Plane colors and camouflage . Primer US WWII .Part 1)By : GIANNIS MITZAS

Primer US WWII 



Interiors (1941-1954)

The topic of US wartime interiors is highly complicated and in many cases remains speculative to this day. This is because there was considerable leeway with respect to individual manufacturers using their own standards which means that even the same aircraft built in different factories could have different interior colors. For the most part, US aircraft used the same basic corrosion-resistant primer known as Zinc Chromate which also became the default color for exposed interior spaces. The name of this primer referred to the main pigment used rather than the color which was a bright yellow with a greenish hue, hence why it was also referred to as Yellow Zinc Chromate. The exact tone of YZC varied slightly between manufacturers and it was never assigned a number on any color system. A second color was created by adding black enamel to zinc chromate, producing what became known as Green Zinc Chromate (also called Tinted Zinc Chromate). This was used mostly on unexposed interior spaces, cockpits, as well as repainted parts that were previously covered only in YZC. Manufacturers often used different proportions of zinc chromate and black lamp in their mixes and as a result GZC varied even more in practice than YZC. Eventually, a standardized version of GZC was developed in late 1942 and became known as Interior Green (ANA 611 after the implementation of the ANA system on 28 September 1943). This was slightly darker and browner than the average GZC shade and later superseded by FS 34151 which was even browner still than the wartime shade. Notably, Grumman and Vought used proprietary primers in the early days of the war, known colloquially as Grumman Gray and Salmon Pink respectively.

There were no standardized requirements for painting exposed interior spaces but typical USN practice was for most carrier-based aircraft to have their landing gear spaces and components (wheel wells, covers, landing gear, and wheel hubs) painted in the same color as the lower fuselage, with the only notable exception being the S2BC Helldiver which painted them in GZC / IG. This, combined with the early use of proprietary primers by Grumman and Vought, meant that YZC was rare on exposed interiors of USN combat aircraft unlike those of the USAAF. Aside from that, all other structural spaces such as bomb bays and (non-cockpit) crew compartments were painted in GZC / IG, independent of the cockpit color. Post-war, practices for painting interiors continued to vary between aircraft although many still retained the wartime tradition of using the underside color for all landing gear spaces. This remained in place until 25 March 1954 (BuAer Instruction NAVAER 07.1) when major changes to interior colors were implemented and which are described below.

Paint guide:


Yellow Zinc Chromate: YZC is not well represented among traditional paint manufacturers although Tamiya's XF-4 (Yellow Green) is a surprisingly accurate match that will displease nobody despite its generic labeling. Gunze has released both yellow and green versions of this primer in a box set (now available individually).
Green Zinc Chromate: Most paint ranges will not differentiate it with the slightly browner ANA 611 or give unspecific labels like 'US Interior Green' although for modeling purposes the difference should not be too problematic. AMMO by Mig's A.MIG-202 commits the triple sin of labeling itself as GZC, ANA 611, and FS 34151 which it appears closest to. AK Real Colors (RC264) is labeled Interior Green Yellow which suggests a GZC rather than ANA 611 match; AK's Air Series range, however, does include separate paints for each.
Interior Green ANA 611: This is the most common match to any paint labeled 'US Interior Green' or such. Gunze's H58 / C27 is excellent and probably the gold standard of how this color should look. Paints that intend to match FS 34151 will look too brown for a correct wartime shade.
Grumman Gray: None of the paint ranges carry it but any match to ANA 620 / FS 36440 should be good enough. Grumman Gray primer was used on F4F Wildcats (all versions) and TBF-1 / 1C Avengers.
Salmon Pink: Only Mr. Paint (MRP-130) carries it. An acceptable substitute is Gunze's H414 / C414 (RLM 23) which has a pinkish hue which is perhaps excessive for its intended German color but is a good approximation for the primer. Most generic 'salmon pink' paints are too bright and do not capture the primer color well. Salmon Pink primer was used on 'birdcage' F4U-1 and a few early F4U-1A Corsairs.

