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Mig-15 korean War camo colours


stevehnz
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Unusual for me to do cold war jets but not to be asking about camo schemes. :D I recently picked up a set of the H-Models Russian Aces in the Korean War Pt 2 with a couple of Korean marked but Russian flown Mig-15s in it. I have a Hobbyboss Mig-16bis which I want to do as the aircraft of Maj. S. A Feodorets in July 1953. It is shown with a Earth Brown, Russian Green & Sand uppers with Light Blue undersides. I've looked at AKAN pints but their listings don't seem to cover this era, leastwise nothing I can see for the Mig-15, so I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts as to decent matches for these shades, either in AKAN or for me easier to get Humbrol, Tamiya or Vallejo Model Colour?

Steve.

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I'm about 98.9% sure the answer to your question is that no one on earth knows exactly what those colors were. The USSR wasn't camouflaging combat aircraft in 1953, so where the colors came from is anybody's guess. No MiG-15 (or MiG-16 :) ) left the factory in anything except clear lacquered natural metal. The USSR never had any kind of color standard like the ANA, FS, or BSC, and most things were left to the whim of the person doing the painting.

As there appear to be no color photos of any of those MiGs in Korea, I think any attempt at assigning colors to b&w photos is simply the artist's best guess.

The good news is, you can't be wrong. But PLEASE don't put North Korean roundels on the upper wings. Never happened.

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A pal of mine wrote an excellent article on camo colours for Soviet aircraft during Korean War for a specific modelling mag in the UK, few years ago. The feature in question was based on research run in Moscow, with help of authentic and official sources. Sadly, shortly before this was about to be published, the editor was replaced, and everything went down the sink...

Anyway, there were actually some very strict rules, and also some very strict orders about application of camo and markings. For example: bort numbers were principally applied at factory (and if some plane was re-numbered, then during overhauls in factory), and had clearly defined forms and dimensions (even the width of their outline was clearly specified). There were also strict rules regarding what the Soviets called 'Elements of Fast Recognition' (Elementi Bystrogo Raspoznavaniya, or EBRs): that is, markings applied on noses (and periods when these were applied or removed) and tops of the fins (so-called 'pilotki').

Correspondingly, there were also very strict instructions regarding application of camouflage. The first such rule (Order No.10) was introduced during 1952, when the 64 IAK (top Soviet AF authority responsible for ops in Korea) introduced the so-called 'air superiority' camo. This pattern, developed by the 64 IAK in cooperation with the Ministry of Aviation, Factory No. 21 and representatives of the GIPI-4, consisted of grey-green on top surfaces and sides, and dark blue on bottom surfaces. The colour in question was the same for all Soviet-flown MiG-15s: it was specially mixed by a 'brigade' of painters from Factory No. 21.

The next rule - from autumn 1952 - dictated the introduction of 'autumn-winter' camo, consisting of light grey paint overall.

This was followed by another rule, introduced just a few weeks later, that envisaged addition of thin stripes and spots of dark green colour atop that light grey - though only on top surfaces and sides.

In all of these cases, bort numbers were left as they were, i.e. colours were applied 'around' them.

In spring (March/April) 1953, the winter-autumn camo was replaced by regulation about spring-summer camo, which dictated the use of dark green, light green, sand and brown colours on top surfaces and sides. Bottom surfaces could be retained in light grey, though often enough a mix of blue and grey was applied instead. Night fighter regiments (351 and 298 IAPs) were ordered to paint bottom surfaces of their planes in black.

Already by the time the autumn-winter camo was introduced, 'conditions in the field' were different than in some bureau in Moscow, and the colours available (and thus used) and the methods of their application were often different than required. More often than not, dark green was simply not available in local Chinese shops (at least not in sufficient amounts), so the Soviets purchased grey green or even light green instead. Also, application of colours differed not only from division to division, but even from regiment to regiment: some technicians preferred 'pyatnistyy' (spots), others 'polosatyy' (stripes).

BTW, the same rule that introduced the first camo, has also required deletion of all earlier EBRs, and even kill markings. Therefore, by late 1952/early 1953, there was only a handfull of MiG-15s left wearing camo _and_ kill markings: indeed, every single pilot that wanted to apply his kill markings to a specific aircraft had first to ask for permission to do so, and most often this was simply not granted.

