Wooden carrier deck colors / details

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Wooden carrier deck colors / details

  • I've started to make simple bases for my aircraft models, grass, dirt, tarmac etc. For my naval aircraft I was thinking about doing a small piece of generic carrier deck, nothing really fancy and certainly not specific to a particular ship, but I would like to make it generally accurate to each nation. This would be a small piece of deck equal to or slightly shorter than the wingspan.

    The little research I've done would suggest wooden decks largely went away shortly after the Korean war, when most WW2 carriers were upgraded or scrapped. So I guess my question would cover WW1-Korea, later carrier decks resembling tarmac.

    I've found some wood planks that are close enough in size (based on the wheels of a fighter sitting on deck).

    For the US deck color I understand kind of a medium brown into the early years of WW2, not sure after that though, I've seen reference to Insignia blue, blue grey and medium grey. A good color (most popular if there were several options) and approximate time frames would be very handy. By looking at the height of deck hands there should be a black / dark grey metal grate every 6-8 feet running with the planking, I'm pretty sure I can find something in plastic or etched metal for that.

    Japan, also medium brown but a bit lighter than the US (more tan?), throughout the war. It looks like their planking ran the length of the deck, not cross deck like the US. The drain / grating goes across the grain of the planking, but much wider spacing so I can probably ignore it.

    British WW2 carriers with armored decks look more like the decking on modern carriers, so I guess I'll stick with a tarmac base for them. Does this go all the way back to WW1 with the British? I do have a few WW1 and interwar RNAS / FAA aircraft kits, so it would be nice to know if the Royal Navy used wood decks at any point.

    France???

    I think that pretty well covers the nations that had any significant Naval aviation prior to 1946 (and I assume no carriers built post war used wood decking).

    Also appropriate an color for deck stripping would be handy. I am not currently intending to go into that much detail but it would be nice to have in case I change my mind.

    Thanks

     

    I know there is some commercial decking, but the stuff I've seen is either paper / card stock or rather expensive plaster, resin etc. I can build these little bases for $5 or less so want to make my own. 

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  • Verlinden makes a chunk of deck cast in resin, in both 1/48 and 1/72. Just needs paint.

    White Ensign sells 1/48 and 1/72 PE tie down strips.

    Both are for USN.

    Here's where I start with color research.

    http://www.shipcamouflage.com/

  • I know that when I transferred off of USS Lexington in 1976, she still had a wooden flight deck with the old style metal strip tie downs. I am fairly sure all of the Essex Class CVs had them until they were retired. The Lex wasn't decommissioned until 1991, I believe, so having a jet on one of those old flight decks wouldn't be incorrect. But in those later years they would be painted deck gray.

    I'm from the government and I'm here to help.

  • There were a couple of USN changes. Pre-war they used a mahogany deck stain and yellow for lines, like what you see here:

    http://images.google.com/hosted/life/l?imgurl=477db3997db2c41f&q=uss enterprise WWII source:life&prev=/images%3Fq%3Duss%2Benterprise%2BWWII%2Bsource:life%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DG%26tbs%3Disch:1

    Note that this was during the filming of a movie, so the paint was pretty fresh.

    By 1941 the Navy was experimenting with blue deck stain for camouflage; by the time the US was attacked at Pearl *ALL* carriers had their decks in some shade of blue deck stain. While there was some variation due to experiments, the standard "Norfolk No. 250N Blue Flight Deck Stain" was rapidly adopted. This stain was very close to the 20-B "Deck Blue" *paint* used on metal decks and wood decks of other ships (battleships, cruisers, etc.)

    However, in 1943 the colors were changed to #21 Flight Deck stain, which more closely matched the lighter 5-O Ocean Gray used on navy ships in some camouflage. It didn't last too long, around mid 1944 the Navy began issuing  #21 Flight Deck stain (revised), which once again went back to the deck blue color and was a close match to Glossy Sea Blue when fresh (except without the gloss, of course). This lasted throughout the war and into Korean.

