Bovington Tiger 131 colors

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Byrden
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Bovington Tiger 131 colors

Post by Byrden » 19 Oct 2017 22:49

I don't think these Tigers were originally painted in RAL 8020.
They slightly predated the Bovington Museum Tiger, and we know that when the Bovington Tiger was built, the factory was still using the first tropical paints although the second set had been mandated the previous year. Probably they were determined to use up their old stocks!

So on that basis, I would expect the Das Reich Tigers to be painted RAL 8000, possibly with RAL 7008 stripes.

David

Miles Krogfus
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Re: Das Reich Tigers emblem and paint schemes

Post by Miles Krogfus » 21 Oct 2017 20:26

Here is a color photo of the Bovington Tiger production # 250112 in its original RAL 8020 before later repainting. I attached 3 samples of RAL 8020. Also see the color photo of Tiger I production # 250031 at Aberdeen, showing its original base color (my post of 22 October 2016, "That Prize Winning Tiger Book.") No RAL 8000 to be seen.

Byrden
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Re: Das Reich Tigers emblem and paint schemes

Post by Byrden » 21 Oct 2017 23:37

Well, this is interesting. But I'm afraid that photo of Tiger 131 doesn't show its original scheme.

We have many photographs of Tiger 131 in Africa. It is clear that the tank got repainted at an early stage after its capture, possibly before reaching the Museum. When it had the finish shown in your photo (for many years in the Museum), the font of the turret numbers, and the various symbols on the tank, were not the African originals.

Also, enhancement of the African photos shows clearly a camouflage pattern.

Working with the historians Jentz and Doyle, the Tank Museum examined this Tiger closely to find out its African paint scheme. They concluded that it was 8000 / 7008.

The chassis number of the tank, by the way, is 250122.

David
Last edited by Byrden on 22 Oct 2017 11:34, edited 1 time in total.

Byrden
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Re: Das Reich Tigers emblem and paint schemes

Post by Byrden » 21 Oct 2017 23:43

Re. the other captured Tiger, chassis number 250031; it's possible that it was painted in RAL 8020, and your photo does suggest that. But we have colour photos of another Tiger of the 501 battalion while it was still in Africa, and it seems to have the 8000/7008 finish, or similar. Some of its equipment was added and painted later. That equipment is painted in a lighter, pinker shade. The simplest conclusion is that the later paint was 8020.

There's also the several B/W photos showing more of these Tigers to have a dark finish with, again, lighter added equipment and lighter paint on repair patches.

If the Fort Benning Tiger was painted RAL 8020, it's possible that paint was applied in Africa.

David

Miles Krogfus
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Re: Das Reich Tigers emblem and paint schemes

Post by Miles Krogfus » 23 Oct 2017 21:21

Many years ago, I obtained from the head of the RAL WW II era actual color samples, and prompted to search the RAL archive because of data I sent him, he discovered "Dunkelgelb nach Muster," the first dark yellow used before RAL 7028. Jentz and Doyle have published only partial, somewhat incorrect information about this so-called "Dunkelgelb." They cannot be used as primary sources for Panzer colors. For example, documents of paint directives that the RAL sent me correct their Dunkelgelb confusion.
David posts here no sample of RAL 8000 obtained from the RAL office, nor the production #s of Tigers in color photos that he says are painted RAL 8000, but he does state above that the Bovington Tiger I was repainted "possibly before reaching the Museum" and about RAL 8020 appearing in Africa says "it's possible."
Official German paint supply documents reveal the different camo colors Das Reich and other Panzer units received for Operation Citadel. Division units as those of Das Reich located in the Charkow area for resupply and training before Citadel used paint supplied to the huge Tank Center there. Infantry and Panzer units also had leftover paint supplies they sometimes used without following regulations.
My 22 October 2016 post illustrates an RAL 7027/7021 painted Tiger I at Aberdeen, not as David mentions one RAL 8020. My 12 and 18 June 2017 posts "Re: Christian Tychsen's Command Tanks" first show directive TL 6350 issued January 15,1942 for RAL 8020/7027 tropical paint use and then a color photo of them on a Sturmgeschutz just arrived at Aberdeen.

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Re: Das Reich Tigers emblem and paint schemes

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 25 Oct 2017 08:54

I neither know nor care enough about Tigers to worry too much about what you know or think you know Miles but I do know that Bovington's Tiger was repainted at least once before it went on display in London in 1943 which was before your colour photograph was taken. We can tell that your colour photograph was taken after that repainting because the left hand set of smoke dischargers were refitted at that time having been missing from the tank at the time of its capture. Sorry if these few facts get in the way of your theory but that is how theories work, they fit the facts not the other way around.
Alan

Miles Krogfus
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Re: Das Reich Tigers emblem and paint schemes

Post by Miles Krogfus » 25 Oct 2017 18:10

TL 6350 is primary data that I present, not a theory. RAL 8020 was ordered for Tigers over a year before the Bovington Tiger was originally produced in Germany.

