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Yakovlev Yak-6 camouflage evolution
Updated on10 July 2011
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An early Yak-6 tested at NII VVS in 1942.

The original camouflage scheme of Yak-6 was strongly inspired to the NKAP template of 1941, but characterized by the lack of continuity of the black band between the wingroot and the top of the fuselage.

(from M-Hobby 3/2000)

Plane 64101 under testing in a wind gallery in March 1943.

(from M-Hobby 3/2000)

 

An interpretation of the camouflage of the planes of last 3 photos. Note that the profile from the left shows the engine nacelle as from photos of the plane on the ground, while the profile from the right shows it as the plane in the wind gallery, that looks also to have a further atypical black spot on the right wingtip that wasn't traced in this drawing .

Colors should be:

green: AMT-4

black: AMT-6

light blue: AMT-7

Three images of the same Yak-6 n° 0247 At the NII VVS in 1942. (from M-Hobby 3/2000)

This follows a standard template; at a first looks it looks simply a variation on the black-green NKAP template of 1941, but a careful observation reveals that there are two low-contrasting colors in the areas where green should be. The plane seems to wear an ante-litteram version of the later green-brown-black camouflage. The lighter color should likely be light brown AMT-1, even if it appears darker than expected. Probably it was an early variant of that color with strong grey dominance.

So, it looks that Yakovlev had anticipated of a whole year the camouflage changes that were later officialized by the NKAP, as for the green-black I-26 and perhaps the grey-grey Yak-7.

Below, some colorized photos from the web. At first I thought to a fantasy, but now I consider this interpretation as likely, even if not fully accurate: .

 

Yak-6 N° 014347 tested at NII VVS in mid 1943, clearly in 3 shades camouflage.

This drawing from M-Hobby gives a fair interpretation of the camouflage, but in my idea some green areas are mismatched with brown and vice versa (I've assumed that the brown is the lighter shade in photos)

This Yak-6 red 7 of 718 OAP in 1944 looks to have the 1942-style green-black-brown camo, only updated with new white-red outlines on the stars.
A whole line of operative Yak-6 in 1943 look to follow faithfully the same scheme of the plane above. The lighter color is evident on the nose and tail of the first plane, and on the sides of the second one.

The camo as shown on the photos above. There are doubts on how it should be made on the right wing and tail surface; i've inspired to the photo of white 2 reported below, replacing black with green in some parts, and in other parts I conformed to the drawing of M-Hobby.

Colors should be:

green: AMT-4

black: AMT-6

light brown: AMT-1 (perhaps in a dark and greyish early version)

light blue: AMT-7

These planes in 1942 look to conform to a variation of the same pattern , with green instead of black and vice versa. The photo is scarcely contrasted, but it's clear that many of the planes of the line have the same camouflage.
This Yak-6 white 2 follows a similar pattern, with black instead of green and vice versa. Although blurried, this photo shows well the pattern.

 

Drawing of white 1, representative of the planes with reversed camouflage.

There are some uncertainties on how it appears on the right side and wingroot and on the rudder.

Colors should be:

green: AMT-4

black: AMT-6

light brown: AMT-1 (perhaps in a dark and greyish early version)

light blue: AMT-7

 

 

 

 

The directive n°2389/0133 of July 3, 1943, gave new instructions to paint the Soviet warplanes:

  • the upper and side surfaces of all fighter aircraft were to have two colors: greyish blue and dark grey in the same scheme;
  • upper and side surfaces of all types of aircraft but fighters had to be camouflaged in green, light brown and dark grey (black for Il-4 and Pe-8);
  • the red stars remained in the same six positions of before, but were addictioned with a thick white outline and, more externally, with a further thin red outline.
  • the directive applied to new planes and those in repair shops; it wasn't required that operative units repainted all their planes.

  Nitro lacquers for mixed construction planes Oil enamels for all-metal planes
light brown AMT-1 A-21m
dark green AMT-4 A-24m
black not needed A-28m (for Il-4 and Pe-8 only)
light blue AMT-7 A-28m
blue-grey AMT-11 not needed for non-fighter planes
dark grey AMT-12 A-32m

The directive assumed that the non-fighter planes had to be delivered with the new camouflage starting from August 1, 1943; in the days before, black had to be replaced with dark grey.

In case of absence of dark grey, this would have been replaced by a mix of light blue and black.

The directive contained 15 camouflage schemes for many types, of which 14 were for non-fighter planes.

 

The camouflage of this Yak-6 of Normandie-Niemen (note the small cockade behind the canopy) shows excellent resemblance to the scheme n.1

In the sketch, the template n.1 is shown on a NN plane.

 

This plane of NN follows well the template n.1 on the wing; in comparison with this scheme, on the fuselage, instead, all the bands look moved forward with the addition of a dark grey one on the tail tip.

 

This drawing represents a plane painted according to template n.2 of 1943; although no any photo is available, it's reasonable to assume that this camo was utilized.

In late 1944 the Soviet Air Force had altready reached a position of superiority over the German Luftwaffe and its alleys. While Germans reverted to green/brown camouflages to hide better their planes on the ground, the Soviets decided to extend to all planes the blue grey/dark grey camouflage that has been successful for fighters since August 1943.

On October 1, 1944, the Resolution n.6339 was approved, but burocratic delays retarded its publication till January 1945.

  Nitro lacquers for mixed construction planes Oil enamels for all-metal planes
light blue AMT-7 A-28m
blue-grey AMT-11 A-33m
dark grey AMT-12 A-32m

The resolution included templates for many types of planes.

Comparing those drawings to the photos, there are doubts if the directive was applied, and how; very few types respect the new templates, but many planes could have been updated, as suggest Vaklamov and Hornat, by repainting blue-green over green areas and dark grey over light brown areas. This would have led to a predominance of dark grey over blue-grey, but seems to be not a common case on photos.

Many types, Pe-2 and Tu-2 in particular, received wide soft repainting with a light color, leaving visible part of the previous camo; one can think that this light added color is blue-grey, even if one could have expected something darker from the description of A-33m, said darker than AMT-11. Perhaps it was sometimes surrogated with a mix of light blue and black, according to the formulas prescribed in 1943 for fighters.

 

Despite the publication of an official template, no any photo of Yak-6 with grey/grey camouflage is known.