Flying Heritage Collection Fw 190

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by GregP, Jun 16, 2014.

  1. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Went to the Flying Heritage Collection (FHC) a few days ago and was duly impressed with the quality of the restorations done to date. The only restoration not almost 100% original is the Il-2. Due to the scarcity of Mikulin engines and parts the FHC Il-2 uses a left-turning Allison V-1710 and a Curtiss Electric prop … but everything else is done to original Soviet standards. While there I found out something that makes perfect sense but I had not realized all these years.

    If you look at the sliding canopy on an Fw 190, you will note there is a metal plate along the top of the canopy centerline just aft of the windscreen bow. I always wondered why it was there but never noted any reference to it in books, though I might just have just missed it.

    The fuselage narrows as it move aft from the canopy bow and the canopy has a relieved cut down the centerline for a distance of about a foot or slightly more. The canopy is allowed to get narrower as it slides aft and wider as it slides forward. The metal strap simply allows the flexing of the plexi (Perspex or whatever) while plugging the gap. Altogether an interesting though obscure detail in Fw 190 operation.

    Also, regarding the colors the FHC Fw 190 is painted in, I asked about the camouflage since the swastika’s background is the standard Luftwaffe light blue-gray and was told that none of the primary colors used were in the Luftwaffe’s list of colors. The standard blue-gray stood out against the Soviet Union’s landscape and the Fw 190’s used there were frequently repainted in the Soviet tank colors from supplies of captured Soviet paint. Such is the case with the FHC Fw 190 that flies. They painted around the swastika and national markings, but otherwise used Soviet tank colors since they blended in with the Soviet landscape much better than the colors used in Europe.

    I'm away from home just now and don't have a camera with me, and all of the pics I can pull up on the net aren't accepted by the pic button, but you can easily Google a pic of it.
     
  2. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    If you pose a model Fw 190 with the hood slid back you can have hours of fun adjusting the canopy to match the narrower part of the opening as obviously model canopies don't have that feature :)

    The 'tank colours' is just one theory and many don't think that it was the method used. Far more likely, some including me feel, that locally mixed greens were made using the standard RLM 70 and RLM 71 as base colours. Add RLM 04 to either of these and you can make a variety of greens. All these paints would have been available, even in the East, at any Fliegerhorst based Werft. The two greens were standard bomber/transport colours and the yellow was an in theatre marking. Applying specialist aircraft lacquers with which the Luftwaffe personnel were familiar and trained to use seems much more likely than applying paints not designed for aircraft use and of unknown provenance and properties.
    Bottom line? We'll never know. There's not much point in arguing about it. You pays your money and you takes your pick!
    I am aware of the lengths that they went to in order to match the original colours found on the remains of that Fw 190.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  3. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    The tank colors were researched by Paul Allen's Flying Heritage Collection and they say it is a fact ... and they restored their multi-million dollar Fw 190 that way.

    I personally have no dog in this hunt and am passing on what the FHC told me last Friday. Paul's museum spent many millions of dollars doing the restorations to real wartime levels, and I'd hesitate to state they are wrong without some mighty solid proof of same. They matched the colors still on the plane with the Soviet tank colors and interviewed former German crew chiefs who confirmed the use of captured Soviet paint.

    But I suppose they could be wrong ...
     
  4. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #4 stona, Jun 17, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2014
    If they can confirm the use of captured Soviet paint they should publish the evidence as this has been a bone of contention (though I have no dog here either!) for years. I know that great lengths were taken to match the colours but I've not seen any evidence that an analysis of the paint, particularly pigment, matched any specific type either.

    If you were painting your aircraft would you apply aviation lacquers designed for adhesion to light metals and with finely ground pigments for a smooth finish and specially developed UV resistant binders etc or something designed for a tank?
    In this context it is worth remembering the constant stream of advice, instructions and orders emanating from the RLM/Luftwaffe about the application, preservation and maintenance of the surface finish of all its aircraft which this would clearly contravene.

    There are precedents for mixing. The CEAR's for downed Luftwaffe aircraft in the late BoB period describe a variety of grey colours which seem to have been mixed greys applied to aircraft on the Channel Front and which preceded the adoption of the standard grey 74/75 scheme. Phrases like "blue-grey" and in one case "battleship grey" are used to describe the unfamiliar colours.

    The RAF applied a mixed grey across Fighter Command when it adopted the DFS by mixing Medium Sea Grey and Night in a 7:1 ratio. Only later was this standardised as Ocean Grey.

    In both cases the reaction to the requirement of a different colour to improve or maintain camouflage was to create something from existing stocks of aviation lacquer, not to go to the Army, Navy or local car dealership in search of something that might prove unsuitable in application.

    Like I said, we may never know, but if there is anything more than anecdotal evidence for the use of non-aviation, captured, paints on Luftwaffe aircraft in the East I'd love to see it. I will happily be convinced by some solid evidence, as someone with a science background I have to bow to the evidence :)

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  5. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Hi Steve,

    They were deployed in wilderness. The Soviet steppes were a quagmire of mud in spring, had grass higher than your waist in summer, and was snow covered in winter. I'm sure that the supply line that could not get them enough food and spare parts would have been hard-pressed to get them aviation paint. I'd bet they used any paint they could get their hands on.

    One thing is for sure, the colors on the FHC Fw 190 are not in the standard German aviation paint selection group. Also, the plane as recovered had some good paint on it.

    Again, I'd want some proof before saying they were wrong, especially with the testimony of former WWII Fw 190 crew chiefs in the fray. Their Bf 109 E is painted in standard Luftwaffe colors, and all the other planes are also painted in the real WWII colors. The entire point of Paul's collection is authenticity, with ALL equipment installed and working.

