Duck egg green .. or..

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Sky Type S? huh?

Correct name please

http://www.coloradominiatures.com/ProductImages/Vallejo-VA009.jpg

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They're two completely different things.

Best expose on the subject of underside colours of the period, in my opinion, is in 'The Battle For Britain' book published by Guidelines. Apart from these two shades you'll find details of other colours used, such as Au de Nil, etc. Worth finding and reading.

Determining which is which from BW photos is, of course, anybody's guess.

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Sky Type S? huh?

Correct name please

http://www.coloradominiatures.com/ProductImages/Vallejo-VA009.jpg

That's close to Sky on my monitor - duck egg green, eau-de nil etc. are more darker and greener

http://www.heritagepaints.co.uk/eau_de_nil.html

Sky is just a very pale green with a slight yellow cast.

Airart's suggestion is worth following up.

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'Type S' just stands for the finish - 'Smooth', but is usually attached to the colour 'Sky', as used by the RAF from 1940(?) but oddly not the others in that series.

As for calling off colours, especially subtle shades from various computer monitors - no. All I'm certain of is what I've got is different to what you've got.

In answer to the WIX question, spinner & rear fuse band should be Sky, IIRC.

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I guess type 'C' will stand for coarse.

Of course it might mean 'C' for Cellulose and 'S' for Synthetic, when the DTD paint spec is stencilled on post painting to aid and avoid rejection during subsequent paint repair, code changes etc.

Mark

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That is a restored aircraft incorporating what we now call Sky. The S just means smooth to differentiate it from some of the early matt paints which were rather rough (literally). It is a colour common to FAA aircraft post WW2 and was gradually developed to its current shade after 1941.

In the period 1940 - 41 a pale blue colour called rather appropriately Sky Blue is also used on the spinner and tail band theatre markings, as well during the BoB as an undersurface colour while the preferred Sky stocks caught up. This colour gradually disappears and by earlyish 1942 the Sky colour you are referring to becomes the standard.

If you want a good match I suggest Humbrol #90.

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Where does this 'smooth' come from and why only Sky and not any of the other 27 colours in the MAP paint chip book?

... and Malcolm we were calling it Sky in WWII.

Are we sure we not perpetuating some writings from 1950's Airfix type journos?

We all refer to roundels as type A, C1, etc but that nomenclature I believe was started by noted historian Bruce Robertson as a way of defining and grouping, not by the Air Ministry.

The official Ministry of Aircraft Production Colour Standards paint chips just refers to the colour as Sky. The Spitfire paint drawing by Vickers refers to the DTD specifications either Cellulose or Synthetic.

Mark

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v634/Mark12/Album%204/Img_2155.jpg

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Another case for the Colour Police

It takes a whole book to explain the development and permutations of colours during 1940. Life's too short to even start to explain but this detailed discussion of the various early war underside colours can be found in

http://www.aviationbookcentre.com/__12_product_info3_asp3_5_prdID4_18207_prdName73_Camouflage_and_Markings_2_The_Battle_For_Britain_RAF_May_to_December_19405_usrID36_5F97D507-BC14-47C9-85DB-C9CFFF144A016.html

It also gives the full explanation of the C for cellulose and S for synthetic DTD paint codes, as well as the whole story of the development of the Type S (for smooth) paints. All the paints were Type S after the end of 1940

Why do we always refer to "Sky Type S" - I wonder if ,as Mark suggests, it is a result of modellers - in this case Sky Type S was the only colour identified as such in the old Humbrol Authentics range - I know that's why I always refer to it as "Sky Type S". Remember that for many years it was only plastic or scale modellers who were interested in such things - look at some of the museum, gate guardian and warbird restorations of the 60s and 70s. Another reason might be that Sky seems to be a "new" colour that came out at the same time as the new smooth/type S specification so the two terms became inextricably linked.

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All DTD 308 cellulose surface finishes used for camouflage had the Type S suffix, Type S, for smooth, distinguishing them from normal matt paints. They were developed because the smoother finish would be less detrimental to performance than the rougher pure matt paints. For some reason the Type S suffix became solely applied in publications and documents to Sky. When researchers first began looking at these documents and orders (about the 1960s) they mistook this to mean that Type S must be a type of Sky. This led Messers Bunkum and Claptrap to invent such nonsense as Sky Type S being a later, lighter version of Sky.