Thus, do not believe all the reports and artworks 'flying' around the internet and printed media: not few of these are based on lots of wild guessing, misinterpretations, and simply bad memory. Many artworks show entirely wrong colours (the most typical mistake is the use of sand instead of grey on top surfaces and sides; this resulted from 'partial application' of spring-summer camo over the existing autumn-winter camo). Actually, I recommend only sources related to Russian author Igor Seidov as reference in this regards.

BTW, if you want me to 'further complicate' this issue, let me know: then I'll be happy to explain the chaos (in regards of camo) caused by replacement of the 303rd and 324th IADs by 97th and 190th IADs, in early 1952... :P

Edited by Tom Cooper
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But PLEASE don't put North Korean roundels on the upper wings. Never happened.

It Ok Jennings, the colour call diagram leaves them out too which agrees with most though not all that I've seen on the net. I guess it agrees with what I know of VVS WW2 practice in that upperwing markings were virtually never carried. Thanks for the rest of your input.

Steve.

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Hell Tom, that is an impressive effort, very much appreciated though, not that it answers my question but then, I sort of guessed that it could well be one of those unanswerables. :( Since I posted the query, I've seen that Airfix do their Mig-15 with Hungarian markings in a very similar scheme as noted in the H-Model diagram & in very similar colours, Humbrol Hu102,186 & 63 over 65. To me 65 is too green, my tin of 63 is a simply nasty colour I would struggle to put on any model, though 102 & 186 may not be too far off. Maybe a light grey instead of 63? any suggestions? I'm looking forward to seeing the new Hu44 out here, I'm thinking it might be OK for the Russian underside blue.

Steve.

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Correspondingly, there were also very strict instructions regarding application of camouflage. The first such rule (Order No.10) was introduced during 1952, when the 64 IAK (top Soviet AF authority responsible for ops in Korea) introduced the so-called 'air superiority' camo. This pattern, developed by the 64 IAK in cooperation with the Ministry of Aviation, Factory No. 21 and representatives of the GIPI-4, consisted of grey-green on top surfaces and sides, and dark blue on bottom surfaces.

Not exactly... Upper colour was greenish silver or silver-green as it was obtained by mixing aluminium varnish with blue and yellow paints.

The next rule - from autumn 1952 - dictated the introduction of 'autumn-winter' camo, consisting of light grey paint overall.

It wasn't an "autumn-winter camo" but an attempt to reduce the shine of NMF regardless of a season.

More often than not, dark green was simply not available in local Chinese shops (at least not in sufficient amounts), so the Soviets purchased grey green or even light green instead.

Local Chinese shops? Excuse me but the statement above is the complete bosh. All paints, including dark green, were delivered in barrels from Soviet supply bases.

BTW, the same rule that introduced the first camo, has also required deletion of all earlier EBRs, and even kill markings.

The very first kill markings began to appear after camo was introduced.

Therefore, by late 1952/early 1953, there was only a handfull of MiG-15s left wearing camo _and_ kill markings: indeed, every single pilot that wanted to apply his kill markings to a specific aircraft had first to ask for permission to do so, and most often this was simply not granted

Just one more nonsense. A pilot's wish to apply a marking did not matter. Only if (and when) his claim for a kill was confirmed, the kill marking was applied by an order of the division commander. And of course any unauthorised kill markings weren't welcomed by the CO and were to be removed.

Actually, I recommend only sources related to Russian author Igor Seidov as reference in this regards.
The "researcher" who personally never worked with existing archival documents.
That says it all...
Edited by Yury Tepsurkaev
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Mr Tepsurkaev

Do you have any more details about the aluminium varnish mentioned re greenish silver or silver-green please? Was it an aluminium oxide preparation already existing for some other (anti-corrosive) purpose?

Thanks

Nick

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Was it an aluminium oxide preparation already existing for some other (anti-corrosive) purpose?

Sorry, I just couldn't translate it adequately. That was so-called "serebryanka" - Nitrogliphtalevaya Emal' NGE-70 (Nitroglyptal enamel).

That was an opaque paint made of aluminium powder mixed with glyptal resin and thinner, its drying time was about 30 to 40 min.

