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World War II
Discuss WWII and the era directly before and after the war from 1935-1949.
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RAF B-25 colours?
phantom_phanatic309
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Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 08:25 AM UTC
Hi, I need a little help and advice on a future build.
I've recently dug out an old Italeri B-25C from my stash and into my to-build pile. Along with markings for a Doolittle Raider, it also has some for an RAF Mitchell II in a green/brown over sky cammo. As this is the one I want to do, I want to be sure that Italeri did their homework before I start. Just about every RAF Mitchell I have seen is in standard USAAF olive drab over grey, except for one that was sent to the RAE for testing. So I'm a little cautious about the painting instructions.
The markings in the kit are for MQ-V FR397 of 226 Squadron.
So can anyone shed some light on this? Was this aircraft really painted in this scheme or have Italeri (or their sources) made it up?
Thanks in advance.
vanize
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Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 08:59 AM UTC
I can confirm that MQ-V seems to have the RAF two tone upper camo

see if you can follow this link:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/39411748@N06/7233815536/

the tonal separation going thru the 'V' seems to indicate the color profile is correct, but it is possible that is misleading - could just be a paint touch-up or even an artifact of an old picture or even a reflection on the glass the picture was taken thru.


phantom_phanatic309
#372
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Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 09:26 AM UTC
Thanks! I hadn't seen those pics and there's a good link to the IWM's 226sqn collection through that page. A few more pics of the squadrons aircaft during the raid in question are in their too. http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/search?filter[agentString][0]=%22Royal%20Air%20Force%2C%20226%20Squadron%22&query=
There does seem to be some variation in colour, especially on the foreground aircraft which appears to have a lighter patch on the upper fuselage above the wing. But the question also rises about whether what we're seeing in black and white is localized weathering or repainting of odd areas? A good example would be this Mitchell, its covered in strange light spots!
AMERICAN AIRCRAFT IN RAF SERVICE 1939-1945: NORTH AMERICAN NA-82 MITCHELL.
AMERICAN AIRCRAFT IN RAF SERVICE 1939-1945: NORTH AMERICAN NA-82 MITCHELL. IWM (CH 20592)
Antoni
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Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 01:49 AM UTC
The photographs show nothing but weathering. Areas where USAAF markings were painted out are common, under the roundels, fuselage and wings, USAAF serial number on the tail. Sometimes a large patch of darker colour on the cheeks where the previous letter has been painted over.

There were three Mitchell Mk Is sent to the UK for testing, not combat. FK161, FK162 and FK165. 161 had a disruptive camouflage scheme, the second 162 did not.

There is not a single photograph in all four volumes of 2nd Tactical Air Force of a Mitchell with a disruptive camouflage scheme. Jerry Scutts book for Crowood has a photograph of a Mitchell II with a disruptive scheme but that was taken at Foggia Italy 5 Dec 43, unarmed and with Air Chief Marshal or Vice Marshal pennant. You are quite right to be skeptical.
phantom_phanatic309
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Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 03:27 AM UTC
Thats what I was thinking too. It looks like a combination of weathering, re-paints, light and shade, and I suppose even the quality of the original film/photo make it look like a two-tone cammo. I also noticed that the B-25C's were getting pretty tatty looking by 44/45 when campared with the shiny new J's. But I'm open to all suggestions. Its a shame there aren't more colour photo's of RAF Mitchell's around to help us.
The real question is that if Italeri based their colour guide on FK161, why then give markings for an operational squadron?
Also would the Mitchell's have had the leading edges of the wings/tails sprayed in the dark green thats often seen on other US bombers? And what would be a good match in Humbrol paints for the underside Neutral Grey? I used to use Hu64 but I notice a lot of other modellers use a slightly bluer shade of grey.
vanize
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Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 03:52 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Also would the Mitchell's have had the leading edges of the wings/tails sprayed in the dark green thats often seen on other US bombers? And what would be a good match in Humbrol paints for the underside Neutral Grey? I used to use Hu64 but I notice a lot of other modellers use a slightly bluer shade of grey.



I don't think the Mitchells ever had the disruptive medium green edging to the OD. In fact, I don't think anything coming out of the North American Aviation factories did.

that, of course, does not preclude fresh OD or some other readily available green color sprayed on to cover leading edge chipping.

which brings up the question - what color would have the touch-ups on these very worn RAF Mitchells be? RAF dark green was probably easier for them to source than OD, and mixing OD can lead to all sorts of variations from brown to green anyway.

Using faded OD, and a couple tones of RAF dark green (fresh touch ups and older ones), you could make a finish more interesting than the dark green dark earth two tone anyway.

DaveCox
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Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 04:45 AM UTC
The only picture that I can trace of a B25 of any mark in RAF cammo is a painting by Robert Bailey entitled "Dodging to avoid flack" showing an aircraft also wearing D-day stripes and carrying the description: "F/O Fred Guest presses on to attack a target somewhere over France shortly after D-Day, 1944"..

