Plane colors and camouflage .WWII U.S. Army &.USAAF Part 2)By : GIANNIS MITZAS

 Camouflage .WWII U.S. Army &USAAF

In this article we will try to help in the right choice of colors 
We need to make it clear that the difference is in the same color. It arises because, during the ongoing war. Many factories make paints to meet the needs of war

Introduction to US color standards

The first color standard in use by the US armed forces was known as Specification No. 3-1, introduced on 28 November 1919 and including a palette of 24 colors of which only one would still be in use during World War II. The earliest standard in use by the US Army Air Corps (USAAC) before the war was Specification 14057 which dated from April 1931 and had been revised numerous times since, the latest being Specification 14057-C on 27 December 1939. An updated eight-color (later nine-color) palette was introduced shortly thereafter, in Air Corps Bulletin No. 41 dated 16 September 1940 and this would include all the main colors in use when the US Army Air Force (USAAF) replaced the USAAC in June 1941. Camouflage schemes would later be specified in the Technical Order No. 07-1-1 although in many cases these were applied in an ad hoc manner by commanders in the field. The US Navy (USN) had its own color system during the early years of World War II based around Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) Specification M-485 from 6 December 1940 which listed 6 (later 7) basic non-spectacular (matt) colors.
The need to unify color codes for the USAAF and USN (which used completely different camouflage schemes) resulted in the Army and Navy Aircraft (ANA) system, introduced on 28 September 1943. ANA Bulletin No. 157 included an initial palette of 19 mostly matt (plus a few semi-gloss) colors using a three-digit numbering system in the 600s. ANA Bulletin No. 166 added a further 15 gloss colors numbered in the 500s. A number of additional colors were later added for a total of 44. Notably, a few of these were gloss colors but were added to the 600s range. The ANA system also included numerous substitute colors for British colors, necessary in light of the large number of US aircraft provided to the Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm through Lend-Lease.
On 12 January 1950, the US published Federal Specification TT-C-595 which superseded the ANA system with a four-digit numbering system. This was short-lived and just a few years later was superseded by the Federal Standard system, formally known as FED-STD-595. Each color the palette is identified by a five-digit code. The first digit refers to the sheen of the paint, these being gloss (1), semi-gloss (2), and matt (3). The second digit refers to the color, these being brown (1), red (2), yellow (3), green (4), blue (5), gray (6), all others including whites, blacks, and metallics (7), and fluorescents (8). The last three digits are unique for each color and typically go from darker to lighter. The initial palette included 358 colors although some colors only officially exist in one or two out of the three sheens. Although the hues are identical regardless of sheen, there have been some notorious exceptions such as Olive Drab whose semi-gloss version used by the US Army on tanks (FS 24087) was different from the matt version used on helicopters (FS 34087), this being an error that took decades to correct.
The Federal Standard system has gone through numerous revisions, starting with FED-STD-595A in January 1968 (437 colors), FED-STD-595B in January 1994 (611 colors), and FED-STD-595C in January 2008 (650 colors). The ANA Bulletin 157/166 continued to be updated post-war as well, until 15 October 1964 when it was discontinued in favor of FED-STD-595. On February 17th, 2017, the Federal Standard system was replaced by the Aerospace Material Specification Standard 595, or AMS-STD-595. It is largely equivalent to the Federal Standard system and most existing colors have been carried over with identical numbers.

Paint guide basics:

All colors in this page include a paint chart with matches or equivalences from 19 different model paint ranges. Paints are considered matches if they are labeled with the intended color (either uniquely on together with another color). Paints are considered equivalentalences if they are close to the intended color but not labeled as such. The accuracy of any paint is independent of whether it is a match or an equivalence and these are described in the text (there can be poor matches and highly accurate equivalences). The following nomenclature is used in the paint tables and is based on matches or equivalences to US Insignia Red FS 11136:
Paint Match or equivalent type (label)
MP01 Labeled to match one specific color (FS 11136)
MP02 * Labeled to match more than one color of same-country standards (FS 11136 / ANA 509) *
MP03 ** Labeled to match more than one color of different-country standards (FS 11136 / BS 538)
MP04 (!) Questionable accuracy of label match (doesn't look like FS 11136)
MP05 (?) Questionable accuracy of label match, untested (doesn't look like FS 11136 in the bottle)
(MP06) Close equivalent to FS 11136 (BS 538)
(MP07) (?) Questionable equivalent to FS 11136 (Generic Gloss Red)
* A single asterisk also denotes implicit matches for same-country standards where there is an official succession between standards. For example, H327 * would match ANA 509 even if the label only references FS 11136 since ANA 509 is its official predecessor. This does not apply when there are considerable differences between successive paints (ex: Olive Drab No. 41 / ANA 613 / FS 34087) and this will be described in the text. By and large, however, single asterisk matches should be considered close enough to unique matches as not to be seriously questioned.
The paint charts make no distinction between gloss, semi-gloss, and matt variants of a color if the correct sheen is unavailable (ex: gloss FS 11136 will be a specific match for matt FS 31136 if the latter does not exist in the same paint range). Exceptions are made where there is a known or suspected color difference (ex: FS 24087 and 34087).

