The camouflage known as "Haze Paint" was used on around 130 photo recon P-38s between March and October of 1943. It was a whitish colored oil based paint that had pigment grains of a smaller diameter than the wavelength of blue or violet light. This caused a high reflection in those colors. By spraying this paint on a glossy black base coat of paint, only blue and violet would be reflected with all other colors absorbed by the black. The Haze paint was sprayed over the base coat in varying thickness depending on the on on the aircraft, heavier in shadow areas making for a light blue almost white, and lighter on the upper surfaces giving a dark blue almost black color. The sides of the aircraft looked in B&W photos almost like the mottling on Luftwaffe fighters resulting in a medium blue color. Tests were done on a P-43 and this apparently worked!
There were problems though:
1. The oil based paint took over 12 hours to dry and then 2-4 more hours to remove over spray dust, slowing down production.
2. The fumes of the paint were making the painters sick.
3. The thickness of the paint sprayed was very much at the discretion and skill of the individual painter and there was much variance in the finished product, and if it wasn't just right it wound not work. Many rejected paint jobs and more delay.
4. The paint could only be sprayed by the day shift as spraying it under artificial lighting did not give the painters a good enough sense of the thickness they were spraying. More time loss.
5. The Haze paint did not ware well and after some little time the black base cote would begin to show through more and more making the effect less and less effective.
The delays and the wearing of the paint were offset by the fact that feed back from photo-recon units were very favorable. They loved the stuff. So an alternative was sought and after several unsuccessful tries with lacquer and enamel based paints Lockheed together with Sherwin-Williams came up with "Synthetic Haze Paint" in Jan, 1943 which seemed to be a way of shading the aircraft with various shades of blue. I was effective however as a test was done with a F-5A which flew an interception at a B-17 with six observers on board. the observers did not spot it until it was within 1000 feet of the B-17. By March 1943 "Synthetic Haze" was the standard paint scheme on all photo-recon Lightening's coming out of the factory.
By the end of 1944 all Army Air Force aircraft were being supplied without camouflage and this also meant the "Synthetic Haze" painted Lightnings, but some were still painted when they reached their units, probably with RAF stocks of P.R.U. Blue of Azure Blue.
I have some pictures of F-4s in good, bad, and worn "Haze Paint", and also pictures of some in "Synthetic Haze Paint", but right now the computer my scanner is hooked to is in the middle of a nervous break down so I won't be able to scan them until after the new year (I hope). I've been kicking around the idea of trying a "Haze Paint" scheme ever since I first read about it several years ago and have been trying to figure out how to do it. Maybe try it like the real thing starting with a black undercoat and spraying on many thin coats of a very light blue making the build up thicker on the underside. Don't know if it would work and would defiantly have to try it out on an old model from my bone-yard first.
Hey Jan, I just flipped through my P-38 Lightning In Action book that I just picked up at Squadron. No expert here but there are apparent differences in the nose section between the F-4-1LO and F-4A-1. Seems your rig does not have the oblique camera windows on the sides, just the vertical camera ports. Also no radio mast on the front. Instead there's a small whip antenna.