Fok.E.III colors

Erik Pilawskii (
Wed, 21 Jun 1995 14:43:57 -0700 (PDT)

On Tue, 20 Jun 1995, Matt Bittner wrote:

> Currently in Windsock, the discussion has been the colors of Fokker
> monoplanes (E.III, E.IV, etc.) as released from Fokker. The past
> thinking was that the plane was released in all-over natural doped
> linen, with fuselage outlines in black. However, the current
> thinking is that Fokker monoplanes were released in a "green". For a
> good representation of this green, see the cover to the E.III
> Datafile.

Well, I can see their suspicion-- I was overlooking a number of photos
last night of Eindeckers, and some of them do seem 'dark-ish'. But, by no
means were the shades inconsistent with the value of linen in various
photographs of this age (unfortunately, it is also consistent with a
light Fokker-ish green!). Flying quality linen, after all, comes in a
variety of hues ranging from near-hospital white to rich cream. A layer
of clear dope tends to darken that color slightly, and then proceeds to
"yellow" or "brown" (to various degrees) with age. I have both read and heard
(Drinker, you might want to jump in on this one) that during the Great War
Irish linens, often used by the Brits, tended to be lighter in hue (*broadly*
speaking), whilst those in use in Germany and France tended to be darker,
and A-H somewhere in between.
Which merely reinforces the difficulty being experienced with v. Raben's
machine, and B&W photography in general. Having some experience in attempting
to determine color schemes from B&W pictures (of Second War a/c), I can
attest to the difficulty of determining the correct shade from *color* prints
(circa 40s), let alone B&W ones! Anecdotal evidence is nearly always
required, and as we all know, it is usually not 100% reliable. Furthermore,
film from the 1914-18 period is relatively inferior to, and less uniform
than, WWII-era film, not to mention more aged.

Which returns me (at last) to the original point: were E.I-IIIs delivered
in green (putrid Fokker Green, presumably)? Well, gee, I could imagine
some were. But ALL... I doubt that. First of all, we have anecdotal
evidence to the contrary-- RFC reports of "white Fokker monoplanes"
(already mentioned), etc. Plus, it seems clear that Immelmann flew a
green Eindecker, a craft that drew perpetual comment (as if Green were an
unknown color from Pluto)-- strange, indeed, if Fokker Green was the
normal delivery color. And, why would the A-Hs paint (again) their Fokkers?
Painting over clear-doped linen makes sense (if they didn't think it to
have sufficient ultra-violet protection), but over already-colored fabric?
And if these craft are being over-painted by Fokker, why not in the 'streaky'
method (as on Dr.Is)? Why aren't they blue underneath? Etc, ad nauseum.
Ultimately, I regard authors who purport to be able to determine
*definitively* the color of anything from B&W work with considerable
scepticism. How they might do so is totally beyond my comprehension.

"*Who are you*!?...." "I am Number 2..."
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