    So, their evidence is good enough for me going forward. If it's not for you, that's OK. Next time you get to Seattle, go visit and ask about it. I probably didn't mention all the references I was told about, but it seemed pretty thorough to me when talking with the museum staff.

    Cheers.
     
  6. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I don't for one second doubt their authenticity. I'm well aware of the lengths they went to for this restoration. My argument is that the Soviet paint, tank, tractor or otherwise, is just one explanation of the non-standard colours found on these aircraft. There are other explanations and it is not proven either way.

    I don't know whose right or wrong and probably never will. The only point we really differ on is where we see the burden of proof. I would want evidence (not just notoriously unreliable anecdotal evidence) that aviation lacquers were NOT used. That is something that would directly contravene every regulation about the finishing of Luftwaffe aircraft ever written.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  7. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Well, the maintenance guy and head docent did say that while they researched the paint and colors, the FHC Fw 190 was painted in carefully mixed, high-quality aviation paint, not WWII Soviet tank paint.
     
  8. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    FockeWulfFW190A51-5.jpg

    Why would this Soviet vehicle paint be used with all that yellow on the a/c?

    Came across this:
    The soviets only had one standard green paint and it was 4B0. It's an olive drab/green virtually indistinguishable from US olive drab or british SCC-15. 4B0 was applied to all manner of military equipment – tanks, vehicles, helmets, artillery, and aircraft. Was there some variation between paint lots? Yes, of course there was, but it wasn't drastic. The same variation occurred with US OD. Different manufacturers, different lots, variable quality control.

    The light green (a yellowish pea green) that modelers are so enamoured of was commonly found on older vehicles encountered in 1941. They had been built before the war and in some cases were 5+ years old. Paint exposed to the elements for that long will fade/bleach extensively. At the other extreme is the very dark green (but distictly olive) seen on well cared for museum vehicles (stored out of the elements). This is because soviet wartime produced 4B0 was chemically unstable. As the paint aged it got progressively darker – but that takes years/decades. Most soviet equipment didn't last that long in service. 4B0 is still the standard base colour of russian military equipment. The paint is of higher quality but the colour is still the same.
     
  9. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    ..which is why Eduard's 190 models come with TWO sliding canopies: one wide for the closed position and a second one that's slightly narrower if you wish to pose it in the open position. Smart folks at Eduard.

    Steve, always a pleasure to hear your enlightened views on these subjects. I too have read of the pains to which the FHC guys have gone to get the colours right, often in the face of criticism. The colours themselves, not their origin, is what is interesting to me.
     
  10. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Hi Milosh,

    According to the Flying Heritage Collection docents and maintenance personnel, the two shades of green and the brown are Soviet tank colors that were on the aircraft as recovered. The yellow was Luftwaffe paint, as was the background behind the national markings (all they did was to paint around the national markings). They were looking for camoflage that worked over the Soviet steppes and the Soviet paints DID work.

    And that's about all I have to say on it. Anyone who wants more will have to write the FHC and ask.
     
  11. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    At the end of the day Crimea River has hit the nail on the head. It is the authenticity of the colours, which nobody is questioning, rather than their origins which really matter on this restoration. It is a fantastic restoration of a very important aeroplane and I for one am grateful for it.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  12. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    The plane is restored to such a high standard that I wouldn't care if they painted it purple.

    Accurate German or Russian Front colors are better than inaccurate paint, but returning it to flight status with high standards is what sets it apart for me.

    It could be painted perfectly and if the thing were just thrown together at the same time, it would be a flying piece of junk.

    This one isn't. It's done right and done accurately.

    Funny, nobody commented on the split canopy ... all discussion was about the damned paint! Unbelievable, at least to me.

    Ah well ...
     
  13. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    That's because there's nothing contentious about it, it's a well known feature of the Fw 190 :)

    As for the paint, or rather the origins of the original paint, that's been a contentious issue for many years.

    Everything about the restored aircraft is about as good as it gets. I don't think you'll find anyone to disagree with that either :)

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  14. cimmex

    cimmex Member

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  15. rochie

    rochie Well-Known Member

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    flexing canopy, you'll be telling me they did an inline engined version next !!!!
     
  16. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Here's another during restoration.

    [​IMG]

    The hinge allowed the hood to accommodate a variation in width from about 53cm to 66cm, a difference of 13cm or about 5".

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  17. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    When you start reading about the Fw 190, there are a lot of facts and not a few rumors to get your head around, but the split canopy was never a feature I read about.

    So, it was a new data point for me. Makes perfect sense when explained, but I just didn't notice the feature before ... plus I've never gotten really close to one except from ground level. If I had even been on the wing or in the canopy it would have been obvious, but I never sat in one and the Flugwerk unit I HAVE gotten close to has the feature, but when I got up high on it, I was helping perform a minor maintenance task and din't look at the canopy ... instead I took a pic of the instrument panel.
     
  18. kettbo

    kettbo Member

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    #18 kettbo, Jun 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014
    thanks for the PM saying you were coming! Though Everett is well over an hour north of me, I would have enjoyed meeting/

    SAM_9023.JPG
     
  19. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Hi kettbo,

    It was not on my schedule ... my sister had some business and I got a free afternoon. My PC had been down for almost 2 months and I was jumping into the forum whenever I could get a bit of time.

    So ... this was a spur-of-the-moment visit ... not a planned one.

    Next time, - Greg :)
     
  20. kettbo

    kettbo Member

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    you barely dodged the bullet with that reply Greg :confused:
    the FT Lewis Museum is a must-see and others which you'd have to know about
     
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