1940 RAF scheme - Port underside black

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Sir Francis

May 27, 2007
Hey guys, some more paint scheme ques...

With the early war scheme with the black port underside, what was the light colour? White - Duck egg Blue? Im specifically looking at a Whirlwind of 263 Sqn and also a Buffalo of RNZAF 488 Sqn (Singapore).

Also while Im at it what humbrol colours are best for the upper surfaces of both planes? ie am assuming standard green brown as per Battle of Britain for the Whirlwind. (Humbrol ?) What about the Buffalo - Box art shows the green a lighter brighter shade?

The black and white sceme was pretty much that. it changed to an overall duck egg blue later on.

The upper surfaces would use Humbrol Dark Earth 29 and Dark Green 30.
If you add a little white to each the colours it will scale the tones a bit.
The black and white sceme was pretty much that. it changed to an overall duck egg blue later on.

The upper surfaces would use Humbrol Dark Earth 29 and Dark Green 30.
If you add a little white to each the colours it will scale the tones a bit.


Ahha I thought the Boomerang instructions odd, they said Humbrol 29 - Light Brown. When I looked at it in the shop it didn't look light brown to me.

Ok so - black white, not black light blue.
So the Buffalo upper was the same green brown as the whirlwind spitfire, hurricane etc? It's funny cause even the Tamyia 1/48 box art has the Buffalo green looking much lighter.

Yup Im pretty the upper schemes remained pretty similar.

Actually on the two tone under side, it appears it could be duck egg too.
I;ve seen both though so its hard to tell.

this is the best I could find for the underside on a 'model'.. Clearly a white there..........

it seems that the initial scheme in 39 was white and black split down the middle.

Then went to duck egg blue/green

then in late 1940-41 the duck egg green was kept with the left wing painted flat black.

The kit instructions for the Buffalo (old Matchbox 1/72) say black sky blue. It looks duck egg on the box. The kit instructions for the Whirlwind (old airfix 1/72) has all blue M8?. However I have seen photos of this actual plane H-HE and it definitely has port side black. It would have entered sqn service in late 40 early 41. As you said it may have been repainted at some stage with varying schemes. But still not 100% sure if it was white-black or blue-black...arghh

The whirwind Im almost certain would be blue/black.

Royal Air Force, World War II

Duck Egg Blue

Sky Type S
160*Hu:34 + 5*Hu:101 + 4*Hu:99 + 1*Hu:60
From the Humbrol site.
A lot of mix up at this period. At first, port was black, and starboard was white, or if the aircraft was originally silver then sometimes it was left silver. Ailerons were left unpainted sometimes (not to upset their balance). Later,during late summer 1940, the fighters were told to be painted 'sky' under with an 18 inch ID band in front of the vertical tail surfaces and spinner also in 'sky'. This varied between 'duck egg blue' and duck egg green' because it was mixed mostly locally and did not come from a central depot. Later again, Autumn 1940, fighters were again to be low visibility (ie matt black) under the port wing with no instructions on the colour under the starboard wing, thus some that had already been painted 'sky' were half sky half black, the demarkation line usually being, just the under wing black, the starboard wing under and fuselage 'sky' as were under the tail wings. Earlier, in the black/white split, sometimes the fuselage was left silver doped as were the tail wings, sometimes they were black/white. there were as many differences as 'planes. Go by the real thing or a photo!
I used Tamiya XF-21 along with flat black for this mk.1 Spit. At first I thought that combination just looks a bit too bright, but on reflection it seems pretty accurate

And maybe this pic can be also useful for you guys.

Source unknown.


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The first radar stations could only look forward. This meant that once enemy aircraft had crossed the coast they could not be tracked. The idea arose that if RAF fighter aircraft were painted black and white underneath they could be identified by spotters on the ground and so the formations of friendly and enemy aircraft could tracked visually. It was considered very important that the aircraft were painted exactly half-half black and white exactly down the centre line of the fuselage. Any aircraft that varied from this were sent back to the factory for rectification. This scheme was discontinued from June 1940, just before the Battle of Britain started. It was replaced by Sky. There was a shortage of this colour and so similar hues were mixed from other paints and are referred to as Duck Egg Blue or Green.

After the Battle of Britain the RAF began making more excursions over the Continent of Europe. There was a tendency for AA to shoot at anything coming across The Channel so from the 27th November 1940 fighter aircraft were ordered to paint the port wing black (Night) as a recognition aid. There was much variation in the way this was done. Sometimes the fuselage was also repainted or sometimes just part of the fuselage. In some cases only the outer part of the wing was repainted. The scheme was dropped on the 22nd April 1941. Often the photos of these later aircraft are confused with the earlier black/white scheme and captioned as being black and white when they were not.




And maybe this pic can be also useful for you guys.

Source unknown.

Looks like the old (late '60s) Ducicimus "Camouflage and Markings" series. Did 12 pamphlets on RAF fighters, at least 10 on American fighters bombers, then went away. I used to have them all...:(


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