Post by markrogers on Apr 12, 2021 22:53:27 GMT 12
I need a bit of help here. In Charles Darby's book RNZAF The First Decade, he described the colors of the camouflage on the Hudsons in some photos as Dark Earth, Dark Grey topsides and Sky underside with Sky code letters. I had previously thought that it was Dark Green not Dark Grey. However when I visited John Smith many years ago, I noticed that on the Hudson parts littered around his place it was a kind of darkish grey color not green. I though how interesting. It had a greenish tinge to it but was quite a darkish grey like color. Was it a very dark olive drab? What were the Federal Standard color numbers if known? Were they the factory colors as applied by Lockheed? Also I'm planning to paint some RNZAF skins for a flight simulator Hudson so I'm looking to get the appropriate colors.
So far as I know, all American aircraft supplied to Allied forces, either the original "cash and carry" (direct purchase), or "Lend Lease" (Mutual aid arrangements) were painted at the manufacturer's plant in schemes requested by the purchaser (or intended recipient under various programmes) but the actual colours of the paints were never guaranteed to match exactly the requirements of the hopeful recipients! There have been dozens of articles published in various modelling magazines about these colours over the last 50 or 60 years, and I would hope that at least some of the authors may have got pretty close to describing these colours. For Lend-Lease aircraft, it became common for aircraft intended for delivery to British Commonwealth countries to also conform to the general RAF schemes, but also only approximately. Later on, with each recipient country having made its own arrangements with the US Govt agencies charged with overseeing all these agreements, it became normal to simply finish all aircraft on the production lines in the standard schemes of their respective United States operating service (Army or Navy), schemes which were delivered to customers in a series of "standard" schemes depending on the date of manufacture. The British organization (originally British Purchasing Commission) permanently located in the United States to provide "on the spot" contacts with the American government bodies concerned with the very large numbers of aircraft for the RAF being distributed around the world, and this resulted in many aircraft specifically for the RAF or FAA could be finished off in post-production modification facilities to more closely match the requirements of the intended customer, and this often seemed to involve the camouflage schemes applied by the factory (although this may in fact have been overpainted at the modification centre by another scheme). The New Zealand government had nothing as elaborate and expensive as these arrangements, and comprised a very small number (maybe 2 or 3) relatively senior officers stationed in Washington whose main task seemed to be to keep their even more senior bosses in Wellington (and thence the NZ Govt itself) up to date on progress in production and deliveries, but they had no effect (nor were really interested in) on the colour schemes "our" aircraft were delivered in. This is why most of out later aircraft all arrived in the standard scheme of the appropriate United States service (Army or Navy), which had usually sponsored the production of these standard types in the first place. However it is interesting to note that all of our P-51Ds seem to have been delivered with a NZ-specific stencil block on the forward fuselage (LH side) which included fact that these aircraft were intended for delivery to the NZ Government. Of course even these arrangements could be upset at times, resulting in quite large numbers of aircraft originally requested by one nation, subsequently being re-directed to another nation with quite inappropriate colour scheme, etc. Even the RNZAF received several Catalinas in late 1943 in RAF markings and serial numbers, because of problems in supplying us with aircraft of the correct model; I think the Americans were not really concerned about this and expected the customer to correct such minor discrepancies as incorrect colour schemes with their own tradesmen and sprayguns - after all, there was a World War underway, so just get on with it! This small explanation (if you can call it that) is intended to provides some of the difficulties thrown up during such a major war as WW2, with orders being switched then switched again as intended customers were overrun by the enemy, of the type of aircraft allocated proved to have major problems which would result in delays, or switching of orders. The RNZAF also did a little bit of thinking about general camouflage schemes, which resulted in the introduction of that Blue sea grey colour, which was quite widely used in NZ, and Fiji, but ultimately they gave up extensive repainting and operated most aircraft in the operational area in their original factory schemes) plus later touch-ups, then total repaints for some but by no means all aircraft, but only if the local engineer officer took an interest in keeping his aircraft looking "smart", apparently not a priority for most engineer officers. Needless to say, the Directorates at Air HQ (later Air Department) in Wellington were never informed of these repaints. I would say that, apart from the P-40Ks, most of our P-40s in the forward area were all returned to NZ still wearing the original factory scheme), ditto all our TBFs, and SBDS (although latter only on loan from USMC), plus majority of our PV-1s and F4Us/FGs. Only our heavy transports seemed to get the "full treatment", although this was prompted by the steady erosion of their factory schemes brought about by flying through heavy rain en route to or from the Pacific on routine transport flights. However even this hope was not fully realized, and later they gave up trying to keep the leading edges of all flying surfaces fully painted, and decided to let them stay bare metal. Eventually they agreed that these aircraft should be fully stripped of all camouflage paint, but even this proved to be a nightmare, with the locally made paint strippers proving to be just about useless. Photographs of these "half and half" aircraft in service are fairly common. I hasten to add that some unusual schemes (or modification of schemes) took place in the forward area, details of most of these being completely unknown, some of which affected PV-1s at Munda and Bougainville. David D
Post by denysjones on Apr 13, 2021 15:28:11 GMT 12
Like you are now Mark I've agonised over the story of the colours of the Hudsons and all I can pass on with veracity is what I see on 2035.
