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 Referência Cores do Zero - Jim Landsdale

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Mensagens : 213
Data de inscrição : 16/12/2011
Idade : 55
Localização : São José dos Campos

MensagemAssunto: Referência Cores do Zero - Jim Landsdale   Qua Mar 28, 2012 6:52 pm

1939 - 1945
Conflicting accounts in the literature regarding factory applied paint schemes on the Mitsubishi A6M series Type 0 carrier fighter (Zero) led to a study and examination of existing Zero relics. Historians and scale-model builders frequently cite a variety of publications as legitimate sources for World War II Japanese aircraft paint schemes. The sources cited, including many published in Japan, often quote each other or present unreliable interpretations of color values from monochromatic photographs. Substantiating evidence is seldom presented or documented. The color values of factory applied paint schemes on the Japanese Zero presented in this report have been obtained by the systematic analysis of documented Zero relics in the collections of private individuals, museums, and the National Archives. Supporting material has also been obtained from World War II intelligence reports of captured Japanese aircraft, field notes of Japanese aircraft wreckage made by Dr. Charles Darby, and a corroborated statement by the chief designer of the Zero, Jiro Horikoshi. The study established two distinctive factory applied color variations of one overall exterior finish on Zeros manufactured from 1939 through the early part of 1943. Also documented are two distinctive factory applied variations of a two-color camouflage scheme introduced on Zeros around March 1943.

