White Ensign Models Paints
Colours of the RAAF - WWII

By Phil Hastie

 

Introduction

When I was asked to review these paints for IM, I was going to use them in the build of a model. However, when the parcel turned up and there were 16 tins in the set, I then thought, how am I going to check all the colours out on models in a short period of time?

After much soul searching for an answer and a search of the Internet Modeller website, I came up with the idea to paint them all on some sheets of plastic. First to replicate the grey colour of model plastic and/or primer, I sprayed the sheets with Testors Model Master Light Grey FS36307 and let it dry for a couple of days.

I then divided the sheets up into 50x50mm squares and sprayed in each colour, ensuring that I didn’t put two colours together that would clash and not show the true colour of the swatch. Once all the colours were sprayed and allowed to dry for a week I then checked them against the colour chips from the Ian K Baker’s (IKB) Aviation History Colouring Book Series Part 34, Australian Air Force Colours of the 1930s & 1940s, and his Colour Card Sets 2 & 3.

The results are shown in the photographs below.

The Kit

1. RAAF Foliage Green: This colour appears to be a lighter, brighter green than the IKB swatches and whilst this colour is something of a mystery colour, I think that the paint needs a touch of Black or a darker green added to it. It doesn’t look too out of place for a RAF Light Green or WWII USAAF Medium Green 42.

2. RAAF Earth Brown: This colour is more like Modern USAF Vietnam Tan than the Earth Brown shown in the IKB swatches and even IKB provides two swatches for this colour with one having a much redder and darker colouring. I think that they have got this one completely wrong.

3. RAAF Dark Green: This colour is just a little too Brown when compared to the IKB swatch, but nothing that can’t be fixed with a touch of a White Ensign RAAF Foliage Green.


4. RAAF Dark Earth: This colour is a perfect match for the IKB Dark Earth in C&M Vol 34 and Dark Earth (2) in the Colour Chip set No2. It is a lot Darker than Dark Earth (1) in the Colour Chip set No2 which is more like Modern USAF Vietnam Tan.

5. RAAF Interior Light Green: With no colour swatch to compare this colour with I think that it compares favourably with the RAF colour of the day but a little bit darker. Looks good on the test sheet.

6. RAAF Light Green: This colour is considerably darker than the IKB swatches, leaner towards a more a Black Green than Light Green. This one is not recommended.

7. RAAF Light Earth: This colour matches the Light Earth swatches No2 from the Colour Set No2 and C&M Vol 34. This is actually a very close match and is recommended for use.

8. RAAF Sky Blue: This colour is a little greyer than the IKB swatches, but not enough to make a lot of difference and the colour difference could be from the use of a grey primer coat on the plastic test piece. This colour is recommended.

9. RAAF Extra Dark Sea Grey: This colour is a bit greyer than the IKB swatches, which have a bit more of a blue tinge. This small difference should not make a difference when painted on a model. This colour is recommended.

10. RAAF Dark Slate Grey: This colour matches the Dark Slate Grey swatch from the IKB C&M Vol 34. This is actually a very close match and is recommended for use.

11. RAAF Dark Sea Grey: As there were no colour swatches to compare this colour with, I took the soft option and picked the lighter Med Sea Grey and the Darker Ocean Grey and hoped that it would come somewhere between the two. Whilst it is a good match for a darker shade of the DSG it is lighter and with a less green tint than OG. I believe that it is a good match for the colour that it portrays. Recommended for use as is.

12. RAAF Dull Blue: This colour is a very close match to the Dull Blue swatch from the IKB C&M Vol 34. This is actually slightly darker but could be lightened with a little White, reflecting that it had a habit of fading rapidly in sunlight. This colour is recommended for use.

13. RAAF Yellow: This colour is a very close match to the Yellow swatch from the IKB C&M Vol 34. This is actually slightly darker but this could be lightened with a White under coat and more than one coat of yellow. This colour is recommended for use.

14. RAAF Light Slate Grey: With no swatch to compare this colour with, I have used The Dark Slate Grey in IKB C&M Vol 34 as a comparison and it is markedly lighter and green than that swatch and as a result of this, I will have to recommend it for use.

15. RAAF Medium Sea Grey: This colour is slightly bluer in tone than the IKB samples from both the Colour Set No3 and C&M Vol 34. Both the IKB samples have a slightly different shade but I believe that this is from the different methods of painting them and the different paper type. I think that the difference in tone in real life as opposed to this photographic match is minimal and I recommend this colour for use as intended.

16. RAAF Night Black: What can I say about black? It has painted in a nice smooth, dull finish with just a small amount of shine that could be from my spraying technique or a small problem with my airbrush regulator that is causing pulsing. Overall a very nice finish and good colour coverage and it is recommended for use as intended.

Conclusion:

Overall I recommend these paints as they fill an important gap in the modelling accessories for the modeller of Royal Australian Air Force aircraft of WWII. They spray well but will need a couple of coats as they are reasonably thin and the lighter colours will possibly need an undercoat of white to achieve the best depth of colour. I thinned my test shots with standard General Purpose Thinners from my local auto shop, I use these thinners for everything from thinning acrylics, if I’ve run out of Iso-Propyl Alcohol, to cleaning the airbrush. So you don’t need to worry about special thinners for these paints.

Review samples supplied by White Ensign Models

References:

A. Ian K Baker’s (IKB) Aviation History Colouring Book Series Part 34, Australian Air Force Colours of the 1930s & 1940s, and
B. Ian K Baker’s (IKB) Aviation History Colouring Book Colour Card Sets 2 & 3.

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