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RAF WW2 camouflage. Hard edge or soft edge?

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4 hours ago, PhilB said:

Then as far as I recall, you can throw in the A or B pattern for the earlier spits which corresponded to the last number of the serial being odd or even.

I miss Edgar!!!!!

:(

 

Generally, but not necessarily 

 

Always go with what you see in the photos of the actual airframe rather than a rule of thumb

 

one very well known example: QV / N3200 Dunkirk beach

 

an sure there are dozens possible hundreds more

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1 hour ago, nmayhew said:

Generally, but not necessarily 

Always go with what you see in the photos of the actual airframe rather than a rule of thumb

one very well known example: QV / N3200 Dunkirk beach

an sure there are dozens possible hundreds more

Wasn't saying it's a rule of thumb Nick.

I was pointing out about the early spits making things even more complicated with the A and B camo.

Of course there may be exceptions.

That's why we have these forums for research.

;)

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12 hours ago, LDSmodeller said:

 

 I don't know, these Spitfires at the Castle Bromwich factory, their fuselage camouflage applications

look pretty identical to me?

 

Spitfires Castle Bromwich

 

 

Whether odd or even serial numbers determined whether the paint outside the masks were painted light or dark. Spits were always factory or repair depot painted, whereas Hurricanes were repaired and repainted by the Squadron mechanics. Also dirt had a lot to do with aircraft of any Squadron looking different in a photo, even if they all were painted the same.

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5 hours ago, Juggernut said:

I remember Edgar saying that the spitfire was painted using masks but for the life of me, I cannot find the thread or that it was on LSP for that matter.... so FWIW...the spitfire I've read had A and B schemes which were the same pattern but using the opposite colors...dark earth and dark green swapped.

 

I remember this as well,  I also recall a black and white picture of the masks being used but can't find it.

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3 hours ago, Fred Jack said:

Whether odd or even serial numbers determined whether the paint outside the masks were painted light or dark...

 

I'm not sure what you're saying here.  Odd/even serial number determined A or B scheme, one was the mirror image of the other.  However, this system was discontinued at a relatively early point, and all aircraft of a particular type painted to one pattern.  Hence, long line-ups of identically-painted Spitfires or whatever.

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It could be both, even on the same aircraft. Check out the hard-edged camo on the rudder and the very diffused soft edge on the tailplane/elevator of this Spit. Also note the completely different shades of Ocean Gray, much darker on the tailplane itself as opposed to the lighter shade seen on the elevator and rudder.

jMoQyoe.jpg

As always, there are no absolutes when it comes to markings, you can find an exception to every hard and fast "rule" that's out there. Just look for the best, crispiest period reference photos you can, study them closely (which I find to be a hobby in and of itself) and try to recreate that on your model.

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A and B are not just swapping the colours over, it is the pattern itself mirrored / flipped; not sure if i am describing that clearly but hopefully people know what I mean, and i think this is realised by most already.

The serial number correlation - at least for early Spits - is certainly what i would use in the absence of any photographic evidence and so in that respect I think it is indeed very much a 'rule of thumb'.

My point was only to say that once you start looking you will find quite a few exceptions.

 

The above pic is very cool btw.

 

 

 

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More info on A and B schemes here

https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/74729-ab-camouflage-scheme-and-serial-question/

The important bit is:

Ted Hooton wrote quite a complete guide to Spitfire camouflage 1938-1940 in SAM many years ago, [Nov 82]. Ted give many serial batches and states the rule most commomly that even number serials had the A scheme and odd numbers had the B scheme. However he lists about 10 batches werre the rule was reversed, this applied to Supermarine built aircraft .

For castle Bromwich built aircraft Mr Hooton points out several detail differences in the pattern and states that for some unknown reason the A/B scheme serial rule alternated between batches.

The application of the A/B scheme ended after serial number X4912 for Supermarine aircraft and Serial number P7810 for Castle Bromwich bulit aircraft, after which the A scheme was applied to all. Mr Hooton states that this occured in December 1940.

With all these alternations of A/B scheme it would be best to obtain a clear photograph of the Spitfire you wish to model before committing to paint.