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Hell Tom, that is an impressive effort, very much appreciated though, not that it answers my question but then, I sort of guessed that it could well be one of those unanswerables. :( Since I posted the query, I've seen that Airfix do their Mig-15 with Hungarian markings in a very similar scheme as noted in the H-Model diagram & in very similar colours, Humbrol Hu102,186 & 63 over 65. To me 65 is too green, my tin of 63 is a simply nasty colour I would struggle to put on any model, though 102 & 186 may not be too far off. Maybe a light grey instead of 63? any suggestions? I'm looking forward to seeing the new Hu44 out here, I'm thinking it might be OK for the Russian underside blue.

Steve.

FW little IW, I built the Trumpeter 1/48th scale MiG-15 just after it was released and used humbroll Acrylic 44 Pastel Blue for the underside. I see this particular shade has just been re-released by Humbrol. The acrylic version then was a matt equivalent of 47 Sea Blue, but I've no idea what the current incarnation looks like. The 44/47 certainly looked the part, but I've no idea if it was actually accurate.

I used Lifecolor Middle Stone and Humbrol 86 Light Olive for the uppers, if I recall correctly.

John

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Unusual for me to do cold war jets but not to be asking about camo schemes. :D I recently picked up a set of the H-Models Russian Aces in the Korean War Pt 2 with a couple of Korean marked but Russian flown Mig-15s in it. I have a Hobbyboss Mig-16bis which I want to do as the aircraft of Maj. S. A Feodorets in July 1953. It is shown with a Earth Brown, Russian Green & Sand uppers with Light Blue undersides. I've looked at AKAN pints but their listings don't seem to cover this era, leastwise nothing I can see for the Mig-15, so I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts as to decent matches for these shades, either in AKAN or for me easier to get Humbrol, Tamiya or Vallejo Model Colour?

Steve.

HI Steve

good question!

there is a list with FS matches of some post war Soviet colours here, scroll down a bit

http://mig3.sovietwarplanes.com/colors/color-table.html

I asked the same question on Sovietwarplanes. see here, http://sovietwarplanes.com/board/index.php?topic=1669.msg13510#new

scroll down a bit.

some interesting info on internal colours as well.

I asked Massimo about the best book on Soviet colours in Korea [in English] and he said this

It would be great, but the problem is that all the best work on this topic is from one author and it is on sell in an English language book

I asked what the book is

The book is Soviet MiG-15 Aces of the Korean War, by Leonid Krylov and Yuriy Tepsurkaev - Osprey Aircraft of the Aces # 82.

Be aware that most, if not all, of the profiles - to say nothing of the 3-v drawings - are reconstructions based on veterans' memories.

I mention this as we now have one of the Authors posting, which is a very pleasant surprise, hello Yury.

Sorry, I just couldn't translate it adequately. That was so-called "serebryanka" - Nitrogliphtalevaya Emal' NGE-70 (Nitroglyptal enamel).

That was an opaque paint made of aluminium powder mixed with glyptal resin and thinner, its drying time was about 30 to 40 min.

Yury

any commnents on the suggested colours?

I suppose that many of them are green AGT-4, light brown AGT-1, dark grey AGT-12, light blue AGT-7, light blue-grey AGT-16, blue-grey AGT-11 or, more likely, their oil equivalents.

here are some profiles by Yury, [note the signature in cyrillic in the bottomright corner] of a specific famous Mig-15, which illustrates some of his points mentioned above.

h_1382361937_3397563_6caff5b37e.jpeg

I hope this won't be problem linking this as it relevant to the discussion, I will of course edit out the profile if a problem.

I look forward any more information on this fascinating subject.

cheers

Troy

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Sorry, I just couldn't translate it adequately. That was so-called "serebryanka" - Nitrogliphtalevaya Emal' NGE-70 (Nitroglyptal enamel).

That was an opaque paint made of aluminium powder mixed with glyptal resin and thinner, its drying time was about 30 to 40 min.

Thank you very much for that. Aluminium oxide varnish is a relatively recent development and what you describe sounds more like a conventional aluminium paint rather than a varnish per se.

Regards

Nick

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Hi Troy,

First of all I've to say that nor my friend and co-author Leonid Krylov neither me never stated that our profiles were 100% accurate. We just tried to show the most probable ones.