Type Zero Carrier Fighter Paint Schemes
The Mitsubishi aircraft company's first Zero paint scheme, herein designated M-01, has been described as a glossy pale olive-gray or "a glossy grey-green." It covered all exterior surfaces to the exclusion of the engine cowling and upper canopy deck aft of the cockpit. In time, the exposed surfaces faded and weathered to "a dove gray color" or a flat "pale gull gray." The cowling and the rear fuselage deck under the canopy were painted a glossy gray-black (Note: A few canopy deck samples examined were reported to have been left in the red primer paint). Author Donald W. Thorpe labeled this scheme "O4" and described the colors as "medium-grey N.9" overall with "black-grey N.7" cowlings (Thorpe:1977, p.32). Jiro Horikoshi, chief designer of the Zero, described the first Zero prototype as being painted "a dimly-shining ash green (hairyokushoku) except the engine cowling, which was black" (Horikoshi:1970, p.61).
Preserved Mitsubishi relics from two separate Zeros which crashed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, one at Kaneohe Bay and the other at Fort Kamehameha, were examined. The glossy pale olive-gray of these aircraft was an exact match to Munsell color notation 7.8Y 5.5/2.5. No exact match was found within the Federal Standard (FS) colors key 595 B. However, the color value of these aircraft may be placed within the range of FS-24201 and FS-16350 with the closer match being FS-16350. Weathered pieces examined from the cowling and canopy deck areas of Zero remains in the John Sterling collection were a black-gray color which closely matched the darkness of FS-25042 and the hue of FS-26081. Researcher James I. Long concluded that the canopy deck samples were more of a "black-green" color most like FS-14050. All parts from the wings, fuselages, and tail surfaces of two Zeros (models 32 and 22) examined had faded and/or oxidized to produce a chalky pale gray similar in appearance to FS-36357 or FS-36495. It was also discovered that oxidized paint samples obtained from Nakajima production Zeros (model 21) mimicked those produced by the Mitsubishi company. The similarity in the appearance of the two weathered schemes influenced many previous investigators to conclude that all Zero finishes had the same chalky-gray color. However, when the oxidized samples from Mitsubishi produced Zeros (models 32 and 22) were lightly buffed, the pale olive-gray color beneath the oxidation was an exact match to FS-26350. Another oxidized sample, possibly from a Nakajima produced Zero model 21, had a hue between Munsell 5Y 5/2 and 5Y 5/4 or FS-20277. One sample, an access panel in the Darby collection, had an interesting variation. A coating similar to varnish had been applied over the original paint. The overall effect of the sizing was to give a golden cast to the color beneath. It is possible that this clear coat had been applied after 1945 as a preservative by the collector.
A slightly different overall paint scheme, herein designated N-01, was applied by the Nakajima company to its Zero production run. One preserved sample of rudder fabric in the National Archives Collection was obtained from a Nakajima production Zero model 21 (s.n.6544) recovered from the Russell Islands in February 1943. This component may be described as being a glossy "medium gray" color. The gray was matched to Munsell color notation 5 GY 5/1. No exact equivalent was found on the FS colors key, however, it was between FS-16314 and 16251. It is probable that Nakajima did not always over paint the gray doped fabric control surfaces after attaching them to the main aircraft components. Several exterior metal components of Nakajima manufactured Zero model 21s produced prior to March 1943 were most like FS-24201. A weathered and soiled metal sample from a Nakajima A6M2-N float fighter ("Rufe") more closely matched the color of FS-20277. Two different metal skin samples of Nakajima production Zeros, were provided by Marine ace Ken Walsh and Navy veteran Bill Scarborough to researcher and aviation author Robert C. Mikesh. Both samples were found by Mikesh to be an exact match to FS-16160. However, noted aviation artist Roy Grinnell matched the Walsh sample to FS-24201. Oxidized and faded samples of weathered Nakajima relics had the appearance of a chalky gray color similar to FS-36492. When the oxidized Nakajima samples were lightly buffed, the color revealed was more often a matched FS-26350 or FS-24201. Another distinguishing feature of the Nakajima applied finish was the fuselage hinomaru. Nakajima factories applied a 75 mm white outline to the fuselage hinomaru from mid 1942. Samples examined from the cowling and rear canopy deck of Nakajima produced Zeros were a close match to FS-27038.
According to Dr. Rene J. Francillon, the Imperial Japanese Naval Headquarters issued a directive, dated 3 July 1943, outlining a two-color paint scheme to be applied to Zero fighters (Francillon:1967, p. 12). The alleged directive specified that the Zeros be painted a "dark green on all upper surfaces and light grey" on all lower surfaces (Francillon, op. cit.). The two-color camouflage schemes applied at the factory by Mitsubishi and Nakajima have herein been designated M-02 and N-02 respectively. Relics from Zeros produced by each company in the two-color scheme evidenced variations in the application and color of the camouflage. The upper surface colors were often an exact match to the one described by Thorpe as "black-green N.1." FS-24077 or FS-24052 closely matched the dark green of the Mitsubishi manufactured samples examined. The upper surface color on Nakajima components matched FS-24094 or 24077. No samples from Zero model 52 engine cowlings were examined and it is presumed that the cowling colors applied by each company remained unchanged. Contemporary photographs illustrate that the cowlings were either glossy or dull in appearance. The Mitsubishi factories applied the pale olive-gray color (FS-26350) or gray (FS-36357) to the lower surface areas of their production Zeros. The Nakajima company changed their lower surface color to light medium blue-gray (FS-36307). It should also be noted that the two companies did not demarcate the upper surface color from the lower surface color in the same manner. In scheme M-02, the Mitsubishi company marked the separation of the two colors along a straight horizontal line aft from the wing root to the tip of the tail cone. Nakajima, utilizing scheme N-02, separated the two colors along a upward slightly curving or slanting line from the wing root to the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer. The color separation then continued aft and downward from the trailing edge of the stabilizer to the tip of the tail cone. Fuselage hinomaruwere outlined with 75 mm white borders by both companies. The upper wing hinomaru were also outlined in white to a measured width of 75 mm or 30 mm. Contrary to some statements in the literature, the more narrow outlining (i.e.30 mm width) of the wing hinomaru was not merely an optical illusion created by their larger diameter when compared to those of the fuselage. Frequently the white outlining to the hinomaru was painted over in the field with a darker color and, as evidenced by many contemporary photographs, the darker over-painting of the white outline is imperceptible.
Different camouflage patterns in various colors were often applied in the field to the original one color overall schemes (M-01 or N-01). A study of field applied variations of Zero camouflage is best accomplished by studying wartime photographs and noting the particular pattern of dark green color over the original M-01 or N-01 factory finish. As previously stated, Mitsubishi and Nakajima did not introduce their respective two color schemes on their factory lines until the spring of 1943. A simple test for a field application of a darker upper surface color can be done by examining the area of the canopy framework of a Zero in a photograph. If the canopy framework appears not to be camouflaged in the darker shade of the upper surface paint then the scheme in question is most likely to have been field applied.
The Yokosuka Kaigun Kokutai carried out a series of research experiments testing camouflage schemes for the Zero between November 1941 and February 1942. Report No.0266 "Research on Camouflage for the Type Zero Carrier Fighter" contains information which validates and supplements the foregoing report. A copy ofYokosuka Kaigun Kokutai Report No.0266 was provided to this author by noted Japanese aviation expert and artist Shigeru Nohara. Excerpts of material gleaned from this document are as follows:

