I suspect that, like me, many modellers are interested in the history
of the things we model. There have been a number of books over the years
that dealt with various people and ships and aircraft involved in the
air and naval siege of the Island of Malta in World War II. Finally I
have stumbled on a work that addresses the overall Siege from 1940
through 1943. Barnes & Noble is a great place!
"Fortress Malta, an Island under Siege"
I've heard about the Gladiators "Faith, Hope & Charity", and Adrian
Warburton and "Screwball" Buerling and the Pedestal Convoy, and there
are books about them all. But this one ties the whole picture together.
Mr. Holland has interviewed survivors of the siege, both Army, Air,
Naval and Civilian and paints a picture of the Island that one writer
termed "The most bombed spot on Earth". There were heroes, heroines,
just plain guys, and a few fools, knaves and scoundrels all tied to a
small Island that had the misfortune to sit almost across Rommel's
supply route between Sicily and Tunisia. What the people and defenders
of Malta endured is graphically portrayed by Mr. Holland. The next time
I model a Spitfire Mk.V, it will have a little more meaning.
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in article firstname.lastname@example.org, William H. Shuey at
email@example.com wrote on 2/8/04 4:41 PM:
Indeed Barnes and Noble is a great place. Another title I picked up at the
local B&N is The Air Battle for Malta (The Diaries of a Spitfire Pilot) by
James Douglas-Hamilton. This was a marked-down book and, like the title Bill
describes, gives the reader a better appreciation for what the people of
Malta endured and the conditions under which the battle was fought. I'm
working on a 1/72 Spitfire at the moment that I'll paint blue and arm with
four cannon as it was on April 20, 1942, the day it was flown off the USS
Wasp to strengthen the garrison on the island.
Now I'll have to look into another title. Thanks Bill.
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in article firstname.lastname@example.org, William H. Shuey at email@example.com wrote on 2/8/04 4:41 PM:<BR>
> Hi All:<BR>
> I suspect that, like me, many modellers are interested in the history<BR>
> of the things we model. There have been a number of books over the years<BR>
> that dealt with various people and ships and aircraft involved in the<BR>
> air and naval siege of the Island of Malta in World War II. Finally I<BR>
> have stumbled on a work that addresses the overall Siege from 1940<BR>
> through 1943. Barnes & Noble is a great place!<BR>
> "Fortress Malta, an Island under Siege"<BR>
> James Holland<BR>
> ISBN 140135186-7<BR>
> Miramax books<BR>
> I've heard about the Gladiators "Faith, Hope & Charity", and Adrian<BR>
> Warburton and "Screwball" Buerling and the Pedestal Convoy, and there<BR>
> are books about them all. But this one ties the whole picture together.<BR>
> Mr. Holland has interviewed survivors of the siege, both Army, Air,<BR>
> Naval and Civilian and paints a picture of the Island that one writer<BR>
> termed "The most bombed spot on Earth". There were heroes, heroines,<BR>
> just plain guys, and a few fools, knaves and scoundrels all tied to a<BR>
> small Island that had the misfortune to sit almost across Rommel's<BR>
> supply route between Sicily and Tunisia. What the people and defenders<BR>
> of Malta endured is graphically portrayed by Mr. Holland. The next time<BR>
> I model a Spitfire Mk.V, it will have a little more meaning.<BR>
> Bill Shuey<BR>
Indeed Barnes and Noble is a great place. Another title I picked up at the local B&N is <I>The Air Battle for Malta</I> (<I>The Diaries of a Spitfire Pilot</I>) by James Douglas-Hamilton. This was a marked-down book and, like the title Bill describes, gives the reader a better appreciation for what the people of Malta endured and the conditions under which the battle was fought. I'm working on a 1/72 Spitfire at the moment that I'll paint blue and arm with four cannon as it was on April 20, 1942, the day it was flown off the USS Wasp to strengthen the garrison on the island.<BR>
Now I'll have to look into another title. Thanks Bill.<BR>
What is the ISBN number of that book? James Douglas-Hamilton was an
officer involved in the Battle of Britain and was Scotland's premier
Duke also. He is spoken of widely in Sandy Johnstone's book "Enemy in
the Sky". I wasn't aware that he had written a book, that one I want.
Your comment on the Blue Spitfire also struck a chord. Many moons ago I
met a Gent who had been in the air department of the U.S.S. Wasp during
the Malta Spitfire delivery cruises. I wrote his name down at the time
but I can no longer find the note, bad filing system.
Anyway, he commented that the evening after they had sailed from the
Clyde they were entertaining the R.A.F. pilots at dinner. The R.A.F.
Squadron Leader ("Jumbo" Gracie?) commented about the Spitfires being in
the damned desert color scheme, It seems that the "Baby Shit Yellow"
color used on the upper surfaces stuck out like the proverbial sore
thumb over the sea and was not liked. Sailor's can be so descriptive!
Anyway. the Wasp's people broke out some drums of paint and overpainted
the Spitfire's upper surfaces. I assume they used the standard U.S.
Navy Non-Specular Blue Gray paint. From the way he described it, I also
assumed they only overpainted the Mid-Stone portions of the camouflage,
but the way you describe it they did the whole aircraft. Is
Douglas-Hamilton specific about this paint job?
I know from Holland's book that the practice of overpainting the
Mid-Stone was instigated but I'm not sure when. I would love to go to a
U.S.S. Wasp re-union and ask some questions. Maybe someone would
Ain't history fun?