The new colour (in 1940) became known popularly by many descriptive names – ‘Duck Egg Green’, ‘Duck Egg Blue’, ‘Pale Green’, ‘Pale Blue’ – all were used at some time. Duck Egg Blue became the most common used in official documents and the popular press. This led to the two gentlemen’s belief that Duck Egg Blue was a different but related colour to Sky.

There is no Teutonic thoroughness in MAP orders and specifications, more typically British amateurism. Colloquial terms are used freely and rarely are store references or such like given. Only when something totally new is introduced like Ocean Grey to they bother to tell anyone what it is and where to get it.

DTD Specification 83A quotes duck egg blue but this is not an indication that it existed as a separate shade to Sky. The same document also references ‘black’ and ‘silver’, both popular names for the official colours Night and Aluminium. However, Sky was something unfamiliar and evidently there was some confusion in the use of the different names for it. With there also being two different colours both called Sky Blue (BS 381 1930 Sky Blue – a medium duck egg blue shade and AM Sky Blue – best described as a powder blue) and a Sky Grey available it’s no wonder. In the Admiralty Supplement to DTD 83A the following paragraph appears:

‘Appendix para 4 (ii). In order to clarify the position of the colour of undersides with this order and the camouflage drawings which will shortly be issued, it should be noted that duck egg blue and Sky Type S are one and the same colour.’

The issue of AMO A.926/40 on 12 December 1940 ordered RAF Day Fighters to, ‘… carry an 18 inch band of duck egg blue (Sky Type S) right around the fuselage, immediately forward of the tailplane, and have the airscrew spinner painted duck egg blue (Sky Type S).”

No 3 MU Milton, the main supply depot for aircraft finishes seems to have been subject to a high demand for Sky paint. On 18 December 3 MU sent a signal to RAE Farnborough (where paints and camouflage colours were developed) “Your item 33B ref not known Sky. Demand M7338 follows. State whether for metal or fabric. Also which shade of Sky Blue Grey etc. Issuing ref 33B 191 and 262”.

So six months after Sky was supposedly introduced into widespread use 3 MU did not have a stores reference number for it and the question as to which shade of Sky Blue or Grey implied they did not know that Sky was a colour in its own right. The final sentence reveals what they were issuing in its place. 33B/191 was the stores ref for a 5 gallon tin of Dark Earth to DTD 308 cellulose but makes no sense in the context of the message. However, 33B/291 was the stores ref for Sky Blue to DTD 314, a synthetic paint suitable for application on wood or metal. So allowing for a typographic error made by a signaller, it appears that Sky Blue was being issued to squadrons to mark up their aircraft with tail bands and coloured spinners. 33B/262 was the stores ref for a 5 gallon tin of light grey primer which was intended to be used under light colours on the under sides of aircraft. Check out some of the Hurricanes in On Target Profiles 12.

You can read the Air Min orders here http://www.rafweb.org/sqn_codes.htm

where you will see that Sky is most often called duck egg blue (Sky type S).

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I have always thought - since reading it - the 'Sky Type S' came into being because of a badly worded instruction that aircraft were to be painted ...

"Dark Earth, Dark Green and Sky, Type S".

That sentence should have read...

"Dark Earth, Type S, Dark Geen, Type S and Sky, Type S"

...but by lumping the colours together, with the 'Type S' at the end, it has come to mean that the 'Type S' only referred to Sky and not Dark Green and Dark Earth - as was originally intended.

On the subject of roundel types - A1, B, C1 etc - I had always thought that this was 'official' RAF nomenclature, until I read recently that these were 'made up' names by, IIRC Ian Huntley - not Bruce Robertson.

Either way, those roundel names have become part of modelling lore - and are certainly useful in describing exactly what is meant.

Ken

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On further study.

Whilst the period MAP colour chips make no reference to 'Type S', and why should they this a colour reference not a finish quality, it is interesting to study the Vickers Spitfire paint drawing covering the mid war period from May 1942 onward.

Of all the colours specified in the chart, solely we have :-

Colour...Sky Type S : Reference....33B/336-337-338.

