RNZAF Paints of World War II - a short primer on some of the unique paints used, and those obtained from other sources.

Much of the paint and dopes used in New Zealand during WWII for aircraft finishing, were produced by the B.A.L.M. Company of New Zealand (later to become Dulux, then later still, absorbed into the ICI Group of companies).  

Many of these were approximations of the standard RAF and US colours, and others were unique to the RNZAF.


33B = RAF/RNZAF stores reference for paints and dopes .

Prefix 1 = Colours from US source.

Prefix N = Not in vocabulary i.e. unique to New Zealand.

B.A.L.M. Paints. (Manufactured in New Zealand or Australia)


Dark Olive Drab:  BALM S13-192.  133B/31.   (Fs. 34086/34087 - US Olive Drab 41). C-47,  P-40's,  C-60's

Dark Slate Grey:  BALM S13-905.  33B/222.  (Fs.34159  - close to RAF/FAA Light Slate Grey, but slightly darker). Walrus

Foliage Green:  BALM S13-983.   33B/183.   (Fs. 24092? - RAAF Foliage Green).  P-40's

Matt Green:  BALM S13-921.  33B/148  (No Fs.)  Identification colour.



(NZ) Dark Earth:  BALM S13-982.    33B/180  (Fs.20099 - RAAF Earth Brown). P-40,  Hudson,  Harvard,  Vildebeeste, Vincent, Anson, Oxford.



Neutral Grey:  BALM S13-196.  133B/34  (Fs.36173 - US Neutral Gray). P-40, C-47, C-60.

Extra Dark Sea Grey:  BALM S13-904. 33B/225 (Fs.36118 - RAF Extra Dark Sea Grey)  Walrus.

Dark Sea Grey:  BALM S13-904.  33B/225 (Fs.36173 - RAF/FAA Dark Sea Grey)  Walrus.

Light Slate Grey:  BALM S13-293.   33B/234  (Fs.?  RAF/FAA Light Slate Grey, but apparently lighter). Walrus.



(NZ) Blue Sea Grey:  BALM S13-934.  33B/N.118 ( Fs.35053 > 35109 when fresh - it apparently varied a lot from batch to batch!  Weathered to Fs.35164 > 35177. Close to RAF PRU Blue  Bs.636). Upper colour on Ventura, Corsair, Hudson, P-40, Harvard, C-60.  Has also been called Ocean Blue and Pacific Blue, but neither is the 'Official' name for this colour.

(NZ) Roundel Blue:  BALM S13-046.  33B/164  (Fs.25056 when fresh - weathered to Fs.35109 > 35190.  Pre War RAF Bright Identification Blue  Bs.108).    Most aircraft.

(NZ) Duck Egg Blue:  BALM S13-909.  33B/N.90. (Approx. Fs.35414  - Bs.101) Undersides on Ventura, Hudson, P-40, Harvard, and code  letters.

(NZ) Duck Egg Blue:  A variation of the above colour.  Much deeper and richer tone (Fs.24260 is closest).  Vildebeeste, Vincent, Oxford, Anson and others.

(NZ) Sky Grey:  BALM S13-907.   33B/293  (Fs.35352 -  RAF/FAA Sky Grey  Bs.631).  Although called a grey, it has a destinctly blue/green tone to it. Undersides on P-40, Ventura, Hudson, possibly Corsair, and code letters.  


A paint chip taken from the underside of P- 40N NZ3220 'Gloria Lyons', compared to the closest Fs.595b colours.  This is the outside of the chip.  The inner surface is close to Neutral Gray!   Via Anthony Galbraith.



(NZ) Training Yellow:  (No BALM No. given).   33B/N.77. 

(NZ)  Harvard Yellow: Gloss (No BALM No given).  33B/N.88.

(NZ) Matt Black:   S13-007.  33B/65.   ID Colour.

(NZ) Matt Red:  S13-044.   33B/166.   (Fs.31136)  ID Colour.

(NZ) Matt White:  S13-045.  33B/045.   ID Colour.

(NZ) Matt Yellow:  S13-914.   33B/170.   (Fs.33538)   ID Colour.

(NZ) Matt Green.  S13-148.    33B/148.   ID Colour.  



(NZ) Roundel Blue:  Light version.  Probably manufactured by BALM.  Used mainly in NZ, but some appeared in the Islands.  (Fs.25095? given in one reference - could also have been ?5092 or 35183)  ID Colour.

And from US supplies in the Islands:

Blue Gray: (Fs.35189 approx).  Standard US colour until mid 1943.

Light Grey:  (Fs.36440).  Standard US colour until mid 1943.

Gloss Sea Blue:  (Fs.15042)  Standard US Colour from mid 1944.

Semi-Gloss Sea Blue: (Fs.25042)  Standard US Colour from mid 1943.

Non Specular Sea Blue: (Fs.35042)  Standard US Colour from mid 1943.

Intermediate Blue: (Fs.35164).  Standard US Colour from mid 1943.

Insignia Blue:  (Fs.35044).   Standard US Colour from mid 1943.  (Evidence of use on some RNZAF fin flashes and roundels).

Insignia Red:  (Fs.31136).        Standard US Colour from mid 1943.    (Evidence of use on some RNZAF fin flashes)

Orange Yellow:  (Fs.35358).   Standard US Colour from mid 1943.   (Aircraft numbers on cowls and fin/rudders)



Via:  Robert Montgomery,  Cliff Jenks (Aviation Historical Society of NZ),  Warren P Russell, John Regan, Malcolm Laird.

Like most paints used in WWII by all combatants, there are still gaps to be filled in our knowledge, and research and argument continues.   P.L.M.




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