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Brian J

Ta 152H colours: Is there a definitive answer?

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Without listing all of my references I have encountered a difference of opinion on the upper surface colours of late war Ta 152Hs.  Jerry Crandell is of the opinion that these colours should be RLM 82 Bright Green and RLM 83 Dark Green.  I have the highest regard for Mr. Crandell's opinions, but what to make of the following?  A gentleman named 'Malcolm' made a comment on Britmodeller on Dec 22, 2010 which included this observation.  "All the evidence that I have after years of research with my German historian colleagues points to 76/81/82, there is no evidence that I have ever come across that they were painted in any other way (and that includes interviews with Focke-Wulf Cottbus factory employees).  Has this issue ever been settled?

 

I would enjoy seeing/hearing opinions on this subject.   

Edited by Brian J

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I would ask just which colours "Malcolm" was thinking of, when he wrote 81/82.  There has been confusion over the years as to just what hue these colours were intended to be, let alone what they actually were, or what different companies may have placed on their documentation,   It may well be that he, or his sources of information, were also thinking of a dark green and a lighter green, rather than (for example) the "Braunviolet" used to to describe RLM 81 when shown on Bf109s or Me262s.

 

In that context, just which year was it that Jerry Crandall expressed this opinion?   When faced with two apparently equal sources of opinion on Luftwaffe colours, I suggest it is safer to pick the later.

 

It's rather sad to point out that, thanks to the apparently brief use of an abbreviated name/nickname/pseudonym, we don't actually know who "Malcom" was, and thus how much credence we can place on his statement.

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S-o-o, Graham what colours would you suggest?  When referring to Jerry Crandell's opinion on the subject I was considering, among others, the following sources:

 

1.  EagleCals Decal sheet EC#133, copyright 2011, in which the four subject aircraft, Green 6, White 7 and Yellow 1 and 2 have the same camouflage colours of 76 Light Blue, 82 Bright Green and 83 Dark Green.

 

2. The Focke-Wulf Ta 152 by Thomas H. Hitchcock, Monogram Monarch Series Number Three, copyright 2010.  On page 181 we find the following, "When the first Ta 152 H-0 appeared in November 1944, it was camouflaged in accord with Air Ministry instructions governing single-seat high altitude fighters.  The illustration (p 160-161), of Ta 152 H-1, W. Nr. 150168, "Green 9", is instructive and representative of the so-called late war defensive camouflage colors.   Based on an eye-witness description published in the 29 November 1945, issue of the British bi-weekly, The Aeroplane Spotter, the reporter stated this aircraft "...is camouflaged on the upper surfaces of the wings, fuselage and tailplane and the fuselage sides in various shades of Green..."

   Undoubtedly, this reporter's mention of "various shades" of Green implied the two new upper surface camouflage colors RLM 82 Bright Green and RLM 83 Dark Green.  The other new late-war upper surface camouflage color, RLM 81 Brown-Violet, could have been paired with either 82 or 83, but in the case of W. Nr. 150168, The Aeroplane Spotter's reporter made no mention of a "Brown."

 

Three colour profiles in the above book of Ta 152H-0s located at Alteno Airfield show a colour scheme of 76/82/83.  A 3-view colour drawing of Ta 152H-1/R 11 "Green 9" have the same colour scheme.

 

3.  JAGDWAFFE: Luftwaffe Colours , Volume Five Section 3 by Robert Forsyth, published in 2005..  On page 264 the colour profile caption reads, "The camouflage finish on Ta 152s was virtually identical to that applied to the later Fw 190 D-9s and consisted  of 82 and 83 on the uppersurfaces with 76 below."

 

I conclude that 76/82/83 is the way to go, but where was "Malcolm" coming from?

   

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I can't speak for Malcolm, but I think some of the confusion/contradictions arise from the controversy over the existence and nature of RLM 83. At some point Ullman posited that RLM 83 was in fact a shade of blue. This led (I think) to the theory that what had been referred to as dark green 83 was actually just a variant of RLM 81 -- more a true dark green and less an olive drab as seen in the late war bomber scheme of 81/82.

 

FWIW, I think your decision to go with 82/83/76 is a good one, whatever the actual, correct nomenclature of the dark green shade is/was. I used Model Master RAF Dark Green on the one I built. It's a pretty good match for FS 34079, the darker green of the US SEA camouflage scheme.

