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Jack Charles' Mk.IX in June/July 1944

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Hello friends,

 

I'm thinking of using the Jack Charles option for my Tamiya Mk.IX...

 

sb-pcmspitfireix-06.jpg

 

Does anyone know if the markings / style of registration letters for PT396 / EJ-C are correct?

 

I don't have access to photos of this aircraft and have become a bit suspicious since the markings for "Johnnie" Johnson above are incorrect for MK392 as supplied (registration letters wrong shape, Maple Leaf which wasn't added to this aircraft).

 

I'm also wondering if this aircraft would have had:

1. the regular universal wing set-up,

2. the "e"-wing, or

3. the universal wings with the 20mm guns in the outer positions, .50cal MG's in the inner positions with the .303 wells empty (field modded conversion kit)?

 

Thanks in advance for any help you might provide!

Cheers,

Erik.

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I have serious doubts about that entire scheme. To wit:

 

1. Mk.IXc (it was a 'c' not an 'e') PT396 was issued to 45 Maintenance Unit (from the factory) on 1 July 44. It didn't get to the squadron until later in the month (28 July), by which time the D-Day stripes were ordered removed from the upper surfaces of wings & fuselages.

 

2. 127 Squadron used the "EJ" squadron codes in North Africa. When the unit returned to the UK and was re-formed on 23 April 44, it was given a new code "9N". That was two months before D-Day.

 

3. The profile of MK392/JE-J is utterly and completely fictional. The codes are in the rounded style that were carried by Johnson's previous aircraft, EN398, which he wasn't flying at the time of D-Day. I have no clue where they fished that up from, but it's flat wrong according to photos.

 

4. Somebody is going to have to produce some photos of any aircraft (of any air force) with full upper and lower D-Day stripes, but with full squadron codes, serials, roundels, etc that look absolutely pristine *on top* of the stripes. The stripes were ordered applied the evening of 2 July, and they didn't spend a lot of time making them pretty. Later on when things settled down a bit you saw some pretty, straight, even, nicely applied stripes. But not all the way around the wings & fuselage.

 

As somebody who has done a lot of markings & camouflage research, and not a little bit of decal/profile art in his day, I take 100% of what I see published with a grain of salt the size of the Volkswagen - until and unless I see photos to back it up. And in my experience, about 90% of the time the photo(s) don't support the profile. It takes a keen eye, a knack for knowing what questions to ask, and a very skeptical approach to get things right. I'm not saying I'm 100% right all the time, but I try not to take anything I see for a given.

 

FWIW, there was no such thing as a field-modified 'e' wing (from a 'c' wing). That was a major conversion that was only authorized to be done by Vickers. Apparently there were very few of them done. There are anecdotal reports of this, but the Spitfire experts (Edgar Brooks & Bob Swaddling) don't think it happened in the field, so I believe them.

 

J

 

PS: It tells me something about the proficiency of the decal/profile artist who did that stuff that the US star & bar on "Lady Ellen III" is so out of whack. If you can't get something basic like that correct, plus the obvious error on Johnson's markings, the rest of the thing is highly suspect in my book.

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the US star & bar on "Lady Ellen III" is so out of whack.

 

All I can see is the bars shold be a little longer and finish equal to a vertical line from the rearmost frame of the back of the canopy. Is there something else?

 

Cheers Matty

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All I can see is the bars shold be a little longer and finish equal to a vertical line from the rearmost frame of the back of the canopy. Is there something else?

 

Yes. The US star & bar is not just a circle with bars stuck on it. That's what that profile shows. There is a precise way to construct a star & bar, and that's not it. Here's what a correctly proportioned and constructed one looks like (ignore the post war red bar).

 

StarandBar.jpg

 

J

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I have serious doubts about that entire scheme. To wit:

 

1. Mk.IXc (it was a 'c' not an 'e') PT396 was issued to 45 Maintenance Unit (from the factory) on 1 July 44. It didn't get to the squadron until later in the month (28 July), by which time the D-Day stripes were ordered removed from the upper surfaces of wings & fuselages.

 

2. 127 Squadron used the "EJ" squadron codes in North Africa. When the unit returned to the UK and was re-formed on 23 April 44, it was given a new code "9N". That was two months before D-Day.

 

3. Somebody is going to have to produce some photos of any aircraft (of any air force) with full upper and lower D-Day stripes, but with full squadron codes, serials, roundels, etc that look absolutely pristine *on top* of the stripes. The stripes were ordered applied the evening of 2 July, and they didn't spend a lot of time making them pretty. Later on when things settled down a bit you saw some pretty, straight, even, nicely applied stripes. But not all the way around the wings & fuselage.

