Table of colors utilized on Soviet warplanes 1937-1947
by Massimo Tessitori
Updated on February 14, 2013
back to VVS research index
 back to the Colors page

This table resumes the informations, forthemost of Russian origin, available on the colors utilized in 1937-1947, and is widely based on the works of Vaklamov and Orlov.
Sources, links and credits are described here.
Wherever is possible, I've included the matches to the AKAN colors aside the well-known Federal Standard ones, as a tribute to their chips that have given an important input to this table.

Please be warned that:
although I tried to make this work as carefully as possible, I can't guarantee that it's fully right and exhaustive;
the chips shown here could be visualized in different ways on different monitors and even with different software on the same monitor.
Some of the chips are divided in two parts on the base of the supposed look of the fresh color (left) and of aged color (right), on the base of my observations on its ageing that can fade it to lighter shades (all dark colors), yellowish (oil colors) or, more rarely, to darker shades (AMT-1 and A-21, AII green on the medium time).

Notes on names and chemical mediums of the paints:

Camouflage colors for Soviet planes before 1937
 
name of paint indicative chip match typical use notes
silver dope   overall surfaces some R-1 

 

Early 1920-ies
Grey-blue * AKAN 371 Undersurfaces - metal (TB-1, TB-3, R-6) or fabric/wood (R-5, U-2) 1927-37
“Zashchitnyi”*

khaki 

AKAN 363 Upper surfaces - metal (TB-1, TB-3, R-6) or fabric/wood (R-5, U-2) 1927-1937
3B 

dark green

AKAN 370 Army paint, sometimes used on metal planes (TB-3)  1933-37

oil paint

* “Zashchitnyi” and“Gray-blue” refer to colour, not paint
 
 

Camouflage and livery paints for Soviet aircraft 1937-June 1940
 
name of paint indicative chip match typical use notes
AII Sv.ser. (svetlo seryi) 
gloss light grey
FS-15630 ? I-153?
Nitrocellulose lacquer
Specification issued around 1937 
AE-9 
gloss light grey
FS-15630 

(4, 6)

Overall scheme of most SB,
I-153 (metal parts only)
Oil enamel
Specification issued around 1937
1937-1940 exterior paint for metal 
from 1941 interior paint
AE-8 
aluminium
  overall surfaces of some SB, DB-3 and other types;  1938-1939 
Enamel
AII Al.* (aluminiovyi) 
AII aluminium
  undersurfaces of some types in 1938; fabric surfaces of many I-153, some R-10 etc.
Nitrocellulose lacquer 
Specification issued around 1937
1938-1940 exterior paint for fabric 
AE-7  (zashchitnyi) 
gloss camouflage green

overall uppersurfaces of metal planes; thought to be the darker green found on a piece of Spanish SB by Isaac Montoya
Oil enamel
Specification issued in 1936-37
AII (zashchitnyi) 
gloss camouflage green
AKAN 318 overall wooden, fabric (and eventually, metallic) uppersurfaces( I-15bis, I-16...)
Nitrocellulose lacquer 
Specification issued in mid 1937
In use 1938-1941


 
 
 

Camouflage paints of Spanish Republican planes of the Civil War
 
name of paint indicative chip match typical use notes
Spanish olive green 
(or AII green?)
  Found on an I-16 see here
Spanish light blue 
(or AII blue?)
  Found on an I-16 (over a layer of grey-blue) see here
Soviet base color
(AE-7?) 
  Found on a SB as base color.
Spanish light olive green   Found on a SB overposed to the darker green; possibly utilized for disruptive camo.  
Spanish markings red   Found on an I-16 and on a RWD tail see here

and here

Spanish ochre yellow   found on an RWD tail both as camo and flag color. see here
Spanish markings purple   found on an RWD tail as flag color see here

Note: thanks to Isaac Montoya for the samples of greens, red and light blue. Note that existing exhibits are very few, and could be not representative of all planes.
 
