Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Colour Hawks of Little Norway

For a short time in early 1941, the hottest aircraft in Canada were the Curtiss Hawk H-75A-8s flying out of Little Norway.  Little Norway was the sobriquet for the Norwegian Air Training Establishment, and the Hawks were operated as advanced trainers from Island Airport in Toronto.  (One can only imagine the difficulty moving from a Fairchild Cornell to the much more complex and powerful Hawk.)   One of the long standing debates among modelers is the exterior colour of the aircraft. The following colour photo has been published in a few places over the years, so it was assumed that the aircraft were an pastel green, similar to Testors FS 34227.  This seemed to reinforce the statements of Little Norway personally that the colour was colloquially referred to as apple green.

Here is another photo taken in the same sequence and already the colour has shifted.

I hope these beautiful photos assist modelers in making their own decisions. It sure looks like a variant of U.S. interior green to me. (Testors FS 34151 is a close match to my eye.)  Note in the photo below that the exterior colour and the interior colour around the engine are similar, with the exterior colour just being more matte. An aviation research colleague believes the explanation is quite simple: "...the boss of the Curtiss paint shop did not have the grasp of the Norwegian language that he claimed to have. As a result, he got the painting instructions bass-ackward and used exterior paint for the interior and vice versa resulting in a norse of a truly different colour."  I'm still trying to figure out if he is pulling my leg or not… However, some modelers are of the opinion that the colour is just Curtiss’s version of Olive Drab or possibly Light Olive Drab 35.

Modeler's Note: While there have been quite a few kits of the Twin Wasp powered P-36 from the likes of Revell, Heller and Monogram, the Wright Cyclone Hawks have not faired as well in 1/72. AML did a short run kit of the type which has a reputation as a difficult build. There is also a family of Hawks from MPM/Special Hobby/Azur, but I have not seen one in person.  AZ has just issued a series of Twin Wasp Hawks, so it is hoped they will work their way to the Hawk 75A-8 in the near future.

(Photos courtesy of the Armed Forces Museum of Norway.)

No comments: