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Aado Ar-234 NASM landing gear bay color


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The caption to a picture on page 69 of ARADO 234 BLITZ, by J.R.Smith and E.J.Creek, Monogram Monarch - 1, states " When NASM staff were working on the interior of the undercarriage stowage bay they found this unusual buff color ".


I thought RLM 02 or un-painted were the only options, but the evidence shows otherwise. Can any Luftwaffe color expert cast some light?



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Late war Luftwaffe colours are not straightforward. References tell us about the RLM colours mandated for interior and exterior use, and, to a great extent, these colours seem to have been used as directed by the RLM.


However, surviving airframes and restorations do throw up anomalies of the type you have indicated above. The NASM are very diligent in recording colours in their airframes, so I would have confidence that this buff colour is authentic. You can see other examples from restorations of surviving airframes of Luftwaffe paint colours that 'don't follow the rules' here




this page from here





It would appear that in the last months of the war that improvisation and desperation forced the use of whatever was at hand, especially if resources and logistics were stretched. This is not to say that 'anything goes' paintwise in all cases, but rather that there were colour exceptions in some circumstances.  Another example from a restored airframe is the NASM who also reported the use of a non-regulation light grey on the lower fuselage sides of their Me262 painted between the underside 76 and the topside camouflage colours. 


If you really want to see a striking example of hard-to-explain late war colours then the Bankstown Bf109G in Australia has it all - black-grey wings with light grey camouflage on their uppersurfaces ) actually two different wing patterns and colour combinations with even what appears to be a splash of desert blue 78 on the cowl bumps (this on a 1945 airframe!)


It's a complex and contentious area that can arouse strong opinions in some quarters. Some modellers have difficulty in contemplating that late war colours varied like this. Even when the evidence, such as your example or good quality colour photographs, is put in front of them.





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Hi SafetyDad,


Could it be one of the RLM 79 Variants?


And in your opinion, would this apply just to the NASM airframe, or could it be an Arado's approved practice, perhaps applied to the production from a given Werknummer on?


Thanks for your input.





Edited by Pete57
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Hi Pete


Any speculation on my part would be just that - speculation.


Personally I would stay clear of linking the buff colour to a specific RLM colour, as this may well take us off on a fairly non-productive course where others insist on the production of a copy directive from the RLM authorising the use of such a colour in this case before they will accept it. 


Rather I would rely upon the evidence at hand. It's there and it's a light sandy brown colour. Certainly does look a bit like 79. The photo you refer to gives a very clear idea of its hue and allows a modeller to replicate it fairly accurately.  


Was it standard across the production of Ar234s? Who knows. The NASM example of the Ar234B is a standard production airframe retrieved from Europe at the war's end. As such, it can be viewed as typical of the production run as it was chosen at random for preservation. As far as I am aware all the Ar234Bs were built by Arado in the same facility, unlike Messerschmitt and Focke-Wulf where different manufacturers (and therefore some variations in painting) were involved. So that, plus the small numbers produced, seem to make it more likely that the colour was used across at least some of the production run.  But I have no evidence for this - it's an informed suggestion only (based on the reasoning I have given).


So, my gently proposed personal view is that yes, it's likely the buff colour was used on other 234s. But others may take a different view .


Just my thoughts as you asked for :wink:





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I would suggest that this wasn't any of the external camouflage colours - especially as it is seen inside the wheelwell - but one of the primers that did not have to be any specific colour but was acceptable as whatever colour resulted from the ingredients.  There is quite a lot of detail on this in Merrick's book for Classic, though generic not particular to any given type, As for modelling it, go with SafetyDad's advice.

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