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Author Topic: Polikarpov I-153 restoration  (Read 28662 times)
Neoking
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« on: March 22, 2011, 01:13:24 PM »

Hello everyone,

First, I would like to thank Massimo for his website, and the accurate information it contains.

My name is Cyrille, I am a member of the French   Memorial Flight Association (http://www.memorial-flight.com). Our main activity is the restoration of WWI aircrafts for flying. But we have also been doing static restoration of several airplanes on behalf of the Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace. Our latest project was the restoration of the Heinkel 162 n°120015.

We have just received the world's unique complete and original Polikarpov I-153. We are willing to restore to the aircraft with its original paint scheme, and to its original condition.


Our first investigations indicates that the airframe is probably the n°7277. However, some removable parts (cowling, etc) come from other airframes as they bear different hand painted or engraved numbers.


The aircraft is thought to have been captured by the germans in Ukraine in late 1941. However we do not have further information about that. Then the aircraft was probably part of the Beutepark n°5 of Nanterre (near Paris), and unlike the other aircrafts of the Beutepark, remained intact and was later given to the Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace. We have no photos of the I-153 before the 1950s. (The Beutepark contained captured aircrafts, so that pilots and mechanics could study them).
It has always been prestend in an approximate green/light blue paint scheme, with the tail code red 9.

We have been studying the fuselage a bit closer. Most of the fabric is NOT original. It was probably damaged so they cut the most damaged parts. This was done by the germans (red dope). However, they kept the original lacing ! So they sewn the newest fabric and kept an original perimeter with sample of the Aluminium dope ! (according to this website : AII Aluminium (aluminiovyi)). Moreover, most of the bottom fuselage fabric is original ! so we have big pieces of original fabric, with original color.

Now it seems clear that the aircraft was aluminium when captured. Therefore, we checked the metallic parts, and cowling. Under the green paint, we found a light grey/beige color which seems to be : AE-9 light grey.
So the Aircraft was aluminium (fabric) and grey (metallic parts) ! So probably like those :


The tail of the aircraft, however, bear a different serial number, so does the elevator... It seems that the aircraft has been completed with other aircraft parts. The tail fabric is original and the original color is green dope (AII (zashchitnyi) gloss camouflage green) ! But underneath there is an aluminium dope layer ! (same for the elevator).

The inside color of all metallic parts is a gloss grey/blue color (maybe A-14/A-14f steel grey) :


We are also sure that the aircraft has been deeply studied by the germans. The pneumatic bottle has been stamped "Unbrauchbar 13.1.42". And the fuselage fabric has red dope (typically German).


But we did find a precise clue. In the fuselage, we found a German wooden plywood part :

It is written in German : "links unten" (literally : "lower left"). The pattern corresponds to a metallic plate covering the strut fixation on the lower left wing. We could think that the German wanted to expose the aircraft in a good condition. As they did not have the original plate, they made a wooden copy of it. The interesting thing is that this wooden part was painted green !

This would confirm that this green paint scheme was applied by the germans.

We also found an old cardboard with Paris city's coat of arms. This is interesting because this has been let by a Parisian worker, of the aircraft was maybe exposed inside Paris city.


So now you see that we have started a fascinating restoration. We are looking for some help about the paint scheme. If you have some relevant information that might help us, we would be pleased to read them from you.
We would also like to know in which unit the aircraft was used.

If you have any information ?

More photos are coming soon.
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KL
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2011, 02:05:19 PM »

Hi Cyrille,

Thanks for posting those exciting news on this forum!
We may help to some extent but it would be much better if you connect with real experts in Russia.

I believe that everybody there would be honored to help with the restoration of your unique exhibit.

I have a couple of people in mind, so send me a personal message if you want to connect with them.

Regarding the number 7277, it’s not in typical format for a plane number, so it’s probably a part number.  Again I know who to ask.

Quote
The tail fabric is original and the original color is green dope (AII (zashchitnyi) gloss camouflage green) ! But underneath there is an aluminium dope layer ! (same for the elevator).

In 1940 it was a standard procedure to apply acoat of AII Aluminum before painting plane in green camouflage colour.  The purpose of AII Aluminum layer was to protect the fabric by reflecting UV light.

Gray colour on your 4th photo is most likely light gray AE-9.  All metal parts were painted in this colour.


Cheers,
Konstantin

PS:  Most important is not to rely on E. Pilawskii or his western followers!
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John Thompson
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2011, 02:28:16 PM »

Very impressiveShocked Please keep us informed of your progress with this project - the more photos, the better! Maybe Massimo could create a special page dedicated to the restoration of this aircraft.

Best regards;
John
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Neoking
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« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2011, 02:42:45 PM »

Hi,

Thank you Konstantin for those informations.

About the number, we found it on several parts (9 at least), whether engraved or hand painted. So it is probably not a part number. Of course, We are not sure that 7277 is the serial number.
(see our news page : http://memorial-flight-news.blogspot.com/)

What do you think a typical serial number would look like ?

For the moment the only data plates we found are fixed on the tail (which is very probably not the one that belongs to this fuselage). And the number format looked like a serial number :


We still have to find the dataplate on the fuselage to confirm the number.

About the grey color, there is two dinstinct colours between outside and inside ! I will try to find references in a standard color chart. As some parts come from different airframes, there is slight differences about this inside color (some look more blue/green than the one on the picture).

If you can help us connecting with some experts, or if you know them, please e-mail me about this (see my profile).


