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USN & USMC Aircraft Interiors of WWII

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USN & USMC Aircraft Interiors of WWII

Postby rwright142 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:17 pm

Credit to William Reece. I have edited out all except Corsair references.

USN Aircraft Interiors: The answers here are complex. Until recently everyone assumed that the interior of all USN WWII aircraft was FS 34151 Interior Green. This is not always the case as is obvious from the Accurate Miniatures, TBF/TBM Avenger instruction sheet. Mr. Larry Webster an aviation archeologist and airplane restorer has extensive knowledge in this area. In addition to being a friend of mine Mr. Webster has many original parts from WWII USN aircraft to document his conclusions. Additionally he is a director at the Quonset Air Museum and is a volunteer with the New England Air Museum. Here is some help on this subject with all credit to Larry Webster.

Credit must also go to Dana Bell, author and friend for his help in this area. His article in the October 1997 FineScale Modeler magazine should be required reading. His 3 volume set Air Force Colors contains some useful info.

F4U-1 Birdcage, Corsair. Cockpit: Well this is tricky. The best evidence is black. Photos of F4U-1s taken at the time show the cockpits as being a very dark color. The F4U-1 E & M manual calls for Dull Dark Green. Photos and some wrecks show flat black. A photo of 'Pappy" Boyington in Bruce Gamble's book, The Black Sheep, shows him sitting in a Birdcage with a black armor plate and upper seat. This a/c also has no headrest. All other areas of the F4U-1 Birdcage Corsair would normally be 'Salmon'. Salmon is a pale pinkish/brown primer made by mixing Indian Red pigment with Zinc Chromate Yellow. The closest Munsell match is 2.5 YR 6/8 or between FS 32276 and FS 32356. This color was applied to the whole F4U before the final camouflage finish. The landing gear bays were this color. The insides of the main gear doors were Light Gray. Sometimes this was only over spray over the Salmon. Note: there were canvas covers on the inner and outer wheel bays that were either Olive Drab or Light Gray. The closest paint that I have found to the Salmon samples in my possession is PollyScale Railroad, Southern Pacific Daylight Orange. The E & M manual calls for the wheel bays, engine cowling and accessory cowlings to be painted in Non-Specular Light Gray to match the underside of the aircraft. Recovered wrecks show these areas to be Salmon however. Color photos of early Corsairs show the cowling interior to be Non-Specular Light Gray.

F4U-1A Corsair. Cockpit: FS 34151 Interior Green. All other areas of the F4U-1A were Zinc Chromate Yellow, FS 33481. Early F4U-1A's may have been Salmon. Landing gear: Light Gray or Aluminum Lacquer. This was true well into the F4U-4 production. Some a/c may have had Insignia white landing gear after overhaul or repaint.

F4U-1D Corsair. Cockpit: FS 34151 Interior Green. The area above the consoles was black. This matches the Navy's directives at the time very well. Inside of the wheel bays and engine cowling were also Interior Green FS 34151. Wheel bays could have been Zinc Chromate Yellow, FS 33481. Landing gear was Light Gull Gray or Aluminum Lacquer. After overhaul aircraft could have had the landing gear, wheel centers and wheel bays painted Glossy Sea Blue.

F4U-4 Corsair. Cockpit: FS 34151 Interior Green. The area above the consoles was black. Inside of the engine cowling was Zinc Chromate Yellow, Interior Green or possibly Flat Black with the area ahead of the cylinder seal in Glossy Sea Blue. All other visible areas were Glossy Dark Sea Blue similar to the F6F-5. Landing Gear: Aluminum Lacquer or Light Gray. After overhaul aircraft could have had the landing gear, wheel centers and wheel bays painted Glossy Sea Blue.