 

As somebody who has done a lot of markings & camouflage research, and not a little bit of decal/profile art in his day, I take 100% of what I see published with a grain of salt the size of the Volkswagen - until and unless I see photos to back it up. And in my experience, about 90% of the time the photo(s) don't support the profile. It takes a keen eye, a knack for knowing what questions to ask, and a very skeptical approach to get things right. I'm not saying I'm 100% right all the time, but I try not to take anything I see for a given.

 

FWIW, there was no such thing as a field-modified 'e' wing (from a 'c' wing). That was a major conversion that was only authorized to be done by Vickers. Apparently there were very few of them done. There are anecdotal reports of this, but the Spitfire experts (Edgar Brooks & Bob Swaddling) don't think it happened in the field, so I believe them.

 

J

 

PS: It tells me something about the proficiency of the decal/profile artist who did that stuff that the US star & bar on "Lady Ellen III" is so out of whack. If you can't get something basic like that correct, the rest of the thing is highly suspect in my book.

 

Thanks Jennings!

 

I'll steer clear of this scheme then! I had my suspicions when reading up on Johnson's JE-J MK392. The decals are just a modification of the first JE-J EN398...

 

Do you know how to find out with what wing Spitfires were delivered? It seems that after the invasion most Mk.IX's were equipped with 'e'-wings if I look through my 2 2nd TAF-books (part 2 and part 4)? Or were these all Mk.XVI's?

 

In any case, the sites which list Spitfire production don't list what type of wing was fitted. At least those that I found...

 

http://www.spitfires.ukf.net/

 

http://www.angelfire.com/sd2/spitfirefactory/production.htm

 

About those armament conversion kits: I thought I read about it on one of the forums. I guess I didn't read it well enough, then! For the life of me; I wouldn't remember exactly where I thought I read it anyhow! Sorry for any confusion my above post about it may have caused!

 

Cheers,

Erik.

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Yes. The US star & bar is not just a circle with bars stuck on it. That's what that profile shows. There is a precise way to construct a star & bar, and that's not it. Here's what a correctly proportioned and constructed one looks like (ignore the post war red bar).

 

StarandBar.jpg

 

J

 

Now I'm not very knowledgeable about the "Stars 'n' Bars" but isn't it so that after the red surround dissappeared it was substitude by a blue "surround"? The star until then did touch the outside of the roundel?

 

roundel2a_may42-jun43.jpg

 

roundel4a_jul-aug43.jpg

 

roundel5a_sep43-jan47.jpg

 

Or am I missing the point?

 

Chers,

Erik.

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A small correction; PT396 was delivered (to 602 Squadron, according to Morgan/Shacklady) on August 17th. (absolutely no chance of a full set of invasion stripes, by then.) Prior to that, it had spent 20 days at Miles Aircraft Ltd., and the question has to be Why? Miles were a small company, specialising in light aircraft, with no connection (as far as I know) to Supermarine. There is the intriguing possibility that they did wing conversions, but I cannot say for sure, it's a pure guess. However, they were based at Woodley Aerodrome, with Supermarine's Aldermarston testing facility only a short hop away, so they would have been ideally placed.

It also spent 3 months at 9M.U., before going to the Mediterraenean. It was handed over to the Italian Air Force, in June, 1947, and is then listed, by Air-Britain, as a IXe, so it was converted somewhere, sometime. The Miles Archive is held at a museum about 20 miles away, and I'll try to find out something, but it only opens on two days per week during the winter, and it's on the outskirts of Reading, which is an absolute traffic nightmare.

All Castle Bromwich IXs & XVIs had the "universal" wing, which, allegedly, meant that it could take any combination of armament, but the layout of the IXc wing differed from the Vc, in the run of the heating pipework. On the V, the outer guns were heated by the engine, with both cannon bays served by the single radiator. With the IX having two radiators, each wing could (and did) have its own service. A pipe ran behind the cannon, with an exit to the breech, then turned and ran alongside it, in the empty outer bay, up to the wingspar, then turned, at right angles, to go out to feed the 2 x .303". To convert to "E" configuration, that pipe had to be partially removed, redirected, and redundant holes blanked off, which was asking a lot of a busy Squadron, especially around June, 1944.

Still more questions than answers, I fear; sorry.

Edgar

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Or am I missing the point?

 

Yes. You have to look at the proportions of the circle, the outline, and the bars. That one is messed up. There is a very precise mathematical formula for constructing the star & bar. That one doesn't use it.

