Re: A/H Red color

Bill Shatzer (
Thu, 10 Aug 1995 15:01:43 -0700

> Did I hear a reference to that insane, er, Mad Norse guy?
> About Austro-Hungarian wing stripe "red"; I've always assumed that a
> true "primary color" red would be the best guess. I've seen the
> artists renditions you mentioned showing an orange-red shade too
> (Artists licence?). Also, some extant fabric pieces do show an
> reddish-orange color as well - but I feel these 75 to 80 year old
> fabric samples used to be close to a true red (my opinion), as red is
> a NOTORIOUSLY unstable color. Left exposured, red usually turns
> orange, or pinky looking - not to mention just faded & lighter.
> This is not to say that reddish/orange A/H stripping didn't exist - it
> probably did, only that *I think* a true red was likely more common.
> Steve H.

I think I'm in just about 100% agreement with Steve - the AH national
markings were *supposed* to be a true red. As Steve stated however,
fading, especially with early 20th century paints was a problem and
what started out as true red, could easily shift orangish or pinkish
after a few months (or even weeks) of exposure to sun and weather.

A related problem was the nature of the pigments used to make red paints.
The pigments used in red paint just don't cover as well as most other
colors (as any model maker who's painted a red aircraft will attest!)
You've just got to put on a lot more red paint to give effective
coverage. If the red pigment is not applied thickly enough, it would
dry slightly transluscent, allowing color from the underlying
fabric to 'bleed' through and shift the appearance of the red areas
towards a pink or orangish hue. And, given the relative expense and
scarcity of the pigments used in red paint (especially in Austria-
Hungary during WW1 with a naval blockade going on), I'd think there
would have been a constant temptation to 'skimp' a little on the
paint and maybe not always achieve a full opaque coverage

Cheers, Bill

"The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it."  Oscar Wilde