There is a further note that:-

'The Spinner to be finished Sky Type S Ref No 33B/338'

There would be no logic that I can see in having this one colour with a different surface finish to the others.

I suspect that Flanker_man's analogy of the grammar may well be the answer. :)

Mark

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This topic always resurfaces, the RAF type Sky, is a lighter shade to the Sky that the FAA used on the undersurfaces of post-war aircraft.
The Navy type seems to use more yellow, and in different lights seems to give off all sorts of tones, green and blue amongst them. I think this is where the Duck Egg comes from, as I've never seen that written down as an official colour.

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"resurfaces".........very good. :)

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All DTD 308 cellulose surface finishes used for camouflage had the Type S suffix, Type S, for smooth, distinguishing them from normal matt paints. They were developed because the smoother finish would be less detrimental to performance than the rougher pure matt paints.

DTD 308, the specification for matt cellulose paints was issued in July 1936, long before the development of the Type S specification during 1940.
This would have been presented as DTD 308 with a C underneath

DTD 314, the specification for sythetic paints was issued in September 1936
This would have been presented as DTD 314 with an S underneath

DTD specification paints of both cellulose (DTD308) and synthetic (DTD 314)formulation for aircraft finishing and refinishing paints would have generally been type S after the end of 1940, although presumably stores would have held stocks of the original matt specification paint as well for the refinishing of in service aircraft

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On further study.

Whilst the period MAP colour chips make no reference to 'Type S', and why should they this a colour reference not a finish quality, it is interesting to study the Vickers Spitfire paint drawing covering the mid war period from May 1942 onward.

Of all the colours specified in the chart, solely we have :-

Colour...Sky Type S : Reference....33B/336-337-338.

There is a further note that:-

'The Spinner to be finished Sky Type S Ref No 33B/338'

There would be no logic that I can see in having this one colour with a different surface finish to the others.

I suspect that Flanker_man's analogy of the grammar may well be the answer. :)

Mark

336,337 and 338 relate to the size of the paint tin in the stores vocabulary - 4 pint, 1 gallon, and 5 gallons - all the Sky colour to DTD 314

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Mark 12 it appears I was right. I can only followed the published info and noted also the changes in the various colours from the rather rare wartime colour photos. I apologise that it was an answer derived from a modelling perspective, but I have generally found that modellers tend to get the colours right while the warbird community seemed to lag behind.

There are a number of colours in use in the period 1940 -1942 which served the same function i.e. an undersurface colour to blend with the sky. Sky the colour is introduced in 1940 as a replacement for the early wartime Fighter Command undersurface Night/White/Aluminium later just Night/White - an aid to help the Observer Corp and the AA crews differentiate RAF a/c from the enemy.

Sky was a new paint and in short supply and we have a range of hues noted, which according to Lucas's research which uses recovered aircraft remains (I admit it :) - something useful from wreckology) to determine what they were indicates that it ranged from an Eau-de-Nil colour (Eau-de-Nil was also used prewar as a precursor to RAF Interior Grey Green) right through to a pale blue. The colour eventually stabilises as the pale green with the hint of yellow we are familiar with. When the RAF adopts aggressive fighter sweep tactics across the Channel after the BoB we see the reintroduction of one wing undersurface (port) being painted Night for the same reasons as the pre-war BoB aircraft were painted.

At the same time we see the introduction of theatre markings for easy identification (Sky fuselage band and Spinner) but this is quite often in the early period actually Sky Blue (a colour used on the undersides of aircraft in RAF Tropical Land Scheme) rather than the correct colour Sky (pale green). This blue colour gradually disappears as stocks run out and Tropical Land becomes obsolete and the standard Sky is used. The S suffix is simply to designate smooth and was actually applied as a descriptive suffix to other colours also as Flanker Man pointed outm but for some reason it stuck to Sky thus confusing the issue. The situation is also confused by different names being used for what is basically the same colour.

