A question on cockpit colours
During a Flory Models live show (video below) I had a question on cockpit colours.
When it comes to giving an answer on what was the colour of a Bf 110 cockpit I wanted to be 110% sure (and the pun was unintentional) It's when I'm on the spot, that self-doubt kicks in. Around the 1 hour 50 mark you'll see me digging through references trying to find a definitive quick answer. The question that started it all was "Question for the Lutwaffe expert. I am building the 1/48 Eduard bf110F. I used RLM02 (1941 version) for the back cockit and wheel wells. I am making an error?"
In queries that followed the live show, an image was sent to me that seems to have started it all. This image has been nicely colorised elsewhere on the internet; but there is no doubt that the cockpit sides and framing are much lighter than the instrument panel. This aircraft was definitely painted in RLM 02 with an RLM 66 instrument panel. Digging an little deeper this image was taken in November 1940.
Another image shown below, dated 1939 again confirm that the cockpits were painted RLM 02. Note the contrast between the instruments and parts of the interior that is not in shadow.
Moving forward into Russia in 1941 we have a picture that, once confirms RLM o2. What this picture can't tell us is how old the aircraft was at the time of the photograph. Was it a Battle of Britain era aircraft redeployed to the Eastern front?
The final image is from 1943. The framing appears much darker than the fabric curtain and the crew members parachute straps.
The generally accepted view from references is that in the 1941 regulation L.Dv 521/1 stated "RLM 66 was specified for painting all areas visible through cockpit and canopy glazing" (AK Real Colors of WWII page 90).
This is confirmed by my preferred reference book, "The November 1941 issue of L.Dv.521/1....All cockpit areas visible through a glazed covering were to be finished in 7107.66, principally as an anti-glare measure, but also as not to compromise the external camouflage finish" (Luftwaffe Camouflage and Markings 1933-1945, Merrick & Kiroff page 207).
So where does that leave a Bf 110 in 1941?I've two thoughts, the change in regulations came out at the end fo 1941 so it is possible that the cockpit was partially painted in RLM 02. Another view is that LDv.521/1 was confirming what was already general practice so the cockpit could have been RLM 66 throughout. I'd personally be tempted to paint the front cockpit RLM 66 and the rear RLM 02, it is visually more interesting and the aircraft was probably manufactured prior to the RLM 66 regulation.
I'd like to finish off with a generally accepted rule. If an aircraft is from after the Battle of Britain its cockpit was probably RLM 66.
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The Luftwaffe SIG Newsletter online edition written by SIG Leader Nathan Robinson.