Spitfire K5054 cerulean blue

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Hi everyone,

The K5054 replica at Tangmere looks stunning in cerulean blue, with Jeffery Quill authenticating it's the correct shade. Does anybody know a modern paint match for that colour?

I have something sitting in my garage that is shaped somewhat but not completely unlike a Spitfire, single seat, all metal, 75% size and tucks it's wheels up. While not wanting to re-ignite the discussions about the worthiness of this particular design and bring further dis-grace upon it, mine has been heavily modified and does contain a few bits of the real thing. Well, the pitot mast and tube, spade grip and most switches that is...

It is currently in partial primer and bare metal, and I would like to finish it as K5054. While being way simpler to save time and money and stick/paint the roundels and markings on and keep the somewhat unfinished "first flight" Eastleigh look, I do love the blue finish.

So, metal finish and fly next year, or cerulean blue and the year after?
Can somebody point me to a currently available paint match for the cerulean blue?

Thanks from Downunder,

Chris

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Profile picture for user DazDaMan

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Sounds interesting!

Profile picture for user Meddle

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Ask on Britmodeller. I dare you!

Apparently Ford's "Bemuda Blue" is a close visual match. The problem with K5054 is that nobody truely knows the colour it was painted, as one account throws a spanner in the works describing the aircraft as 'grey green' when apparently painted blue (if I'm remembering this correctly). RAF blue colours appear to be a big can of worms, as you have to contest with sky, sky blue, sky type s, eau de nil, sky grey, duck egg blue...

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BLUE !, also i think it makes your aircraft look a truer may I say copy of the real thing, call it The Shrew !

Profile picture for user Meddle

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BLUE !, also i think it makes your aircraft look a truer may I say copy of the real thing, call it The Shrew !

And attach some floats for good measure.

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I always thought it was a bit like RAL 6033 Mintturkis a grey/blue/green colour.

Graham

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Rolls-Royce staff, when at Bristol rebuilding their XIX, were of the opinion it was probably painted in R-R's "in-house" blue, which was on all their vehicles at the time (it's always quoted as being a car paint.) There is (or was) some original blue remaining on R-R buildings in Nottingham.
An artist (who was a relative of Mitchell) told me, about 30 years ago, that K5054 was originally a "yucky green," which sounds like a possibility for anodised metal (which the Air Ministry had specified.)

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Mk 19? surely you mean mk14 edgar.RM689 was a yucky blue colour in the 60s,think it was the rolls-royce house colours of that time.

Profile picture for user J Boyle

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It would be a great colour if one was restoring a Triumph Spitfire....and wasn't concerned with restoring it to stock configuration.

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Mk 19? surely you mean mk14 edgar.RM689 was a yucky blue colour in the 60s,think it was the rolls-royce house colours of that time.

True, sorry about that; should have stopped and thought about what I was writing.
It would be a great colour if one was restoring a Triumph Spitfire....and wasn't concerned with restoring it to stock configuration.

And if you're not too concerned about it not being powered by a Rolls-Royce engine.
Profile picture for user Mark12

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Mk 19? surely you mean mk14 edgar.RM689 was a yucky blue colour in the 60s,think it was the rolls-royce house colours of that time.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v634/Mark12/Mark12092/14-RM6898Hucknall1967latemaybeearly1968ImageKeithHamshere-PRA01b_zpsc1788fac.jpg

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The Spitfire prototype K5054 from 1936 often provokes questions about its true colour. So far as I know, when I did look around and ask questions (some years ago) when there were still some ex Supermariners working in the Woolston factory in 1936 the matter was of little account, to them! I think I was told, by Harry Griffiths who worked for the company metallurgist manager Arthur Black, that the factory preferred Titanine products rather than Cellon. Arthur Black although originally 'only' a metallurgist ran the small laboratory directly under Mitchell's office and were also frequently called upon to test many other types of product samples for their suitability.

Cerulean Blue it is not! Take a look at Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantone
A Cerulean Pantone 15 - 4020 colour sample is shown on that page. I think we can agree it is not the same shade of blue! But what is on K5054? One colour chart on the WWW net shows a No1 Sky Blue looking to my eyes closely similar – but that's on a 2004 dated chart. So were Titanine Ltd offering a Sky Blue in 1936? I haven't a shade card but a Forum thread from 2012 holds a discussion on this general subject, would one of their correspondents be able to help?

http://forum.keypublishing.com/showthread.php?121214-1934-Titanine-colours

As to the facsimile on display and lovingly cared for by the volunteers at Tangmere Museum. I contacted Bill Williams yesterday (Sept 29th) Bill part built K5054 at his Andover home and managed and supervised all of the major construction of the facsimile at Aerofabs at Andover for the Spitfire Society. He respond last evening as follows.

