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Camouflage, Colors and Markings Topics related to Camouflage, Colors and Markings of WWI aircraft

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Old 21 March 2005, 03:31 PM   #1
edvalerio
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German Naval AC Camouflage

I recently joined the forum and have just finished burning up my eyeballs going through all the back-threads dealing with German AC camo - especially the lozenge systems. The amount of work you guys have put into researching this subject is truly astounding, making it rather odd to me that nowhere does Kriegsmarine AC camo appear to be discussed. Not only did there seem to be some sort of evolutionary process involved, but the end result was some really sexy lozenge schemes peculiar to seaplanes only. I have seen the two types of lozenge types on decals produced by Americal/Gryphon, but have no idea whatever if the colors are accurate, or indeed why there are two schemes in the first place. I know some companies had particular practices (i.e. H-B W29s and W33s appeared to leave horizontal surfaces in a solid color, Sablatnig used a stripey scheme on occasion, etc) but that's about it as far as my knowledge goes. Can any of you folks provide a thumbnail history of Kriegsmarine AC schemes in general, and perhaps some insight into the whys and wherefores of the two differently-colored lozenge schemes? Any help would be most appreciated.

Thanks much- Ed
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Old 21 March 2005, 04:19 PM   #2
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Hi Ed,

Welcome to the Forum ! There was a very good article on the matter in Over the Front, Volume 9, number 2, Summer 1994 by Dan-San Abbott - pages 168-172.

BTW, there was no Kriegsmarine at the time, it was the Kaiserliche Marine.

Best from Johan
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Old 21 March 2005, 05:30 PM   #3
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The German Navy Aircraft Camouflage Scheme.

edvalero:
The See-Flugzeug Versuchs-Kommando, SVK (Seaplane Testing Command) established a document that specified the the colors and placement on all Naval Aircraft. We are fortunate in that this document is available. It is titled "Allgemeine Baubestimmungen fur Seeflugzeug der Kaiserlichen Marine" (AAB General Construction Requiements for Seaplanes of the Imperial Navy.)
On 3 April 1917, the SVK an amendment to the AAB advising the manufacturers of the new finishing requirements, they were:
1. Standard National insignia, the black iron cross with a 5cm white border surrounding the cross to be painted on the outer ends of the upper surfrace of the upper wing and on the bottom of the lower wing, on both sides of the fuselage and rudder.
2. The Marine (Navy) number applied to every part of the plane.
3. On all surfaces visible from above, top and bottom wings, tailplane and the top of the fuselage and floats are to be painted in hexagons 30 cm in diamenter in three colors greyblue, grey-violet and grey-brown.
4. On all surfaces viewed from the side will be grey-blue, sides of the fuselage,rudder, floats and all struts.
5. On all surfaces as viewed from below shall be painted light grey, fuselage,and floats.
6. The under surfaces of the wings and tailplane were to remain the natural linen color.
The SVK revised the the AAb in April 1918 and introduced the new printed fabric with irregular hexagons in three colors, blue grey, grey-violet and grey-brown. The Irregular hexagons were 155mm x 200mm and skewed 5 degrees on the width of the fabric.
1. The new directive specified the top surfaces of the of upper and lower wings, fuselage and floats were to be covered with the new printed fabric.
2. The sides of the fuselage, floats and all struts were to be painted grey-blue.
3. All under surfaces were to be painted light blue. While this did include the under surfaces of the wing and tailplane, it permitted them to be in the natural fabric color.
4. The rudder color is to be white.
These are the correct colors of the Kaiserliche Marine aircraft. The decal of regular hexagons are incorrect when applied after April 1918. Most decals are printed in the incorrect colors. The only colors ever used were grey-blue,
grey-violet and grey brown.
Blue skies,
Dan-San
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Old 22 March 2005, 06:39 AM   #4
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German Naval AC Camouflage

Thank you for the prompt help, gentlemen. However, questions beget questions, true?

For Johan: Is there any way I can get a copy of the article you mention? I'd be happy to pay for it.

For Dan-San: Thanks for the comprehensive rundown on the naval lozenge camo. Am I to understand though, that all those 'regular' hexes from mid-1917 to mid-1918 were actually hand-painted? Before your comprehensive summary, the most info I had came from the sheet that comes with the Americal/Gryphon decal sheets, where they seem pretty insistent that- aside from the scheme you describe- there was also one in the 'bluer' color range, and furthermore, it was the more widespread of the two. They also only show the regular hexes for both. Do you consider all this stuff simply spurious?

