Hello. I'm new to posting here, so go easy on the new guy.
I have a question about the color scheme on the Spitfire Mk. II. The plane
I'm building is from the late 1940 timeframe. My references show RAF Dark
Earth and RAF Dark Green as the upper camoflauge, RAF Sky Blue on the
underside, and Blue-Green for the cockpit. I'm using Model Master Acrylics
and I want to get some input from more experienced builders about the paints
I'm using. Are the following colors an accurate representation of this
MM-RAF Dark Green (#4849)- this one seems straight forward to me
MM-RAF Interior Green (#4850)-this one also seems straight forward
MM-Dark Earth ANA 617 (#4846) -would Floquil-Br. Dark Earth (F505250) be a
MM-RAF Sky Type 'S' ANA 610 (#4840)-would Floquil-RAAF K3/195 Sky Blue
(F505248)) be a better match?
OK, new guy-welcome!!! here's a website that is pretty valuable-
This is a cross reference in two parts. Part 1 (the link takes you direct)
is a listing by country and time frame of colors used. Part 2 (link on Part
1 front page) lists what colors match by paint company. I would go with the
Testors, but stick with the RAF colors- there are subtle differences. Note-
RAF sky isn't really blue- it's a very difficult to pin down mostly greenish
pastel. Have fun, and don't hesitate to ask the group questions. Most of us
are pretty helpful, and some of the folks here are VERY knowledgeable.
With respect to the underside colours, you have stumbled across a can of
worms. For complete accuracy you really need a colour photo of your
target aircraft - and these are not usually available! Which aircraft
are you modelling - squadron codes and/or serial number, or kit
manufacturer and number could help :-)
Sky and Sky Blue are not the same colour. To make it worse, there are
two Sky Blues from this era! Also your MM paint has an ANA code which
may indicate a colour manufactured to American standards for use on
British purchases, and so may be subtly different from "real Sky" -
depends on how fussy you want to be, I guess.
The Floquil 505248 Sky Blue RAAF K3/195 has the notation (FS 35550) next
to it on a Testors colour chart. That matches what I have for Sky Blue
(Not BS381(1930) No.1 Sky Blue - see below) which is a possible colour
for your Spitfire.
There is a British Sky (Type ?S?) 505254 in the Floquil line. Don't
know how well this matches BoB-era Sky, though.
Paul Lucas has a good section on the colour of Sky in his Aviation
Workshop monograph, Britain Alone (On Target Special No.2). To
summarise, the RAE at Farnborough adopted Sidney Cotton's Camotint from
the PDU at Heston and renamed it Sky. This is the light grey-green
shade. At the same time they set a new standard for the surface finish,
called Type S. (so the term Sky, Type S means the colour Sky made to
the Type S standard of finish). In June 1940 the Air Ministry told all
day fighter units to repaint their undersurfaces in Sky, Type S.
But the paint industry hadn't managed to get much made - this was a new
type of paint, remember, Type S. So Squadrons were asking Stores for
Sky paint and being told there was none available. Thrown back on their
own resources, they had to first find out what colour Sky actually was!
The Air Ministry when asked described it as Duck Egg Bluish Green -
which I get the feeling was ministry-speak for "buggered if I know,
Lucas' research, matching paint samples from various preserved aircraft
bits, provides convincing evidence for six shades being used on
1) Sky Grey - light grey
2) Sky - the light grey-green Camotint-inspired shade
3) Sky Blue - light powder blue
4) BS381(1930) No.16 Eau-de-Nil - pale green (Duck-egg Green?)
5) BS381(1930) No.1 Sky Blue - aquamarine blue (Duck-egg Blue?)
6) an unidentified light blue-grey seen on some Gloster-built Hurricanes.
