So many shades of grey

Normally work on armor but tinkering with some 1/48 A/C. Have a couple Late 50s- Vietnam era Navy/USMC birds in line. Got the Hataka set for the time frame . Was testing the Insignia White (listed as ANA-511 which jives as FS.17875.). I always thought "Insignia White"was … like white “Insignia” stars on the aircraft. This is an off white. Vallejo has one, 70.951which is suppose to be FS1791 which I’ve heard in relation to the subject. Which is righter? Also, I thought spec was for the upper moving surfaces of the wing/ tail are to be “Insignia White”. One I’m working on is a USMC H&MS-13 FAC Cougar. Instructions (Kittyhawk kit … that might have something to do with things) show upper surfaces all Lt. Gull Grey. Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children do things a little different? ( Side question: Anybody know if the FACs carried 2 or 4 cans of marker rockets? Photos look like 2 but dont have a wide sample. ) Lastly, tangentally related (A- It’s Navy. B- Its on my list) … F-104As had white upper wing/ ADC Grey lower wing. Was the horizontal tail the same (logical, but we ARE talking U.S. Pentagon here) or NMF? (Frankly, being a test bird, I’d"ve gone for International Orange.)

My wag, it should be white for the aircraft body. I have seen where F-4/A-6 nose cones have been painted an off white. Maybe that is what they trying to provide.

As for the flaps, you decide. I would probably go white.


I would go with 2 rockets if that is what you saw. Not sure when the four pod came along.


Looks like bare metal was standard here…

the color of the nose cone will vary by the years used. Up and untill mid to late 1968; most were a tan color, but every once in awhile you’d see a black one (rebuilt aircraft I’d guess). Air Force aircraft were different, but most were also transports. Down south the A.F. planes had the black noses

That cougar is interesting! Never saw one in country, and that ridge line and cloud cover looks like Chu Lai, but could be Da Nang. Da Nang did fly EB-10’s (never actually saw one). My guess is Da Nang and your looking out towards the Hi Van Pass.

Most FAC’s the came out west carried those three rocket tubes under each wing. Can’t remember ever seeing but one on each wing. Those NMF F104 pics are very early in life. Sometime in 67 or early 68 they were camo’ed. I’m thinking early 68 because I remember seeing NMF ones a couple times . I used to hook up about a hundred feet in front of them every six or eight weeks or so. Only saw them fly once!

The NMF F-104A color photo is from Formosa in 1958. Camo on USAF fighters started to be applied in late 1965/early 1966 in SEA. By 1967 there should not have been any fast movers in NMF or Aluminum Lacquer in theater.

Not to steal the thread but what is a good color (any brand is fine) to use for natural metal finishes? I need to do a P-51 in a NMF

H&MS-13 was based out of Chu Lai. Had Two-gars up till mid/late 67. (2 other H&MS squadrons … 12 and 11, I think… flew out of Da Nang ) Photo of F-104 has nothing to do with SEA. It was regarding the Navy F-104As. Photo was in ROC in 58 or Hamilton AFB (Ca.) … seen it a number of times but cant remember what the caption said. What is an EB-10??

A lot of people swear by Alclad. I like Model Master Metalizers, but those are now OOP. On a related note for your P-51, the wings on those were not bare metal, but aluminum lacquer. All the panel lines were puttied and sanded for aerodynamic reasons. So technically, they shouldn’t have any skin panel lines or rivets visible either on the wings. Only flight control surface panel lines and fuel filler/gun access panel lines. So use an aluminum “paint” on the wings.

Sounds good! Thanks! We’re panel lines on the fuselage also puttied? I assume not since they were just natural metal panels

Correct, the fuselage panel lines were not puttied, and the skin was bare metal once North American switched to that finish. The change from camo to unpainted occurred during B/C production.

not to argue with you or anything, but Chu Lai used run way matting till the early fall of 67. That group was probably part of MAG 13 (based out of Chu Lai). When I got there in December; the concrete was still curing out, but they were using the two runways. Just never saw a Cougar there, and I spent that three weeks a couple hundred feet east of the runways. That looks like a mid November or late October photo. We walked thru there daily making ourselves scarce. In December there was maybe three buildings connected with aircraft. No revements yet (three months away). The photographer was probably standing just east of the blast barriers and arming pit with the POL and bomb dump just behind him.

That ridge line in the back ground is known as “Cherry Hill”. There was a huge rock quarey and just west of that was the main arty battalion head quarters for the area. Those low lying clouds are exactly what the place looked like on Dec. 10th when I got there. I ended up about five miles south of that ridge line.

Back to the F104’s. Most all were camo’ed when I first saw them on the very east end of Da Nang. There were a couple planes still in silver. All were parked in a row with the air crews setting in chase lounges reading Playboy and the Stars & Stripes. Why we loaded up there I can’t say as it was somebody elses idea. We were never there more than fifteen minutes at a time. Drove right down the runway to the end and waited on the slicks.

I may be wrong about the EB10 number, but it was an electronics version of the Skyknight. Only saw them a couple times, and then on the west runway. Never actually spent a lot of time in Da Nang. Just an hour here and two hours there. Mostly with some Marines I traded with (best radio repair shop in I-Corp).
Da Nang was too big for me! Chu Lai; I knew like the back of my hand, but even then it was constantly changing face. SF had a safe house in Da Nang, and was in there twice. It was away from the air base, but it was also like going to a resort. Never saw their C-Team head quarters, but it was close to the safe house. I did fly over the Nasty Boats a couple times going out for a look see. We need a 1/48th scale Nasty Boat!

maybe this can help:

Scale Modeler’s Paint and Color Reference Directory (

Urban’s Color Reference Charts Part I – IPMS Stockholm

Looked at both. Not any real help.

I vote for alclad but it requires a shiny and very smooth gloss black base coat. Its also fairly unforgiving, any scratch will show.