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Author Topic: Black-Green Camouflage on early I-16?  (Read 3636 times)
ChristianK
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« on: January 23, 2009, 07:57:26 PM »

Gentlemen,

as I suppose, most of you will be familiar with the following picture, as it saw print in different publications (in my case, Air Magazine (TMA) No. 4):



It shows an I-16 Tip 5 of a soviet volunteer unit in China, most probably during late 1937 or early 1938. The aircraft still wears its original soviet camouflage, adapted only by overpainting of the stars (light spot on the fuselage) and the rudder. Now what bothers me is the area of dark paint underlying the number "67". At the first glance one might think (as at least the profile artist in AIR MAG did) that this was just part of the overpainting of the original soviet markings, but with closer inspection you see that the (former) fuselage star was also placed over this darker color. This brings me to the assumption that this darker color might be AII Black (or some other dark color) and was part of the original soviet camouflage of the aircraft. Now do we have here an example of a two-tone camo on an I-16 some years before World War II? What do you think?

Regards,
Christian
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Massimo Tessitori
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« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2009, 01:27:49 PM »

Hi Christian, Smiley
thank you for sharing this image.
I've the vague impression to see some less contrasted blotches on the front fuselage sides, but I can't be sure. The second plane is not of much help.
There are some photos of disruptive camos on I-153s during the soviet-japanese fights in late thirties, so this possibility can't be rejected.
Massimo
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marluc
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« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2009, 03:12:29 PM »

Hello Christian:

It?s a very good question.In my humble opinion,I think that the dark colour is an almost "fresh" overpainting done by the chinese with a green paint of its own,not AII Green.From the angle that the photo was taken,the roundness of the after fuselage makes the light spot look like it?s overlapping the darker colour,while it?s just the opposite.All the photos I know of chinese Typ 5,show them in AII Green over AII Blue with black cowling.By the way,the light spot you mentioned,looks,at least to me,like worn out paint instead of an overpainting.
Thanks for sharing this good photo.Best regards:

Martin
« Last Edit: January 24, 2009, 03:14:02 PM by marluc » Logged
ChristianK
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Posts: 67


« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2009, 01:25:51 PM »

Hi there,
I still believe it is some kind of camouflage - the contrast of the dark color beneath the light spot with the same spot and the visible part of the undersurface color is way to strong to be a shadow. Also the number "67" is not completely shaded by the darker color. All of this brings me to the conclusion that the dark color was there before the stars were overpainted and the chinese numeral was applied. I also saw that darker blotch beneath the canopy and yes, it might be also a part of the camouflage. On the other hand, the photo is of very bad quality Undecided Someone's got a better one?

I also looked up the two books on Khalkin-Gol I have and one of them showed a picture of camouflaged I-16s. So maybe the Far Eastern regiments (from where the first I-16 in China originated, as A. Demin states in his article about soviet volunteers) applied camouflage even before the conflict with the Japanese, as this practice did not seem so uncommon to them.

-Christian
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Massimo Tessitori
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2009, 10:42:10 PM »

Hi Christian,
could you post a scan of the image you have found , please?
Massimo Smiley
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ChristianK
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Posts: 67


« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2009, 11:48:00 PM »

OK Massimo, but don't expect too much. I've blurred the picture a little bit to soften its contrasts. Caption says these I-16 are from the 56th IAP, July 1939. Well, at least you can see there is camo on the planes...



Source: Voennaja Armada 2 (2001), p.38
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Massimo Tessitori
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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2009, 10:15:08 AM »

Hi Christian, Smiley
interesting image, thank you for posting it.
What version of the plane is, in your opinion? The spinner looks the early type. And what about the dark parts behind the landing gear, on the wing undersurface? Some painted bands for visual recognizing?
Massimo
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ChristianK
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Posts: 67


« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2009, 04:10:18 PM »

Massimo,
the caption states it is a Tip 10, but I would go for a Tip 5 as I can't make out the little air intake on the lower cowling. Unfortunately it also not discernible which kind of canopy is in place.

The dark parts are pretty much rockets, or else the paint applied would be very thick Cheesy
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