How-to article on applying WW1 “Fokker” Streaky Camouflage, or “Fokker Streaking” 101
This article is part of a series:
A lot of us have a few World War 1 Fokker planes in our stash. Some of us have been thinking about just how to replicate the often seen Fokker finish…
Here’s how I did it… and it’s not all that hard once you break it down. The nice thing with this method is that you can simply wipe away any mistakes with the green. Or you can completely wipe down a panel and start all over if you so decide.
Before you start any project, it’s best to do your homework, and gather the needed supplies and specialty tools if so required for the task at hand… but this is so easy, and only a 1/2 inch wide (12MM) paint brush is needed… which some of us have on hand right now.
I make no warranties, either expressed or implied. OK enough legal mumbo jumbo and lets get on with the project…
To begin with, here’s a list of things I used.
Safety glasses for eye protection.
A respirator to protect my lungs.
rubber gloves to keep my fat little fingers cleaner, and to keep my skin from absorbing some nasty chemicals that my liver and kidneys would later have to filter out of my blood.
These items listed below worked very well for me. But if you want to experiment by using different brands of materials, that’s entirely up to you.
An artists flat paint brush. I chose one that measured approximately 1/2 inch (12 MM) wide.
Model Master spray enamel right from the old rattle can… I used FS 34087 “Olive Drab” which is a standard US Army WW2 color. Nothing fancy here…
I also used Model Master enamel for the base coat which was light blue. For this color I chose RLM 65 “Hellblau” which was a standard WW2 German Luftwaffe color. I air brushed the color on my build.
I used a 50 / 50 mix of “Future” floor acrylic wax, mixed in even proportions with standard medical rubbing alcohol. This mixture was also air brushed. More on that later…
The last ingredient for this magical evolution was plain old “Universal enamel paint thinner”. Here again I used Model Master since this is what the local Hobby Town store in Sanford FL carries.
The very first thing you need to do is locate various pictures of the subject you are building so you can see what angles the streaks were applied at. The wings, fuselage and tail surfaces were all painted individually before the actual planes were assembled.
Next fill in all blemished areas, sink marks, etc. on your model, just as you would on any typical build. Once you are satisfied with the results, spray the entire airframe using RLM 65 “Hellblau”. It should look like this once completed:
Let this dry, preferably overnight. Following ample drying time, mask off the areas that were painted as a white back ground under the “Maltese” or German “Iron Cross” markings at this point. If you plan on using strictly the kit supplied decals using decals for the back ground only, you can skip this step. But I have found it makes the white back ground more prominent and to me it looks better. Once this is done it should look something like this:
Spray on the white back ground…
Once the white has dried, remove the masking. This is how it should look now:
This next step is VERY IMPORTANT !
Mix the Future Floor acrylic in a 50 / 50 percent ratio (half and half) with the rubbing alcohol. Spray several coats on the entire airframe and let it dry, again preferably overnight… This acrylic mixture will act as a buffer later between the light blue and the OD green. It is needed to keep the thinner from attacking the light blue. More on that later.
Now you will have to again mask off the underside areas of the plane that were normally light blue on the real plane, and the just painted white back grounds for the German Crosses.
Wait until the painted on Future mixture has dried sufficiently, or you may … no scratch that, you WILL end up with a mess on your hands… don’t ask me how I remember this step… just trust me.
Remember the Olive Drab spray paint in a can ?
Now is when you need it… Give the upper areas a light coat of O.D. Green. Nothing fancy here. Complete coverage is not needed, and a light dusting of spray paint actually works best…
The following step is very easy… Remove the masking.
Now take your flat artists brush and dip it in the paint thinner. Wipe off most of the excess thinner. Now with the thinner moistened brush, simply drag the brush along the surface of the Olive Drab paint, making sure the brush strokes are in the proper angle that was used on the real plane.
If the sides of the fuselage normally used vertical brush strokes, so should you. Simply follow the pattern used by Fokker.
Don’t worry too much about the light blue under the OD Green. The Future mix is there to keep it intact and act as a buffer between the light blue and the green…
The wings normally used a 10 degree pattern brush stroke. Here’s how I did mine, (and my angles are off a little).
The tail surfaces and sub wings were also painted separately, so you should do the same.
