- AERO MASTER WAR BIRD ACRYLICS
||Has a bluish
darker than 36496
yellowish gray hue
||Very close to
||A dark green
but should be a little lighter than 34036
and bluest of the greens
lighter than 34077 or a little darker than 34128
of the greens to match to FS 959a chips. More yellowish
than the IJN greens.
||Very close to
and most olive of the IJA greens.
lighter than 34255
yellowish olive or mustard brown color.
Now that I've explored the new AeroMaster War
Bird Acrylic colors for IJA and IJN aircraft, it dawned on me
that modelers who don't have these but have other paint brands
may wish to know what factory colors those brands may possibly
represent. For example, is Tamiya's XF-11 a Mitsubishi green,
Nakajima green, or Kawasaki green, or neither? Of course, the
standard I'm using here is that of the War Bird Acrylics (WBA).
If the WBA colors are off, I have no other option in my
references to check the accuracy of
factory colors. I have several different color
bars in various sources representing generic IJA and IJN colors,
but none of these is an official chip, and all are subject to the
vageries in the color printing process. I humbly offer the
following for consideration of fellow modelers who have a variety
of paints and want to have an idea what factory colors they may
- JAPANESE AIRCRAFT FACTORY GREENS
AND GRAYS; PAINT BRANDS COMPARED USING
- AEROMASTER'S WARBIRD ACRYLICS AS A
- This report will deal primarily with the
Japanese greens and some IJN grays. The brands I tested
were AeroMaster enamels, Gunze Sangyo, Pactra, Polly S,
Tamiya, and Testors Model Master Japanese greens and
grays. I would place a test sample on a white 3/5 index
card and compare with AeroMaster's WarBird Acrylics (WBA)
under the diffused sunlight of a slightly overcast day.
Dealing with these in alphabetical order:
AeroMaster Enamel Army Green (#9092)
Unfortunately, my bottle had dried out and I
had to go by the cured paint inside the lid. This color comes
very close to WBA Kawasaki IJA Green, but appears to be just a
tad darker. I used this color on the Kawasaki Tony's I'm
presently working on, and the finish matches well with WBA
Kawasaki IJA Green.
AeroMaster Enamel Army Medium Green
This color is a little darker than WBA Nakajima
Interior Gray/Green, but it captures the right hue. Thinned with
a little white, it should tone down to a fair representation of
Nakajima Interior Gray/Green.
- AeroMaster Enamel Navy Green
- This color does not match any of the WBA
acrylic greens. The closest comparison would be that of
the hard-to-match Nakajima IJA Green, but #9090 is much
lighter and more olive in hue. It appears to be the
lightest of the exterior green colors offered by
AeroMaster, whether enamel or acrylic. Unfortunately, at
this stage I don't know what Kawanishi Green looks like,
but I have nothing else that matches #9090 for IJN
- Gunze Sangyo H59 IJN Green
- This color comes the closest to WBA
acrylic Mitsubishi Green. It's a bit darker, but it
captures the right hue.
- Gunze Sangyo H60 IJA Green
- This is another color that comes close to
WBA Kawasaki IJA Green. It appears to be a tad darker
than AeroMaster's enamel Army Green (#9092), both of
which are a little darker than WBA's Kawasaki color.
- Pactra IJ22 IJN Green
- Believe it or not, I still have some
Pactra paints around! This color is among the darkest of
the greens and has a distinctive bluish cast. There is no
match with any of the WBA colors.
- Polly S IJA Green (#505272)
- This color appears as the lightest of the
standard army greens in my collection, and is a medium
olive color. There was no match with any of the WBA
colors. The closest comparison would make this color a
much lightened form of Kawasaki IJA green. Perhaps it may
serve well for fading and weathering of a Kawasaki
- Polly S IJN Green (PCJ92)
- This color looks more blue-gray than green
and is definitely the most bluish of any of the greens I
tested. Not surprisingly, there was no match with any of
the WBA colors. However, the color illustration by Rikyu
Watanabe of a Kawanishi N1K1 Shiden in the famous
oversized Crown Books series ZERO FIGHTER is painted in
this color. Is it then a Kawanishi green?