Apart from the last, all of these would have been available in the
supply chain, and if Sky wasn't available, the Squadrons would have used
the next nearest shade they could get their hands on. Even photographs
aren't going to help you decide which shade to use - much research,
using recent publications, is indicated. I think many older
publications may have gone with the official Air Ministry line (Sky,
These Aviation Workshop publications are very good on this subject, see
I got into this researching the colours for Robert Stanford Tuck's BoB
Hurricane DToA. I used to think that the tail band and spinner rear
were white and the undersides Sky, but Paul Lucas convinced me that the
undersides were BS381 No.1 Sky Blue and the band and spinner were Sky
Blue (the pale one) (it's darker than the white in the roundels). What's
more, he says that all Fighter Command tail bands were this colour until
mid-41 and the arrival of the Dark Green-Ocean Grey-Medium Sea Grey scheme.
All this may be irrelevent to you, of course, since you may just want to
find the best match for RAF Sky. I use enamels, and the Xtracolour Sky
is my favourite.
Just to add to Alan's excellent post.............. and to clarify.
Most kit instructions (and most publications) refer to the WWII Spitfire
colours as 'Dark Earth', 'Dark Green' and 'Sky, Type S'.
This is sometime interpreted as meaning the the 'Type S' finish referred
to he Sky colour only.
The instructions were badly worded at the time - and should have read
'Dark Earth, Type S', 'Dark Green, Type S' and 'Sky, Type S' - you see
the difference ??
Alan Dicey wrote:
"Daniel Hazel" wrote in
Mk. II. The
RAF Sky Blue
K3/195 Sky Blue
I'm gonna disagree somewhat with what some others have
written. I actually wrote a fairly long post sometime ago on
this but the search engine doesn't seem to go back far
I have a Camoflage and Markings on the early war RAF. It's No
2, Battle for Britain To summarize
Orginally the fighters were left unpainted on the bottom,
bare aluminum. At some point it was decided to paint the port
wing black (Night) as an identification aid. Then they
started painting the starboard wing white. And left the fuse
and tail in bare aluminum. Various combinations ensued, the
demarcation line between the black and white moved. Sometimes
the entire undersurface was painted Nite port and white
Then we come to camo colors.
BS 381 (1930) No 1 Sky Blue, Blue with a greenish cast
This I find also referred to as Eau d'Nil.
BS 381 (1930) No 16 Duck Egg Green darker than Sky, maybe a
In 1939 the Royal Aircraft Establishment came across some
reserch work being done at Hendon on camoflage and they
proceeded to reformulate the colors.
Sky Type S
Sky is a newer formulation of Duck Egg Green lighter, less
intense than No 16.
Type S refers to the pigment in the paint, a very finely
ground pigment to produce a very smooth surface.
In early 1940 Sky Type S was adopted as standard but only for
aircraft then building, it was not neccessary to repaint
existing aircraft. However aircraft being repaired or
repainted in the field appear to have been at the discretion
of the local conditions.
The formualtion was apparently something of a challenge to
get right and it took some time after the acceptance before
suitable quantities appeared.
The following colors allowed/used as substitutes until
existing supplies were depleted.
BS 381 (1930) No 16 Duck Egg Green
BS 381 (1930) No 1 Eau d'Nil/Sky Blue.
Sky Gray same as the ID letters.
Sky Blue lighter and less green than No 1
The brighter, more intense Blue is Azure blue and is more of
a Med/N. Africa color.
This is really a superficial explanation. If you are going to
do any number of RAF aircraft I cannot reccomend the book
enough. I find that the amount of detail provided and the
depth of the explanations (down to RAE and Air Ministry order
numbers) sufficient to satisy my needs. I will use this book
as a guide until something better presents itself.
Camouflage and Marking No 2 Battle for Britain.
The book does not reccomend hobby paints and as will be
pointed out quickly by the more afflicted among us the colors
pictured in the charts and profiles are only approximations
within the limits of the printing process. Be that as it may
I find that there is sufficient contrast between the
different colors as to provide a reasonable comparison
between available paint colors and shades. Duck Egg Green
from 1930 is lighter than Sky Type S from 1940. The various
incarnations of blue are also darker in thier 1930 mix than
in 1940. All major paint makers most likely make reasonable
representations. Humbrol (they are from England),
Testors/Model Master bought what they couldn't/wouldn't
research on thier own. Aeromaster is back in business under a
slighly different name. Polly S is made by Testors so they
have the same resources. I believe Floquil stopped making
military colors, though some of thier railroad colors may be
suitable. Gunze, Xtracolor have exact matches, Tamiya tends
more to mix it yourself from thier bottles, though they also
have the very best aersol spray cans with very nicely matched
aircraft colors (which I unashamedly use where convenient).