But when the cross Channel sweeps become more regular there is another change which sees the Dark Earth/Dark Green/Sky camo replaced with the more concealing over water scheme of Ocean Grey/Dark Green/Medium Sea Grey whilst retaining the Sky theatre markings with the addition of the outer wing leading edges being painted yellow. Ocean Grey is possibly derived from RAF experience with the concealing effects of RLM75 which was one of the Luftwaffe colours along with RLM74 introduced in late 1940 as they realised that their existing scheme of RLM 02/RLM70 was too much of a contrast for over water operations. RLM75 has a slight mauve cast while RLM74 the other top side colour used is in fact a darker grey with a greenish cast. It is interesting that both the Luftwaffe and the RAF develop camo schemes based on colours with approximately the same air superiority values.

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Mark 12 it appears I was right.

Any study of colours has to recognise:-

1) There is tolerance within an individual supplier.

2) There is variation within tolerance between suppliers.

3) Reference to colour period images is subject to the whole range of photographic, digital and chemical influence.

4) Exposure to the elements, sun, wind, salt spray even crash burial has an instant eroding influence on the 'as applied' colour.

5) High gloss paint applied particularly to Royal Navy aircraft post c1946 will behave and appear different to matt/semi matt finishes in reality and in photographic images

6) The study of recovered remnants from crash sites or masked areas revealed in dismantling has to be treated with some caution due to ageing effects.

7) Even official documentation may be conflicting

I do not know precisely when the official colour 'Sky' was introduced but certainly it is clearly referenced in period paint chips and manufacturers drawings, in my possession, at or after May 1942 and I doubt the colour changed, tolerance aside, after that.

Mark

Addendum.

Indeed I wondered with 'Sky' being officially on chips and Works drawings on the Spitfire for May 1942 and being used on just Spinners and tail bands, inconspicuous areas, it would be reasonable to assume that this colour and name went back further, to the BoB period post the the change of Black/Night, White and Silver/Aluminium combination undersurfaces.

This would certainly be the view of James Goulding author of Camouflage and Markings, Supermarine Spitfire RAF Northern Europe 1936 -45. He gives credible interpretation and reasoning for the several popular names given to this 'Sky' colour.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v634/Mark12/Album%204/Sky001.jpg

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The Colour Standards below are what I believe were issued to the paint manufacturers by the Ministry for Aircraft Production at the time.

Note no reference to 'Type S' in the index for 'Sky' and each chip has an identical finish...pure flat matt.

Can anybody please identify the official source material for this term 'S' for smooth?

Mark

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v634/Mark12/Album%204/MAPchips01.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v634/Mark12/Album%204/MAPChips001.jpg

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BoB film 1968.

It looks to me like - 'Hamish Mahaddie...wrong blue laddie.' :)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v634/Mark12/Album%204/BFIcolour-443.jpg

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The specification for Sky is, so I've been told, white pigment with 4% Yellow Oxide plus a small amount of Prussian Blue. Apparently, which white pigment to use is not specified. Different white pigments will give different versions of Sky as will small errors in the amount of Yellow Oxide or, especially, Prussian Blue.

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Lucas strangely does not quote the reference of the letter referring to the intoduction of "Type S" paints but says

in late April (1940) a circular was sent to all RTOs (Resident technical Officers at factories)entitled "improving Surface finish of aircraft;adoption of Type S paints".

the introduction of Sky was promulgated on 6th June 1940 in Air Ministry signal X915 which referred to Sky Type S. Apparently the Fighter Squadrons had no idea what this colour was - so the Air Ministry sent another signal on 7th June which said

the colour of Camouflage Sky Type S, repeat S, may be described as duck egg blueish green"

Signal X915 was rescinded on 10th June...........

On 14th June the Air Ministry informed everybody concerned that aircraft received from contractors with the black and white schemes should be covered in no more that two coats of Sky Type S - paying due regard to the cellulose or synthetic composition of the original paint - implying that Sky type S was available in DTD308/C and DTD314/S formulations - as confirmed by the different stores references

It seems however that sufficient supplies of this new colour were not available for squadron use until August.

On the basis of the Lucas Book - the Hurricanes in the BoB film may well have matched the colours of some of the Hurricanes in the real BoB.

Given the difficulties of supply and the vague (see above!) descriptions it is not really suprising that there were an infinite number of variations until the supply position was regularised. After all the RAF were fighting the Luftwaffe - not the colour police.