[WWI] French Yellow

Dave Calhoun davecww1 at gmail.com
Tue Apr 22 14:26:52 EDT 2014

Hi Tom,
JR seems to have the right idea here, Nieuport used the light yellow on some of the N.11's such as the one flown by Victor Chapman, also on Caudron and various other two seaters, and on the SPAD aircraft such as the SPAD VII, XII and early S.XIII.  I just re-read Alan Toelle's book on the Breguet 14, and he says that the fabric surfaces were clear doped while the metal areas were painted with Ripolin, an oil based pigmented varnish that was mixed to closely match the fabric.  But it was not a perfect match, usually appearing darker than the fabric areas.  Alan calls the color used Beige, not French Yellow.  I'm not sure about the SPAD, it could have had a pigmented varnish mixed with the dope over the fabric areas.  
Mister Kit has a pre-mixed French Light Yellow which is a good base color for the SPAD fabric.  The Mister Kit Beige is one of the colors for the later 5 color camouflage so should not be used for the early Yellow SPAD.  As far as Model master paints go, I could not find an exact match out of the box to the Mister Kit paint, but British Gulf LT Stone may be a good starting point, mix that with white 50/50 and you should be close to the  French yellow fabric color.  Mix The Gulf LT Stone with some ANA 616 SAND and you should have a good color for the metal parts.  
Hope this helps...

From: "J.R. Boye" <hopeandmercy at hotmail.com>
To: "World War I Modelers' List" <wwi at wwi-models.org>
Subject: Re: [WWI] French Yellow
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Mr. T!

>From what I have read, the French "yellow" was not a true CDL (used on earlier French aircraft) but an actual color specified by the military. There is speculation that aluminum powder was added to this light yellow to make it more opaque.

The metal parts were painted to closely match the yellow color, just as the later camouflage colors matched the fabric tones. On the preserved S.VII of Guynemer, the color is a light beige, but apparently there was some variation. On Victor Chapman's Nieuport, the color is described as "cream". In photos, sometimes the SPADs look darker, rather than lighter; more on the brown side.

On my models, I make the metal portions a slightly different tint than the metal, usually lighter to indicate some weathering of the doped fabric.

J.R. Boye

From: dr-I.417.17 at cox.net
To: wwi at wwi-models.org
Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2014 13:18:55 -0500
Subject: Re: [WWI] WAS French blue Now French CDL?

Hi, out of lurk mode here. 
Just picked up a nice SPAD double kit, just curious about the
French ?all yellow? finish. Looking at the SPAD VII on line it
appears that the fabric portions are tinted CDL. But what about the metal
portions? Was this a paint mixed to match the CDL color or was it the same
color used on the fabric?
And anyone have any suggestions for Model Master paint equivalent


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