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Mike VE

Luftwaffe early three colour amo

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I making a Henschel 123 but also have a Heinkel 51 in the pipeline. Both can have the early Luftwaffe scheme of RML61, 62 & 63 for the upper surfaces. I find it puzzling that in some photos and many profiles the light grey is really light - much lighter than the Vallejo RML 63 or 02.. The Vallejo colours seem right when compared to the Hikoki Luftwaffe Colours card or the Real Colours of WWII Aircraft book. The scheme as painted with the Vallejo colours does not have anything like the contract of the early photos or profiles. Can anyone explain this.

Thanks

Mike VE

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There is a great deal of confusion about these inter-war LW camouflage schemes, probably because very little documentation was made/kept (because of the whole "let's slowly circumvent the Versailles treaty" thing), or simply because very little has survived the latter bombing raids.

The general theory so far was that there were two different shades of RLM63 - a lighter one (for single-color overall schemes) and a darker, "greener" one (for three-color cammo schemes).

However, a very interesting thread has emerged recently at Luftwaffe Research Group forum, where this "lighter" shade was stated to be a much earlier paint, and not a part of the RLM system.

 

The research done by M. Ullmann is worth a read, but it is not conclusive, I'm affraid...

 

Regards,

Aleksandar

Edited by warhawk

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Sorry, but there is nothing new about the suggestion that the early light grey was a civilian paint prior to the adoption of 63, not just for the 3-colour scheme but also for at least some of the single-colour types, particularly perhaps the combat types as opposed to the trainers - for example Bucker types have been described as "pearl grey".  The matter has been confused in the past by the lack of colour fastness of 63, fading to a pale ash grey much like the civil colour or colours.  The usual title given to this earlier colour is L40/52 (from memory) but this was only the product of one particular company, and even then needs to be suffixed by the colour name Hellgrau.  If I remember correctly, another was Avionul 7475.  The early colour(s) is usually described and represented as a neutral or very slightly bluish grey, rather than the yellowish tone of 63.  The German industry possessed a number of different light greys, as can be seen in Uhlmann's tabulation of Lufthansa colours.  It seems likely that more than one of these were used perhaps by different manufacturers.  There appears, for example, to be no difference between Lufthansa and Luftwaffe He.70s.  The poor reproduction of pale greys on contemporary film doesn't help.

 

It is interesting to note that the Japanese adopted German paint technology just before WW2, and the Zero (and other Navy types) using a similar shade to RLM 63 showed exactly the same rapid fading. to an ash grey.

 

It would seem that the LRG have reinvented the wheel and declared it new.  Herr Uhlmann's work is not so much behind the LRG as several years (decades) ahead, at least in concept.  However perhaps they have discovered some original documentation to clarify matters.

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8 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

It would seem that the LRG have reinvented the wheel and declared it new.  Herr Uhlmann's work is not so much behind the LRG as several years (decades) ahead, at least in concept.  However perhaps they have discovered some original documentation to clarify matters.

 

You are correct. The only "new" thing in researching these colors is the possible reason for conflating this earlier light grey with RLM63 color.

As Ullmann points out, it is referenced in some documents as "Farbton (Color tone) 63", which does not necessarily mean it was RLM63.

 

In any case, the evidence to solve if the designation "L40/52" referred to one specific shade of color, or an entire range of different colors from the same manufacturer is still pretty scarce...

I am now leaning towards the theory that what Testors marketed as "RLM63" in their range (2077 enamel / 4777 acrylic), is possibly L40/52 - mis-represented as RLM63...

1697_rd.jpg

 

Regards,

Aleksandar

Edited by warhawk

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I would point out that the forum that is linked to can not be accessed by everyone and it does not accept any new members. Perhaps you could re-post here a copy of the main points in question?

 

Cheers,

Mark

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Thanks for the additional clarity.  I agree re the Testors colour. Hellgrau L40/52, on its own right, has been available for some years from a number of other paint producers.

 

If you look on p22 of Ullmann's Luftwaffe colours, you will find four different colours described as having the factory reference L40/52.  Duralgrau for the He111; RLM Grau, or Bronzmittelgrau; Schwarz; Silver.  Interestingly, not Hellgrau.  Also quoted is L40/51 Grau for the He.70.

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14 minutes ago, Mark Mackenzie said:

the forum that is linked to can not be accessed by everyone and it does not accept any new members.

Sorry, didn't know about that...

I am not sure if I'm allowed to re-post content from it then, but I will gladly share a scan of the article in question by Ullmann (Model Aircraft, March 2012) with anyone who drops me his/her e-mail in PM.

This is where he tries to organise the prewar greys knowledge to his best.

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Fascinating stuff. Thanks for the info chaps. It looks as though I am safe lightening the RML 63 somewhat towards ash grey if depicting a weathered machine.

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I seem to remember that RLM 63 was close to Grau 02 in its color according to some references. Sadly I can't remember where or who mentioned this.

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On 11/8/2019 at 9:25 AM, Mike VE said:

I making a Henschel 123 but also have a Heinkel 51 in the pipeline. Both can have the early Luftwaffe scheme of RML61, 62 & 63 for the upper surfaces.

Err, I'm not sure the He 51 ever appeared in a 62,62,63 splinter pattern that I've ever seen. AFAIK they were delivered in light (63 early?) gray and camouflaged in the field none in any discernible "standard" pattern? It was pretty much a free for all regards camo.  HTH JH

 

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11 hours ago, JPuente54 said:

I seem to remember that RLM 63 was close to Grau 02 in its color according to some references. Sadly I can't remember where or who mentioned this.

Indeed, as shown in a number of colour chips, including those made by the original company using original recipes.  However this can be misunderstood by modellers relying upon some of the modelling representations of 02, which can be considerably too dark and too green.

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This is an interesting excerpt from the book mentioned above:

 

Ullmann.jpg

 

49037834212_3d36c04371_b.jpg

 

You can see comparison of aforementioned RAL values HERE

Edited by warhawk

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