RAF Blue/Grey – repro
The block of ‘Blanco’ arrives wrapped in an authentic looking Blanco wrapper. Instead of embossing the word Blanco and risking the possibility of later miss-selling by others they have thoughtfully added the broad arrow mark. The block itself is dense and hard – this should survive the postal system without arriving crumbled to dust. In appearance it is quite gritty.
A clean, dry and well cleaned 2″ webbing strap was prepared. I’m using the faithful stencilling brush for application.
Loading the brush with water I swirled and worked the water into the block, much as one would do with a watercolour paint box. It takes several brush loads and a fair bit of swirling to dissolve the block and get a good brush-load of colour. Then it is simply a matter of painting it onto the piece of webbing.
And the final results:
Top to bottom: Pickerings RAF Blue/Grey, RAF Blue/Grey shoe cream repro, Razman RAF Blue/Grey repro
The final webbing colour is almost exactly the same as the block it came from. Surprisingly a lot of the product sits on the webbing, not sunk into the material, as I was expecting this product to be highly soluble. The surface finish is rather gritty and abrasive and to build up a sufficiently even coverage you need to add a fair bit – two coats are needed. Durability of finish has not been tested yet. As far as colour goes – this repro is more like the colour of natural RAF webbing than the Pickerings 1950’s product.
Top left to bottom right: RAF Blue/Grey shoe cream repro, Pickerings RAF Blue/Grey, Razman RAF Blue/Grey repro, unblancoed pouch
Here can be clearly seen the similarity in colour to the raw canvas colour. The unblancoed 1942 dated pouch shows clearly the dye differences in canvas colour. In this case it isn’t fading as the entire one piece panel of lid and back is a different shade from the rest. The repro blanco evens all this up and gives a uniform colour that pretty much matches the shade of raw canvas but is nowhere near the colour of the 1950’s Pickering product.
Photos and review: David Pratt