Jump to content

Mitsubishi Zero A6M2a Type 11


Recommended Posts

The fabric covered control surfaces have a different appearance from the metal paint on extant relics and their tones also appear to be different in contemporary photographs. So far the actual designations of the paint(s) applied have not been identified. Conclusions have been drawn based on the current appearance of the artifacts and the current appearance of swatches in the extant Kariki 117 document. AFAIK these comparisons have been visual and/or based on values assessed by visual comparison. The JPMA/Munsell/FS595b comparisons for the Kariki 117 swatches by two Japanese researchers are not consistent and there are some contradictions. The actual relevance of Kariki 117 to the paint colours found on extant Zero artifacts of the Pearl Harbor and subsequent eras has not yet been established.

AFAIK the reason why the manufacturer should paint the fabric covered surfaces differently has not yet been explained (other than by conjecture) and the difference may have more to do with the application method used and the paint type rather than the colour (as was the case with the application of OD on US aircraft). Analysis of the colour values reported on the extant artifacts demonstrates that the distance between the values may not be as significant as their appearance suggests. I have undertaken some computer modelling of the age darkening and yellowing ("brown shift") process inevitable with paints of that era and it indicates a relatively small shift is required to push the appearance of the paint into a different colour space. This is especially prevalent with the low reflectivity grey-green and so-called "olive grey" colours. The brown caste in warm greys and the degree of green appearance are particularly difficult to assess accurately.

Regarding the hobby paints they can only be adequately assessed from brushed out, dry applied form against the appearance of the artifacts. Comparing the paints in liquid form or from paint charts is futile. Differences (or similarities) can only be accurately quantified by comparing measured values. Factors like paint age and scale may also need to be taken into account. I don't recognise a basis for the statement that the new Tamiya paint is matched to Nakajima Zeros and does not represent Mitsubishi manufactured Zeros. The reported values of extant artifacts suggest that the Nakajima paints may have been more towards the brown/caramel hue with stronger yellow chroma than the Mitsubishi which therefore draws the Tamiya paint more towards the latter. There is more about hobby paints and the comparisons thereof at my blogsite. There will be more in future.

The White Ensign paint, presumably WEMCC ACJ16 'Mitsubishi Grey-Green' is similar to FS 16350 which has often been cited as a close colour match to the extant artifacts. ACJ16 is in fact slightly darker and warmer (browner) than 16350. The latter is also only a close approximation to the appearance of the extant artifacts, being slightly darker and warmer in turn, and researchers currently prefer to use the JPMA (Japanese Paint Manufacturers Association) deck for the colour call outs which mirror Munsell values - or measured Munsell values with readings taken by spectrophotometer. From my own subjective observation, ACJ16 has insufficient olive or green appearance in direct visual comparison to the Iida artifact. The Tamiya paint is closer in appearance to the Iida artifact but reflects a slightly lighter, greyer colour that may compensate for the effects of scale and/or age darkening/yellowing. AFAIK the basis for the creation of the new Tamiya colour is unknown.

Regardless of the current appearance of the artifacts, the only known official and contemporaneous descriptions of the Zero paint colours come from the maintenance manual - where the metal paints are described as "grey rat colour" - and the 0266 document - where current Zeros are described as "J3 grey colour slightly towards caramel (ameiro) colour". In both cases the descriptions imply a predominantly grey rather than olive or brown colour space, albeit implied/qualified as warm/brownish. The J3 colour is included in both the Kariki 117 and 0266 documents but there is some disagreement over its exact character, with some maintaining it is a pure neutral grey (mix of black and white) and some arguing that it has a slightly grey-green appearance.

From evidence regarding the cowling colour we know that the Kariki colour standard swatches were developed to subsequent "versions" differing from the original and the description "J3 slightly towards caramel colour" may reflect a change such as this.

