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The Real Ral 7018 Dunkelgelb direct from the manufacturers!

44 replies
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  • Member since
    November 2004
Posted by snapdragonxxx on Monday, September 23, 2019 5:51 PM


'RAL' is the abbreviation of 'Reichs-Ausschuß für Lieferbedingungen und Gütesicherung'. This name can be translated in English as 'National Commission for Delivery Terms and Quality Assurance'.

In 1927 the German RAL organization invented a collection of 40 colors. Prior to that date manufacturers and customers had to exchange color samples to describe a tint, whereas from then on they would rely on numbers.

in 1953 The RAL colour catalogue underwent changes as part of the removal of the National Socialist regime and the colours that went into the catalogue between 1933 and 1945 were either altered in shade or removed completley.

If you look at the modeln classic RAL list:

You will see that RAL 6003 is different from the wartime shade, RAL 7028 is nowhere to be found at all, and the shades 7025, 27,28 & 29 are consicuous by their absence. They were shades used by the National Socialist Party.

The brown colours, 8012, 8017 strangley remain practically unchanged except they may be just slightly lighter than the originals. It is very hard to tell without a computer light measuring system.

However, in the modern RAL list RAL 1001 which was used for tank interiors IS NOT the colour that was originally used. It is a totally different colour and the closest one is now RAL 1013 or 9001. RAL 1013 is closer to the interior colour that was introduced in mid 1944 after an all over interior RAL 8012 caused a huge complaint and nearly a mutiny from the soldiers. 9002 was also used as an interior colour and is the colour seen on the E-boats, often referred to as E-Boat White. This, believe it or not, has not changed from the original shade and is the only colour used not to have been altered.

Afrika Korps colours survive in the main catalogue but are just very slighly lighter. Our eyes etc won't notice this and thye just look like the originals, but it is the loss of RAL 7028 which affects modellers the most as the companies who supply us just don't understand that apart from Dunkelgelb Nach Muster which is NOT a RAL colour and never was, despite the name, RAL 7028 Dunkelgelb was never yellow at all, it was a brown/tan hybrid that changed through the war and there was a toloerence of +/- 3% shade from some suppliers to +/-10% from other suppliers.

original vehicle owners and restorers have this cracked and there are a few paint suppliers which will sell RAL 7028 in it's various shades from recipes obtained from OEM suppliers that have gone out of business or been folded/bought by other companies.

My OEM supplier is still in existance and supplies the modern German Army with paint and myself with Original chipset accurate paint by a private agreement. it comes from their archives and I can choose any of the RAL 7028 chipset and batch variants in 500L quantities. I have about 20 different shades to go at!!!

When Vallejo finally get around to releasing the paints then you will have the original chipset accurate colour to play with and you can then darken or lighten it to a tolerence of +/- 10%.

Of course, when photographing your builds outside, the light will do this for you anyway! I always use natural light for "scale effect" as the german paints were to a certain degree, mimetic and to our eyes would be darker on overcast days and lighter on bright clear days.

YOu all need to email or message Vallejo and ask them when the RAL 7028 shade will be released!

  • Member since
    August 2019
  • From: Brisbane Australia
Posted by Josh_the_painter on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 3:44 PM

Thank you for the history lesson Snapdragon. I occasionally use the RAL system through PPG and in using Colorlock which is a German system for leather repairs so its nice to have some knowledge of what it is and the history behind it. 

Unfortunately things dont seem to have changed in current times to colours changing shades from their reference numbers or codes, mismatching pigments and obsolete pigments being replaced with synthetic versions being only the tip of the iceberg.


  • Member since
    November 2004
Posted by snapdragonxxx on Thursday, September 26, 2019 11:19 AM

When you go though the classic Ral codes, you will notice that in some areas numbers are missing and those, in most cases are the colours used during the war. The original field green/grey used for uniforms is not there as is some of the green and blue used on engines and OEM and field equipment.

The colours I use are taken from my suppliers archives and batch samples and matched to the equipment in the vehicles. Maybach engines are typically a very dark blue grey and some gearboxes are a green colour. Nothing seems written in stone apart from the basic interiors.

