RUSSIAN WW2 SILVER & OTHER COLOURS
Taken from rec.models.scale newsgroup - author Kari Lumppio

 

Introduction
I strongly advice that you pick up DejaNews and first read my posting  (Re: Russian WW2 colors- aircraft (longish), 1998/02/14,  klumppio@cc.hut.fi). Reading that post you can  understand better what I am talking about here. 

For reasons unknown to me the VVSpage seems to ignore any use of silver paint in VVS (WWII). Therefore I have collected some facts together, presented below. I have also added comments for the other VVS colors.

Use of silver in VVS as I know it

Exteriors
In Finland exists several qenuine, unrestored WWII russian a/c pieces  where *silver* (aluminum) has been used for exterior painting. Pieces can  be found at least from the following types: R-5, I-15Bis(I-152), I-153 and  SB (2 - refers to number of motors. In the following correct type  definition SB is used). Some details follow.

The I-152 is s/n 5275. Plane has green oversides, metal inspection hatches  were painted black at least on upper wing. Underside all fabric and  wooden (plywood) areas were painted with silver laquer and metal parts  with light grey! The plane made emergency landing on iced lake on  Finnish side early December 1939 during so called Winter War. Ice was  not strong enough and the plane fell through after landing. The wreck  was retrieved in 1972. Source: Valtonen 93 p. 247-248.

A Russian I-153 rudder exhibited at Tikkakoski museum has field  application of black/green over (factory) silver.

At Vesivehmaa museum are parts from at least two different SBs: one  rear fuselage, four elevators, rudders, radiators etc. All these have  (remains of) silver paint on exterior surface. Both SBs and earlier DB-3s  (and DB-3f/Il-4s) were *painted* with *silver* at factory. If you don't  want to hear that from a Finn you can also read it from a Russian  researcher (Averin 94, p. 24). According the article silver was also used  for I-153 undersides even after intoduction of underside blue AE-14 for  MiGs (after the end of 1940).

Valtonen mentions also a I-16 with silver underside (Valtonen 93, p.  248). Cowling was painted black, uppersurfaces were dark green. The s/n  was 5210517. I do not know if pieces of this plane have been retrieved to  museum.

Markings
There is a war-time handbook for chemical industry making paints for  VVS. It contains also color samples for the paints. I wish I could give you  more details, but the book *does* very much *exist*. There is one piece of it in Finland and I'm eagerly waiting my turn to examine it thoroughly.  The book was recently aquired from Russia by certain Mr Geust. This book gives only three colors for exterior markings for VVS: white, red
and aluminium (silver).

IMO this excludes the possibility that yellow border stars could have been  "standard". If yellow borders existed they must have been exceptions. I  have seen *no hard evidence* (ie. primary source) for yellow borders. I would like to see VVSpage editors provide this in their homepage. Interpretation of black and white photos is a weak evidence.

(This doesn't mean that yellow wasn't used for other markings. I've seen  yellow numbers on a U-2 (Po-2) at Tikkakoski museum and on a SB  rudder at Vesivehmaa museum. Valtonen (93) also gives one P-40, which  I mentioned also in my earlier post (it was then the only one I  remembered without checking my references). The U-2 has also yellow  stripes - the plane is war booty form Winter War 1939-1940. The yellow  Eastern Front ID yellow markings were introduced for Axis and Finnish  a/c's in 1941).

Silver borders for VVS stars
Silver borders for VVS stars is a stonehard fact. You can even access the  evidence in Internet. Photos of two very different cases of P-39 Russian  Airacobras with such stars can be found at the following two sites:

1. http://www.jiop.fi/ksimuseo/teccrew5.jpg (or via the homepageTikkakoski museum homepage, choose "Current  restoration project & Team Airacobra" url given below)
This fuselage is from "Silver 26" a P-39Q-15-BE from 191 IAP (serial no  44-2664) which force-landed on Finnish side summer 1944. It remains  still in Finland at Tikkakoski museum. The P-39 wing at Tikkakoski is  from different a/c (either "20" or "25") but also these stars have silver  borders like the ones on the fuselage. There was altogether three captured Russian P-39s in Finland. "Silver 26" companions "Silver 20" and "Silver  25" can be seen in a photo in Squadron Signal in Action no 43 (1980), p. 28. Their spinners still remain at Tikkakoski museum. All three are painted silver. No P-39 was ever used or even planned to be used in FinnAF, so their camo and markings remained untouched. Unfortunately parts for only one whole a/c is left nowadays.

