Royal Air Force Conversion
"Jessie" is getting a new dress for the 2018 season! There's a number of events I go to, such as the Breighton Fly-In's, where an RAF Jeep would perhaps be more appropriate than USAAF. While I need to do some welding work on "Jessie" over the winter, I didn't want to do a complete, and permanent respray, especially since my other vehicles are all in US 100th Bombardment Group markings to match.
|Enter magnetic plastic! I found a 2 metre x 610mm roll of motorway grade plastic on Ebay for about £16.00. This has allowed me to produce a set of RAF markings to hide the current USAAF scheme. Since they are on magnetic material, they can easily be fitted or removed, depending on the event I'm attending. However, I needed a small roundel on the front, and I've seen wartime pictures with one on the grill. The plastic wouldn't work in this location, so a steel disc was cut and painted which will clamp around the bars of the grill.|
|The first step was paper templates for the plastic parts. I needed plastic pieces cut to hide the hood star and USA markings, the stars on the side of the body, and the front rear bumper markings. The large star on the rear body would be covered by a metal sheet, bolted on. This was due to the reinforcing piece for the jerry can bracket not providing a smooth flat surface for the plastic. With templates made, the nine pieces were cut, and then given a light wet sand to key the surface.|
|With the plastic keyed, masking and painting began. Paper stencils were printed to plot out the lettering which was drawn on in pencil, and then masked. Olive drab was then sprayed, with the masking tape protecting the plastic where I wanted white lettering. One rear bumperette was to have a roundel while the other had the Bomber Command Group.|
|The roundel bumperette and side roundels were painted by hand after the olive drab was sprayed. The cellulose olive drab dried fairly quickly, allowing the front bumper markings to be revealed, utilizing the original hood number as the RAF registration.|
|The 36 inch long RAF registration and Bomber Command Group code piece is complete and blends well with the original bumper colour. The large hood roundel is made in two pieces due to the size of the plastic sheet that was available. Since the hood has a seam down the centre anyway, I didn't see a problem having a join line through the roundel.|
|On the back of the Jeep, the left bumperette has the RAF roundel while the right has the Group markings. I've left these white to better blend with the originals which are also white. The rear RAF registration will hide the large star once made. The olive drab on the side roundel also blends fairly well when viewed just a short distance away.|
view of the bumper markings with the grill roundel temporarily fitted. I
am yet to make the clamp that will hold the roundel onto the grill.
Attaching the roundel to the hood is quite tricky as the magnetic pull of the plastic is pretty strong. If it is placed on slightly out of position, it won't slide to the correct location, but must be peeled off again and re-applied.
|All done! The rear and front views of the new markings.|
|March 7th - COMPLETE!
On March 7th 2018, Jessie emerged from the garage following the winter welding work. This was the first time outdoors with the new markings, so I took the opportunity to get some photos in daylight.
The recent starting problems from the end of last season seem to have been cured by fitting two new batteries. With the Jeep up and running again, I took it for a short test drive, the first drive since September last year and nice to see it out and about in the RAF markings.
After a small distributor adjustment yesterday, the Jeep had a good cold start today. It was driven out onto the drive, the tools all put away in the locker and the sides fastened on. While the Jeep was out, I measured up the trailer for a set of magnetic RAF markings.
|The rear right reflector was in the way of the roundel a bit, but an 8 inch disc would cover most of the star, leaving only two small points showing. A 6 inch star would hide the side stars completely.|
|So far, the red has had two coats of paint while the blue has only had one coat. On the left side of the rear panel are the letters USA, so I've made a rectangle panel with RAF on to cover that up.|
The paint baked in the airing cupboard overnight and the Jeep and trailer brought out this afternoon. The Jeep was difficult to start again, turning over but not firing, so I've got some more investigations to do. However, despite that distraction, the markings were applied to the trailer and it was all put away again.
After another tinker with the ignition system, I took the Jeep and trailer for a short drive around the block to check the engine and to get some photos of the Jeep and trailer both with their new RAF colours.