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Thread: Austria-Hungarian Mottle - How To

  1. #1

    Default Austria-Hungarian Mottle - How To

    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.

    Click image for larger version. 

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

    Click image for larger version. 

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

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

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    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.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    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.

  2. #2

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    As usual Zoe, a very useful guide on "How To do". This will be an added asset to any of us doing Austro Hungarian aircraft, even if only to dodge in the bits that ordinary decals don't reach.
    Thanks once more.
    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  3. #3

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    Very informative and nicely done. Thanks for that!

  4. #4

  5. #5

    Default The Dulcote Difference

    Here's an example of a Hansa-Brandenburg C.I not quite finished - the lower wing hasn't been dulcoted.





    Dulcote gives a fabric-like finish. Otherwise, the gloss varnish used to seal the paint and decals securely catches the light in close-ip photographs.

    Here's what the plane looks like from above.



    The gloss coat is perfect for a varnished-wood effect on the fuselage though.

  6. #6

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    Looks superb Zoe, even in the snow.
    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  7. #7

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    Looking at these schemes in the past, I never really thought there was a method to the madness. Following the pattern really does give it a nicer look. Well done.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoe Brain View Post
    Here's an example of a Hansa-Brandenburg C.I not quite finished - the lower wing hasn't been dulcoted.





    Dulcote gives a fabric-like finish. Otherwise, the gloss varnish used to seal the paint and decals securely catches the light in close-ip photographs.

    Here's what the plane looks like from above.



    The gloss coat is perfect for a varnished-wood effect on the fuselage though.
    So have you lost any planes on the game table yet?
    Again, a great bit of knowledge clearly delivered. Thanks muchly,
    Karl
    It is impossible for a man to begin to learn what he thinks he knows. -- Epictetus

  9. #9

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    I've promoted this to an Article in the Repaints section... nice going!

  10. #10

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    Great job Zoe! both the actual repainting of the model and the great 'how to'!

  11. #11

  12. #12

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    Great guid Zoe - and great work!

    Matthias

  13. #13

    Thumbs up

    Great Tutorial Zoe.
    Wanted to give you a Rep Point but I have to spread it around before I can!

    "Its a fine line indeed between going out in a Blaze of Glory or having Crashed & Burnt!"
    Member Australian Society of WW1 Aero Historians

  14. #14

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    Don't think I'll ever have the skills to pull this off. You did great though!

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by alpine View Post
    Don't think I'll ever have the skills to pull this off.
    That's the good bit - it doesn't require skill. I'm a mediocre painter.

    1. Paint on stripes. They needn't be neat, no straight edges required.
    2. Get a cheap small brush. Dab it in one colour paint, put dots on at random. Don't bother waiting to dry, just clean the brush, choose another colour, repeat.
    3. Now get a smaller brush, and do the same.

    You go from this: (Shapeways Hansa Brandenburg C.I after sealing)



    To this:



    The decals help.

    Because you're using essentially the same technique used in the field, the results look authentic because they are authentic.

  16. #16

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    Well, when you put it that way it doesn't seem too farfetched. Going to save this little tip for future Shapeways orders!

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by gully_raker View Post
    Great Tutorial Zoe.
    Wanted to give you a Rep Point but I have to spread it around before I can!
    Done and dusted on your behalf Barry.
    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  18. #18

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    Gosh! Thanks everyone for the Rep. I just wanted to be helpful you know, just as I've been helped by others on this forum. A matter of pulling my weight.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoe Brain View Post
    Gosh! Thanks everyone for the Rep. I just wanted to be helpful you know, just as I've been helped by others on this forum. A matter of pulling my weight.
    That's not as bad as pulling rank Zoe. Anyway we are all gentlemen here on the Drome and would thus never discuss the weight that a Lady was pulling. Just accept the Rep as a sign of our gratitude for all the effort you put in above the call of duty.

    Kyte.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  20. #20

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    That is realy nice work (though I pity the ground crew who had to paint such schemes must have been un-employed artists from Vienna) well beyond my capabilities even if my hands did not shake

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    That is realy nice work (though I pity the ground crew who had to paint such schemes must have been un-employed artists from Vienna) well beyond my capabilities even if my hands did not shake
    Most had a varnished wood fuselage -




    BUT.... Some had mottled camo on all top surfaces, CDL below. So this is possibly the only cammo apart from all-over CDL that anyone with shaky hands can do easily.



    The best thing about it is that it looks so impressive, yet is mind-bogglingly simple to do. I'd recommend it even above all-over CDL for a first-time repaint, because the struts are easier to do.

  22. #22

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    Wow, really great stuff Zoe!!! Thanks!!!!

  23. #23


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    Well done Zoe.An inspiration I will have to Field a couple of planes sporting your camo: looks great.Lets hope it manages to put the opposition of their aim !!!! Robin

  24. #24

    LOOP
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoe Brain View Post

    This "swirl" pattern. Was it a common sight on Austro-Hungarian Aircrafts?

  25. #25

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    Lovely 'how-to' article here, Zoe! Glad someone revived it - I need to repaint a few A-H planes as my collection grows, and this will help tremendously. Seeing the 'swirl' reminds me I need to order some decals in that pattern, too.

    All the best,
    Matt

  26. #26

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    Glad to see this post again as I am doing some Austro-Hungarian planes

  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by LOOP View Post
    This "swirl" pattern. Was it a common sight on Austro-Hungarian Aircrafts?
    Only common of Oeffag 153, 253. Nearly universal on 253's supplied to Poland post 1918. I've not seen any original photos of it except on 253's.



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