“RJ (Mitchell) was given a small desk top model, I have a photo of Gordon Mitchell (RJ's late son) holding it in front of the finished K5054 in 1993. When the fuselage was completed, early 1992 I spoke to Jeffrey (Quill) about colours and whether he wanted it in primer and polished aluminium or coloured. This actually came about through a discussion at committee about what period we were building K5054 for (first flight or later). Our concern being that ‘rivet counters’ would be telling us our mistakes. The best photos were of the high speed flight tests (May 1936) held shortly after she was painted.
Gordon brought the model to Andover, we met with Jeffrey to verify the colour and all agreed to use that as a match. The paint sprayer, Colin Pascoe, came over from the Isle of Wight (This chap painted various stuff for TV, police cars for The Bill, fire engines for London’s Burning etc) and he matched the colour as Nigerian Toyota Green.
He used this to spray the fuselage (Frame 5 to rudder) which was then stored at Middle Wallop pending raising more funds. Late 1992, with more money, we started on the wings and when complete (Jan 1993) we asked Colin to complete the spray job. The trouble was that he went to a different paint supplier, asked for the same colour mix and when he started I said ‘It’s not the same Colin’. We had slight debates over who was right or wrong, fell out a bit but when he looked at a photo of the aircraft it was obvious he had made a mistake.
Same colour but the two paint suppliers read the mix differently so Colin did what he could to fade the colours. It was a rush job as Jeffreys health was starting to decline and we were desperate to have him unveil it. The plan was to re-spray it completely after the Hendon unveiling but then Colin contracted cancer and we never saw him again! “

All of the former Supermariners that I knew 10 or 15 years ago agreed that the colour match was very good as far as they could recall. As far I know the paint specification has never emerged from old company documents and those working in the factory at that time thought nothing of it either! Maybe there's still a story waiting to be uncovered there?
The high gloss finish blue shade on K5054 contrasts somewhat with Mark 12's post No.11 showing RM 689 so I am unconvinced that a reference by other 'posters' to it being the same blue as Rolls-Royce company house colours of that time is valid. By the way, remember that RJ was presented with a Rolls-Royce car by that company in recognition of his Schneider Trophy success and that car was painted a yellow not “Sky Blue” suggesting that maybe R-R's house colours at that time were NOT blue but might have been yellow!
The model K5054 for RJ's desk, Gordon died just a few years ago and the model was included in the auction of his documents and artefacts. It fetched a very high price - as Mark 12 might be able to tell us! But Gordon also said that the model used surplus paint from the prototype Spitfire.
Lastly why do I write 'facsimile' and not replica? Because Jeffrey Quill enjoyed the use of good English grammar and whilst he conceded that replica might 'do' he felt that the word facsimile in his mind was marginally the more accurate term. And JFQ, with his good friend Alex Henshaw plus Jack Davies, Gerry Gingell, and a couple of other close associates were the original inspiration for building the facsimile before joining forces with David Green to help create the Spitfire Society and raise the funds through the new society for funding the build costs of around £40,000.
Apologies for the lengthy answer.

Profile picture for user stuart gowans

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Certainly the colour given in Mitchells biography is cerulean blue, written of course by his son Gordon ; but why would it be painted in a Rolls-Royce "house colour"?

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quote : "Cerulean Blue it is not! Take a look at Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantone
A Cerulean Pantone 15 - 4020 colour sample is shown on that page. I think we can agree it is not the same shade of blue! But what is on K5054? "......

Sorry to said that colours on computers have NO values.
Simply because we all have various graphic cards and screens commonly with no calibration.
We dońt see the same colour at all...so shades...
As a professional designer I have to say that I still use calibrated printed charts or printers.
other medium are wrong.
A professional calibration is very expensive.
be carefull with this easy way to play with history (internet) ...without an original period sample to scan and retrofit with his chemical components in mind we just can promote speculations.

just an humble opinion in this very interresting post.
olivier

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7 years 4 months

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Thanks for the information everybody, I'm humbled by the effort some of you have put into their postings to my questions! So cerulean blue it will be, just which version is the question? I know that the colour on the photos I took last summer is nothing what it looks like in the flesh, and googling 'Toyota Nigeria green' only brings up a ton of second hand green Toyotas currently for sale in Nigeria. Guess I'll have to check with the local paint specialists to see if they can dig that tone up, or go back to Tangmere with a colour chart next time I'm in the UK.

Meanwhile a couple of pictures of the thing as it is, sorry about the quality, the port side is currently on stands to work on the UC and I can't get it out of the garage. And yes, the nose is too long, the UC not splined etc, but if it looks halfway okay when flying past 500 feet up I'll be quite satisfied...

Cheers,
Chris

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Profile picture for user D1566

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Looks good :)

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Thanks for the information everybody, I'm humbled by the effort some of you have put into their postings to my questions! So cerulean blue it will be, just which version is the question? I know that the colour on the photos I took last summer is nothing what it looks like in the flesh, and googling 'Toyota Nigeria green' only brings up a ton of second hand green Toyotas currently for sale in Nigeria. Guess I'll have to check with the local paint specialists to see if they can dig that tone up, or go back to Tangmere with a colour chart next time I'm in the UK.