2. http://www.sci.fi/~junkers/P39_1.jpg (or via Lapland crash site main menu, url given below) Sergei Tropa's "Silver? 42" (from 2./255 MIAP (base Vajenka I) a P-39Q-5 serial no 42-20442. Shot down over Norwegian Lapland by Luftwaffe fighters May 26th 1944. In the picture wing lies still there. Source for a/c identity Valtonen 93, p. 228.

So it's altogether three different Russian P-39's with silver-bordered stars. Drawing conclusions from only one example could be dangerous.

Silver was also used for stencilling. The piece of starboard side of LaGG-3 fuselage at Vesivehmaa museum has following small text written with silver on exterior: "zarjadka kislorodnogo ballona P=150 Atm" - oxygen bottle refilling P=150 Atm.

Silver as interior color
Silver was used also as interior finish over areas of wooden structure.  This is the case for both the MiG-3 (outer wings) and the LaGG-3 (fuselage) at Vesivehmaa museum.

Interior colors I know of (other than the VVSpage gives us): One of the SB elevators at Vesivehmaa museum has damage hole so that the interiors of it can be examined. While the whole elevator is painted externally with silver inside it has been painted with color much like RLM02. This color is as pristine as one can be. There is no perfect FS match, 26307 is close in hue, but too light. This paint most probably is not the same "Medium Blue-Green/ Blue-Green Primer/Metal Use Primer" the VVSpage wants us to use, the color is nowhere near the *light blue* FS(2)5622. I would like to know what is the VVSpage's sample if there is one?

The wooden LaGG-3 fuselage part at Vesivehmaa museum uses black (primer?) under the silver paint on interior surfaces! Outside plywood is covered with fabric. Under the fabric surface is of yellow(ish) color which might be primer or fabric dope.

Pete Chalmers has mentioned already in this thread the MiG-3 cockpit side panel which interior was painted blue-green FS 25352. I have not seen this panel, but I known the person who has done the comparison. I trust him 100% in this.

The MiG-3 at Vesivehmaa museum uses green FS34130 also for interiors (more below).

Underside blue
In Finland at least 6 genuine samples for WWII VVS underside blue can be found today. They are (parts of): 2 MiG-3, LaGG-3, U-2, Il-2 and Pe-2. There is also UTI-4 at Vantaa museum, but I don't know if any original (blue) color can be found any more. All samples except maybe Il-2 and Pe-2 are 1942 or earlier. Unfortunately according to my friend none of  these blues agree with the FS number given by the VVSpage.

During this fall I and my friend (the researcher, I was the helping hand) made a research visit to Vesivehmaa museum which have parts of a MiG-3, s/n 2171, (outer wing(s), stabilizer etc.) and a LaGG-3 (part of fuselage). The LaGG part is from starboard fuselage between cockpit and fin. It's painted black and green over light blue and has a one whole red star without any kind of border. MiG-3 parts are dark green uppers and light blue under, closer notes can be found elsewhere. These parts are in excellent condition and have always been kept indoors.

We cleaned carefully the areas to be examined with moist tissues and then dried them. No sanding was done nor was deemed necessary. Parts were taken outdoors where we could use good natural light (sun). Light was dispersed because there was thin overcast. In other words lighting conditions were perfect. A neutral grey card was placed over the area to be compared. The card had two holes (windows). In the other one FS sample was seen and in the other the color (surface) to be compared. All this is from color comparison schoolbook.

Much to our surprise we found light blue on both the LaGG-3 and the  MiG-3 was extremely similar. FS35352 was extremely close match to the blue on LaGG-3 (wooden/fabric surface). The blue on MiG-3 was also very, very close to that, both on wooden and metal surfaces. In fact the blues are so close that they most probably are same paint.

Averin writes in his article that blue paint AE-14 was introduced for undersides for MiG-1 and MiG-3 after the end of 1940 (Averin 94, p. 24). Averin's article has also a table where two other underside blues are given, AMT-7 Nitrolak for wooden and fabric surfaces and AMT-28M for metal surfaces. Start of use for both is given as 1941. So russian records have at least three different paints for aircraft undersides.

