A member of the ground crew servicing the NA P-51B-5 Mustang 'Woodys Maytag' engine

WW2 US Army Aircraft Interior Colors

USAAF Camouflage Reference Contents:

WW2 USAAF Aircraft Interior Colors

The subject of interior coloration for US wartime aircraft is quite intricate and, in many instances, remains a matter of speculation. The complexity arises from the considerable latitude afforded to different manufacturers, each adhering to their individual standards. Consequently, even aircraft of the same make constructed in various factories could exhibit different interior hues.

Predominantly, US aircraft employed a standard anti-corrosion primer known as Zinc Chromate, which doubled as the default color for visible internal areas. This primer's name was derived from its primary pigment rather than its appearance, which actually manifested as a vivid yellow with a hint of green. This led to its moniker, Yellow Zinc Chromate. The precise shade of Yellow Zink Chromate displayed slight variations between manufacturers and was never assigned a specific number within any color system.

A secondary hue, known as Green Zinc Chromate (also called Tinted Zinc Chromate), was created by introducing black enamel pigment to zinc chromate. This secondary color was primarily utilized for concealed internal spaces, cockpits, and refurbished components that were previously coated only in Yellow Zinc Chromate. Manufacturers frequently employed diverse combinations of zinc chromate and lamp black in their mixtures, resulting in even greater variations in practice compared to Yellow Zinc Chromate.

Ultimately, a standardized variation of Green Zinc Chromate was established by the US Navy in late 1942, labeled Interior Green (then ANA 611 Interior Green, following the introduction of the ANA system on September 28, 1943). This variation appeared slightly darker and more brownish than the average Green Zinc Chromate tone and was later replaced by FS 34151, which was even more brown compared to the wartime version.

With regard to exposed interior spaces, USAAF aircraft exhibited much greater variety. While most USN planes adopted the underside color for their wheel wells and covers, the USAAF typically retained these areas in Yellow Zinc Chromate or Green Zinc Chromate or Interior Green. In some instances, they were painted in aluminum lacquer. Often, a combination of these colors was used. For instance, P-51s commonly featured wheel wells in Interior Green and aluminum lacquer covers. Landing gear and wheel hubs were typically coated in aluminum lacquer, although, in certain situations, they were painted in the underside color, Neutral Gray No. 43, before the discontinuation of camouflage after October 30, 1943.

Other structural areas, such as bomb bays and non-cockpit crew compartments, similarly exhibited variations based on the specific aircraft. For example, the bomb bays and cabins of B-17s were initially painted in Green Zinc Chromate or Interior Green. In contrast, those of B-24/25/26 planes were coated in aluminum lacquer, as were the later B-17G variants. These late-war practices persisted into the post-war era until interior colors were standardized across all branches of the US military in 1955.

Guide to Interior Colors of USAAF Aircraft in WW2

  • Yellow Zinc Chromate: This paint is not so popular among the paint manufatureres, however it can be found in general palettes. That was a bright greenish yellow color.
  • Green Zinc Chromate: Most paint manufacturers usually offer under this color something between Interior Green and Green Zinc Chromate. Although in fact they were two different colors. Green Zinc Chromate was brighter and lighter than Interior Green and had a more noticeable green tint.
  • Interior Green ANA 611: Most paint manufacturers offer this color under the generic name US Interior Green, which was mentioned above. In addition, its post-war counterpart FS 34151 is often offered under this color, but the latter has a more prominent brownish tint compared to its wartime counterpart.
Original Paint
Yellow Zinc Chromate

Green Zinc Chromate
ANA 611
Interior Green

General Interiors Interiors
General (1943) Interiors Interiors Interiors
Gunze Aqueous - - H58 (H8)
Gunze Mr. Color C352 C351 C27 (C8)
Humbrol - - 226 56
Model Master - 1734 1715* 1781
Revell - - - 99
Tamiya XF-4** - - XF-16
Vallejo Model Air 71.107 71.094 71.137* 71.062
Vallejo Model Color - - 70.850* -
AKAN 72034 - 72004* 76004
AK Interactive AK 2207 AK 2306 AK 2303 -
AK Real Colors RC263 RC262 - RC020
AMMO by Mig A.MIG-221 A.MIG-220* (!) A.MIG-220* A.MIG-194
Colourcoats ACUS23 ACUS22 ACUS09 -
Hataka - - HTK-_211* HTK-_078
Lifecolor - - UA 004* LC-74
Mission Models MMP-067 MMP-068 MMP-059* MMM-003
Mr. Paint MRP-129 - MRP-131 MRP-3
Xtracolor X408 - X117* X142
Xtracrylix - - XA1117* XA1216
Arcus 526 512 527 095
The cross reference chart of model colors can be used to paint WWII U.S. Army Air Force aircraft interiors. For an explanation of the designations used on this chart, see The Color Reference Designation Guide.

Photo Reference to WW2 U.S. Army Aircraft Interior Colors

woman worker rivetting Vultee A-31 Vengeance at Vultee-Nashville aircraft factory Tennessee 1943
Famous photo of a woman worker riveting an A-31 Vengeance airplane at the Vultee-Nashville Aircraft Plant. Note the bright yellow hue of the inner surface of the fuselage, painted in Yellow Zinc Chromate.
workers assemble the wing of P-40 Warhawk at the aircraft factory
Other factory workers from the Curtiss factory on the wing assembly line. Note that most parts are painted Green Zinc Chromate, while some parts (struts, airframe, etc.) are painted an untinted version of this color, Yellow Zinc Chromate.
crew chief maintain the engine of North American P-51B-5 Mustang 355FG  WR-W serial 43-6520 'Woodys Maytag'
Routine maintenance of P-51 B-5 aircraft. Removed engine cowls and open wheel doors (normally closed when the aircraft is on the ground) demonstrate the variety of interior colors used: the airframe is painted Yellow Zinc Chromate, as well as the area on the landing gear wheel doors, the firewall is painted Green Zinc Chromate, and the landing gear parts are retained in their natural metal finish.
Color photo of the bomb bay of Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
The bomb bay of a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft, painted in Green Zinc Chromate. Later versions of this aircraft, such as the B-17G, had bomb bays and most interiors painted in aluminum lacquer.
color photo of the interior of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator aircraft painted with aluminum varnish
Unlike the previous one, the interiors of Consolidated B-24 airplanes have mostly retained their natural metal finish. Very few areas are painted Yellow Zink Chromate, and the bombardier's compartment, seen in the front, is painted entirely in Dull Dark Green.

External Reference:


  • 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 Wars.net

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