 

Army colors for experimental camouflages of 1940 (see here)
 
name of paint indicative chip match typical use notes
2Le 

matt yellow green

AKAN 381 army color; utilized on planes only for experimental camouflage in 1940 oil enamel
3ie 

matt sand

AKAN 382 army color; utilized on planes only for experimental camouflage in 1940 oil enamel
3ng 

matt brown

AKAN 383 army color; utilized on planes only for experimental camouflage in 1940 oil enamel
22lg 

matt light green

AKAN 322 army color; utilized on planes only for experimental camouflage in 1940 oil enamel
4B0 
matt camouflage green
AKAN 320 army color; utilized on planes only for experimental camouflage in 1940 oil enamel

 
 

Camouflage and livery paints for Soviet aircraft June 1940 -July 1941
 
name of paint indicative chip match typical use notes
AII Sv.gol. (svetlo goluboi) 
gloss light blue
AKAN 342 
Undersurfaces of mixed construction planes
(I-16, MiG-3, Yak-2...)
Nitrocellulose lacquer 
Specification issued around 1937, but widely used in 1940-1942 and gradually replaced by AMT-7
A-18f 
gloss light blue
AKAN 372 Undersurfaces of metal planes
(SB, Ar-2, Il-2, Pe-2, Il-4, Yer-2)
June 1940 
Alkyd enamel for metal
AII Zashch. (zashchitnyi) 

gloss camouflage green

AKAN 318 overall wooden, fabric (and eventually, metallic) uppersurfaces Around 1937 
Nitrocellulosic lacquer
A-19f 
gloss grass green
AKAN 373
Upper surfaces of metal planes
(SB, Ar-2, Il-2, Pe-2, Il-4, Yer-2)
June 1940 
Alkyd enamel for metal

 
 
 
 

Camouflage paints for Soviet aircraft June 1941 – September 1943
 
name of paint indicative chip match typical use notes
AMT-6 
matt black
FS-27038 (2,3) 

AKAN 343

 black-green camouflage of mixed construction planes (Yak-1,7,9, LaGG-3, La-5, MiG-3, Il-2, Su-2, U-2, mixed-construction Il-4, Pe-2...)
Nitrocellulose lacquer for mixed construction planes
A-26m 
matt black
FS-37038 (2,3) 

AKAN 343

black-green camouflage of all-metal planes (Pe-2, Pe-8, all-metal Il-4...)
Oil paint for all-metal planes 
equivalent to AMT-6
AMT-4 
matt camouflage green
FS-24102, 24151 (2,3) 

AKAN 301

black-green camouflage of mixed construction planes (Yak-1,7,9, LaGG-3, La-5, MiG-3, Il-2, Su-2, U-2, mixed-construction Il-4, Pe-2...)
Nitrocellulose lacquer for mixed construction planes
A-24m 
matt camouflage green
FS-34102, 34151 (2,3) 

AKAN 301

black-green camouflage of all-metal planes (Pe-2, Pe-8, all-metal Il-4...)
Oil paint for all-metal planes 
equivalent to AMT-4
AII Sv.gol. (svetlo goluboi) 
gloss light blue
AKAN 342 
Undersurfaces of mixed construction planes
(I-16, MiG-3, Yak-2...)
Nitrocellulose lacquer 
Specification issued around 1937. Gradually replaced by AMT-7 in 1941/43.
AMT-7 
matt greyish blue
FS-25190  or slightly more greyish (fades quickly to a lighter shade)

AKAN 302

Undersurfaces:
of mixed construction planes (Yak-1,7,9, LaGG-3, La-5, MiG-3, Il-2, Su-2, U-2, mixed-construction Il-4, Pe-2...)
Nitrocellulose lacquer for mixed construction planes. It gradually replaced AII Sv. Gol. in 1941/43.
A-28m 
matt greyish blue
new ?
aged FS-34533 (2,3)
Undersurfaces of
of all-metal planes (Pe-2, Pe-8, all-metal Il-4...)
Oil paint for all-metal planes 
equivalent to AMT-7

Note: AMT colors are usable on all-metal planes too, if sprayed over an ALG-1 primer.

