Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Zero aircraft colors. Part 1 Early Zero's Pearl Harbor time frame

 Here is a link to a great sort for painting your Zero correctly.  ArticleA6M Zero's correct colors Part 1

Rsponse from Tom Cleaver

All very interesting and thanks, Louis.

There are a couple of “shortcuts” you can use, paint-wise, and identifying the manufacturer.

The Mitsubishi A6M2s were all painted gloss, and this stood up well to a saltwater environment aboard the carriers. Nakajima A6m2s were also gloss, but as with everything else between the two companies, it wasn’t quite the same color (though most of the Color Sen-Sei say it’s close enough not to worry). Tamiya released a very nice paint in the correct shade when they released their 1/32 A6M2 back in 2004.

Tamiya’s original “IJN Green” is actually the Nakajima color, which is a blue-base green. When they released the gray-green color, they also released “IJN Green 2” which is “Mitsubishi Green,” a more green, yellow-base color. Their original “IJN Grey” is the Nakajima grey that was used on their A6M2s and in camouflaged airplanes. So far as I know, there isn’t a “Mitsubishi Grey,” and I have wondered if they didn’t just continue using their original grey-green color.

Tamiya’s “Cockpit Green” is “Mitsubishi interior green”, you can use it on A6Ms and A5Ms. (You can also use it for British interior grey-green, it’s close enough) Nakjima’s cockpit color was as close as you can get to US “Interior Green” without being that exact color. Mitsubishi cockpits were overall their color, while Nakajima had things like the throttle quadrant and radio “black boxes” in gloss black. In both cases, the instrument panels were the interior color, not black.

When you get to camouflaged A6M5s, it’s easy to tell which is which: a Nakajima airplane has the rear fuselage color demarcation as a curving line from the trailing edge of the wing to the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer, while a Mitsubishi airplane has a straight line demarcation from the trailing edge of the wing to the tip of the fuselage, that passes under the horizontal stabilizer.

So, if you use Tamiya paints, there’s the easy way to do it. If you use oil-base enamel, I suggest Xtracolor paints, which are well-researched and accurate colors. The Xtracrylix line is similar.

Looking forward to more of this stuff, Louis. Keep up the good work.

More info By Louis Gardner.

To the best of my knowledge, Nakajima didn’t use the same colors on the exterior that Mitsubishi did.

The main differences between these two companies as far as painting was concerned were as follows:
1. Main landing gear wheel wells painted in exterior color Mitsubishi
Nakajima used the translucent “Aotake” blue / green

2. Cockpit colors were different between Mitsubishi and Nakajima.

This was depending on the production time frame as to when the individual airframes were produced. It could have had a slight difference in the shade, but the individual colors used by the manufacturers remained fairly consistent.

It also depends on what author you believe, and which Zero relic, (and to some extent what color chip book) was used to determine as a match to the “closest equivalent”.

I’m not trying to knock the person that you specifically mentioned, (as he is very knowledgeable), but I would definitely look for a second opinion on what he says and claims to be gospel truth. On more than one occasion he has been proven wrong, by other persons and not only me, yet continues on making these “incorrect” statements. In his defense, this can be very confusing subject, and the material is constantly evolving as new discoveries have been made.

Please keep in mind that there are a lot of variables that can affect how a given color looks at a given time. Things such as lighting, and even how the color looks on different computer monitors will be different. The final thing is that even people can interpret how a color looks. One person may think a specific color looks more green, while another may think it’s more blue as a hypothetical example.

Mitsubishi used a cockpit color very close to the US equivalent of “Interior Green: FS 34151. A6M2 s/n 3277 (manufactured in July 1941) flown by Iida that was shot down at Pearl Harbor, was given a close match to FS*4095. I left the first number off intentionally, as this refers to the gloss or lack of.
The Planes of Fame A6M5 s/n 4400 (manufactured in December 1943) was given a color value of FS *4097.

So you can see how the colors can be interpreted differently, and may indeed be different due to the paint being supplied during different times.

Nakajima used a different cockpit color from Mitsubishi, and this color also changed between the various models of the A6M, such as A6M-2 versus an A6M-5.
Nakajima built A6M2 s/n 646 (manufactured in February 1942, had a cockpit color close to FS 4095…………… and 4096. These are two different shades of green.

The Blayd collection Zero also has a number of similar dated Nakajima cockpit interior components with a paint finish matching FS 4098…………. yet another interior green color.

An A6M5 captured on Saipan (s/n 2183, manufactured in early April 1944) and examined by Douglas Aircraft, was described as having its cockpit interior painted “with a yellow-green primer similar in appearance to the zinc-chromate primer used in American airplanes.” Zinc-chromate was either yellow (FS *3481) or green (FS *4227). The former could be a variation of FS*4255 while the latter has similarities to FS *4373. The reference is most likely to the yellow shade of zinc-chromate, as the green shade has no yellow in it at all. Possibly what was described was an oxidized variation of FS *4255.

Then there was a visible difference between a Mitsubishi and Nakajima built Zero, on how the demarcation line between the camouflage colors on the side of the plane was painted.

The last thing from the top of my head was the difference between the white outline on the fuselage Hinomaru of Nakajima built machines, while Mitsubishi had no such white outline. This was done as a “quick” identification guide, since in the early stages of Zero production, some parts were not 100 percent interchangeable between Mitsubishi and Nakajima plane………… Crazy stuff !!!

Now you can see why this is such a minefield of color information. I didn’t go into all of the details on the various cockpit colors. This is not even half of it……………. believe me on that.

As far as the other part of your question about the “Amber Gray” color…………
The closest US equivalent FS 595b comparison is FS16350, but this color is too dark. Another close choice would be FS *4201, but neither of these two color shades have the slightly greenish tint……………

There are two websites in particular that I would highly recommend you take a look at. They are http://www.aviationofjapan.com/ and http://www.j-aircraft.com/

I do plan on writing a few more of these articles in the future. Please stay tuned, and please don’t hesitate to send me a PM if you have any other questions. I’ll try to steer you in the right direction if I don’t know the correct answer, and I will not lead you astray with rubbish.

Thanks for the interest in the subject, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing your A6M when it gets underway.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Friday, September 3, 2021

191St Crew chief and personal

Hard to believe it been 26 yrs since I retired out the USAF.   The 191St Six Pack.  Had great people in the unit. We where more of family than anything.   As I looked through the pictures ,I realized lot the people in photos have passed on. The Original 'Six Pack" ADC is slowly fading away.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

1/48 Spitfire Mk Vb & Mk VIII build PT 3

 Sorry for getting this series out of sequence.   This is the final part of the series.  It is my hope you found these informative and enjoyable.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

The tale of building two Spitfires.. Tamiya and Eduard kits

 Sorry I screwed up. This should of gone up first.  I guess old age is creeping up on me. Haven't been feeling well for the last month.  I got a nasty leg infection from my edema on my leg.  Anyways here is more on Frederic awesome build.