Question on painting invasion stripes

Discussion in 'Painting Questions, Tutorials and Guidebooks' started by fatboris, May 1, 2010.

  1. fatboris

    fatboris Member

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    I've decided to bypass the decals and go for hand-painted invasion stripes on my TBolt for the GB. Halfway in I'm beginning to regret my decision :confused: I think the wings are going to be okay but I'm stumped on the fuselage.

    I'm sure someone has done this with some success. What's the best way to paint the invasion stripes on the fuselage?

    Also, I've found conflicting info in my research. I've seen articles that say the stripes were handpainted, some say they were sprayed? Is it one, is it both...any help is appreciated?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    To answer the last question first, the majority of the time, the AEAF stripes were hand-painted, using brushes, brooms, sponges, rags, a passing cat, or whatever was immediately available, and in most cases using a 'washable' distemper-type paint (this could be removed with petrol/gasoline). The stripes weren't applied until the evening of June 5th, as, had they been seen earlier, the enemy might have guessed they were special recognition markings for 'something big', and guessed it must be the invasion. However, it is entirely possible that some units might have had the time, and facilities, to spray -paint the stripes, although I suspect this was at a later date. There is evidence to suggest that aircraft held in MU's or BAD's, or other storage facilities, after D-Day itself, very well may have had the stripes applied there, before delivery to units. This is reinforced by some pictures which show, for example, the under-surface stripes only, looking neat, and with no evidence of the 'full' stripes having been in place and removed, as is very noticeable on aircraft in the field.
    So, the time period, the location, and the actual aircraft being modelled will all have a bearing on what the stripes looked like, or how they were applied. Reference pics of the subject are really the only way to confirm these details. As general rule though, if the aircraft was in service before D-day, it's virtually certain the stripes would be hand-painted, as neatly as possible, but with a very wide latitude on the definition of 'neat'!!
    Now that that's out of the way, the actual application to a model shouldn't be a problem. personally, any kit decals provided for stripes I stuff into the spares files, to be used for strips of solid colour where needed, as I think they are a real PITA to try to apply, and look far too neat and bright. I normally brush-paint the stripes, unless it's a bare metal finish, which i'll explain later. After the model is painted, I roughly mask the total area where the stripes are going, having measured the scale dimensions, and paint this matt white. Once dry, the black stripes are brush-painted, using matt or satin black (clear coated later anyway, so no problem) and mostly done freehand, following pencil lines. Although the white may need more than one coat, depending on the base colour, I don't bother to achieve a perfect finish, as this should replicate the appearance of the 'real thing'. Remove the edge masking and the job's done - simple!!
    The only difference for a natural metal bird is that the white is applied before any other painting, and sprayed in the general area of the stripes, allowing an overlap, which is feathered. This is for two reason; first, the feathering will prevent a rudge and shade change showing under the 'metal' finish, and second, 'solid' colours should always be applied before metallics, to prevent reaction with the metallizer in the paint, which will give a 'speckled' effect to the 'solid' colour, especially white. Once the white is dry, mask the area of the stripes, and then apply the metal. (The black stripes can be hand-painted before masking, which also lessens the possibility of masking tape lifting the NMF later.) Agai, simple, no dramas, and job done!
     
  3. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    In the majority of RCAF Sqns the painting of stripes was done by the pilots as the groundcrew were prepping the aiircraft , the painting was done on the night of the invasion
     
  4. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    The specification for the stripes was layed down by SHAEF in "operational memorandum 23" as early as April 18th 1944. Orders were given to apply the stripes as of the evening of June 3rd 1944. The invasion was originally scheduled for the 5th.
    Due to the bad weather,and postponement, some units found that the stripes washed off,I've no idea what paints they used. Men from the 404th fighter group had to apply a second set of stripes with whatever they could find locally. Not easy when all these bases were locked down!
    There is plenty of evidence of the somewhat haphazard application of the stripes on aircraft in the field.
    Steve
     
  5. FlexiBull

    FlexiBull Member

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    Here you go - mind you I wouldn't employ these guys to do my front room!! :lol:

    FlexiBull
     

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  6. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Not making a great job of it there.These aren't much better on this US operated Spitfire.

    [​IMG]

    Nor are these

    [​IMG]

    These don't look too bad

    [​IMG]

    Someone has messed up here!

    [​IMG]
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  7. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Great pics Flexi and Steve ! You're quite right about the timings and orders Steve. I've seen a couple of photos dated June 4th, in daylight, showing the stripes. However, I have also read, and heard first-hand, of stripes having to be removed after painting, due to the delay in mounting the operation, although as far as I know, this was on aircraft scheduled to operate over the Continent during the period immediately following the application of stripes. I bet the 'painters' were p*ssed off!
    The stripes were supposed to be applied at the 'last minute', after receipt of the 'Operation Warning Order', and consequently, in most cases, the application was carried out at the correct time, on the eve of the Invasion itself which, as we all know, eventually took place with the airborne element on the night of June 5 - 6th.
    Bottom line is, the stripes were not 'factory finish', as the above photos clearly show!
     
  8. fatboris

    fatboris Member

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    Gret info guys. I screwed up pretty bad the first try, I stripped the wings today and repainted the Green and Gray. As soon as that cures I'll take another crack at it. Hopefully 2nd time's the charm. Wish me luck!
     
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