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Thread: Modelers help...Battleship colors for USN BB's.

  1. #16
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    New Jersey appearing in her blueish/grey color, basically sunlight and semi clear skies. Still working on the scan picture.
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 23 Nov 11, at 17:40.
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  2. #17
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    This shot is of her superstructure only under overcast, notice the difference in color upclose. The one to scan will show her hull and superstructure in one uniform color. Dark gray under overcast skies..
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  3. #18
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnought View Post
    Why not just ask an Arizona survivor who was stationed in the Mast tops what color she was?

    I pulled this from a sight the below person blogs too:

    Hi Steve,
    I haven't researched the colors as thoroughly as the dedicated warship builders since my involvement with the Arizona is with the survivors, but I'll tell you what I do know. On that fateful morning she was painted in the "Measure 14" twotone scheme of ocean gray (called "5-0") overall up to the height of the top of the superstructure masses, and very light haze gray (called "5-H") above that point. 5-O would apply to all metal items such as anchors, chains, etc since they were on the lower levels.
    Ask Law Enforcement Officers how reliable "Eyewitness Testimony" is.

    You showed one example. The survivor swears that she was in Measure 14.

    However there are other survivors that have stated that she was in PreWar Standard Grey. Others that say she was in Measure 1. A few that have stated she was painted Black. The Chief in charge of the paint locker swears she was painted 5s.

    Without documentation, we just don't know.

    Measure 14 was part of Rev 1 of Ships 2. Rev 1 was approved for distribution in Sept 41. How long do you think it took to get it to the printers, then out to the Yards and Major Commands?

    Haze Grey, Ocean Grey and Sea Blue were not standardized until 30 July 41.

    Aug 22 All paint request by ships and stations were canceled. New paint formulas had been developed. The old Dark Grey (5D) formula was discontinued. New specs sent out to manufactures. Ships told to reorder the new formula. They would have been at the bottom of the list Shipyards and repair facilities would have been stocked first.






    A fast pic of her after turret tops after settling in the mud show her as "dark" compared to the sailors "working blues" in this pic. A much darker shade of paint then what she was photographed in just months prior to Dec 7TH 1941.
    You can also see the outline of a different color of paint on the turret top on turret #4 by its contrasting shade outline. The sunlight itself would have bleached it the very same blue/greycolor as the turrent if it wasnt painted a different color and perhaps a reflective color as the markings for the floatplane airgroup colors indicate.
    http://www.navsource.org/archives/01/0139008.jpg
    One thing I have learned from my photographer friends. Never, ever try to distinguish correct colors from a black and white photo.

    Not only that but did the person analyzing that picture take in account that she was burned. How do you make color decisions based on a photo of a ship that was on fire for hours?



    Pennsylvania did sport the almost exact "blue/grey" scheme that Arizona appears to have had. Both being Flagships but Pennsy did not sport the paintjob with any clarity (color picture) until later in 1944 when photographed in a floating drydock.
    Pennsy was in MS-1. Thats documented. Dark Grey (5d) to the stack. Light Grey(5L) above. From Jan to Sept 42 she was in Measure 1 mod. Blue replacing Dark Grey. Some books, mainly the Squadron ones, do say she was in Measure 14. But no documentation to back that. After repairs/refit (left Mare Island in Feb 43) she was painted Measure 21. Stayed that way for the rest of the war.

    Pennsylvania's original cammo scheme layout (Measure 32) does list though the "5-0" & "5H" colors along with black and deck blue.
    When was Pennsylvania in Measure 32? Which BTW disruptive pattern measures didn't come out until 1944. (edit Late 43)
    Last edited by Gun Grape; 24 Nov 11, at 22:39.
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  4. #19
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    I think the 2 pics of the Jersey prove my point about not using B&W photos to identify color..

    The Jersey is painted Post WW2 Haze Grey (FS 36270) in both pictures.
    Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape View Post
    I think the 2 pics of the Jersey prove my point about not using B&W photos to identify color..

    The Jersey is painted Post WW2 Haze Grey (FS 36270) in both pictures.
    And you are correct in that instance Grape. I was trying to show the difference in color as compared to weather etc. The below article written by a modeler is also very interesting. If you read it notice the very last page which gives an excellent point about the contrast of photos even back then. I have no idea how many modelers have seen this last page photo of Arizona before they cut away the existing superstructure (the radars and mast among other features) were already long gone but you must admit it is very interesting as to the color contrasts both black and white and then color. He also offers a good explanation about paint fade in the militarys color schemes. Its a good read.

    http://mikeashey.com/SHIP%20ARTICLE%...ARL-HARBOR.pdf

    I am also familiar with the documentation detailing the "delayed" shipments of paint to Pearl Harbor although in order to understand it you pretty much have to be used to reading the lingo and thats only if it was indeed applicable.