I haven't found any reference to Flying Officer Guest, nor any original photos of a B25 in these markings - all the photos of 98 & 226 Squadron aircraft with 2TAF show OD/Grey cammo
phantom_phanatic309
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Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 07:53 AM UTC
Thanks for all the help.
I think its fair to say that OD over grey is the norm and that Italeri may indeed be basing it on photo's of FK161. Lets just hope that should this kit be reissued they do a better job of researching marking schemes in the future.
I've just found in my paint box a tin of Xtracolor Faded Olive Drab that should be good over a pre-shade of specific area's.
Vance, you raise a good point about what colour RAF ground crews may have used in repainting odd areas. I would guess that green mixed with a little brown would give an OD type shade and they would have been able to get their hands on both colours. But just using green would be a little more likely. As long as I remember to keep it subtle I should be able to replicate the finishes seen in photo's.
I think this will be a fun build and paint.
DaveCox
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Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 08:21 AM UTC
Looking at this IWM photo of a 226sqdn aircraft it's easy to see how a mistake could occur - look at the centre section above the wing roots.


And this one- the nose and centre section:


Photos posted under the IWM Non-commercial licence
Antoni
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Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 10:13 PM UTC
There is reasonable evidence that Mitchells (and Bostons) were not painted with the usual Olive Drab and Neutral Gray. This was discussed in an article by Paul Lucas some years ago (must be 15 or more). From the article:

Many years ago, an article was published in IPMS(UK) Magazine in which a former member of the Second Tactical Air Force, during 1944/1945, claimed that the Mitchells on his squadron were finished in a nonstandard camouflage scheme. This scheme was said to be superficially similar to the American Olive Drab/Neutral Gray scheme, but the uppersurfaces appeared to be a much greyer-green and the undersurfaces were similar to Medium Sea Grey. Some time later, a second witness came forward who reported seeing Mitchells and Bostons finished in a "green and light grey scheme" whilst he was serving with 416 Aircraft Reception Flight at Evere near Brussels.

Evidence that the scheme described by the eyewitnesses really existed, and is not due to faded memory, (or paint!), is provided by a colour photograph by Charles Brown, (held by the RAF Museum, (ref P100491(C), a print of which is on page 48 of Roger A Freeman's 'The Royal Air Force of World War Two in Colour'), of an unidentified Mitchell 11, formerly of 180 Sqn, taken when the aircraft was being dismantled
for spares in the hands of a repair and salvage unit in Belgium circa 1944/45.

The article then goes on to discuss the possibilities for the colours used. The summary was as follows:

Is it possible then, that ANA 613 Olive Drab was considered too brown for some service users and Lend-Lease customers who wanted to retain a green finish similar to Dark Olive Drab 41 and that ANA 624 Olive Green was produced to meet this need? It is therefore suggested that ANA 624 Olive Green; Green 33B/716-718 to DTD 751-755 and BS987C SCC 15 aka BS381C No 298 Olive Drab, are all one and the same colour.
It is also suggested that this was the colour applied to Lend-Lease Bostons and Mitchells flown by the RAF 1944-45, and the A-20, A-26 , and B-25s used by the USAAF in the Far East Theatre in 1945.

So where does all this leave the modeller? The British Olive Drab, BS 381C No 298 Olive Drab, which might be the same colour as ANA 624 Olive Green, is available from Xtracolor as X28 RN Helo Olive Drab. In FS 595B terms, this is something like FS 5958 33070. Unfortunately Humbrol do not make anything which even comes close to this colour, and it has proved impossible to formulate an accurate mix. ANA 602 Light Gray was joined with ANA 620 Light Gull Gray in TT-C-595 and issued the designation 3635. TT-C-595
3635 became FS 595 36440. It should be noted however that this is the equivalent colour of ANA 620 Light Gull Gray and that the true colour of ANA 602 Light Gray has been 'lost'. The closest modern FS 5958 equivalent to ANA 602 Light Gray, FS 36440 is available from a variety of paint manufacturers. In the Humbrol range it is available as a satin finish (FS 26440) No 129 Satin US Gull Gray and Xtracolor X137 Light Gull Gray.

Note: There were other greens than Dark Green in use for 'foreign camouflaged' aircraft.

Green - The extent and exact use of this colour is uncertain but appears to have been ANA 613 Olive Drab. The colour seems to have been used widely by the British Military as well as the RAF. It was incorporated into BS 987C 'War Emergency Colours' in Nov 1944 as Standard Camouflage Colour No 14. Its most likely use was to paint anti-glare panels on natural metal Mustangs. After the war the colour was retained in BS 987C until the standard was cancelled 1964. It was added to BS 381C in Amendment No 2 to the 1948 edition in May 1949 as No 298 Olive Drab. Closest FS 595 colour is 34130.

Medium Green. The use an extent of this colour is also unknown. An RAF museum sample appears to match ANA 612. It is likely this colour was used for American aircraft supplied under Lend-Lease. May have been used as the anti-glare finish on the cockpit coaming inside the canopy. It does not appear to have been included in the Ministry of Supply colour range after the war and, as far as is known has never been included in any British Standard. Nearest FS 595 colour is 34092.

phantom_phanatic309
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Posted: Friday, September 21, 2012 - 03:20 AM UTC
Well this has suddenly become more complicated than I thought! I have got a few tins of different olive drabs from humbrol, revell and a few from xtracolor. I'll have a look at which and how they look against each other. I should have something that matches the descriptions given.
I can always put in an order for a tin of RN helo olive if nothing looks right.
Cheers
dmsims
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Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2019 - 10:27 PM UTC
Bit of an old topic I know

The Mitchell shown in the IWM photo marked V is not FR397

It is FW152