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RLM Luftwaffe comparison chart

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Hi all,

I have compiled a colour chart of RLM paint chips taken from Merrick's book (Luftwaffe Camouflage and Markings 1933-1945 Vol.2 2005) along with a couple from the Kookaburra book by J. Smith (The Modeller's Luftwaffe Painting Guide 1979) and their claimed hobby paint equivalents from Testor's Model Master enamels and acryl range, Humbrol Enamels, Tamiya acrylics, WEM enamels, Life color arcylics, Vallejo Model Air and Model Color acrylics, Polly Scale acrylic and JPS acrylic paints.

The small notations under some paint matches(2:34, 5:116) is firstly the ratio and secondly the paint number (for Tamiya and Humbrol mixes).

'HCS' refers to a mix as per the old Humbrol Colour Systems book.

JPS paint was included as Mr. Popp, who makes this paint in Germany, worked in conjunction with Mr. J. Kiroff, who was the paint technology advisor in Merrick's book, to make the JPS range of paints.

You will note a couple of alternate colour chips (2005 Merrick versus 1979 Smith) for RLM79 and 83 and that different manufacturers have made their matches to one colour but not the other (IE Model Master to the 1979 Smith version for RLM79 and 83 and JPS to the 2005 Merrick darker RLM83 colour).

I am missing the JPS RLM79 paint (can anyone point me to a bottle?).

Some of the information may be out of date as the sources I have used may not be current.

Please note that the Humbrol site makes NO claim that the names on their tins represent the same colour as the names of the camouflage used on the planes we are modelling (ie RLM colours)!!

You can download them from my site in the links section: http://www.petersplanes.com/links.htm

I have also produced a Excel sheet for Tamiya, Humbrol and other paint equivalents for (most) RLM, French, Italian, RAF/FAA and USA colours. This is available from my website for downloading in the links section http://www.petersplanes.com/RLM%20colour%20chart.xls (http://www.petersplanes.com/links.htm)

It now has 16 references of suggestions for various mixes to achieve (supposedly) a match to the actual WW2 colours.

Remember these are other peoples suggestions as to what they thought was a best match and I have only compiled them into this one spot.

I have added some notes about some of the paint suggestions and mixes in the RLM section as to what I have tried against the Merrick colour chips (some are way off!).

My aim was to include as many paint mixes from varied sources in ONE spot as I could so that a quick and easy comparison can be done. And allow you to see the variety that other people think is a good match and decide for yourself. Also RGB and CMYK numbers are given to allow you to do correct colours on computer generated images or even to take it to the local paint shop and get them to mix up a batch in acrylic or enamel paints!

For example looking at RLM 83 there are at least 8 'recipes' most of them different from each other.

I hope you find these useful and that it will allow you to decide what paint is the better match for your Luftwaffe paint schemes.




Peter H


Edited by pbhawkin

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Cripes Peter, thats a pretty nice bit of work, & as one who has played around a bit with colour matches & samples I know just what went into it. Its also a really useful resource for RLM Colours. The WEM mixes seem to show up very well in most cases & I so wish I could get the JPS paints out here. :(

Well done & many thanks for sharing your labours with us.


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Hi all,

Here is a updated RLM hobby paint comparison chart.
I have made the background in each row the same colour as the RLM paint chip (from the centre column) to hopefully show the difference better between the hobby colour and the RLM colour.
I will add the NEW Humbrol enamel paints when they become available in Australia as well.

Chart 1:


Chart 2:


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Thanks for this, clearly some variations between manufacturers as I have found.

I advise modellers to mix to Luft paint charts, and Merricks is the best and most available, dont grab a tinlet etc and assume its correct, as it may well not be.

One manufacturer has rlm70/71 looking like 71/02 I recall .

I see the rlm71 here looks like brown, so one cannot use the rgb image on the monitor.

You omitted to do Phoenix Precision paints (UK) Luftwaffe range though...which is from what I remember of my tests, very accurate generally, (65 is not right, too greenish, awaiting correction when I last spoke to them), having painted out 2x2inch samples of most manufacturers.

There were two different shades of 65 by the way.

Also as we now have Humbrol attempting to do a Luftwaffe range, it would be good to feature that, though brush paintability is , as reported elsewhere in Britmodeller, (and experienced) a disaster....you would have to resort to airbrush, as it simply does not brush out at all, unless very many coats are applied.


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Very interesting! I have some suggestions, though.

I would say that Humbrol 31 is too green for RLM 02 - there is now new Humbrol 240 which is for me perfect as RLM 02.

For RLM 61 I would suggest Humbrol 98

For RLM 62 Humbrol 117. 

For RLM 71 Humbrol 116 (that what I 've used) but now there is perhaps better Humbrol 242. Humbrol 30 is not olive at all.

Those are my choices.




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If you look at the post immediately above yours (post #9 dated June 2017), you will note that I have included the new Humbrol paints such as 240 and 242 as you mention in your post.
Remember that THESE suggestions are NOT mine but those claimed by the paint maker (either from their website or brochure or book (Humbrol colour system) as in the case of Humbrol).

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This has been quite an effort you have made! If I may, I'd like to make a few minor comments regarding the Colourcoats matches - those labelled WEM on your cards. All of them are matched to Jurgen Kiroff's chips published in the two volumes of Merrick and Kiroff - that's the only reference we use for WW2 era Luftwaffe. Much earlier in Colourcoats' existence the Luftwaffe paints were introduced matched to Eagle Editions. These were changed when Merrick & Kiroff was released, still under White Ensign Models' ownership.


The ACLW10 "Hellgrau RLM63" is matched to the greenish shade on the 1938 card which I think was published in Volume 1 of the books. I think that's the only RLM63 reference on offered by Kiroff. There was however Hellgrau (L40/52) beside it on the same 1938 card and we matched that too with ACLW07: ACLW07jpg_1024x1024.jpg?v=1483888730 This seems to be the shade you're comparing for RLM63?


For RLM79, we released a second product, ACLW22, a couple of years ago matched to Kiroff's lighter RLM79 chip labelled as "Sandgelb (Hell)": ACLW22rgb_1024x1024.jpg?v=1480880607

This compliments the existing ACLW18 product matched to the darker Sandgelb RLM79 chip.


Lastly, film thickness does affect the look of the final shade - ours are matched at a 100micron film thickness. At this thickness, they all exactly match our copies of the Merrick & Kiroff chips.

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