Note: some types of planes of  late 1941 seem to show a low contrast on the camo. This could be due to the use of stocks of earlier greens, and to the painting of very thinned black over green background.
Many Yaks seem to show a particularly high-contrasted camo. The reason is unclear. Someone hypothyzed the use of a lighter shade of green (ex. tractor green) or desert-style camos, but there is no any confirmation of this in documents and exhibits. Probably this high contrast is due to the use of only one layer of green instead of two over a yellowish primer/putty background, and to the use of sharp and well-covering black bands.
 
 
 

Camouflage paints for Soviet fighter aircraft, September 1943 - 1945
(Yak-1/3/9; LaGG-3 late type; La-5/7, all mixed construction planes)
 
name of paint indicative chip match typical use notes
AMT-12 
matt dark grey
FS-27003 (2,3)  Very prone to fading to a lighter shade.

AKAN 345

Upper surfaces gray-gray camouflage
(sometimes utilized alone)
Nitrocellulosic lacquer for mixed construction planes
AMT-11 
matt blue grey
FS-26190 (2)  Very prone to fading to a lighter shade.

AKAN 344

Upper surfaces gray-gray camouflage
(sometimes utilized alone)
Nitrocellulosic lacquer for mixed construction planes
AMT-7 
matt greyish blue
FS-25190  Very prone to fading to a lighter shade.

AKAN 302

Undersurfaces
Nitrocellulose lacquer for mixed construction planes

Note: from photographic records, it seems that AMT-11 and 12 were subject to quick fading, and repaintings appear much darker than the original camo.

Note: according to some sources, in case of lack of AMT-11 and 12 paints, they could have been replaced with a mix of 60% AMT-7 and 40% AMT-6 for AMT-11, and 40% AMT-7 and 60% AMT-6 for AMT-12.

Note: the same scheme, with AMT paints or with the equivalent A-32m, A-33m and A-28m for all-metal planes, was prescribed for types as Il-2, Il-10, Il-4, Pe-2, Li-2, Pe-8, Po-2, Shch-2, Tu-2 and Yak-6 in January 1945, but photographic records leave doubts on its real application.
 
 
 

Camouflage paints for Soviet shturmoviks, bombers and transport planes, September 1943 - 1945
 
name of paint indicative chip match typical use notes
A-26m 
matt black
FS-37038 (2,3) 

AKAN 343

Upper surfaces black-brown-green camouflage (Pe-8, Il-4)
Oil paint for all-metal planes 
equivalent to AMT-6
AMT-4 
matt camouflage green
FS-24102, 24151 (2,3) 

AKAN 301

Upper surfaces gray-brown-green camouflage(Il-2, Po-2, UT-2, Yak-6)
Nitrocellulose lacquer for mixed construction planes
A-24m 
matt camouflage green
FS-34102, 34151 (2,3) 

AKAN 301

gray-brown-green camouflage (metal Il-2, Il-10, Pe-2, Ye-2, Tu-2)
black-brown-green camouflage (Pe-8, Il-4)
Oil paint for all-metal planes 
equivalent to AMT-4
AMT-1 
matt light greyish brown
FS-26306 (2,3) 

AKAN 300

gray-brown-green camouflage(Il-2, Po-2, UT-2, Yak-6...)
Nitrocellulosic lacquer. 
According to some sources, it started with a greyish dominant, then specificaton changed and became more brown (see here and here)
A-21m 
matt light yellowish brown
FS-34201, 36350 (2,3) 

AKAN 379

gray-brown-green camouflage (metal Il-2, Il-10, Pe-2, Ye-2, Tu-2)
black-brown-green camouflage (Pe-8, Il-4)
1943-1945 
oil paint for all-metal planes 
similar to AMT-1 but more yellowish 
(see here and here)
AMT-12 
matt dark grey
FS-27003 (2,3) 

AKAN 345 

gray-brown-green camouflage(Il-2, Po-2, UT-2, Yak-6) 1943-1945 
Nitrocellulosic lacquer for mixed construction planes
A-32m 
matt dark grey
FS-36081 (2,3) 

AKAN 345

gray-brown-green camouflage (metal Il-2, Il-10, Pe-2, Ye-2, Tu-2) 1943 and later 
oil paint for all-metal planes
AMT-7 
matt greyish blue
FS-25190 

AKAN 302

Undersurfaces of mixed construction planes
(Il-2, Po-2, UT-2, Yak-6...)
Nitrocellulose lacquer for mixed construction planes
A-28m 
matt greyish blue
new FS-34533 (1,6) 
aged FS-34533 (2,3)
Undersurfaces of all-metal planes (metal Il-2, Il-10, Pe-2, Ye-2, Tu-2, Il-4, Pe-8...)
Oil paint for all-metal planes 
equivalent to AMT-7

Note: this type of three-colors camo is often difficult to distinguish on photos, possibly because of the fading of the dark greys and the darkening of light browns, and could be mismatched with a two-shades camo or even with uniform green.
 
 

Winter and night camouflage paints, 1941 – 1945
 
name of paint indicative chip match typical use notes
MK-7, MK-7f, Mk-7Sh 
very matt white
  1941-1943 

winter camouflages

water soluble distemper, removable
MK-6 
matt black 
(1) undersurfaces of night bombers
1941 


water soluble distemper, removable, darker than AMT-6

MK-8 
matt black 
(1) undersurfaces of night bombers 1942 -1945 
permanent, darker than AMT-6
“Noch” (night) 
matt black
(1) undersurfaces of night bombers 1942 -1945 
permanent, darker than AMT-6

 

Camouflage paints for Soviet aircraft 1945-1947

AGT paints are glossy equivalent of AMT  nitro-lacquers for mixed construction planes, while A-xx-g paints were glossy equivalents of A-xx-m oil paints for all-metal planes.
name of paint indicative chip match typical use notes
AMT-6 
matt black
FS-27038 

AKAN 343

prop blades Nitrocellulosic lacquer for mixed construction planes
A-26m 
matt black
FS-37038 

AKAN 343

prop blades oil paint for all-metal planes 
AGT-4 
gloss camouflage green
FS-14102, 14151 uppersurfaces of many types;  Nitrocellulosic lacquer
A-24g 
gloss camouflage green
FS-14102, 14151 uppersurfaces of Il-10s and many other types; 
camo of Tu-2 and Il-10 aside A21m and A-32m 
oil paint for all-metal planes 
A-21g 
gloss light yellowish brown
FS-34201, 36350 camo of Tu-2 and Il-10 aside A24g and A-32g  oil paint for all-metal planes 
A-32g 
gloss dark grey
FS-16187, 16251 uppersurfaces of Lavochkins 9/17 and Yak-9P 
camo of Tu-2 and Il-10
oil paint for all-metal planes 
AMT-11 
matt blue-grey
FS-26190 uppersurfaces of fighters, alone or with AMT-12  Nitrocellulosic lacquer
AGT-11 
gloss blue-grey
FS-16190 uppersurfaces of fighters, alone or with AGT-12 

overall paint for postwar fighters.

Nitrocellulosic lacquer
A-33m 
matt blue-grey
FS-36081 uppersurfaces of all-metal fighters, alone or with A-32g oil enamel 

darker than AMT-11

A-36g, 
gloss light grey-blue
? (6) undersurfaces of Tu-2 and Il-10 
Overall La-9/11/15/17, Yak-9P  (1950)
oil enamel 
similar to AGT-16, AMT-16 but a bit more green when aged
AMT-16 
matt light grey-blue
AKAN 82035-83093

FS-34233 (3)

  Nitrocellulosic lacquer
AGT-16 
gloss light grey-blue
AKAN 82035-83093

FS-14233 (3)

  Nitrocellulosic lacquer
PF-36m 
matt light grey-blue
possibly similar to AMT-16 or A-36g ??  Overall  La-9/11/15/17, Yak-9P (1948) ?
AMT-10 
matt bluish grey-green
FS34226/34300 

(6)

upper and side surfaces of naval a/c Nitrocellulosic lacquer; officialized in 1945 (4) but probably utilized even before (5,6)(see here and here)

