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"Painting Carriers and Planes?" Topic

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DukeWacoan Supporting Member of TMP Fezian01 Dec 2011 3:21 p.m. PST

Can someone point me to painting guides for the Carriers and Carrier Planes at Midway?

I have some new nice 1:1200 figures of all the carriers, plus Zekes, Vals, Kates, Wildcats, Dauntless, etc. Looking for carrier deck designs, etc.


delta6ct Inactive Member01 Dec 2011 3:36 p.m. PST

For airplanes, Wings Palette is a good source:

I don't know of a place for Japanese CV camo, but I'm sure someone else does. For American CVs, look here:


Hope that is helpful.


Grizzlymc Inactive Member01 Dec 2011 5:35 p.m. PST

There used to be a site on the interwebs about Jap carrier paint schemes – for planes look at wings

highlandcatfrog Inactive Member01 Dec 2011 5:51 p.m. PST

Actually, you need to be very careful of Wings Palette for Midway, as a number of the U.S. schemes shown are dead wrong.

All of the USMC and USN aircraft wore the two-tone med. blue-gray/USN light gray scheme, but NONE, and I do mean NONE of them still had the red and white rudder stripes or the red "meat ball" in the national insignia.

The order directing the removal of these things came out just after Coral Sea; this order also directed that (as a security measure) the squadron designation be removed from the fuselage sides. This was completed for all of the carrier-based planes before the battle, thus no more 6-F-1, 8-B-1, etc. Some of the squadrons carried only the numeral on the fuselage, others retained the letter and the numeral, as evidenced in the famous photo of S-9, a Dauntless from Hornet.

The TBF detachment from Torpedo 8 on Midway was an exception – their aircraft had 8-T-1 through 8-T-6 on the fuselages (there's a photo of 8-T-6, the only survivor, taken shortly after it's return to the island).

VMF-221, the Marine F2A/F4F squadron based on the island, retained the full fuselage designation, i.e. 221-F-8 (for example), while the Marine dive-bomber squadron didn't – they kept only the numeral. They did however have a number of thin white bands painted around the fuselage at the aft end of the cockpit (again, photographic evidence of the Vindicators supports this).

For the Japanese, be aware that the ash-white color is a myth. For the Zekes the lighter color had a greenish tinge, others were more of a brownish (like a cup of coffee mixed with a pint of milk). There's some very good discussion of this somewhere (can't remember where) on the J-aircraft website:

The ship camouflage website delta6ct linked to above is correct for the U.S. carriers. All were in different schemes, the only common denominator being Deck Blue for the flight decks.

For the Japanese carriers try this:

Click on the carrier name on the left side and you'll get a drawing of the flight deck markings for each carrier – they were all different.

If you have trouble figuring out the fuselage and tail band system for the Japanese post here again or send me a PM and I'll dig that info out for you (the number and color of the fuselage bands were different for each carrier's planes; the number of and placement of the tail bands varied by each plane's placement within the squadron).

And if you're interested in the best account of the battle, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Shattered Sword. You won't regret it.

Norman Harms Inactive Member03 Dec 2011 5:26 p.m. PST

AF Editions (published in Spain) offers a six volume set of books on IJAAF and IJN aircraft units, aircraft, markings, short history of each unit, etc. Unfortunately four of the six volumes are currently out of stock/ out of print but we have been advised by our importer, a reprint is to take place, no date given. Two more volumes are slated to come out, we expect this year, dealing with Japanese AF and naval air attack units. Lots and lots of data to sift through but understand you're reading an English translation of a Spanish translation of the original Japanese text and specific military terms just don't come through as they should. A little more understanding and background is required. Nevertheless, a significant addition to understanding Japanese unit compositions, operation areas, insignia, etc. At least one color profile for each unit covered and that for all the fighter, bomber, sea plane, float plane, transport and misc. units.

Scale Specialties, will have these reprints and new additions in stock as soon as they are available, just can't say when, but two volumes are on hand at the moment. Stop by the web site to check on status and what's new.

for Scale Specialties
Norm Harms, DirOps

Personal logo Ooh Rah Supporting Member of TMP04 Dec 2011 10:00 a.m. PST

This site has painting guides organized by battle (Pearl Harbor, Coral Sea, Midway, etc.) Don't know how accurate it is.


DukeWacoan Supporting Member of TMP Fezian05 Dec 2011 1:52 p.m. PST

Anyone care to guess the correct base Grey for Japanese carriers? American carriers? In Vallejo?

Also, Green for Kate/Vals topside?
Blue for USA plane topside?

Jake1945 Inactive Member05 Dec 2011 2:04 p.m. PST

Sorry, highlandcatfrog, but NONE of the US carriers had their flight decks in Deck Blue (correct name was 20-B Deck Blue), which was a paint. All three carriers had their flight decks STAINED with Norfolk 250-N Flight Deck Stain, which was lighter and bluer than 20-B. They all had their exterior metal decks and horizontal surfaces (including the metal tie-down strips in the flight decks) painted in 20-B.

highlandcatfrog Inactive Member05 Dec 2011 6:00 p.m. PST

You're absolutely right Jake1945! thumbs up

That's what I get for concentrating too much on one aspect of what I was posting and not nearly enough on the other.

1968billsfan Supporting Member of TMP19 Jul 2012 10:37 a.m. PST

Uh, I have bunch of WWII stuff to paint and am woundering. I have trouble enough seeing my 1/2400 ships well up close, let alone 10' away on a wargame table. If I put a dazzle paint job on them, I'm afraid they will disappear completely.

Do people really do the dazzle patterns for wargaming or just do a basic scheme?

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP19 Jul 2012 7:22 p.m. PST

You probably should have started a new topic. However, that being said,

1) Most ships were repainted into several different schemes during the war. One idea is to select a particular year of interest, and try to paint everything as it might have looked in that year. In my case, I chose 1940 for my European WWII ships, so I can get away with most ships not being camouflaged.

2) If you do use camouflage, tone down the contrast between the colors, and slightly lighten them from the full-scale color chips (scale color, representing objects viewed from miles away). Unlike the real thing, you actually want to see the detail on your models. Here's an example in 1/6000 scale:



Mal Wright Fezian Inactive Member23 Jul 2012 10:37 p.m. PST

It is important to paint small models in shades lighter than the real life paint because small models reflect less light and will look darker.
In my HIDING IN THE OPEN volume 1, I suggest that when painting you should follow your own opinion in acheiveing how the ship looked rather than stick too rigidly to paint chips and designated shades.
The same applies to model aircraft.

Jake1945 Inactive Member04 Sep 2012 3:51 p.m. PST

Enterprise was in Measure 21 (actually, Measure 11 but using 5-N Navy Blue in place of 5-S Sea Blue): All vertical surfaces 5-N Navy Blue; all topside steel decks & other horizontal surfaces 20-B Deck Blue; flight deck Norfolk 250-N Flight Deck Stain.

Yorktown was in Measure 12: 5-S Sea Blue up to the level of the hangar deck, with 5-O Ocean Gray above that, and upperworks above the top of the funnel in 5-H Haze Gray. Decks as for Enterprise above.

Hornet was in Measure 12 mod, using 5-N and 5-O on the hull, and 5-O and 5-H on the upperworks. Decks as above.

Kaga & Hiryu were in Sasebo Grey; Akagi & Soryu were in Yokosuka Grey. Flight decks were unpainted. You'll need to research the specific appearance of the red/white stripes on the aft rounddowns, and the specific locations of any flight deck hinomarus and kana characters.

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