    There are still other documents. What we need to do is find the supply chain that issued either from Pearl or replentishment ship, that will tell all before that day.

    I cannot imagine Arizona being painted any different color then the rest of the fleet at the time although she was a Flag, just like Pennsylvania. Some of these peoples idealisms about color relate to the ships that sailed with her during ops just prior to Dec. 7th 1941 and that is very relevant. Even to todays Navy they all sail the very same color although some are more sun faded or weather beaten.
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 26 Nov 11, at 14:19.
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  6. #21
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    Not only that but did the person analyzing that picture take in account that she was burned. How do you make color decisions based on a photo of a ship that was on fire for hours?

    A relivant point, the oily smoke would IMO have produced some kind of sheen on the painted surfaces, that picture was the after two turrets and what was trying to be related was the color of the sailors working blues against the color of the ship at the time. The sailors working blues were at least a pretty identifiable color.
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  7. #22
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    When was Pennsylvania in Measure 32? Which BTW disruptive pattern measures didn't come out until 1944. (edit Late 43)

    Grape, what is trying to be related is the scheme for them did exist. This is the link to the class cammo scheme although as you mentioned she did not wear this scheme. The paint listed though stands out that the colors were a part of the intended scheme.

    http://www.navsource.org/archives/01/013876.jpg

    You had:

    5-L Light Grey
    5-O Ocean Grey
    BK Deck Black
    20-B Deck Blue
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  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnought View Post
    And you are correct in that instance Grape. I was trying to show the difference in color as compared to weather etc. The below article written by a modeler is also very interesting. If you read it notice the very last page which gives an excellent point about the contrast of photos even back then. I have no idea how many modelers have seen this last page photo of Arizona before they cut away the existing superstructure (the radars and mast among other features) were already long gone but you must admit it is very interesting as to the color contrasts both black and white and then color. He also offers a good explanation about paint fade in the militarys color schemes. Its a good read.

    http://mikeashey.com/SHIP%20ARTICLE%...ARL-HARBOR.pdf
    His educated guess contradicts your eyewitness that claimed she was in measure 14. No Blue in Measure 14.

    It does lead credibility to her being in Measure 1 Mod. Or has been pointed out to me before, even Measure 1 Dark Grey. The base paint for Dark Grey at the time was a Blue colored paint.


    I cannot imagine Arizona being painted any different color then the rest of the fleet at the time although she was a Flag, just like Pennsylvania. Some of these peoples idealisms about color relate to the ships that sailed with her during ops just prior to Dec. 7th 1941 and that is very relevant. Even to todays Navy they all sail the very same color although some are more sun faded or weather beaten.
    What you are missing is that the late 30s up till 42 were a time when lots of experiments were taking place with ship camo. Not so much with the BBs. They can all be traced to wearing Measure 1, Measure 1 Mod, Measure 5 in 41.

    DDs on the other hand were all over the place
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  9. #24
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    This from the University of Arizona archives...

    The Day of the Attack
    The USS ARIZONA's configuration had changed very little since its 1931 modernization. However, in April 1939 and January 1941 alterations had been done to ready the vessel for war.

    In that effort, an exposed pair of 5-inch, 51-caliber guns was removed so that new 1.1-inch quadruple machine-gun mounts could be installed on the superstructure deck abreast of the conning tower. Another set of the 1. 1-inch mounts was also to be installed on the quarterdeck between the mainmast and gun turret No. 3. foundations, ballistic shields, ammunition hoists, and ready-service lockers were installed. At the time of the attack, those areas were vacant of any armament -- the guns had been scheduled for installation in early 1942.

    A variety of 50-caliber machine guns was installed to increase antiaircraft fire power. It was quite common to relocate such weapons from time to time to increase their arc of fire. Originally four were placed on the main platforms of each mast. In 1939 search lights carried on the funnel were removed, and two machine guns from the mainmast replaced them. In January 1941 at Puget Sound the vessel was fitted with a "birdbath" platform atop the main-mast director tower. The "birdbath" was filled with four 50-caliber guns, two from the foremast and two from the mainmast. Leaving two guns on the foremast platform and two on the funnel platform, searchlights were placed on the former gun platform of the mainmast. Splinter shields were mounted on the superstructure deck to protect the crews manning the eight 5-inch, 25-caliber guns located there.