- Tamiya XF-11 JN Green
- This is perhaps the darkest of the greens
I tested. It's just a little darker than WBA Nakajima IJN
Green, but comes the closest to that color of all my
- Tamiya XF-13 JA Green
- About as dark as its Navy companion color
but with a little more of a brown or olive hue. There is
no match with any WBA color.
- Testors Model Master IJA Green
- This is a very dark olive green that has
no match with any of the WBA colors.
- Testors Model Master IJN Green
- A distinctive deep green color that
appears close to Mitsubishi IJN green in the bottle, but
dries darker and closer to Nakajima IJN Green. In poor
light it looks close to Nakajima IJN green, but it's
clearly darker in good lighting conditions.
- Summary of the Greens Tested:
- If the AeroMaster WBA colors accurately
represent factory offerings of the IJA and IJN greens,
then suitable substitutes can be
- Mitsubishi IJN Green:
- Gunze Sanyo's H59 IJN Green (lighten this
- Use FS 595a 34092 as a guide.
- Nakajima IJN Green:
- Tamiya XF-11 (lighten this a bit)
- Testors Model Master IJN green will work,
but needs to be lightened a little more than does
- Use FS 595a 34036 slightly lightened as a
- Nakajima IJA Green:
- Nothing else comes close.
- Use FS 595a 34077 slightly lightened as a
guide, or 34128 slightly darkened.
- Kawasaki IJA Green:
- AeroMaster IJA enamel Green, very close,
lighten a bit.
- Gunze Sangyo H60 IJA Green, very close,
lighten a bit.
- Polly S IJA Green 505272, close, darken a
bit, or use as a faded tint.
- Use FS 595a 34102 as a guide.
- Nakajima Interior Gray/Green:
- AeroMaster enamel IJA Medium Green can be
used if lightened with an off white tint.
- Use FS 595a 34255 slightly darkened as a
- PRELIMINARY WORK WITH JAPANESE IJN
- Using AeroMaster's Warbird Acrylic IJN
grays as the standard for comparison:
- Mitsubishi IJN Gray
- Gunze Sangyo H61 IJN Gray comes closest.
It's not quite as bluish-purple nor as dark as the WBA
- Model Master's IJN Sky Gray is a little
darker, but still very close.
- Use FS 595a 36375 as a guide.
- Nakajima IJN Gray
- Gunze Sangyo H62 IJA gray is a very close
- Tamiya XF-12 JN Gray is a very close
- Use FS 595a 36496 slightly darkened as a
- I have not yet tested the Army grays (Note
again, however, that Gunze Sangyo's H62 Army gray is a
near match for WBA's Nakajima NAVY gray).
- As far as the other navy grays
- AeroMaster's enamel 9090 IJN Gray
approaches Nakajima IJN gray, but is much lighter.
- Polly S AH-2 IJN Gray is a very light ash
gray. No match with the WBA colors.
- Pactra's IJ21 IJN Gray is also a very
light ash gray. No match with the WBA colors.
I've not compared any of these Warbird Acrylics
with other brands, such as Humbrol or Mr. Color. Nor have I
checked for other colors not labeled as IJA or IJN colors to see
how they might compare. See my other article on FS 595a
comparisons. Further input from modelers who have paint chips or
other input on these colors would be most welcome.
In conclusion, I must confess these
observations were not of a pure scientific nature and are quite
subjective. I've tried to discover the colors closest to the
WarBird Acrylics offerings of Japanese factory colors. Much
controversy still boils regarding the "official"
Japanese colors. Scale effects on models offset a demand for a
pure color that was applied to the real aircraft, but it helps to
get to the closest hue. If you have the brands I've tested--or
others not represented here, try my approach of placing color
bars on index cards or white plastic card stock, and you'll see
that what is on the market today represents a very wide variety
of shades and hues, even though the labels on the jars may be the
same! Once you're comfortable with the factory colors and which
brands best represent them, your next challenge will be to
determine which colors were used on your particular model--not
always an easy task, especially for Zeros. In the latter case,
however, the separation lines from the green over gray schemes
will be the best clue.
Enjoy your Japanese grays and greens!
to Color Research Page