The WW2 US Army Aircraft Interior Colors

The WW2 US Army Aircraft Interior Colors


USAAF Aircraft Interiors

The topic of US wartime interiors is highly complicated and in many cases remains speculative to this day. This is because there was considerable leeway with respect to individual manufacturers using their own standards which means that even the same aircraft built in different factories could have different interior colors. For the most part, US aircraft used the same basic corrosion-resistant primer known as Zinc Chromate which also became the default color for exposed interior spaces. The name of this primer referred to the main pigment used rather than the color which was a bright yellow with a greenish hue, hence why it was also referred to as Yellow Zinc Chromate. The exact tone of YZC varied slightly between manufacturers and it was never assigned a number on any color system. A second color was created by adding black enamel pigment to zinc chromate, producing what became known as Green Zinc Chromate (also called Tinted Zinc Chromate). This was used mostly on unexposed interior spaces, cockpits, as well as repainted parts that were previously covered only in YZC. Manufacturers often used different proportions of zinc chromate and lamp black in their mixes and as a result GZC varied even more in practice than YZC. Eventually, a standardized version of GZC was developed by the USN in late 1942 and became known as Interior Green (ANA 611 after the implementation of the ANA system on 28 September 1943). This was slightly darker and browner than the average GZC shade and later superseded by FS 34151 which was even browner still than the wartime shade.

There was much more variety among USAAF aircraft in terms of painting exposed interior spaces. Whereas most USN aircraft used the underside color, the USAAF typically left their wheel wells and covers in either YZC or GZC/IG and in some cases in aluminum lacquer. In many cases they were painted in a combination of these colors, for example, P-51Ds typically had Interior Green wheel wells and aluminum lacquer covers. Landing gear and wheel hubs also tended to be painted in aluminum lacquer although in some cases they were painted in the underside color of Neutral Gray No. 43 before the abandonment of camouflage after 30 October 1943. Other structural spaces such as bomb bays and (non-cockpit) crew compartments similarly varied by aircraft. For example, B-17 bomb bays and cabins were originally painted in GZC/IG but those on the B-24/25/26 were in aluminum lacquer (as were those on the later B-17G). Late-war practices persisted into the post-war period until interior colors became homogenized across all US military branches in 1955.

Color Guide to Interiors of US Army Air Force Aircraft in WW2

  • Yellow Zinc Chromate: YZC is a bright green-yellow primer.
  • Green Zinc Chromate: Most paint ranges do not differentiate it with the slightly browner ANA 611 or give unspecific labels like 'US Interior Green' although for modeling purposes the difference should not be too problematic. 
  • Interior Green ANA 611: This is the most common match to any paint labeled 'US Interior Green' or such. Paints that intend to match FS 34151 will look too brown for a correct wartime shade.


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

Photo Reference of WW2 USAAF Aircraft Interiors

a woman worker rivetting Vultee A-31 Vengeance at Vultee-Nashville aircraft factory Tennessee 1943 This real life Rosie the Riveter is working on a fuselage primed in the unmistable yellow tone of untinted Zinc Chromate.
workers assemble the wing of P-40 Warhawk at the aircraft factory These workers in a Curtiss plant are surrounded by aircraft parts that are primed in tinted (Green) Zinc Chromate, with some parts showing the untinted version as well.
crew chief maintain the engine of North American P-51B-5 Mustang 355FG  WR-W serial 43-6520 'Woodys Maytag' This P-51B undergoing maintenance shows the plethora of interior colors on USAAF aircraft.
color photo of a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress The bomb bays of this B-17 are painted in Green Zinc Chromate. Late versions would leave most interior areas in aluminum lacquer.
color photo of the interior of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator aircraft covered in aluminum lacquer This is what an aluminum lacquer interior looks like, courtesy of the most widely produced US aircraft of World War II, the B-24.

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)
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

1 of 4