login   |    register
General Ship Modeling: Painting & Color Schemes
Topics on painting and paint schemes are grouped here
Mae West question
Biggles2
Visit this Community
Quebec, Canada
Joined: January 01, 2004
KitMaker: 7,275 posts
Armorama: 5,861 posts
Posted: Wednesday, December 09, 2015 - 09:27 PM UTC
What's the most common, or representative, color of a Mae West (the life jacket, not the actress or the cake! ). I've Googled and they're in bright yellow to navy blue/gray, with all sorts of shades in between.
russamotto
Visit this Community
Utah, United States
Joined: December 14, 2007
KitMaker: 3,344 posts
Armorama: 2,040 posts
Posted: Wednesday, December 09, 2015 - 09:33 PM UTC
Everything I have seen was the bright yellow, sometimes faded or dirty, but I was told the yellow was for improved visibility to make it easier to locate an airman in the water.
Capistrano
Visit this Community
United States
Joined: July 28, 2015
KitMaker: 21 posts
Armorama: 14 posts
Posted: Wednesday, December 09, 2015 - 10:13 PM UTC
The Mae West worn on vessels started out as a blue, but varied by dye lots, and then was affected by fading. The inflatable vest worn by flight crews were various shades of yellow, from bright yellow to yellow drab.
LionsDen
Visit this Community
Minnesota, United States
Joined: June 28, 2013
KitMaker: 102 posts
Armorama: 5 posts
Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 07:29 PM UTC
I have several in my collection. The color of the B-4 vest in the attached pic (made in April 1944) is is the most representative color foe those worn by the US Army Air Force.

I can post a pic of a Mark 2 vest worn by a USMC Corsair pilot in mid-1944 if that's what you're looking for.

[img]http://gallery3.kitmaker.net/data/500/thumbs/Mae_West_Vest.jpg" BORDER="0">[/img]
LionsDen
Visit this Community
Minnesota, United States
Joined: June 28, 2013
KitMaker: 102 posts
Armorama: 5 posts
Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 08:26 PM UTC
Let's try posting this pic again:

Biggles2
Visit this Community
Quebec, Canada
Joined: January 01, 2004
KitMaker: 7,275 posts
Armorama: 5,861 posts
Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 08:26 PM UTC
Actually, I was inquiring about the US Navy Mae West, seeing as this is a forum on ships. So I would suppose the navy version would be shades of navy blue/gray, etc.
LionsDen
Visit this Community
Minnesota, United States
Joined: June 28, 2013
KitMaker: 102 posts
Armorama: 5 posts
Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 08:44 PM UTC
Generally speaking, those were yellow too. The object being to make a downed pilot as visible as possible to the search and rescue operation looking for him. For the most part, Navy and USMC pilots used the same gear. Many B-3 and B-4 flight vests were marked with "AN #" stamps as they were purchased via a joint Army/Navy contract (including the B-4 in the pic I posted), so you could definitely use that color for a USN pilot. I'll try to post a picture of the BUAER Mark 2 USMC life vest which belonged to a fighter pilot in VMA 312. It's also yellow but a little lighter. He used this vest starting with the Okinawa campaign.
LionsDen
Visit this Community
Minnesota, United States
Joined: June 28, 2013
KitMaker: 102 posts
Armorama: 5 posts
Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 09:13 PM UTC

Here is a pic of the BUAER (Bureau of Aeronotics) Mark 2 vest:
LionsDen
Visit this Community
Minnesota, United States
Joined: June 28, 2013
KitMaker: 102 posts
Armorama: 5 posts
Posted: Sunday, December 13, 2015 - 08:05 PM UTC
Here's the pic of the B-4 life vest:

Biggles2
Visit this Community
Quebec, Canada
Joined: January 01, 2004
KitMaker: 7,275 posts
Armorama: 5,861 posts
Posted: Sunday, December 13, 2015 - 08:49 PM UTC
I think you missed the part where I said NAVY, meaning sailors. The, either Mae West, or kapok, vests deck crews wore during action stations. Anyway, I have since found out they were in shades of blue/grey.