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Luft '46 Colours Pt. 8 - Night fighters & Zerstörers

Night fighters
Unlike most other air forces, the Luftwaffe tended to use the normal underside colour RLM 76 as the top shade with various patches and/or squiggles of usually RLM 75 and black under surfaces. RLM 76 would, initially at least, seem very light for a night camouflage scheme, but on second thoughts this shade may well have looked like reflections of moonlight when viewed from above in the hours of darkness. Of course this only a personal guess without substantiation.

Applying the experiment results of mixing various standard or official RLM colours can result in some interesting schemes.

For example if there was insufficient quantities of RLM black for undersurfaces, what might have been substituted? Dark greys and greens come to mind or even very dark blue. Or any mix that would assimilate night sky, presumably dark shades. Of course lighter shades could have been added in the form of patches, waves or mottling to help break up the general shape of the aircraft.

It may be also worth noting that dead black may not have been quite as good as very dark grey for example as sometimes a night sky can take on slight variations other than black. For instance if there was a bright moon. As for top shades I’ve tried to adapt other colours but retaining the tonal values of RLM 76.
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About the Author

About Peter Allen (flitzer)

Greetings to all. My real name is Peter Allen and I have recently returned to UK from working in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as a creative director in an advertising agency. My home town is Wigan in the north of England. I’m married to Emily, a Polish lass who tolerates my modelling well. I’ve wor...


Thanks for the welcome Rowan! After looking at this very cool Luft'46 stuff on this site I HAD to join, not many other sites have much or any Luft'46 subject matter. The model in my pic is an Amtech Ta 183, I photographed it last December on a photography base I made last spring. The Ta 183 in the background is a smaller PM 1/72 scale kit, while the hanger is scratchbuilt as well as the backdrop which is airbrushed poster paper. Right now I am building the Verlinden kits of Luftwaffe start carts and a 1/48 scale Kettenkraftrad (for towing some of my jets) and these should help my airfield pics look more realistic. When my current group of models are finished I will post more pics of my airfield. Matrixone
APR 24, 2005 - 11:34 AM
Hi Les, welcome to Armorama A wonderful Ta 183 and a great set of pics. My Ta 183 is coming on, but I really need to sort out a scheme for it. I have decided that I will do the wheel bays in natural metal and I do like the idea of extreme splinter camo. I like the SAAB camo but I'm not ever likely to do anything like it on WW II aircraft. What do you think? Mal
APR 25, 2005 - 07:48 AM
Mal, Thanks for the welcome and the comment on my pics! Not sure what you mean about the SAAB camouflage, I think you mean the multi-color hard edged splinter camouflage seen on the jet fighters in Sweden in the 60's and 70's. I think it would have been unlikely for the Ta 183 to have a very uniform camouflage pattern at the start of its production, the camouflage colors and pattern would very likely been almost the same as the very late war Fw 190A, D, and Ta 152 series of a/c. The best way to decide on a paint scheme for your Ta 183 would be to look at photos of Luftwaffe Fw 190's and Bf 109's that were photographed right after the war ended, some of the JaPo and Kagero books have excellent pictures of damaged a/c in scrap yards that show a number of different camouflage patterns and markings that were in use in the last weeks of the war. I use these kind of a/c graveyard pictures to get ideas for finishing my Luft'46 models. My Ta 183 models are painted in such a way as to depict parts of their airframe being built by sub-contractors at different locations and then being brought together and assembled at a main a/c assembly center. Thats why the tail section camouflage looks very different than the fuselage color. The tail is painted in a RLM 76 variation with RLM 81 mottling, the fuselage is NMF with a thin coat of RLM 82 on the top only, the wings have a wavy splinter pattern of RLM 70 and RLM 75, with RLM 76 undersurfaces. I chose the 70/75 colors after looking at pictures of the NASM Fw 190F-8. When you get your Ta 183 finished I hope you can post some pics of it, the Ta 183 is my favorite Luft'46 a/c. HTH Matrixone
APR 25, 2005 - 02:27 PM
it is excellent again as always . I think this must be a published book or something like that. congrats Peter
APR 25, 2005 - 05:54 PM
Les, Of course you are absolutely correct. However, if I am going to do one of these it aint going to be like anything else I have. I like seeing and doing Luftwaffe camoflage, I have an FW 190D-9 in progress, but as these things never actually flew, no one will ever know what they were painted like. So mine will be depicted as if the war had continued and the luftwaffe were, once again, gaining the upper hand. It will be a late 1946 early 1947 scheme and will be very unlikely but fun to do. That is my only reason for doing it, as I have far to many models to build. I have just dipped my toe in the dark side because of Peters wonderful series, which came about because I, foolishly :-) asked a queastion about Luft46 camo. I will, as always be posting my Ta 183 here, when finished. Mal
APR 29, 2005 - 11:16 PM
Sorry I'm late....just finished the next Luft 46 colours feature... Welcome Les...great little Huck you have there. In the next part...Fighters, I've done 4 Ta 183's. Great to have another Luft 46 fan on board. Cheers Peter :-)
APR 30, 2005 - 12:51 AM
Mal, Your Ta 183 would look great in the camouflage patterns and colors of some of the post war West German jets like the F-86 and F-104. Just an idea I had for doing a late 1940's Luft'46 model. This is part of the fun of building these Luft'46 models, no one can say you have used the wrong RLM colors or camouflage patterns. What I like to do is make my Luft'46 models blend in with my late war ''real'' a/c models by painting and marking them in colors like those used near the end of WWII. I am also building a Fw 190 but mine is the Hasesgawa 1/32 scale A-8 being built as an A-9. In another week my other in-progress models will be done, they are the Tamiya Do 335B, Monogram Me 262, and Revell Lippisch P 13a. The Do 335B is painted and marked as an operational Luft'45 a/c, the Me 262 is painted and marked as a JV 44 ''what-if'' a/c and will have X-4 air to air rockets. I plan to post some pics of the new models in the aircraft forum next week. Peter, Thank you for the welcome! I am very much looking forward to your next feature, this is great stuff and I agree with Graywolf, this series should be in book form. There are 4 Amtech Ta 183's and 3 PM Ta 183's in my kit stash and your Luft'46 series will no doubt provide the inspiration for me to get to work on some of them. Les
APR 30, 2005 - 03:43 AM
Peter's Luft '46 Colours series are well worth cycling through again. Thus, here's a bump.
FEB 18, 2017 - 04:41 AM
I just noticed that the original URL doesn't work. (It was made back before Aeroscale had its own domain.) This is the URL that works today: Luft '46 Colours Pt. 8 - Night fighters & Zerstörers
FEB 18, 2017 - 08:19 AM
Cheers Fred I've updated the link. All the best Rowan
FEB 18, 2017 - 02:23 PM