 
 
 

Marking and livery colors
 
name of paint indicative chip match typical use notes
AII 

semigloss red

AKAN 341 red stars and other marks. 1937-1950 

Nitrocellulosic lacquer

A-13 
semigloss red 
AKAN 374 red stars and other marks 1937-1950 

Oil enamel

A-11 

gloss white

  numbers, stars outlines and other marks Oil enamel
AII aluminium   sometimes star outlines, numbers and other marks  
Or. (oranzhevyi) 
gloss orange
FS-12243- 12473 (?) high visibility marks for arctic planes 1940 
Nitrocellulosic lacquer
blue FS-15180 civilian planes ?
A-12 
gloss black
  outlines of red stars and other marks Oil enamel

Note: these are the official colors. Any other color could have been utilized: all the paints of A-x series, camouflage colors as AMT-7, protective colors as ALG-1, but it's impossible to identify them on bw photos.

Cherry red, emerald green, light blue-green have been seen on color photos of wrecks.

An unidentified gloss cherry red was utilized on some prototypes, but it's unclear if such paint was obtained by mixing red and black, or was available in any other way.
 
 
 
 

Interior colors
 
name of paint indicative chip match typical use notes
A-14/A-14f 
steel grey
FS-26187 

AKAN 340

general color for interiors  since 1930 

oil enamel

AE-9 
semigloss light grey
FS-15630 

(4, 6)

internal surfaces and some instrument panels 

 

Around 1937 
oil enamel
AE-10 

dark grey

?

internal parts of wooden seaplanes below the water line;

late 30s and later 

oil enamel

AE-14 

light blue

FS 25352 internal surfaces of wooden seaplanes above the water line; perhaps undersurfaces of early MiG-3 link late 30s and later 

oil enamel

AII aluminium   inside of some wood or fabric surfaces 1938-1939 
Nitrocellulosic lacquer
DD-118 

grey

FS-26173 aircraft interiors after 1943 perchlor-vinyl enamel for wood (unflammable)

matt black nitrolacquer
  instrument panels 

(not on all planes)

 
MV-1 (3) engines  
MV-2 (3) engines  
MV-3, MV-4 (3) inscriptions on engines  
CF-6 
blackish with some purple
(3) engines  
CF-8 or MV-8 (3) engines  
CF-108 or MV108 
gloss grey
(3) engines   
101/19, 2318/19, 102/19 
gloss black
  engines  
A-6 
gloss yellow 
FS-13655 (3)  fuel tanks and  pipes oil enamel
A-7 
gloss green
FS-14187 (3) coolant pipes and tanks oil enamel
A-8 
gloss dark brown
  lubrification tank and pipes oil enamel
A-9 
gloss dark blue 
FS-15065 hydraulic system  oil enamel 
Note: according to (4), A-9 was light grey, not dark blue. Probably there is confusion between A-9 and AE-9
A-10 
gloss azure
FS-15187 oxygen tank and pipes oil enamel
A-12 
gloss black
  air system oil enamel
A-13 
gloss red
AKAN 374 inert gas and fire extinguishers oil enamel

 
 

 Primers
 
name of paint indicative chip match typical use notes
Clear dope
AI N (1st coat nitro aero lacquer)
 
 
AKAN 360
Nitrocellulose primer for fabric
“Unpainted” exterior fabric surfaces of many planes made in 1920-ies
In 1930-ies AI N primer for AII paints
AII aluminium
 
Nitrocellulose lacquer/primer for fabric
Nitrocellulose lacquer
Primer for nitro paints 1941-1945 
nitroputty   nitroputty for wood and fabric surfaces Visible through the peeling off of paint and fabric on wooden surfaces of MiG-3, LaGG-3 and other types
ALG-1 
Zinc-chrome yellowish
  primier for aluminium and magnesium alloys; usually covered by less visible colors shade not standardized; it could appear as light yellow, reddish yellow or apple green 
see here
ALG-5  (50% ALG-1 + 50% A-14) 
grey-green
(3) less visible primier for aluminium alloys and steel shade not standardized