Remember this, though. It was 65 years ago. There was a war
on. Good enough was good enough. Getting the planes in the
air and shooting down Germans was the priority. Precise
computer aided color matching was not an option. Nobody can
say exactly what's right. Don't go nuts trying to make a
decision. Here's an easy choice Humbrol for brushing, Model
Master for airbrush.
The uppersurface was brown and green throughout the BoB. Tail
bands probably didn't show up till very late 1940, after the
majority of the fighting. Lowers could be black/white,
black/white/aluminum, black/aluminum, BS 381 (1930) No 16
Duck Egg Green, BS 381 (1930) No 1 Eau d'Nil/Sky Blue, 1940
Sky Gray, 1940 Sky Blue. Sky Type S. Depends on aircraft
where it was posted and when it operated. I personally don't
care for the black port wing so I don't think I'll do one
like that. It really is a matter of check your references and
take your best guess. Then let the know-it-alls prove it's
Anyway check your email for a cheat sheet I made some time
ago, pre marriage and kids.
Some additional comments, not to be argumentative but to present extra
information. I think we, or our books, disagree on only one point,
Pre-war the finish was overall Aluminium. Top-surface camouflage (Dark
Green/Dark Earth) was hurriedly applied after Munich, but undersurfaces
were left. At the outbreak of war in September 1939, fighters had the
port wing painted Night and the Starboard White, to facilitate Observer
Corps identification of friendly forces. New aircraft had the entire
undersurface so painted, but some of the exisiting force only had the
wings painted, with the paint extending to meet at the midline of the
fuselage. I've not seen any Black/Aluminium examples. In November
1940, an instruction was issued to paint the port wing of "Sky"
undersurfaced aircraft in Special Night - the most notable example of
this being Robert Stanford Tuck's DT-A.
Here we differ. No. 1 Sky Blue is described as an aquamarine shade, and
does have an element of green in it (from the colour samples given by
Paul Lucas, who has done extensive research in the official archives and
around museums, looking at actual pieces of aeroplane from the time in
There is no way that No 1 Sky Blue would be described as Eau-de-Nil
(literally, water-of-Nile), which is a term that has much wider use than
just the military and is always associated with a pale green shade (no
blue in it at all). I agree that BS381 No.16 Eau-de-Nil is darker than Sky.
This would be practical research work done by No.1 PDU, lead by Sidney
Cotton, using Blenheims and Hudsons.
Lucas quotes Air Ministry signal X915, 6th June 1940, as cancelling all
previous instructions on the painting and marking of the undersides of
fighters and stating that the undersides of all fighter aircraft were
now to be doped to Sky Type S and underwing roundels removed.
Sky Grey was introduced in 1939 for the undersurfaces of Fleet Air Arm
aircraft. The colour of the code letters is Medium Sea Grey.
The unnumbered Sky Blue, a very pale shade, was apparantly developed by
the RAE for the underside of target aircraft, in 1939.
Azure Blue was developed by the RAE in December 1940 (so post BoB) for
the Middle East Command who did not like Sky, saying it was too light
for their skies.
I've not seen this one. Can you give me some more publishing details,
author's name, publisher, ISBN number? As you say, it seems to go into
great detail. When was it published? The two Aviation Workshops books
are quite recent:
On Target Special No.2, Britain Alone, Paul Lucas and Jon Freeman, The
Aviation Workshop Publications Ltd. 2003. ISBN 1-904643-06-X
On Target Profiles 4, Spitfire Mk.I to VI in the European Theatre of
Operations, Jon Freeman, The Aviation Workshop Publications Ltd. 2003.
Yup, agree with all of that. At the end of the day, do it the way you
Best current research on the subject, IMHO.