Here's more from William Reece posted at Hyperscale:
Cockpit colors
January 31 2007 at 11:47 AM William Reece
Response to Compilation of WWII US aircraft cockpits: Bronze Green, Interior Green, or another color
F4U-1: Black
F4U-1A, -1D, -4: Interior Green
F4U-2: Black

F4U-1A Interior
January 30 2007 at 2:01 PM William Reece

Dave,

Larry and I based our findings on original photos, Vought documents and numerous pieces of wrecked aircraft that were recovered. I would expect Boyington's mount to have an Interior Green (FS 34151, technically ANA 611)cockpit with an Instrument Black instrument panel. The remainder of the interior of the aircraft would have been Zinc Chromate Yellow (very close to FS 33481). This would include the interior of the cowling except for the unpainted stainless steel firewall and of course the cockpit. The interiors of the gear doors would have been the exterior color (Insignia White). The tail wheel door interior is most likely white as well though Interior Green or ZCY are options as well. The landing gear and wheels would most likely have been Nonspecular Light Gray (close to FS 36440) or Aluminum Lacquer. The wing fold interiors would most likely have been Sea Blue (never Interior Green or Zinc Chromate Yellow).

If you build with the cowl flaps open you'd want to the inside of the firewall to be stainless steel up to just inside where the cowl flaps meet it. The oxygen bottle in the cockpit is gloss or semi-gloss Light Green (Willow Green, ANA 503 or FS 14187) not yellow. I would expect that BuNo 17915 (a later -1A) did not have had the belly window or any Salmon tinted primer. Don't forget to close the step hole in the right inner flap, only F4U-1Ds had that though lots of restored a/c have it. Check the Detail and Scale about the landing light on the bottom of the wing. I know it was dropped sometime in production but I'm at work so I don't have access to the info about when it was deleted.

William

Corsair Wheel Bay colors
William Reece (Login WMReece1954)
HyperScale Forums 152.1.127.101
December 17 2007, 11:27 AM

Rick,

First, let me say that the following is the result of years (decades?) of research gathered from photos, wrecks and documentation. In general for most USN WW2 era a/c you're correct that the wheel bays, gear struts, wheels, landing gear doors and fittings are the exterior color. However for a factory fresh and most in service F4U-1D, Corsairs the wheel bay would be Zinc Chromate Yellow, close to FS 33481. I wrote a monograph some years ago and it's on this website. Do a search on my name in Hyperscale's search function.

Just from photographic evidence, it looks as if a lot of landing gear struts were in Aluminum Lacquer. Wreck evidence and New Old Stock (NOS) parts indicate that Nonspecular (flat) Light Gray (close to FS 36440) was very common. Grumman F6F-5 aircraft generally followed the rule "Paint it blue and send it through". Grumman was focused on maximum production and that was one way of achieving that goal, much like deleting the Insignia Blue surround on the national markings. I would also say that it appears many overhauled Corsairs left with Aluminum Lacquer landing gear. Corrosion was a constant battle for carrier based aircraft. I expect that high wear parts such as landing gear were often painted or touched up much like modern USN tactical paint scheme aircraft are.

I wrote the following regarding the F4U-1D:

F4U-1D Corsair. Cockpit: FS 34151 Interior Green. The area above the consoles was black. This matches the Navy's directives at the time very well. Inside of the wheel bays and engine cowling were also Interior Green FS 34151. Wheel bays could have been Zinc Chromate Yellow, FS 33481. Landing gear was Light Gull Gray or Aluminum Lacquer. After overhaul aircraft could have had the landing gear, wheel centers and wheel bays painted Glossy Sea Blue.

I will also add that the interior of the landing gear doors could be either ZCY or Glossy Sea Blue. Also, note that the first production batches of the F4U-1D were delivered in the Three Tone scheme. I have also been unable to find a photo of a never overhauled F4U-1D with the anti-glare area in Flat Sea Blue. I would also say that applies to WW2 era F4U-4 a/c. I frequently see models of F4U-5 and -5N a/c with Flat Black anti-glare areas. This is wrong and against the directives of the time and contradicts (color) photo evidence. It should be Nonspecular (flat) Sea Blue.

William Reece

To get William Reece's postings to Hyperscale all together, here's his comments on the F4U Corsair colors and comment on the F4U-2.......
Corsair window area and interior
August 24 2005 at 11:49 AM William Reece

Guys,

Okay here's my take on the F4U-1 paint under the window. It's nonspecular blue-gray. No doubt. I can only find one photo, of nearly 100 (the one posted) where it appears something other than NS blue-gray. Light and shadow sometimes have an effect but in clear, straight on shots it's always the exact same tone as the exterior and in the one color photo that is straight on it's NS blue-gray. I see this as a non-issue and totally as a matter of photography and light.