Andrew

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

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8 hours ago, TAG said:

It could be both, even on the same aircraft. Check out the hard-edged camo on the rudder and the very diffused soft edge on the tailplane/elevator of this Spit. Also note the completely different shades of Ocean Gray, much darker on the tailplane itself as opposed to the lighter shade seen on the elevator and rudder.

jMoQyoe.jpg

As always, there are no absolutes when it comes to markings, you can find an exception to every hard and fast "rule" that's out there. Just look for the best, crispiest period reference photos you can, study them closely (which I find to be a hobby in and of itself) and try to recreate that on your model.

That’s a great picture. I guess it confirms the old adage of check your references.

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8 hours ago, TAG said:

It could be both, even on the same aircraft. Check out the hard-edged camo on the rudder and the very diffused soft edge on the tailplane/elevator of this Spit. Also note the completely different shades of Ocean Gray, much darker on the tailplane itself as opposed to the lighter shade seen on the elevator and rudder.

jMoQyoe.jpg

As always, there are no absolutes when it comes to markings, you can find an exception to every hard and fast "rule" that's out there. Just look for the best, crispiest period reference photos you can, study them closely (which I find to be a hobby in and of itself) and try to recreate that on your model.

Very cool picture.  I wonder if the Brits followed German practice and had some components like flight control surfaces provided by off-site subcontractors who might have had different finishing standards than the main factory.  Either that or that rudder is a field repair job.   If so, wonder if the paint used might be the underside color?  If definitely appears to be  a different tone than the elevator's color.   Or maybe it's just the lighting.  Or maybe none of the above...  

 

Regarding the picture on page one of this thread of the field of Spitfires, only difference I saw in all those paint schemes was on the rudders, which again makes me wonder if the above manufacturing process was being followed.  

 

What a fun subject. Almost as much fun as whether P-51 wings were puttied and what's the correct shade of RLM83.   Sure to generate lots of interesting posts. 

Edited by John1

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I'm not saying mats were never used on Spitfires.  But I maintain that their use was very limited, and I believe it only happened before the war, very early in Spitfire production.  Those early patterns tended to be more "squiggly" than later ones, and I believe that's the ones that used the mats, but even then, it was very few aircraft in the overall production picture.  I had a lengthy email conversation with Edgar Brooks about this about 15 years ago (which unfortunately disappeared on me at some point) and he agreed with me.  There is a piece of film somewhere on the inter webs (which I also can't find any longer - and I've tried) that he sent me featuring an elderly British gentleman wearing a white lab coat chalking camouflage demarcations on a Spitfire Mk.I at the Southampton factory.  He also had documentation specifying the very tightly feathered edge allowed between colors.  99.9% of the photos that people claim "prove" that there was a hard edge don't prove that at all.  What they show, if you examine high resolution images, is exactly what Edgar's documentation showed - a *very* tight, but still hand sprayed, overlap in the colors.

 

You simply do not see absolutely identical camouflage patterns on Spitfires, even ones that were adjacent on the assembly line.  If mats were used, there would be absolutely identical patterns from the use of the same mats to paint them.  And if you really think about how much work using a set of mats would entail, vs how much work it would take for one guy to chalk the pattern (which he undoubtedly had seared in his memory) and another with a spray gun with properly set pattern to walk along and spray the pattern, using mats becomes a silly undertaking when you're literally trying to get airplanes out the door to preserve the very society you're living in.  In addition, the paint buildup on the edges of the mats would quickly make them a grand mess.  Also, Spitfires were camouflaged after assembly unlike the P-40 photo posted above.  The Spitfire wing didn't bolt on as a big single piece the way the P-40's did.  Imagine trying to place and use mats on a completely assembled aircraft sitting on its gear.

 

When someone shows me two or more Spitfires with **absolutely** identical camouflage patterns (not "sort of similar" or "pretty close"), I'll believe they regularly used mats at the Supermarine factories.  I've looked at literally thousands of Spitfire images, and I haven't seen any indication that that was the case yet.

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I am currently working on the Tamiya Mk I, I used masks for the camouflage I personally prefer a crisp consistent look for RAF style camo.  I can't say it is right, but in scale it is hard to get the look the way I want without a good mask.  In 1/32 I think I might try for an effect that produces a softer edge, maybe put the mask on a buffer so it is not flat on the model surface.  However I still would mask.  My freehand gets too inconsistent and does not look right.

 

On another note, I followed Tamiya's recommended paint mix of 5 parts OD to 1 part dark green and found it far too OD.  I went back over it this morning with some faded green oil paint using dot technique to shift the tone a bit from olive.  

 

 

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