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Thunderbolt Research Centre
Research, Restoration, and other topics related to non-modeling aspects of P-47 history.
Hosted by Nigel Julian
P-47D Cockpit Color
Tourist
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Posted: Monday, December 12, 2011 - 09:45 PM UTC
I'm trying to understand the cockpit color a little bit better.
One reads a lot of things on modeling forums and books but I remain unconvinced by some of it and seek better information.

A widely accepted color is Dull Dark Green yet when I look at cockpit pictures of recovered aircraft such as Dottie Mae or the Robert Grienert D-23 I'm not really seeing DDG but something closer to Interior Green.
I've heard folks mention the Robins AFB P-47D-30 photographed in Bert Kinzey's "In Detail & Scale" book as proof that the cockpit was DDG.
They claim this cockpit has been untouched but I see some signs of repaint over a lighter color not to mention that the result looks closer to Bronze Green than DDG in my opinion.

Some also believe Interior Green or Yellow Zinc Chromate (there was a thread about this on these boards) were the colors.

DDG, BG, IG or YZC?
If someone could help me understand this a little better I would really appreciate it.
I think a good place to start would be a P-47D E&M manual (where finishes are usually listed) but I don't know anyone who has one.



lampie
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Posted: Monday, December 12, 2011 - 11:03 PM UTC
Hi.

It's certainly a can of worms.
Like yourself, photos I have of unrestored cockpits,( ie recovered aircraft not museum pieces) appear to lean much more towards the interior green end of the cockpit colour spectrum.( to my eyes anyway)

The often quoted D-30 photos look completely different in every book they've been printed in and from that respect I don't think any can be relied on to show the actual colour of the aircrafts cockpit. It doesn't stop them being produced as evidence of DDG in most cockpit colour threads though.

While its 100% certain that some early examples had Yellow Zinc Cromate cockpits, I've only been able to positively identify about 5 of these by serial number and they come from different batches.
Certainly not advocating that all the aircraft in these batches had YZC cockpits, but some certainly did.

Purely from a personal point of view, the evidence I've seen from period colour footage and cockpits of recovered aircraft points towards DDG not being the standard P-47 cockpit colour.

I don't have access to a P-47 E&M manual I'm afraid, although whats written in the "instructions" and what was actually applied may well have had two ( or three) outcomes.

Just my own thoughts,

Nige
greatgonzo
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Poland
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Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 03:15 AM UTC
The E&M manual for B,C and D says 'Cockpits shall be finished with two coats of zinc chromate primer' and that's it, which opens wide gate for interpretation. The recovered from the jungle D-4 shows 4 shades of green in the cockpit area plus ZCY - all on the same board. The lighting on the pictures looks strange, but I dare say the dominant and top coat is DDG.

It looks like DDG was a top coat on two shades of ZC Primer with some repairs being done with OD. The other shades look like faded DDG. It is nothing more than a guess.

AFAIK DDG was produced to match BG in shade with an idea of getting a flat paint when the BG was presumed as a bit to shiny so trying to pick one in face of the other from a picture after years should be an impossible mission.
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Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 11:22 AM UTC
Interesting answers, which of course raise more questions.
Like Nigel I lean more towards DDG not being the standard color as is often accepted by modelers.

Recently on a French forum someone posted the following:
-Struts: Bronze Geen on early p-47's and silver on later ones.
-Cockpit: YZC on B/C's, Interior Green up to P-47D-23's and DDG after that with a possible return to IG on P-47N's.
-Cowling interior: Neutral Grey on P-47D's camoed at the factory and NMF on the other ones.

When I asked where he got his info he just said it was from someone who studied the P-47 in depth.
I would have dismissed the whole thing after such an answer but these cockpit colors seem to make some sense.
I have no idea about the BG struts but it sounds weird.

Radek, the E&M manual you quote mentions YZC for B/C and early D's, it seems to go in the same direction as the comments above.
Having an E&M manual for later D's would really help.
I disagree about the the Grienert D-4 colors, it does show a first coat of YZC primer still showing in some corners but in my opinion the top coat is anything but DDG.
The darker parts look like medium green to me and the lighter ones almost like IG, I think it may have been Republic's own mix of Green Zinc Chromate / Cockpit Green.

Grienert's Jungle D-4:



Dottie Mae:


DDG samples:






greatgonzo
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Poland
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Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 12:00 PM UTC
The colours on the D-4 look changed by the photographs to me, but one can see the presence of the color family building DDG shade. There is no 'for sure' there of course. Not even 'most probably'.

E&M says zinc chromate PRIMER only. Means first coat is ZC Yellow, and the second one - green. Which green? Weeell... .

The usage of DDG throughout the war really looks strange. So does turning back tothe colour at the end of it.

