After reading the threads on the logic of the P-38 being gloss black it
made me wonder if the P-61s should be gloss for the same reason. Anybody?
FWIW, I do know the 'Black Cat' PBYs were indeed flat. The very first one
actually only had the white numbers covered over in lampblack, but
subsequently had all flat black schemes.
in article firstname.lastname@example.org,
Disco58 at email@example.com wrote on 1/1/07 9:58 AM:
Yes, standard factory camouflage for P-61s was Gloss Black at least by the
time the B models started production in 1945. According to "P-61 in Action,"
P-61s entered service before the P-38Ms, which didn't fly until January
1945. Although the earliest P-61s were OD/NG and then Flat Bblack, Gloss
Black was introduced on P-61As at the unit level sometime in 1944:
"The 422nd NFS [in Europe] introduced the use of Gloss Black as a camouflage
for the P-61. The unit found that GB was a much better night scheme than
either the OD/NG or Flat Black schemes. FB paint absorbed light making the
P-61 appear as a 'hole' in the glare of searchlights while GB reflected the
This discovery would have been common knowledge by the time the P-38M made
its appearance some months later.
Early P-61s carried the standard OD over medium grey camouflage scheme.
If I recall correctly, the scheme was changed to the overall glossy
black about the time of the switch-over from the P-61A to P-61B model.
Rufus--if you're referring to the PBYs, I was going on a History Channel
'Black Cat' episode I have. The section talking about the paint scheme I
believe was narrated, or at least voiced-over, by one of the original BC
pilots. If that part was just basic narration, I suppose they could have
their information wrong.
Yes - I was thinking of the Black Cats. The site I had bookmarked on
them seems to have gone 404...but I shouldn't think it would have been a
far stretch for them to have been initially gloss and then faded to
matte under the tropical sun.
One of the guys I know that researched and painted his Monogram PBY-5 as
a Black Cat did it in gloss - he even painted it blue/white first and
them black so he could weather through the black paint in spots...he
said that was how the paint on the originals was applied. Sounds like
they just used what they could get their hands on.
...wish I could find that website.