John, I will post pictures concerning the restoration on this topic. I don't think Massimo should create a dedicated page, as there will be one on our main website very soon

Regards,

Cyrille
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Massimo Tessitori
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« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2011, 04:17:50 PM »

Hi Cyrille,
thank you very much for your highly interesting post.
So the plane was repainted by Germans. Could the green be Dunkelgrun 71?
About the beige-grey and blue-grey, I think that they are altered versions of AE-9 and A-14, as you have suggested in consideration of their use on the plane.
I suspect that oil colors become more yellowish when aged in the shadow than when aged exposed to light.
If I don't miss, there are pieces painted with AE-9 in a Finnish museum, and it doesn't look yellowish (at least on photos).
Regards
Massimo
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John Thompson
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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2011, 04:29:39 PM »


John, I will post pictures concerning the restoration on this topic. I don't think Massimo should create a dedicated page, as there will be one on our main website very soon

Regards,

Cyrille

Thanks, Cyrille - I've bookmarked both your main site and your news blog. This will be interesting!

John
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Neoking
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« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2011, 05:41:54 PM »

Here are some detailed photos showing how the German sewn a new fabric and kept a border of the original fabric.



On the bottom, an big piece of the fabric is original.


On the tail, you can see the original green camouflage (here all the fabric is original).



Best Regards,

Cyrille MANILEVE
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learstang
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« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2011, 07:16:58 PM »

Merci, Cyrille!  Brilliant stuff - keep it coming!  It's great to see the original VVS colours.

Regards,

Jason
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Massimo Tessitori
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« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2011, 11:59:08 PM »

Very interesting images, Cyrille. Did you find the original markings too on the original fabric , or they were kept by souvenir hunters?
Regards
Massimo
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Neoking
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« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2011, 02:24:01 AM »

Most of the original fabric was cut. We only have a border of original fabric all around the lacing and the bottom piece. No markings. We'll have to look at the wings, but they are in storage right now. But as many other parts, they probably come from other airplanes.

Regards,

Cyrille
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Neoking
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« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2011, 05:05:31 PM »

Hi everyone !

Here are a few photos of the restoration updates :

We have started stripping down samples of fabric / metal parts, in order to see the different layers. The result is great, just take a look at the pictures.
As you can see, there is much more original fabric, than we thought.



As you can see, the fabric was a lot repaired by the French. And under the repairs, we can see the original german green color and star that did not decay (because quite protected from the sun).



We also recovered the former red star, painted by the germans.



We removed the right cowling of the engine. Now we can see a good sample of the light grey/beige color (AE-9 light grey ?). This color is definitely different from the inside color (which is kind of grey/blue).



On the cowling, we can only see the number "73".



Here is a picture showing how the german fabric was sewn on the original lacing.



Thanks to that we know how the lacing was done !


On the tail, we managed to find the former red 9 number.




Regards,

Cyrille
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Massimo Tessitori
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« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2011, 06:29:52 AM »

Hi Cyrille,
thank you for those very interesting images.
So, if I understand Well, Germans kept a damaged silver/grey plane, repaired it with new reddish fabric, repainted it with Russian green and markings, then the plane was repainted again in France with dark green and new markings?
Regards
Massimo Smiley
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Neoking
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« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2011, 07:09:11 AM »

Well, the Germans did receive a silver/grey aircraft with probably heavily damaged fabric, and a lot of missing parts (removable parts). They did managed to make a complete aircraft, by picking those missing parts on other I-153s. The tail, for example. But the parts were not all painted the same way (the tail was probably russian green).
They repaired the fabric by sewing a new one on the remaining pieces of the original one. The new fabric was white (like all the others), but the Germans did use red dope (which was much easier to apply) to tighten the fabric. That's why it looks red.
Then they painted a new paint scheme : green & blue. They probably applied german colors, we have to check with a color chart. But it seems that they did not painted the parts that were russian green. So the aircraft was probably displayed with mixed green colors.
It seems that the number 9 red on the tail, was painted by the Russians.

We don't know when the museum received the aicraft. The earliest photos we have show the aircraft displayed in 1962. On those photos the fabric is damaged. The aircraft went into "restoration" in the museum in the late 1960s or in the 1970s (we don't exactly know). There, the museum repaired the fabric with tapes and patches. Then, they repainted the aircraft (They probably didn't took care of the exact green or blue), but kept the same paintscheme. So the latest paint we see on the aircraft is French.

On this picture on the left, you can see a stripped sample. We see the aluminium layer (Russian), then a green layer (German) and finally the dark green layer (French).


However, on the tail, as it was Russian green, the Germans did not repaint it. So you find the french dark green directly painted on the russian green (and red 9 number).



Best Regards,

Cyrille
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Massimo Tessitori
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« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2011, 09:05:23 AM »

Thank you Cyrille.
Regards
Massimo
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KL
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« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2011, 11:44:57 AM »

Hi Cyrille,  Smiley

Do you have any information about the French Dark Green?
I am asking this because very similar dark green colour can be found on a Potez 540 fragment preserved in Museo del Aire Quatro Veintos, Madrid.







Dark Green is actually under olive green and it's visible close to the edges of the fragment.  The plane was most likely repainted in "Olive Green" in Spain.

From what I could find on the web, Dark green colour was called "Tableau Vert"



Is there any relationships between 1935 and late 1960es French Dark Green paints?

What colour is “German Green” found on your I-153?  Olive green, or dark green, or something else?

Is there a possibility that your I-153 was painted with French paints when repaired first time during the war???
The plane was brought to France wrecked, it was repaired in France (probably by French mechanics) and painted with French paints… Logical???

Cheers,  Cool
KL
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