I have been trying to look into ways of improving my models lately and one of the ways I thought would help would be in the painting. So if anyone can add to this please feel free to do so, after all, we can only improve! Obviously how you paint your model really decides whether it will live or die, realism is only a paint colour away. For example, you have King Tiger painted fararri red and title it "Russian front 1945" it is not going to matter one bit if you have all the tiny details correct, the model will be judged by the colour of the paint. This got me to thinking about the paints issued by the various hobby suppliers themselves. If you look at your painting instructions on model kits you will always see that they recommend various colours from various manufacturers. Why is this? O.k, So we understand that Tamiya would recommend Tamiya paints, why would Revell recommend Humbrol? Or Dragon recommend Gunze Sangyo? Puzzling one at that! Another point is this; where do the companies get their interpretation of colours from? A startling fact is that many get their ideas from Museums and from photographs, matching up the colour from Film or photos. Now anyone who knows anything will know that you cannot use a photograph of a tank to justify you saying that this is the real colour or what colour was what in Black and white films or photos. It seems that the only correct way to interpret the colours is to read the "Heer memorandum" that gives orders in regards to colours that should be used and when! But then again, this does not say what shade RAL 8017 was! What makes it more confusing is that Tamiya once visited the Patton museum in America and got permision to take of the overspray the museum staff had put on to an SDKFZ 251. They found that the Dunkelgelb was 5 different shades! So Tamiya based their XF60 (Dark Yellow) on the mid shade. So theoretically the Tamiya shade of Dunkelgelb should be the most valid? But it gets worse! Historically RAL 6003 (OliveGrun) Ral 8017 (Braune) and RAL 8002 (Signalbraune) were supplied in 5 kilo tins in paste concentrate for dilution by tank crews.This could be acheived with water, Oil or Petrol, indeed in one case urine! The final intensity of colour depended on the dilution, so RAL 6003 (olivegrun) could appear almost black if undiluted and pea green if diluted too much. Another factor to consider aswell is that many paints are based on 1/1 scale colours, ie, the real thing. Many modellers will dilute the colour with as much as 25% white in order to lighten the colour and make it more scale effective. Most German AFV's were fitted with compressors so that spray guns could be used to paint the vehicle. So most German vehicles were Spray painted in the field. (Though the Ambush scheme was applied by hand.) Although all model companies have advised what colour paints should be used, and whos to use, only two companies have researched the subject thouroughly and from the right source. These Companies are Gunze Sangyo from Japan and also Hannants from England. In May 1991 both pooled resources and approached the RAL Deutches Institut Fur Gutesicherund Und Kennzeichung e.V. (loosely translated "The German institute of Quality control and Identification) It was founded in 1925 and and is funded by the German chemical industry. This is the equivalent of the British Standards or the U.S Federal Color Standards. Not only did Hannants ad Gunze receive comprehensive information on the chronological introduction and deletion of second world war colours but were also given authentic paint chips. From these Chips Hannants produced the full 10 shades. Gunze a few less. Funnily enough "Denkelgelb" the most important colour 1943 onwards does not have an official RAL number! The paint chip supplied by RAL is often claimed to be too dark or too olive. So, if you are interested in painting your wagon the correct shades for an added air of authenticity here are the colours and Hannants codes in brackets) for you: RAL 7016 Anthrazitgrau (X802) Used by Luftwaffe ground forces (Herman Goerring division) RAL 7008 Khakibruan (X804) Used by Afrikacorp and in crete 1941. No Official RAL description of colour. Used in conjunction with RAL 8000 Ral 7027 (x809) Used by Afrikacorp after 1941. Again no official RAL description of colour. used in conjunction with RAL8020. RAL 6003 Olivgrun (X806) Used in conjunction with RAL 8017 and RAL Dunkelgelb. RAL 8002 Signalbraun (X801) used in conjunction with RAL 7021 especially before 1939. RAL 8000 Grunbraun (X803) Used by Afrikacorpand in crete 1941. No official RAL Description of colour used in conjunction with RAL7027 RAL 8020 (X808) used by Afrikacorp after 1941. No official description of colour used in conjunction with RAL 7027 Dunkelgelb (X805) used as standard colour from Feb 1943. No official RAL number, used in conjunction with RAL 6003 and RAL 8017 RAL 8017 Braune (X807) Used in conjunction with RAL 6003 and Dunkelgelb. I hope this helps.