On to the interior. This is much more open to speculation. Some photos (the Boyington pic) and recovered wrecks seem to suggest nonspecular black in the cockpit. That's what I went with on my Tamiya -1. The E & M manual clearly states Dull Dark Green (DuPont). I suppose it could also be Bronze Green but there is no evidence to support that. Bronze Green would also be very dark in a B/W photo.

Salmon primer was a mixture of Indian Red paste and Zinc Chromate (yellow) primer. It was used in the same way as other tinted zinc chromate primers were used; to indicate a second protective coat. It was sometimes visible in the wheel wells of factory finished nonspecular blue-gray over nonspecular light gray F4U-1 Corsairs (one would also assume -2's as well). The wheel wells may also have been nonspecular light gray or some combination of the two.

The last batch of -1's were delivered in the new (at the time) three tone camouflage. These a/c probably had the wheel wells painted in zinc chromate yellow.

Hope this helps,
William Reece

F4U-1A Interior
William Reece (Login WMReece1954)
HyperScale Forums 152.1.127.101
August 24 2005, 5:29 PM

I see that Modeldad posted my latest version of USN aircraft interiors in a later thread. As far as I know I will still stand by all of that. I need to add the F2A, SB2U and TBD since I have much better handle on those aircraft than I did several years ago.

Joe to answer your questions for the F4U-1A Corsair;

All F4U-1A's were tri color and all -1D's were overall Glossy Sea Blue (this may have excluded test and prototypes)

Cockpit is Interior Green ANA 611 (FS 34151) that's the whole thing visible on any model. The instrument panel is instrument black. The Detail and Scale F4U book is dead on accurate.

Any area you can see from the outside is camouflage color. That would be the flap bays and wing folds. I still see models with the wing folds in Interior Green. They were nonspecular Sea Blue ANA 607 (FS 35042). The underside flap bays are nonspecular White ANA 601 (FS 37875/37925) There should be no Zinc Chromate Yellow, Salmon or Interior Green showing with the flaps down or the wings folded.

Wheel bay tops; Zinc Chromate Yellow

Gear door interiors; NS White. Rarely Interior Green or Interior Green with White overspray.

Inside the fuselage above the Tail Wheel; Zinc Chromate Yellow. Generally the tail wheel doors are White inside and out but could be Zinc Chromate Yellow.

I think the gear legs were Aluminum Lacquer. Larry Webster and I differ here. He insists that they were nonspecular Light Gray. I don't think photos support that but either is acceptable.

Hope that helps,
William


F4U-ID colours.
Peter Mossong (Login 3ipmsnz)
HyperScale Forums 219.89.42.169
August 25 2005, 4:24 AM

Hi William. Sorry, but I have to disagree with your statement that all -ID's were Glossy Sea Blue except for prototypes etc.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force received many of the early production batches of the -ID's, and they were received in the so called 'Tri-Color' scheme.
I have full Bu.No. and constructors numbers to back up my statement, and other than the lack of Colour photographs, there are enough good clear 'Official' RNZAF photos in the various archives here in New Zealand to show Corsairs in what I prefer to call the 'Four Tone Scheme', with underwing pylons which did not appear on any so called -IA's!

Many also had the early 'barred' canopy of the -IA, and the larger diameter props.

Cheers,

Peter Mossong http://rnzaf.hobbyvista.com


F4U-1D
William Reece (Login WMReece1954)
HyperScale Forums 152.1.127.101
August 25 2005, 8:21 AM

Peter,

I suppose I should have said all US Navy F4U-1D's. I've yet to find any photos of USN -1D's in anything other than Glossy Sea Blue.