Two of the Panthers I have have manufacturers codes next to each other. they were side by side on the production line, but one of them has a dark blue/grey gearbox and drive train while the other has a green one. Both engines have the same dark blue/grey colour and the main gun sight on one is the tan brown RAL 7028 while the other is the 6003 green!

All the colours I use on the real vehicles are acrylic enamel and matched 100$ to original chipset/batch colours by computers. when on public display they appear to change colour thoughout the day and that is because of the daylight.



  • Member since
    June 2019
Posted by geoff114 on Thursday, January 23, 2020 11:44 PM

It seems like Vallejo revised their Dunkelgelb for the Model Air lineup according to the chips you sent them. Nice!


  • Member since
    November 2004
Posted by snapdragonxxx on Sunday, February 2, 2020 10:22 AM

As far as I know, I think that Vallejo are working on a full Dunkelgelb set which will include all the official chipset shades from February 1943 to may 1945.

I am not sure when it will appear but in the interim, Afrika Korps shades can be used as substitutes as the shades are reasonably close and it not a stretch to see that these shades could and may have been used during supply shortages.

It was called Dunkelgelb, translated as Dark Yellow, but in actual fact the colours were tan, beige and brown/green. Do not be fooled by the name.

The shades would vary by 10% +/- by manufacturer depending on their ingredients which if you start with the correct chipset shade then you can lighten or darken etc as you wish.

  • Member since
    August 2019
  • From: Northern Nevada
Posted by HighDesertmodeler on Friday, March 20, 2020 6:58 PM

Yes, Vallejo advised that they will be rolling out with new Dunkelgelb, but we're still waiting.  I've basically moved on to MMP versions...they spray great, but so does Vallejo when thinned with their flow improver.


be safe out there

  • Member since
    November 2004
Posted by snapdragonxxx on Monday, March 23, 2020 5:03 PM

Look out for press releases late this year, could be put back because of the virus and most of Europe is in lockdown!

  • Member since
    June 2019
Posted by geoff114 on Thursday, June 11, 2020 8:00 AM

Yeah, I'm looking forward to this set too!

On a side note, I found a Jagdpanther and Panther in running condition. Both were from Trier, Germany. The base coat is similar to the late-war variant of dunkelgelb. However, the camo wasn't painted in chocolate brown but rather with something like dark maroon/violet similar to Vallejo 71.041 (RAL 8017; armour brown). It was different from what's being shown in RAL's webpage.

  • Member since
    November 2004
Posted by snapdragonxxx on Thursday, June 11, 2020 2:47 PM

Don't be fooled by your monitor settings, Geoff

These vehicles are painted correctly with the original shades found on the vehicle. The Chocolate brown is the correct RAL 8017.

What is probably throwing you off is the Dunkelgelb shade. Now all these colours are what is called "mimetic". this means they "change colour" with the light. This of course is physically impossible. What it is really is our own brain, both concious and subconcious working to make out what we are actually seeing and the detail. this means that our brain wil subconsiously lighten or darken particular colours to make them and the detail stand out using our memory and the surroundings that we are seeing. If it is a bright sunshine day then the colours are lighter, if a dark cloudy day then the colours will be darker.

These are original chipset 7028 colours, painted to full depth on a white background on a cloudy day. They are posted in order of usage starting with Dunkelgelb Nach Muster then going with RAL 7028, Var 1, Var 2.

Depending on how your monitor is set with white temperature etc depends on just how the colours show.

Owners and restorers of original builders such as myself have not only access to the vehicles but also archives and some paint manufacturers who have a private agreement, especially in Germany to produce these colours, by using modern formulaes and translating from original formulae to the actual shades so we can use them in accordance with health and safety regulations. The paint I use comes from Germany and is a non- toxic acrylic paint from an OEM using their archives which has chipset and 10 slight shade changes for me to choose from (5 darker and 5 lighter from Chipset) These shades variants are within the 10% tolerance set by the OKW and which the manufacturers managed to keep to right up until the wars end.

Every paint batch is tested at the factory and computer checked with the original batch paint sample or chipset and the last delivery of RAL 7018 Ver.2, 6003 and 8017 had a variance tolerace of 0.01% from chipset for each colour. Our eyes and brain won't even see that! Neither will it register anything much under 11% difference unless it is a very bright sunny day.