P.S. The 4 cannon fit for the Malta delivery was done just for the
delivery flight. 20 m.m. guns were in short supply so this was a way to
get some guns delivered as well as the aircraft. Two of the 4 guns were
removed as soon as possible after arrival on the island because the
weight of 4 cannon and 4 machine guns was too much. Many had the inboard
cannon removed leaving the out board one in place, an arrangement unique
to Malta based aircraft.
in article firstname.lastname@example.org, William H. Shuey at
email@example.com wrote on 2/8/04 7:37 PM:
Sorry, forgot to add that important part. ISBN 0905 778 45 6.
Yep, history is fun...and expensive. Those Mk Vs that flew off the Wasp
were originally in the desert scheme, hence the overpaint. It was a four
hour flight over the Med and the BSY really stood out over water. The extra
guns, plus that ugly belly tank were removed and became spares as soon as
the aircraft were received. Photos that I have show the entire upper surface
to be a single color. Some even suggest partial repainting of the lower
surfaces as well. Sure wish someone had taken notes at the time on the
source for the blue paint!
For looks and more information, go to hyperscale.com and do a search. Steven
Eisenman has done considerable research and hypothesized a paint scheme. The
only part of the original paint scheme was behind the serial and perhaps the
spinner. I'm going with a dark earth spinner since photos show it to be
different from the uppers of the aircraft and I don't believe it was red.
Aeromaster did a decal sheet for "Malta Defenders" but it's hared to find
now. The codes were too big anyway and that's what I need. I'm doing BR136,
coded 3*G I believe. If anyone knows differently, let me know.
Don't Do It Milton!!!
I've followed RAF schemes for a long time, and although you can never say
anything with certainty, I am as sure as can be that RAF planes never used
current camo colours on fighter spinners.
By the time Sky was in use as a spinner colour, the scheme had changed to
Medium Sea Grey undersides.
If it was me I'd go for dull roundel red, but that's just me.
Look out for Allen Halls book Fighting Colours, and also check for any of
Richard Caruana's articles in Scale Aviation Modeller International - he's
from Malta and has a special interest, including research for the restored
Mk. IX Spitfire in the Malta museum.
Change' boos' to 'bos' in address to email directly
wrote on 2/8/04 7:37 PM:
in article c08hun$dmg$ firstname.lastname@example.org, Chek at
chek email@example.com wrote on 2/9/04 12:01 PM:
Thanks for the heads-up. I'll do some more checking on the spinner colors.
Thought I had read somewhere that spinners for the desert schemes were the
darker color. Anyway, the one model built-up used insig. red for the
spinner. Certainly looks more attractive that way.
Question I have is if the underside was over-painted also, what did they
use? Or was it left Med. Sea Gray? One picture sure looks like new paint on
the bottom of the fuselage and "splattered/smeared" over the tire.
Again, thanks for the input.
Bad assumption on the color Bill. Photos at NARA show it as much darker
than USN blue-grey (I happened to stumble across a couple last week). At
least one source says 20-B deck blue. It's probable you could pull the
deck logs for the time frame of the cruise and it would be in there.
Give me cruise start and end dates and when I have some free time I'll
see what I can dig up at NARA, if those logs are still at NHC then it
has to wait until summer because i don't go that section of DC when
there's a chance of it getting dark before I leave.
"William H. Shuey" wrote:
Well, I'll tell you. Non-Specular Blue-Gray was pretty dark when fresh,
somewhere about around 35189 in the FS-595 world. It was notorious for
fading in Ocean Sun and salt air, a Cousin of mine who flew SBD's in
"The Big One" had some interesting comments on that subject.
I have some published photos of the Spitfires on the Wasp for the Malta
delivery runs in "Spitfire at War", Vol.2 by Alfred Price. There is a
pic of a Spitfire being swung aboard at King George V dock at Glasgow
and it is in full Desert Scheme. Then there are a couple of pics taken
in the hanger deck showing the preparations for launch and the "Baby
Shit Yellow" is obviously gone. What remains is apparently a two tone
scheme of colors that are very close in color and there is obvious
overpainting in places on insignia and code letters indicating brush
painting, no masking. This would be in keeping with a job done by ship's
personnel in a hurry.
It also should be borne in mind that there were almost as many
Spitfires delivered by H.M.S. Eagle and Furious and their ship's
personnel would not have had access to the same color paints as the
U.S.S. Wasp people. I suspect the color would depend on the delivery
batch's delivery ship. If a Furious or Eagle delivery, you might be
looking at a Royal Navy Extra Dark Sea Gray paint job. U.S.S. Wasp?
Non-Specular Blue Gray. Ain't history research fun???
Cruise time frame?
The Wasp left the U.S. sometime in January/February of 1942 for
England. The two delivery runs to Malta were late April-early May of 42.
She came home for some refit and then went to her fate in the South
Pacific. She was more a casualty of Halsey's incompetent staff than the
Japanese, but that's considered a non-pc topic in most circles.
NARA? That's the new facility down below NSA off the
Baltimore-Washington parkway, Beltsville, isn't it. I've been meaning to
go visit one day. I used to go digging through the Naval records when
they were in "Stack 19" at the National Archives in D.C., more years ago
than I care to admit.
NHC? That's the old Washington Navy Yard, right? I have been advised
that that is no place to visit unless you got a carry permit. Maybe we
could get together and make a trip of it sometime this Summer?
in article firstname.lastname@example.org, Ron at email@example.com wrote on
2/9/04 12:17 PM:
I'm using 5-N Navy Blue for the 1/72 model. So far, it looks pretty good
compared to the B&W photos of Spits taking off the Wasp. It's PollyScale
paint and dries darker than it appears in the bottle.
As a pointer here: All water based paints tend to darken as they dry.
Poly-S, Poly-Scale, Testor's Acrylic, you name it! It makes it difficult
when you are mixing colors as you have to wait about 24 hours to see if
what you have actually mixed is correct. Frustrating? Yeah!
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