Re: Death of red baron

Erik Pilawskii (
Mon, 7 Nov 1994 14:10:16 -0800 (PST)

> Hi all,
> Also, another expert Smithsonian restorer pointed out that vR's plane was
> not the usual scarlet depicted, but rather a maroon due to lamp black being
> mixed into the dope (a note for all my fellow modellers).
> Happy landings,
> Chip

Great post, Chip, thanks. Very interesting. On the subject of color-- if
you'll recall one of vonRichthofen's DR.I machines (I think he flew a
number of them!) was in the collection of the German Air Museum between
the World Wars. I think it *might* have been 425/21 or /33, but I could
have forgotten by now. Anyway, the Museum was pulverized by Allied bombing
during WWII, along with the machine in question. However, 8 or 9 years ago I
had occasion to interview the Curator of that Museum (1924-40), Helmut
Feindorfer, who, incredibly enough, was still alive and well at age 96!!
He also mentioned the use of lamp-black in the doping used; but, more
importantly, on his wall was a framed piece of dark red fabric which he
told me was from Richthofen's machine (the one in question). Apparently
he removed it during refurbishing for Museum display. Now, the fabric *was*
70 years old, but it seemed to me that the color was as original (in part
because one would expect the shade to darken with age). The red that I saw
was definitely a *dark* red, but I wouldn't say it was quite maroon, at least
not as I think of maroon. The red dope must have been a very warm 'yellowish'
red, because, even with the black in it, it retained a somewhat warm value.
I always think of maroon with a cool hue (involving some blue, no doubt).
This shade had no such thing.
Of course, who knows how the color was mixed for each machine in question?
Since the Albatrosses from the Jasta 2 days were painted about the same time
(if not *at* the same time) it might be a good guess to figure their red
color is all uniform. But, after that... god only knows. It just could be
anything. But, in this particular case, that's what I saw....

Good Hunting, Erik

"The Heavens were the grandstands, and only the Gods were spectators. The
stake was the World. The forfeit was the Player's place at the table; and
the Game had no recess. It was the most dangerous of all sports-- and the
most fascinating. It got in the blood like wine. It aged men 40 years in
40 days; it ruined nervous systems in an hour. It was a fast game-- the
average life of a pilot at the Front was 48 hours. And, to many, it
seemed an Age....
Elliot White Springs, WWI ace