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Zero question on color

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Does anyone no the what the closest color would be for the gray on a Pearl Harbor Zero? I am going to start my Tamiya kit this weekend and want to pick up the paint




Edit: I should add in Model Master Enamel





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I don't have a match in Model Master enamels but the best one I've come across is Floquil Railroad Colors F110082 Concrete. Good luck with your search of the Model Master enamels range. :)


Cheers and fun modeling,


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Hi Ron,

I have gotten interested in Japanese aircraft recently and found that any controversy over the accurate shades of late war Luftwaffe RLM 81/82/83 paints pales in comparison to the discussions of correct hues of Japanese aircraft colors. You may want to check out j-aircraft.com which has a lot of information on the subject. There are a number of different camps on this subject, each with its own viewpoint. I personally have no idea who is right and who is wrong I just picked one opinion and went with that.

The color mixes that I used came from postings by Mr. Greg Springer on the j-aircraft site and here they are:

Exterior color- 5 parts Model Master Sac Bomber Tan + 3 parts Model Master Flat White

Fabric Control Surfaces- 2 parts Model Master Flint Gray + 1 part Model Master Sac Bomber Tan

Again, there is disagreement over the accurate mixes and I am in no way saying that I know the answer. I am sure that others on this website who know a heck of a lot more about this than I do will offer their advice. Just passing along some information that I have found useful and I hope you enjoy building that kit.


Rich S.

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Allow me a small rant I think you will benefit from???


I have been looking for a good color for my own zero model 21, still in research gathering stage.


I am not a stickler for colors that will be what everybody "should" use but that looks like I think it should based I the data I can find.


In general I think we are way to eager to lay down hard rules about what color things "should" be. People, cameras, film, processing, and even the prototypes themselves varied somewhat NOBODY can tell you what color those zekes were on 12-7-'41! Even if they saw them they can point to a color chart almost 70 years later and say "that's it!" I settle for a color that's close, or at least plausable!


I also always use NATURAL light as my source for making color comparison because light makes a HUGE difference in how you see color. Models look the best shot outside on a bright day with soft shadows so I make my colors right for outdoor photography because more people will see the pics that wil see the real thing! I sell paint for a living so I know how dangerous it is to pick out something you really like standing in the store only to find it's WAY to bright when the sun streams in the kitchen windows in the morning. light matters!


This process with the zero has led me to experiments with SAC bomber tan from the MM line. It's not so gray but more of a pale buff/caramel color that's close and I like a lot. I like it so will probably use some pleasing variation of that. I'm not such a fan of the "official" color produced recently by Tamiya.

In the end it's your plane, so make yourself happy.



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Hi Gents,


Here are some updated mixes for the PH Zeros .


A mix matched to the coating on the metal portions of the airframe of the Mitsubishi-built Zero flown by Lt. Fusata Iida to his death at Kaneohe NAS and to Zero AI-154 that crashed at Fort Kamehameha, Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941.


Mix 1M(odelMaster enamels)

50 drops ‘SAC Bomber Tan’ FS 34201

32 drops Flat White FS 37875


Mix matched to a cloth artifact from Zero BII-120, landed on Niihau Island, Dec. 7, 1942. Likely also to match cloth on all control surfaces of AI-154 shot down at Ft. Kamehameha and BI-151 crashed at Kaneohe NAS the same day.


Mix 2T(amiya)

105 drops Sky Grey XF – 19

15 drops Lt. Sea Grey XF – 25

20 drops Khaki XF – 49


Sorry I don't have a ModelMaster mix for this color. While I was trying to develop one, Testor's put out a completely changed batch of one of the base colors so I gave up on it. The Tamiya mix is the result of a request by an Aussie guy. Use Tamiya or Gunze thinner with it and it sprays very nicely.


The cockpit color of the Iida Zero was matched to Model Master enamel Medium Field Green FS 34095. The cowling is blue- black as is the fuselage decking beneath the canopy and the inner surface of the canopy framing. All PH Zeros were Mitsubishi-built so the gear wells and inner surfaces of the gear doors are the same as the outer surface color.





