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Spitfires & Duck-Egg Blue!

Many people have asked me (ok, it was Tsoanelo, this morning...) why I have painted my engine such an unusual colour, more favouring a baby's bedroom than a manly, grunting, fire-spewing powerhouse! Casual observation will reveal many (if not all) early Series Landys had their engine blocks and heads painted this colour (sometimes hard to see, given the shear volume of rust, grease and grime caking them!). The reason is simple, and somewhat interesting...


In December 1940, a British Air Ministry Order (AMO) was issued (AMO A926/40) which applied to all service aircraft at home and overseas, and which required the under-surfaces of all day operational aircraft to be either black or Duck-Egg Blue (alternatively known as "Sky Type S"), which would result in an effective camouflage against the day sky when viewed from below. On 30th April 1942, the British Air Ministry sent out a secret communique reiterating these requirements as they pertain to code letters (see extract below).


At the end of the War, the Air Ministry (understandably) had surplus supplies of said Duck-Egg Blue (which is actually misleading, as it looks more like green!?), and, as rumour has it, offered the excess stock to a British motor company, namely the Rover Company. Being the lucky recipients of a vast quantity of (free?) paint, the colour of which you would not wish to paint an automobile you were hoping to sell to the unsuspecting public, the Rover Company (wisely) decided to paint their car engines with the stuff (I mean, who looks under the bonnet anyway?). And the rest, they say, is history....!


If you look (really) carefully at my own engine before I stripped it down (see pic below), you will find tiny traces of Duck-Egg Blue in amongst the various colours (including dark green) it has been painted over the years (oh, and if you can wade past the ubiquitous rust patches!):


Engine before strip-down, showing small flecks of original paint

I have, thus, sourced the appropriate paint codes for this historical (and somewhat illustrious) colour, and have painted my engine with it, to continue the tradition...:


Engine block being sprayed in spray booth

Sprayed engine block with masking removed

Engine being reassembled, sporting its new colour scheme


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I love the history of Duck Egg Blue (well done for uncovering top secrets of the second world war !!) but I think whoever named your engine colour as "Duck Egg Blue" was definitely colour blind - and I hardly think that this avocado green would have been unseen under the European blue skies. you have been duped !!! Unless - the skies over Europe are actually avocado green ? Camouflage ? Sky Green and not Sky Blue. OR possibly it is you that is colour blind ? either way, I think it is a good thing that the engine will be undercover !!

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