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Notes About RAF Colors

World War II period

n by Martin Waligorski

As a modeller returning to the hobby after several years' inactivity, I found a whole new world of research about aircraft colors. During the seventies, every Luftwaffe aircraft model could be painted PLM 70/71/65 "for accuracy", and RAF Sky was still referred to as Duck Egg Blue or Duck Egg Green, depending on the mood. Now, everything has changed. References are better researched. We have also new modelling paints in authentic colors, so we don't need to "map" everything to available Humbrol colors.

Now, the question is, what are the correct color shades? I wanted to get a better idea about how the Dark Slate Grey or Mid Stone looked like. So I bought myself a Federal Standard chart and started browsing through some books and magazines. I made notes from what I found, and these are presented in the table below. I use this table as a guide when i pick or mix the paint for my models. Please note that I'm not saing that these are the proper FS matches for RAF colors. I have simply written them down from various sources. You may also note that some colors in the table have more than one FS number. This means that i found that different sources quote different FS numbers for these colors. You can decide for yourself which one is the best for you.

With these reservations I must say that this table certainly gave me a much better idea about the actual RAF colors than any kit's instructions. If you find it useful, enjoy.


Color Name

Possible Federal Standard match




34672, 34424 or 34583 from 1948 gloss 14583

Dark Earth


Dark Green


Dark Slate Grey


Dull Blue


Dull Red


Extra Dark Sea Grey

36118 from 1948 gloss 16118

Identification (Trainer) Yellow

33538 from 1948 gloss 13538

Identification White

37875 or 37778 from 1948 gloss 17722

Interior Grey-Green

34373, 34226 or 34227

Medium Sea Grey


Night Black

37038 from 1948 gloss 17038


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