Color Stated in Report No.0266 FS Equivalents According To:
Official Color No. Color Description Lansdale Nohara
(Not listed, calledameiro, perhaps J1) glossy "J3 gray toward amber." FS-24201 to
FS-16350 or
FS-10277 to
FS-16160 (?) No comment
J2 blue-gray FS-26307 or
FS-36314 FS-36314
J3 gray FS-36357 FS-36357
D1 dark black-green FS-34052 or
FS-34084 FS-34036
D2 black-green FS-34077 FS-34092

On page 3 of Yokosuka Kaigun Kokutai Report No.0266 ,dated 25 February 1942, appears the statement "Presently used color of the Type Zero carrier fighter is J3 (gray) toward amber with luster." This statement may be a technicians description of a color which varied from olive-gray (FS-14201/16350) and perhaps to gray-browns (FS-10277/16160). It is now possible to state with a higher degree of certainty that the Type Zero carrier fighters in schemes M-01 and N-01 did not leave the production lines in the overall light gray or light blue-gray livery in which they have often been portrayed.


Thorpe No. Lansdale No. Color Description
O.4 M-O1 FS-14201
FS-16350 Mitsubishi: Overall glossy "light olive-gray" (so-calledameiro)
N-O1 FS-16160
FS-10277 Nakajima (?): Overall glossy "light olive/gray-brown" ("ameiro")
S.1 M-O2 FS-34052
(lower) Mitsubishi: Flat "dark black-green upper and flat gray lower" (D1 over J3)
N-O2 FS-34077
(lower) Nakajima: Flat "black-green upper and flat blue-gray lower" (D1 or D2 over J2)
*Note: For the following appendixes, delete first digit of coded serial numbers (s/n) in order to obtain the true constructor's number for Mitsubishi built A6M2 model 21s and all models of Nakajima produced A6Ms. In order to obtain the true constructor's number for Mitsubishi produced A6M3 models 32 and 22 and A6M5 model 52s, subtract 3000 from the coded serial number.