Scale Aircraft Monographs. #2
"The Battle for Britain, RAF; May to December 1940"
Author: Paul Lucas
Series Editor Neil Robinson
Guideline Publications, Ltd.
Lucas has worked with a number of people in the aircraft archeology
field in the U.K. who wreckover crashed aircraft from the war and their
findings on what was actually done as opposed to what some boffins
regulation called for are quite fascinating.
A somewhat similar situation is emerging regarding German aircraft from
the B of B but no one has put that into a compact form yet. There have
been a couple of articles in Model Aircraft monthly.
Bill, I think the work I am using for reference is an updated version of
the SAM publication. :-) The full details are
On Target Special No.2,
Britain Alone: The camouflage and markings of British Military aircraft
June 1940 to December 1941,
Paul Lucas, Illustrated by Jon Freeman, Series Editor Neil Robinson,
The Aviation Workshop Publications Ltd. October 2003
It is very well researched, but even then Paul Lucas does not claim it
to be the final word.
I appreciate all the great information on Spitfire colors, as I am also
building a model Spitfire MK II (Douglas Bader version).
I'm currently working on the cockpit and thought I'd ask a couple
questions of the experts...
Does anyone know if the seat would have been painted green, or left as a
rusty-red bakelite color? I've seen both representations. Also, I've
seen pics of black padding on these seats, but not sure if this was used
in the original aircraft or not.
Does anyone know the radio equip. used in this aircraft. I've found pics
of both the TR.9D and the TR.1133, which both differ quite a bit from
the look of the kit-supplied part.
I have three of the 'Camouflage & Markings' series...
Number 1 C&M - Supermarine Spitfire RAF Northern Europe 1936 - 45
Number 4 C&M - Hawker Tornado Typhoon & Tempest RAF Northern Europe 1936
Number 16 C&M - NA P-51 & F-6 Mustang USAAF, ETO & MTO 1942-1945
They were an excellent series of affordable 'booklets' in the same style
as the old 'Profile' series - but a bit thicker.
Price was 30 - 35 pence and they were published by Ducimus Books ltd.
The authors were very well respected - James Goulding did the Spitfire,
R.C. Jones & R. L.Ward the Hawkers & Roger A Freeman the Mustang.
Lots of text, B&W photos, scale drawings showing insignia positions, B&W
side & underside profiles showing camo schemes, a colour 5-view of a
single example Spit plus colour 'sketches' of various Mk's of airframe
examples showing the development of the colour schemes. 24 pages in the
Spit, the Mustang has 95.
A great little reference guide..................
I can't find any ISBN, nor publication dates on them - but they were
early 70's IIRC.
Just some general rather than specific info Kevin.
It depends on the timeframe Kevin - as usual it's best to
work from a photo.
If there's an aerial cable leading to the fin top, it's a
TR9D, no cable then the
later TR1133 has been fitted.
The new radios came into service during the latter half of
1940, so without
confirmation from someone's memory or archives, either can
The seat is probably unpainted bakelite, but please remember
its a dark
blackish brown colour, not the strange orange shades that
seem to be fashionable
with WWII modellers at the moment.
There seems to be a market for anything these days, so check
out some 1940's
home radios online - certainly in the UK bakelite was used
for the cases.
You'll see it's definitely not rusty red.
The black leather back pads are detachable, and
would be there or not according to pilot choice.
Some photos can be found at:
I'm just about to commence the same model.
I'm no expert, but here is what I intend to do.
My seat will be brown unpainted bakelite with no padding.
There is no antenna cable on this aircraft and the housing for the tensioner
appears to have been cut down. Therefore I believe that this aircraft
carried a TR1133.
You need to be careful with Bader's aircraft from this period. He flew two
aircraft which were marked identically: IIa P7966 and Va W3185.
The confusion relating to Sky Type S had been resolved by early 1941 and so
you can use Sky paint without any remixing of colours. The spinner and
fuselage band would have been the same shade as the undersurface - at least
that is how I am going to represent it.
