Author Topic: Scale Aircraft Modelling magazine Volume 40 Issue 02 April 1918  (Read 452 times)

Offline Black Max 72

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Hi Gents
The latest issue (April 2018) of Scale Aircraft Modelling magazine contains a very interesting article that you all may be interested in. Any readers of this magazine will no doubt know that the colour conundrum section deals with problematic aircraft colour schemes by means of researching  primary and secondary sources.  In this month's colour conundrum section on page 52 Paul Lucas has the second part of Prelude to an Air Force: The RFC on the Western Front. And as you already may be guessing he deals (among other things) with the proverbial can of worms that is PC10, actually a more appropriate analogy would be that he opens the can and drops a hand grenade in it! And then to top it off, in the sub-cutaneous section at the back of the magazine he deals with PC 12 as a separate issue as apparently it was too big for the main article so it warranted a section all of its own. While we are all aware of the problems associated with 'locking in' a definite hue for PC 10, I thought that we had a fairly settled interpretation of PC 12, seems that is not the case and the author drops another hand grenade into that can of worms! It's a fascinating article, I'd be curious to hear from anyone else who has read it to hear their thoughts on it.

Dave Rickard
Rockhampton QLD

Offline Dave W

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Re: Scale Aircraft Modelling magazine Volume 40 Issue 02 April 1918
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2018, 06:04:09 PM »
Dave- thanks for the pointer to that very interesting article. Most interesting also in that he references Vallejo paint colour comparisons which is good for those able to source Vallejo. Its always a bit frustrating to see colour reference articles quoting Federal Standard charts or paint lines not available in Australia.

Not that the SAM articles conclusively resolve the issue of PC 10 colours but the author argues his case well. As I'm using a home made mix of Vallejo shades for PC10, I'm rather pleased that my shades seem to be close to his!

Dave Wilson
Gold Coast
Australia

Offline Berman

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Re: Scale Aircraft Modelling magazine Volume 40 Issue 02 April 1918
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2018, 03:36:02 AM »
 More important to me than just selecting a shade. You cannot tell PC-10 from PC-12 by looking at a black and white photo. Therefore, I would like to see an article that lists which British aircraft were only PC-10 and which were only painted PC-12. Plus guidelines as to production serial numbers or some other determining means for those aircraft which made the transition from initial PC-10 to PC-12.

Offline Black Max 72

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Re: Scale Aircraft Modelling magazine Volume 40 Issue 02 April 1918
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2018, 10:18:28 AM »
1918?

Arrgh ::) As the younguns' say, my bad! Obviously I meant 2018. In my defense I had just finished rereading the article and must of had 1918 on the brain. I reckon it'd be a pretty rare edition if it was 1918!

More important to me than just selecting a shade. You cannot tell PC-10 from PC-12 by looking at a black and white photo. Therefore, I would like to see an article that lists which British aircraft were only PC-10 and which were only painted PC-12. Plus guidelines as to production serial numbers or some other determining means for those aircraft which made the transition from initial PC-10 to PC-12.

It's interesting that the author of the article could on find three references to PC 12:-

"Whilst I found many documents that refer to PC 10 in various contexts, I found almost nothing that mentioned PC12. For example, in Advisory Committee for Aeronautics Research and Memoranda (ACA R&M) No.606 'Report on the Pigmentation of Dopes' dated July 1918, where I expected to find it mentioned, details are given of a series of experiments to determine whether including pigments into dope would be beneficial. There were eight different series of trials undertaken as part of this study and whilst Pigmented Oil Varnish, PC 10, PC 10E and pigmented dopes using ‘khaki’ ‘black’ and ‘aluminium’ pigments are all mentioned, there is no mention at all of PC 12. The few documents where I did find it mentioned were connected in some way to trials of various dopes in Egypt. In all, I found just three references to it, two by the colloquialism 'red-brown' alone and a third that linked this colloquialism to the nomenclature 'PC 12'. The link was provided by an undated 'Report on Aluminium Varnish', which appears to date from circa June 1917. This states:

‘As a result of these experiments it is
recommended that one coating of a red-brown
cellulose varnish, P.C.12. (an improved P.C.10.) or
P.C.10. be applied to the doped fabric followed by
one coat of aluminium varnish V.84B.’

From this, we can at least be certain that PC12 actually existed and that it could be described colloquially as being a 'red-brown'
colour. None of these documents deal with the origin of PC 12 or give a formula that describes what proportions of which pigments were involved, thus providing no clue to its colour."


