MAP Azure Blue - we are particularly pleased with this one.
The elusive colour used by the Royal Air Force in the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations during the Second World War. The name has been applied to several different colours which have appeared in British Standards and so on, but "MAP" Azure Blue - the wartime colour that modellers actually need has a delicate but distinct violet quality. There is simply nothing in BS381C, Federal Standard 595, RAL, Pantone or any other ready-made colour systems which most paint manufacturers rely on that's even close to capturing the character of MAP Azure Blue.
To make it therefore requires manual trial and error of pigment colours and quantities which requires many years experience in colour matching to achieve - something our factory most certainly has.
The finished product - Colourcoats ACRN34 "MAP Azure Blue" is finally here in Aberdeenshire though, and is in the process of being tinned ready for sale this week.
I believe the colour match posed here on one of the tin lids against the RAF Museum approved colour chips - widely regarded as THE authority for RAF World War Two colours - speaks for itself.
US Air Force Colours
Let it never be said that Colourcoats does not endeavour to provide the modeller with the opportunities to start from a good basis.
Part of what interests me about this little business I fell in to is that there is so much to learn.
Like many, I until quite recently was under the mistaken believe that sea blue was sea blue, was sea blue. Or more specifically that it was different sheens on the same colour that adorned US Navy aircraft from 1943 until they started painting them Light Gull Grey over white. In my defence, it's an easy mistake to make as a modeller - there is so much misinformation out there. Look at most modelling resources and you'll find FS595 references for all these aircraft. Paint a "tricolor" scheme with FS35024. Paint an all-over blue Corsair with FS15042 - but wait, in FS595 doesn't the first digit simply denote the sheen implying these are exactly the same colour but with different glossiness? Grumman Panther? Yup that's FS15042 also. The fact that Federal Standard actually annotate the chip for FS35042 that it is ANA607 Non-Specular Sea Blue and that FS15042 is ANA623 Glossy Sea Blue really doesn't help to dispel the myth either.
We're not about to tell everyone they're painting their US Navy aircraft the wrong colour - they're your models and you can do what you like. What we have done though is make colours matched specifically to the best US Navy colour monograms going. I, for one, was surprised at the difference when reviewing the chips with our factory technical staff back in July, but things dull with time. The ANA607 colour was a particular challenge to get right - the ANA623 and FS15042 were more straightforward but it's still a matching and quality control process which needs to run its course.
These bring Colourcoats' arsenal of US Navy Sea Blue colours for aircraft to a total of four:
ACUS07 - an existing colour that is a perfect match for ANA606 Semi-Gloss Sea Blue, used on the upper surfaces of wings and tailplanes (or horizontal stabilisers for those who owned the aircraft) in the unhelpfully dubbed "Tricolor" schemes from 1943 to 1944
ACUS33 - ANA607 Non-Specular Sea Blue, used on the tops of fuselages in the Tricolor schemes, and also blended over the wing leading edges to reduce reflections.
ACUS34 - ANA623 Glossy Sea Blue, used in the 1944 onwards all-over blue schemes.
ACUS35 - FS15042 Glossy Sea Blue, which would have been used from around 1950 onwards.
They're here now. They're on sale. If you're happy with one colour for all uses, that's your business. If you do care about the subtleties between these colours, we're here for you :D
Happy modelling folks!