I'm helping my son build the Revell Mk Vb, to be finished as AZ-G
because neither of us like clipped-wing Spitfires. In parallel I am
working on a 1/48 Tamiya Mk.I and three Fujimi 1/72 Mk XIV's. So here's
what I know or have found out.
I have used Humbrol 133 Satin Brown for this, which seems closer to what
I remember Bakelite looking like.
No antenna cable? Nothing between aerial mast and fin? Just asking, as
most photo's don't catch the aerial wire, so spotting an absence is
Paul Lucas reckons that tail bands and spinners were Sky Blue (the pale
powder blue) until summer 1941 and the introduction of the Dark
Green/Ocean Grey/Medium Sea Grey scheme. Hard to be sure, but if
photo's show a difference in shade between the tail band/spinner and the
underside (which *will* have been Sky by then) it argues for a non-Sky
colour, and Sky Blue is the only one that's paler...
In his regular column in Scale Aircraft Modelling, Ian Huntley argued that
the early versions of Sky were mixed locally and many turned out to be bluer
and/or paler than true Sky. He also argues that by the time the fuselage
band came to be applied, units could easily get supplies of Sky paint.
Therefore, I use true Sky Type S for spinners and tail bands. Every photo
that I have seen showing a different band colour to the undersurface colour
has the tail band being noticeably darker. Therefore if I need to represent
a different undersurface colour I use Polly Scale RLM84 Sky Green PS5324,
which is lighter than Sky and so produces a nice contrast. To my mind a
light blue spinner and band just looks wrong.
fighters had the
only had the
midline of the
I think you may be right. I hadn't read the book in a while
and was skimmimg and trying to remember highlights.
aquamarine shade, and
samples given by
from the time
Nil is darker
You are corrrect. I went back and reread before I sent and
thought the reference to Eau d'nil was off, but I was tired
and it was late. 8(
Aquamarine is the color I see on my plates for 1930 Sky Blue.
lead by Sidney
Fleet Air Arm
Again, late, brain shutting down. Shoulda checked.
of a Med/N.
post BoB) for
seems to go into
Mine is a Scale Aviation Monograph. Says so in the lower left
hand corner. Half a Blenhiem and half a Spit on the cover.
Camouflage and Markings No 2 The Battle for Britain May to
December 1940. By Paul Lucas, Series Editor Niel Robonson,
Artwork by Peter Scott. Published by Guideline Publications,
printed by Regal Litho. All in England.
Same material, different packaging? I think you fine turned
my commentary by being more wakeful when posting. Sounds like
we are preaching from much the same bible. They quote the
same orders, claim to be examining real wrecks and not
Tally ho, Red leader!
the way you
Ah, yes, that clears things up. The author is the same man in both
cases. Neil Robinson was Editor of SAM for a while and Guideline is the
publisher for SAM and the Warpaint series (by Alan W Hall, the founder
of SAM) as well as things like your C&M books and the Combat Colours
books (I have the two on the Mosquito). When he finished his stint at
SAM, it looks like Neil Robinson went to form The Aviation Workshop with
Inventor of the Sidcot Suit and all-round aviation innovator, flying in
both World Wars:
Aha, as on this page -
Ah, yes, that clears things up. The author is the same man in both
cases. In addition, Neil Robinson was Editor of SAM for a while and
Guideline is the publisher for SAM and the Warpaint series (by Alan W
Hall, the founder of SAM) as well as things like your C&M books and the
Combat Colours books (I have the two on the Mosquito). When he finished
his stint at SAM, it looks like Neil Robinson went to join The Aviation
Workshop with Gary Madgwick.
The On Target book Britain Alone covers a longer time period than just
the BoB and includes chapters on the Battle of the Atlantic and the
Middle East theatres. The BoB material is covered in 14 pages, leading
me to suspect that it has been condensed from the SAM monograph - how
many pages does that have?
wrote in news:42f9d140$0$1322$ed2619ec@ptn-nntp-
innovator, flying in
(by Alan W
books and the
When he finished
period than just
monograph - how
92, and I'll be danged if a can find a pub date!