paint contracts began to be put out to manufacturers.

After that time many old specifications were withdrawn or cancelled, and in preparation for possible hostilities, changes were made for squadron identity markings.

LOW KEY COLOURING. ....National insignia and other operational markings were to be of a colour to make them recognisable at short range......it was felt desirable to evolve a common system which was suited to peacetime and wartime conditions.

Confirmation was given that the standard Red, White and Blue (bright colours) roundel in proportion of radii 1:3:5 was far too bright, even without a narrow outlining ringe of white (as WW1). The same colours were applied in the Red and Blue nightform of radii 2:5 and these were found to be still too bright in spite of matt paints being used. The same roundel was trialled in the standard night colours , and this was found to be satisfactory.

DETAILS FOR CONTRACTORS

In a letter from the RAE, contractors were given brief details of the modified camouflage schemes to be applied to the new airframes under the expansion programme contracts. Reference was also made to the cancellation of the inter-war colours, and that reference "night" no longer applied as ALL new identification colours for both night and day use were to the previous night colour standard and were matt finished as were the new camouflage colours.

Contractors were asked to apply the new new Red, White, Blue and Yellow roundels in the appropriate positions, until such time as an outbreak of hostilities or other crisis took place, whereby the Red and Blue roundel would be applied."

There is an awful lot more, and I have tried to capture the essence of Huntley's article. He also refers to letters received by Fairey Aviation in 1936 explaining these changes. Huntley was I beleive an apprentice at Faireys at the time, or after. As you can see "Dull" and "Bright" clearly refer to the hue of colour, NOT its reflectiveness, in his article.

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