White Ensign Models offer one of the most comprehensive ranges of RLM paints available for modellers. I've previously been hugely impressed by their VVS and Regia Aeronautica Colourcoats, so I jumped at the chance to try the RLM shades on my latest Luftwaffe builds.
Colourcoats are enamel paints and are supplied in 14ml tinlets. What immediately impresses is the consistency of the paints; the pigment is exceptionally fine, so there's little tendency for the paint to separate and settle, even after sitting on the shelf for a while. After a quick stir, the paint has a creamy quality - perfect for brush-painting - and it requires less thinning than most enamels for use with an airbrush. For spraying, WEM recommend plain white spirit as thinners, but cellulose thinners works perfectly too, resulting in a "hotter" mix that dries quicker (note: it is unsafe to use cellulose thinners when brush-painting as it risks attacking the surface of the styrene). In fact, I normally add a few drops of Rustin's Driers which dramatically reduces drying time, with no ill effects on the finish.
The paints are semi-gloss. A single coat results in a silky smooth finish, with the shine increasing with further coats. Once fully dry, Colourcoats are extremely robust and can be polished to a high gloss ready for decals.
The question of determining accurate Luftwaffe paint matches is one of the most hotly debated colour topics - and what's become increasingly apparent through the latest research by Michael Ullmann and Kenneth A. Merrick is just how much latitude there was in the original finishes, depending on the manufacturer. Surprisingly from a modern viewpoint, officially licensed paint producers used completely different pigments and formulae to mix colours that fell within the accepted tolerance of colours. WEM have wisely matched their Colourcoats to the paintcharts produced by original German wartime manufacturers - principally that by Warnecke & Böhm, Gmbh & Co. which is available from Eagle Editions. A check of some of the paints airbrushed onto white card shows they are an excellent match to the manufacturer's paint chips. A couple of my tests seemed very slightly lighter than the paint chips, but I think this was down to me spraying too thin a coat to allow the full colour density.
The RLM Colourcoats range falls into two groups. A standard range:
AC LW 01 SCHWARZGRUN (RLM 83)
AC LW 02 DUNKELGRUN (RLM 70)
AC LW 03 HELLBLAU (RLM 65)
AC LW 04 GRUN (RLM 72)
AC LW 05 GRUN (RLM 73)
AC LW 06 BRAUNVIOLETT (RLM 81)
AC LW 07 HELLGRAU (L40/52)
AC LW 08 DUNKELBRAUN (RLM 61)
AC LW 09 GRUN (RLM 62)
AC LW 10 HELLGRAU (RLM 63)
AC LW 11 DUNKELGRUN (RLM 71)
AC LW 12 RLM GRAU (RLM 02)
AC LW 13 DUNKELGRAU, GRUNLICH (RLM 74)
AC LW 14 MITTELGRAU (RLM 75)
AC LW 15 LICHTBLAU (RLM76)
AC LW 16 SCHWARZGRAU (RLM 66)
AC LW 17 HELLBLAU (RLM 78)
AC LW 18 SANDGELB (RLM79)
AC LW 19 OLIVGRUN (RLM 80)
AC LW 20 HELLGRUN (RLM 82)
AC LW 21 GELB (RLM 04)
The stardard range of RLM Colourcoats can be purcghased as the Luftwaffe Paint Set, which contains 1 pot of each colour (AC LW 01 to AC LW 21). The r.r.p. price is £24.94 ( vat), representing a 10% saving over the individual price.
In addition to the above, WEM have recently announced an extended range which includes some of the more unusual finishes identified by K.A. Merrick in his superb two-volume work "Luftwaffe Camouflage and Markings 1933-1945" published by Classic Colours.
AC LE 03 LIMITED EDITION - ZITRONGELB (RLM 1012)
AC LE 04 LIMITED EDITION - ROT (RAL 3000)
AC LE 05 LIMITED EDITION - GRAUBLAU (RAL 5008)
AC LE 06 LIMITED EDITION - GRÜN (RAL 6010)
AC LE 07 LIMITED EDITION - BRAUN (RAL 8003)
AC LE 08 LIMITED EDITION - ROTBRAUN (Flieglack 7142)
AC LE 09 LIMITED EDITION - ELEFENBEIN (FAS 1 – NSFK)
AC LE 10 LIMITED EDITION - BRAUN (FAS 3 – NSFK)
AC LE 11 LIMITED EDITION - GRÜN (FAS 4 – NSFK)
AC LE 12 LIMITED EDITION - GELB (FAS 5 – NSFK)
AC LE 13 LIMITED EDITION - GRAU (FAS 6 – NSFK)
AC LE 14 LIMITED EDITION - KADMIERT
AC LE 15 LIMITED EDITION - GRÜN (IKAROL 201)
Bearing in mind the degree of variation between the paints produced by the original manufacturers, WEM have ensured the highest degree of accuracy possible in their RLM range of Colourcoats. Added to this is their praiseworthy policy of periodically updating their range with new colours and revised shades as more information surfaces. These are superb quality paints and highly recommended to all modellers of Luftwaffe subjects.
Highs:Lows:Verdict: Colour coats offer possible the most comprehensive range of RLM colours available. The superb quality enamel paints are matched by WEM's quest for extremely high accuracy.
Our Thanks to White Ensign Models! This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...