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Thread: Early Spitfire Sutton Harness colour?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    172

    Early Spitfire Sutton Harness colour?

    Hi Gents,

    I have a (normal) kharki yellow Sutton Harness with the triangular locking pin. I know that is fine for early (and late) war Spitfires, however I have seen reference to "Airforce Blue" as the colour for these and have seen at least two prewar photos that show very dark straps.

    My question is, were the/some/a few, prewar straps "Airforce Blue" or are the dark ones i remember due to Orthochromatic film?

    I am trying to build the K9817 cockpit section as close to very early production as possible. (2k VSI, large Boost, unregulated generator, "mystery bracket" etc, etc)


    regards

    Darryl
    In Memory of:
    Flt Lt Tony Hill who successfully photographed a small "Würzburg radar" at Bruneval. 5th Dec 1941

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    On the beach
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    Edgar (rest his soul and sorely missed) has it as Buff.
    http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/i...s-anyone-know/
    The darker colour or blue have a recollection as naval aircraft maybe,perhaps,queried,imaginary,bad memory?
    "If the C.O. ask's you to be Tail End Charlie...just shoot him!!!....A Piece of Cake.
    http://spitfirea58-27.blogspot.com.au/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    172
    Thanks Mate,

    Yes, I've seen that. Edgar is a great loss, that is for sure. I have a very large archive of clippings from his posts.

    The "buff" is, I am confident, his interpretation of "my" Kharki Yellow. "Buff" in British Army parlance is a little lighter but still....

    It is a great shame that the thread got derailed on the "back of the seat" argument and never really answered the original question. (But WE don't have to worry about the back seat hole arguments, do we )
    There IS a small clue in that Edgar mentions the Airfix book and the position of the belts being confirmed on the IWM aircraft when taken down for cleaning. That book
    lists the belts as RAF Blue and it is therefore highly probable that the "blue" reference comes from the same aircraft and time.

    Last night I found a refueling picture where the belt is hanging out of the cockpit and the yellow outer ring is on the roundel. It is definitely not orthochromatic as the ring is light but the harness is definitely
    very dark, at least as dark as the cam green. While that is no guarantee that the belt is blue it does sweeten the pot a little. As K9817 was only the 31st production aircraft, it is very likely that
    any and all "early" quirks (with the exception of the original, unguarded starter switch) were present.

    Quite another matter is whether my Sutton would take a dye in any case. My original parachute pack and harness (a 1960's US one) certainly would not. Fortunately I was able
    to source an RAF parachute from the 60's which is of the original pattern but has brown straps and black fittings.

    I still owe you some photos of the "mystery fitting" now it think of it!
    Last edited by Tony Hill; 14th September 2017 at 10:56.
    In Memory of:
    Flt Lt Tony Hill who successfully photographed a small "Würzburg radar" at Bruneval. 5th Dec 1941

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    North Shore Airfield, Auckland, NZ
    Posts
    447
    If your webbing is the correct "pebble weave" 2 inch cotton , you will find that strong black coffee solution will give a very good kahki effect . Nobody has questioned mine yet

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    172
    Cheers Stan.

    Mine is already Khaki coloured, the same colour as P9374's (for reference). Are you saying they should be a darker shade? "Buff" was Edgar's description of what they should be but that, in British military terms, definitely IS too light for what the
    real thing was.

    But if coffee will stain the pebble weave then I think I should be able to dye it RAF blue if I can find more solid references to that colour being used early on.

    best regards and thansk

    Darryl
    In Memory of:
    Flt Lt Tony Hill who successfully photographed a small "Würzburg radar" at Bruneval. 5th Dec 1941

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    North Shore Airfield, Auckland, NZ
    Posts
    447
    When comparing "coffee stain" to origional Tiger and Mosquito harness, it is a pretty fair representation. I have noted a considerable variation in khaki tints over the years but the standard Army khaki is darker than the normal Sutton harness colours.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    172
    Thanks once again Stan!

    I'll test a small underside portion.

    The darker shades in some pictures definitely could be "army" khaki rather than RAF Blue. That would explain the photos.
    That just leaves the Patrick Stephens book and therefore , allegedly, the IWM Spitfire as having "RAF Blue" as the colour.
    I'll go with khaki I think!

    regards

    Darryl
    In Memory of:
    Flt Lt Tony Hill who successfully photographed a small "Würzburg radar" at Bruneval. 5th Dec 1941

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