ANA 611
Yellow Zinc ChromateGreen Zinc ChromateInterior GreenAluminum
Schemes
GeneralInteriorsInteriors
General (1943)InteriorsInteriorsInteriors
Color matches
Gunze Aqueous--H58(H8)
Gunze Mr. ColorC352C351C27(C8)
Humbrol--22656
Model Master-17341715*1781
Revell---99
TamiyaXF-4**--XF-16
Vallejo Model Air71.10771.09471.137*71.062
Vallejo Model Color--70.850*-
AKAN72034-72004*76004
AK InteractiveAK 2207AK 2306AK 2303-
AK Real ColorsRC263RC262-RC020
AMMO by MigA.MIG-221A.MIG-220* (!)A.MIG-220*A.MIG-194
ColourcoatsACUS23ACUS22ACUS09-
Hataka--HTK-_211*HTK-_078
Lifecolor--UA 004*LC-74
Mission ModelsMMP-067MMP-068MMP-059*MMM-003
Mr. PaintMRP-129-MRP-131MRP-3
XtracolorX408-X117*X142
Xtracrylix--XA1117*(XA1216)


 Salmon Pink primer was used on 'birdcage' F4U-1 and a few early F4U-1A Corsairs.
Yellow Zinc Chromate f4U-4 Corsairs

Green Zinc Chromate TBM-3 Avenger.

Interior Green B-17

Cockpits U.S. NAVY & Marines  (1941-1954)


US cockpit colors in World War II are the subject of much controversy and speculation. Thankfully, there is slightly greater consistency among USN aircraft than their USAAF counterparts despite using the same colors. From 23 August 1938 (TO 50-38), the default cockpit color used by the USN at the start of the war was Bronze Green. This was introduced as early as November 1919 (US Army Specification No. 3-1) where it was known as Bronze Green No. 9. It is a very dark olive green which can be compared to a black-green, although like most cockpit colors it would look considerably lighter in practice. However, adherence to this color was not strictly enforced and manufacturers were allowed to use similar approved colors. The most common was Green Zinc Chromate, which was already in widespread use as a primer for unexposed interior spaces. Some manufacturers were known to have used their own particular variants of GZC, such as Curtiss whose version is known colloquially as Curtis Cockpit Green. Ultimately, the use of Bronze Green or any version of zinc chromate was highly manufacturer-dependent and justified in many aircraft built in separate factories being finished with different cockpit colors. Additionally, a small number of pre-war aircraft like the Brewster Buffalo and the Douglas TBD Devastator had painted cockpits in an aluminum lacquer. These aircraft saw only limited service during the first year of the war.

From 24 April 1942 (BuAer Specification SR-15d), a new cockpit color known as Dark Dull Green was introduced to replace Bronze Green. There is considerable speculation regarding its exact color and is generally believed to be a darker version of Medium Green No. 42 / ANA 612 / FS 34092 with more of a blueish hue. More problems arise from the fact that it looks vastly different on many aircraft, in some appearing as a turquoise-like blue-green. The fact that this color is much closer to that of actual aged bronze (think of old bronze artifacts and statues) lends even more confusion with Bronze Green. A few months later, the specification of the color that would later be known as Interior Green ANA 611 (which as the previous section described as a particularly tinted version of Green Zinc Chromate) came on 21 December 1942 and many manufacturers that had hitherto used GZC gradually shifted to this new color. Interior Green was formally adopted as part of the ANA system when it was instituted on 28 September 1943 by which time the use of Dull Dark Green had been largely abandoned on USN aircraft.

The final wartime change occurred on 10 October 1944 (BuAer Specification SR-15e) when it was determined that all cockpit areas above the level of the bottom of the instrument panel were to be painted Instrument Black ANA 514. This included areas such as the canopy frame. This practice continued into the post-war era although it also became common for larger areas of the cockpit being painted in ANA 514 such as the entirety of the walls and side panels. Eventually, many aircraft cockpits by the time of the Korean War were painted entirely in ANA 514 until 25 March 1954 (BuAer Instruction NAVAER 07.1) when the use of Dark Gull Gray was introduced.