Byrden
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Re: Das Reich Tigers emblem and paint schemes

Post by Byrden » 05 Nov 2017 10:05

I believe that the 1942 order, instituting RAL 8020 and 7027 as the new "tropical" standard, explicitly allowed the use of existing stocks of the older colours until they were exhausted. Perhaps somebody with access to the order's text can check this?

In this case, Henschel would be compliant with their orders while still issuing Tigers in 1943 painted with RAL 8000 / 7008.

Now, the B/W photographs of Tunisian Tigers (issued in late 1942) are inconclusive but many of them depict a medium-dark finish on the new tanks.

Some items such as air filters are painted in a significantly lighter colour; we know that these items were not attached at the factory, but were supplied to the battalion at their training grounds or workshops. We can explain this by assuming that the battalion, formed in mid 1942, was furnished with RAL 8020 from the outset. There are also examples of Tunisian Tigers with fresh paint applied over repairs; once again, this paint is significantly lighter than the original finish.

The Bovington Tiger was manufactured in February or March of 1943 and has been closely examined (with the involvement of Doyle and Jentz who were researching the panzer paints) to resolve the question of its colours. Its original finish was Dunkelgrau, according to my own examination. It served in Africa painted in RAL 8000 / 7008 according to Doyle and Jentz. Photos of it, taken shortly after its capture, show a medium-dark finish with a very low-contrast camouflage pattern.

We know that it was repainted early in its sojourn in England because in photos of the tank on tour in England, and in every photo of the tank while in the museum, the font of its tactical numbers, and the appearance of its other markings, is slightly changed from Tunisia.

David

Byrden
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Re: Das Reich Tigers emblem and paint schemes

Post by Byrden » 06 Nov 2017 16:06

To add some evidence to what I said above:

This is the turret of "131" during restoration at Bovington Museum. The gun and mantlet have been removed for the first time since its service. In this photo it has not been repainted, and the original paint has not yet been removed.

Image

The indicated area is utterly inaccessible when the turret is assembled; the mantlet sits here with only a 0.5mm gap to this surface. It can only have been painted during construction of the tank, before the mantlet was inserted.

From what we know of German tank construction, we would expect it to be painted in red primer on the bare metal surface, and then possibly with a further layer or layers of paint, as part of the manufacturer's painting process. (For example, the escape hatch, when opened, revealed red primer paint and other paints on its protected edge.)

The colour that we see here is either black or a very dark grey. In Panzers of this period, and in Tiger 131 in particular, black was used for internal machinery but not for armour walls, so black does not belong here. Moreover we can see the vision port in the wall which is painted black, and it seems significantly darker than this surface.

So, if this surface was painted dark grey, during construction of the tank, when it already had a protective layer of red primer, what would be the reason for that? The simplest explanation is that it was painted at the same time as the entire exterior turret shell, and that the colour used was the standard external colour RAL 7021 (Dunkelgrau).

Here is another component of Tiger "131" that bears dark grey paint. This is an armour cover for an exhaust opening on the rear wall:

Image
Image

The detail photo shows that this grey colour is not the bare metal, indeed we can see bare metal where it is worn off.

The exhaust cover, like the turret's internal surface, was hidden when the tank was assembled; in this case a sheet-metal shield was attached, surrounding it, so that you would have to lie on the ground and spray paint upwards to paint this item.

Once again, the simplest explanation for this grey colour is that the tank was painted RAL 7021 during manufacture. But it did not bear this colour on service in Africa; indeed no photographs (out of hundreds) show any African Tiger that can possibly be finished in RAL 7021.

So we may assume that this Tiger, and perhaps all of the African Tigers, was painted RAL 7021 on manufacture and repainted when assigned to Africa; perhaps at the factory, perhaps by the unit to which it was issued.

What is the relevance of this information to the "Das Reich" Tigers? It demonstrates that RAL 7021 was in use at the Tiger factory at the time when Tiger 131 was built. Tiger 131 is of later manufacture than the original Tigers of "Das Reich". Therefore there is a possibility that their paint schemes involve RAL 7021, unless they were completely repainted for tropical service, as Tiger 131 was.

David

Miles Krogfus
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Re: Das Reich Tigers emblem and paint schemes

Post by Miles Krogfus » 08 Nov 2017 22:47

The excellent WW II era LIFE color photo of Panzer III #832 late in the Afrika Campaign matches Dunkelgelb nach Muster as applied at the factory not any RAL 8000 series color. You can see it on various panzer color photos sections at "Google Images" and elsewhere. I state above when Das Reich applied the "in the field" diluted, lighter appearing Dunkelgelb nach Muster to its Panzers.
Below are 2 pages from TL 6303 B of 10 February 1941. Note that it took 19 days for this document to be logged in at a main German paint factory. Its Anhang 2 lists the old RAL 840 B ID # and the new RAL 840 R ID # for paint colors.
The color photos posted above By David Byrden show parts manufactured at various plants, given their first Grundierfarben, stored then sent when requested by the factories that put together Tiger turrets and hulls.
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Miles Krogfus
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Re: Das Reich Tigers emblem and paint schemes

