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Camouflage, Colors and Markings Topics related to Camouflage, Colors and Markings of WWI aircraft

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Old 4 March 2024, 05:51 AM   #1
The Hangman
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British and French tail insignia color order

In painting the tails on my 1/144 WWI British and French AC, I found in my research that some French AC tails have the blue stripe at the right side of the tail fin, then at other times the French tail fin colors are the same left to right order as the British, i.e., Blue, white, and red.

Is there any reason for this, such as a standardization that occurred later, or was it just arbitrary?
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Old 4 March 2024, 06:06 AM   #2
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Arrow Have a look...

.
... at this part of the AERODROME FORUM:

http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=23234

Maybe you will find the answer here.

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Old 4 March 2024, 06:39 AM   #3
Gregvan
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Hello,

First of all, it's best to avoid using "Left to right" or "Right to left" when describing rudder stripes, as this will differ depending on which side of the aircraft you're looking at.

I don't know what sources you have found that show the order of French rudder stripes being different from the British, but they were, in general, always the same: Leading edge blue, with central white stripe and the trailing edge stripe in red. The trailing stripe was always red (on both sides of the rudder), with very few exceptions, on both British and French aircraft.

Perhaps you were looking at French-built aircraft in American units, which had a different order.

Here is an authentic full-color autochrome from 1917, of the tail of a French Nieuport.
tail stripes autochrome.jpg

Here is a full color British (Australian) photo by Frank Hurley, of a Bristol F2B in the Middle East.
Tail stripes bristol.jpg

When looking at period, black and white photos from orthochromatic film, the red paint in the national insignia (cockades and rudder stripes) is almost invariably darker than the blue. In some cases, especially on French aircraft, the blue appears almost white on surfaces in bright sunlight.
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Last edited by Gregvan; 4 March 2024 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 4 March 2024, 06:48 AM   #4
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When the first American units began flying at the front, with French aircraft, the order of rudder stripes was initially (leading to trailing edge) white-blue-red. This is seen on some early Nieuport 28s, and a few Breguet 14B2's (96th Aero Squadron) and even some early Spad XI aircraft of the 1st Aero Sqn. This version of the rudder stripes was short-lived, however. The Nieuport 28 in the NASM collection at Udvar-Hazy shows this format of stripes on their Nieuport 28 in Jimmy Meissner's markings.
Tail stripes_Udvar Hazy 1.jpg

Another example of this format:
tail stripes 2.jpg

This was soon replaced by a format that was the opposite to the standard French and British version: Leading edge red, with white central stripe and trailing stripe blue, as on this American Spad VII:
Tail stripes 3.jpg

And on this American Spad XIII:
Tail stripes 4.jpg
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Old 4 March 2024, 02:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregvan View Post
Hello,

I don't know what sources you have found that show the order of French rudder stripes being different from the British, but they were, in general, always the same
I was referencing illustrations from Joseph Phelan's Heroes & Aeroplanes of the Great War 1914-1918. Based on the replies I received, I must assume he made coloring errors on some of the French aircraft with French insignia he drew that were not flown by US personnel.
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