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CR.42 Lower Surface Colors

Posted: Sun May 23, 2010 6:52 am
by Cjohn62
This is another of those "the more you look, the more you ask yourself" questions. On the subject of CR.42 lower surface colors; I have noted in B&W (origional film panchromatic or orthochromatic?) photos that there is a distict tonal and reflectivity difference between the lower surface of the wings and the wing struts. Also, looking at color photos of the three preserved/restored examples leads me to ask...Are/were the lower surfaces of the wings and other fabric covered surfaces silver doped or a semigloss doped gray?

Posted: Sun May 23, 2010 4:47 pm
by Stefano
Yes, they were aluminium paint at least for early batches. It seems that Grigio Mimetico replaced it about VIII-X Serie. Late Series had large sand mottles over Verde Oliva Scuro 2, and Grigio Mimetico 1 undersurfaces.


CR.42 Production Batches

Posted: Sun May 23, 2010 7:30 pm
by Cjohn62
Series VII-X would be production batches in the Dec 1940-thru-Sep 1941 (MM 7002-7658) time frame? Production of the CR.42 AS began in Autumn 1941, so presumably these aircraft would have had grgio mimetico undersurfaces?

Posted: Mon May 24, 2010 5:21 am
by Stefano
Not the AS, as they had a salamander-like camo based on official colours, among them Grigio Azzurro Chiaro (FS36307). As far as I know, no painting orders for various production batches survived. There are some indications by colour pictures of Swedish examples, which kept original RA camo. It seems that those aircraft of I-II-VII serie had aluminium undersurfaces, light blue propeller and wing struts (not necessarily the same hue) and perhaps other colours for uppersurfaces than commonly accepted ochre yellow, reddish brown and light green (if only the personnel of Duxford had taken some paint samples before the catastrophic repainting of their '42... :( ). Contemporary British crash reports talk of "mud" or "greenish yellow" background with green spots, aluminium undersides and light blue propeller, and a Duxford CR's colour photo of the Sixties confirms this. Swedish aircraft of X serie, as well as a factory wood model with (likely) original paints, instead, show the ochre-RB-LG-GM colours. No colour pictures available until now for the VIII-IX serie.
Of course, all this still cannot be considered as a rule, lacking official documents, but just a clue.


Posted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:39 am
by modeldad
The two Cr 42 shot down over England in November 1940 were reported by the British as having "silver' undersides. Both aircraft were built during the late summer of 1940.

Posted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:50 pm
by Stefano
Thanks, Steven, that's exactly what I meant.
I need to add that I've found a photo of an example of 413 Squadriglia in East Africa, belonging to VII serie, which seems to have had grey undersides (though Pierluigi Moncalvo thinks they could have been still aluminium). If so, the turning point for undersides colour could have been within this serie.


lower surfaces color

Posted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 1:01 pm
by Rick
You date the starting of the use of Grigio mimetico (FS 36293) in a period subsequent the late summer of 1940; if we consider the report by a GAri Captain referenced in the CMPR-GAVS-GMT italian WWII° Camouflage book page 40, where it is reported that at the date of March 20th 1941 the Grigio Azzurro chiaro (FS 36307) was already in use, (.... grigio azzurro chiaro (1008), già in uso,...) it is stated, the use of Grigio mimetico is actually reduced to a short time of few months.
My opinion is that Grigio mimetico was introduced as a mimetic color for the upper surfaces, as stated by the original Fiat color drawing, code number 3644 dated April 29th 1936, where the camouflage for the upper surfaces includes Grigio zones added to Giallo, Verde and Marrone.
Alluminiata was furthermore still foreseen for SIAI aircrafts lower surfaces at the date of Fenruary 21st 1940, as demonstrated by the original SIAI table visible in the above mentioned book at pages 33-34.

Posted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 2:54 pm
by Stefano
Thank you, Rick. To tell the truth, we still know very little about which paints were used for RA aircraft undersurfaces, whether aluminium, grey, light blue-grey or light blue. Also, as you pointed in another forum, there is the strong possibility that at least part of Breda 65 had them ivory white!
However, dealing on CR.42, the mentioned book matched Grigio Mimetico paint right on the CR.42 original factory model, other than a MC.200 relic, both on undersides. And FS 36293 is rather similar, even more on the blue side, to Grigio Azzurro Chiaro FS 36307. Are we sure that colour 1008 wasn't the same?
As for its use for uppersurfaces band camo, other than BR.20, it seems that Grigio Mimetico was used also on S.81, Ba.65, IMAM Ro.37 & 41, possibly even on CR.32 and G.50 prototype, as we yet discussed. So, surely there was an official order, sadly now lost.
As for S.79, studying its camo, I've seen that SIAI-built examples had aluminium undersides well within the war, and possibly replaced it just when Tavola 10 was introduced. On the other hand, it seem that Reggiane-built examples at the same times had a solid colour that very probably was a grey, like the contemporary Re.2000. Again, each factory acted as its own...