The Late-WW2 Colors of U.S. Army Night Fighter Aircraft

The Late-WW2 Colors of U.S. Army Night Fighter Aircraft


Night Fighters (1943-45)

The USAAF began equipping with night fighters like the P-61 as well as converted versions of the P-38 and A-20 (known as P-70) in the second half of the war. These were finished in the typical scheme of Olive Drab No. 41/ANA 613 over Neutral Gray No. 43/ANA 603 which was maintained even after the 30 October 1943 order of leaving most combat aircraft unpainted at the factory. Later, experiments were undertaken to provide a suitable gloss black paint for night operations which resulted in Jet ANA 622, which was only added to the ANA system on 26 April 1944 although it began to be used in January of that year. Despite being gloss, it was often applied without a primer (notably by Northrop which built the P-61) and tended to both fade and look matt after extensive use. It was not uncommon for many P-61s to paint their radomes Insignia White No. 46/ANA 601 and being of a different material than the fuselage, frequently showed different patterns of fading.

Color Guide to Late-WW2 USAAF Night Fighter Aircraft

  • Insignia White ANA 601: An off-white color which match to post-war FS 17875 is close enough.
  • Sea Grey ANA 603: A dark bluish-gray underside color that replaced its ancestor Neutral Gray 43 in 1943, whose closest match is FS 36118.
  • Olive Drab ANA 613: A standard dark olive color used for upper surface camouflage since 1943. Depending on the weather conditions and climate in which the aircraft was operated, this color could vary from green to brown shades. When it's new, the closest equivalent is FS 33070.
  • Jet ANA 622: Despite being a gloss paint, ANA 622 should definitely look matt for an aircraft in combat. A lightened black or black/gray should suffice.
ANA 601
Insignia White
ANA 603
Sea Gray
ANA 613
Olive Drab
ANA 622
Basic (Radome) Lower Upper
Black (Radome) Overall
Gunze Aqueous (H316) - H52 (H2)
Gunze Mr. Color (C316) - C12 (C2)
Humbrol (22) (125) (155) (21)
Model Master (1745) (1723) 2050 (1747)
Revell (04) (74) - (08)
Tamiya (X-2) (XF-24) - (X-1)
Vallejo Model Air 71.279* 71.097* 71.016* (71.057)
Vallejo Model Color (70.820) (70.868) 70.887* (70.861)
AKAN (73146) 72040* 72033 (78005)
AK Interactive (AK 2052) (AK 2144) AK 2204 (AK 719)
AK Real Colors (RC222) (RC244) - (RC001)
AMMO by Mig (A.MIG-047) (A.MIG-204) A.MIG-240* (A.MIG-032)
Colourcoats ACUS37 (ACUS14) (ACUS12) -
Hataka HTK-_043* HTK-_031* HTK-_018 (HTK-_041)
Lifecolor (LC 51) (UA 022) - (LC 01)
Mission Models (MMP-104) (MMP-084) - (MMP-047)
Mr. Paint MRP-135 (MRP-40) MRP-138 MRP-137
Xtracolor (X141) (X130) (X113) (X012)
Xtracrylix (XA1141) (XA130) XA1113 (XA1012)
Arcus 538 532 - 535

Photo Reference of US Army Night Fighter Aircraft Camouflage

Olive Drab Northrop P-61A Black Widow 25507 419th NF Sqn A P-61 in OD/NG probably in late 1943 or early 1944. Note the IW radome.
Glossy Black P-61 Black Widow sn 42-5569 with invasion stripes, 425th Night Fighter Squadron Another UK-based P-61 showing the glossy sheen of ANA 622, at least when relatively fresh.
Douglas P-70 'Black Magic' 9753 and Northrop YP-61 Black Widow 11887 in flight, 349th Night Fighter Squadron Orlando Army Air base November 1943 A P-70 and YP-61 in ANA 622. The gloss sheen has all but disappeared.


  • Archer, Robert D. and Archer, Victor G., USAAF Aircraft Markings and Camouflage 1941-1947, Schiffer Publishing (1997)
  • Bell, Dana, Air Force Colors Volume 1 1926-1942, Squadron/Signal Publications (1995)
  • Elliot, John M., The Official Monogram US Navy & Marine Corps Aircraft Color Guide Vol 2 1940-1949, Monogram Aviation Publications (1989)
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