I suppose that many of them are green AGT-4, light brown AGT-1, dark grey AGT-12, light blue AGT-7, light blue-grey AGT-16, blue-grey AGT-11 or, more likely, their oil equivalents.
According to the 64th IAK documents, the paints used for camouflaging were nitro enamels of DM type.
There were blue, light blue, red, yellow, black, brown, green, gray and white paints. And most of colours were "clean" or "basic". I mean there was not paint of, say, sand colour. To obtain sand you had to mix yellow and brown, for example.
Edited by Yury Tepsurkaev
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BTW, speaking of more or less probable camo schemes:

Many artworks show entirely wrong colours (the most typical mistake is the use of sand instead of grey on top surfaces and sides; this resulted from 'partial application' of spring-summer camo over the existing autumn-winter camo). Actually, I recommend only sources related to Russian author Igor Seidov as reference in this regards.

You can get an excellent sand colour by mixing yellow and black. You can also get an excellent dark green by mixing green and black.
During 1952 the 64th IAK spent 860 kgs of yellow enamel, 1291 kgs of green, 1008 kgs of black and... only 100 (one hundred) kgs of gray. So, sand or gray is more probable?
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[note the signature in cyrillic in the bottomright corner] of a specific famous Mig-15,

Not all understand Cyrillics! A picture is worth a thousand words:

http://www.amazon.ca/Soviet-MiG-15-Aces-Korean-Aircraft-ebook/dp/B009U9S4L4

51bQruPXjmL._AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-3

I mention this as we now have one of the Authors posting, which is a very pleasant surprise,

Believe, this surprise isn't casual! ;)

B.R.

Serge

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I have a copy of the Osprey book, what a treat to have one of the authors commenting on this thread. :)

One of the profiles from the book is also one of the schemes in the H-Models decal sheet, Mig-15bis of Maj Feodorets #916. Also on the sheet is #1998 also illustrated in a nice 3 view on this google translated link that gave this diagram that I have got to by following the links that Troy has given, thanks Troy, but it is not for a -bis, so what is the difference between a -bis & not a -bis? I really should wade through the rest of that very long thread though I'm sure confusion might result. :(

re Humbrol colours for this, its looking as though the uppers might be something like Hu186, 102 or maybe 86, a sand colour, perhaps a mix of 84 & 93 or similar (maybe the new 250 Desert Sand) with 44 for the undersides?

Steve.

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Hi Steve,

I have a copy of the Osprey book, what a treat to have one of the authors commenting on this thread. :)

You make me grow red :blush:

so what is the difference between a -bis & not a -bis?
MiG-15
mig_15_125_Grachyov.jpg
MiG-15bis late, with "Korean war style" enlarged air brakes and periscope
mig_15bis_916_Fedorets.jpg
Humbrol colours for this, its looking as though the uppers might be something like Hu186, 102 or maybe 86, a sand colour, perhaps a mix of 84 & 93 or similar (maybe the new 250 Desert Sand) with 44 for the undersides?

Honestly, you can use paints which you like more, as no one can say what the colours were in real life.

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Hi Yury, hi all

You can get an excellent sand colour by mixing yellow and black. You can also get an excellent dark green by mixing green and black.
During 1952 the 64th IAK spent 860 kgs of yellow enamel, 1291 kgs of green, 1008 kgs of black and... only 100 (one hundred) kgs of gray. So, sand or gray is more probable?

mixing yellow and black only, one can obtain a sort of olive green. To obtain sand, one has to add some red and a lot of white. Have you any data about their use of red, white and dark brown?

Regards

Massimo

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Hi Massimo

mixing yellow and black only, one can obtain a sort of olive green

Indeed... Mea culpa :blush:

Have you any data about their use of red, white and dark brown

white - 281

red - 598

brown (not "dark brown", just "brown") - 242

Perhaps it would be more correct to say "light brown" instead of "sand"? :unsure:

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Thank you Yuri for the diagram showing the difference between the two versions, it makes it very clear. It would not be a huge job to back date a -bis but I think my first plan, to go with Maj Feodorets aircraft is still a good one. The colour diagram with the decals is similar to yours, ( I wonder where they get it? :D ) so I can use this & as you say, no one can prove me wrong, that is such a comfort. :)

Steve.

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A very interesting discussion on this subject. I've learnt quite a bit over the two pages so far. :thanks:

I will say! A very enjoyable read.

If only more authors would be so upfront about where their profiles come from. Kudos for this.

Julien

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Hi Yury,

nice to meet you, so to say. :cheers:

Since it looks like I've 'hit the nerve' there, I'll start my reply with the end of your's (i.e. regarding your complaints about Igor). One can say about different researchers and writers whatever he/she likes. Especially so on the internet.

