F4U-1 Corsair Painting: Department of Not Even Close

  • 6 posts
  • Last reply 8 years, 3 months ago
Viewing 1 - 6 of 6 posts
  • David Hansen said 8 years, 4 months ago:

    My current project is a 48th scale Tamiya F4U-1 Birdcage. BuAer 02153 to be exact, the first production Corsair.

    This is intended to eventually become a full-blown article on how to build a very early Corsair, but right now i’m trying to fine tune the shade of blue gray paint on the upper surfaces. A friend of mine suggested using Floquil US Navy ANA Blue Gray so i thought i’d give it a try. i looked at as many photographs of the plane as i could (both Colour and Black and White) , so i had a pretty good idea of what the Blue Gray “Should” look like.

    Here’s are unaltered pics i took today of my Corsair with the outer wing panels sprayed Floquil Blue Gray.

    Now you might say, “Well, that looks reasonably close. perhaps a little dark. Maybe the photo is under exposed a bit but not too bad.”

    Keep in mind that i’m going for a brand spanking new, factory-fresh Corsair that might have 3 hours worth of engine runs and maybe 1 1/2 hours flying time on it.

    Now, here is the photo adjusted so you can see how the Blue Gray looks in daylight:

    — Image [pic5] not found —

    Now maybe i’m a colour Nazi, maybe not. It’s not my call. But when viewed up close the Blue Gray looks an awful lot like USN Intermediate Blue. Much more than the Blue Gray i was hoping for.
    I swapped some messages with David Rapasi, who has done some invaluable research into these early wartime colours and he suggested a new mixing formula i’m gonna try soon. The paint is mixed up and ready to go. Just need to spray the wings and see how it looks.

    Bottom line- Look as many photographs as you can and take the painted model out into direct sunlight. Go with your gut. If it says the colour is off, it probably is.


  • Lawrence R.(Larry) Schmidt said 8 years, 4 months ago:

    I have used Model Master and White Ensign Blue Gray. My default Blue-gray is Xtracolor which is lighter. The White Ensign is darker than the Xtracolor and the Model Master is the darkest. I think that newly applied paint would be a fair deal darker than faded and salt-washed paint. I offer the caveat that my visual observations are based on 65 year old Mark 1 eyeballs. I don’t think they are as calibrated as they used to be. I love the early Blue-gray Navy and Marine Corps airplanes. I have followed several threads on this subject on Hyperscale, as it is an area of interest to me. I will be following your build with interest. Adios, Larry.

  • Deleted User said 8 years, 4 months ago:

    FWIW, I think from looking at the photo(s), it’s a tad lighter than Intermediate Blue (which is, presumably, a “good” thing). You’re real close to that color you’re lookin’ for IMO.

  • David Hansen said 8 years, 4 months ago:

    Hi Larry,

    I agree with you about the MM Blue Gray. i built a Tamiya F4F-4 and i liked the end result. The finish on a brand new F4U is (maybe) ever so slightly darker. I know i could have gone with the Model Master straight from the bottle and come close, but i want to give David Rapasi’s suggestions a try. He’s built a ton of Tamiya Corsairs (posted over on ARC) and his Early versions look distinctly darker than what you often see. I may wind up re-inventing the wheel in the process but i want to see if i can come up with something sort of in-between David’s interpretation and the MM Blue Gray, which i admit comes closer than the Floquil.

  • David Hansen said 8 years, 4 months ago:

    Hi Craig,

    i agree the 32nd scale F4U-1 is very close- especially for a combat-worn South Pacific veteran. That high-waterline demarcation between the grays is rather exotic and seen on only a handful of Corsairs. Only other planes i’ve seen that on are the PV Ventura and the prototype TBU Sea Wolf.


  • David Hansen said 8 years, 3 months ago:

    I got the blue gray sussed out. pics to follow in a week, maybe sooner.


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