I find it interesting that PC 12 is referred to as 'red-brown' and the only records he finds pertain to the middle east theatre of operations. To me the colour sounds suspiciously like what AMAPDT (AMA Protective Dope Tropical) is described as. I have been under the impression that PC 12 had been 'nailed down' as more 'chocolate brown'. In the article the author does descibe the standardization of colours in late 1917 by the British Engineering Standards Association (BESA) and the 'simplification' of the PC 10 recipe, this new formula is listed as PC 10E:-


"As a result, BESA Specification No. 83 'British Standard of Reference for Aircraft Dope and Protective Covering' was issued on 10 April 1918, but the author only has a partial transcript that lists the ingredients of PC 10 but not their quantities, which include the pigments Yellow Ochre of 80% Iron Oxide content and Carbon Black. As can be seen, this formulation was much simpler than those quoted previously and now consisted of only two pigments, which might have gone some way to ensuring standardisation. It is interesting, and possibly of relevance, to note that the 80% Iron Oxide content of the BESA Specification PC 10 was to be much greater than the 34% Iron Oxide content of the early Ripolin formula given above."


This simplified new formula together with the higher iron oxide content would've shifted the hue from 'khaki' to more of a 'chocolate brown'. Now this is the colour that WNW suggests for aircraft like the Sopwith Snipe (as PC 12) but, according to my interpretation of the article, is probably the new standardised formula PC 10E. Of interest is the possible reasoning for this change in that Britain's supply of Yellow Ochre , that came from Spain, was cut due to Germany's unrestricted submarine warfare and they had to turn to a local source from Devon which had a much higher iron oxide content. For me this brings into doubt conclusions such as the Sopwith Triplanes of the RNAS being finished in 'PC 12', at that time there would've been up to (possibly) five variations of PC 10 of slightly differing hues and that is not taking in to account batch variation by each manufacturer.

I guess there will be no definitive answer and the old adage that we all follow on this forum is most probably the correct one, paint it whatever shade of olive green-khaki-brown that you see fit because nobody will be able to prove you wrong!

I hope that I haven't contravened the forum rules by quoting the article, if so I apologise, it's just a very wordy article and it was easier than trying to transpose.

Dave Rickard
Rockhampton QLD


Offline NigelR

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Re: Scale Aircraft Modelling magazine Volume 40 Issue 02 April 1918
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2018, 12:35:28 AM »
Thanks for the link to the article, I bought the digital download version of the mag. It's a good read, although the representation of the PC10E on Barker's Snipe doesn't look anything like the original in the Canadian War Museum IMO. This is allegedly original fabric and to my eyes it had a distinctly greenish cast to it. Definitely not the colour shown in the magazine. Mind you, the front part of the fuselage of Barker's Snipe has been overpainted with a PC10 ish colour, so I guess we can't say for sure that the remaining fabric on the fuselage hasn't been "restored" at some point. It doesn't look like it, although the museum did not respond to my email asking about the originality of the fuselage.

Personally, I prefer to reference original artefacts where possible. For example, the DH9 at Le Bourget, which is again allegedly largely original and distinctly khaki brown rather than greenish brown (see photos here: http://www.wwi-models.org/Photos/Bri/DH9a/index.html). However, this is subject to around 100 years of deterioration since it was first in service.

Recently, I saw a very interesting original artefact at the RAF Museum, Hendon. It's a violin. Yes, a violin. Now why is that relevant? Because it's a violin built by an aircraft fitter working at the front using materials that were to hand. And on the reverse he has painted a pretty good representation of an AW FK8. He must have used the paints they had in store, and the colour of the plane is a brownish-khaki. Considering the violin will likely have been kept in a case and not exposed to sunlight, the colour is likely to be close to the original, and I can only assume that he used their PC10 paint to represent the aircraft on the violin.

There's also a lot of reference to chocolate brown with regard to PC10/PC12 and the assumption that would be a dark brown colour.  Chocolate, like PC10, comes in a lot of colours. I've attached a copy of an ad for the original Fry's Five Boys chocolate, first released in 1902. You can see this is a light brown (milk chocolate) rather than a dark brown. This isn't far off the colour of the FK8 on the violin mentioned above. So any contemporary descriptions of "chocolate brown" do not to my mind necessarily mean a very dark colour. Alex Revell stated that WW1 pilots he met said the PC colour was brown rather than green. Also that Grinnell-Milne remembered that some of the last SE5as issued to 56 Sqdn were a very dark chocolate coloured brown. He remembered this as being different from the norm.

My own view is that the "accepted norm" of PC10 starting green and then going brown can't really be substantiated. As long as your PC10 is olive drab-ish, I would say that's fine by me.

The PC12 discussion is interesting. The article states a report which cites PC12 as "red brown". It's interesting that the Wingnut Wings kit instructions for the Camel and the Snipe state PC10 or 12 were used, and that "previous reports of it (PC12) being red brown are in error". They don't explain why though. I would not describe the fuselage of Barker's Snipe as dark chocolate brown. So still as clear as mud, or maybe dark chocolate......