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K404

Original RLM documentation on Luftwaffe colours

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After another frustrating day dealing with interpreations of RLM colour-coding, including three sets of opinions in my local model shop, I am..... not short on patience, but....interested in going to the "source"

Does anyone have scans of RLM/Luftwaffe protocol on what each colour should be? ESPECIALLY in regard to late-war camouflage colours?

Today I saw RLM 83 defined as a blue and i'm now at a loss to understand how the variation in conclusion can be so big.

Why are things that were formal and regulated so poorly known after all this time?

Excuse what might be interpreted as a disrespectful comparison.......I'm basically treating late-war Luftwaffe colours as the content of the bible. I'd like to see the original material and i'll translate and interpret it for myself. There is no consistency between paint manufactuere as to what RLM 81/82/83 are.....and i'm bored of it.

I hope readers of this thread know what i'm getting at :)

Edited by K404

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The problem is, even the Luftwaffe was often confused about what color was what, especially late in the war when chaos was the norm in Germany.

The absolute best bet for you is this:

https://www.eagle-editions.com/library-of-eagles/luftwaffe-color-chart-chips-detail.html

While I don't think any single source is the last word on the subject, the Eagle Editions color chip chart is probably the most well researched, and most up to date reference available on it. Well worth the money if you want to build semi-accurate looking Luftwaffe stuff (and I'm not even a Luftwaffe-holic).

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This chart compares RLM colours and available paint.

RLMcomparison2chart_zpsb9afc61d.jpg

Produced by P Hawkins

The tricky part is verifying column 1, which is what you are asking. You will need to do a lot of research.

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The best thing to do is to forget about the late war numbers. There's clearly something there that has been misinterpreted all these years since a newly found document showed that RLM 83 was dark blue. The dark green formerly known as 83 was quite consistent it seems. It's close to FS 34083 and RAL 6006. Most likely it was a variation of 81. The Bright Green was quite consistent too and it's very close to RAL 6003. I can never remember the FS equivalent though...

The brown seems to have varied much more and the reason MIGHT stem from the fact that according to the newly found documents, 81 and 82 both started out as green colors, olive green and bright green, but then brown tinted versions of these colors were tested too. The plural is important there off course as it may explain the wide range of browns seen.

At least two of three colours are well defined though! :)

Edited by Cpt_Farrel

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I'm not a great Lufwaffe fan so I bought one reference that was recommended and I stick to it rather than be confused by multiple expert opinions. it is Michael Ullmann's Luftwaffe Colours 1939-1945, great book and it includes paint chips.

Cheers

Dennis

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Thankyou for the input so far! Yup, "column 1" is my "problem" :D Humbrol's RLM 83 appears to reflect the new document, but it throws into doubt what people have been putting onto kits as "RLM 83" for all these years.

If RLM 83 is a dark blue, what was it used on?

There is also debate as to whether RLM 82 and RLM 83 (green) were dark and light respectively.... or light and dark......compounded further by (some) painting notes that might call for "RLM 82/83/76" without further explanation.

Was there not an RLM 81a at some point, which ties in nicely ("nicely" :P) to your point, Cpt_Farrel, about multiple shades? VERY personal opinion, I can't see the sense of speccing two (dark) colours so similar to each other when resources were very tight and in the lead-up to a summer campaign.....but then, I know nothing about colour interpretation at 30,000ft :D

Edited by K404

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The dark blue was used on Ju88s operating in Italy on maritime missions. Certainly some dark blue was so used, and the time scales fit.

Multiple shades appear when different producers of paint make their match to the standard using different materials, either because of shortages (as in late-war Germany) or because of how they do things (Olive Drab in the US). If you think late war German colours are different look at US Olive Drab, or for the RAF the use of Sky in 1940. Remember that much of the hard information you are asking for simply no longer exists, and much of the confusion has come from well-meaning researchers trying to make sense of contradictory sources. For example, "81a" is an invented term not an original one, as is "RLM84" for a greenish shade seen on late-war undersides, and apparently "RLM83" was invented when peopple realised that there were three distinct colours in use (dark green, dark brown, and bright green) but references only spoke of 81 and 82. Obviously, there had to be a third.

