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Soviet Air Force (VVS) Colors in World War II

A work in progress...

Here is a work in progress that I thought you might find interesting. These are colors from the Soviet Air Force in World War II that illustrate very well what happens when you try to recreate a color standard decades later for something that didn't exactly follow a rigid standard. These color chips show how colors from different sources align (or not) to each specific color in the Soviet AF 'color dictionary'. Many of you are familiar with the book 'Soveit Air Force Fighter Colours 1941-1945' by Erik Pilawski. Of course I bought a copy of the book when it was first released and I've since had the opportunity to see some of his color chips developed from his research. These colors are shown in the Pilawski column.

I had heard from fellow Soviet Air Force historians and hobbyists that there was some question about the accuracy of the colors in Erik's research. I decided to try an experiment to see what I could learn. In the second column is a some colors from the Akan paint series from a Russian that had also done his own research. You can see how the relevant colors compare to Pilawski's colors and those from JPS Modell and the few available from Testors.

At the moment, I have no idea which colors are correct, but you can definitely see some similarities and many differences between each color. I have a hunch that they're all correct depending on who produced the paint and how old paint sample was by the time it was viewed for study.

One thing I found interesting is how paints produced in the former Soviet Union faded quite differently than you might expect, with many of them getting darker with age rather than lighter. A few examples are shown in the comparison below.

Once I have an idea which colors are closest to the 'standard', we'll see about identifying available paint equivalents and other useful data to help you with your VVS modeling.

Name Pilawskii Akan JPS Modell Testors
4B0 Green New
4B0 Green Old
A-14F Steel Primer
A-21M Light Brown
A-24M Green
A-26M Black
A-28M Blue
A-32M Dark Grey
A-33M Gray Blue
A-36M Grey
Wood Aerolak
AEh09 Light Gray
AEh10 Medium Gray
AII Black
Factory #1 Green
AEU9 Lacquer
AII Blue
AII Blue Old
AII Brown
AII Dark Green
AII Green
AII Green Worn
AII Light Brown
AII Light Brown Weathered
ALG-5 Gray Metal Primer
AMT-1 Light Brown
AMT-1 (Dark) Gray
AMT-1 (Light) Gray
AMT-4 Olive Green
AMT-6 Black
AMT-7 Blue
AMT-11 Gray-Blue
AMT-12 Dark Gray
IMUP Blue-Gray Metal Primer
Tractor Green

Return to the Main Color Reference Menu


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