I would be most interested in those BuNo's you have regarding RNZAF Corsairs. BTW your site is very interesting. Thanks for the link. Larry Webster and I both think that the change over to Glossy Sea Blue occured with the change to -1D production so this is new information to me. I wonder if it's possible that the RNZAF repainted them to the tri color scheme (you're correct with the 4 colors BTW), though that doesn't seem likely. I suppose it's also possible that Vought was using up the older paint to fill the RNZAF order.

William


RNZAF F4U-1D colours.
Peter Mossong
HyperScale Forums
August 26 2005, 3:51 AM

Hi William,

All the RNZAF's F4U-1A and -1D Corsairs came from pooled US Navy/Marines stocks at Espritu Santo and Guadalcanal, and were not specifically produced to an RNZAF order. Only the 60 FG-1D's were received as a special order.

These a/c were not repainted by the RNZAF when received, and many served until the end of their operational life (and eventual ferry flights back in NZ) in the original (and in many cases VERY faded and worn) scheme. Some were repainted in several schemes, but this was done when time and operations allowed.

I'll send you the serials file which covers them all. Bu.No. and makers serials are included.

Cheers,

Pete M.

P.S. I'm still working on my Corsair pages for the site, but due to pressure of my day job, and trying to do some modelling, it's taking a while to complete to my satisfaction!


'Nuther Corsair Color question. F4U-2 this time.
January 31 2007 at 11:09 AM Dave Cantrell
HyperScale Forums

What about the wheel well colors on these birds. Same as -1A or would the salmon color be a possibility?

Cheers,
Dave

William Reece
HyperScale Forums
F4U-2
January 31 2007, 11:56 AM

Dave,

The -2's were pulled from the -1 Birdcage assembly line so they're the same. They would have had Salmon wheel bays and gear door interiors with Nonspecular Light Gray as an alternative. This may have been just overspray. Cowling interior; Ns Light Gray or Salmon. Black cockpit interior. I'd use some RLM 66 with black mixed in to make it a bit different than the instrument panel.

William

Posted 13 April 2008 - 04:02 PM
And here's William Reece's post to RMS concerning the tinted primer used on Corsair's.............

There has been a lot of discussion about the use of 'Salmon' colored primer on the F4U-1 Corsair since I posted several messages to the newsgroup rec.models.scale in mid 1996. There was mention of it made at the 1997 IPMS National Convention and Dana Bell mentioned it's use in his article in FineScale Modeler. This is an attempt to further clarify and identify the use of 'Salmon' primer on these aircraft. Mr. Larry Webster who is associated with the New England Air Museum has kindly provided me with copies of the original Chance Vought Erection and Maintenance Instructions for the F4U-1 Corsair. This document lists all of the materials and procedures needed to build an F4U-1 Corsair. First in the Materials list of finishes for the F4U-1 is Lacquer-Dull Dark Green for use on the cockpit interior, USN Spec. AN-TT-L-51, quantity 1 1/2 gals. supplied by Du Pont. Next is listed Zinc Chromate Primer USN Specification AN-TT-P-656 supplied by Du Pont, quantity 15 gals. This would be the familiar yellow zinc chromate primer similar to FS 33481 or Testors small bottle Zinc Chromate. Also included in this listing is the requirement for 1 1/2 lbs. of Indian Red Paste, Tinting Medium USN Spec. TT-I-511 supplied by Valentine of New York. Indian Red is a dark red-brown color and is widely available as an artist oil paint sold in art supply stores and full line hobby shops. The Indian Red was to be prepared as follows: 2 oz. of Indian Red mixed in 2 gals. of toluol or equivalent (AN-T-8b toluol substitute, similar to lacquer thinner) solvent. This mixture was to be used to reduce 1 gal. of zinc chromate package material (un-reduced zinc chromate primer). This mixture was known as TINTED PRIMER (my caps). This comes from pages 1106 and 1110 of the F4U 1 Corsair Erection and Maintenance Instructions.

