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Memphis Belle livery?


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I see Khamsin's released the paintkit for the B-17 and either Chip or Simon's asking for the Memphis Belle livery.  Anyone planning on doing it?

I'm looking at it, but it's raised a few thoughts.  The Memphis Belle from the 1980s film is/was not the original aircraft (the original sat in a museum collecting dust and vandalism until the mid 90s) and so I'd need to do a bit of trawling first to make sure we at least get the right livery.  For instance, just a cursory google shows a number of photos showing the dress in red and one in blue, and also the hair colour being blonde and in some cases, red.  This could be a crapshoot to get an authentic livery.

Thought I'd use here to upload various pics and images from the net so we can see what may be right and what's wrong before putting anything into Photoshop.

- - -

The original Memphis Belle (and the one in the film) were B-17Fs, notable by the absence of the chin turret, so a MB livery on the B-17G can't be totally accurate.

Taken from wikipedia:

"Five real B-17s were acquired for the filming of Memphis Belle, out of eight that were airworthy in the late 1980s. Three were located in America, two were in France, and one (Sally :) was later used in England. Since the original Memphis Belle was a B-17F model, almost all of the B-17s used in the film were heavily modified to look like the F models, having chin turrets replaced and the planes painted olive green. During filming, two B-17s portrayed the Belle (one was the movie version of the Belle, the other was Sally B, which can be obvious because there is a plate where the chin turret used to be), the rest had nose art changed numerous times to make it seem like there were more bombers."

Prime example. Below is the front of the real MB, below that is one of the movie MBs.  Which are we having?

post-3907-131369612305_thumb.jpg

post-3907-131369612312_thumb.jpg

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In fact, a few minutes and a few waves of the rubber and we now have a B-17F.  All I've got to do is figure out which bits of black are the guns, and just hope Khamsin and Arno didn't use one gun for the lot, else I may end up neutering it of all guns....

post-3907-131369612346_thumb.jpg

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http://www.chriskern.net/essay/memphisBelle.html

"Even the pin-up girls in their blue and red bathing suits on either side of the airplane, repainted during an earlier restoration effort, have been deemed deficient; the museum’s curators decided after examination of wartime photographs of the plane that the pin-ups are “too fat” compared with the originals."

http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/photos/slideshow.asp?id={0A2C97E9-2955-40E9-AF0C-568F0BC993BA}

Browsing through the photos of the original plane reveals the same: starboard girl was blonde in red and port side girl had dark hair and was wearing blue dress. I'm interested in nose arts in general and must say, that having different paintings on both sides of an aircraft wasn't something very unusual, so I'm not really surprised here.

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Lukasz

I wasn't sure about the colours each side. It's hard to tell from google what pics are of the film B17s and which are of the original.  The only thing I can be sure of is the original's Memphis Belle logo under the girl is in a kind of formal font, not the showy brushscript type font on the film planes.

I've managed to find a couple of gif files of the nose art, which although they're not as skinny as the originals, they're not as "fat" as the later ones.

post-3907-131369612418_thumb.gif

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Luckily, owing to most of the warbirds at the time wearing near-enough the same colours, the stock MB seems to be fairly easy. It just requires the nose art, bomb/kills artwork and the names of the crew - which I've got - dotted at their workstations.

Easy.  ;D

post-3907-131369612426_thumb.jpg

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EDIT: great drawing, that's the plane :)

Yes, but both links I've supplied in my previous post show the original "Memphis Belle", as it is now being restored in National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. The very airframe, that flew during the war and completed the tour. There are also a couple of black'n'white photos of the same plane from their "war bonds" tour.

http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=6740

More photos, which are downloadable in hi-res, plus more info on the plane.

From the Museum's website:

I've seen the "Memphis Belle"® at air shows. Is it the original?

The original Memphis Belle was on static display in Memphis, Tenn., until October 2005. At that time, it was transported to the museum where it is now undergoing restoration. The B-17 with "Memphis Belle" markings seen at many air shows is not the original aircraft.

When did the "Memphis Belle"® arrive at the museum?

The Boeing B-17F Memphis Belle arrived at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in October 2005. It has been undergoing restoration since that time.

When will the "Memphis Belle"® be placed on display?

Restoration of the Boeing B-17F Memphis Belle is expected to take 8-10 years. The Memphis Belle will be placed on display after restoration is completed.

That narrows down the choice of photos, as found on Google or elsewhere. The ones from Museum's website are original and show the true plane, as it looked during the war and now in restoration. The other aircraft, that is shiny and good looking and performs on airshows is "a double". I'm looking at the cover of my copy of the movie and there is a red dressed girl on the port side, with the name written in this fancy handwriting font, same on the frames from the movie on the back - opposite to what is painted on the plane as seen on photos from the Museum.

The real plane:

http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/080314-F-1234P-001.jpg

"The crew of the "Memphis Belle" after their 25th mission: (left to right) TSgt. Harold Loch (top turret gunner/engineer), SSgt. Cecil Scott (ball turret gunner), TSgt. Robert Hanson (radio operator), Capt. James Verinis (copilot), Capt. Robert Morgan (pilot), Capt. Vincent Evans (bombardier), SSgt. John Quinlan (tail gunner), SSgt. Casimer Nastal (waist gunner), Capt. Charles Leighton (navigator) and SSgt. Clarence Winchell (waist gunner). (U.S. Air Force photo)"

Other side:

http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/080314-F-1234P-002.jpg

"Gen. Hap Arnold, commander of the U.S. Army Air Forces, examining the "Mempis Belle" after it returned to the United States. (U.S. Air Force photo)"

The real plane, sitting under a tent in Memphis:

http://www.maclean-nj.com/aircraft/belle1.jpg

I believe this is the best we have for now, unless some other confirmed photos of the real plane emerge. Even "The National Museum of the United States Air Force's restoration division is seeking information needed to accurately restore one of World War II's most famous aircraft.", as written on their website.

