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Go Back   The Aerodrome Forum > WWI Aviation > Aircraft > Camouflage and Markings


Camouflage and Markings Topics related to the camouflage and markings of WWI aircraft

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Old 31 July 2007, 08:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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French Sopwith Strutters maybe NOT all Aluminum...

I find it odd that nobody has responded to this after the intense back and forth that went on earlier. It is a period painting from 1916-17 from someone who was there. Both paintings show that the artist paid attention to finish details of the subjects that he painted. Why would he paint two different finished Sopwith Strutters in the same painting? The additional example of the Morane is accurate in how it displays the ex-works finish of the early Morane P.

Come on guys, wake up! What are your feelings here?

The earlier message said:

Gentlemen (and ladies),

I'd like to place a "fly in the ointment" here in the way of CONTEMPORARY EVIDENCE that some of the Sopwith 1A2 and 1B2 WERE INDEED in the pale yellow finish and not only aluminum and five color. The proof comes in the way of a current exhibit of contemporary water color paintings from the 1914-1918 period at the Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace in Paris in their collection of the paintings of an artist named Alfred Daguet. Daguet was a Sergent mécanicien with the 2e Groupe d’aviation. His work was exhibited in January 1919 in a display of his aviation art at the Trocadero in Paris. The two samples shown on the website show a Sopwith Strutter in French markings in pale yellow finish w/ natural wood turtle decking (as well as an aluminum version in the background). The second is of a Morane-Saulnier MS 21 or early Type P w/ large spinner, also in standard Morane factory finish of CDL w/ black wheels and metal nose panels. These are part of a collection of 115 paintings done by Sergent Daguet, an eyewitness, who painted these during the war. For more information go here:

Présentation> Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace

There are always interesting tidbits to find that add to our knowledge, and, while not a factory drawing or directive, are from an eyewitness... I only just stumbled upon this finding now, but feel that it deserves consideration and to be placed with the other findings with regard to aluminum and five-color finishes to help us get the complete picture.

Regards!
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File Type: jpg H_aquarelle-daguet_1_Sopwit.jpg (41.4 KB, 115 views)
File Type: jpg H_aquarelle-daguet2_1_Moran.jpg (30.1 KB, 124 views)
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Old 1 August 2007, 05:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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See response here:

French strutter colors.
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Old 1 August 2007, 11:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Smile Sopwith 1½ Strutters in CDL

I have read the threads about this subject with great interest. I'm one of those who believed that these French strutters were mainly finished in CDL, and I still do, at least some of them.

I haven't seen any references mentioned to the Windsock Datafile. In this, no. 34, "Sopwith 1½ Strutter" by J M Bruce is, so far as I can see, no direct mention of silver doped finishes.

There are several pictures of French Strutters, but it's very hard to tell whether these were finished in CDL or silver, at least for me. One of these are finished in what appears to be 5-colour camouflage.

In the Colours and Markings section, under "French machines" it says:
"Early examples of French-built Strutters were also to be seen in clear-doped finishes with varnished wood areas."

Further down it says:
"Later the French five colour camouflage scheme was adopted and applied to later examples of the type...."

Furthermore, the front cover of this datafile shows a French Strutter from Esc. Sop. 226 on a painting, "Le poussin qui éclôt", painted by Brian Knight. This machine is in clear doped finsh.

I certainly hope the Windsock Datafiles are trustworthy.

Finally I want to thank all, who have contributed with expert knowledge in these threads.

Thank you
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Old 2 August 2007, 09:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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NOT all aluminum??

Cigogne:
Maybe I am misinterpreting what you said, It appears they were not all aluminum, on the cover illustration, the upper wing is olive drab and the plywood turtle-deck is varnished. However in Daguet's painting the all the fabric surfaces were painted aluminum.
I wonder if the aluminum finished Sopwiths were from just one contractor??
Blue skies,
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Old 2 August 2007, 09:52 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Hi Cigogne,

What does Alan Toelle have to say about your nice finds of these paintings? There is plenty of evidence that some French-built Strutters were aluminum-finished before the advent of five-color camouflage, but your painting certainly provides evidence that some may have been at least partially clear-doped. Alan would be the man...

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Old 2 August 2007, 10:36 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi,

EDIT: I'm sorry, I didn't realize this picture had already been posted by Uhlan in the other thread. My apologies to everyone involved. OOPS!