In section 7.2 of the E&M instructions the raw aluminum for the construction of the Corsair was treated with a primer coat of zinc chromate. This coat known as the Shop Primer Coat was to serve as a first coat for the finishes to follow. This coat was applied very thin and results in a yellow-green color. This is the US equivalent of the Aotake blue-green primer on Japanese aircraft in WW 2. In section 7.31 of section 7.3 Detail Protective Schedules Class: AA for Special Conditions or Material: magnesium alloy parts were to receive two coats of zinc chromate primer followed by two coats of TINTED PRIMER. In section 7.321 under section 7.32 Class A or 3 Coat Protection: the exterior metal surfaces were to receive one coat of primer and one or two coats of lacquer finish color depending on the metal used. Section 7.331 under section 7.33 Class B or Two Coat Protection states that the 'Interior of the cockpit from Station 129 to Station 186 and all parts contained therein except the instrument and control panels, control handles, etc. shall be one coat of primer on details or subassemblies followed by one coat of cockpit green lacquer after assembly. The interior surfaces of fuselage (except cockpit), wings, flaps, ailerons, tail surfaces and all parts contained within shall receive one coat primer on details or subassemblies followed by one coat TINTED PRIMER on assembly; light non-specular gray shall be the top coat on wheel wells. The engine mount, front face of the firewall and all parts forward thereof shall receive one coat of primer and one coat of TINTED PRIMER except the interior of the engine and accessory compartment cowling and such areas which may be exposed to view. The second coat on the interior of the engine and accessory compartment cowling shall be light non-specular gray; areas exposed to view shall match the surrounding exterior color'. Section 14 describes the color system to be used on the Corsair. Section 14.1 deals with the exterior of the aircraft and section 14.4 states that the color of the cockpit shall be finished in cockpit green lacquer as noted in #7.331. The interior of the windshield frame shall be non-specular black. Sections 14.6 and 14.7 state that the cargo, baggage, fuselage fuel compartment and structural spaces be painted in TINTED ZINC CHROMATE PRIMER as stated in #7.331. Finally pages 1120 and 1126 of the E&M Instruction describe the use and preparation of tinted zinc chromate printer USN Spec AN-TT-P-656. Local Process Specification Nos. 21-24-26-28-30-32 Application of Top Coats gives specific instructions on the preparation and application of the various paint coats used on the Corsair. Two methods are given for tinted zinc chromate. Method (a) involves the use of 2 oz. of aluminum paste per gallon of zinc chromate package material thinned 1 part primer to 1 1/2 parts thinner. This is the formula mentioned in John Elliot's, Official Monogram US Navy and Marine Corps Aircraft Color Guide, vol 2. Method (b) uses 2 oz. Indian Red Paste per package gallon of zinc chromate primer and thinned 1 part primer to 2 parts thinner. What is the bottom line of all of this? Well for one F4U-1 Birdcage Corsairs had their interior areas except the wheelbays, engine cowling and accessory cowlings painted in a dull orange-brown tinted zinc chromate primer know as 'Salmon'. The closest paint that I have found to the samples in my possession is PollyScale Railroad, Southern Pacific Daylight Orange. The wheelbays, engine cowling and accessory cowlings were painted in Non-Specular Light Gray to match the underside of the aircraft. The cockpit was painted Du Pont Dull Dark Green. Photos of F4U 1s taken at the time show the cockpits as being a very dark color. Articles recovered from various F4U-1 crash sites confirm these instructions. Articles removed from F4U 1, BuNo 02368 which crashed near Exeter, Rhode Island on September 12, 1944 show good evidence of the use of 'Salmon' primer on the structural spaces. Other parts recovered from other crash sites show evidence of 'Salmon' on interior spaces and inside the wheelbays and tailwheel bay. Others show 'Salmon' underneath Non-Specular Light Gray in the wheelbay tops.

Many thanks to Larry Webster for his time finding the documentation on this subject. Any errors or omissions are the sole responsibility of the author. Copyright 1998.

William Reece.
Fly Navy!


References:
Mr. Larry Webster, Grumman Expert, Wreck Hunter, Aircraft Restorer and all around Great Guy.
Dana Bell, A fine gentleman and expert.
John M. Elliot; The Official Monogram US Navy and Marine Corps Aircraft Color Guide, Vol. 2, 1940-1949.
Doll, Jackson, Riley; Navy Air Colors, Vol. 1, 1919-1945.
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