for a strong, fast pick-me-up
This post was inspired by a post about social media and the attention-grabbing, easily-identifable power of the RAF roundel that later was used by the Mod Scene.
It was interesting – the connections between swift and fleeting social media messages and a classic WWII Spitfire flashing past.
Like a lot of “boys” I was introduced to roundels as I made my model planes – including the roundel stickers/decals.
The RAF roundel was invented before the WWII Spitfire – back in WWI.
The roundel was invented to quickly identify planes to troops on the ground and other aircraft.
Troops would often shoot at planes – not knowing if they were friend or foe.
The mark had to be quickly identifiable from a distance.
The British copied this French roundel and reversed the colors.
Before the tri-coloured roundel – the Brits tried the Union Jack – but the Cross in the middle could be mistaken for the German Iron Cross.
Not the first time identifying marks needed to be changed!
It’s interesting how roundels were modified depending on the types of missions and the enemy planes.
For planes in the Asia-Pacific theatre – the red circle was sometimes cut out – because from a distance it could look like the Japanese red circle.
A plane nerd friend told me how Australian planes in the Pacific had to cut out the red circle – because Americans would often “just see the red circle” and think the plane was Japanese – and shoot at it!
Here’s a model of an Australian spit with the modified roundel with NO RED CIRCLE!
Also at one stage – bombers operating at night used roundels with dark circles and got rid of the white circle.
A yellow rim was often placed around roundels on the side of planes painted with camouflage.
The roundels on the tops of wings were in dark colours so as to not be as obvious to enemy planes in the air.
You’ll often see the different roundels on the camouflaged spits. The roundels under the wing were the visible versions – to enable easy identification from below.
I’d always wondered about why there were different roundels on a plane when I was kid making my model planes and applying the roundels!
Other Commonwealth countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada – modified the red centre of their roundels.
Now I’m just a plane nerd who is an enthusiastic amateur about this stuff – I’m open to correction on any of the points above.
As a TV reporter it was such a buzz to be flown by the RAAF aerobatic team The Roulettes.
If you are interested – here’s a link to other articles about roundels – including the Italian roundel with the Italian colours.
And here’s great link about model Spits from different countries complete with many different roundels. I learned so much from this – roundels I’d never seen before!
…and on to how the Mod scene appropriated the roundel
Let’s face it – to boys (especially) roundels are cool and like POP ART!
When The Who started wearing Union Jacks and pop-art style roundels – these images took off as symbols for the Mod scene and of course the Mod-Revival in the late 70s and 80s. – and the parts of the Brit Pop movement
Now you often see roundels on round-ish, middle-aged dads like me – who still like to listen to their Neo-Mod and Brit Pop music and play with model planes with their kids! The boy-ish love of the roundel lives on!
Here’s a link to the post about the image about a social media image that inspired this post. You can see why it caught my attention!
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