French colors by Agama
To regret of many of us, not much attention is pay to the great aircraft designed and used by France before and during the WW2 and therefore not much attention to their camouflage and markings system. In French publications you can find good info but outside of French language info are so limited. So every products related to the French aviation is welcome and need great attention. I have personal pleasure to test drive Agama range of camouflage colors for the French air force used before and during the WW2. But before that I will give short info about the same painting system used in France for their aircrafts.
Munich crisis demand the urgent need to adopt French aircraft into the more combat capable camouflage patterns and to introduce new camouflage patterns with more colors. Multi camouflage camouflage was not new as well French aviation did use some camouflage patterns during the WW1 and from Autumn 1917 they introduce wide use of multi color continental camouflage for their combat aircrafts. Similar patterns was in short use after the WW1 but it is soon replaced by more simple patterns. Used finish was overall Kaki, overall silver, Vert/natural metal (Vert Tableau in some sources)…
In 1938 was introduced specifications for the camouflage and markings and they introduce paints for the interior finish, service markings, national insignia and camouflage. Technical service of the Force Aérienne precisely determinate all paints but did not give some strict definitions of the patterns used. The same pattern depend from the manufacturer so for example M.S.406 used Kaki as primary top coat, brown color on Dewoitine was not the same as on Bloch aircrafts (one used Brun and other Terre de Sienne) and today this make a lot of confusion with modelers. In first time national insignia on fuselage was not used but that was introduced later as a measure of easy recognition with RAF aircrafts. Paint was manufacturer by two producers and colors was approved by authorized ministry.
When I have unpack Agama paints I was very doubtful about them. Pack I review here is Set no.8 Francuskoe letectvo what mean French aviation in Czech language. This set of paints belong to the Agama alcohol series of paints and come in very small packages, not larger then small finger on hand. Each contain 10 ml of paint. Test was made in very unfriendly conditions, work room temperature was 5 to 7C degree and this is far bellow the estimates work conditions for painting. I use very precise fine line airbrush. After application of six paints on the surface my impressions were so high about the product. Paints need no thinner and you could pour it directly from bottle into the airbrush. Coverage is great and with one small tear drop of paint it is possibly to full cover top wing surface of 1/72 kit size of Dewoitine 520 or Morane Saulnier 406. No matter that room was cold, paint dry fast on surface and become finger resistant under ten minutes. The quality of the paint is excellent and allow fine line paint with very good edges of the line!
Paints coming with names in Czech and they are print on the back of the original package and the numbers are mold on the paint bottles cap. My suggestion is to put some label on each bottle with full name of color and this make fast recognition more easy. Lets see more about the colors inside and their authentic.
F1- is the Kaki color and it is very good match!
F2- is Vert color and shade is good match!
F3- is Brun color and Agama paint is good match
F4- present Gris Bleu Clair and paint is a bit darker but nothing critical
F5- is Gris Bleu and this shade is a bit darker
F6- is bomber color Ombre Calcinee and shade of Agama color is a bit lighter and less red.
Precise shade is visible on gallery bellow, which present digitalized paints from original official paint chart.
Agama products is from my point of view excellent!!! Easy to handle, easy to store, fast drying, excellent adhesion to surface, excellent flow control, good match to the authentic paints make this product top recommended to every modeler interesting in French aviation! This products that much impress me that I will dig out all kits of French aircrafts from my stash and put it on work bench and in future will give more attention to all plastic kits releases. Direct buy this products here! Paints are intended to have own thiner and Agama thinner is recommended!
Making of this review would not be possible without generous help provided by Christian-Jacques Ehrengardt Editor of Aero Journal, Jean Claude Mermet author from Aero Journal, then Daniel Clamot who provide help in text translating and editing. Special thanks to Lubos Vinar owner of Hobby Shop who has kindly provide paints used in this review.