    Coupled with increased antiaircraft fire power was the installation of new Mark 28 antiaircraft directors that were supposed to increase the firing efficiency for the 5-inch 25-caliber guns. The location of the directors was on the range-finder platform level of the bridge. Here adequate support of the superstructure deck could be found via their heavy wiring tubes. This site afforded sufficient sky arc coverage for the directors' use. Early in 1942 the ARIZONA was scheduled to receive fire control and air search radar equipment. At the time of its loss, most of the structural modifications had been accomplished. The ARIZONA was painted in a two-tone gray paint scheme commonly referred to as Measure 14, consisting of an ocean gray (dark) on all hull and superstructure masses. Haze gray (light) was applied to the masts, yards and towers above the level of the superstructure masses. This paint scheme was meant to break up the general outline of the ship at a distance. The hull and superstructure were meant to blend with the sea, the upper works with the sky. It obviously had no value to vessels in port. A majority of the Pacific Fleet was painted in that manner. The exact date of the order that authorized the Measure 14 scheme is not known, however, a recent discovery of a photograph of the USS UTAH showed this paint scheme being applied in October 1941.

    One other note on the ARIZONA's final appearance: Morning canvas sun tarpaulins or awnings stretched above the main deck from the bow to the muzzles of gun turret No. 1. Awnings graced the quarterdeck from the break in the deck to the barbette of gun turret No. 3. Farther down the quarterdeck, awnings stretched from the gun muzzles of gun No. 4 to the stern. Most of the canvas was destroyed by the ensuing fire that engulfed the ship following the massive magazine explosion.

    The full article from the archives....

    USS Arizona - National Park Service Study - Historical Record - USS Arizona

    The actual formula released September 1941 by Bureau of Ships.
    9/41 Chapter 2

    Plate colors.
    9/41 Plate 12 12 Camouflage Colors

    *Perhaps maybe that documentation about the paint could be interpited as having one of the colors unavailable at the time?
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 26 Nov 11, at 18:13.
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  10. #25
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    No one can show where a Battleship, any of them, was painted in Measure 14 until the 2 that had it in 1943. (Wyoming and Tenn in 43 while working in Alaska waters)

    Nice article but the historical records do not support their "Facts"

    We can show, by records at Mare island, that Arizona was painted Measure 1 (Dark Grey 5-D /Light grey 5-h) in Feb 41 when she left Mare Island. The Yard that did all major painting for the West Coast.

    Also Utah was never in Measure 14 either. She was painted in Measure 1 In Sept 41 when she was overhauled just prior to reporting to Pearl. That is also documented by records from Mare Island.

    Color chart attached so people will know the colors mentioned.
    Last edited by Gun Grape; 26 Nov 11, at 18:43.
    Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape View Post
    No one can show where a Battleship, any of them, was painted in Measure 14 until the 2 that had it in 1943. (Wyoming and Tenn in 43 while working in Alaska waters)

    Nice article but the historical records do not support their "Facts"

    We can show, by records at Mare island, that Arizona was painted Measure 1 (Dark Grey 5-D /Light grey 5-h) in Feb 41 when she left Mare Island. The Yard that did all major painting for the West Coast.

    Also Utah was never in Measure 14 either. She was painted in Measure 1 In Sept 41 when she was overhauled just prior to reporting to Pearl. That is also documented by records from Mare Island.

    Color chart attached so people will know the colors mentioned.

    Hi Grape, I have seen the picture of the Utah being painted out and agree. I can also agree that perhaps the record outside of what I posted could be misunderstood. I also agree to what the surivors state as well as the Historical Foundation that keeps her records. Many thought that all of her records, logs and manifests were lost. Some have been recovered by the Historian.

    If you think about it there was also a time period that Arizona was drydocked in Pearl Harbors Navy Yard Drydock #1 for over two weeks from October 27th 1941 to November 12th in order to receive a search radar platform and repair the damage caused by a collision with USS Oaklahoma. That damage opened up her torpedo bulge on the port side on October 22nd while on manuvers among other work to her topmast and was undocked on November 12th but did not return to service until Novemeber 13th. That would equate to 16 days in drydock. Her hull would definately have to be repainted after all of the welding repairs required to repair what they concluded to be "considerable damage" (dished in plates etc) to the torpedo bulge and since she was the Flag for BATDIV1 would IMO nessisitate paintwork.

