I am trying to get a logical honest thought about German armor being painted on the bottom of hull.
First we have the no rush paint our tanks at the factory. Then the paint the tanks in the field question.
So if a hull was red, has anyone come across a pic of a hull being painted in a pit? How about in the field ? I have started painting all my stuff underneath instead of being lazy for awhile. But starting to think about it, how the hell was it done in the field and I just dont see it being done back then.
In the early 2000’s, while working on a model of a King Tiger, I emailed the Patton Museum for information. I received a very nice reply from the museum curator, which included the following bit:
Based on photographs and slides of the vehicle, taken over that last 46 years and also on the remaining physical evidence, we know that the vehicle left the factory in a late war, light dunkle-gelb (dark yellow) base coat. It was not coated in zimmerit, as were many other Tiger IIs, but was rather left plain. Underneath the base coat, the metal was initially painted in a “red lead” primer, which both the Americans and Germans used to preserve ferrous metals. In fact, the underside of the Tiger was never finished, and remains today in the original primer.
So far as I know, it is still in the original primer, with no other paint.
From an American view: Some components arrived at the assembly plants fully painted in OD, some arrived fully painted in commercial colors, some appeared to arrive primed, some arrived unpainted but preserved. As a rule, American vehicles were painted OD overall after assembly along with spot repair painting before acceptance.
The purpose of the painting was to preserve the part in transit and storage. If a part was essentially “used as-is”, like roadwheels, it would make sense to paint them the final color at the supplier. If a part required machining to fit or welding as part of the assembly process, delivery in primer would make sense.