When I first had a chance to see a real warplane up close, I was surprised to see that the 20mm cannon did not produce a smoke stain that trailed back from the gun port. I had been programmed by years of reading model kit magazines to expect to see a big, dark stain aft of the gun port, due to the air blowing the smoke back over the fuselage. But it wasn’t there. Aircraft that fired their 20mm could be identified by the dark stain IN FRONT of the gun port, but not a bit of this stain could be seen AFT of the gun port.
So I started wondering. Then I entered the age of the internet with all you fine people and I began to google, and I looked and looked for some indication that guns make smoke that is blown back along the wing or fuselage to create a stain, and, frankly, I never saw anything like that.
Wartime photos of Spitfires and P-51’s (yes that apostrophe belongs there) do not show the one thing that most model builders add to their models as part of the weathering process. They do not show the gunsmoke stains. At all. Nope.
What’s up with this? I believe that most model builders do not look at photographs with a critical eye. They look to see what they expect to see and if it isn’t there, the eye and brain collude to add it in. Go ahead and find a photo of a smoke stain on an actual aircraft. They don’t exist because smoke stains trailing back from wing guns is a myth. Here’s a link to some proof.