There is no single (or even multiple) Bible such as you are asking for. Read all the serious works you can on the subject, and by those I mean Eagle, Ullman and Merrick, but information is still appearing to fill in gaps. You will find no mention of blue 83 in any of them, but Merrick describes the Ju88s. I don't think any on these sources tell the full story. Indeed, I know that, because there are things in each that do not appear in the others. Ullman does reproduce significant chunks of earlier German official instructions, such as you are asking for, but that's a bit early for yout wishes.

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Multiple shades appear when different producers of paint make their match to the standard using different materials, either because of shortages (as in late-war Germany) or because of how they do things (Olive Drab in the US).

Agreed and it is an important point. And much confusion has also been caused by presuming that the variance of an example of applied paint represents the standard or sometimes an entirely new colour.

Different manufacturers often used different combinations of pigments to match official standards (pigments were not always specified) and whilst the resultant match might have satisfied inspectors at the time the paint surfaces can age and degrade quite differently because of the constituents.

Nick

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Hello,

In Sammelmitteilung Nr.1 from 1th.July 1944 we can read that a Colour card for the colours 81 and 82 is yet not available and so no control of the colorshade will be done.

( Ullmann German Edition Page 264, Hikoki 2002 Edition page 249 and 2008 Edition page 343.)

With this dokument a paint supplier can work a la " when it looks right, it is right ". Also Braunviolett and Hellgrün are not official RLM names. In factory drawings the names for the colours, if used, are more or less in the opinion of the person that makes the drawing.

All this will result in a great range of shades for the same RLM number.

Claus

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Regarding the lack of colorcards, that was at the aircraft factories, not the paint manufacturers.

Both Nick and Graham put it very well, not much to add! :)

The blue 83 has created quite a stir but for me, it makes more sense that the dark green was not 83. Green 81 "fits" all the documentation better, as official schemes always mention 81/82 all the while aircraft were painted in two greens.

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Regarding the light-dark confusion around RLM 82, at some point early on, and while 83 was still considered to be some sort of green, some researcher mixed up the two numbers and called 82 dark- and 83 light green. A number of paint manufacturers used this reversed nomenclature and continued to do so even after the mix-up was flagged and largely corrected. Bottom line, 82 is the lighter, brighter green.

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That's right, and it's proven too, sample cards were found and while the dark green and dark brown were unmarked, the bright green was marked 82.

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I find this site is useful to give an idea of what the different "authorities" have arrived at as regards the "standards" for RLM colours. Bear in mind these are digital representations of the colour charts found in the various books so don't convey the exact colours in them selves but do serve to illustrate the difficulty that well respected researchers have experienced in arriving at an answer.

Steve.

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Hi everyone!

I am sorry that I write in this topic, but please tell me why the colors RLM of Ullmann and Kiroff are so different? What sources or recipe they used to produce their color cards, and which of them to trust more?

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The answer to that lies in an evaluation of their own documentation. Both authors have taken pains to explain with great care, integrity and at length how they arrived at the colours and the reason for the variance thereof.

In Herr Ullman's book pages 7 to 13 are relevant and there is also an explanation of the colour chart on the inside of the back cover. In Mr Merrick's book there is a 5-page loose-leaf insert on the subject written by Herr Kiroff himself explaining exactly how the paint charts were created.

I haven't compared the colours closely but I'd be surprised if the variance was any more than both authors have acknowledged for the original paints. I don't believe they are in competition or that trust should be accorded to one over the other but that their work is complementary. If you have the books then I suggest you draw your own conclusions from reading them. If not then I think reference to either set of charts should be perfectly acceptable for modelling purposes.

Nick

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I have a book of Merrick, and paints made ​​on samples from the Ullman's book «colors of the german luftwaffe 1935-1945». In comparison, the colors are very different:

bvrslMQ.jpg

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