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Notes About Polish Air Force Colors

Of pre-World War II period and 1939 campaign

n by Martin Waligorski


Some modellers on the web asked me before about Polish pre-war and World War II aircraft camouflage colors. The question is interesting as almost all previously released models of Polish aircraft - like Revell or Heller P.11, or Heller PZL 23 Karas, or even genuine Polish kits like ZTS PZL 37 Los referred plainly to the "dark green and light blue" camouflage. Now it wasn't dark green at all! It was this elusive unique shade that was neither green nor brown, but something so perfectly in between that it was almost impossible to capture... I remember being on the modelling show in Warsaw in the beginning of the 80's and seeing a multitude of P.11 and Karas models all painted in completely different shades of green!

Now, the question is, what are the correct color shades? Some researchers in Poland (Krzysztof Wagner, the results published in the book J.Pacewicz: Modelarska Kolorystyka) have apparently made some good work on the area and came to reasonably standardised FS matches for these colors. These can be, of course, only a guide when picking or mix the paint for your models.

Aircraft camouflage of 1939 campaign

During mid-thirties Polish Air Force standardised camouflage schemes on all of its aircraft. This could be practically implemented on all aircraft since 1937, as the last foreign types were giving place to the aircraft of local production. There were four basic schemes:

  1. Upper surfaces of wings and elevators and entire fuselage in Khaki. Lower wing and elevator surfaces in Light Blue. definitely the most popular scheme.
  2. Upper surfaces camouflaged in three colors: Light Olive, Dark Olive, Khaki. Lower surfaces Sliver or Light Blue for fighter aircraft. Color edges feathered or splintered.
  3. Trainer aircraft were painted overall Khaki. Overall Sliver or Ivory White where also common.
  4. Sea aircraft were painted Light Green-Grey on the upper and Silver on the lower surfaces and floats.

Generally all aircraft produced by PZL and LWS carried scheme no. 1. Scheme no. 2 was typical for Lublin R-XIII where at least 2 color variations were applied on different aircraft. There is also some photographic evidence that scheme 2 was applied in splinter version to at least one P.11 machine.

Color chart
 

Color Name

Comment

Federal Standard match

Equivalent Humbrol mix

Light Khaki (Khaki jasny)

Upper surfaces of fighter and reconnaissance aircraft. Also present in Lublin R-XIII camouflage

30118

Hu:142

Dark Khaki (Khaki ciemny)

Upper surfaces of bomber aircraft like PZL 37 Los

30097

5*Hu:110 + 1*Hu:33 + 1*Hu:10

Light Olive (Jasnooliwkowy)

Upper camouflage of R-XIII

34151

Hu:151

Dark Green (Ciemnozielony)

Upper camouflage of R-XIII

34097

2*Hu:80 + 1*Hu:116

Ochre (Ochra)

Upper camouflage of R-XIII

33245

Hu:63

Light Blue (Jansnoblekitny)

Lower surfaces of camouflaged R-XIII

35550

6*Hu:34 + 1*Hu:25 + 1*Hu:89 + 2*Hu:64

Light Blue-Grey (Szaroblekitny)

Lower surfaces of fighter and bomber aircraft

36329

7*Hu:87 + 3*Hu:34

Sea Grey (Szary morski)

Sea aircraft

34410

6*Hu:90 + 5*Hu:34 + 1*Hu:76 + 1*Hu:64

Silver (Srebrny)

Lower surfaces of reconnaissance aircraft (even some R-XIII) and cockpit interiors.

17178

Hu:191

n


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