My Focke Wulf was blue. Well when I say blue, I mean a bit too blue. I know it’s supposed to be a bit blue in places, but my FW190 illustration wasn’t quite right. It plagued me like the kind of insistent itch from a socially inappropriate part of your anatomy that you’d like to ignore, but are forced to surreptitiously and creatively attend to it, hopefully without anyone noticing. Table corners, door knobs, chair backs – anything at just the right height are all fair game.
So what was wrong with my original FW190? Well not much really, if you could ignore the copious application of digital over-spray everywhere. It affected not only every other colour on the illustration, but also drenched every detailed component that took ice ages to get right. Not a problem. An hour of careful re-touching later and it was looking the way it was originally intended. Phew! Itch well and truly scratched.
When I were but a wee lad, Airfix always called this blue colour ‘hellblau’ when referring to German aircraft, which impressed me no end when I finally discovered it meant ‘light blue’ in German. I was amazed by this strange yet somehow logical concept, naming colours after their cultural association. To me that particular kind of pale blue seen on the underside of many Luftwaffe aircraft will always be hellblau. While both the USAAF and RAF used ‘black’ on their night fighters, according to Airfix, Luftwaffe night fighters were painted “schwartz”. It was always somehow subtly different to black, more sinister, perhaps.
I’m sure I recall one of the colours suggested on the upper surfaces of the Airfix Heinkel 111 in the 70′s was ‘Dunkelgrun’, a very particular rich and quite beautiful rendering of dark green that only the Luftwaffe would employ. If you placed this colour next to British Racing Green, you’d be hard pushed to see the difference. But if you gave them their names, a World of difference would open up to you. Two different cultural connotations of course.
So here is the new, improved version of my FW190. For maximum enjoyment, don’t think “light blue, grey, light green, field green and red”, think “hellblau, grau, hellgrau, feldgrün and rot!”.
Tags: art, aviation art, bespoke art, butcher bird, dreambird, Ernst Schröder, ETC 501 drop tank, ETC 501 rack, fighter aircraft of ww2, focke wulf 190, fw 190, fw190, gift for a man, gifts for a man, ian reynolds, illustration, iwm, JG300, luftwaffe, nose art, Red 19, war bird, ww2