Also, I have the volumes of Nowarra's '50 Jahre Deutsche Luftwaffe' covering from 1910-1918, which show tons of seaplane photos, many earlier than mid-1917. The schemes up to the introduction of the lozenges all seem to be solid color, but in the photos (all of which admittedly are rather poor, and few showing undersides) range from the very light to rather dark. Did the differing AC manufacturers simply follow differing practices as they saw fit, or was there some sort of official instruction on the matter?

As before, any help would be most appreciated.

Ed
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Old 22 March 2005, 11:20 AM   #5
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Kaiserliche Marine colors.

Ed:
In my posting, I listed all the colors EVER specifie by the SVK. The AAB applied to all manufacturers with no exceptions.
The 30cm regular hexagons were hand painted in the specified colors.
The "bluer" hexagons", I believe originated with the late Pete L.Gray in the late 1950s or early 1960s with his pieces printed in Aeromodeler Magazine,
to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude for his contributions in the study of WW1 camouflage on British and German aircraft. Dr. Merrill may insist all he wishes, however it does not change the facts relative to the SVK specified colors. The colors of the 30 cm painted regular hexagons and the printed irregular hexagons were the same, grey-blue, grey-violet and grey brown.
Blue skies,
Dan-San
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Old 22 March 2005, 11:26 AM   #6
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Hi,

Ed, If you go to :

http://www.overthefront.com/main/index.html

you will find that the number I mentioned is still available !

Best from Johan
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Old 22 March 2005, 05:52 PM   #7
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German Naval AC Camouflage

Johan: I just ordered that issue of Over the Front that you recommended for the Camouflage article. Thank you for the reference.

Dan-San: Thank you for the info. I take your comments on the naval lozenge camo as the final word on the subject. Having wrestled with applying lozenge camo to a model myself, I just feel sorry for all those folks who applied these commercial decals to their lovingly-crafted models, only to later find out they are totally spurious. What bugs me is that, as you apparently say, the correct documentation is out there to be refered to, if only these suppliers did their homework properly.

If anyone still has the patience, I'd like to continue my inquiry, this time re: pre- mid 1917 AC at the various North Sea stations. As I said above, I've a fair number of seaplane photos, but can discern nothing definitive about the color schemes. All- except for one Sablatnig- appear to be of one solid color (on the uppersurfaces anyway), but the tones are all over the lot- varying from very light to quite dark. I read in an old thread where it was suggested that there might be certain paintworks associated with the various stations, but that was about it. If anyone has any info or thoughts about these earlier schemes, I'd very much appreciate hearing of it.

Ed
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Old 23 March 2005, 11:26 AM   #8
Regulus
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Hi Ed,

Question from my side. Would you happen to have any photo's on the Seeflugstation Flandern II at Oostende ? I've been looking for 15 years for them and I only have a few in my collection.

Thanks and best from Johan
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Old 23 March 2005, 02:28 PM   #9
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German Naval AC Camouflage

Hi Johan,

The only (sort of) out of the ordinary German AC pic books I have are by Heinz Nowarra from the 1960's; "Eisernes Kreuz und Balken Kreuz" and Band I and II of "50 Jahre Deutsche Luftwaffe". I've gone through all and while there are at least a few pics taken at just about every German Seeflugstation (including the Baltic and Dardanelles), I have not one of Ostende! Sorry.

Seeing as this is obviously your area of interest, can you give me any info on color schemes that were peculiar to the various Seeflugstationen and/or AC manufacturers? Anything you can give me will be of use, seeing as this is a line of inquiry I'm just now looking into. Thanks.

Ed
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Old 27 March 2005, 09:38 AM   #10
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Just got the Windsock Datafile on the Hansa-Brandenburg W 29. The section in the back on camouflage and markings is by Ray Rimell, and has this to say about 'Naval lozenge':

"There are at least two known versions of the patterned fabric used on German naval aeroplanes which can be authenticated from surviving specimens and colour references. That there may even be more is not disputed but so far firm evidence is awaited. It would appear from photographs, cine film and study of original material that the regular hexagons in the pattern measured 15 centimetres across the flats and that three colours were used in each of the basic patterns. Grey-blue, purple and brown made up one of the known patterns; light violet grey blue, light blue and mid blue the other, more widely used, version - see accompanying tables. There is evidence that a larger, painted (?) version of the scheme also existed".

All upper surfaces, including the float tops, were covered with this fabric. The "dark" version was usually used on the W 29, but the "light" version was not uncommon, and at least once light on the flying surfaces and dark on the floats. Christiansen's W 29 appears to have had the "light" version. On wings the fabric was usually applied with the length of the bolt running chord-wise, and the tailplane and control surfaces span-wise. The bolts of cloth were matched to provide a continuous pattern. Rib tapes for the "dark" version were pink, and for the "light" version blue, or cut from the fabric.
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