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Old 23rd September 2007, 19:51
Richard T. Eger Richard T. Eger is offline
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Re: The great camouflage & markings debate

Dear Christian, Michael, and Franek,

Thank you for your added comments. I have finally heard from Ken Merrick. Ken sent me what I would call a "white paper" on the subject and I've asked his permission to share it in this thread.

In summary, Ken's latest approach has been to mix paints per the original RLM specifications as opposed to attempting to color match against old paint chips or paint on remnants of recovered aircraft, the approach which has pretty much been institutionalized until now. His argument is that paint fades and if a part has been excavated it could have been subject to chemical attack. Even museum aircrafts' paint will fade with time.

On the opposite side of the fence, adhering to the old approach, is Michael Ullmann, who has brought up the idea that the different aircraft manufacturers ended up with somewhat different shades for the same RLM numbered paint. I have his 2002 book on order, so can't comment much further on this until I have it in hand.

I can say that, despite the best of intents, paint manufacturer's quite likely were forced to use whatever base materials they could get their hands on, materials that could have affected the final color produced. If true, this could support Michael's thinking.

In a phone conversation with Manfred Boehme this morning, he noted that when it came to the official RLM specification for the camouflage pattern, he has never seen a photo of an Me 262 that had camouflage that adhered to the official pattern for the type. I would assume that this comment might be applicable to the Me 163, as well.

As for being extremely careful in noting the existing original paint and pattern, unfortunately some sections of the aircraft arrived in the U.S. without paint. For instance, there is no paint on the rear fuselage. Hopefully, someone has notes or photos of what it looked like before it was removed.

Thus, we will still be interested in seeing exactly how the AWM Me 163 B was patterned prior to repainting to act as a guide for the aircraft now at Legend Flyers.

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Old 23rd September 2007, 20:58
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Andreas Brekken Andreas Brekken is offline
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Re: The great camouflage & markings debate

Hi, Richard

Sorry I didn't join in this very interesting discussion a little earlier, but I am currently in London and have been away from the computer for a couple of days.

I think Merrick's method would be the correct one when restoring an historic aircraft - get through the different layers of paint recording the different colours as far as possible using for example dural sheets sprayed with 'recreated' or 'reengineered' paints used for the camouflage patterns as one goes 'down', this would of course be possible only if a previous paint stripping and 'restoration' has not occured.

Then one should in my opinion use the available knowledge on how this aicraft SHOULD have been painted during it's time with the Luftwaffe, utilizing paint from the specialists in recreating historic paint like the company mentioned earlier in this thread.

On the slightly different colours topic, I will just make a brief comment and comparison:

The different RLM paints were standardized, and the description on how to mix them and apply them were likewise standardized. The use however were spread over a large number of manufacturing plants all over the land occupied by Germany at the time. That we more than 60 years later are saying that there must have been more colours and that there were substandards etc is in my opinion quite fantastic! I guess that some of you guys might have used some paint to freshen up your house like I have done? So why wasn't I surprised when there was a slight difference in the colour of the same type of paint, with the same colour code mixed on the same type of computer controlled mixing system, but in two different stores? A difference that made it necessary to use the can bought from one of the stores for the last layer to ensure thet the entire room was indeed the same colour. And we discuss differences seen on aluminum parts that have been kept in non- or semi-controlled environments for more than 60 years, and that has been mixed and applied by entirely different companies...


Andreas B
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Old 24th September 2007, 00:24
maccullagh maccullagh is offline
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Re: The great camouflage & markings debate

I have not read all of the replies but I might add that the Australian War Memorial has a 163 (I think) which could still have it's original paint intact.

I know that they have a ME 109 with original paint.

Might be worth a try.
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Old 24th September 2007, 14:11
Richard T. Eger Richard T. Eger is offline
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Re: The great camouflage & markings debate

Dear Andreas and maccullagh,

I heard back from Ken Merrick about the subject of paint variability. His position, as detailed in his latest two books, is that paint manufacturers did have to adjust their formulas slightly for ingredient variability, apparently to maintain shade against color standards. He said that the RLM held the paint manufacturers to very tight tolerances. Even so, slight variations of half a shade did happen.

The subject of reviewing the AWM Me 163 B colors has been discussed earlier in this thread. The aircraft has been repainted, but photos do exist of it when it had its original camouflage. We are trying to obtain as many of these as possible.

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