I will be challenged over the fact that I have not handled the artifacts themselves and therefore do not appreciate the actual appearance of the colours. The former is true, the latter is a subjective conclusion that may or may not be and is in any case dependent upon how accurately the colour values have been reported. If we are to make discussion of colour conditional on seeing/handling the actual artifacts there will not be many participating and there is not much point in publishing the values/comparisons/images to begin with. My own interest has been concentrated in examining and comparing the reported colour values, validating the published comparisons that have been made between JPMA/Munsell and FS595b standards and quantifying the differences through digital analysis using internationally agreed and accepted criteria. Further it is concerned with comparing the ready mixed hobby paints to these values. It is therefore entirely dependent upon the accuracy of the values as reported, except where comparisons are made between standards that have or have not been verified by analysis. This research is therefore more about the accuracy of the colour comparisons than the accuracy of Zero colours per se. I hope that it may help towards a better understanding of the colours being cited but it is a modest hope.

Some confusing and/or misleading statements have been made on modelling websites, in the modelling press, in books and by leading protagonists. There has been heated controversy over two very different perspectives of the chromatic character of the paint as applied. The approach to the subject and the way information has sometimes been published has not helped this. The discipline of colour science has not always been rigorously applied and indeed the need for rigour not always accepted or acceptable.

Some of the published colour mixes replicate the full scale appearance of the extant artifacts. The question of age and scale differences may therefore be addressed when considering them. That is a very personal exercise and again, AFAIK, the variables of scale and age difference are not precisely quantifiable.

The colour space shift between grey-greens and "olive greys" is relatively small (as with RLM 02) and a visual assessment of the degree of grey, olive (green) or brown colour is subjective and dependent upon individual perceptions of colour. Spectrophotometer measurements of extant artifacts improve the accurate assessment of the current colour values but cannot quantify the degree of colour shift that may or may not be inherent in the sample. Statements such as the paint being "well preserved", "stored away from light", etc., as a qualification of colour fidelity are subjective and the degree of preservation is difficult to quantify.

Edited by Nick Millman
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 168
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Wow, .... :blink:

Not discounting your research but I think Greg Springer's evaluations are a little easier to digest for those of us who don't have access to, or knowledge of color interpretation technology...

Link to post
Share on other sites
It's all chinese to me. :soapbox: :blink:
I think what Nick is suggesting is that almost 70 years later trying to get a precise match and description of a color that was apparently not documented at the time beyond a color name, is akin to determining the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin.

(Nick, if I mis-stated your underlying thesis, sorry about that)

Link to post
Share on other sites

ZeroonMunda.jpg

Here's a well weathered A6M3 Model 32 (As far as I can tell) on Munda. It is a very weathered, light grey.

Photo retrieved from: Anderton, David A., 1989. History of the U.S. Airforce. Military Press/Crown Publishers Inc., New York p. 115.

Edited by timc
Link to post
Share on other sites
Not discounting your research but I think Greg Springer's evaluations are a little easier to digest for those of us who don't have access to, or knowledge of color interpretation technology...

Nothing in my admittedly indigestible post implies or should be taken as any disagreement with Greg's mixes. Greg very kindly sent me actual swatches of his colour mixes and a copy of the report on the analysis of the artifacts. The mixes are very precise replications of the current appearance of specific extant artifacts. The imponderable questions of scale effect, age and consistency through production still arise though, cannot be quantified and for modelling purposes are best left to individual interpretation.

As modelling is essentially an interpretative art it seems valid for individual modellers to address such questions or to ignore them. The modeller is thereby making informed decisions and the choices he or she makes, especially in the absence of definitive data, are invariably reasonable. There may be different imperatives for the modeller seeking to replicate the Iida Zero and for the modeller seeking to replicate another Zero at another time and place. The three model Zeros shown in this thread are different in appearance but each is a superb example of individual interpretation and skill to be admired.

Link to post
Share on other sites
The grey on the control surfaces is noticably different from the airframe. the control surface grey is similiar to a barley grey on a British jet. Not exactly but I think you get the general idea. I'll have to look around for my mix ratios tomorrow after work. I'm upstairs tonight and don't have my 3-ring binders in front of me.

