Jump to content
ARC Discussion Forums

Sign in to follow this  
11bee

Bf-109 Reference Question

Recommended Posts

I received "BF 109 Late Versions: Camouflage & Markings" by Krzysztof Wolowski for Christmas. It's a very comprehensive reference on the varied camouflage patters that these aircraft had. The book has dozens of color profiles, I'm just curious on what the consensus is as to their accuracy? I've seen some of the aircraft done by others and there are differences. Not sure if anyone can conclusively determine who's profile is accurate and who's isn't but figured I'd ask.

If anyone's interested, here's the link to the book:

http://www.amazon.com/BF-109-Late-Versions-Camouflage/dp/8361421130

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like this book a lot, esp. since there is no updated version of Rodeike. Note that the author uses 82 and 83 differently than most (82=dark, 83=light); I think it's just confusing. Haven't looked at the color profiles very closely, but I don't recall any obvious head-scratchers.

My 2 cents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a little posting I made over at Modeling Madness, that may answer some of your questions...

To the best of my knowledge, RLM70 is exactly a black green, with no yellowish tint. 71 is a darkish green with a slight olivey tint. 72 and 73 are greens that tend to the greyish. 74 is a dark gray with a greenish tint. 75 is a medium to lighter gray with somewhat of a violet tint. Naturally during wartime there were variations, but all basically in the ballpark of the shades described above.toward the closing year of the war, new shades were developed, that more closely filled the changing needs of the Luftwaffe. RLM 81 was a dark brownish green with a definite violet hue. RLM 82 was a medium, bright green, very much like a grass green. 83 was a dark green, in some cases with a slight olivey hue. More so than the older colors, these shades were subject to variation. There is a new undercurrent claiming 83 to be a blue rather than a green. I do not at this time subscribe to that theory. Enter RLM 84. This is not a true designation, but has been brought into play by m0dern day modelers, etc, to describe the pale green used on many late airplanes as an underside color, rather than the 76 pale blue we're more used to seeing. I might mention, that on fighter airplanes, vintage mid 1940 to Nov./41, RLM 02 appeared in place of the 70, with the 71 still in play. Under some light, 02 just might show a yellowish tendency. To describe 02, it's a greenish, tannish, grayish color, originally used as a primer and cockpit/wheel well color, but as said, during the Battle of Britain, it was used in place of the 70 black green.

I might add to the above by saying throughout the war, 70 was the basic color for propellor blades and spinners. Again, variations abounded, most particularly in the case of the spinners. In addition, right up to war's end, the 70/71 over 65 combo was still being used on many bomber, transport, and observation planes as the basic camouflage scheme. Very early in the war, the 02 cockpit interior colors were changed to RLM 66, a black gray. This was so right up to the end. Wheel wells, gear legs, etc stayed 02. Wheel discs themselves were basically gloss black. By the way, 66 varied allthe way from almost black up to what I'd call a medium gray. In addition, according to Merrick and Hitchcock, the basic color for wooden prop blades was 66 black gray, again with multitudinous variations. Wooden prop blades were much in use in the Luftwaffe, meaning not just the normal 2 bladed props seen on trainers, but moulded compressed wood, and can be found on Stukas, JU-88s, and many late Focke Wulf products, just to mention a few examples. Hal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like this book a lot, esp. since there is no updated version of Rodeike. Note that the author uses 82 and 83 differently than most (82=dark, 83=light); I think it's just confusing. Haven't looked at the color profiles very closely, but I don't recall any obvious head-scratchers.

My 2 cents.

The main area I see some conflicts is with some profiles using RLM 75 and others of the same aircraft from other sources using RLM 82 (dk green) in it's place (or visa versa). Same thing with RLM 76 vrs RLM 84. I know it's incredibly hard to determine which color is used when you are staring at old B&W pictures but I was curious if most experts feel that the profiles presented within the Wolowski book are generally considered accurate? Some of his profiles are just screaming out to have decals offered up (especially in 1/32 for the Revell G-14 and Erla G-10 kits).

Regards,

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

11Bee, in the post re Bartel's 109, G Morrisson has provided a link to some very nice, and authentic profiles of Bf-109G-10s. If Morrisson says they're right, they're right I bookmarked the site for my own future reference. They also give several upper surface camo patterns. I do not have access to the source you quote, so cannot comment on it. Hal Sr

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to clarify the 82/83 issue. When these colors were first discussed in publication 82 was thought to be dark green and 83 to be light green. Subsequently, documentation was discovered that reverse the colors, that is 82 is light green and 83 is dark green. This information was published in the old AeroFoil magazine as an adenda to the Monogram Luftwaffe Colors and Markings series of books. At that time most of the model paint manufactures had already labled their paints under the old system and many of the manufactures have never updated their labelling. Always a good idea to fully identify what color is being refered to when discussiing these two colors.

