Re: Italian Roundels

C.P. Hart (
Mon, 9 Oct 1995 13:12:55 +0000

Via Matt B. via Bill C. comes the following:

>On 9 Oct 95 at 11:45, Bill Ciciora typed diligently:
>> Confusion reigns as I get deeper into my SVA.5 project.
>> The roundels I was planning to use from the Ministry SPAD decal
>> sheet have a green inner dot and a red outer circle. Nearly every
>> other reference I've seen on Italian aircraft shows a green outer
>> ci cle and a red inner dot. The only exception is the Glencoe SPAD
>> reference, which shows Baracca's machine using the same roundel as
>> the decal sheet. Question is: did the SPADs have a different
>> rounde than the Capronis, SVAs, and Nieuports? Or did Ministry get
>> it wrong by using a bogus reference? Any help appreciated!
>This is coming from memory, so be gentle...
>The only difference could be the colors. There was a certain point
>in the war where the Italians standarized on roundel color schemes.
>I don't believe there was any difference in the placement of the
>colors within the roundel. If anybody else can help out, please do.

I'm a bit unclear what you mean here Matt.

Photos document both types of roundels/cockades for the Italian Air
Service, ones with Red rings and green centers as well as Green rings and
red centers. I haven't looked into the subject deeply enough to
distinguish which type was found on which kind of aircraft at which
particular time during the war. Here's a research topic for someone.

One thing that is apparent from photos is that there were two types of
proportions found on these roundels. The British model where the center
spot is considered one unit in diameter, the white ring 3 units in diameter
the outer ring 5 units in diameter. This was fit to whatever size wing you
needed, the proportions stayed the same. The French proportions were one
unit for the center spot, two units for the white ring and three units for
the outer ring.

Both sets of proportions are found in U.S. cockades, things varied
from aircraft to aircraft. For the Brits, if they overpainted French
cockades on their SPADs, they retained French proportions with the British

One thing to note when looking at photos of Italian a/c, the red in
the cockade or rudder stripe will appear darker in the photograph than the
green, although the green appears relatively dark in the same shot, in most

This phenomenon is seen in other photographs as well. Any German a/c
covered with lozenge fabric in a clear photograph will have the dark green
lozenges appear the darkest for either 4 or 5 color patterns. A similar
situation occurs with paints, the green will appear darker than the
purple/mauve on German camouflage schemes.

Check your photos carefully. These notes are given as guidelines.
Photographic emulsions were not uniform back then and there are exceptions
to what I write here. Happy hunting.