I hope Charlie Gosse won't mind my lifting this image from his Aeroconservancy site

:

This is yet another contemporary painting - not by Daguet - which confirms that some French Strutters were finished mainly in aluminum/silver. It was painted on the cover of a photo album commemorating the decoration of two officers of Escadrille N. 23. According to what Alan Toelle told Charlie, this almost certainly represents one of the Hanriot-built Strutters, which were finished in aluminum. Usually such an aircraft would not have a French cocarde painted on the fuselage, but in this case it does. I also recall an account in a fairly recent Cross & Cockade Great Britain by a British officer in a bombing squadron, in which he mentioned that a 'silver' French Sopwith Strutter landed at their aerodrome. I don't recall his exact words, but I know he called it silver.

According to Alan Toelle, the Sopwith-built Strutters supplied to the French in 1916 had "Khaki" (i.e. PC 10, probably) on the top of their fuselages and wings, and - I would guess - clear-doped sides and wing undersides. These might have had British cockades on the fuselages which the French might have overpainted with French versions. Is it possible that the Daguet painting posted by Cigogne could be a British Sopwith-built Strutter supplied to the French? Just a guess, though the wings and upper surface of the fuselage certainly appear clear-doped.

Kofoed, when Ray Rimell wrote the colors commentary for the Windsock Datafile on the Strutter, this "aluminum" info was unknown. Ray would be the first to tell you that although the Datafiles are very accurate, they should not be regarded as the last word on colors data (as one who has contributed to some of them, I know!). Clearly, some of the Hanriot-built French Strutters were aluminum, but the question remains open if they all were. Most of the information in the two Datafiles on the Strutter is very accurate.

You should all visit the Aeroconservancy site. Click on the "French photo album" section.

http:The Aero Conservancy

Greg
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Old 2 August 2007, 10:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Another Piece of the Puzzle

Hi,

Maybe someone pointed this out already, but there's also this wonderful drawing from Marcel Jeanjean's marvelous book "Sous les Cocardes:



Yes, it's a cartoon version of a French Strutter, but Jeanjean was a contemporary artist who was actually there. He was actually quite careful in his depiction of colors, markings and uniforms and his work is a valuable reference. This Strutter looks light gray, which is - I believe - how Jeanjean depicted silver finishes. His Nieuports look much the same.

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Old 2 August 2007, 11:16 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Greg,
I had no intention of casting doubt about the Datafiles. I have the deepest respect for these datafiles, to me they are pure treasures.

Also, I noticed that the phrasing reads: "..they were ALSO finished in cdl..." telling, that there were other finishes as well.

Finally I find it amazing and unreal that I'm communicating with the author of a vast number of wonderful books, "von Richthofens Flying Circus (JG1)", "Fokker DVII Anthology 1 - 3" and "Fokker DrI aces of WW1", just to mention a few, which I of course have in my library. I'm fully aware that it's not at all easy to distinguish colours of planes that flew more than 80 years ago and whose sources in the best cases are black and white photos.

Thank you
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Old 2 August 2007, 12:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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French Sopwith Strutters maybe NOT all Aluminum finished!

There we go... you're all awake now! I'm starting to get the comments I was looking for. It is a funny thing. I had been reading through the thread and then immediately thereafter I stumbled onto the Daguet paintings. I saw a Marcel Jeanjean painting on the site as well... but it wasn't of a Sopwith. My thinking exactly... Jeanjean accurately represented the finishes of what HE SAW in his caricatures. Daguet did the same. I agree with the question... was it a Sopwith machine remarked... or no? Time to drag out all of the Strutter photos that I have and look at them closely. Note that the Gosse image has the struts as varnished wood as is also the turtledeck. I have other photos that show the struts overpainted on some of the Sopwiths from French units.
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Old 30 August 2007, 04:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Just a bit more on this. There is a very good website on the history of Esc 62 by Albin Denis (Les bombes à guidage laser de l'USAF). Esc 62 flew Sopwiths from 1916 to late 1917 at least and there are some good photos on the site.

The escadrille received two Sopwith 1.A2 aircraft as early as July 1916, presumably among the first Fench escadrilles to get the type. There is a very clear photo of one of these, showing a very dark general finish and light (?metallic) nose cowlings. Looks to me like standard RFC PC 10 scheme.

A second photo shows a Sopwith 1.A2 at La Cense aerodrome, where Esc 62 was based from January to May 1917. This machine is uniformly very light coloured, with no distinction between the cowling and fuselage colour - for me looks like a silver finish. Only exception is the decking around the cockpits which is very dark (varnished wood?).

These two snippets would be consistent with early deliveries from the British of PC 10 finished machines, followed by later deliveries of locally made, silver-doped machines. Interestingly, Denis also provides a profile of an Esc 62 Sopwith with a CDL fuselage and grey nose cowlings. No photo on the site matches this diagram, so it must have been sourced elsewhere.

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