A summary of the suspected main cockpit colors used on major USN carrier aircraft is as follows. All post-war aircraft used Interior Green and Instrument Black or overall Instrument Black cockpits:

F2A Buffalo: Aluminum lacquer (F2A-1/2); Green Zinc Chromate (F2A-3)
F4F / FM Wildcat: Green Bronze (F4F-3); Dull Dark Green (?) Or Bronze Green (F4F-4); Green Zinc Chromate / Interior Green (FM-1/2)
F4U Corsair: Black (?) Or Bronze Green (F4U-1); Interior Green (F4U-1A), Interior Green and Instrument Black (F4U-1D and later)
F6F Hellcat: Interior Green (F6F-3); Interior Green and Instrument Black (F6F-5)
SBD Dauntless: Green Zinc Chromate / Interior Green (All versions)
SB2C Helldiver: Curtiss Cockpit Green (All versions)
SB2U Vindicator: Green Zinc Chromate / Interior Green (All versions, factory color); Dull Dark Green (SB2U-3 repaints pre-Midway)
TBD Devastator: Aluminum lacquer (All versions)
TBF / TBM Avenger: Green Bronze (Early TBF-1); Dark Dull Green (Late TBF-1 / 1C); Green Zinc Chromate / Interior Green (All TBM versions)
Unlike exterior camouflage, vintage wartime-era color photos of cockpits are a rarity, which makes the problem of approximating the actual colors so much more difficult. Cockpit photos are also notoriously difficult to accurately assess given that colors tend to look lighter than they actually are. Furthermore, preserved aircraft like those found in museums may have been repainted and the new color may not match the original. In conclusion, all information here is speculative and should not be taken as the final word on this controversial topic.

Paint guide:

Bronze Green: Very few ranges (Colourcoats and Mr. Paint) offer specific matches for cockpit Bronze Green and Dull Dark Green that are specific to US interiors and given the controversy

F4u-4 Corsair Interior Green.Late war aircraft had the upper half of the cockpit walls, side panels, and the canopy frame painted Instrument Black, a practice that continued into the post-war period as in this F4U-4 Corsair.

F4F-4 Wildcat showing what is likely Dull Dark Green, although it is believed that Grumman-built Wildcats used Bronze Green exclusively.

ANA 611
Yellow Zinc ChromateGreen Zinc ChromateInterior Green
Schemes
GeneralInteriorsInteriors
General (1943)InteriorsInteriors
Color matches
Gunze Aqueous--H58
Gunze Mr. ColorC352C351C27
Humbrol--226
Model Master-17341715*
Revell---
TamiyaXF-4**--
Vallejo Model Air71.10771.09471.137*
Vallejo Model Color--70.850*
AKAN72034-72004*
AK InteractiveAK 2207AK 2306AK 2303
AK Real ColorsRC263RC262-
AMMO by MigA.MIG-221A.MIG-220* (!)A.MIG-220*
ColourcoatsACUS23ACUS22ACUS09
Hataka--HTK-_211*
Lifecolor--UA 004*
Mission ModelsMMP-067MMP-068MMP-059*
Mr. PaintMRP-129-MRP-131
XtracolorX408-X117*
Xtracrylix--XA1117*




