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Dana Bell

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About Dana Bell

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  1. Hi Paul, At the time the BF2C was first operational, the Bureau of Aeronautics was dead set against finishes of pigmented lacquers or dopes -- all finish coats were to be pigmented enamels. Since aluminum-pigmented enamels adhered poorly to metal primers, BuAer ordered the use of Aircraft Gray enamel on metal surfaces. (The Orange-Yellow enamels were doing just fine on metal and fabric surfaces.) So, your answer should be Aircraft Gray on all metal surfaces and aluminum enamel on fabric surfaces. That said, all the 1935 photos of BF2Cs seem to show more of a glow on the metal surfaces than I'm used to for Aircraft Gray. Digging a bit deeper, I found a January 1933 document allowing Curtiss to apply an experimental aluminum enamel in lieu of Aircraft Gray enamel to the metal surfaces of their F11C-2s. Since the balance of the F11C-2 contract was subsequently revised to cover F11C-3s (later redesignated BF2C-1s), I'll presume the contract continued to allow Curtiss to apply that metallic enamel on metal surfaces. That's a big assumption on my part, but (not having access to the F11C-3 contract) that's what I think we're seeing here. You would still need to mask and spray two colors, since the experimental aluminum enamel was clearly different than the aluminum enamel used on the fabric surfaces. Eventually BuAer learned to accept pigmented-dope and -lacquer finishes, but that would begin in late 1936 and 1937, well after the BF2C had been taken out of service. Cheers, Dana
  2. Hi Brett, I should have read your question more closely - yes, Light Gray is more likely for Corsairs wearing your camouflage scheme. Keep up the good work! Cheers, Dana
  3. Hi Brett, I just discovered your build this morning - truly beautiful work. One of these days I've got to build a model... Cheers, Dana
  4. Just a note of clarification - that should be about one fourth of all FG-1s built were delivered with fixed wings. There were 4,007 FG-1s, and 965 fixed-wing FG-1As. The Navy was reintroducing Corsairs to carriers as the FG-1Ds went into production, so they were all delivered with folding wings... Cheers, Dana
  5. The identity crisis may be solved by the books United States Navy Aircraft Since 1911 by Swanborough and Bowers (1990 edition) and Curtiss Aircraft; 1907-1947 by Bowers. The books explain that A-6970 was built as an F6C-1 and subsequently modified (along with A-6972) as an F6C-3 with strengthened landing gear and fuselage and provisions for an arrester hook. Both the -1 and -3 versions could be equipped with pontoons, so the aircraft's designation seems to depend on the date of the photo -- and nothing tells us the when the modifications took place. Sounds like this may matter only on a contest form or a name plate for a base. Sounds like this one is safe either way... Cheers, Dana
  6. Hi John, According to R C Jones' Camouflage & Markings de Havilland Mosquito Fighters (Ducimus, 1970), the first production FB.VIs flew in the Day Fighter Scheme, as you noted. (They began leaving the factory in February 1943.) By June 1943, most FB.VIs were arriving in the night fighter scheme of overall Medium Sea Gray with a Dark Green disruptive pattern in upper surfaces. If your decals are for one of the early aircraft, they are probably showing the accurate finish. Cheers, Dana
  7. Hi Gents, I haven't got much to add, but I did recheck my lists and 17675 was definitely a "1A." To be clear about my list, there were a few "stragglers" that I didn't address from the production lists. When major changes were introduced on the line, a few individual aircraft might have been completed without the change, while others might have been completed with the change ahead of schedule. The Navy kept two lists - one of the actual production characteristics of each BuNo, and a second list for billing purposes. If, for example, a change was introduced on aircraft "88888," and aircraft 88880 and 88883 were completed with the changes ahead of schedule, the master billing list would often state that the change was introduced with aircraft 88886 and all subsequent. Or, if aircraft 88890 and 88894 were completed without the change, the master billing list might reflect the change beginning with aircraft 88890. My lists were based on actual production - I would have said the change began with 88888, but there was no way I could have included all of the one-sies and two-sies that fell out in production. (The books just didn't have enough space!) All that said, there was no such problem with the shift from F4U-1 to "F4U-1A." Even if 17675 had been built without the raised cockpit and canopy, it was well into the block of aircraft with the revised turtledeck - no rearview tunnel windows had ever been fitted. Either someone misread the tiny BuNo on the tail, or the pilot recorded the wrong number (or last three) in his log book. But if the artwork is based on photos, the Reluctant Dragon must have been a Birdcage, regardless of the BuNo. (I have to admit that I don't remember seeing a photo of the aircraft...) Cheers, Dana PS - in my earlier, poorly worded note about Joe's site I was trying to explain that Joe's work is usually spot-on; this is the only time I've ever found a change to his listings.