Early War (1941-43)

At the beginning of World War II, all USAAF combat aircraft were painted with a standard pattern of Dark Olive Drab No. 41 (usually referred to simply as Olive Drab) over Neutral Grey No. 43. Optionally, the otherwise bland pattern could be disrupted with Medium Green No. 42 blotches usually on the edges of wings, vertical stabilizers, and fins and in widely irregular fashion. One of the biggest debates in World War II camouflage is the exact shade of OD 41, particularly since USAAF and Army versions were different, and USAAF versions changed over time, notably when the ANA system was implemented in 1943. It is generally accepted that OD 41 was an olive green when freshly painted but faded towards either a deeper dark green or, more commonly, into a dark tan. The differences in fading were caused by the fact that paint manufacturers used different pigments in order to match the official color chip. It also faded differently on fabric surfaces than on metal, hence why OD 41 aircraft often appeared with lighter flaps and other movable surfaces or in some cases, the reverse. Probably no other color in the history of military camouflage has shown more variety in color photos, and given that all drabs tend to hover close between appearing green or brown, very modest changes in lighting and saturation could also affect its perceived color.
Neutral Grey No. 43 is, thankfully, less controversial, and as the name implies is as close to a perfectly neutral gray as can be (its predecessor, Neutral Gray No. 32 on a 1939 specification had a Munsell value of 5N which under the 1929 notation meant a perfect neutral). It can also appear warmer or cooler depending on the photo, and also tended to look darker than it was due to the inevitable dirtying of the undersides. Medium Green No. 42 superseded the earlier Sea Green No. 28, moving towards a deeper green but still retaining a blueish hue. Although the intended effect of blotches was to disrupt the edges of aircraft, in practice it tended to fade much less than OD 41 and thus made the edges of aircraft stand out considerably more, particularly in black and white photos.
On 15 June 1943, Technical Order T.O. 07-1-1 specified various special and temporary finishes on USAAF aircraft that differed from the standard scheme. These involved replacing OD 41 for MG 42 on aircraft operating in predominatly green terrain and OD 41 for Sand No. 49 over desert terrain (see Mediterranean Theater section). NG 43 could also be replaced by Black No. 44 undersides for aircraft used at night. The Order also allowed the older colors from Specification 14057-C in place of the current ones. These were Sea Green No. 28 for MG 42, Sand No. 26 for Sand 49, and Black No. 33 for Black No. 44. A small number of USAAF bombers based in England in the summer of 1942 may have used MG 42 topsides but otherwise these special finishes were rare.
The following table shows the main colors used in the general and special schemes.




MG 42
NG 43
SG 28
NG 43

Sand 49
NG 43
Sand 26
NG 43

OD 41
Black 44
OD 41
Black 33

On September 28, 1943, the ANA system was implemented which superseded the older Bulletin No. 41 paints with new ANA equivalents (see Late War section). However, it is well known that most new USAAF aircraft would continue to be painted in OD 41 and NG 43 while existing stocks survived, and these would have survived even further in light that aircraft were ordered to be left unpainted barely a month after the ANA. system came into force. Adding to the confusion is the fact that, briefly before the implementation of the ANA system, authorities temporarily switched to the so-called Olive Drab 319 which was a color used by the US Army Corps of Engineers and is also different from both OD 41 and ANA 613, being a slightly lighter brown. Despite being an Army color, it was likely used on a small number of aircraft in 1943.
Paint guide:
• Dark Olive Drab No. 41: A constant problem for modellers is the fact that many paint manufacturers simply produce one shade of wartime USAAF colors despite the changes that took place after the adoption of the ANA system. As such, any paint labeled simply US Olive Drab leaves itself open to interpretation. For OD 41 there is also the question of whether the aircraft in question is relatively new in theater and hence frenshly painted, or has been considerably exposed. Frankly, I am uneasy about offering recommendations on what OD 41 paint is most accurate and will therefore refrain from doing so; my personal preference among the main paint ranges is Gunze H78 (labeled as the US Army shade) which is neither too brown nor too green. Tamiya XF-62 is also quite dark and green but should be preferred as OD 41 than ANA 613 if one has to choose. Confusingly, Humbrol offers two different but identically-labeled ODs, 66 and 155, with the former being slightly greener and thus preferable to OD 41. AK Real Colors has a handful of different OD paints of which their OD 41 (RC259) is excellent in my opinion, with an additional Army faded version (RC024) being a good option for contrasting areas like fabric surfaces.
• Neutral Gray No. 43: NG 43 is widely available in most ranges. It's closest match is FS 36173 (and to a lesser extent FS 36270) which is still slightly cooler than it should be. NG 43 does not have an ANA equivalent, with the color that superseded it (ANA 603) being considerably darker with a subtle blue tint.
Medium Green No. 42: Because MG 42 was never a main fuselage color most paint manufacturers have avoided it. It was succeeded by ANA 612 and it is often compared to post-war FS 34092 which is widely available. However, there are sufficient differences between the two that it cannot be considered a true replacement (and hence is considered an equivalent rather than a match). Colourcoats and Mr. Paint are the only ranges that makes a separate MG 42 (MRP-140) to ANA 612 / FS 34092.

 The faded appearance of the OD 41 on the fuselage of this B-17 is obvious compared to the freshly painted part on the nose. The Faded OD 41 was much browner.

 This image of a P-40 based in China loaded on a missile mission shows a much better color balance of the MG 42 (or possibly ANA 612?) Spots in OD 41.
 These B-24Hs at the Consolidated Fort Worth plant show freshly painted OD 41 vs. 43 NG. Photography is possible at some point around mid-1943, making them among the last B-24s to be painted.

No. 43
No. 41
No. 42

Neutral Gray
Dark Olive Drab
Medium Green


Gunze Aqueous
Gunze Mr. Color
Model Master
Vallejo Model Air
Vallejo Model Color
AK Interactive
AK 2203
AK 2201
AK 2202
AK Real Colors
AMMO by Mig
UA 046*
UA 005*
UA 008*
Mission Models
Mr. Paint