Koga's Zero / Akutan Zero - The colors

Discussion in 'Painting Questions, Tutorials and Guidebooks' started by vazquez, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. vazquez

    vazquez New Member

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    #1 vazquez, Jun 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012
    Hi all,

    I'm about to start building a 1/48 model of the "Akutan Zero" (Akutan Zero - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) after it was restored and painted with U.S. colors. From what I have learned from websites and photos, after the restoration the aircraft was repainted in the USN Blue Gray/Light Gray color scheme, with US National Insignias in six positions.

    The question is: what about cockpit and wheel well colors? I would assume the cockpit was kept in the original colors (no damage to it, so no reason to repaint it), but I have no idea if wheel wells and inner side of landing gear doors were repainted or kept in the original metallic blue color. Considering the doors and landing gear were damaged on landing, my guess would be they were but then, in what color?

    What are your thoughts?

    TIA,

    Vicente Vazquez
    (forum newbie from Brazil :) )
     
  2. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Pretty certain Koga's Zero was mitsubishi built and thus had wheel well and internal covers in the normal upper surface colour of Olive grey when it crashed.

    Now one pic of the restored aircraft shows the U/C legs in a light colour rather than the usual Black, so it is possible the US light Grey was used here too as well as the covers and wheel wells when repainted after reconstruction.
     
  3. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    #3 R Leonard, Jul 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2012
    Secure in the thought that I'm probably the only person in this forum who has ever handled pieces, plural, of that particular airplane, I can tell you that in those places where repairs were made to interior surfaces resulting in removal or damage to the original preservative coating, the standard yucky green-yellow zinc chromate primer was applied. Now, whether or not this was done to the landing gear covers and wheel wells, I couldn't begin to tell you. The list, see below, of repairs the NAS San Diego A&R folks deemed necessary does not mention work in the area of the wheel wells except to repair the gear, itself. One might also note that it was not at all unusual to see USN aircraft of the period with wheel wells painted in the standard underside light grey . . . probably overtop a preservative undercoat, but light grey nonetheless.

    A 15 August 1942 memo from the Commanding Officer of the U.S. Naval Air Station, San Diego, to the Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics, listed repairs that Zero 4593 needed to make it airworthy. The following is a text of that memo, start:

    1. Subject airplane can be put into flying condition in six weeks, provided no unexpected trouble is encountered. It will be necessary to manufacture numerous replacement parts, particularly bolts, machine screws, etc., as they appear to be metric. Work has commenced and will be expedited by day and night shifts, seven days a week.

    2. The engine appears to be in good general condition. The bottom front cylinder was dented, apparently by the bullet, which severed the forward sump oil line. The Station will straighten and re-hone this cylinder, and it is believed that it will be in satisfactory condition. The carburetor and possibly other engine accessories are in bad shape internally from corrosion, and will need considerable reconditioning. No undue difficulty in accomplishing this is anticipated.

    Structural Repairs Necessary to Fuselage and Wings:
    1. Rebuild fin.
    2. Repair both elevators.
    3. Repair rudder.
    4. Rear section of fuselage out of line and bulkheads buckled necessitating considerable repair.
    5. Repair fuselage belt frame at stations 9 and 11.
    6. Replace top fuselage skin and stringers
    7. Rebuild sliding cockpit enclosure
    8. Repair seat
    9. Straighten fuselage adjacent to cockpit both sides at stations 2-5.
    10. Repair fuselage skin at station 4.
    11. Repair fuselage at top forward of pilot at station 1.
    12. Rebuilt entire engine cowling
    13. Repair cowl flaps.
    14. Rebuild both sides of landing gear (both main attaching fittings sheared off).
    15. Rebuild left landing flap.
    16. Replace all ribs on right landing flap.
    17. Cut and splice main left wing beam at landing gear attachment.
    18. Rebuild one wing tip.
    19. Repair left bottom wing skin at station 2.
    20. Repair bullet holes in left wing at station 0.
    21. Repair leading edge skin on right wing at stations 1.4 and 2.
    22. Remake gun cover in right wing between stations 2 and 2.25
    23. Patch right wing leading edge skin at station 3.
    24. Patch skin and splice main wing bulkhead at station 3.7.
    25. Manufacture two aileron fittings which have been sawed off.
    26. Replace pilot tube located on left wing.
    27. Manufacture various nuts, bolts, etc. which are missing and patch various small holes in skin.
    28. Check all wiring. It may be necessary to replace fifty percent of wiring in ship.
    29. Test oil and gas tanks. Overhaul is probably necessary.
    30. Re-rig all surfaces and other controls.

    Necessary Engine Repairs:
    1. Straighten and repair nine push rods.
    2. Repair one cylinder.
    3. Rewire and overhaul harness.
    4. Replace two missing spark plugs with LS321 plugs.
    5. Completely overhaul carburetor (badly corroded - all springs and some other parts to be replaced)
    6. Recondition magnetos (badly corroded).

    Instruments:
    1. Overhaul all instruments, hydraulic units.
    2. If necessary, replace instruments and other small units with Navy standard articles.

    End.

