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"What's the dope on Zepplein color?" Topic

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number420 Jul 2013 8:38 a.m. PST

Converting the Lindberg Graf Zeppelin kit into a WWI 'P' class LZ for wings of war. Made the engine and control gondolas from balsa and wondering what colors to use – silver doped or camouflage pattern?

skippy000120 Jul 2013 9:03 a.m. PST

Silver-grey for fleet recon and bombing London and Paris. Camo if you're trying to resupply von Vorbeck in Africa.

That's a guess.

jpattern220 Jul 2013 9:17 a.m. PST

What skippy said.

Some "high-climber" night-attack zeps also had black-painted noses and undersides, to hide from searchlights:


As a complete aside, I've also seen some beautiful "what-if" paint schemes on zeps for Space:1889, Crimson Skies, and other games.


bsrlee20 Jul 2013 11:21 a.m. PST

There were good reasons for painting the dirigibles silver, it was to reflect heat, which otherwise would have made the gas cells expand dangerously and also shrink catastrophically if they encountered freezing air at high altitudes.

Both the Akron and Macon were lost to over/under inflation of the gas cells, exacerbated by structural failure, although in both cases it was not heat that caused the problem but being tossed around in thunder storm cells. This caused first over inflation & gas loss followed by plunging which caused the cells to shrink which was corrected by releasing ballast until the ballast ran out (due to repeated cycles in the storm) followed by crashing into the sea when there was no ballast left.

Lion in the Stars21 Jul 2013 2:03 p.m. PST

You can get away with several different colors of 'silver' (aluminum), to represent patches, repairs, and the occasional repainted spot.

number427 Aug 2013 4:40 p.m. PST

From everything I've been able to find out, silver was the color of the internal gas cells and the outer fabric of the post-war "airliners". The consensus of opinion seems to be the wartime Zeps used the same fabric as the 'Drachen' observation balloons, so I went with a weathered drab yellow finish actually German Dark Yellow!


AICUSV29 Aug 2013 1:50 p.m. PST

From what I read it would be a German Dark Yellow upper with a black lower

number430 Aug 2013 2:58 p.m. PST

Only the later "height climbers" had black painted undersides; my model is too small to represent one of those bad boys. It's a couple of inches too short for a P type in 1/144th scale actually, but close enough for (Imperial) government work :)

Terry3714 Jan 2014 9:27 a.m. PST

I have a small piece of fabric from the L-47, and it is a silver gray color, but not a shiny silver.


number423 Jun 2015 6:18 p.m. PST

Well, here she be: L12 in all her glory!


Lion in the Stars01 Jul 2015 9:03 a.m. PST


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