Author Topic: How where real planes painted?  (Read 3081 times)

Offline ALBATROS1234

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Re: How where real planes painted?
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2015, 04:24:25 PM »
i do not know for a fact but i imagine alot of this is brush painted by hand. i would imagine the felix being doped white all over than a few artistic guys painting random swirls with paint brushes although a main guy could have penciled out the pattern and a less skilled crew painted the red. like i said just my opinion.

Offline Flugzeugwerke

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Re: How where real planes painted?
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2015, 10:00:35 PM »
These aren't great photos, I apologize; the subjects were under glass and hard to photograph with all the glare; nonetheless hopefully you can get a sense of the relative crudeness of these freehand painted markings on original fabric samples:




Numeral is clearly also freehand painted with a brush:


The edges worn to outlines betray the fact that this roundel was brush painted:











Offline Bruno Schmäling

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Re: How where real planes painted?
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2015, 04:36:41 AM »
Hello,

I don't think that the decals are to perfect.

How artistic a German Jagdstaffel aircraft was painted depends if an artist was among the pilots or ground crew members.
A number were very talented artist!

Jasta 5 had a very talented painter among the ground crew in Summer 1917 to beginning of 1918 . He asked every pilot what motive he wants to have on the aircraft, than he did a draft and if it was OK, he painted it.

Josef Jacobs of Jasta 7 told me that they had a student of fine art with Jasta 7 who was completely useless as a mechanic. He was posted to Jasta 7 as a mechanic because the military authorities mistake his note: “student” for someone who had technical acknowledgement.
He was very thankful to Josef Jacobs the Staffelführer that he did not sent him back to the trenches. For this reason he did an oil painting as a surprise for the casino and offered to paint the aircraft.
He did all artwork for Jasta 7 and Jasta 40 and was also “loan” to other Jastas in exchange of wine or other drinks.

It would be a fine diorama to show an aircraft in a painting process.

Many greetings

Bruno

Offline Flugzeugwerke

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Re: How where real planes painted?
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2015, 04:50:07 AM »
Thank you for that great perspective Bruno!

Offline AndrewS

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Re: How where real planes painted?
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2015, 05:25:59 PM »
Great info!

Thanks to everybody  :)

WarrenD

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Re: How where real planes painted?
« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2015, 10:07:16 AM »
Bo,
    To be honest, I don't think most of those are all that crude, especially when accounting for age, storage issues over the years, etc. Reduce the skeleton, the dragon, and the Indian head down to 1/48th, much less 1/72nd, and they would appear near perfect.
I do get your meaning though. However, we expect to see something neat and clean. I recall Shep Paine discussing this in one of his early books, and as he said, you have to be VERY careful about painting something that was done haphazardly lest it end up looking like you were the one that was a bad artist.

FWIW,

Warren

Offline Flugzeugwerke

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Re: How where real planes painted?
« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2015, 11:47:01 AM »
Bo,
    To be honest, I don't think most of those are all that crude, especially when accounting for age, storage issues over the years, etc. Reduce the skeleton, the dragon, and the Indian head down to 1/48th, much less 1/72nd, and they would appear near perfect.
I do get your meaning though. However, we expect to see something neat and clean. I recall Shep Paine discussing this in one of his early books, and as he said, you have to be VERY careful about painting something that was done haphazardly lest it end up looking like you were the one that was a bad artist.

FWIW,

Warren

Hmmm. I am not talking about the effects of aging... I am talking about the uneven paint coverage, freehand "straight" lines, etc that are very different than the typical decal produced with a vector art program with mathematically perfect circles, arcs, lines, contour widths, etc. I'll give you it probably isn't a concern for 1/72, but in 1/32 where a couple of us work, it is maybe something worth noting.

Offline Modelnut

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Re: How where real planes painted?
« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2015, 01:53:39 PM »
The larger scales were what I had in mind when I posed the question. I only do 1/72 so I suppose sharp lines are correct.
1/32 and the Merit 1/24 kits soon might benefit from some scale "brushstrokes" along the lines of linen and woodgrain decals now being produced to good effect.

Offline rowan broadbent

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Re: How where real planes painted?
« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2015, 09:44:11 PM »
Hmmm. I am not talking about the effects of aging... I am talking about the uneven paint coverage, freehand "straight" lines, etc that are very different than the typical decal produced with a vector art program with mathematically perfect circles, arcs, lines, contour widths, etc. I'll give you it probably isn't a concern for 1/72, but in 1/32 where a couple of us work, it is maybe something worth noting.

I spend a lot of time looking at photographs when designing decals and yes, sometimes vector graphics straight lines are too straight and circles are too perfect but if we are talking about German crosses and allied cockades, the vast majority were pretty near perfect - especially when reduced to 32nd scale and lower. Modified German crosses done in the field during the confusion of transition from eisernes kreutz to balken kreutz were often less than perfect, to be sure and cockades painted in the field could be rough looking, but that was usually due to poor paint coverage, not the evenness of the circles - they're easy to achieve with a nail, a piece of string and some chalk! 

However let's not forget that,  in the years of the Great War, sign writing and "commercial" art (such as seen on the sides of French houses, for instance) was far more widespread than now. To become a professional sign writer took many years of apprenticeship, so clean straight lines and smooth curves became second nature and these professionals were valued in the armed forces (see Bruno's very interesting post above) where decals and stencils were very much rarer than in later times. For such things as serials, house "styles" evolved for the likes of Sopwith or Albatros, for example, but they were hand painted and although they may have shown differences from aircraft to aircraft, they were, none the less, well formed figures. Some other manufacturers such as Pfalz, for example, used stencils extensively and a number of SPAD subcontractors and some other French manufacturers (Breguet, for example) used decals.