    Was she in fact ocean grey with haze grey on Dec 7th or could she have had her paint updated into the blue grey scheme on her verticals as the Time life picture shows in the above article I posted. They would have had to paint both the hull repairs and the new radar platform no doubt.

    So with 1,300 swinging #$%^'s standing around for 16 days (they remained aboard ship not in barraks) how can we say for sure that did not happen with any kind of certainty?

    *As mentioned above some of her logs and manifests were recovered among many other items recovered that were already removed from the ship prior to the attack. They are in the possesion of the Historian which obviously feeds the info to the University. The link is there on the page.

    The Historian...U.S.S. Arizona Facts

    Another article showing parts of the removed wreckage from the structure. This is showing color around what appears to be one of her hatch way flangings.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119672450795312374.html

    Another thread on Arizona's colors where it mentions that she may also have been a modified Measure 1 5d/5s. In other words a darker blue/grey scheme.

    USS Arizona Paint Help... - Forums - FineScale Modeler: Online Community, Forums, Blogs, Galleries

    A very interesting account from a sailor aboard of how many times the ship was painted according to him, painted (3 more) after leaving Bremerton and details the accident between Arizona and Oklahoma.

    The sailor claims the final color was a dark bueish grey with light blue which does agree with the one articles color picture from Time Life after she sank and during her flag raising ceremony pictures.

    Pages 77 forward.

    The USS Arizona: The Ship, the Men ... - Joy Waldron Jasper, James P. Delgado, Jim Adams - Google Books

    How could this sailor possibly claim that many different colors and stating as you did above and we agreed upon that she was grey when they left Bremerton.

    And then completely black (red below the waterline), and then a zig/zag pattern before settling on Blueish Grey as he claims. That page (page 78) the very first sentence has been cut off from the book preview along with page 78. But it claims they finally settled on various shades of Dark Blueish Grey with light colored blue.

    I have the very same book on my shelf.

    How is it that the man who was in charge of the paint locker (story from earlier) did not remember it? Could it be he was not aboard very long and this had taken place before his time aboard?

    I might believe that maybe he could be wrong once, but wrong 2 more times on top of that on the very same subject?

    IMO, there are several pictures that have yet to be seen of that time period (November 1941-December 7th) and that is only if they were actually taken.

    For all we know, the man (name not necessary) could be telling the exact truth and could explain the color in the Time/Life photo. That could also explain the "Med" blue theory.

    More importantly, that means if he is correct she had been repainted at sea on more then one occassion (this also happened with the Bismark once before she left to touch up the cammo and before her sortie from the fyords to cover the cammo with haze grey which can be confirmed and who knows how many other ships that happened too) since there are no other mentions of drydocking anytime after her leaving Bremerton until her time at Pearl Harbors yards for repairs.

    So why would you not take advantage of a 16 day stint in drydock to be able to paint her out in total.

    Last but not least, there are no available pictures of either ship after the collision and showing either in drydock or even near the drydocks during that time period but yet there are pics of both in earlier years in Pearls drydock easily found and after the attack when they righted the Oklahoma before her tow and loss off Hawaii.

    Just raising credible points of intrest for discussion here.
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 29 Nov 11, at 18:23.
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  12. #27
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    There is no reason not to paint. But with all paint orders canceled, I would imagine that they were only allowed to "Spot Paint" Not repaint the ship in a whole different color. However, In July, Dark Grey 5-d went out of production and Sea Blue 5-S became the "Darkest color" standard. It may be that she was painted in Measure 1 Mod 5-S instead of 5-D due to"on Hand" supply.

    We know that in Aug 41, Cruiser Div 4 was ordered to pick up 5-S paint and start painting.

    2d, why would you paint the ship in a camo measure that went against the, then classified, memo from BuShips stating that all new ships assigned to the pacific would be painted in Measure 11 . overall 5-S with 20-D decks. I don't think any of the BBs were painted that at Pearl on 7 Dec since photos show unpainted decks.

    What it comes down to, as I stated at the beginning. We just don't know what color she was on that day. No order for her to pick up 5-S for painting, no records from when she was in dry dock to suggest that she was repainted. And conflicting statements from eyewitnesses and crew.


    And least I forget, we both owe a big thanks to Tracy White for digging through NARLA
    records and finding the bulk of the information that we have both been using. And making it available online.