HTH,

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right, Dave. Model Master still mislabels their 82/83 colors. THeir 70/71 by the way, are way off. WEM Colorcoats RLM colors are correctly labelled, and I'm very fond of their RLM shades. Available here in the U.S. from MidTenn Hobbies. (excellent service).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The main area I see some conflicts is with some profiles using RLM 75 and others of the same aircraft from other sources using RLM 82 (dk green) in it's place (or visa versa). Same thing with RLM 76 vrs RLM 84. I know it's incredibly hard to determine which color is used when you are staring at old B&W pictures but I was curious if most experts feel that the profiles presented within the Wolowski book are generally considered accurate?

Don't know what the experts think :). I'm not a member of the color police and I won't argue that something should be 76, 84 or 77 (for example). Having said that, 75/83 is an established color combination for the 109s, so that shouldn't be controversial. I'd be more suspicious of 82/83 on a 109.

Some of his profiles are just screaming out to have decals offered up (especially in 1/32 for the Revell G-14 and Erla G-10 kits).

Normally I'd expect Kagero to publish something like that. Every time I find a nice subject in JVB, it appears in one of the topcolors booklets within few months.

Just to clarify the 82/83 issue. When these colors were first discussed in publication 82 was thought to be dark green and 83 to be light green.

Woloski uses 82 for the dark and 83 for the light greens. I find it confusing, even if he's up-front about it. But ultimately the color is more important than the name, I guess.

HTH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I received "BF 109 Late Versions: Camouflage & Markings" by Krzysztof Wolowski for Christmas. It's a very comprehensive reference on the varied camouflage patters that these aircraft had. The book has dozens of color profiles, I'm just curious on what the consensus is as to their accuracy? I've seen some of the aircraft done by others and there are differences. Not sure if anyone can conclusively determine who's profile is accurate and who's isn't but figured I'd ask.

If anyone's interested, here's the link to the book:

http://www.amazon.com/BF-109-Late-Versions-Camouflage/dp/8361421130

To be honest, there's some mistakes that are quite old and has been proven wrong in many later publications while other profiles are more accurate. There's off course always a lot that is open to interpretation.

My latest post at my blog deals with latewar colors on 109's. The latest info on RLM 83 is that it was dark blue so we can forget it for fighters. The dark green believed to be RLM 83 seems likely to be a green version of RLM 81.

There's never been any proof that RLM 83 was dark green, it was only a theory (a sound one at that) that has been repeated again and again until becoming "the truth", but newly found documents proves it wrong.

See more at my site: My Blog

/Anders - Running for cover...:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anders - Running for cover...

Got your back. I'm old-enough to remember when Luftwaffe airplanes were RLM 70 + RLM 71 on top, and RLM 65 underneath. And that's what was "known." This despite what my friend, a B-24 tail gunner and life-long model maker (carved some of his outfit's machines from wood and painted them up at the time) replied when I asked him what they looked like in the air, "Gray. And they'd twinkle when they're shooting at you."

Now, seventy-odd years later, photos, Flugb├╝cher, and documents continue to turn up. We mustn't, I hope, become fossilized in our thinking. Let's keep both eyes AND minds open to discoveries. I still enjoy being persuaded.

GRM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be honest, there's some mistakes that are quite old and has been proven wrong in many later publications while other profiles are more accurate. There's off course always a lot that is open to interpretation.

My latest post at my blog deals with latewar colors on 109's. The latest info on RLM 83 is that it was dark blue so we can forget it for fighters. The dark green believed to be RLM 83 seems likely to be a green version of RLM 81.

There's never been any proof that RLM 83 was dark green, it was only a theory (a sound one at that) that has been repeated again and again until becoming "the truth", but newly found documents proves it wrong.

See more at my site: My Blog

/Anders - Running for cover...:)/>

Fascinating stuff indeed. I think we need to give up using RLM numbers while discussing late war cammo schemes. They seem to change every other day :) . Maybe just keep it simple and call the colors Dark Green, Brown Violet and Light Green?

As GRM mentions, it is interesting how this subject has evolved over the years. One related note I have is regarding the bare metal on the lower wing surfaces of later production G-10's and K-4's. This seems to have only been documented in the last 5 years or so. I have plenty of older references that indicate all undersurfaces were RLM76 (or the elusive "RLM84" that itself was only commonly accepted a decade or two ago).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed, I was pretty happy with Brown Violet, Dark Green and Bright Green but for the decal instructions we had to come up with something a little more precise. :)

Some aircraft did have all RLM 76 undersurfaces even at the end so references are preferable before deciding how to finish a certain individual aircraft. Erla was much more consistent in that than the other factories though.