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I would just say I’m no expert on Luftwaffe colour schemes but discussions on paint hues always fascinates me for some reason ! The perennial debate on the exact natures of EDSG on FAA aircraft being a favourite ! But there is something I’ve picked up upon reading various articles of the years and that is with late war shortages you didn’t throw away old paint stocks when new schemes were introduced at factory level, thus variations did occur as one paint ran out to be replaced with a new shade.

Another additional point regarding late war Luftwaffe types that is always worth considering and that is field applied paint. Quite often in many late war photos you find two aircraft in the same squadron of the same mark with apparently two schemes using different hues. Aircraft in this stage of the war quite often arrived in frontline units without a full ‘factory’ finish being applied requiring some ‘touch up’ at unit level, i.e. panels left unpainted or still in primer, wooden areas left unpainted etc. (plenty of photos to show this around the place). But there’s something else that I can’t prove but I feel could be right and that’s at squadron level a new aircraft would arrive in factory fresh condition and would look errr far too bright ! Some of those later green shades are very bright, and toning down is a distinct possibility. I know scribble and mottle was used extensively but wonder if complete repaints of individual colour also took place, I would put money on it happening and this is where things get interesting. You could just imagine the conversation ! ‘Blimey that looks a bit bright ! tone it down, but Sir we’ve only got  tins of shades  ‘A’ and ‘B’ in the stores…well mix ‘em  together and make an approximate shade of ‘C’ ! Great Idea I’ll get on it straight away !

What I’m getting at with no sure fire answer, then within reason anything is probably correct and a lot of it comes down to personal taste. If your replicating a factory fresh aircraft then go with the latest thoughts on the subject matter, if it’s a frontline aircraft then you have room for err …some manoeuvre !

Cheerio

Clive

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I'd go with a Dark Green - whether tinned as 81, 82 or 83  I don't really care - and Light Green.  Again, whether tinned as 82 or 83, depending upon the age of the tin.  Given the state of Germany in spring 1945 I would argue against any local repainting but expect these aircraft to be used straight off the line.  It is apparently true that only a few months earlier at least one Bf109 unit had enough time stood down to refresh/ repaint their Bf109Ks (the harsh winter may have played a part in restricting operations), but I don't see that as the norm.  Different colours within the same unit are more likely to reflect the state of paint stocks at different assembly lines.

 

 

Edited by Graham Boak

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I've just been consulting what should be regarded as a first-class source: the JAPO books on the Fw190D, and their thorough analysis of all the evidence for their camouflage and how it changed during the production run and between factories.  It does include a copy of an official FW drawing of the camouflage for the Ta152, and this quotes 81/82.  This is also the scheme the authors describe as the third and final scheme applied to the Fw190D.  In illustrations, this is shown as a bright green (82) and a dark olive hue (81)  Whether the latter is best described as a green or a brown is one of those questions... but it is represented as an olive colour not the reddish-brown sometimes depicted.

 

 

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IIRC, the old Merrick(?)(spelling?) and Hitchcock books Luftwaffe Colors had a statement concerning the late war colors of Luftwaffe aircraft. It was to the effect that aircraft in the last several months were often painted in spite of the regulations, not in accordance to them! This could apply to any other military arm(land and sea) of a lot(if not all) of other nations.

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Many thanks to the gentlemen who took the time to respond.  I think serious consideration has to be given to the preceding observation about painting in spite of the regulations, not in accordance to them..  In a posting by Jerry Crandell on Hyperscale dated May 4, 2007 under the heading 'Some additional thoughts on late war Luftwaffe colors' he observed, "An interesting side note relating to RLM documents, one outspoken unit commander told us 'there is no way we could keep up with the constant directives and changes those bureaucrats at the RLM came up with!'"

 

In this same post Mr. Crandell indicates that critics of some of the colours, especially a "Light Green" may be in error as he had samples of Dora 9 parts that were painted with colours that were not official (my words).  Concerning Ta 152s, there were few of them built, with parts from various factories and often in service for a very short period of time.

 

After so many opinions have been offered over the decades, I feel like one of those four blind men asked to describe an elephant after each took turns feeling various parts e.g. the tail, the leg, the trunk, the tusk, etc.  What the h... are we looking at? 

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In response to the original question, "is there a definitive answer? " I would say "no ".

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If you want some idea of what was actually happening to FW at the end of the war, study the JAPO books rather than relying upon possibly fevered imaginations.  Yes there was variation, and this was indeed due to the subcontractors, but there was method and process within these variations.  People didn't just slap any old paint on aircraft, whenever they liked.  If you want to replicate what was done, study the work of those who have looked hard and often at the evidence, don't drift off into the fantasy of "anything goes".