Cockpits US Army Air Force

US cockpit colors in World War II are the subject of much controversy and speculation. The earliest guidelines for cockpit colors were provided on 9 September 1938 (Specification No. 98-24113-A) which laid out the practice that would be common on many USAAF aircraft and which was based around two colors. The first was Green Zinc Chromate (described in the text as 'Yellow Green') which was to be applied on aircraft with open cockpits or with sliding enclosures such as fighters and other single-engined aircraft. The second color was Bronze Green No. 9 which was to be applied on aircraft with closed cockpits which are part of the fuselage such as bombers and other large multi-engined aircraft. This was introduced as early as November 1919 (US Army Specification No. 3-1) and is a very dark olive green which can be compared to a black-green, although like most cockpit colors it would look considerably lighter in practice.
An ammendment to the specification was made on 6 September 1942 (Amendment No. 6). The guidelines retained Green Zinc Chromate for aircraft with open cockpits or with sliding enclosures. However, a new color known as Dull Dark Green (which had been introduced in USN service in April) replaced Bronze Green for aircraft with closed cockpits. There is considerable speculation regarding its exact color and is generally believed to a darker version of Medium Green No. 42/ANA 612/FS 34092 with more of a blueish hue. More problems arise from the fact that it looks vastly different on many aircraft, in some appearing as a turquoise-like blue-green. The color is much closer to that of actual aged bronze (think of old bronze artifacts and statues) which lends itself to even more confusion with Bronze Green. In late 1942, Green Zinc Chromate was standardized by the USN into the color that would be introduced on 28 September 1943 to the ANA palette as Interior Green ANA 611. This would thereafter become the de facto 'Yellow Green' as previously specified.
A final wartime revision of interior colors was issued on 6 April 1945 (Specification No. 98-24113-B) which had it that all cockpits and other enclosed areas (like turrets as well as bombardier and navigator stations) that were visible were to be painted Medium Green ANA 612 (which I personally suspect was intended to replace Dull Dark Green given its similarity). Areas of cockpits that were reflected in glass were to be painted in Black ANA 604. In practice this meant that the upper half of cockpits (usually from the level above the bottom of the instrument panel) were painted black. Just a few days before the end of the war, on 18 August 1945 an amendment to the previous specification formally established Interior Green ANA 611 as the replacement for 'Yellow Green'. Given the winding down of aircraft production in 1945 it is likely that very few aircraft were ever painted with ANA 612 cockpits.
Unfortunately for the sake of consistency, not all USAAF manufacturers followed the basic guidelines and in many cases created their own proprietary cockpit colors. For example, Curtiss Cockpit Green was developed by local paint vendors and is believed to be a more heavily tinted version of GZC which appeared slightly brown. Northrop Cockpit Green was another such shade, believed to be closer to the typical version of GZC. Early P-38s used Olive Drab cockpits. Finally, there is also some confusion over the colors used by Republic which are thought to be approximations of Bronze Green and (later) Dull Dark Green. Bell Green was a similar dark color, believed to be close to Medium Green. It was common for USAAF aircraft to be built in more than one factory which means more than one cockpit color could have been used.
A summary of the suspected main cockpit colors used on major USAAF aircraft is as follows. All post-war aircraft used Interior Green and Black or overall Black cockpits:
  • P-38 Lightning: Olive Drab (P-38E, F-4), Green Zinc Chromate/Interior Green (P-38F and later)
  • P-39 Airacobra: Bell Green (All versions)
  • P-40 Warhawk: Curtiss Cockpit Green (All versions)
  • P-47 Thunderbolt: Republic Bronze Green (P-47C, Razorback P-47D); Republic Dull Dark Green (Bubbletop P-47D/M/N)
  • P-51 Mustang: DuPont Gray Green 71-036 (P-51A), Dull Dark Green (P-51B), Interior Green (P-51D), Interior Green and Black (late P-51D/H)
  • P-61 Black Widow: Northrop Cockpit Green (All versions)
  • A-20 Havoc: Green Zinc Chromate/Interior Green (? color appears browner than usual)
  • A-26 Invader: Interior Green (?)
  • B-17 Flying Fortress: Bronze Green (B-17E and earlier); Dull Dark Green (B-17F/G)
  • B-24 Liberator: Bronze Grean (B-24D); Dull Dark Green (B-24E and later)
  • B-25 Mitchell: Bronze Green (B-25B/C/D); Dull Dark Green (B-25G and later)
  • B-26 Marauder: Green Zinc Chromate/Interior Green (?)
  • B-29 Superfortress: Dull Dark Green (All wartime versions)
Unlike exterior camouflage, vintage wartime-era color photos of cockpits are a rarity, which makes the problem of approximating the actual colors so much more difficult. Cockpit photos are also notoriously difficult to accurately assess given that colors tend to look lighter than they actually are. Furthermore, restored aircraft like those found in museums may have been repainted and the new color may not match the original. In conclusion, all information here is speculative and should not be taken as the final word on this controversial topic.
Paint guide:
  • Bronze Green: Very few ranges (Colourcoats and Mr. Paint) offer specific matches for cockpit Bronze Green and Dull Dark Green that are specific to US interiors and given the controversy over their real shades, may or may not be accurate. For example, Mr. Paint's version of Bronze Green is bluer than its Dull Dark Green which is probably the opposite of what their real colors actually are. Various shades of Bronze Green are used by the British Army and are close in terms of hue to the cockpit color, with Deep Bronze Green being closer to the color chip though perhaps too dark for a model cockpit. Otherwise, there is no FS color that is remotely similar to it although FS 34048 is often cited as the closest equivalent.
  • Dull Dark Green: The fact that this color was never added to the ANA palette complicates matters as it makes it subject to interpretation. It is claimed to be closest to FS 34092 which is lighter but therefore suitable for a cockpit. However, many pictures of USAAF aircraft show a much bluer, turquoise-like hue. As a result, FS 34058 could seem more appropriate for this particular shade. AK Interactive's version of FS 34092 (in its Air Series) is too blue and is therefore an excellent choice for the bluer version.
  • Curtiss Cockpit Green: Versions of Interior Green that approximate the browner post-war FS 34151 would be more suitable. For an even more pronounced brown look, then Nakajima Cockpit Color could be an acceptable substitute although it is debatable just how different from GZC this color was.
  • Northrop Cockpit Green: Believed to be close enough to GZC/Interior Green.
  • Bell Green: Believed to be close enough to Medium Green No. 42/ANA 612.
  • Republic colors: Believed to be close enough to Bronze Green and Dull Dark Green.