There are two distinct schemes one on top of the other and that is a complete repaint not a replacement of just some of the colours.
The first scheme is, in my view, Lockheed painting the aircraft to an RAF plan for the layout (? perhaps perhaps not) and, if it's at all like the interior using US paints whose colours were a close match to the RAF. The earth shade varies across the aircraft now, generally having gone lighter and with a sort of orange lightening effect but in places, presumably where the second paint coat lasted longer it's not too bad a match for good old Humbrol #29. The green that goes with that layer again is pretty much #30.
The wildcard here is the underside which is much darker than the assorted colours that are offered up to match Sky Type S and actually suggests to me a mix of Zinc Chromate with a dash of green.
The second layer is the infamous "pacific blue", or whatever you may call it, and as it stands now it's not too far off #144. The green of this layer hasn't survived well and is now quite light and when you moisten it it goes back to a very dark hue suggesting a shade heading to the dark olive.
Again this layer is a wildcard in the underside as it is universally a white colour and I can't believe it was once #23 (which I've seen offered up as the original shade) and has then faded uniformally given that underneath would not have been evenly subjected to sunlight.
Anyway I was on site today so took this couple of shots for you...make of them what you will!
In the second you can see the true chromate primer coming through between the two windows in contrast with the first underside colour further down. The two variations on the shades of brown and greens also present themselves there.
Last Edit: Apr 13, 2021 15:33:32 GMT 12 by denysjones
Post by Dave Homewood on Apr 13, 2021 17:08:07 GMT 12
I recall many years ago I asked Charles Darby about his comment in the book that some of the Hudsons had a grey camouflage. I cannot find the email now, it may have vanished out of my inbox after all this time. But I am certain he said that some of the Hudsons he examined at Rukuhia did indeed wear a Dark Earth, Dark Grey and Sky scheme. It was not the NZ Blue-Grey (aka Pacific Blue) respray coat, but actually a factory applied colour. I seem to recall there was speculation that they may have been diverted from RAF aircraft that were destined for somewhere like the Middle East. He said he had some parts with that paint on, it did not match either RAF Dark Green or NZ Blue-Grey.
Check out this RAF Hudson in Egypt....
So whilst most of our Hudsons would have worn the standard RAF scheme of Dark Earth, Dark Green and Sky factory applied paint, is it possible some wore a Middle East Dark Earth, Dark Grey and Sky?
Post by markrogers on Apr 14, 2021 15:59:56 GMT 12
All very informative, thanks guys. Thanks David D, your knowledge is very helpful and interesting. Thank you Denys for the photo's, it's appreciated. It's hard to make out what I can of the colors in NZ2035, quite difficult to work it out. Remember the P-40E Bessie from John Smith when it moved to Omaka? When it's tailplane was given a wet wipe with water the colors darkened up quite a bit to pretty much close to what they might have originally been when new.
The pieces of Hudson at John Smith's may have been just a very dark Olive Drab with a dark greyish tint. The greyish color on John's Hudson pieces were close to this color, see here, click on this link
Alternatively it could be this one, click on this link
Here's another picture of the same Hudson Dave. An interesting color scheme.
Last Edit: Apr 14, 2021 16:41:26 GMT 12 by markrogers
Post by markrogers on Apr 14, 2021 21:31:10 GMT 12
That Hudson is more in the sun while in Dave's photo it's quite shaded from the sun, but the colors are just discernable. Both were colourised I would think. The dark blue on the underside is a Mediterranean Blue, a common underside color on RAF aircraft in the North African theatre. The topside could be a Dark green and Ocean grey.
Post by markrogers on Apr 15, 2021 10:14:42 GMT 12
Thanks DH and hpPencil. It's not often that I see authentic color photos for that period. Although I have seen other ones, they are rare. Yes, the temperate sea scheme shows reasonably well. I'm not 100% sure of the colors on that one, but it looks similar to the Hudson's scheme. Most CC schemes were a slate grey and sea grey camouflage over sky.
Post by denysjones on Apr 15, 2021 19:36:49 GMT 12
Just a sort of tangent comment on this in relation to the variation of Hudson colours depending on the recipient air force.
Recently (see Ferrymead thread) I've been working on plumbing and one or two of the pipes still have their colour bands on the ends showing the system they belong to.
I've had no issues taking red banded ones and looking at the fuel system entries in the tube specification charts.
However starting to delve into oil ones I found that the charts called out their banding to be yellow whilst I had some banded in black that I know are oil by virtue of their diameter only being used in the oil system.
Funny me thinks until I chance on a page in the tubing section of the erection and repair manual which details the fact that aircraft produced under RAF contract had their plumbing colour coded according to RAF systems not US ones.
Being an early RAF direct purchase contract a/c obviously that's why 2035's pipes are so done but the devil poses the question ... what of the later a/c produced under lease-lease where the purchaser as far as Lockheed would have seen it was the USAAC?
Just throwing it out there
Last Edit: Apr 15, 2021 19:38:30 GMT 12 by denysjones
We see the customer ( RAF versus USAAF) differences on the P40E and P40N of the Smith collection. The E was built under contract to the RAF whilst the N was built under lend/lease to USAAF specifications. The most obvious internal difference is the use of RAF "cockpit green" on random components in the cockpit of the E. We removed the main armour plate recently and some of the that is painted in RAF colour - so is the control column.