As to uneven paint coverage, this is almost impossible to recreate using conventional screen printing but for the skilled modeller, over painting decals with different effects can achieve the look with a little practice.

The above sounds like I'm being defensive and yes, you did strike a nerve but I'd hate people to think that I (and I expect my fellow decal designers - particularly Malcolm Laird at Wingnut Wings ), aren't alive to these issues.
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in

Leonard Cohen

Offline AndrewS

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Re: How where real planes painted?
« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2015, 09:51:04 PM »
Hmmm. I am not talking about the effects of aging... I am talking about the uneven paint coverage, freehand "straight" lines, etc that are very different than the typical decal produced with a vector art program with mathematically perfect circles, arcs, lines, contour widths, etc. I'll give you it probably isn't a concern for 1/72, but in 1/32 where a couple of us work, it is maybe something worth noting.

I spend a lot of time looking at photographs when designing decals and yes, sometimes vector graphics straight lines are too straight and circles are too perfect but if we are talking about German crosses and allied cockades, the vast majority were pretty near perfect - especially when reduced to 32nd scale and lower. Modified German crosses done in the field during the confusion of transition from eisernes kreutz to balken kreutz were often less than perfect, to be sure and cockades painted in the field could be rough looking, but that was usually due to poor paint coverage, not the evenness of the circles - they're easy to achieve with a nail, a piece of string and some chalk! 

However let's not forget that,  in the years of the Great War, sign writing and "commercial" art (such as seen on the sides of French houses, for instance) was far more widespread than now. To become a professional sign writer took many years of apprenticeship, so clean straight lines and smooth curves became second nature and these professionals were valued in the armed forces (see Bruno's very interesting post above) where decals and stencils were very much rarer than in later times. For such things as serials, house "styles" evolved for the likes of Sopwith or Albatros, for example, but they were hand painted and although they may have shown differences from aircraft to aircraft, they were, none the less, well formed figures. Some other manufacturers such as Pfalz, for example, used stencils extensively and a number of SPAD subcontractors and some other French manufacturers (Breguet, for example) used decals.

As to uneven paint coverage, this is almost impossible to recreate using conventional screen printing but for the skilled modeller, over painting decals with different effects can achieve the look with a little practice.

The above sounds like I'm being defensive and yes, you did strike a nerve but I'd hate people to think that I (and I expect my fellow decal designers - particularly Malcolm Laird at Wingnut Wings ), aren't alive to these issues.

Nice reply Rowan  :)

I have no doubt that you consider all those things when designing a new set of decals  ;)
You (and other manufacturers, of course) are doing a great job

Andrew

Offline Flugzeugwerke

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Re: How where real planes painted?
« Reply #25 on: January 29, 2015, 09:55:45 PM »
Thanks for your thoughts Rowan. I apologize if I struck a nerve.

Offline rowan broadbent

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Re: How where real planes painted?
« Reply #26 on: January 29, 2015, 10:11:21 PM »
Thanks for your thoughts Rowan. I apologize if I struck a nerve.

No problem, Bo but I felt a response was worth making...

Something I didn't mention was the use of hand-cut stencils for squadron markings. These were almost the norm in the French Air Service (and the USAS squadrons, of ourse) and led to the uniform appearance of quite complex squadron motifs, such as the later Sioux Indian head on Lafayette Escadrille SPAD VIIs, and the majority of the striking escadrille markings portrayed on our Salmson decal sets, although there was some lee-way in the use of different colours for individual aircraft/crews. In the German Air Service, Jasta 18 certainly used a stencil for their raven insignia and the individual aircraft markings were of a similarly precise nature (von Buren's chicks, for instance).
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in

Leonard Cohen

Offline Nigel Jackson

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Re: How where real planes painted?
« Reply #27 on: January 29, 2015, 10:48:35 PM »
There is so much good sense in this thread, thank you Rowan and others for your insights.

While I was working on Mimmi as my contribution to the group build, I was much taken by the chequerboard and how it might have been planned and realised in the field. It occurred to me that in skilled hands, drafting and marking the chequered pattern was quite straightforward and that perhaps this was done with precision by a professional craftsman who then left it to others, less-skilled, to block in the colours. This could give scope for slight variations in finish.

Although the photos I've taken of my model don't really capture this, I've tried to show this variation. So, in terms of my sequencing, we have a gloss white, even surface, overlaid by a decal which is transparent where the paint needs to show through, and then some squares over painted in varying directions and in parts, with heavily diluted white using a widish chisel-headed brush.

Can I just say what a fascinating discussion thread this has been.

Best wishes
Nigel

Offline lcarroll

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Re: How where real planes painted?
« Reply #28 on: January 30, 2015, 01:04:59 AM »
Can I just say what a fascinating discussion thread this has been.

Best wishes
Nigel


    I'll join Nigel in Thanking those who contributed to this brief discussion. Rarely a day passes without learning something new and interesting here, one of the real attractions of this Forum! 8)
Cheers,
Lance

WarrenD

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Re: How where real planes painted?
« Reply #29 on: January 30, 2015, 10:24:58 AM »
After I posted my reply, I ended up sitting down last night with a tumbler of bourbon and my file folder of French Air Service decals to refresh my memory of what I had in the stash. (I'm trying to get back in the swing of things, and I'm researching which a/c I want to build first.)

I was looking through my sets of Americal-Gryphon decals, and I remembered how Dr. Glen Merrill would sometimes take some heat for the uneven printing that sometimes occurred on his sets. After looking at the images Bo posted, it struck me that on some of my decals, the sketchy printing might not be so bad if you were trying to replicate uneven painting, etc. I've only got 1/72nd sets, and I've never seen his 1/48th or larger scale offerings.

Just a thought.

Warren