The overall color at Pearl Harbor was a gray-green [Japanese color code M1]. Color was changed in early 1942 from M1 to a gray J3.  The color was again changed in the A6M3 model 22 back to M1. The color was changed yet again in the A6M5 to J3. Color M1 is soft light green grey color and J3 was medium grey color with greenish shade. Topside was in first time medium bright green and the later was dull green color. Overall paint scheme for A6M5 was dull green color at topside and medium grey at the bottom. Some machines were left in natural metal. Demarcation line on A6M5 could be very low and follow the bottom line of fuselage or curved from wing root to the horizontal tail.

Not all delivered Rei Shiki fighters are finished in factory. Some Rei Shiki was painted at the Naval Arsenal in Takeshima island, Truk Islands just before flying to operational unit. Also there is field application of the topside green color as well it was easy to brush paint by ground personnel. Tail could include code letter and numbers and they are overall height of some 30 cm. Interesting to note that type of font, serif or non serif, depend on the side of vertical! Spinner could be natural metal, definitely Mitsubishi built, and red brown.

A6M camouflage

A6M camouflage

01.A6M5 very possible captured by the end of war on Saipan. Plane is natural metal with unit markings in red. Spinner is red brown. Airplane is later tested.

A6M camouflage

A6M camouflage

02-A6M5 is one of the many samples of the Mitsubishi A6M5 captured and used by Chinese Air Force during the WW2. This sample belong to Japanese unit operated on Taiwan. Camouflage is standard Japan but well worn out and topside is the late war dark green color and the bottom is the grey green color.

A6M camouflage

A6M camouflage

03- A6M5c flown by well known Japanese ace Takeo Tanimizu from 303 Hikotai, 203 Kokutai based at Kagoshima, Jun 1945. Tanimizu ended war with 18 confirmed aerial kills and some of them are shown on the side fuselage.

A6M camouflage

A6M camouflage

04 A6M5 from well known Seki flight. This plane is used in the first kamikaze attack. Airplane is very badly worn out and on several places are visible bare metal. Plane is from well known 201. Kokutai, Mabaracat, Philippines, 25. October, 1944.

A6M camouflage

A6M camouflage

05- A6M5 tested by Technical Air Intelligence Centar, and this one is used at Singapore, Station Seletar, 1945. This plane is in natural metal with RAF marking over it.

A6M camouflage

A6M camouflage

06- A6M5 from unknown unit. This one is the conversion with oblique cannon mounted in rear cockpit to fire above. This sample is captured very badly damaged and it feature no numbers or unit insignia. It wear standard camouflage but have to note that early version of A6M have overall green camouflage pattern but there was also samples with black underside.

A6M camouflage

A6M camouflage

07- this plane is hypothetical as well it is also possible that it is not A6M5 but A6M3 with longer exhaust pipes. It is flown by one of leading Japanese ace Tetsuzo Iwamoto. He died after the war and in his personal diary was found record of 202 air claims. This profile is based on his notes in his logbook and no one of image is still available in public.

A6M camouflage

A6M camouflage

08- A6M5 from Rabaul, unit unknown. This profile is based on not very clear image but it look like that planes have standard camouflage of topside dark green and underside medium grey color. All the rest is standard.

A6M camouflage

A6M camouflage

09- A6M5 used as trainer in Genzan Naval Air Corps, Wonson, Korea, 1944. Airplane have standard feature of the training airplanes- orange color. This machine uses it at the aircraft bottom.

Srecko Bradic

References

Aero Detail 7 Mitsubishi A6M ZERO FIGHTER, Aero Detail ISBN4-499-22608-2
Mitsubishi A6M, Bunrin Do No. 10
Mitsubishi A6M5 to A6M8 “Zero-Sen”, by M.C. Richards and Donald S. Smith, Profile Publications
A6M ZERO in action, Aircraft Number 59, Squadron Signal Publication,