One of the coolest military vehicle camouflage schemes of WWII was Britain's "Caunter Scheme". That is the basis for British Tanks Africa & Balkan set 1
, a set of 6 paints, following on the heels of the Russian Uniforms set. It is set CS43
. The Airbrushes.com
product pages states about Lifecolor
Water soluble acrylic colours for modelling and hobby. LifeColor is excellent for paint brushing or airbrushing on plastic, resin, metal, vinyl, wood, cloth and ceramic.
The "Caunter Scheme" was dictated in late 1940 in General Order 297 to supplant the Middle Eastern camouflage of BS.52 Pale Cream, Light Stone No.61, BS.62 Middle Stone, and Portland Stone No.64. Caunter Scheme specified a three-color disruptive camouflage. Silver Grey, Slate and Portland Stone seem to have been the official standard, although other colors were used.
I can't find any information about who Caunter was or the theory behind the disruptive banded scheme; perhaps related to the Great War work of Norman Wilkinson, chief of a new branch of Britain’s merchant marine, “Dazzle Section?” I invite any of you to fill in the history of the Caunter Scheme. For reference, you can access the MAFVA page about British camouflage via Click here for additional images for this review
, at the end of this review.
A decade ago, Lifecolor
offered the similar set Middle East British vehicle camouflage, CS16. (It is no longer on their website but I do offer the URL in the SUMMARY box, below.) It featured five of the six colors in this set, with Terracotta instead of UA 206 Dark Olive PFI. Also, those paint color numbers are different than this set. Whether Terracotta returns in the presumed British Tanks Africa & Balkan set 2
remains to be seen.
This set of six 3/4 fl oz (22 ml) screw top bottles is packed in a good-looking flip-top box. There are no instructions other than as printed (in multiple languages) on the back of the box, plus six printed color chips. Lifecolor reminds us that these can be mixed with Tensocrom Medium to create washes and glazes. The bottle caps are molded with an internal rim which both provides a small palette cup as well as inhibits paint fouling the bottle and cap threads.
These paints are made with very fine ground pigments. They have no noticeable odor. Generally, I find them to be thinner than other brands I am used to, almost like a heavy wash. These paints seem to be formulated for one-pass brushing, and they airbrush very well.
This set includes:
UA 264 28 Silver Grey
UA 265 34 Slate
UA 267 61 Light Stone
UA 268 64 Portland Stone
UA 269 Desert Pink ZI
UA 206 Dark Olive PFI
As far as I can tell, all are very close to the original colors.
As modelers see their work under a variety of lights sources, I made a chip of each by airbrushing and paint brushing on a fresh piece of white styrene. For your color judging pleasure, I present the colors with three (3) light sources: diffused natural light; directly and indirectly under a sunlight-calibrated OttLight. The only paint that did not dry to match the color swatches on the box is UA 264 28 Silver Grey. It dried with more of a field gray look than the bluish tinted color on the box.
Each styrene chip was unprepared. I stirred each paint and made one pass with a brush on one side, and airbrushed a solid coat on the other side. These paints did not cover as well by brush painting as tests with other Lifecolor paints but perhaps that is because the styrene is smooth and slick?
Four of the colors shot through my airbrush (15psi) without any trouble. They were not thinned except with a drop of water. Two colors are thick and I had to thin them 1:3 with Lifecolor thinner to achieve good coverage.
After curing 48 hours, I scratched a fingernail across the cured chips. No paint scratched off.
These are printed on the back of the box. The English and Italian text is very fine and challenging to read.
ConclusionLifeColor's British Tanks Africa & Balkan set 1
is a good water-based set of paints for those who want to reproduce the remarkable Caunter colors of middle eastern United Kingdom military vehicles. Two colors are thick and require thinning. The other four colors are thin and yet did not cover well when brushed. They did cover well with airbrushing. The paint cured tough enough to resist my fingernail scratching. I like the bottle design.
Only Silver Grey dried to a different hue than what the printing process reproduced on the box.
My 1970s Tamiya Matilda was painted in a Tamiya 1970's interpretation of the Caunter scheme. With this set I can do my 8th Army vehicles up right.
Please remember to mention to vendors and retailers that you saw these paints here - on