WW2 Sea Search Camouflage of The United States Airmy Air Force

WW2 Sea Search Camouflage of The United States Airmy Air Force


Sea Search Camouflage Scheme (1941-45)

This was a variant of the basic early war scheme, and consisted of using Insignia White No. 46 undersides rather than Neutral Gray No. 43. IW 46 is off-white (or 'tinted' white) with a slight sepia-like tone. However, most photographs will be indistinghishable from a basic white, particularly at a distance. The Sea Seach scheme retained Olive Drab No. 41 as the topside color and when applicable, Medium Green No. 42 blotches. In contrast to the basic scheme, the demarcation point was higher on the fuselage sides (around halfway) in very pronounced waves, and the IW 46 would also extend into the fins resulting in a very simple but elegant camouflage pattern. This scheme was only applied on USAAF aircraft on anti-submarine duties.

WW2 USAAF Sea Search Color Guide

  • Insignia White No. 46: All versions of Insignia White have had subtle changes after each new standard is introduced. IW 46 appears to have a slightly warm tint compared to the more ivory-like post-war FS 17875 which superseded it.
  • Dark Olive Drab No. 41: A dark olive camouflage color that varied from dark green to grey-brown as it worned and faded in the sun. In 1943 this color was replaced by the ANA 613 Olive Drab.
  • Medium Green No. 42: A moderate green color with a slight bluish tint. In 1943 it was also replaced by ANA 612 Medium Green, but unlike DOD41 and IW46 the shade remained almost the same.
No.46 Insignia White No.41 Dark Olive Drab No.42 Medium Green
General Lower Upper Blotches
Gunze Aqueous H316* (H78) (H302)
Gunze Mr. Color C316* (C38) (C302)
Humbrol - (66) (149)
Model Master 1745* - (1764)
Revell - - (48)
Tamiya - XF-62 (XF-26)
Vallejo Model Air 71.279* 71.316 (71.124)
Vallejo Model Color (70.820) - (70.895)
AKAN (73146) - (72037)
AK Interactive AK 2052* AK 2201 AK 2202
AK Real Colors RC222* RC259 RC260
AMMO by Mig - A.MIG-237* (A.MIG-238)
Colourcoats ACUS10 ACUS15 ACUS16
Hataka HTK-_043* HTK-_004 HTK-_019
Lifecolor UA 148* UA 005* UA 008*
Mission Models MMP-104* MMP-091 (MMP-028)
Mr. Paint MRP-135* MRP-139 MRP-140
Xtracolor X141* - (X114)
Xtracrylix XA1141* - (XA1114)
Arcus - - 525

Photos of Aircraft in WW2 USAAF Sea Search Camouflage

USAAF B-34 The Texas Wrangler This B-34 (USAAF version of the Navy's Ventura / Harpoon) shows the attractive contrast between Olive Drab and Insignia White.
USAAF Anti-submarine B-24D Mitchel 130409 Lady Jane Note how the Insignia White extended across a larger part of the fuselage and even the fins.
Consolidated B-24 at the Consolidated-Vultee plant The B-24 was arguably the best sub-hunter of World War II and these are being painted in Sea Search colors in the factory.


  • 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)
  • Bell, Dana, Air Force Colors Volume 2 ETO & MTO 1942-1945, Squadron/Signal Publications (1980)
  • 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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