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WW2 colours and RLM paint chart


I have produced a Excel sheet for model paint equivalents for (most) RLM, French, Italian, RAF/FAA and USA colours.

.xls Paint Chart Download.

The excel sheet has grown to 16 sources of suggestions and has been updated too. It has now expanded to two sheets and includes 10 different hobby manufacturers and their claimed equivalents to the RLM colours.

Remember these are other peoples suggestions as to what they thought was a best match and I have only compiled them into this one spot.

The latest reference is the Testors Model Master, 'Modeler's Technical Guide' book.

I have added some notes about some of the paint suggestions and mixes in the RLM section as to what I have tried against the Merrick colour chips (some are way off!).

My aim was to include as many paint mixes from varied sources in ONE spot as I could so that a quick and easy comparison can be done. And allow you to see the variety that other people think is a good match and decide for yourself. Also RGB and CMYK numbers are given to allow you to do correct colours on computer generated images or even to take it to the local paint shop and get them to mix up a batch in acrylic or enamel paints.

For example looking at RLM 83 (you know the one that may or may not have existed) there are at least 8 'recipes' most of them different from each other.

I have also added to my website in the links section a colour chart of RLM paint chips taken from Merrick's book (Luftwaffe Camouflage and Markings 1933-1945 Vol.2 2005) along with a couple from the Kookaburra book by J. Smith (The Modeller's Luftwaffe Painting Guide 1979) and equivalents from Testor's Model Master enamels, Humbrol Enamels, Tamiya acrylics and JPS acrylic paints.

The small notations under some paint matches(2:34, 5:116) is firstly the ratio and secondly the paint number (for Tamiya and Humbrol mixes).

'HCS' refers to a mix as per the Humbrol Colour Systems book.

JPS paint was included as Mr. Popp, who makes this paint in Germany, worked in conjunction with Mr. J. Kiroff, who was the paint technology advisor in Merrick's book, to make the JPS range of paints.

You will note a couple of alternate colour chips (2005 Merrick versus 1979 Smith) for RLM79 and 83 and that different manufacturers have made their matches to one colour but not the other (IE Model Master to the 1979 Smith Greener RLM83 and JPS to the 2005 Merrick darker RLM83 colour).

I am missing the JPS RLM79 paint (can anyone point me to a bottle).

So after finishing the chart it appears that the Model Master and certainly the JPS paints are essentially correct straight from the bottle.

Some of the information may be out of date as the sources I have used may not be current. Please note that the Humbrol site makes NO claim that the names on their tins represent the same colour as the names of the camouflage used on the planes we are modelling!!

I hope you find it useful.


Peter H - petersplanes.com
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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

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...