Every armour or soft skin that I start to restor begins with a complete was of the vehicle to remove all dirst and dust and is followed by a walkround both inside and out where paint samples are collected and sealed into plastic packets with colour and area of sample marked on the packet.

The vehicle is then stripped down as much as possible to its component parts. Paint samples are still collected from equipment that could not be accessed properly during the initial assesment and walkround.If the vehicle has zimmeritt applied then photos are taken of the patterns amd photogrammetary used to produce a complete vehicle pattern. Samples of the Zimmeritt are taken from different areas and labelled like the paint.

The paint is sent off to our paint manufacturer in Germany where they will test the colours and match to their archive chipset and batch samples and produce the closest colour that matches. the Zimmeritt is sent to a testing lab that produces a report on what materiels the Zimmeritt is made out of.

The vehicle and equipment is stripped back to the bare metal. EVERYTHING is taken off. Paint, Zimmeritt stencilling etc and the rebuild starts. Working from blueprints etc what is broken is remade, even down to getting a lens manufacturing company to remake the gunners sight for us for one Panther G. 99% can be done on our own repurposed machinery, lathes etc. What we can't do is outsourced using a barter system. Our armour main guns are refurbished back to full use by Rheinmetall who actually made quite a few and our handshake agreement is that it is done as training of apprentices who get to work on a very famous piece of hardware. They are also well supervised and there is more than one employee who wants to work on these things!

By the time the vehicle rolls out of our large workshop (these things are not small) they are more or less factory fresh and it is all done by modern retired or injured veterans. The zimmerit is remixed using the original components and we apply to correct depth and pattern using wooden molds and the photogrammetary models.

I never put a timescale on the restoration. It is done when we are happy that it is right. Of course these things are 70+ years old and have issues all the time. Just like we veterans!

Nothing beats taking these down to be fueled up and having all the traffic get out of the way or having to form an orderly queue. they are 3.5 meters wide and 40 odd tons. you mess with these in your car and you will have some explaining to do to your insurer!

  • Member since
    June 2019
Posted by geoff114 on Thursday, June 11, 2020 5:49 PM

Yeah the lighting is indeed doing its work. I guess the Germans knew exactly what they were doing when they designed the three-tone camouflage. Impressive.

Sounds like you're having a grand time restoring vehicles. Must have been a hell lot of fun working on and learning from restoring various vehicles. I'd love to work on one should I ever manage to have the resources to do so. Thanks a ton for sharing your expertise to the community!

  • Member since
    November 2004
Posted by snapdragonxxx on Saturday, June 13, 2020 5:26 PM

No problems, Geoff. It is a waiting game with the Dunkelgelb shades, and the virus lockdown hasn't helped.

Taking our stuff to shows and re-enactments are always fun. our convoy seems to get longer every year. Our local show is only 5 miles from our base but we have to go a slightly longer route as one of the bridges can't take the weight of some ov the tanks and we actually drive them there on the roads rather than load up the transporters. Yes, they are all road legal Here's a couple of photos from last years show (this year is a non-starter!)

Original Nach Muster

One of the oddities we recovered from the lake. We had to replace all the wood just for safety, but the cannon fires blanks usually, but is live fire capable.

Panzer Grey. Look how dark it is with a bluish tinge


Afrika Korps

37mm AT gun

Strangley enough, even with a complete stripdown, clean, disinfection and complete re-paint and rebuild, one of our panther G tanks still has a bottom of a river stench in hot weather! THe other armour, just the normal smell of oil, petrol etc and some swines' feet!

  • Member since
    June 2019
Posted by geoff114 on Saturday, June 13, 2020 7:17 PM

Awesome! Thanks for posting those photos. These will definitely make for good references for future builds.

  • Member since
    November 2004
Posted by snapdragonxxx on Sunday, June 14, 2020 5:16 AM

Can't see whay you put, Geoff


  • Member since
    October 2019
Posted by phil172 on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 8:29 PM

Can't wait to see the post Kursk color available.


  • Member since
    November 2004
Posted by snapdragonxxx on Saturday, June 27, 2020 8:10 AM

You can use the Afrika Korps colours as a base coat and get away with it. 


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