WWII USN Aircraft Lights

WWII USN Aircraft Lights

Post by thedukeo » Tue, 09 Sep 1997 04:00:00



My current project is building a small fleet of WWII Naval Aircraft... F2A,
F4F, F4U, F6F, SBD, SB2C, TBD and TBF.  I would like to detail these models
(all 1/48) to the best of my abilities.  Being new to the detailing scene,
I have a few questions regarding the exterior lighting used on aircraft.

From my references I've gathered this scheme... I'll use the Wildcat as an
example:

Port Wing:  red navigation (or running?) light on wing tip, green
(formation?) light on top of wing (lens appears blue when not lit.)  Clear
landing light under wing, clear approach light on leading edge.

Stbd Wing: green navigation (or running?) light on wing tip, green
(formation?) light on top of wing (lenses appear blue when not lit)

Tail:  white running light on tail

Spine behind liferaft compartment: green (section?) light (lens appears
blue when not lit) later models had white (recognition?) light also.

Underside of fueselage:  Three recognition lights behind wings, fore to
aft: red, green, amber.

I have the flight instruction manual for the F6F, and by using that and
reference photos this is what I've come up with, though not all my sources
are in agreement as to the names and colors of the lights.

Anyone have any thoughts or theories about this arrangment?  How about the
purposes of the formation, section, and recognition lights?  Also how about
favorite techniques for replicating lights and lenses.

Thanks in advance:

Earl,

PS:  Anyone know where to get a hold of Vol #2 of the Mongoram USN and USMC
Color Guide, (1940-1949)?  If you'd like to sell yours, name your price.

 
 
 

WWII USN Aircraft Lights

Post by Joe Heged » Tue, 09 Sep 1997 04:00:00



Quote:
>From my references I've gathered this scheme... I'll use the Wildcat as an
>example:

>Port Wing:  red navigation (or running?) light on wing tip, green
>(formation?) light on top of wing (lens appears blue when not lit.)  Clear
>landing light under wing, clear approach light on leading edge.

The formation lights on the top of the wings are blue lights.

Quote:
>Stbd Wing: green navigation (or running?) light on wing tip, green
>(formation?) light on top of wing (lenses appear blue when not lit)

Nav light on tip is green, formation light on top blue.

Quote:
>Tail:  white running light on tail

>Spine behind liferaft compartment: green (section?) light (lens appears
>blue when not lit) later models had white (recognition?) light also.

I think this one is another formation light, blue again. The white one would be
the section light, I think.  Someone will correct me if I misspoke, I'm sure!

Quote:
>Anyone have any thoughts or theories about this arrangment?  How about the
>purposes of the formation, section, and recognition lights?  Also how about
>favorite techniques for replicating lights and lenses.

Not sure about section lights, but formation lights allow the wingman to know
where you are and in what attitude at night.

Recognition lights are just that, to ID yourself to your own people to avoid
being shot down by accident.  I think they flashed particular patterns/sequences
of the colored lights.

To replicate, I use a base coat of flat red, green, and blue for the nav and
recognition lights, then overcoat with Tamiya Clear Red and Clear Blue.  I use
the Clear Blue over the flat green for the right nav light, I think it gives a
decent approximation of the unlit lense color.  I alternately use gloss white or
silver for the 'white' lights, I'm not sure I'm happy with either one but don't
have a better way just yet.

If the kit provides clear light lenses, I may drill the back and put a drop of
the appropriate color in the hole to replicate a colored bulb under a clear
lense such as carried by the F4U.  I don't know if any of the other planes you
mention used this arrangement or the colored lenses.  I usually default to
colored lenses if I can't tell for sure.

Joe