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Thanks for the reply to his question Greg- Now I have a question for you- I am wanting to build one of Saburo Sakai's A6M2 from the time he was based on Lae- Now, are there any known pics of these aircraft, and, were they overall grey, or, camo'd in the field? And, are there any good decal sheets to produce any of these?


Thanks for the color mixes- I will be putting them to good use-



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Thanks to all for the great replies. I know virtually nothing on Japaneze airraft. This will be one of my firsts.


I didn't realize it was more of a grey/tan color. Also a big thanks for the tip on the LG bays and doors being underside color. Tamiya says it's the silvery blue greon color.


Much appreciated guys. I will likely start this build tomorrow.

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I didn't realize it was more of a grey/tan color. Also a big thanks for the tip on the LG bays and doors being underside color. Tamiya says it's the silvery blue greon color.


I'm no expert Ron, but I think the wheel well colour differed per manufacturer. So, Mitsubishi-built aircraft used the underside colour, whereas Nakajima-built aircraft used the silvery-blue colour (Aotake) mentioned by Tamiya. The problem is determining which company built the aircraft you're modelling!



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Tamiya has been following this developing story closely, and a couple of years ago came out with a new paint specifically matched to what are reputed to be well preserved samples of the color. At the risk of staring a huge "thing" here, the color has been variously described, but "pistachio green" seems pretty descriptive to me. I believe the Tamiya paint is XF-76, but don't quote me on that. This has been hashed to *death* on J-Aircraft, and I feel pretty sure we now have a very, very good idea what color they actually were, and that the Tamiya paint is it.



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Hi Thor,


The only pics I have seen of Tainan Zeros from that period are of V-110 after it was brought to Port Morsesby. Sakai's early war service terminated after his epic flight from Guadalcanal to Rabaul on August 7, '42. Prior to that, the units operating Zeros were not applying field camo schemes. That began sometime in early 1943. Also, there were paint differences between Mitsubishi and Nakajima-produced aircraft with Mitsus tending more towards a greenish tint and Nakas towards a brown-yellow or tan. Both companies were building A6M2's up til the end of June 1942 so the Tainan Air Group could have had both kinds on strength. With all of the variables like availability of pigments to the paint companies and the effect of sunlight (made the paints turn flat and gray) I don't get dogmatic about it. The cloth surfaces were gray and the metal surfaces as above. I like WEM's "Nakajima Amber Grey" ACJ17 a lot.


Here are some mixes for the Nakajima-built Zero shot down on Midway:


Mixes matched to the overall metal surfaces of the Nakajima-built Zero shot down on Midway Island, June 4, 1942. This color would be found on all metal surfaces of the airframe, except the cowling. This color also found on some Vals at Pearl Harbor.


Mix 2M(odel Master enamels)

100 drops ‘Field Drab’ FS 30118

42 drops ‘Flat White’ FS 37875

8 drops ‘Insignia Yellow’ FS 33538


Mix 3T(amiya)

100 drops Khaki XF-49

35 drops White XF-2

6 Orange X-6


Mixes matched to a fabric surface taken from the same Zero. This gray color would be found on all fabric-covered control surfaces.


Mix 3M

100 parts ‘Light Sea Gray’ FS 36307

14 parts ‘Aggressor Gray’ FS 36251

1 part Insignia Red FS 31136



Mix 4T

50 drops Medium Grey XF-20

7 drops Sky Grey XF-19

5 drops Neutral Grey XF-53


Kevin is correct about the Nakajima gear well finishing. The wells and the inner surfaces of the inboard 'butterfly' doors are translucent blue or green. The inner surfaces of the doors on the gear legs are the same as the outer surface color. The interior color of the Midway Zero falls between FS 34095 and 34096 so Model Master Medium Field Green will work. If you are going to scale effect the Mitsubishi green-khaki mix don't use straight white as it will shift the tint towards yellow. Add in a pale green like Model Master enamel Pale Green FS34227.





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Thor. The only decals I know of are the Yellowhammer sheets 32014 and 32015. 014 has Sakai's V-103 and 015 has V-141 from Feb. '42. Unfortunately Yellowhammer was a Meteor Productions line so not currently available. A sheet of Zero markings should be a profitable item for some enterprising decal maker at this point in time.



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