Chris?
lampie
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Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 12:01 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Recently on a French forum someone posted the following:
-Struts: Bronze Geen on early p-47's and silver on later ones.
-Cockpit: YZC on B/C's, Interior Green up to P-47D-23's and DDG after that with a possible return to IG on P-47N's.
-Cowling interior: Neutral Grey on P-47D's camoed at the factory and NMF on the other ones.

When I asked where he got his info he just said it was from someone who studied the P-47 in depth.
I would have dismissed the whole thing after such an answer but these cockpit colors seem to make some sense.
I have no idea about the BG struts but it sounds weird.




I think the one thing that we can say for certain is that we are never going to be able to say for certain, and general sweeping comments like that hold no water.

For example, from the list posted above, and without having to think too hard or delve deep into my files.

-Struts: Bronze Geen on early p-47's and silver on later ones.
I have photos of a D-25 with one OD strut and one silver strut.
Which is the replacement?,,who knows?

-Cockpit: YZC on B/C's, Interior Green up to P-47D-23's and DDG after that with a possible return to IG on P-47N's.
I have colour footage of a D-5 with a YZC cockpit,

-Cowling interior: Neutral Grey on P-47D's camoed at the factory and NMF on the other ones.
I have personally seen the back of 2 cowling panels from factory painted OD/NG P-47s and they are unpainted.
From photographs, none of the cowling interiors I have seen are anything but unpainted. Not including the small amount painted with the cowling band or around the air scoop which is obviously field applied.

Another close up of the Grienert D4.


And the Dottie Mae D-28 floor.


Neither of these look anything like DDG to my eyes either.

Nige
greatgonzo
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Poland
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Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 12:29 PM UTC
OK, but say what does it look like to You? I wouldn't say it looks IG too.

The E&M is a bit enigmatic with finishes, but there are parts allowing anodising and plating as the only finish. I suspect the idea has been extended for more surfaces (cowlings) as it happened in aircraft industry those days.
Tourist
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Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 12:49 PM UTC
Radek, in my experience with Mustangs when two coats of primer are required it means (as you mentioned) one coat of YZC and a second coat of green tinted ZC.
I really think that's what we're seeing in these pictures, Green Zinc Chromate not DDG.

Nigel, I totally agree about the struts.
The very few period pictures I've seen on which the cowling interior can be seen indeed showed a NMF surface.
As far as I'm concerned you disproved these comments.
About the cockpit colors, I was thinking that if the P-47B/C's had a YZC cockpit this might also have been the case for the first D's (as the one you mentioned), in my few P-47 manuals B/C's and early D's seem to always be included together, I wouldn't be surprised if their finishes were the same.
Like you I still don't see DDG on any P-47D cockpit, after all we have pictures of a D-4 and of a D-28 both apparently showing something else.
greatgonzo
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Poland
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Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 01:33 PM UTC
Oh, it is You. I wasn't sure.

I shuffled few colour pics of P-47. The armoured plate is but the only thing you can hang your eye on. Most pics are no good at all, but one shows a colour which surely is not DDG. It is an early D.

I can not get friendly with the idea of whole blocks having cockpits painted with ZCY. Do I understand You guys right? ZCY is Yellow to me. Second coat is ZC Green or tinted ZCY.

Tinted ZCY should be a match for ANA 611 (or rather the other way round). The pictures above look different. Could it be Republic mixed their own shade and this being different than standard one caused the invented idea of DDG rule?
Tourist
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Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 02:18 PM UTC
Yes it's me, I also like P-47's but I know far less about them than P-51's.
On second thought I agree, it is difficult to imagine all the B/C's would have had a Yellow ZC cockpit, at some point during the war the USAAF actually banned it from cockpits.
As Nigel pointed out we know that some were painted YZC, why is anyone's guess.
Green Zinc Chromate isn't necessarily Interior Green, it just means that like interior green it consists of black added in YZC but unlike IG it isn't standardized.
All IG is a sort of GZC but not all GZC is IG.
Think of all the restored Mustangs with green wheel wells, it's not exactly interior green.

I really think that P-47D's had their own type of GZC in the cockpit but not the classic ANA 611 interior green.
Maybe mixed with some Medium Green?
greatgonzo
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Poland
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Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 10:58 PM UTC
Could be, though I would rather think of different proportions of black added to ZCY.

It is safer to use terms interior green and Interior Green with care, but who would have remembered that all the time?

I have not noticed Your nick from the start and was surprised somebody knew how to shorten my name.
Beaconroot
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Posted: Sunday, July 05, 2015 - 01:17 AM UTC
Ok I am going to bring up this old subject but I want your opinions on this subject. I want to build the P-47D-6 "Okie" and have been doing as much research as I can on the airplane. As far as interior color goes I am still confused. Do I use an Interior Green or is it Dull Dark Green for a early model razorback Thunderbolt? Your help is appreciated.
Jim Root