A Thought About "RLM 84"

There is a lot of contoversy regarding the late war Luftwaffe undersurface colour known as "RLM 84". It never really existed as a factory issued paint, but there have been at least two distinct versions of the colour, one a blue-green and one a buff/tan. I have read of various explanations for the colour. Some say that they were stocks of RLM 76 which had either deteriorated in storage or been mixed incorrectly. Others say that "RLM 84" was factory fresh RLM 76 with the pigment level reduced, so allowing the zinc chromate in the paint to affect the colour. Yet others claim that "RLM

84" was simply a random mixture of whatever paints were available at the time.

I'd like to offer another explanation, if I may.

I have recently built two Bf109 models, back to back. The first was a G-6 in

74/75/76 camouflage. I was rather pleased with the results that I got using Xtracrylix paints. Immediately I had finished that one, I started a G-10 in late war 75/76/83 camouflage. Again I used Xtracrylix and in fact the RLM 75 and RLM 76 colours came from the exact same bottles that had been used for the earlier model.

Imagine my surprise when I placed the two completed models together today. The RLM 76 on the G-10 appears to have a greenish tinge! Now I must stress that the paint of both came from the *same* bottle. There is no green overspray on the G-10 as the upper/lower demarcation line is fairly hard edged and I sprayed the 76 last. Yet, the simple fact is that the 76 used with a green camouflage colour has appeared to take on the greenish colour.

I was intriuged enough to try an experiment. I took an old Airfix 109F airframe that I use for spray practice and I resprayed it in a 76/81/83 scheme. I must stress again that the 76 was from the same bottle as used on the previous two models. Guess what? That's right - the 76/81/83 scheme has presented a tan coloured appearance of the RLM 76!

I understand that the existence of blue-green paint is a documented fact, as there is a 109 in Australia which has this colour. Paint chips held away from the aircraft clearly have a blue-green colour. Nevertheless, I believe that the nondescript nature of RLM 76 could fool the eye into seeing tints of neighbouring colours. On a predominantly grey airframe, 76 has its natural blue-grey colour. Yet on green or brown airframes, 76 could take on a tint from the predominant colour.

I wonder if this phenomenon could explain the apparent wide colour range of "RLM 84". It seems to me that it is possible that a small number of aircraft had badly mixed blue-green undersurfaces while the majority had factory standard 76 which appears tinted by neighbouring colours.

Does anyone have any comments, or am I totally wide of the mark? :-)

Reply to
Enzo Matrix
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that woule explaing why rlm 65 cam look gray or really blue. again using paint from the same container. i'll bet some real artist will tell us this is quite normal.

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This is a fairly common physical occurance. Often, when painting a figure in khaki (the traditional dark, brownish khaki); I have noticed, that depending on the background and/or the groundwork, the khaki can look either "green" or "brown".

Reply to
Greg Heilers

Thre is also a power unit from an He 177 at the Air & Space museum Garber restoration facility. It is also a definate blue - green color.

Reply to

It's a well-known phenomena that when different colors are adjacent to each other they are perceived differently, for example a blue next to a brown may look "different" from the exact same blue next to a yellow. The perception may be that the color is lighter or darker, or that it is a different color entirely. Some visual illusions are based on this very principal.

John Hairell ( snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com)

Reply to
John Hairell

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