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A COMMENTARY ON ARTIST RENDERINGS

The determination of Luftwaffe aircraft camouflage and markings colors  is an interpretive science, or, as others would assert, an art.  It has evolved over the past 35 years or so and during that period a number of substantial advances in our knowledge have occurred.  Many long-held beliefs have been proven to be wrong and surprisingly, a number have stood the test of time.  Still, the enthusiast must be cognizant that in his attempt to determine the colors of machines that last flew in anger over 50 years ago, the degree of precision in his interpretation is highly variable, this being due to the fact that most of the information required simply no longer exists, and the little that does is scattered throughout the world.

Interpretation of aircraft colors thus must rely on the skill of the interpreter and the data available to him to aid in this exercise.  The final interpretation should be the result of a balanced and reasonable evaluation of the known facts and probabilities which would include, but are not limited to, comparison with color images, Werknummer proximity of the respective aircraft to a “known” aircraft (e.g. preserved museum example), knowledge of the promulgated camouflage scheme for a particular aircraft type, knowledge of the period and/or theatre when/where particular camouflage colors were used, the period when the aircraft was photographed, fragments from wrecks, pilots’ recollections, official documents, intelligence, crash reports, loss listings, air combat reports and the like.  As is well known, subjects from the late-war period are particularly difficult to generate definitive interpretations.  Still, over time, new information and knowledge can and does permit the re-evaluation of previous interpretations and advance our overall understanding of the subject.  In those rare cases, there are color images available that (usually) provide unequivocal identification of an aircraft’s camouflage colors, though mostly we are limited to black and white photos. 

Included here are a number of profiles from well-known artists for the aircraft, which are subjects of the various Experten publications.  While our research has been used as a basis for their profiles, it should be considered the foundation upon which each artist bases THEIR OWN interpretation.  Sometimes there is little variation between the two, in others, there are noticeable differences.  In the latter case, this is due to new information and knowledge that became available subsequent to the publication of our books.  Furthermore, each of the respective artists has interpreted the camouflage schemes and colors  based on his own experiences, information available at the time, and so forth and on top of that, imparts his own style that further differentiates the subject from our initial interpretation.

Still, the inevitable question surely is on the reader’s mind:  Which one of these profiles is considered to be the “correct” interpretation?  The answer should be obvious:  they ALL are.  Until such time that new data is available, these profiles are thus arguably the best representations of the aircraft as it once existed. 

A final word:  Enjoy!

   

SUBJECT AIRCRAFT COLOR PLATE SERIES

  

   
  

NOTE:  The color plates in this series remain the copyrighted property of their respective artists and/or commissioning entities and are used with permission.  All rights have been reserved with respect to their use.  Any unauthorized duplication or redistribution is strictly prohibited.  

  

   

   

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