As published authors, you and me can endlessly discuss the 'space' left (or not at all) to authors by specific publishers for use of end/footnotes, so to properly cite their sources too (see Osprey which is not doing that, and some others that do).

BUT, if there is an author that's citing dozens of TsAMO documents (whether Combat Reports of the 64 IAK, 151, 324 IADs, 196 IAP etc., etc., etc., or stuff like 'PERECHEN' (Svedeniy iz dokumentov Tsentral'nogo Arkhiva Ministerstvo Oborony o sud'bye ehkipazhey samolotov amerikanskikh VVS, sbiitykh istrebitel'noy aviatsiey nad territoriyey Severnoy Korei v 1950-1953 gg), plus something like 60-70 (first hand) interviews with participants (including their permissions for use of 'personal' documents), in his publications...

Well, then I'd say, 'the guy has done his homework'.

So, unless I missed some sort of 'grandiose' publication out there, the situation (in regards of Igor) is 'quite clear' for me.

That said, I do not want to enter any of possible disputes there might be between any of you in Moscow. These are your own issues, not my business.

I do have a question - or few - related to research about painting of V-VS/V-PVO's MiG-15s in Korea. On one side, it appears 'incredible' to me to hear explanations like 'use whatever colours you like', when there was a strictly centralist command system, making it perfectly clear that 'disobeying orders' was the best way to end one in some gulag. Now, let's say Igor is wrong, or I am completely misunderstanding his original manuscript for the book eventually published as Red Devils over the Yalu, and this with use of local colours is a hogwash. But, if I follow your line: this system was issuing perfectly clear orders, deployed a 'brigade' of painters responsible to do the job, AND supplied colours the painters were ordered to use...

Now, since I doubt the 'brigade' in question was deployed in China for vacation, I fail to understand how comes we are now said that nobody cared about the system or orders there?

Another question is this: to me it appears that most of you gents researching about this topic are explaining this about 'use whatever colours you like' primarily because all of you have so much concentrated on research with help of pilots only, that you simply forgot to ask the people who were applying this colour on the aircraft in question about what colours did they apply. My experience is (and I guess there are going to be a number of people with similar experiences from RAF, FAA etc. on this forum), that pilots - generally - can't care less about colours applied on 'their' aircraft. For a 'small million of reasons'. It's the ex-technicians that care - and know - about 'such details', first and foremost.

That's making me wonder: how many of Soviet painters deployed in China and Korea at those times (or technicians that might have been ordered to get the can and air-brush into their hand) did any of you find AND interview, over the time?

Finally, if it was so that pilot's wish to apply a kill marking 'didn't matter', that only kill markings 'authorized' by division CO's were applied, and since it was already then known that quite a few people were exaggerating with their claims....what am I missing here: how comes there were two types of kill markings ('full', for 'confirmed' kills, and 'outline' for 'probables')?

Edited by Tom Cooper
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BUT, if there is an author that's citing dozens of TsAMO documents (whether Combat Reports of the 64 IAK, 151, 324 IADs, 196 IAP etc., etc., etc., or stuff like 'PERECHEN' (Svedeniy iz dokumentov Tsentral'nogo Arkhiva Ministerstvo Oborony o sud'bye ehkipazhey samolotov amerikanskikh VVS, sbiitykh istrebitel'noy aviatsiey nad territoriyey Severnoy Korei v 1950-1953 gg),

From this book which isn't published in the West:

1000783550.jpg

original:

Yury.jpg

Translate through: http://www.translate.ru/ :

1.First we exchanged that that received from communication with veterans, then having got to TsAMO, began to share with it contemporary records.

2.The divergence in estimates began shortly after we began work in TsAMO that, actually and not surprisingly: the amount of information to which we got access increased in such degree that according to dialectics laws, couldn't but simply turn into quality. Igor simply had no such opportunity, and to tell him everything that we learned in archive, it was simple not probably physically - he lived then in Ashkhabad with all that it implies difficulties information exchange (disorder of the USSR, the "turkmenbashization", sharply increased cost of telephone negotiations) therefore since a certain moment letters between us became the only way of communication. And twice to copy a huge number of the archival documents (at first in a workbook directly in TsAMO, and then in letters) at us weren't neither time, nor forces. After all, except Korean, we had still work, and families, and in general life. We continued to supply Igor with information received in archive till that time while divergences in methodology in full weren't shown.

B.R.

Serge

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