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Topic: Midget paint colors, Black or Kure gray?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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Tracy White Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2003,4:33  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Someone asked a question recently that started me thinking.
What color were the midget subs?

Conventional wisdom says black, but I'm wondering if it was the dark gray that the Kure Naval Shipyard used. Since many sailors described the dark gray (5D) used in the US camoflage scheme MS1 as "black" I'm wondering if the same is true here. Would the periscope, for example, still be in its original paint or would it have been repainted with the rest of the boat for the war bonds tour?

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 18 2003,8:08 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Tracy,

Any black would probably do, but it depends on the modeler and what he wishes to portray.  In the multitude of official interviews conducted with Ward's crew in the immediate aftermath of the raid, it was stated (and I think more than once) that the craft was a kind of dirty green-black, doubtless a weathered effect produced by the extended period underwater.

While the subs were probably painted black (as delivered), none of the eye-witness accounts (I am recollecting at work, sans files) remember them that way.  I'll get the exact wording tonight from the interview documents if you like.

I guess that this is something like a decision to portray an He-111 either as delivered, or as it appeared after several months of operations near Smolensk.

Wenger

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 18 2003,11:50 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Understood Mike. I actually remember the description of Ha-19 as being covered in various marine growths, and you can see them in the pictures. Color is a contentious issue however, and I wanted to see if we could get an "official" word, more for just general posterity than for the modelers in general.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 18 2003,12:34 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey guys, maybe this can help a little.

I've interviewed WARD crewmen who said it had a greenish color, but then they all agreed it had algae and other growth.  The official report (I'll find it for you) said it was overall black, but very worn and weather beaten.  The exact wording of the 1988 National Historic Landmark Study is:

"The hull, originally coated with yellow zinc-chromate primer, a bitumastic tar and then painted with a finish coat of black and red enamel..."

I would guess that originally they were simply black, and had not been repainted in some time.  Their months of training probably meant they were in and out of the water a lot, which "wears out" paint much faster than if they had stayed in the water the whole time (due to faster oxidation).

I'd say black is the correct choice overall, but the bottom was perhaps red if the paint samples taken in 1988 are correct.

Edited by Ken Hackler on --

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 18 2003,7:50 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Interesting... any idea how much of the bottom was covered in red? Half-way up in a manner similar to modern USN boats?

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 19 2003,8:00 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Tracy, Ken,

Here's what I have in my files regarding the APPEARANCE of the Ward midget.

Russell H, Knapp, BM2c
    "Yellowish in color like it has been in the water a long time."
H.F. Gearin, Sea1c
    "Rusted a little and carrying quite a few barnacles."
William.C. Maskoawitcz – CTM
    "A greenish black color, with patches of rust prominent."
Daniel J. Lombardi – Sea1c
    "Looked very rusted."
H.A.Winter, CCStd.
    "The conning tower appeared dingy green and the hull seemd covered with a layer of small barnicles."
Sidney E. Noble, SF2c
    "The conning  tower seemed to be real rusty."
Carl P. Hanson, BM1c
    "Hull appeared to be very rusty."

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 19 2003,9:18 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Here's my guess for what it is worth.

The paint samples showing a red bottom are from Key West.  Remember, Midget C was completely stripped of all paint at Pearl Harbor in late 1941 and early 1942, and repainted overall black. This was in preparation for her war bond tour. She was found on December 8, 1941 in a very weathered condition, but overall black paint, so that is how the Navy repainted her.

Sometime after being placed in Florida, she was painted again, this time with the red bottom and black top, about halfway up.  There are photos of the Key West paint job online.

Edited by Ken Hackler on --

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 19 2003,11:33 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

AH OK, my mistake, I thought that you were saying that the original paint included red. Thought it odd, condsidering Ha-19 looked a solid color on the Waimanalo shots.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 19 2003,11:58 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Tracy,

The PH midgets were all apprently black overall, but who knows what paint schemes they may have had back in Japan during or immediately following construction.  For all I know they were grey during their training days.

I do know that they were black for the Pearl Harbor attack, and the others I have seen photos of during the war were black, if that helps.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2006,12:08 Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Not really PH-midgets, but at least japanese :;):
I'm building a 1/20 Koryu and I,m not sure how to paint it. I'd prefer Kure-gray since most of the boats were built in Kure but I have the Gakken books from Japan giving other colours.
One picture shows  grey above the waterline and red below (could be possible)
another gives the following captures (if my japanese OCR/Translator combo is right - I dont speak or read japanese):
One dark brown over all (in my opinion very doubfful - I would think the brown colour oh the few pics I fund could be rust
The other one dark green below the waterline and a untranslatable colour above.
Anyone with ideas??

Jens


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