Post by Miles Krogfus » 10 Nov 2017 03:00

The Bovington Museum has painted its 3 Tigers incorrectly. Compare my posts that have attachments showing actual RAL 7028 samples with the museum's incorrect version of it in color photos on the internet of the Tiger II and Jagdtiger. The "museum staff used documents from our archive and original paint samples on objects in the collection" but got it wrong for them and the current repaint of Tiger I #131.
The book "Endkampf um das Reichgebiet 1944-1945" has some color photos of the late war RAL 7028 gray with RAL 6003 green and RAL 8017 brown scheme. I post above samples of these three colors. The attachment below shows the RAL 7028 base overpainted with RAL 6003 at war's end and then the original color photo copied in black and white.
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Byrden
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Re: Das Reich Tigers emblem and paint schemes

Post by Byrden » 13 Nov 2017 18:27

Miles Krogfus wrote:The excellent WW II era LIFE color photo of Panzer III #832 late in the Afrika Campaign matches Dunkelgelb nach Muster as applied at the factory not any RAL 8000 series color.
I would be a little wary of matching a colour image, exactly as published, to anything. There can be colour shifts in them. I prefer to adjust them, if needed, until sky and skin tones etc. look correct.

But, let's get back to this Panzer number 832. I have a personal interest in it, because I have sat inside it.

This Panzer 3 is sitting in Bovington Museum today. We can identify it with the photos using small, unique details of equipment added to it, or weld marks where they were removed. It's not at all surprising that this tank ended up in the museum because there are photographs of it in British hands during the war; it was taken to the UK for testing.

The tank is now stripped bare, cut open and repainted, so it does not answer the colour question directly. But I have researched its history. It is visible in several photographs, from a set that were taken by Elliot Elisofon in about May 1943. They depict the "Panzer Graveyard" resulting from the battle of Hunt's Gap, 27 February - 1 March 1943.

The place where tanks are lying, can easily be located through various landmarks in the photos. The Panzer 3 is at 36°48'11.69"N 9°20'46.00"E, give or take a few meters.

And - what is most significant - this Pz.3 belongs to s.Pz.Abt.501. It is this battalion that supplied the Tigers and Pz.3 littering the "graveyard". All of the Tigers in all of the photos have been visually matched to earlier photos of this battalion.

As a result of this research, I can say that this Pz.3 was already in the hands of the battalion, in Germany, in October 1942. I have no evidence that any tank of the battalion was repainted; the photo sequences show occasional touch-ups on damaged areas, but no complete repaints as the months pass by. Therefore the colour of the Pz.3 in that photo, should be the colour that it wore in October 1942.

You suggest that it is painted in "Dunkelgelb nach Muster". I understand that the use of this paint began in February 1943. Correct me if I am wrong, please?

David

Byrden
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Re: Das Reich Tigers emblem and paint schemes

Post by Byrden » 13 Nov 2017 19:00

Miles;

You state that Bovington Museum have painted Tiger "131" incorrectly. What do you think they got wrong?

David

Miles Krogfus
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Re: Das Reich Tigers emblem and paint schemes

Post by Miles Krogfus » 15 Nov 2017 01:02

In some of its texts and videos, The Bovington Museum's official web site states that its Panzer III and Tiger models are currently repainted "the late war Dunkelgelb" and that RAL 7028 is this shade. The staff used help from Jentz/Doyle material (they and the staff and did not know about "Dunkelgelb nach Muster" ) and German painted equipment the museum holds to zero in on the supposed correct color.
Readers here can compare available color photos of these Bovington Panzers with the RAL samples I have posted and realize which is the shade on them, Dunkelgelb nach Muster or RAL 7028. Note that Tiger #131 also has a secondary gray range color added to its base shade.

Byrden
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Re: Das Reich Tigers emblem and paint schemes

Post by Byrden » 15 Nov 2017 10:05

I cannot comment on any of Bovington's tank colours except for Tiger 131.

Concerning 131, I can assure you that they didn't attempt to paint it any kind of Dunkelgelb, so I'm not sure why a video would state that.

The museum, in collaboration with Jentz and Doyle, examined 131 very closely to find samples of its wartime finish. This task was made easier by the fact that the tank was taken to pieces at the time.

They concluded that it was painted RAL 8000 / RAL 7008.

I don't have samples of this to show you. Doyle and Jentz had samples at the time, which they used to make the determination. They had obtained these and other samples from visits and discussions with the RAL people, as they were planning a book about Panzer camouflage.

The modern scheme that is now painted on 131 is an attempt to reproduce this 8000/7008 wartime scheme. I don't think they quite got it right; the modern paints are glossy, and they seem to form a visible boundary line where they overlap; but the chosen colours were prepared to match the RAL samples.

David

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