Documentation for paint scheme M-01 applied by Mitsubishi to the A6M series carrier fighter planes, models 21, 32, & 22 from March 1939 through early 1943: glossy pale olive-gray (FS-24201 or FS-16350 (Munsell 7.8Y 5.5/2.5) overall with low gloss gray-black (FS-26081) or black-green (FS-14050) cowling and rear canopy deck.
Model S/N Production
Date Recovery
Date Identity/
Call No. Description/
12 Shi Proto. 201 3/16/39 ]-AM-1 The prototype "was painted a dimly-shining ash green (hairyokushoku) except the engine cowling, which was black."/Jiro Horikoshi:1970, p.61.
21 3277(?) 7/41 12/7/41 B1-151 Fuselage fragment (FS-16350)/Janoff Collection & VMI Museum/IIDA Zero at Kaneohe Bay.
21 5289 8/9/41 12/7/41 AI-154 Rudder fabric & fuselage fragment (FS-16350)/ USAF Museum & Pederson Collection/ HIRANO Zero at Fort Kamehameha.
21 5349 10/4/41 2/19/42 B11-124 Rear fuselage (FS-16350)/Darwin Aviation Museum/TOYOSHIMA Zero at Melville Island.
21 3372 10/21/41 11/26/41 V-172 Rudder fabric (FS-16350)/USAF Museum & A.I.2 (g) Report No.2103/INOUE Zero at Luichow Peninsula, China.
21 1575 2/9/42 4/28/42 V-110 Rudder fabric gray (FS-26314/Albert Makiel document/MAEDA Zero at Port Moresby.
21 4593 2/19/42 7/10/42 D1-108 A.I.2(g) Report No.2103 states Zero, s/n 4593, was "finished in a glossy grey-green"/KOGA Zero at Akutan Island.
32 3035 7/6/42 11/43 2-181 Fuselage fragment (FS-24201/Hickey Collection/
at Lae, N.G.
32 3148 &
3318 9/11/42
11/29/42 12/91 S-112
Y2-128 Fuselage & wings (FS-26 350)/Sterling Collection/
Majuro Island.
32 3168 9/42 1972 Access panel (FS-26350)/
Darby Collection.
32 3274 11/11/42 1972 1-151 Fuselage & fin (FS-26350) over painted with FS-24079/Darby field report.
22 3349 12/42 (?) (?) Data panel (FS-24201)/ Minoru Kawamoto Coll.
22 3489
3685 2/43
5/43 12/91 Y2-176 Fuselage & wings (FS-26 350)/Sterling Collection/
Majuro Island.

Documentation for Mitsubishi application of a two color paint scheme M-02 on A6M series carrier fighter planes, models 22 (late production) and 52 from early 1943 to 1945: dark green (FS-24052, FS-34084, FS-24079) upper surfaces and pale olive-gray (FS-26350) or gray (FS-36357) on lower surfaces.
22 3844 7/43 9/14/45 2-152
(thought to have been
2-182) Complete aircraft (FS-24
052 upper & FS-24201 lower)/Auckland War Memorial Museum/105kokukichitai at Kara, N.G.
52 4029 9/43 12/91 Fragments (FS-24052)/
Sterling Collection/ Majuro Island.
52 4043 9/43 1972 3-108 Fuselage (FS-24052 upper & FS-26350 lower)/ Weeks Collection/New Britain Island.
52 4685 3/44 1962 43-188 Complete aircraft (FS-34
052 upper & FS-36357 lower)/Wood field report/
Guam Island.

Documentation for Nakajima built Zero paint scheme N-01 applied to A6M series Type 0 model 21 and Type 2 float fighter planes produced from December 1941 until early 1943: Glossy pale olive-gray (FS-24201 or FS-26350) overall metal surfaces or, some cases analyzed as glossy pale olive gray-brown (FS-16160 or FS-10277). Note: Glossy blue-gray often on fabric surfaces (FS-16314 or Munsell 5 GY 5/1 and gloss black (FS-17038) cowling and upper canopy deck area.
A6M2-N 825
550 6/42
8/42 8/15/43
8/15/43 M1-111 Fragments (FS-26350)/
N.H.R.C., Washington, D.C./Kiska Island.
A6M2-N 1942 Fragment (FS-16160 or FS-24201)/Scarborough Collection/Tulagi Island
21 6544 12/42 2/4/43 A1-1-129 Rudder fabric (FS-26314)/
National Archives/ SHIGEMI Zero at Russell Island.
21 7/43 Fragment (FS-24201)/
Walsh Collection/Munda

Documentation for Nakajima factory applied two color camouflage scheme N-02 applied to A6M series Type 0 models 21 and 52 produced after early 1943: dark green upper surfaces (FS-24079, or FS-24077) and pale blue-gray lower surfaces (FS-36307).
21 9816 3/43 1972 Fragment (FS-36307)/ Darby Collection.
21 Access panel (FS-36307)/
Darby Collection.
21 51553 9/43 Fragment (FS24077 & FS-
36307)/USAF Museum.
21 31574 9/43 12/91 Rear fuselage (FS-24077)/
Sterling Collection/Majuro
21 11593 9/43 13-122 Rear fuselage (FS-24079 & FS-36307)/USAF Museum/Kavieng.
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