Tim,

Thanks for the help, that gives me a ballpark idea.

Regards,

Murph

Link to post
Share on other sites

Murph:

I've located the Tamiya color mixes done by Greg Springer and are as follows:

Mitsubishi A6M's at Pearl Harbor:

Airframe (sans control surfaces):

XF-2 (White) 100

XF-8 (Yellow) 24

XF-1 (Black) 11

XF-7 (Red) 2

Control Surfaces (Fabric):

XF-19 (Sky Grey) 105

XF-49 (Khaki) 20

XF-25 (Lt. Sea Grey) 15

Nakajima built A6M (s/n 646 at Midway)

Airframe (sans control surfaces): See Nick's Post below for Tamiya mix.

Control Surfaces (Fabric):

XF-20 (Medium Grey) 50

XF-19 (Sky Grey) 7

XF-53 (Neutral Grey) 5

These are Greg Springer's mixes dated 2006 for Tamiya paints only. He has, I believe, developed mixes for Model Master paints as well. The numbers represent the number of drops of each color to use. Proportionally increase or decrease the amount for the scale of the aircraft you're working in.

Tim

Edited by timc
Link to post
Share on other sites
Nothing in my admittedly indigestible post implies or should be taken as any disagreement with Greg's mixes. Greg very kindly sent me actual swatches of his colour mixes and a copy of the report on the analysis of the artifacts. The mixes are very precise replications of the current appearance of specific extant artifacts. The imponderable questions of scale effect, age and consistency through production still arise though, cannot be quantified and for modelling purposes are best left to individual interpretation.

As modelling is essentially an interpretative art it seems valid for individual modellers to address such questions or to ignore them. The modeller is thereby making informed decisions and the choices he or she makes, especially in the absence of definitive data, are invariably reasonable. There may be different imperatives for the modeller seeking to replicate the Iida Zero and for the modeller seeking to replicate another Zero at another time and place. The three model Zeros shown in this thread are different in appearance but each is a superb example of individual interpretation and skill to be admired.

Nick,

I hope it didn't come accross that I was questioning your interpretation....If I did, I apologize, that was not my intention. I was instead trying to shortcut some of the folks in here that might get confused by your post.... Apparently I did not succeed as well as I had hoped. I understood what you are alluding to and filed it in the brain box for future reference. For the record, I agree with what you've said here (albeit I have done no real research on the question) and admitedly, rely on work such as yours to frame my interpretation.

I have another zero in my 1/32 scale collection that may or may not be converted into an A6M2N using the excellent MDC resin offering but that's down the road a fur piece though :thumbsup:

Tim

Edited by timc
Link to post
Share on other sites
The two tone was from the front of the aircraft being covered with a tarp, the exposed area, rear fuselage "faded" in the sun. I have seen pictures somewhere of A6M11's in China I think with tarps over cockpit , forward fuselage area. HTH---John

That's correct and if I may add... The tarp(s) extended across the wings too. I've forgotten exactly how far out the tarp extended out the wing but it was relatively close to wing root. I'll have to do some digging to find a more definite answer on the location of the tarp across the wings. I know pictures exist, I've seen them, I just have to find them...LOL. I do know that a photo of a faded A6M2 Model 11 is in the Squadron "In-Action" on the zero showing the faded fuselage (in-flight photo). If you look closely, you can also see the same type fading on the wing.

Tim

Link to post
Share on other sites
Nick,

I hope it didn't come accross that I was questioning your interpretation....If I did, I apologize, that was not my intention. I was instead trying to shortcut some of the folks in here that might get confused by your post.... Apparently I did not succeed as well as I had hoped. I understood what you are alluding to and filed it in the brain box for future reference. For the record, I agree with what you've said here (albeit I have done no real research on the question) and admitedly, rely on work such as yours to frame my interpretation.

