Luft 46 Colour Camouflage Applications, Part 1: Fighters
by: Peter Allen
Part 1: Fighters
The idea for this feature came from a good and simple question from Mal (Holdfast)...”how does anyone in to Luft 46 decide upon a camouflage scheme?”
First and foremost there is a lot more freedom in choosing a colour scheme but some care is needed as, personally I believe, a Luft 46 model should look as if it actually existed. It should look unmistakably German in colour and scheme. After all in different circumstances many projects may have made production and operational status. I try and achieve this by, generally speaking, keeping to standard RLM palette of colours, although there are many opportunities to try new colours and camo patterns.
There are many things to consider before choosing a scheme and the colours all of which have a distinct influence.
WW2 Germany probably had the largest range of colours and camouflage patterns ever seen and this was compounded by many directives and orders issued by the RLM, often contradictory.
Most camouflage schemes were completed in the field which in itself offers a wide scope of possibilities. An individual ground crews’ interpretation of the guidelines could affect any official scheme slightly or greatly.
Improvisation and the irregular supply of the correct paints and shades and the thinners with which a ground crew may have been forced by circumstance, to use, could all have had an unmistakable effect.
The theatre of operations and the intended role an aircraft was to fulfill also plays its part in selection.
By the late war it seems as though any camouflage was better than none at all, three and even four colour schemes where evident. And if Germany had managed to prolong the war and get some of these aircraft into the air, paint would not have been a priority but camouflage would still be essential. With this in mind it is possible to appreciate “new colours” may well have been produced more by accident than design. For example a shortfall of RLM82 may have had other more plentiful colours mixed with it to stretch the amount of paint available. The phantom sky colour, commonly labelled RLM 84, is a prime example. The huge difference in shades could have been achieved by mixing more plentiful shades with those that were low in quantity.
Another method for “new” colours is to use German armour colours as these may have been available when normal aircraft colours were not. These can be used undiluted or as part of a mix.
The two easiest ways to choose a colour scheme apart from following those suggested by the kit manufacturer are:
To find an existing aircraft of similar type or role as the Luft 46 subject and apply the scheme/markings to make it look like a natural replacement.
To check what aircraft a well known pilot was using and apply his typical markings/scheme to a potential Luft 46 replacement
In the accompanying illustrations I’ve tried to show possible camouflage applications using Luft 46 conceptual aircraft. Each template includes an adaptation of a more typical Luftwaffe scheme and one illustrating a more “adventurous” scheme.
Colours are approximate due to computer resolution etc and should only be regarded as a guide.
I have started a little experiment whereby I am taking standard RLM colours and mixing them with each other or just white or black to try and simulate what mixing might have produced when eking out meager paint supplies. Already early results have been interesting and some shades come very close to some of the “RLM 84” Sky colours for example. I will include results in Part 2, Heavy Fighters and Fighter Bombers.