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Author Topic: Aeroplane Monthly August 1993?  (Read 5604 times)
magnusf
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« on: December 06, 2009, 09:23:36 PM »

I am seeking information from the August 1993 issue of Aeroplane Monthly regarding a Spitfire flight from Kai Tak in 1952. I have a bad copy of the article taken well before colour copiers became commonplace and now I wonder if someone own this issue and can help me answer a few questions (or even possibly do a PDF copy of it?)?

Best regards

Magnus
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NZTyphoon
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2009, 03:16:19 AM »

Hi Magnus,
 Yup I have a copy and I'm looking at the article (Flt Lt Ted Powles' attempted climb to 50,000 ft). Unfortunately my scanner is defunct and yet to be replaced. However I can answer questions...

Regards

JW.
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magnusf
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2009, 09:47:10 AM »

Hi JW!

There is a painting in that article showing the Spitfire during the wild descent from 50 000 ft. What paint scheme is it in? Is it PRU blue and Medium Sea Grey (as opposed to overall silver)?

In Aeroplane Monthly, November 1992, page 66, there is a colour photo showing PS852 in PRU/MSG. The same photo that is reproduced in black-and-white in In Action by the way!

Xtradecal suggests that the flight was made with PS852 painted aluminium overall, I guess it is hard to tell for sure almost 58 years later but I would like to do the scheme in the painting and I like to get confirmed that it is actually the PRU/MSG scheme depicted!

Best regards

Magnus
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NZTyphoon
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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2009, 10:32:04 PM »

There is some confusion regarding the colour scheme. According to the painting PS852 was overall PRU Blue with a black anti-glare panel from the windscreen (black frame) to the front of the cowling, a scheme which has no photographic evidence. Two pages later there is a photo of PS852 - described as Powles' favourite Spitfire - in overall PRU Blue without MSG or black; no sign of overall silver.  Another photo of an 81 Sqn PR XIX  (PR890) shows the PRU/MSG scheme.

Okay, question: did the PRU Blue/MSG scheme exist? According to Matusiak the MSG was actually faded PRU Blue, and at least two photos in his Merlin PR Spitfires book seems to prove his point. The PRU blue was notorious for fading, particularly because of the high altitudes achieved by PR Spitfires and some photos show PR Spitfires which, at first glance, could be in overall MSG. So far in a quick look at my Spitfire library the only photos I can find of a Spitfire XIX in an apparent PR/MSG scheme is PR890.

Cheers

JW
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magnusf
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« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2009, 11:51:36 AM »

Hi JW!

I have a photo of PS85X (probably either 852 or 854) (page 6 in the MPM book on Spitfire XIX) where there are very obvious colour demarcations along the wing leading edges and the lower engine panel. There is a sharp transition from a very dark colour below (PRU blue) to a fairly light colour on the upper surfaces (MSG). It is not the kind of gradual transition that you probably would get from fading paint. "In Action" page 44, photo of PS852, suggests the same even if it isn't as clear as in the MPM book.

On page 41 in "Spitfire" by Chaz Bowyer, there is a photo of PS888 with the top of the fuselage painted in a lighter colour, a sharp colour demarcation can be seen along the fuselage.

The same goes for PS890 (as you write!) in the well-published photo of this aircraft beating up an airfield somewhere in the far east! I have that photo in "Spitfire Special", page 46.

I'll go for PRU blue with Medium Sea Grey top surfaces and a black anti-glare panel!

Regards

Magnus
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Antoni
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« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2009, 01:39:08 AM »

There is no confusion over the schemes applied to PS852 and its companion PS854. Wojtek Matusiak’s comments are about inferring from photographs a post-war scheme for which there is no documentary evidence that it was in use during WW II. Medium Sea Grey and PRU Blue was the official scheme for PR aircraft for a short time during the early 1950s.

Trials indicated that PRU Blue was a very effective camouflage colour on the under surfaces but less effective on the upper surfaces and for concealing aircraft parked on the ground. A post-war review of camouflage resulted in the publication of a paper on 2nd October 1950 which was circulated to all interested parties asking for comments. The paper suggested that as fighters now flew at the same heights as PR aircraft the scheme that was best for either one of these roles would be best for both. Therefore the present PR scheme of overall PRU Blue and the proposed Jet Fighter Scheme Medium Sea Grey/Light Slate Grey/PRU Blue should be compared. 

Comments on the review paper by the various commands were received by 2nd January 1951. The AOC-in-C Bomber Command recommended that PR aircraft should be MSG only without a LSG disruptive pattern. The Deputy Director of Operations agreed and the Bomber Command’s recommendation of a MSG/PRU Blue scheme for PR aircraft became official policy.

The outcome of the review was the publication of AMO A.217/51 on 19th April 1951 that came in to force immediately. Paragraph 10, headed Photographic Reconnaissance aircraft, instructed that the aircraft were to be finished in a high gloss scheme of upper surfaces MSG, under surfaces PRU Blue and the boundary between the upper and under surfaces Pattern No 2.  A final paragraph was headed variations and stated that AOs, C-in-C and Cs-in-C were authorised to modify the standard finished described in the AMO only if it was essential to meet local conditions. Any such variations were to be notified to the Air Ministry. 

While this was going on, Britain had entered the Korean War. In order to carry out reconnaissance flight over the parts of China that were in range of aircraft based in Hong Kong, two Spitfire PR.19s, PS852 and PS854 were taken from storage and sent to 81 Squadron based at Seletar, Singapore. Both were then detached to Kai Tak in Hong Kong. At this time they both bore the standard PR scheme of overall PRU Blue. Following the issuing of AMO A.217/51 they were partially repainted on the upper surfaces with MSG. However they were painted to Pattern No.1 contrary to the instruction to use Pattern No.1. The reason for this is not known but may have something to do with the ‘variations to meet local conditions’ clause. A Night anti-glare panel was also applied. The serial numbers were reapplied to the sides of the fuselage and under the wings in an angular style compared with the rounded standard style given in AP 2656A which was supposed to have been used. Under wings serials were 24 inches high and located well inboard terminating just before the wheel wells. It is believed that these were the only two PR.19s painted to Pattern No.1,

This new scheme had a short life as the issuing of AMO A.685/52 on 18th December 1952 instructed that PR aircraft were to be painted in a High Speed Silver finish except for those belonging to Tactical Air Forces which were to be Dark Green and Dark Sea Grey on the upper surfaces and PRU Blue on the under surfaces to Pattern No.1

So any of the schemes are valid depending on the time period. As Powles’s flight took place on the 5th February 1952, PS852 would have been wearing the MSG/PRU Blue scheme.

PS852 at Kai Tak, MSG upper surfaces, PRU Blue under surfaces Pattern No.1
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Antoni
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« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2009, 01:41:27 AM »

PS852, thought to taken 1952/53 at Kai Tak, still in the MSG/PRU Blue finish.
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Antoni
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« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2009, 01:42:55 AM »


PS582 in what seems to be the High Speed Silver finish with two colour spinner and broader anti-glare panel.
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magnusf
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« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2009, 09:00:49 AM »

Thanks Antoni!

Just the kind of answer I wanted!

Best regards

Magnus
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