Mironov's LaGG-3
evolution of its painting scheme
By Audrius Nairanauskas and Massimo Tessitori
File updated on June 15, 2004
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Here is an image of Captain V.P. Mironov on his LaGG-3, probably on early 1942.
Captain V.P. Mironov was the commander of 609th IAP; he was an ace, having shooting down twenty-one enemy aircrafts.
Later he was made Hero of the Soviet Union.

distinctive characteristics of the version

The LaGG-3 of Mironov is probably an example of series 11, built in early 1942.
It features are:
  • sharp prop spinner;
  • tubular exhaust stacks;
  • 1 ShVAK 20 mm firing through the propeller shaft;
  • 2 12,7 UB machine gun guns on both sides of the engine cowling, and relative holes on both sides of cowling (out of standard armament for this series);
  • engine cowling with fast locks on upper and lower panels;
  • small inlet on the cowling left side replaced by a hole; 
  • small outlet on the right side replaced by a recessed one;
  • pointed side plates behind the exhaust stacks;
  • reptangular supercharger intakes;
  • long and moved forward radio mast;
  • straight rudder with one balance mass;
  • water cooler outlet on the fuselage with continuous profile, without step;
  • fixed tail wheel;
  • no slats, pitot on the right leading edge.
The aircraft looks camouflaged with AII green/black camo scheme; the black appears worn.
The aircraft is oversprayed with a bit of white winter color.
The spinner is white and black.
The prop blades are black.
A large red arrow is on the fuselage side; its head is hidden by white paint.
Red stars are both on the fuselage and on the stabilizer/rudder side, as well on wing undersurfaces.
There should be a white 78 painted on the rear fuselage.
The side panel behind the exhaust stack is without paint.
Some stenciling is visible on the nose.
This profile is an obvious extrapolation from the previous one, representing the aircraft before the application of the white paint. 
This hardly-landed LaGG-3 should be the same aircraft, after some months. 
The photo shows stars with different colors, they can't be both red. 
In my opinion, the film is of the type that turns red into white, so the tail star could be red. 
The same for the arrow outline.
Note the six RS-82 rockets and rails under the wings.
The non-standard right UB and relative holes on the cowling sides are visible on the picture.
Note the unusually small protection plate behind the exhaust stacks, perhaps a field arrangement.
In my opinion, the aircraft was partially repainted in order to reduce its brightness.
The camo on rear fuselage was partially repainted green/black, leaving a zone of green lightened by winter white around the number.
The fuselage star, the arrow internal part and a red star on the spinner were repainted black.
The white spinner was repainted green.
Traces of winter white paint are still visible on nose panels.
I know that this interpretation is hard to be accepted, but it resists well to criticisms. 
I've measured the darkness k of some parts of this scan by instruments of Adobe Photoshop.
On the nose, we see that the black of the arrow (k=80%) is slightly darker than that of the camo band (k=75%), that demonstrates that the arrow was black.
We have to consider that red never appears darker than camo color on Soviet ww2 photos, except that on factory photos, where probably a different type of film was used. 
Worn red turns into a dull and light shade, not a darker one. Some photos show red undistinguishable from white.
Here we see that the fuselage star is darker (k=60%) than the faded black of the camo (k=50%), and identical to the tail of the arrow, obviously black (60%); so it should be black.
Black was a camo color, so to repaint a star with black paint meant to obliterate it, not to create a new nationality marking.
Shades on rear fuselage are more faded than on the nose, due to dust and exhaust fumes.
The number 78 was probably white (white was the common use for numbers, so I don't think it was red even if red and white appear undistinguishable on this image).
The light patch around the number could be interpreted as a light paint (light grey?) or gloss fresh green paint covering a previous number; but it has the same shape of the number 78, so it's difficult that it covers a different number. So I think that this was the original camo color, faded and slightly lightened by a thin layer of winter paint, and that the circumstant camo colors were repainted to cover winter white, that was hard to wash away.
The light outline around the black arrow could be both white or red (they are undistinguishable on this photo), but I think that it was left of the original red, and only the internal of the arrow was repainted black.
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