Blue Controversy Makes Color Choice Hard

Researching the USS Arizona for this build has brought to light a controversy surrounding the ship's color in her final days before Dec. 7, 1941.

As we approach the seventh decade since the sinking, the exact color may not make much difference to anybody but modelers trying to be accurate and faithful.

When I was in Hawaii at the Pearl Harbor Memorial I saw Don Pruel's model of the USS Arizona in the Sea Blue color and that's when I made up my mind I wanted to do a model of this ship in blue.

USS Arizona Flag Bridge

This is in sharp contrast to most historical accounts which report the Arizona was dark gray on all vertical surfaces with the mast tops painted light gray. This could due to the fact that most pictures of this ship you find are black and white.

Color comes into the “picture” most often from photos of models. Here is one rendered in gray that looks as real as any other.

This picture is of a model depicting the Arizona in late 1941 when she was equipped with the Vought OS2U Kingfisher float plane pictured on the stern catapults.

The color mash-up has been going on for decades and another factor contributing to the differences is the fact the Navy destroyed all records relating to the Arizona not long after the sinking in 1941 so the official records relating to orders specific to the ship’s painting no longer exist.

The Honolulu Star Bulletin two years ago published an article that should have quelled the controversy.

“According to a discovery by historians, the ships of Battleship Row were a bright kaleidoscope of colors, not the dull gray camouflage they were thought to have been for the last 65 years.”

The information was announced last evening at an unveiling of a new model of the USS Arizona in the battleship Visitor Center at Pearl Harbor.

Security was tight for the last week as the model was placed in location, and it was covered in shrouds before being dramatically unveiled by a group of USS Arizona survivors."Every battleship sailor in the world wants a peek at this," remarked retired Adm. Thomas Fargo to the crowd of several hundred historians, veterans and news media.

This is the same model I photographed last month:

Arizona's Main Top USS Arizona's searchlight cluster
Pruel’s model really impressed me. Of course I do favor blue as a color but it seems a lot crisper with blue against the color of the deck and the light gray tops appear to be sharper against the blue.


SBI! Proof