 

J

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I have serious doubts about that entire scheme. To wit:

 

 

2. 127 Squadron used the "EJ" squadron codes in North Africa. When the unit returned to the UK and was re-formed on 23 April 44, it was given a new code "9N". That was two months before D-Day.

 

 

I have yet to look very closely at the marking option for the aircraft in question, but based on what I have seen in the image here. I notice the Wing Commander pendant on the aircraft. That means he is a Wing Commander, and therefore he would not have the squadron codes on his aircraft, but his initials which are EJC for Edward John Charles. So I don't think there is an error for the 127 squadron code of EJ or 9N, as it is not the squadron code but his initials.

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I have yet to look very closely at the marking option for the aircraft in question, but based on what I have seen in the image here. I notice the Wing Commander pendant on the aircraft. That means he is a Wing Commander, and therefore he would not have the squadron codes on his aircraft, but his initials which are EJC for Edward John Charles. So I don't think there is an error for the 127 squadron code of EJ or 9N, as it is not the squadron code but his initials.

 

That's a possibility. It's interesting that the squadron had used "EJ" previously though. In any event, that aircraft couldn't have had full D-Day stripes on it ever, so I'm dubious of the accuracy of the profile from the get-go.

 

J

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That's a possibility. It's interesting that the squadron had used "EJ" previously though. In any event, that aircraft couldn't have had full D-Day stripes on it ever, so I'm dubious of the accuracy of the profile from the get-go.

 

J

 

Also note that it is 127 wing, and not 127 squadron, so at that time period the 127 wing was comprised of 403, 416, and 421 squadrons. However from my quick research tonight one source has Wing Commander Charles flying with 611 squadron during this time period, and not 127 wing. While other web based sources have him with 127 wing at Tangmere. So the marking scheme may very well be inaccurate from stem to stern. I also looked quickly into the RCAF archives on-line and they are listing the 127 wing Spitfires as IXb's. I'll be heading to the RCAF library over the Christmas holidays to look into the books on this one.

 

Ron

 

spelling error corrected

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Thanks for the info on the Stars n Bars. See what you think of the profile from the photo.

 

From Malcolm Laird and Paul Ludwigs book

American Spitfires Camouflage and Markings Part 1 (revised edition)

Ventura Publications 2000

ISBN 0-9583594-3-1

pg55

post-901-1260167055.jpg

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very interesting discussion, and once again PCM doesn't come out well which is a shame - oh well - and i thought it was just me spotting some differences between their aircraft profiles and the info on say Spitfire Site (i was prodding around there last night...)

 

completely off topic and rather cheeky :) , Erik can i ask do you plan to use your bomb carriers and bombs from your Tamiya kit?

 

i have a couple of schemes in mind for my (poor cousin) PCM kits that need to be "bombed up" to be accurate.

 

don't ask, don't get and all that.... :whistle:

 

thanks,

 

Nick

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I don't own the PCM kit, so I haven't examined it up close and personal. But one has to assume the profile art and the decal art are one and the same (that's usually how it's done). The red outlined star & bar that I see on the profile is mis-proportioned. Since I saw the photo below posted on HS today, that's pretty well confirmed. I've been doing decal art for upwards of 20 years, and I've drawn a fair few stars & bars in my day, and looked at I don't know how many thousands of them in all their weird and wonderful variations. I'm not saying something like the one seen here didn't exist, but I've got the Ventura book in question, and it has several really good pics of "Lady Ellen III" in it. I can state categorically that the stars & bars on that a/c were absolutely standard in their proportions. The ones on the profile above and the photo below are not. The red outline is about half to two-thirds as wide as it should be, and the proportion of the bars to the circle is off. I'm not casting aspersions on the kit, but I can say with confidence that at least that part of the profile & decal work does not match photos of the subject aircraft. Take that for whatever it's worth to you. I'm surely not perfect by any stretch of anyone's imagination, but I do take pride in making my decal & profile work match as closely as it's humanly possible for me to make them. Sometimes we have to make educated guesses, but not in that particular case, nor in the case of the mis-applied D-Day stripes on the other aircraft. Basic historical research bears that out.

 

J

 

PS: Very nicely done model, btw!

 

132SpitMkIV013.jpg

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I think what Matty is suggesting from the photo he posted is that the Spit in question appears to have had it's star and bars field done, which doesn't always match specs perfectly. I know I have seen some oddball F4u markings as they went from no bars to red bars to blue bars.

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