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  • Painting Austria-Hungarian Mottle Cammo

    First, a lot of this is conjecture, based on very thin evidence. But I believe I see a common thread running through several, apparantly unrelated AH cammo schemes.

    Starting with Mottle:

    Examination of a number of photos and colour interpretations leads me to believe that the AH Mottle used a technique similar to the later "Ambush" pattern used on German vehicles in the closing stages of WW II.

    It has the virtue of being effective, and easy to apply in the field.

    In this, 2, 3 or 4 colours are roughly painted on in thick irregular stripes. Then blotches of the other colours are daubed on over each stripe. Typically, in WW II, Dunkelgelb (Dark Yellow), a Dark Green and a Red-Brown were used. So the Yellow bits would have blotches of both green and brown on them, the brown bits yellow and green, and so on.

    Here's the principle:

    Start with the basic irregular stripes in 4 colours - orange, brown, light green, dark green.

    Put dark green splotches on the orange, brown, and light green bits

    Then orange splotches on the brown, light green, and dark green bits

    Then brown on the orange, light green and dark green bits.

    Then light green on the orange, dark green, and brown bits. This would complete the normal "Ambush" pattern.

    The Austria-Hungarians took it further, putting more and more and finer and finer splotches on until the base striping was almost obliterated - but still visible from a distance, to break up the shape.

    Basic patterns were just 2-colour mottle on one background, as here:

    There were intermediate forms that could be either, as here

    Many appear to have looked more like this:

    A more sophisticated version is the hexagon cammo. Here there were distinct areas of the aircraft in different base colours, with hexes of other colours on them.

    Here, 3 distinct patterns can be seen:

    The same principle appears to have been applied to the printed "swirl" patterns, which came in several basic background colours, and were used in bands on some aircraft.

    The idea is that, at a distance, the outline of the aircraft is broken up by the striping. Closer in, the stripes disappear in the mottling, which appears a fuzzy ground-coloured hue. Closer still, there's a "dazzle" effect, making judgement of heading and orientation very difficult. How well it worked is another matter, but that's what these different schemes appear to have in common. Remarkably sophisticated.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Austria-Hungarian Mottle - How To started by Zoe Brain View original post
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