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FWIW, Jerry Crandall  (who is a member here BTW) made some postings in this thread on Hyperscale

 

http://www.network54.com/Forum/149674/thread/1196274291

 

Quote

Ta 152 colors

November 28 2007, 2:07 PM 
 
Hi Pip,
Recovered pieces of a crashed Ta 152 shows evidence of the 82/83 combination described the RAF intelligence people at Farnborough.The 81 found on Fw 190 Doras along with samples of Bf 109 K-4s all have 81 Brown-Violet which is a chocolate color brown not the Dornier olive color Dunkelgrün.The RAF of course were familiar with their colors Brown and Green. 
Cheers, Jerry

 

Quote

Crashed Ta 152

November 28 2007, 6:56 PM 
 
Hi Eric;
The parts I have were retrieved from Sepp Sattler JG 301, Ta 152 that crashed on 14 April 1945. Part of this a/c had fallen into a lake and some of the color is contaminated but it is evident that the color that is fresh is 82/83.
All the best,
Jerry

 

as mentioned '83'  may now  not be  green, but the dark green/bright  green uppers are a confirmed scheme.

 

see

http://frontend.history-vision.de/search/play.html?clip=9014&html5=0&pool=0

 

1:02 - 1:23

very green uppers on a Fw 190, maybe a D? 

36960228240_f66dc7b1e5_o.pngFw 190 2 green uppers_zps00ifmknm by losethekibble, on Flickr

 

note two  shades of green  on horizontal tail, 

 

there is mention of Dornier using a green 81,  here's a WW2 colour shot of a Do335

Eaglecals+%2523164+Dornier+Do+335+Pfeil+

 

 

this is the carefully restored Do335

Do335-A02-90.jpg

 

HTH

T

 

Edited by Troy Smith
corrections, PB grr

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1 hour ago, oz rb fan said:

are there any decent shots of the TA152 stored with the NASM in the US?...if so has it been repainted or still in the wartime finish?

good idea,  i thought  of that, but a quick google shows

 

ta152-2.jpg

 

 partial post war US paint job

 

EDIT

bunged "Ta 152 restoration" intoHyperscale

 

http://www.network54.com/Forum/149674/thread/1293681989

Quote

The problem with NASM's H-0 is most of the camouflage paint was stripped and repainted a blue- gray color .Some of the Red/Yellow JG 301 bands are still visible but the W.Nr. was stripped off the tail. There as also a lot of zinc chromate added for preservation purposes on a lot of metal parts, like the flaps and parts of the fuselage. The wheel wells are unpainted with the alloy code numbers printed in a pattern on the wheel well cap.We have that on our decal sheets. I'm sure originally it was camouflaged in the same combination as the H-1 "Green 9" which was 76/82/83,with a Black spinner and White spiral. 
Cheers, Jerry

 

 

 

It's awaiting restoration

http://www.hyperscale.com/features/2000/ta152hmt_1.htm

 

ta152hgh_2.jpg

 

so  it's hard to tell what's original and  what's not......

 

HTH

T

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Troy Smith said:

good idea,  i thought  of that, but a quick google shows

 

ta152-2.jpg

 

 partial post war US paint job

 

EDIT

bunged "Ta 152 restoration" intoHyperscale

 

http://www.network54.com/Forum/149674/thread/1293681989

 

 

 

It's awaiting restoration

http://www.hyperscale.com/features/2000/ta152hmt_1.htm

 

ta152hgh_2.jpg

 

so  it's hard to tell what's original and  what's not......

 

HTH

T

very true and being a prototype(it's quoted as possibly being TA152 V5) it could be in a different scheme to service ones.

 

 

 

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I think there is an issue with the nomenclature. Several of the sources quoted above are using the RLM numbers as they were understood before recent developments in the understanding of RLM 83. This applies to both the JaPo (Deboeck,Larger,Pouba) and the Eagle Editions (Crandall) publications cited above.

It seems to me that those suggesting RLM 81/82 and those suggesting RLM 82/83 as the upper camouflage schemes are in fact describing the same thing. The only issue is the nature of the RLM 81, which seems to have varied considerably. Both the 'two greens' and the 'green/olive brown' schemes were the RLM 81/82 combination, RLM 83 we now suspect was something completely different.

