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Luftwaffe Camouflage in WW2

I'm a scale modeler of armor and aircrafts of the World War Two period. Through the time I've been building German aircraft, I found that one of the most challenging subjects was to paint them with the correct colors and schemes. In my opinion, the Luftwaffe was the air force that had more variations in colors and schemes as compared with the other air forces that participated in WW2. I think this was the result of various factors, principally:

  • Very different theatres of operations
  • Different stages of the Luftwaffe in the war
  • Production difficulties and shortages of supplies

Trying to deduce the colors that the Germans used by looking at color photographs of the time is a complex task because the pigments used to make the paints were produced in different countries of the occupied Europe. Therefore, it's normal to find differences in the same Reichs Luftfahrt Ministerium (RLM) color. Also, you will find different tones in the same RLM color that is caused by the exposure period of the paint.

Because the instructions of the kit manufacturers are not always correct, I found that the easiest way to be sure of what colors I will apply to my models was to develop a list of the different RLM colors depending on the type of aircraft, theatre and period. This is also helpful if you want to use an aftermarket set of decals and need to paint your aircraft for a different theatre of time to correspond with the decals vice following the instructions.

My intention is to share with you all that I have learned about this matter, so I decided to put it together in an easy way to simplify the task for the modeler that builds German aircraft-beginner or experienced.

About the Author

About Carlos Schneerson (csch)


Hi there Tin Can Thanks for the tip... that's a really neat colour cross reference. One to keep handy! All the best Rowan
JUN 24, 2003 - 11:25 AM
Thanks for the cool tips Carlos..... This is definetly a keeper. (++)
JUN 24, 2003 - 11:41 AM
JUN 24, 2003 - 10:46 PM
Carlos, Thank you! Here are some URLs you mentioned, or not. I have a b'zillion of them, many duplicates, and they list RLM and how to obtain them. A lot comparing old Humbrol with new Humbrol, and mixing of discontinued colors like RLM 72 & 73, and matching to Polly Scale, MM, Tamiya, etc. LINK LINK LINK
JUN 27, 2003 - 03:09 AM
Way cool and thank you!!
JUN 27, 2003 - 04:24 AM