  8. Sorry Jennings, Jerry passed away in December 2008. Dana
  9. Hi Jean-Michel, Parts of the P-61A radar were not easily accessible - crews needed to remove nearly the entire system to gain access to parts that frequently broke down. The extended nose on the P-61B moved those parts forward where they could be repaired or replaced quickly, without a major overhaul. That said, I've no figures in changes in the length of the nose, though others certainly will... Cheers, Dana
  10. Yes, Keith created the basic scheme. Knowing I was a fan of aircraft color schemes, he showed me his drawings during a visit to NASM. He mentioned that there were some revisions to the wing patterns following initial evaluations, but I don't remember the details - perhaps the white (or blue?) lower wing was original, then switched to improve visibility? I never photographed the scheme, nor do I have copies of his drawings. (The 1986 USAF fact sheet on the T-38 shows the blue on all undersides...) Cheers, Dana
  11. Hi Sandro, You simplified the conversation as soon as you mentioned the TBD... First, pre-war zinc chromate primer was different from post-war primer. In the 1930s manufacturers didn't add a quantity of zinc chromate to a bunch of other chemicals; they added a minimum quantity of zinc oxide and a minimum quantity of chrome oxide to those other chemicals. The suspension resulted in a zinc chromate primer. Since chrome oxide was more expensive, manufacturers tended to use less of it. The resulting primer was always yellow, but the color varied greatly with the percentages of the two pigments used. The original idea was to apply two coats of zinc chromate primer to the aircraft interior, then a finish coat of aluminum pigment suspended in clear lacquer. In the mid-1930s Wright Field advised Northrop that the manufacturer could save time and money by suspending the aluminum pigment in the second coat of primer, then skipping the finish coat. The result was "aluminized zinc chromate." Northrop gave the recommendation a try, then wrote back that the result was actually green! Wright Field gave a sure-what-ever response and aluminized zinc chromate came into use. Since Northrop was a Douglas company at the time, aluminized zinc chromate became an industry standard seen on several Douglas aircraft. But this bright green must have been too bright for the Air Corps, since most standards added a tinting black to the formula - the result was a color called Yellow Green. TBDs originally used aluminized lacquer as a cockpit finish coat, but TBD crews objected that the reflections interfered with night flying. They created their own mix of black and zinc chromate primer that they felt was close enough to the very dark Bronze Green enamel that was then coming into style. They provided no formula, and there are no known surviving samples, so you get to pick any dark olive green that suits your tastes. The evolution of wartime green zinc chromate is a completely different story that won't fit here - but there are more options there when the time comes... Cheers, Dana
  12. Hi cbk57, There are plenty of photos showing multi-colored ammo boxes on Birdcage and "-1A" Corsairs. I often wonder how any service aircraft could have gotten along without an oddly painted ammo box or so. Look for the carrier photos of VF-17 in 1943... Cheers, Dana
  13. A bit of clarity on Dull Dark Green... It was originally presented as a camouflage color based on the water-based Dark Green #30. The Army didn't wish to use the color for camouflage, but the Navy juggled the formula "slightly" and recommended it as a replacement for Bronze Green. The Army agreed, and an ANA chip was created. The Army made the mistake of referring to the standard as Dull Dark Green #30, so some manufacturers used the Navy's juggled ANA standard color, while a few used the original Army color (which was much more like a German Black Green). Each paint supplier could create variations in Dull Dark Green, and, of course, Bronze Green remained in production through the war's end. Douglas also used a duPont color called Pine Green (which had been introduced on DC transports) and Boeing seems to have had their own company dark green used on 307s and 314s - much more information is needed on these colors. Depending on where components originated, cockpits could have three or more dark greens, plus variations of green-tinted zinc chromate. But the darker greens were all created by paint manufacturers, not mixed at aircraft factories. Cheers, Dana
  14. I sent Sovereign a sample of Dull Dark Green some years back - I was pleased with how their paint turned out. I can't comment on the other companies' DDG, but only because I haven't tried them. Cheers, Dana
  15. Hi Jennings, I photographed 780 in July 1993 - the gray band and big dipper were both gone by then. (The silver fox had been added behind the canopy though.) I had the better part of two weeks with the wing, and none of the aircraft wore the markings in your photo. Just a guess, but there was a lot of restructuring going on in the Air Force back then - perhaps the markings change had something to do with Alaskan Air Command dissolving and its units being absorbed into TAC (or was it already AAC?) Cheers, Dana
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