LAH Kampfgruppe – wip3 painting Factory 3 colour, Dot and Disc camouflage

Late camouflage madness ….

Three different types of late factory camouflage were required for this project. Normally I freeform my camouflage using a variation of greens and browns over the traditional Dunkelgelb or “mustard yellow” base however for this project I decided to have a stab at “proper” late war camouflage and in particular those associated with late ’44 production Panthers.

Background

Around August ’44 Panther factories received a general instruction that all machines were to be finished in a standardised camouflage scheme prior to shipment from the factory. The various plants involved in Panther manufacture (DB, M.A.N. and M.N.H.) all produced schemes with variations based on differing interpretations of this order which also included two well known but short-lived variants, the dot (otherwise known as the “ambush comouflage” or “Hinterhalt-Tarnung”) scheme and the disc scheme. Also around this time (although officially from November ’44) all machines were to receive a base colour of Olivgrun, replacing the Dunkelgelb used since early 1943.

My sources for the camouflage I selected were based on those in the excellent Duel in the Mist volume 1 book. While many black and white pics abound on the web and it’s easy to search and find various modellers interpretations, the Duel in the Mist books (4 volumes) combine detailed and meticulous research with invaluable colour plates. I’ve included some of the plates I used here (for discussion purposes only) and highly recommend purchasing the books to anyone with an interest in the Ardennes battles.

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And so on to my attempts at late camo ……

Late Factory

PBG - 051 1024

PBG - 053 1024

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Ref from Duel in the Mist (copyright here for discussion only)

MAN late 3 colour 211

Variations even existed in machines produced from the same factory. Here 2 M.A.N. Panthers, 327 and 154 of SS.Pz.Rgt12 knocked out near Krinkelt-Rocherath, show similar but subtly different applications of the scheme.

237 and 154 MAN late camo SS PzRgt 12

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Dot Camouflage (Ambush or Hinterhalt)

A variation of the “std” factory Panther camouflage was produced by Daimler-Benz and consisted of dots of contrasting paint within the broader disruptive patterns of Olivegrun, Dunkelgelb and Rotbraun. It is a shortlived pattern however it can be seen on other armoured vehicles, most famously TigerBs.

PBG - 043 1024

PBG - 046 1024

PBG - 047 1024

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PBG - 049 1024

Ref from Duel in the Mist (copyright here for discussion only)

DB Ambush camo p1

Famous pic of an IR test Panther in Dot camouflage (source Panzer Tracts 5-3, here for discussion only)

IR test vehicle PAnzertracts 5-3

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Disc Camouflage

And finally the disc camouflage which is a variation used by M.A.N. at the same time as DB used the Dot scheme. It is produced by a stencil overlay which uses approx. 6 different sized discs with the interlocking sections cut out. The pattern is then lain over the standard factory scheme and a lighter contrasting colour (probably dunkelgelb) is then sprayed or applied with a roller.

As you can imagine trying to replicate this while brush painting had some challenges!! I tried several methods including stamping and when that didn’t work, painting the cut out sections. Both looked naff so I resorted to brush painting the discs and then joining up the outer pattern. Surprisingly it was relatively easy, and pretty tedious!

PBG - 065 disc camo 950

PBG - 066 1024

PBG - 068 1024

PBG - 069 1024

Ref from Duel in the Mist (copyright here for discussion only)

MAN disc camo p1

Panther 131 of Oscha. Thoma knocked out by air attack near Cheneux. Notice the clearly visable disc pattern. (source Axis History Forums, here for discussion only)

131 Disc bulge

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13 comments on “LAH Kampfgruppe – wip3 painting Factory 3 colour, Dot and Disc camouflage

  1. This is great stuff Brent – here’s hoping you’ll cover the fading, weathering and blending next.
    Any chance you could share your choice of colours? I got Tamiya rattlecan yellow for the base coat on some, but what are you using for the late greens and browns?
    Cheers.

    • Hey Keith!

      I think I can cover most of that in the next installment, though the last part of the process usually goes pretty quick and it’s the one that hardest for me to stop work and take pics of – dang it.

      And you’re gonna hate me on the colours but its all mixed by eye using my trusty GWs. I have 2 shades of brown and 2 of green made up now. They get a dash of blue and a dash of yellow or black added until I’m happy. I test them on the bottom of the tanks. The hardest part is waiting for a test to dry as it darkens quite a bit as it does so.

      Didn’t you pick up the AK late war colour set? Aren’t they similar ? I’ll try and put up a colour chart (like I did for the modern brit infantry camo) that may help?

      cheers
      Brent

  2. A really excellent post. Very interesting topic (I will have to get those books!) and I really enjoyed seeing the stage by stage photos showing how you achieved these schemes. Great stuff 🙂

  3. Hey Brent – I guessed you probably eyeballed those colours (and perfectly too no less).
    Yeah, I have the AK sets, but living on a wee island now reduces options for getting materials so I’ve considered going back to GW paints at least as an experiment.

    Looking forward to the next instalment. I’ve archived a lot of your previous tuts, but I reckon you’ve moved on somewhat from the GWP days.

    • Lol, yeah I think I’m up to Gen4 or 5 in terms of technique/style. I rarely chip now even though I can still get them looking used (hopefully) and I’ve trended towards lighter colours particularly in how I render the Dunkelgelb. I tend to use the weathering and filters to alter the lighter base colours. Tis easier to go darker but if you start dark your options are less from the get go. The Dunkelgelb you’re seeing on these guys and the 251s was quite light and creamy to start with …..

      Oddly I’m thinking of ordering some of the brushable AK stuff to try ….

      B

  4. Thoroughly enjoyed your info and interesting to hear that you start with the lighter colors ! Makes a whole lot of sense. I reckon we all go through a learning curve. Intersting to hear that you have moved away from ”chipping”, I also realized it is not always a perfect solution to getting decent weathering results. Love reading your posts.

  5. This is an amazing post. I’ve only ever tackled the dot camo in 1/35, and never, ever dared to get the disc one going. I guess I’ll give it a go with my next German project, whatever that might be.

    • Hey matey thanks! At least in 1/35th you can now get really good masks for the disc camo. On my budget and in 20mm I didn’t have a lot of choice but to wing it …. 🙂

      And yeah I want to try it again and hopefully get a little better with it.

      cheers
      Brent

  6. Another thing you could have tried was making your own mini disc-stensil, of course I’m sure it would probably have multiple disadvantages

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