Douglas P-70 Nighthawk and Northrop YP-61 Black Widow in flight

WW2 USAAF Night Fighter Aircraft Camouflage

USAAF Camouflage Reference Contents:

The Late WW2 USAAF Night Fighter Aircraft Camouflage (1943-1945)

The U. S. Army Air Forces commenced outfitting with night fighters, such as the Northrop P-61, and modified versions of the Lockheed P-38 and Douglas A-20, referred to as P-70, during the latter part of the war. These aircraft were adorned in the customary color scheme of Dark Olive Drab No. 41 or Olive Drab ANA 613 over Neutral Gray No. 43 and Sea Gray ANA 603 respectively. This practice persisted even after the 30 October 1943 directive of leaving most combat aircraft unpainted at the factory. Subsequently, experiments were conducted to develop an appropriate gloss black paint for nocturnal operations, leading to the creation of Jet ANA 622. Though Jet ANA 622 was officially incorporated into the ANA system on 26 April 1944, its application began in January of that year.

Despite its gloss finish, Jet ANA 622 was frequently used without a primer, particularly notable in cases like Northrop, the manufacturer of the P-61, which opted for this approach. As a result, the paint tended to fade and appear matte after extensive use. It was quite common for many P-61s to paint their radomes in Insignia White No. 46 or its successor ANA 601. Due to the radomes being composed of different materials than the fuselage, they often exhibited distinct fading patterns.

Color Guide to The WW2 USAAF Night Fighter Aircraft Camouflage

  • Insignia White ANA 601: An off-white color that matches to its post-war successor FS 17875 fairly well.
  • Sea Grey ANA 603: A dark bluish-gray underside color, replacing its ancestor Neutral Gray No. 43 in 1943. The closest analog is believed to be 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: Glossy when freshly applied, ANA 622 quickly lost its sheen in use. Its post-war successor FS 17038 is best suited, but off-black or dark gray colors may also be suitable.
Original Paint ANA 601
Insignia White
ANA 603
Sea Gray
ANA 613
Olive Drab
ANA 622
Basic Radomes Lower Upper
Black Radomes 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
A cross-reference of model paints for USAAF night fighter aircraft camouflage. For an explanation of the designations used on this chart, see The Color Reference Designation Guide.

Photo Reference on WW2 US Army Night Fighter Aircraft Camouflage

Olive Drab Northrop P-61A Black Widow 25507 419th NF Sqn
Northrop P-61A Black Widow of the 419th NF Sqadron in standard camouflage: upper surfaces in Olive Drab, lower surfaces in Neutral Gray, radomes painted Insignia White. The photo was probably taken at the end of 1943 or early 1944.
Glossy Black P-61 Black Widow sn 42-5569 with invasion stripes 425th Night Fighter Squadron
Unlike the previous Black Widow, this one has the all-black camouflage. Note that Jet ANA 622 is relatively fresh and still has a glossy sheen. The invasion stripes on the tail beams and undersides indicate that the photo was taken in June 1944.
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 pair of Black Widow and Night Hawk night fighters in the test flight. Although the photo was taken on the mainland (Orlando AAB, Florida) and these aircraft have been carefully maintained and cared for, the paint coat on them is considerably worn and Jet ANA 622 has lost its luster, becoming a dull off-black.


  • 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)
  • Rodrigo Aguilera, The World

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