Cheers

Steve

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Ullman's revelation of 83 as a blue, unrelated to 81/82, makes sense.  The Germans had limited uppersurface colors to two (70/71, or 72/73, or 74/75) since 1938.  It would have been crazy, with the conditions that prevailed in 1944, to suddenly direct three uppersurface colors and let everyone pick any two of the three.  Moreover, any of the painting schematics I've seen refer only to 81/82.

 

One problem in pinning down 81, of course, is the explicit RLM direction to substitute RLM 70 where 81 might be used, in order to use up existing stocks of paint.  Some of the reports of dark green (not brownish) may be describing 70.

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Hi, Gentlemen,

 

There is also the opinion that the overly dark and solid Do335 camouflage is in fact old 70/71 "bomber" colours, available to Dornier.

 

Jim, the reports of a "75/83" (that being "dark green") combination, with "83" in place or 74, then? Just mistook 75/74? Many, many 109G-10 and later and 190s are reported (or regarded) as being so painted.

 

Fernando

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Of all the responses to my original question the one that has the most merit in MY opinion are the two quotes that Troy included on Saturday in which Jerry Crandall gives his slant on things.  Forget everything else and just re-read them.  For ME, if Jerry don't know nobody knows!  I'm waiting for the torch carrying mob carrying pitchforks to come looking for me...gotta find a place to hide!

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4 hours ago, Fernando said:

 

There is also the opinion that the overly dark and solid Do335 camouflage is in fact old 70/71 "bomber" colours, available to Dornier.

 

 

 

Is this some confusion with the finish resulting from the diagram in the Flugzeug-Handbuch for the A-1?

This clearly shows the upper surface camouflage to be RLM 81/82, both described as 'dunkelgrun', but the underside to be RLM 65 (a bomber/transport colour 'available to Dornier'), rather than RLM 76.

 

Would substitutions be made on a new aircraft and so late in the war? When last year I built a large scale Do 335 I opted for 81/82 over 76, based on common sense and surviving evidence.

 

Cheers

 

Steve

 

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45 minutes ago, Stonar said:

 

Is this some confusion with the finish resulting from the diagram in the Flugzeug-Handbuch for the A-1?

This clearly shows the upper surface camouflage to be RLM 81/82, both described as 'dunkelgrun', but the underside to be RLM 65 (a bomber/transport colour 'available to Dornier'), rather than RLM 76.

 

Would substitutions be made on a new aircraft and so late in the war? When last year I built a large scale Do 335 I opted for 81/82 over 76, based on common sense and surviving evidence.

 

Cheers

 

Steve

 

Quite probably: with 'the enemy at the gates' I don't think anybody would be too worried if the wrong shade of blue, green or anything else was used if the correct colour wasn't available

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A bit late, I'm afraid, but I'd add that before getting too excited about 70/71 being "bomber colours" readily available to Dornier, bear in mind that the Do217 series were painted not in 70/71 but 72/73.  Much as, regardless of role, Ju88 bombers (and a lot of fighters) were all painted in 70/71.  Maybe this was because of the Dornier 217's origin as a seaplane, although that seems a little distant.  More likely it is because of its initial use in attacks in the North Sea.

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I've mentioned it before but FWIW the Gustav Roth, Hamburg, formula for single coating aeroplane varnish RLM 81 was 5% zinc chromate, 3.3% Hansa yellow, 0.6% red iron oxide, 0.7% carbon black and 3.5% zinc white per 100% of pigment, binder and extender. The binder was an artificial resin manufactured by Warnecke and Bohm and the matting agent 'talc'.

 

Catalogued as "camouflage green" the pigments suggest that it might have been a bright, slightly olive green but the variance of hue in Hansa yellows makes it difficult to reproduce very precisely. 

 

Nick

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The only RLM-83 I know of is the Dark Blue for fighters in the Mediterranean. Not sure if it was ever used though.

I know it certainly wasn't a green of any hue though and as documents exist that fully support RLM-81/82 upper surfaces for Ta 152's I think the argument is pointless.

Considering the problems that Nazi Germany was having with the supply of colour pigments, I don't find it surprising that there is confusion over the colours used due to different paint batches having different hues due to the availability of said pigments and dyes. Added to that is wether the actual airframes were undercoated or natural metal when painted with their camoflaged finish alters the way the finished colours looked even further. No wonder an RLM-83 crept into the colours, it's just an error due to film emulsions and wartime shortages.

Good thread, regards all,

FAA B)B)

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