Camouflage : Set of 17 metal camouflage paint sample plates

Unit Royal Australian Engineers
Accession Number REL/16500
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Aluminium, Metal, Paint
Maker Unknown
Place made Australia
Date made 1942-1943
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Set of seventeen (17) rectangular metal camouflage paint sample plates or swatches, each 156 mm x 84 mm. Each plate has a hole punched into the top centre and an aluminium filing pin passes through these to hold the set together. All but one of the plates are marked in black stencilling on the reverse, with the name of the colour. The colours are described as follows, from the bottom of the collection, going up. The Australian War Memorial has attributed to each colour a Munsell colour value equivalence. This value is given in brackets, below, following each colour:

Light brown (no colour description is printed on the rear of this plate. It is observed as Munsell 2.5Y 5/2)
J - khaki green, (Munsell 7.5Y 4/2)
A - white, (Slightly darker than Munsell 2.5Y 8.5/2 This plate has a dark cream appearance.)
D - dark grey, (Munsell 5GY 5/1. The title of this colour is desceptive - it is actually observed to be a light meduim grey.)
S - basalt red, (Munsell 10R 4/2)
Q - Darwin stone, (Munsell 2.5YR 4/4)
F - grey green, (Munsell 2.5GY 6/2)
L - scrub green, (Between Munsell 2.5GY 4/2 and Munsell 2.5GY 5/2)
C - slate grey, (Munsell 5G 4/1)
K - foliage green, (Between Munsell 2.5GY 4/4 and Munsell 2.5GY 5/4. The colour on this plate is a light green yellow, of a completely different hue, value and chroma to the 'Foliage Green' that the RAAF adopted. Samples of foliage green preserved on artifacts are much darker, and are closer to Munsell 7.5GY 3/2)
S - Gritty camouflage paint basalt red (between Munsell 2.5YR 4/2 and Munsell 2.5YR 4/4),
N - light stone (Munsell 2.5Y 7/4),
B - light slate grey(close to Munsell 7.5Y 5/2),
M - dark green (Munsell 2.5 GY 4/2),
T - dark earth (10YR 4/2),
H - light green (Munsell 2.5 GY 6/6),
U - night black (Munsell N 2.75).

History / Summary

Range of camouflage colours tested and developed by the Camouflage Wing, Royal Australian Engineers and associated with the camouflage work undertaken by Australian official war artist Frank Hinder. The colours were developed by close observation of the environment in southern and northern Australia and New Guinea. Although adopted as the standard colours for Australian military camouflage, the developers discovered that the majority of colours ended up being almost identical to the range developed by the British.

Although there is no date on this sample, a note attached to an almost identical set of the same colours painted on cardboard, formerly in the AWM collection stated: "STANDARDS ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA - STANDARD COLOURS FOR CAMOUFLAGE PAINTS - FIRST ISSUED DECEMBER 1941, AMENDED FEBRUARY 1942, REVISED JANUARY 1943. ISSUED WITH AS NO (E) 2K.509".