Hi Tim

No, not at all. No need to apologize. I understood and appreciated your response. :-)

I'm still puzzled by the reference to Midway Nakajima Zeros and XF-76 though. Greg sent me the following formula and the sprayed swatch for the metal surfaces of a Midway Zero and it is quite different in appearance to XF-76:-

XF-49 Khaki 100

XF-2 35

X-6 Orange 6

With Clear Glosscoat

It may be that this is not the S/N 646 and refers to another a/c. The colour is much more tan in appearance than the PH artifacts. The observations of Lt. Col. Loyd Childers USMC (Ret.) may be relevant:-

"At Pearl Harbor on 7 Dec 1941 and again at the Battle of Midway on 4 June 1942, I particularly noticed the color of the IJN Zeros as a light tan (his emphasis), very shiny or slick."

This certainly corroborates the artifact evidence and contemporaneous Japanese descriptions that the paint colour was amber/brownish in appearance at the time. After Action Reports completed by US crews after Midway described the colour of Zeros as "ash gray", "light tan" and "khaki colour". We just don't know yet whether this brownish appearance was deliberate or a result of the paint manufacturing/application process.

Greg's Testors Model Master mix for the full scale Iida Zero artifact colour was as follows:-

1792 SAC Bomber Tan 20

1768 White 11

1734 Green Zinc Chromate 0.9

Acrylic Clear Coat

There are additional swatches rendered from Zero artifacts, comparisons of some available Hobby paints and discussion in the 6-part series "The Zero Colour Conundrum" at my blogsite:-

http://www.straggleresearch.com/

More recently I noted similarities between the Zero colours and the contemporary RAF colour "Camouflage Beige" (aka "RAF Hemp"). We will never know for sure and I think modellers can legitimately exploit the diversity and unknowns of Zero colours to be experimental or even adventurous with their paint finishes and to have fun.

Regards

Nick

Link to post
Share on other sites

The reference to XF-76 and the subject aircraft might also be my poor memory and that may be why I cannot find a hard copy of the email between Greg and myself....because it doesn't exist. You've posted Greg's mixes for that aircraft and I think I'd rather use those than the straight XF-76.

Tim

Link to post
Share on other sites

I also noticed that in one of the shots at your blogsite, the one with the closeup of the left wing in the foreground, you can readily make out the different shade of grey between the wing and the aileron. How's the for an "off the cuff" observation? LOL....

I think that the reason for the soft edge difference on the wing is because the tarps were not drawn down tight against the wing surface allowing a soft edge between faded and unfaded areas. Do you agree?

Edited by timc
Link to post
Share on other sites
I also noticed that in one of the shots at your blogsite, the one with the closeup of the left wing in the foreground, you can readily make out the different shade of grey between the wing and the aileron. How's the for an "off the cuff" observation? LOL....

Yes, but did you also notice the apparent overpaint onto the wing which suggests the ailerons may have been re-doped in situ and the fact that the finish appears to be darker than the metal paint? It's a mystery but it would be interesting if the ailerons had been re-doped in red-brown primer!

"I think that the reason for the soft edge difference on the wing is because the tarps were not drawn down tight against the wing surface allowing a soft edge between faded and unfaded areas. Do you agree?"

Yes, that could be it. A gap under the tarps would result in the ultra-violet exposure changing with the movement of the sun and may have created the diffuse demarcation.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, but did you also notice the apparent overpaint onto the wing which suggests the ailerons may have been re-doped in situ and the fact that the finish appears to be darker than the metal paint? It's a mystery but it would be interesting if the ailerons had been re-doped in red-brown primer!

Now that you bring my attention to it, yes, I see what seems to be overpainting on the wing. Interesting... would sentai in the field have quantities of red-brown primer on hand? I can't see why they wouldn't.

Tim

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Man...this thread certainly is a wealth of information & thanks to all that have contributed to it!

Thinking I'll go with MM IJN Light Grey for the 32nd Rufe conversion....and then weather the heck out of it.

Do have a couple of questions......

Whats' the reason for black cowls on Zeros?......and was it actually a true black, or a variation of same? Any ideas on an MM enamel colour that would be close enough? And certainly not above using RLM colours....:whistle:

Thanks!

Good to Go,

Jim

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...