You can lighten the effects of the streaking by adding more thinner and wiping off the excess paint from the brush in between brush strokes.
If you want to make the area look darker, (like I did here), simply add some more Olive Drab paint onto the artists flat brush and brush it on, again following the brush angles for the part you are painting. You can use the paint from the spray can (after you spray a small amount into a jar) or bottled paint of the same color.
On my Voss F-103 pre-production machine, the areas just behind the cowling / the forward portion of the fuselage appear darker in most original era photographs. So here I simply added more OD green color and made it darker. This could have possibly been due to castor oil staining from the rotary engine though… check your references and paint accordingly.
Remember when I said you can lighten the streaks ? Here’s how I did mine… If you look close at the sides of the fuselage just ahead and behind the white Iron Cross back ground, you will see the streaks are much lighter. I simply used thinner on the paint brush in these areas a few more times.
The beauty of this method is that since you have a protective barrier of “Future” acrylic mix in between the two colors of paint, (light blue and Olive Drab), you can add and subtract to olive drab color to your liking and not have to worry too much about damaging the light blue undersurface.
Once you get the parts looking the way you want them to, assemble the model parts.
I found out that just through normal handling during assembly, that some of the top coat Olive Drab came off.
Don’t worry about it… as it’s an easy fix.
Simply go back again with your trusty artist brush and paint thinner and add or subtract paint to your own tastes. Once you do one area (or two) you will really be surprised at just how easy this is… It’s not brain surgery.
If it makes you feel better, try it out on a piece of scrap plastic first until you feel comfortable…
Once you get the plane EXACTLY how you want it to look, give the entire plane another spray coat or two of the 50/50 Future acrylic mixture. This will “seal the deal” and lock down you now great looking, super fantastic, wonderful Fokker streaks.
Now you can add decals to suit your particular build and spray a final coat of the 50 / 50 Future mix to seal the decals down.
Your plane should now look something like this (but only if it’s a Fokker DR-1 type 🙂 🙂 🙂 )
Here are the end results…
The original reference photo:
My Fokker build… Yes I need to build a photography light box…
as seen in gray scale
I hope you like how it turned out for you. With a little practice, you too can be a Fokker streaker in no time flat…
Here’s an original photograph that actually shows how this process was done at the Fokker Factory… If you look close, it appears that the lower wing cross was left with a natural linen back ground and was not painted. This was something I never realized before until I read something that was written last night by Aviation Historian and well known WW1 researcher, the late Dan San Abbot…
Here’s what Dan San Abbot had to say about this picture:
“The dark olive dope was thinned to a wash and applied with 80 to 100mm wide brushes in one continuous stroke. It was applied in one coat over the clear doped linen fabric. The dark streaks are where the brush had a full load, and each succeeding brush stoke the covering of the thinned dope got lighter.
After the camouflage finish was applied, using matt black dope, the crosses were painted on the clear doped linen fabric on the upper wing top surface, the lower wing under surface, both sides of the fuselage and the rudder. After the crosses had dried, the cross fields were painted with flat white oil based paint on the top wing , fuselage and rudder crosses. The lower wing crosses were left as is, clear doped.
One coat of sky blue dope was applied to the under surface of the wings , axle wing, fuselage, and tail plane. The sky blue dope overlapped to the bottom side of the fuselage 20mm and to the top surface of the tail plane, forming a border 20mm wide.
After all the painting had dried, the fabric surfaces were given one waterproofing coat of copal varnish which had a yellowish cast, this causes a yellow shift, changing the sky blue to a turquoise.
This is all supported with Fabric Samples from Ltn. Stapenhorst’s Fok. DR.I 144/17 held in the Imperial War Museum. These are substantiated facts, not my opinion”.
Blue skies Dan…
Lastly, here’s a link to another website where Achim Engels, a gentleman who lives in Germany and has built numerous full size flying replica Fokker aircraft. Here Mr. Engels describes the colors used. It’s well worth taking a look if you are serious about authenticity… Mr Engels has dedicated his life to the authenticity of his builds and even goes as far as to replicate the smallest details in his full sized builds using original Fokker factory technical drawings.
Here’s another link that goes directly to Mr. Engels website. Here I learned a ton about how these Fokker machines were constructed.
As usual, comments are encouraged.