As for "RLM 84", that one is not commonly accepted in my view. There's concensus that a light green was used but there's still great debate about the reasons.

Ullmann for example, believes that the light green is miscolored RLM 76 and that it stems from when the amount of pigments in 76 was reduced to save raw materials. This reduction of pigments allowed the Zinc Chromate component to shine throught and discolor the RLM 76. Indeed, if yellow is added to RLM 76 you'll have a perfect example of latewar "Light Green" so it certainly seems possible.

Others think that this is a new shade completely given the uniformity between samples found on different aircraft and that it was often painted on top of regular RLM 76. So I find that theory equally possible.

At least we know what that color looked like, it's easily replicated with Sky or by adding yellow to RLM 76. :)

/Anders

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The book has a few mistakes. I have the book too and like it a lot. It does have a few captions that do not match the profile. There are some things mislabeled as new info comes out too. Each person who does a book on late war Luft camo's can only get so far with known facts. So there is always some opinion. This is largely due to the quality of the paint (how they were mixed/thinned etc.) and the availability of paint. This book states that some 109G-10's from Diana used RLM 77 as a camo color. Others say it is a lightened version of RLM 75. Most agree that there is a regular 76, a greenish 76 (sometimes called RLM 84 by mistake or because it is easier that way) and a whiter 76. Late war camo's are great fun and full of questions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The book has a few mistakes. I have the book too and like it a lot. It does have a few captions that do not match the profile. There are some things mislabeled as new info comes out too. Each person who does a book on late war Luft camo's can only get so far with known facts. So there is always some opinion. This is largely due to the quality of the paint (how they were mixed/thinned etc.) and the availability of paint. This book states that some 109G-10's from Diana used RLM 77 as a camo color. Others say it is a lightened version of RLM 75. Most agree that there is a regular 76, a greenish 76 (sometimes called RLM 84 by mistake or because it is easier that way) and a whiter 76. Late war camo's are great fun and full of questions.

I actually found those Diana G-10's to be the most visually interesting. Hoping to see some decals for them at some point in the future. Regardless of whether it was RLM 77 or some lighter version of RLM 75, it certainly looks pretty.

I'm still optimistic that someone will be going through their grandfathers old boxes some day and find a few hundred clear, color pictures of late war 109's so we can finally put all these questions to rest.

Edited by 11bee

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think most of the references on Diana built G-10's stems from the photos taken at Neubiburg where II./JG52 surrendered. In many of these photos the lighter top color looks extremely pale but I've realized that there were Mtt Regensburg as well as Erla built aircraft photographed at Neubiberg looking equally pale so there might be something else that we're seeing. Photos taken during a very bright day, a certain type of film, filter etc. I don't think that there's any doubt that RLM 75 could look paler late in the war but perhaps not quite as much as the photos from Neubiburg seem to suggest.

For an intersting article on RLM 77 as camouflage color, go and read Dave Browns work here: http://www.hmmg.ca/Articles.htm

/Anders

PS I'm in full agreement with the fact that once you publish something, there's a guarantee that something new will turn up and prove you wrong! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm all for being open minded IRT to new information that comes to light but when we start changing conventions that we've used for a long, long time it just gets confusing as hell. So 83 is now bluish and 82 is dark green, what designator is light green? Do we have RLM 82, light and dark? I'd really prefer we stick to the standard conventions in the name of simplicity, historical correctness be damned!

And on the subject of "RLM 84" what about the straw tinted variant?

As far as the book I like it. I'm not really in 100% agreement with all the color interpretations, but there's a reason we call them interpretations! Some of the "K" schemes apppear a little far fetched, especially since Messerschmitt maintained a pretty fair degree of consistency of paint schemes from batch as opposed to other late war aircraft that were all over the map. Japo's "Messerschmitt Bf 109K Camouflage and Marking" is a great study of the subject.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The dark colors, Dark Green and Brown Violet seems to have been RLM 81 while the Bright Green is RLM 82.

It's unfortunate that the Dark Green RML 83 THEORY has been accepted as the truth for the last 20 years or so. There was never any proof for that. Off course there'll be confusion when "the truth" turns out to not be true after all. The few surviving factory drawings all have RLM 81/82 schemes written on them, never 83. So in that respect it would also make sense that RLM 81 could be either Dark Green or Brown Violet.

