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Thread: Gloster Gladiator colours in 1941

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Gloster Gladiator colours in 1941

    Simple, I thought, just look in a few reference books, have a trawl on the web, and I'll be up and running with my 1/72 scale Airfix Gladiator build. Specifically I want to model a 13 Group communications flight Gladiator at RAF Ouston, Northumberland in early to mid 1941. They had four Gladiators, the first aircraft to be based at the still not completed RAF Ouston, and the flight included K6132 the fourth built.

    However I've drawn a complete blank, and would welcome any assistance with references or colour details. The top surface colours are not the problem, they would have been Dark Green and Dark Earth in 1941, possibly with 'shadow shading' on the lower wings. But what would the lower surface colours have been? All 'communications' aircraft were supposed to have yellow undersurfaces, but I can find no Gladiator photos/schemes that show yellow under (other than target-tug striped examples). So would they have retained a 'fighter scheme' in 1941? i.e. sky coloured undersurfaces - this seems to have been the case with examples still serving operationally.

    It may also be possible that K6132, which had been a development machine, might have retained a basic silver scheme with camouflaged added to the uppersurfaces only.

    If the 13 Group Gladiators did have yellow undersurfaces, a further question then becomes whether or not underwing serials would have been applied, as was the case with most 'communications' aircraft. I still find it difficult to believe that a Fighter Command comms flight, equipped with Gladiator fighter aircraft, would have suffered the indignity of yellow undersides!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    I gather it was fairly normal (whatever that may mean...) for many second-line aircraft to be finished in the appropriate scheme that they would have had if a front-line type. This is specifically quoted in AP 2656A (October 1944) for the case of meteorological aircraft - which I suspect includes Gladiators in 1941! I have also seen a colour photo of an Anson with Sky undersides whereas Yellow could well have been expected.

    I would not expect to see serials on Sky undersides, but who knows for sure?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Thanks Graham, your reply has given me the confidence to proceed with sky undersurfaces.

    Also, even though I'm not planning to build one, the subject of meteorological Gladiators raises an interesting point. There is a published photo of one in late war fighter camouflage, which confirms the AP 2656A that you guote. However the photo is taken from the rear, so the question then becomes, were such biplane wings painted with yellow leading edge strips like all other fighters? They should have been, if the AP instruction was properly followed.

    I'm still surprised how very few post 1941 Gladiator photos there are, given that it was a fairly numerous type which remained in service until 1945.

    Thanks again, Phil

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