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Thanks for those links Lukasz. As I said, I think the majority of the livery is just the green and light grey, the only things which set the MB apart is the nose art and the crew names, oh and the DF and A on the sides with the serial number on the tail but those are easy.  I think I've got the nose art down right. Generally, I think the nose art and the Memphis Belle stencil are the main things people insist on being right.

The rest of the plane could well be.....well, pink.!

I think the green and grey K&A have already got it painted in may well do as the base, although I notice on some of the old photos there are some odd patches near the tail, but I can't tell what colour they might have been.

post-3907-131369612437_thumb.png

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Silly me, I've just noticed the green bits on the picture a few posts back. Makes sense they painted up any damage with whatever paint was around, and I guess with everything those days being dark green that would've been the paint to hand.

Don't know about you, but I'm about done with the research bit. I've just got to find some stencils of the bomb/kill stencils (but I may be able to use those off an original photo) and sort out the type font for the names.

Other than that, I'm ready to start putting some ink down on some paper....

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I agree with you.

One note on colours. Nose arts were usually painted with whatever was at hand, so it would be rational to assume, that the original dress colours are the same as on US Air Force markings or very close to them. Other colours were achieved by creative mixing of available paints. The green patches were not necesarilly painted in different colour. During the war there were several companies supplying the paints to aircraft manufacturers and these paints had slightly different chemical composition (because of troubles with acquiring needed components). Some preserved the colour for a long time, while others quickly faded, due to sunrays and elements. I'd say that that drawing you've found, is well done, same as the original texture.

As for the pink airplanes... :)

http://i442.photobucket.com/albums/qq141/mtd350/c130raf.jpg

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Yes, good point about the colour brightness. I may dull down the nose art, as they may be a bit bright.

The reason I thought the green patches may be a different shade is because the black and white shot of the MB in flight shows a number of dark patches forward of the tail. Initially I wondered what colour they might be, but reasonable to assume they're green. The darkness of them leads me to believe they'd be in a darker shade of green as opposed to say brown or red.

I have run into a problem which could put paid to it all.  Those cheek guns are right where the nose art needs to go.  Back to the drawing board to see what and where I need to start deleting.

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Hi guys,

Just an idea here, I'd try it out myself but I am pretty bad with paints... How about a paint in tribute to Liberty Belle that was lost today outside Chicago...

Here is a picture of what happened: http://photos.denverpost.com/mediacenter/2011/06/photos-wwii-b-17-bomber-crashes-outside-chicago/#2

And here is a picture of the livery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jwm1049/4453751324/

Just an idea if you want to take it up, Nicola. Would be nice to commemorate the sad event of losing such a beauty

PS: Sorry for the thread jack.

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Oh shit, that's really sad news, Oliver.  No hope of a rebuild, the fire put paid to that.

I think that livery would be more appropriate.

Re the Memphis Belle, the cheek guns have put paid to effectively doing a livery on it. Even though I've deleted the guns so they don't show up, the blister they come out of is part of the fuselage shape - and with a window too - so that even if I managed to paint over them, the nose art is going to look reeaally strange. Pity, it would've been nice.

I'm going to see if I can find some more detailed pics of the Liberty Belle, and put it together.

thanks Oliver

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Oh shit, that's really sad news, Oliver.  No hope of a rebuild, the fire put paid to that.

I think that livery would be more appropriate.

Re the Memphis Belle, the cheek guns have put paid to effectively doing a livery on it. Even though I've deleted the guns so they don't show up, the blister they come out of is part of the fuselage shape - and with a window too - so that even if I managed to paint over them, the nose art is going to look reeaally strange. Pity, it would've been nice.

I'm going to see if I can find some more detailed pics of the Liberty Belle, and put it together.

thanks Oliver

Yep, definitely one sad end for such a majestic aircraft. Let me know if you end up making the livery for it, and if you release it I'll throw together a video tribute for it.

Thanks Nicola

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Hmm, looks like at least the port side girl could be painted, between gun socket and windows. Better that, than nothing :)

Sad to loose a warbird, but at least the crew escaped from the crashed plane. She did one final favor to them, as her sisters did during the war to their crews.

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Oliver, it's likely I will. It looks like a G just as we've got, and K&A's paintkit has the silver metal paint too, so it's a fairly easy job to do. Just the yellow sections and the markings. Just trying to find some top shots to see what markings are on the top surfaces of the wings.

Lukasz, the nose art on just one side would be a let-down. Probably better off not doing one if it can't be done right.

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Yes, the paintkit is available here: http://www.khamsin.org/b17/B17G_V1.0_paintkit.psd.zip

For those wanting to do their own WW2 liveries, I found the right font for the markings here: http://www.simmerspaintshop.com/forums/downloads/military-fonts/19/usaf-stencil-serial-stencil-68/

You do have to register to get them.

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