    Now, take into affect the amount of abuse these decks took, and you have a lot of leeway, what with the oil, old wood, fresh wood, rubber stains, etc.

    Tracy White Researcher@Large

  • Thanks, that give me a good head start and since most of my completed models are pre-war or early WW2 I'm probably safe with brown for now, leaving me time to get a good idea for the deck blue color. I knew some of the Essex class carriers served into the 60s with wood decks, but had no idea they were still around in the 90s. I got to go on board several carriers that came into Alameda NAS (Coral Sea, JFK, Enterprise, Carl Vinson probably others) when I was a kid, but all had a surface resembling asphalt.  

    Bondo that site should be very helpful, I had not run across it searching for carrier deck color. I know about the resin decks but they cost more than the kits I would put on them.

  • Verlinden or Accurate Miniatures (can't remember which) has a color print out of WWII flight deck on cardstock. I think you get like 4 sheets to the pack.  I used it for a base for my US WWII Naval aircraft collection.

      

  • subfixer

    I know that when I transferred off of USS Lexington in 1976, she still had a wooden flight deck with the old style metal strip tie downs. I am fairly sure all of the Essex Class CVs had them until they were retired. The Lex wasn't decommissioned until 1991, I believe, so having a jet on one of those old flight decks wouldn't be incorrect. But in those later years they would be painted deck gray.

    Some of the Essex carriers were converted to re-inforced steel decks to accomodate jet aircraft.  I was onboard Lexington in early 1975 and thought it had a steel deck (at least the angle), but I don't trust my memory that well.

    Mark

    FSM Charter Subscriber

  • Going off the top of my head, I remember from a wood science class I took in college the prof talked about the woods used for aircraft carriers. Teak was the preferred would and the red brown color wouldn't be a mahogony stain, but the natural color. As teak is sourced from the Thai/Burma area, Dec. 7th ended the supply chain. Douglas-Fir was substituted on the newer carriers in WWII, and that would have to have been stained and subsequently painted.

    If you paint and seal wood several times, it has the feel of metal. A couple of months ago I was certifying a fumigation chamber and the floor was wood. You couldn't tell that that floor was wood, there was no give. Originally this was a sea container that was converted to this use.

    This prof worked as an inspector in a plant making the tail elevators for F4U Corsairs during WWII. These were actually made from Fir, with tolerances that were previously unheard of in woodworking before.  

    Mike T.

    Beware the hobby that eats.  - Ben Franklin

    Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out. - Ben Franklin

    The U.S. Constitution  doesn't guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself. - Ben Franklin

  • telsono

    Going off the top of my head, I remember from a wood science class I took in college the prof talked about the woods used for aircraft carriers. Teak was the preferred would and the red brown color wouldn't be a mahogony stain, but the natural color.

    Teak rapidly weathers to a gray, however.  In fact, weathered teak almost looks like some of the shades of gray camouflage. It is a lot of work to keep it natural color.  From what I've seen of naval ships, they seem to let it weather.

    Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Don - thanks for the additional information about the gray patina. One of the characteristics of teak that makes it a good maritime wood is the silica inclusions in it. This silica is toxic to alot of organisms that would destroy the wood and will also makes it stronger to wear (silica = sand).

    Mike T.

    Beware the hobby that eats.  - Ben Franklin

    Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out. - Ben Franklin

    The U.S. Constitution  doesn't guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself. - Ben Franklin

  • Mike... sorry.. no.

    Tracy White Researcher@Large

  • I would like to know what species of wood was used to surface aircraft carrier decks. Teak only comes from sources that were certainly within the Japanese sphere of influence. Certainly prewar they would have sold it to us, but after Pearl Harbor, what did all the CVE's use????

  • I believe that during the war that Douglas fir was used on the Essex class. Sometime after the war a teak veneer was laid over a thicker fir layer.

    I'm from the government and I'm here to help.

  • Bogue class?

  • I would hazard a guess that it would be the same for that class as well. Fir was a very commodious commodity. Now, off to the commode to make some commotion.

    I'm from the government and I'm here to help.