The German Ministry of Aviation (RLM) was a governmental department during the Nazi regime. It’s also the original name of the current building in Berlin that hosts the Finance department for the current government.
During that historical period, the RLM was in charge of the development and production of all aircraft. That included the paint schemes used to declare nationality for the battles that happened in the air.
It’s important to know the RLM colors as a modeling enthusiast if you want to create authentic replicas. Although you cannot secure paint from this area, Tamiya acrylics can produce a realistic look without being overly expensive.
RLM Colors and Tamiya (Acrylic) Equivalent
RLM stands for “Reichsluftahrt Ministerium.” The paint designations from this German governmental agency were part of the Ministry of Aviation during the Nazi era, from 1933-1945. The list ranges from RLM 01 (silver) to RLM 84v.3 (Green-Blue). Tamiya offers alternatives that match.
Tamiya Paints are made in Japan. It’s a high-quality product made from a water-soluble acrylic resin.
You can use Tamiya on virtually anything, includes styrene, ABS, wood, and primed metal. That’s why it is a popular choice for model-building enthusiasts. You can create an authentic reproduction at the appropriate scale when the correct color is available.
If you make a mistake with Tamiya colors, the material is easily washed away with only water if it is done before curing.
When you reference the RLM colors to their Tamiya acrylic equivalent, you can build a model German airplane from World War II or before and have it look authentic.
Here is the current list of RLM colors and what the Tamiya equivalent would be.
|Reichsluftahrt Ministerium Colors||Tamiya Acrylic Equivalent Colors|
|RLM 02||XF 22:1 with XF 49:1|
|RLM 65||XF 23:1 with XF 2:1|
|RLM 71||XF 62:1 with XF 49:1|
|RLM 74||XF 24:3 with XF 27:2|
|RLM 75||XF 24:5 with XF 50:1|
|RLM 76||XF 2:7 with XF 23:1 and XF 66:2|
|RLM 79||XF 59:3 with XF 64.1|
|RLM 80||XF 58|
|RLM 81||XF 51:1 with XF 64:2|
|RLM 82||XF 5 with XF 5:1 and XF 2:1 or XF 5:1 with XF 3:1|
|RLM 83||XF 61 with XF 24:1 and XF 51:1 or XF 24:1 with XF 51:1|
Some of the RLM colors don’t have a direct or close match to the original. In those circumstances, your best course of action to take is to approximate the hue to the aircraft images found online.
Why Choose Acrylic Pants for Modeling Work?
Acrylic paints are a water-based solution for model decoration. They dry quickly, offer minimal odors, and deliver a permanent result.
You can use Tamiya paints with an airbrush or a regular brush. Once the color is dry, you have a durable, waterproof product that can withstand most environmental conditions.
Before applying acrylic paint to the model’s surface, it helps to prime the item to ensure the product goes on smoothly.
When you purchase Tamiya products, you can get the colors in flat, translucent, or glossy options.
Tamiya creates a thinner paint than other manufacturers, making it much easier to use an airbrush. It takes minimal thinning to get it to run through the equipment appropriately.
You’ll want to use the same brand for paint and thinner when airbrushing models. If you use a different combination, the results can be unpredictable. Water isn’t a great thinner for Tamiya because the paint contains alcohol.
A good place to start to achieve the correct consistency is two parts paint to one part thinner.
Best Airbrushes to Use for Painting Models
Since Tamiya paints work well for airbrushing, investing in some durable equipment makes sense if you build more than a couple of models each year.
When you look for the best airbrushes, you’ll discover that most manufacturers put items together as a kit. That means you’ll get some paint, a how-to guide, the basic accessories, and the cleaning tools you’ll need after finishing the work.
Since you’ll be using Tamiya products, you can skip the kits with extra paint – unless you want extra practice with the equipment.
Here are the best airbrushes you can purchase today to use for your model painting work.
This airbrush works well for those who want extra accuracy with the application while having numerous controls and features.
It offers a chrome-plated body with PTFE seals to prevent premature wear from solvents. You can even control the trigger resistance to ensure that the Tamiya paint sprays where you intend.
You have several snap-on additions that work with the Infinity CRplus from Harder and Steenbeck to make it highly customizable. You can attach different nozzles and needles with a 2ml or 5ml cup to get through the work quickly.
When your airbrushing preference is to have fantastic atomization while having a product that is simple to use, this product delivers an excellent result. Instead of relying on specific measurements for the various needles, you get terms like “fine” and “large,” which are 0.2mm and 0.5mm, respectively.
The Badger Sotar 20/20 offers a conversion kit that helps you manage different sizes for your models with the Tamiya acrylics. It uses a dual-action trigger with a stop for accuracy, while the quick-release guard lets you swap needles quickly.
Although it takes a bit to get used to how it feels, the results are exceptionally consistent.
If you work on a lot of German aircraft miniatures, this airbrush offers everything you need to get the job done. Although it lacks some of the more advanced features (such as a quick-stop trigger), most model builders can get a feel for the equipment after a couple of sessions.
Why choose the Iwata Eclipse HP-CS over the Iwata Eclipse HP-BS? The first option delivers a 7ml paint cup that can let you work all day. If you choose the latter product, it comes with a 1.5ml cup instead. The airbrush equipment is equal otherwise.
When you need to save some money by avoiding a specialist airbrush, you’ll find the Iwata Eclipse HP-CS is a fantastic option to consider.
If you’re new to airbrushing, it might be better to see if you like this hobby first before going headfirst into a modeling effort. When you want something durable that still gets the job done effectively, the Badger Patriot 105 is an excellent selection for even miniatures.
This airbrush offers one of the most straightforward application processes you can find in today’s industry. Although the product only uses a single 0.5mm needle, the durability received with this investment ensures that your work will look stunning.
The manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty on the seals. It even delivers cutaway access to the needle clamp to ensure cleaning efforts are almost effortless.
When you build small German planes instead of the larger-scale models, this airbrush offers the features you need for a successful experience. It comes with a pistol-style grip with a dual-action trigger to deliver incredible accuracy.
Another design element you’ll love is the magnetic quick release cap and crown. It uses several different paint cup sizes, including a massive 50ml add-on. It’s made in the United States, works hard, and produces consistent and forgiving results.
A Final Thought on RLM Colors and Tamiya Acrylics
Tamiya acrylics work well for creating RLM colors because of their tone and consistency. Although a perfect match isn’t always possible, you can still produce a realistic outcome when building models or performing restoration work.
One of my fondest memories growing up was building model aircraft in the basement with my grandfather. We’d visit their home about once every other month for a day, and we’d always continue the plane that we started together.
My grandfather was an expert model builder. He could put together almost any scale with precision. Instead of using the included decals, he’d airbrush the various symbols, signs, and insignia to create something authentic.
One of the first models we put together over the years was a German JU 88 Bomber. I can remember how hard it was to install the dual bubble windows with the design. My grandfather eventually painted everything with his airbrush or by hand, and the outcome was stunning.
We’d build several more planes together over the years, but it is that first one that always stands out.
Tamiya acrylics are the best choice because of the product’s fluidity. It’s much easier to atomize the paint for delivery to create an even coating on top of primer.
The airbrush’s quality plays a direct role in the achievable outcomes you have with your models. I highly recommend investing in the best one you can afford to avoid issues with clogging, overspray, and atomization loss.
There are always moments to make new memories. Building models with RLM colors using Tamiya acrylics could be the one thing that creates a fun family activity.