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Late-War Luftwaffe Fighter Camouflage

Part Six

Modellers' Paint Reference Guide

by Brett Green

me262tt_2.jpg (32568 bytes)

Me 262A-1a at the Treloar Technology Centre, Australian War Memorial.
"Black X" Wears a Late-War Scheme of RLM 83 Dark Green over RLM 82 Bright Green. Wings are solid 83.

Photo: Copyright 1998 Brett Green


Part Six of "Late War Luftwaffe Fighter Camouflage" presents a model paint reference guide for the RLM colours discussed in Parts One, Three, Four and Five. Some notes on enamel vs. acrylic paints and thinning paints for airbrushing are also included. Comments and additional mixing suggestions are most welcome.

I n t r o d u c t i o n

Part One of "Late War Luftwaffe Fighter Camouflage" described the colours used on one surviving Bf 109G-6. The table below lists some possible matches between these RLM colours discussed in Part One of "Late War Luftwaffe Fighter Camouflage", and a selection of available model paints.

It is important to note that a number of these German late-war camouflage paints displayed wide variations in colour and shade. This was particularly the case with the mixed "sky" colours and RLM 81 Brown-Violet. RLM 81 ranged in shade from a dark red-brown colour to a fairly pale olive drab.

To further complicate the matter, even standardised RLM colours suffered from fading, weathering and repairs; or simply looked different depending on the available light and the observers distance from the aircraft.

This means that the modeller will have to take into account the scale of the model, the condition of the paintwork on the subject aircraft and their personal preference for a light, dark or bright finish. A great many of these variables are entirely subjective. For the reasons stated above, the model paint guide may not strictly relate to the Federal Standard Equivalent colours noted for RLM colours in previous parts of this series. The "correct" colour is largely judged by the eye of the individual modeller.

The following table may assist the modeller to select their preference from a range of possible shades and brands. My preferred mixing options are highlighted in green:

Table 1: Suggested RLM Model Paint Equivalents

RLM Colour Aeromaster
Humbrol* Xtra
Mixed Green/Grey RLM 84
RLM 84
  RAF Sky
  1035 50% +
1050 50%
RLM 02
9020 1010 H70 XF-22 92 X201
RLM 04
RLM 70
Black Green
9023 1023 H65 XF-27 91 X204
RLM 71
Dark Green
9024 1024 H64   116 or
RLM 74
9025 1025 H68 90% +
H64 10%
XF-27 70% +
XF-19 30%
27 X206
RLM 75
9026 1026 H69  98% +
Red  2%
RLM 76
9027 1027 H314  50% +
H334  50%
XF-23 60% +
XF-2 40%
175 X208
RLM 81 Brown-Violet 9028 or
1031 or
H304 or
  173  85% +
153  9% +
85  6%
or   155
RLM 82
Bright Green
9031 1034 H422   105 X212
RLM 83
Dark Green
9030 1033 H423 XF-26 117  85% +
81 mix 15%


.Another Mixing Suggestion

E. Brown Ryle of KommanDeur Decals has offered his suggestions for various shades of RLM 81 Brown-Violet.

Mix 50% AeroMaster RLM 81 and 50% Floquil RLM 81. Brown suggests that this colour should be used on the upper wings of < .+ -, W.Nr. 211934 and upper cowl of Black 3, W.Nr. 210239, on KommanDeur Decal sheets KD4801FD and KD4701FW respectively. He also notes that RLM 81 may be obtained by mixing RLM 70 Black Green with RLM 23 Red at a ratio of 5 parts Black-Green to 2 parts Red. This is one of the RLM 81 shades used in the Monogram Luftwaffe Painting Guide, and the colour Floquil used for its RLM 81.

A c r y l i c s   v s .   E n a m e l s

The modelling world is fairly sharply divided into people who prefer enamel paints, and those who prefer acrylics.

