from Mike Hays
Mitsubishi IJN Gray Close to 36375 Has a bluish gray hue
Nakajima IJN Gray A little darker than 36496 Has a yellowish gray hue
Mitsubishi IJN Green Very close to 34092 A dark green
Nakajima IJN Green Closest to but should be a little lighter than 34036 The darkest and bluest of the greens
Nakajima IJA Green A little lighter than 34077 or a little darker than 34128 The hardest of the greens to match to FS 959a chips. More yellowish than the IJN greens.
Kawasaki IJA Green Very close to 34102 The lightest and most olive of the IJA greens.
Nakajima Interior Gray-Green A little lighter than 34255 A light 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 represent.

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 (#9093)

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 (#9090)
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 aircraft.
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 finish.
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 samples.
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 a bit)
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 Tamiya's XF-11.
Use FS 595a 34036 slightly lightened as a guide.
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 guide.
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 offering.
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 match.
Tamiya XF-12 JN Gray is a very close match.
Use FS 595a 36496 slightly darkened as a guide.
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 tested:
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!

--Michael Hays--

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