Sunday 8 June 2008

Comment ~ A Mystery Message from Hawaii

The majority of correspondence received for this site is friendly, informative and generous. I have never, knowingly, provided any input to to the Pacific Aviation Museum at Pearl Harbor, to the San Diego Aerospace Museum or to Mike Wilson, apparently the Founding Curator at the former and the former Assistant Curator and Restoration Supervisor at the latter. It was a surprise therefore to receive the following message from Mr Wilson via the Private Message Board at


Thanks for your input, but I think we all know the Japanese didn't use FS #'s to paint their airplanes. Those of us that do historical color and markings research as a profession are well aware of when and where to qoute (sic) FS #'s and when to not (sic).

Mike Wilson
Kalaheo, Kaua'i

Founding Curator, Pacific Aviation Museum, Pearl Harbor and former Assistant Curator and Restoration Supervisor, San Diego Aerospace Museum."

Somewhat strange then that professional historical color and markings researcher Mr Wilson cites nothing but FS #'s in his posts concerning the thorny subject of "Brown-Tailed Kates" at!

And as readers will know I invariably qualify any FS #'s cited in connection with Japanese aeroplanes with the DE2000 colour difference formula recommended by the Commission International de l'Éclairage (CIE). Although I prefer to use Munsell values to communicate and display colour I am well aware that a majority of enthusiasts only have access to FS595b in order to gain an understanding of the appearance of these colours and well aware of the limitations and non-historical context of this standard. That said Mr Wilson's admonition (?) fell firmly into the category of unnecessary information.

My attempts to contact Mr Wilson to ascertain exactly what he is on about have been met with a wall of silence and I remain none the wiser. Hopefully, if he should happen to read this post he might do me the professional to amateur courtesy of unravelling his less-than-friendly mystery message. 

The cliques, jealousies, professional snobbery and zeal for "exclusivity" which riddle this area of research do no favours for the subject matter and no favours to its many enthusiasts. I'm told that the same was true for Luftwaffe research a few decades ago so hopefully those most responsible for the situation will eventually grow out of it.  

One of the great things about having your own blog is that you can't be censored, misrepresented, "ganged up on" or misquoted on it. The freedom the internet extends to express opinions and share information will become truly revolutionary as more people begin to use it. More power to their elbows.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is rather amusing to see individuals who insist certain color reference methods (or just certain research methods in general) are useless because "so-and-so didn't use it themselves" or "they didn't use that method back in the day". If it still provides an accurate final color, who really cares what system is used? He doesn't seem to grasp the concpet of why such color systems were created.