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Opinion needed on SM.81 colors
WarpedBill
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I am building the Italeri SM.81 and am doing the aircraft from the 600 Squadriglia. I am trying to determine the proper camouflage colors for this aircraft.

The kit instructions call for Bruno Mimetico over Nicciola Chiaro 4, with the undersides being Grigio Azurro Chiaro. Profiles I've seen of this aircraft all have the yellow being lighter, most likely Giallo Mimetico (3?). The color guide here on Stormo indicates that the brown could be Marrone Mimetico instead of Bruno Mimetico, based on the colors listed for SAIA aircraft.

What do the experts here think? Which colors would be correct for this aircraft?

Thanks for your help.

Bill Berden
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SM81, 600 Squadriglia Trasporti, Libya 1941.
Aeroal
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Bill,

As none of our more learned friends have replied, I submit my thoughts on the matter, for what its worth.

Try as I might, I cannot locate a photograph of this aircraft, which does not allow me to be very specific. With reference to 'Colori e Schemi Mimetici Della RA '35-'43 by Postiglione and Degl'Innocenti, this is not one of the standard 'recognised' colour schemes.
Later SM81's were most commonly painted in Giallo Mimetico 3 and 4 with a Verde being the other upper colour with Grigio Mimetico below. Manufacturer's standard paint colours would probably not apply in this case, as this machine is a repaint, if these colours are accurately described by Italeri, probably with a field applied mottle.

SM81 production ended in approximately 1938, three years before the Tavola 10 colours GAC1 and NC4 came into use. If so, was the application of Bruno Mimetico merely using up old paint stocks? Again, one asks the question, where was the paint job carried out, during a rebuild, at a SRAM or in the field? If the whole scheme was field applied, they would most likely have used stocks of what was available. This brings in the two Marrones as a possibility.

It also seems unusual to me that they would have resprayed the undersurfaces in later colours unless this was a factory re-applied finish. I would think it doubtful that this would have been done at a SRAM and was highly improbable in the field in the Western Desert.

I apologise for not being able to shed any more light on the matter but would be intrigued if anyone can conclusively verify or deny this colour scheme or give further insight into its origin.

Regards,

Aeroal.
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Dave Bayliss
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Thanks to Aeroal for his reply and I would be as interested as Bill in further replies, as I had planned to use this colour scheme when I come to do this kit. I will definitely want to do my SM81 as a transport/ desert campaign type.
Cheers, Dave. Smile

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600 Sq. T was formed for ambulance duties with two S.81s on charge in Sep.41 and no mention of S.81s on Aug 42. I think Aeroal pretty much summed it up, without a photo of this particular plane 600-5, its diffcult to comment. Its unlikely the plane carried the colors mentioned on the back of the Italeri box since the Tavola X colors were issued only at the end of 1941. The colors suggested by Italeri are a bit doubtful, for instance Italeri suggest the use of GAC1 for the S.81 that flew in Spain 21-32 and for 195-6 that was on charge in 1939 - the undersides for these planes should be Grigio Mimetico (Serie Mimetica colors 1938-1941). Italeri also suggest the use of Nocciola Chiaro 4 on these planes which is clearly not correct.

Likely colors for 600-5:

A3 Scheme - circa 1940
Giallo Mimetico 3
Verde Mimetico 3
Marrone Mimetico 53193
Grigio Mimetico

195-6 - A1A Scheme
Giallo Mimetico 3
Verde Mimetico 1
Marrone Mimetico 2
Grigio Mimetico

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Vince Tassone
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Dave Bayliss
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Thanks for that Vince, helpful as always! I think I need a bit of reference before I attempt that kit.
Cheers, Dave. Wink

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Dave Bayliss
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Oh, by the way, thanks Bill for raising the issue. I will report back if I can find out anything. That is unless all the good experts of the forum don't come up with the relevant information before. Ciao per ora, Dave. Smile

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Aeroal
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Vince,

Very succinct summation of my understanding of the matter. I would be fascinated to see a photo of this aircraft, in the flesh, as it were. I still feel that the Spanish Civil War and pre-WWII SM81 colour schemes had much more pizzazz, for my money! I will need to go and have a dig through my Dimensione Cielo picture books to see if there is anything sporting this colour scheme.

All of this begs the question - how can Italeri get their colours so wrong? As a point of national pride, if nothing else, you would think that serious camouflage research woud be conducted prior to the issue of a 'new' kit.

Kindest regards to all,

Aeroal.
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Aeroal,
I agree, a curious mistake, and Iím not sure how they could have got this wrong especially with the amount of information so readily available these days, but it is quiet common to see the kit manufacturers get colors and camouflages wrong - I've seen similar mistakes from Hasegawa. In the Italeri S.81 kit the camouflages appear to be ok, its the colors that are in error, and only in the profiles I mentioned. The colors for 195-6 could have easily been corrected for instance with a quick glance at the GAVS reference or a look at the Stormo Color Guide (that uses the GAVS reference as its basis). I guess this is why Stormo exists, to help correct many of the misconceptions out there, but to be fair to Italeri and all the other kit manufacturers, color and camouflage have little to do with the manufacture of the kit itself (ie., plastic, resin and pe parts).

Its worth mentioning the quality of the kit itself is superb, its a new tooling and not a reboxing of the old Supermodel kit - well worth building!

btw I agree, the Serie Mimetica color and camouflage schemes are some of most interesting of WWII.

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Dave Bayliss
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I have just received Sky Models decal sheet for Bombardieri Italiani from Hannants. That gives a camouflage scheme for a 218a Squadriglia SM81 in Libia 1941. That's in C2A scheme, which is Giallo Mimetico 3 base and Verde Mimetico 3 blotches with Grigio Mimetico undersides. I shall be using that design for my kit. I don't know if it is the standard C2A scheme that Italeri has got confused with, but I agree with earlier posts that one would have thought an Italian firm would have taken greater care in their research.
Dave. Very Happy

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WarpedBill
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Thank you, gentlemen, for your replies. I was leaning towards the Serie Mimetica colors instead of the colors suggested by Italeri. I wanted others' opinions before making a final decision.

An interesting point is that Italeri gives 1941 as the date for the 600 Squdriglia SM.81, whereas the other profiles I've found for this aircraft (from the Profile Publication and Chris Shores' Regia Aeronautica Vol. 1) list it as early 1943. From Vince's information, I'd say 1941 is probably the correct year.

Now, one other question - if you were to build this SM.81, what color would you paint the interior? The kit instructions call for Verde Anticorrosione, but as indicated here in the Stormo Color Guide, large SIAI multi-engine aircraft had the interior painted light gray.

Thanks again,
Bill Berden
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Opinion needed on SM.81 colors
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