    His website for anyone interested. He has assembled lots of good information, and not just about BBs either

    Researcher @ Large
    Last edited by Gun Grape; 01 Dec 11, at 04:44.
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  13. #28
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    I agree with the above. But a few points stand out though.

    1) The sailor that recorded her colors arrangement reported aboard while Arizona was in drydock in Bremerton during winter in 1940 . Being a Seaman 2nd class his first job was DD4 (Deck Division 4) before he became a Gunners Mate 3rd class much later. He records chipping paint, holystoning the decks, swabbing them, polishing brass and airing matresses as the boatswainsman ordered. This he did for six months as well as messcooking, Catapult #2 and carry stores before being promoted to Gunners Mate 3rd class, He also records that when Arizona arrived in Pearl she was a dark grey with black lettering spelling out Arizona.

    Although he became a gunnersmate 3rd he also served as helmsman on several occassions. He went further to explain the operations of switching over the helm from electric (normal) over to steam (secondary) and finally to manual (emergency) during drills so there IMO is no doubt the man was well schooled about his ship and having to have chipped that paint and polish those decks in months prior would lead one to believe the man had a very good memory of his ships operations and his duties.

    He recalled the collision, drydocking and having to paint the blisters from the inside out once attached instead of painting them before attaching them to the side of the ship.

    There would be no reason to believe that among recalling all of these duties and operations that he would not know what color his ship was and how many times it had changed colors.

    He seemed to remember every other time frame aboard her. And his statements about her final color both coincide with the Time Life photo taken afterwards before the paint and that part of the upper structure disappeared. That would be the sunbleached color found upon the remainder of Arizona's wreckage taken off her earlier before the memorial was erected and later found.

    That color is somewhat sunbleached and no water reflection to distort the appearance.

    As far as the paint color goes there is also this clause at the bottom of the page:

    Flexibility of Choice of Camouflage.

    Task force commanders should be given flexibility as to which system they use, and should extend this flexibility to Commanding Officers and detached groups having special problems. The following conditions indicate a need for flexibility:

    a) A ship equipped with "radar" has a different problem than one not so equipped.

    b) Ships operating in areas susceptible to submarine attacks require different treatments than ships in areas where air attacks are the major consideration.

    c) Large ships with wooden decks and relatively insignificant wakes at low speed require a different treatment than ships with prominent wakes at high speed.

    d) Ships with flat athwartship surfaces need them broken-up by splotch painting for course deception.

    e) Ships operating in area frequently overcast and exposed to oblique sunlight, need different colors than those in tropical and blue sky areas.

    f) Battleships whose major threat is from underwater damage should be painted against submarine detection (sky background) if operating in areas where submarines are the major threat.

    *They reported submarine contacts (non US) leading up to Decemeber 5th 1941. Especially near the anchorage of Lahainia Roads off the island of Maui where the fleet had anchored days before on manuvers coming back into Pearl on December 5 and tying up to Fox 8 before refueling the following morning Dec 6th. They already knew their competitive games against the Army at Schofield Barraks on Dec 4th would not take place and were ordered to take down all of the equipment for good by a division officer.

    IMO, chances are she was repainted in clause (f) as they knew war was coming just not when it was coming. Between the other evidence available, she was definately a dark shade of blue/grey. Or dark blue with a backing tint of her former grey.

    The Time/Life pictures in color taken afterwards already prove that.

    *And I certainly agree with you on Tracy Whites work and efforts. An excellent work.
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 01 Dec 11, at 06:21.
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    Aloha! I had a friend send me the link to this thread. I was initially conflicted as to how useful it would be to bump a thread that hasn't been updated in 18 months, but there were enough issues I had with some of the information thrown around that I feel it's better that I do. While I admire the energy Dreadnought and Gun Grape put into their posts, readers are cautioned to take the facts stated here with a grain of salt. I *do not* have the time to go through and comment on every issue, but want to talk about two things that have bearing on this discussion.

    First, SHIPS-2 was created by the Bureau of Ships and was a definition of camouflage measures, but they were the ones that ordered what ships got what. That was left to the theater (Atlantic / Pacific) and type ("Commander Battleships, Commander Destroyers, etc.) commanders. That's why you see the "Commander Cruisers, Battle Force" order Helena into Sea Blue in August of 1941. They could take the SHIPS-2 camouflage and modify it, which is where the CINC USN turret top orders comes in. Note that this order came out AFTER the original SHIPS-2 release date by a couple of months. Turret top colors are a dead issue - there is no controversy and question about them any more.

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