Colors and markings

green on the upper surfaces. Ground personnel

usually made use of paint that was available

for maintenance on aircraft of other categories

that already had green paint. In the case of the

seaplane units, these were the Aichi, Mitsubishi

and Kawanishi aircraft. The shades of their

camouflage paint varied slightly depending on

the paint supplier. The use of war booty paints, for

example in Rabaul, or the use of paint designed

for warships cannot be ruled out. When this

paint was applied, the white outline of fuselage

Hinomaru was often thinned or completely

repainted. However, some aircraft were left in

grey paint on all surfaces and are documented

from as late as 1944.

In the final months of production, the new A6M2-N

aircraft received a standard coat of D1 dark green

paint on the upper surfaces, a shade specific

to the Nakajima paint supplier. This change

was accompanied by the introduction of white

outline on the Hinomaru on upper surfaces. With

combat units this white part was often thinned or

completely repainted, which could also be done

on the fuselage Hinomaru.

The coloring of the transport cart is often given

as black, but this does not match contemporary

photographs. More likely is the dark grey-blue

color used for naval vehicles and technical

equipment. The dark blue color used by the

Imperial Navy, for example for workshop

equipment, cannot be ruled out either. The

construction of the cart was composite, with the

vertical stabilizing parts and the parts on which

the float was mounted being made of wood. The

whole cart was painted in one color, but in service

the paint naturally showed signs of wear and tear,

the grey paint from the main float sometimes had

worn off and remained on parts of the cart.

Photo: ©Izawa

Photo: US Navy

Rufes had a grey paint coating on all surfaces,

which was sprayed over a reddish-brown base

paint. To prevent corrosion, the interior surfaces

of the flap area were also painted aluminium

instead of the Aotake paint that was common on

A6M Zero fighters.

Due to the change in the name of the aircraft, the

fuselage identification stencil changed in July or

August 1942. It occurred between approximately

the 30th and 50th Rufe produced. From October

1942, the manufacturer stopped putting the date

of manufacture on the stencil.

At the end of August 1942, Nakajima introduced

a yellow identification stripe on the leading edge

of the wing on A6M2-N aircraft, and at the same

time introduced a white outline of Hinomaru on

the fuselage.

In February 1943, naval fighter units were

instructed to spray the aircraft with dark

Text: Jan Bobek

Unpublished photograph of Rufe NI-119 with a group of Kōkūtai 802 NCOs taken in early 1943 at Shortland Base. This is an aircraft that was finished with grey paint

on all surfaces and the unit level received a coat of dark green paint on the upper surfaces. The rectangular field of grey paint on the fuselage is clearly visible, which the

mechanics have retained for the machine's production stencil.


INFO Eduard

April 2023