    #18 mentioned above, “Rebuild one wing tip” refers to the port wing tip which was nastily dished on the underside. The A&R folks removed the damaged panel and repaired the interior support, including the rib along the fold edge. This is where the mark one eyeball comes into play. Along that rib and looking into the interior through the holes in that rib, one could easily discern the original preservative paint from the added, post-repairs, zinc chromate. In some places it was obvious that the chromate was literally dashed on with a paint brush. My father preserved this wing tip and some of the craft’s instrumentation when he discovered them in the pile of junk that was #4593 in a North Island hangar in March 1945, this after its unfortunate altercation with an SB2C in February. We carried those parts around from station to station, and Dad still had them when he retired from the Navy in 1971. The ComFAirWest training boss, John Crommelin, knew my father had been instrumental having the plane brought east from NAS Anacostia and was one of the first to employ it as a adversary demonstrator, so he readily granted permission for him to make off with what he wanted. There is even an entry in my father’s flight log where he records a flight in #4593 vs Crommelin in an FM-2 with a notation remark “pretty even.” Eventually, in the mid 1980’s, Dad donated all to the Navy museum at the Washington Navy Yard where I presume they still reside. In my much younger model building days, like pre-going off to college in 1970, I thought myself lucky that I knew the interiors of any A6M2 I built had the correct color preservative for same as I had, not just a chip, but the paint from the wingtip as my exemplar. I recall a heated argument, remember this would have been in the 1960’s, with the gent at the next table at a DC area competition who insisted my A6M2 had the wrong color interior - “everyone knew” it should be zinc chromate . . . the next day I dragged in the wingtip for comparison . . . end of argument. I wonder what ever happened to that model . . .

    Can’t help with any photos of #4593 in its blue over grey livery, the only photos I have that are originals (that is complete with official USN stamps on the back) are in the 1944 bare metal appearance; black and white anyway, and no close ups.

    Regards,

    Rich
     
  4. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Great info there mate, thanks!
     
  5. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    I have read the detailed list for repairing Koga's Zero that I have never seen line by line twice carefully.
    Your numbering system for stations interested me above all.

    Thanks so much for sharing, Rich!
     
  6. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that info Rich, excellent!

    Now with those repairs, it would be logical that the entire lower surface got the grey coat, with the undercarriage covers etc. getting a uniform similar coat?
    It is clear the undercarriage legs are a light colour (Black normally) so if as point 14 says "Rebuild both sides of landing gear (both main attaching fittings sheared off)" then all of this most likely would have been repainted....best guess I might add??
     
  7. vazquez

    vazquez New Member

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    Rich, thank you very much for all that great info. Extremely interesting. From your post I understand I'm talking to the son of the late Rear Admiral William Nicholas Leonard. Coincidentally, I had previously read about him, his carrer and about him being responsible of saving the few relics from 4593 still in existance today. Pleased to "meet" you, Rich.

    About Koga's Zero, I agree with Wayne when he says that a good guess would be that the entire undersurface (wells doors included) might have been sprayed with ANA Light Gray. YZC might be an option and, from a modelling point of view, would give us a bit of a more "colorful" model, but with no definitive proof of what the correct colors are, I'll stick to the Light Gray option, even if that has to involve a bit of "poetic license".

    A6M2_018.jpg

    I didn't know much about this particular Zero before I started assembling the kit and I got very interested in its story. Maybe I'll bother Rich with some further questions in the future. If he doesn't mind, of course. :)

    Thanks everybody. Thanks a lot, Rich

    Vicente Vazquez
     
  8. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Good luck with your project...
     
  9. vazquez

    vazquez New Member

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    #9 vazquez, Jul 3, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
    Thanks, Wayne. I'll post the project in the "Start To Finish Builds" forum as soon as I start building it.
     
  10. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Looking forward to that myself!

    Btw, Vicente - love the look of that Brazilian P-47. Do you know if decals exist in 1:72 for that (or similar)?
     
  11. vazquez

    vazquez New Member

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    #11 vazquez, Jul 4, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2012
    Yes, decals exist. FCM Decals from Brazil makes a decal sheet (printed by Microscale) that will allow you to build almost any of the Brazilian Jugs used in Italy. Bad news, though, is that it is sold out.

    [​IMG]

    In case you're interested in building a Brazilian P-47 I might have some spare decals in 1/72 (gotta check), from the first batches FCM produced. They are not Microscale printed, but still quite good. i'll check what I have. I built this one in 2003 using those decals.

    P.S.: Autograph on the wing is that of Brig.Gen. Rui Barbosa Moreira Lima, pilot of the "D4" in Italy, 96 war missions.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    You got the pilots Autograph!!!! Thats awesome man....
     
  13. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    With Wayne on that!

    ...And yes please! Would be very interested in spare markings if you have them. Let me know if you need any decals or parts yourself and we can trade if I have them.

    Evan
     
  14. vazquez

    vazquez New Member

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    #14 vazquez, Jul 4, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2012
    Evan, I've checked my spare decals and I only have a full set of Brazilian markings in 1/48 (pic below). The sheet came with a brazilian reboxing of the Academy Kit. In 1/72 I have squadron codes, tail numbers but unfortunately not the Squadron Badge. The national insignias are also kindda out of register.

    The 1/48 sheet has markings for 4 different aircraft: B6 (Olive Drab, -28-RA), C1 (Olive Drab, -25-RE), A1 (Natural Metal, -30-RE) and B5 (Natural Metal -28-RE), but has only one Squadron Badge. If you want the sheet, I can send an extra Squad badge so you can build at least two different a/c. Let me know. I also have tons of references in case you need them. ;)

    FCM's most recent 1/72 scale decal sheet is currently out of stock in brazilian shops (I want one myself), but I found out Lucky Model still has them in stock. The sheet has enough decals to build 4 aircraft.

    LuckyModel.com - FCM Decals 1/72 Jambock Squadron (FCM-72020)

    About the autographed model, tks Wayne Evan. Brig. Rui Moreira Lima is someone I'm very proud to call a friend. A great pilot, a great man ... and a great raconteur too... :)

    decalhtc.jpg
     
  15. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Great stuff mate, thanks!

    Aircraft B6 and D4 look especially good... if the job interview succeeds I'm ordering that sheet :)

    (And you are indeed a lucky man to know the Brigadier personally!)
     
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