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"Is the Mediterranean "Tropical" for paint schemes?" Topic

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World War One

608 hits since 21 May 2018
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Comments or corrections?

Ferreo Cuore Inactive Member22 May 2018 8:19 p.m. PST

I think of the British mainly – would they have painted their hulls white? Or would that only be farther down close to the equator?


Yellow Admiral22 May 2018 9:39 p.m. PST

A lot of the photos of British warships on Mediterranean stations (esp. Valetta) show them painted very light colors, right through the 1950s. Of course old photos are usually black and white, so it's hard to tell if the ships are white or light grey (or even pastel pink or sky blue or lavender… grayscale obscures a lot).

Of course context matters. Ships newly arrived may be in a scheme from the previous station, and ships at Gibralter seem to have worn Atlantic schemes as often as any others.

- Ix

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2018 5:54 a.m. PST

To mu understanding, the Royal Navy considered the Mediterranean a "tropical" region and painted the ships' hulls white. But then I've been wrong before and probably will in the future.


hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2018 12:17 p.m. PST

SFAIK, RN warships would not normally be white in WW1, even in the Mediterranean.

See this thread: TMP link "The official over-all colour for the Mediterranean was the same Mid Grey as the Home Fleet". There were apparently some exceptions.

In WW2, the light color would usually be a light gray called 507C (e.g. the light color on HMS Repulse when sunk). link


Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2018 2:05 p.m. PST

The tropics is a region of the Earth by the Equator. It is limited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere at approximately 2326' (23.5) N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere at 2326' (23.5) S. The tropics are also referred to as the tropical zone and the torrid zone.



So the Med. is not the tropics. But the Royal Navy may have it's own definition.

Yellow Admiral23 May 2018 2:51 p.m. PST

See this thread: TMP link "The official over-all colour for the Mediterranean was the same Mid Grey as the Home Fleet".
Mal's article is also specifically about WWI paint schemes. The principles would almost certainly apply during any war in the 20th C., but it's a norm among pre-dreadnought gamers to paint the ships in peacetime schemes (Alessandro was recently asking about pre-dreadnought minis, so I'm making an assumption about his interest in launching this thread). The RN definitely had some kind of light gray or white scheme going in peacetime:

I don't know how early this practice began. Tryon's fleet at the time the Victoria sank (1893) seems to have been painted in the traditional black-hull/white-upperworks scheme. When did the RN go to a lighter overall color for the tropics?

Also that photo of the Warspite looks colorized to me, and it's hard to know what the real color was. Below is a black and white photo of Kearsarge in her "Great White Fleet" livery:

It's pretty hard to tell the ship has a white hull and buff upperworks. She could be light blue and pink for all we can see in the photo…

I'm only guessing, but I imagine the RN peacetime tropical color was a very light gray, a color the Italians later found to be effective and practical. I'm sure it helped mitigate the heat of the Mediterranean summer sun.

- Ix

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2018 8:24 a.m. PST


Yea, you're right; he does seem to be looking at pre-dreads. But I was commenting on your implication that white could have been used during WW1 and later, through the 1950s.

Also that photo of the Warspite looks colorized to me, and it's hard to know what the real color was.

It is definitely colorized (see lower left of image). A more reliable source of information would seem to be the book I linked to in my original post (volume 1 of "Warship Perspectives"; there were 5 volumes, some of which are still available). That and other sources seem to ID the 20th century peacetime Mediterranean color as 507C, which is a light gray. The Amazon cover image has color chips depicted, and 507C is the 3rd from the left (useful as an indication of relative lightness only).



Ferreo Cuore Inactive Member24 May 2018 5:49 p.m. PST

yes, I am thinking of my pre-dreadnoughts for a paint scheme.

While it is true to an Italian, the med is not tropical, to an englishman…

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