Giving only one blue for undersides is oversimplifying if not wrong. AE-14 and AMT-7/AMT28M may be similar colors, but the FS35352 we found *on two different planes* doesn't agree with FS(2)5466 the VVSpage gives us ("Brilliant Medium Blue, Underside; Standard for all aircraft (1939-1945)" (sic).

Greys
A Jak-9 rudder and fin from 1943 or 1944 in excellent condition are  exhibited at Tikkakoski museum. A friend of mine has made FS comparison for it: darker grey 35042, lighter 36118. These match close the results got by Accurate Miniature's associates in Russia. These comparisons were and are totally separate, these people even didn't know of each other's existence on Earth before! Tom Cleaver's post about the new-manufactured Yak-3U earlier in this thread basically confirms the other two FS comparisons. It also proves there has been no noticeable ageing on Tikkakoski museum's rudder. So those three agree with each other but do not agree with the FS identifications the VVSpage gives us. What conclusion should I make? One possibility is that there were
difference between greys used on Lavotshkins and Jaks and the three samples are Jaks, for example.

Greens
Lots of greens was used by VVS be it variations of same paint or  different paints. I don't want even try to know them all. For example, we  tried comparing FS samples to the field applied green (over silver) on SB rudder at Vesivehmaa museum. We could have picked any of the greens at lower page 48 of FS595B (34151, 34089, 34127, 34098, 34130), such was the variation.

The early camouflage green AIIZ (4BO) mentioned by Averin has it's own homepage at:
http://www.dol.ru/users/hotdog/4bo.htm (in English) As we can read there this color varied a lot and giving one FS number for it is pointless. Besides, if I have understood it correctly this paint was delivered to users as components (Averin) and was to be mixed by them.

The MiG-3 at Vesivehmaa uses green FS34130 for upperside camoflage and also as primer for all metal areas. For example interiors of stabilizer and also on exterior under the light blue FS35352. BTW there is a (repair?) patch of light blue painted over the green upperside of the stabilizer!

Browns
I do not have a lot of material for browns. A friend of mine has given FS30215 as comparison result for the brown on a Il-2 wing. It's a wreck part at Tikkakoski museum storage room.

Epilogy
I have tried to give source or reference for all the data here. You can go and check yourself if you don't like to trust me. In my opinion giving FS numbers as accurate matches without any hint of source or sample is equal to guess by Joe Average.

Note! Finnish transliteration has been used.

Cheers for everybody,
Kari Lumppio , Finland

References and sources:
Vesivehmaa museum
More a storage hangar than museum. No restoration is done here. Situated at Vesivehmaa airfield (ICAO code EFLA) near Lahti. Normally open at weekends between 12-6 pm. FS comparisons mentioned in this posting were done Sep 27th 1998 (MiG-3, LaGG-3 and SB). They also have a Caudron 714 in genuine WWII French colors among other old
jewels.

Tikkakoski museum
Tikkakoski Finnish Air Force Museum
Situated near Jyvaskyla airport (EFJY). Their homepage:
http://www.jiop.fi/ksimuseo/index.html

homepage "Aeroplane crash sites of Lapland"
http://www.sci.fi/~junkers/lentokE.htm 

Valtonen 93
Hannu Valtonen, "Lapin lentokoneenhylyt" (Plane Wrecks of Lappland), Keski-Suomen ilmailumuseo, 1993. ISBN 951-95688-3-2, ISSN 0788-1169 see also: http://www.jiop.fi/ksimuseo/books.html#ksimj4
("Books published by Keski-Suomen Ilmailumuseo")

the VVSpage
The Modeler's Resource Page for Aircraft of the Voyenno-Vozdushne  Sily (VVS), 1930-45 : http://www.oz.net/~xopowo/VVS/vvs.htm

Averin 94
Article "Palitra vojny" by A.Averin. In Russian aviation magazine MIG, 1/94, p.20-29.

Vantaa museum
Suomen Ilmailumuseo / Finnish Aviation museum . Their hompage:
http://www.suomenilmailumuseo.fi/e_index.html  Situated at Helsinki-Vantaa airport (EFHK) area. (for example R-5 elevator part and UTI-4 in (purported) FinnAF colors)

Russian aircraft wreck parts in private collections (not mine, I have none).

 

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