Still, all is free to call these colors whatever they want, personally I try to stick with the names rather than the numbers a I'm not sure we still understand the system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The dark colors, Dark Green and Brown Violet seems to have been RLM 81 while the Bright Green is RLM 82.

It's unfortunate that the Dark Green RML 83 THEORY has been accepted as the truth for the last 20 years or so. There was never any proof for that. Off course there'll be confusion when "the truth" turns out to not be true after all. The few surviving factory drawings all have RLM 81/82 schemes written on them, never 83. So in that respect it would also make sense that RLM 81 could be either Dark Green or Brown Violet.

Still, all is free to call these colors whatever they want, personally I try to stick with the names rather than the numbers a I'm not sure we still understand the system.

Going just with RLM numbers simply adds to the confusion. Especially since you would then have a mix of older references that still use the incorrect numbers, current references that use revised numbers and other current references that don't accept the latest thinking. Just leads to chaos.

At the bare minimum, if folks feel the need to reference the RLM number, add the color in parenthesizes ie - RLM81 (Dark Green) or RLM81 (Brown Violet), etc.

On a related note, any theory on why the Germans opted for two completely different shades of RLM81? Was the intent that this color was a single shade but the variation was due to local supplier issues? Just doesn't seem logical and the Germans, if nothing else, were pretty logical about stuff like this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to clarify my post regarding the addenda to the Monogram Painting Guide, IIRC the authors based their color reversal on the discovery of a set of RLM color cards with the RLM numbers stamped on the cards. After many, many years of studying this topic, it's still confusing.

On the subject of 83 being a blue, has anyone come up with photographs?

Cheers and confused.

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the subject of 83 being a blue, has anyone come up with photographs?

I believe that 83 (blue) was a color proposed for use in certain theaters but to the best of my knowledge (which admittedly is limited when it comes to this stuff) was never actually used in service.

Or if it was used, no clear pictures have ever been found to document it conclusively.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That set of colorcards only had two cards stamped, RLM 76 and 82. The other two were a very dark brown and an olive green but the cards were unmarked. So in other words, the color numbers were were reveresed by identifying RLM 82 as Bright Green and nothing more. I actually have samples of those cards at the moment, lent to me by Dave Brown, and they are very close to the samples in Ken Merricks books.

11bee: Both colors started out as greens and according to the documents it was quite early in the development that the brown tinted versions were tried too. When these colors were first developed the Luftwaffe was fighting in every sort of environment possible in Europe so it seems quite natural that they'd try both greens and browns. Maybe it was just during the testing phase that several shades were tried and that the intent was to settle for two, i.e. RLM 81 Brown Violet and RLM 82 Bright Green?

An intersting detail is that the green versions of both 81 and 82 are very consistent. There's five or six samples of each in Ken Merricks Monogram book and they're all very very close. The five or so browns all differ from each other. Same goes for FS referces taken from several wrecks by various authors, the dark green seems to always be identified as FS 34083 while the Brown Violets differ quite a lot. I'm not sure what to make of that but one does wonder whether the green shades were regulated while the brown tinting was not.

Regarding RLM 83, there's reports and eyewitness accounts of dark blue JU88's in the MTO which might or might not have been examples of RLM 83.

/Anders

Edited by Cpt_Farrel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi guys

Not much to add as I am anything but knowledgeable in this field but just to keep in mind that whatever the RLM number it was or was not the Dark Green formerly known as RLM 83 and now based on current thinking to have been a variation of RLM 81 did exist as can be verified by wreck recovery. All that is being argued is the numerical designation. The same can be said for the Light Green known as RLM 84; whether or not it was a variation of RLM 76 Light Blue or a entirely new color the fact remains that it did exist and aircraft were painted this color. For historical accuracy perhaps one should refer to these as RLM 81 Dark Green and RLM 81 Brown Violet and RLM 76 Light Blue and RLM 76 Light Green in view in what is known now but it really is just a matter of semantics.

Horrido!

Leo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm in total agreement. For the purpose of modeling and making profiles, these are indeed only semantics that isn't going to change our perception of the colors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Leo, I definitely agree with you. The colors remain the same regardless of the name or number and some care should be taken in identifying the actual color when talking about them. John Campbell related, after one of his trips to Moscow, that the Russian Air Force archives holds thousands of documents and photos taken from the Luftwaffe archives at the end of the war. Too bad that this information will probably never see the light of day.

Cheers,

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Japo's "Messerschmitt Bf 109K Camouflage and Marking" is a great study of the subject.

Just went on Amazon, figured I'd treat myself to this book. It's listed at $299!! Want to loan me your copy? :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...