I think you might be after 'Nebula green';

http://www.toyotareference.com/colors/landcruiser/toyota_landcruiser_fj40_622_13.jpg?random=1411539755

http://www.sportscardigest.com/wp-content/uploads/329_Toyota_1974_Land-Cruiser-FJ40_Utility_FJ40170614__900.jpg[

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Cerulean Blue it is not!

Which is not how Gordon Mitchell described it; he said "cerulean blue," which, for those educated "back then," being non-capitalised, means that it's a description, not a name.
K5054 (as related by/to Dr. Alfred Price, in "The Spitfire Story) was painted by the company which Rolls-Royce used for their vehicles (not by Vickers, themselves,) and their company colour was a blue, matched to the Mediterranean sky.

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I've been asking some non Forum friends a few questions that may provide more accuracy to recent posts here. In addition I have looked more closely at relevant sections of three books. Morgan & Shacklady Spitfire, The History (1987), Dr. Alfred Price The Spitfire Story (1982) and Gordon Mitchell's School Days To Spitfire (1987, revised 1997 & 2002). Although are minor errors in all of these books, these are an essential start point as the authors were all in a position to directly interview eye witnesses during their researches. Other books could also have been checked but time available is not infinite, I regret.

Firstly, the shade of paint used is definitely not cerulean blue as Gordon Mitchell's book suggests. Today the facsimile K5054 is displayed at Tangmere Military Aviation Museum in West Sussex. But it may not be known widely that it suffered some paintwork (and other) damage in July 2012 when the then owners (The Spitfire Society) transported it rather carelessly to and from an event held at Polesden Lacey (Surrey, UK).

The clever people on the tech staff at Tangmere Museum who are now the facsimile owners are remedying this and have this year had matching (car / auto) paint mixed in nearby Chichester. The paint title TOYOTA, NIGERIAN GREEN is a (UK) colour the car manufacturer used in the 1970's and is a light blue despite the title. If Zodiachris in Post Nr. 1 to privately contact me with his postal address, the museum will be pleased to spray a couple small sample pieces of material for him and I will get them to him in Australia so that his local aircraft paint supplier can scan the sample and produce a paint match for him locally. (my email for this is:- [email]k5054proto@gmail.com[/email])

Answering a few other points. A Rolls–Royce Heritage Trust friend says that company colours for their vehicles were usually dark blue with a light blue or possibly silver sign writing. Why, then, would R-R have wanted to see the prototype Spitfire in their colours ? Maybe the question was asked because R-R sponsored Supermarines' with £7,500 towards the development cost of the prototype.

Supermarine did commission a Rolls-Royce car body builder to do the work in. Until post WW2, R-R usually only manufactured rolling chassis. An owner would then commission an independent high class body builder to manufacture the body to his/ her specifications. The four main UK companies were Park Ward, Mulliner, Hooper and Thrupp & Maberly. Dr Alfred Price's book The Spitfire Story does not tell us which company was used except that in 3 or 4 days the superb finish was completed.

Turning to the paragraph in Gordon's book where cerulean blue (no caps, Mr Brooks!) is mentioned I cannot dodge the thought that I believe that entire paragraph is not as accurate as I expect he would have wished it to be.

The light blue lasted on K5054 from May 1936 until September 1937 (certainly not until it was written off at Farnborough on Sept 4th 1939 as Gordon staes). By the end of October 1937 it had been brought up close to production Mark l standards. Complete with the standard day fighter camouflage of the day! The wing flexing problems of the prototype with the inflexible car body filler used meant the wing surface light blue finish required constant attention.

K5054 had wing surfaces that had been that had been 'plated' with small Duralumin panels and the comouflaged finish wings in photographs do not appear to show this fairly dominent feature. So, were the wings completely changed to the emerging Mark l redesign? A ciné gun port is clearly apparent. Or were the photos retouched? Or was the lighting that day in the air to air photos such that they just are not clearly defined?

I hope that the foregoing will help add accuracy to this thread, but I am aware that the three books mentioned depended upon other people's memories and some documentation and that there are many other excellent books I have not had the time to look into!

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I believe Gordon Mitchell's book suggests the wings were formed from long thin strips of alloy, possibly they were filled flush so as to appear one piece, and that is the cracking of filler you mention.

Are we getting hung up on the name of the colour, rather than the shade; if as you said previously the small model given to Mitchell was the basis for the colour match on the facsimile, then (always presuming it was painted in the leftover paint from K5054) that is surely definitive?

As you suggest much of the content of the aforementioned books are based on memories, but equally so is Jeffrey Quill, (and others) authentication of the colour.

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I believe Gordon Mitchell's book suggests the wings were formed from long thin strips of alloy, possibly they were filled flush so as to appear one piece, and that is the cracking of filler you mention.

I've seen diagrams/three-views which support the suggestion.