Enamel paints generally provide a tougher finish and a higher gloss, while acrylic paints dry much faster and are less messy to clean up. Some modellers claim that acrylic paints have a grainy finish and are more challenging when used for fine-line and mottle work. However, I have had no problems getting a very good finish from acrylic paints. It is entirely a matter of personal choice.

A Note on Thinning Paints

Model paints must be thinned for airbrushing.

The amount of thinner depends on many factors. These include the brand of paint, the temperature, the air pressure being used, the width of the desired spray and the required thickness of the paint coat. Most manufacturers will recommend a thinning ratio on the paint jar, but the best recipe for success is experimentation and practice. The typical ratio range of thinner to paint is probably between 20/80 and 50/50.

When spraying a Luftwaffe mottled finish, or fine-line work, a higher proportion of thinner may be required.

Enamel Paints

Thinning enamel paints is pretty straightforward - Aeromaster, Humbrol, Tamiya and Gunze all offer enamel thinners, or modellers may choose to use a generic brand of Mineral Turpentine.

Acrylic Paints

Gunze and Tamiya Acrylic paints are quite tolerant to most thinners. I prefer to use either an iso-propylene alcohol thinner (actually a suspension base for medical creams available from pharmacies) or Tamiya’s Acrylic Thinner, but other thinning media will work too. Methylated spirits may be used to thin acrylic paint but take care as it will accelerate the drying process. This may result in a slightly "chalky" finish. Water may also be used, but this will slow the drying process resulting in the risk of paint runs or overly thick coats.

Some acrylic paints are more temperamental. Aeromaster, Floquil, Polly "S" and Pactra acrylics may only be thinned with distilled water or Polly "S" thinners. Even then, when used for fine-line spraying, these paints will tend to clog in the airbrush and "string". One way to correct this problem is to add a few drops of Acrylic Retarder Medium to the thinned paint mix. This will slow the drying process enough to allow very fine work. Acrylic Retarder is available under many different brands from art supply shops.


C o n c l u s i o n

The final appearance of a model's camouflage scheme will largely depend on the personal perception and preferences of the modeller. Nevertheless, it is clearly essential to know the exact base colour on which the faded/dirty/scale-effected camouflage was based.

The table above will be a starting point for these base colours. Happy painting!

Monochrome photograph Copyright (c) 1998, Charlie Swank. All rights reserved. Material appearing within this document may not be copied, stored or reproduced in any device or publication, in whole or in part, without the expressed written consent of the author.

R e f e r e n c e s

* Humbrol mixing suggestions are from Dave Wadman, based on his Factory Messerschmitt  Colour Chips. Via E. Brown Ryle.

Late-War Luftwaffe Fighter Camouflage - Part One

1. Introduction
2. History of WNr.163824
3. The Treloar Centre Bf 109 G-6 - General Features
4. Camouflage and Markings of WNr.163824
Table 1:   Colours Used on the Fuselage of WNr. 163824
5. Conclusion

Late-War Luftwaffe Fighter Camouflage - Part Two

6. WNr. 163824 Photo Gallery
7. Links
8. References

Late-War Luftwaffe Fighter Camouflage - Part Three

Commentary on the Evolution and Usage of Luftwaffe RLM Colours 81, 82 & 83 by David E. Brown
Please note that Part Three will take some time to load. Please be patient.

Late-War Luftwaffe Fighter Camouflage - Part Four

Building and Painting a Late War Bf 109
Includes discussion about the use of primer as camouflage colours on late-war Luftwaffe fighter aircraft.

Late-War Luftwaffe Fighter Camouflage - Part Five

Focke-Wulf 190A-8 in Grey
A detailed examination of one colour and one monochrome photograph of Focke Wulf Fw 190A-8, Werknummer 681497 of 5./JG 4.

Photographs Copyright 1998 by Charlie Swank
Text Copyright 1998 by Brett Green

Page created on Thursday, July 30, 1998
This page last updated on Thursday, May 09, 2002

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