ANA 611ANA 604
Green Zinc ChromateBronze GreenDull Dark GreenInterior GreenBlack
Schemes
General(Cockpit)(Cockpit)
General (Sep 42)(Cockpit)(Cockpit)
General (Sep 43)(Cockpit)(Cockpit)
General (Apr 45)Lower cockpitUpper cockpit
Post-War (Alt)Cockpit
Color matches
Gunze Aqueous---H58H12
Gunze Mr. ColorC351--C27C33
Humbrol-(75)-22633
Model Master1734(2025)-1715*1749
Revell-(65)(48)-04
Tamiya----XF-1
Vallejo Model Air71.09471.013*-71.137*71.057
Vallejo Model Color-70.897*-70.850*70.950
AKAN-(71076)-72004*78005
AK InteractiveAK 2306AK 2205AK 2106*AK 2303AK 735
AK Real ColorsRC262RC264RC230*-RC001
AMMO by MigA.MIG-220* (!)-A.MIG-077A.MIG-220*A.MIG-046
ColourcoatsACUS22ACUS30ACUS24ACUS09C02
Hataka---HTK-_211*HTK-041
Lifecolor-(UA 111)-UA 004*LC 02
Mission ModelsMMP-068--MMP-059*MMP-047
Mr. Paint-MRP-132MRP-229MRP-131MRP-171
Xtracolor---X117*X012
Xtracrylix---XA1117*XA1012



The P-51D Mustang shows a classic Interior Green cockpit. It was common for Mustang seats (coming from a supplier) to be painted Bronze Green or Dull Dark Green.



Final color photos of Bronze Green are rare. This is a Razorback P-47 under renovation at the Dakota Territory Air Museum, the color of the cockpit matching the painting of fragments from an unexposed cockpit.

GIANNIS MITZAS