WWII German AFVs engines colors

Hi all.

This is my very first post, so please forgive any idiocy you may encounter…

I have a question for the german armor fans: Being the germans as they are (or were), I haven’t found any reference to what were the standard colors to paint engines, gear boxes and in general the chassis in AFV like the Sd.Kfz family (9, 11, 221, 251, Etc.). I might think that the chassis were to be painted with the same vehicle camo colors, but I don’t think that were the case for engines, gear boxes and other mechanical parts.

Of course, as a general rule, kit instructions aren’t very helpful, resorting to black, silver in some instances and dark green in others.

Any suggestion?

Of course, thanks in advance for your ideas and o comments.


AFAIK, most engine blocks were Anthracite Grey (RAL 7016), like this restored SdKfz 7 Maybach HL 62


The issue here is materials and temperatures.
Objects made of non-ferrous metals will not rust. Therefore there’s no need to paint them (on an engine).
Objects (like exhaust pipes) that get extremely hot, will burn away their paint and develop rust and discolouration no matter what you do.


This is subjective but this is how I do ALL German engines in 1/35 scale.

  1. Base cote of satin or matte black.
  2. Gentle over spray of RLM66 (Schwarzgrau).
  3. Very gentle over spray of Mig Dark Tracks (this is very dark brown colour - if you don’t have it, mix some matte brown with some matte black to achieve the desired effect).
  4. Dry brush with oily steel/polished metal.

Panther Engine I did:

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Here’s a couple of mine, pretty much the same regime as Khouli.

From the top:
Tiger II gearbox in situe
Tiger II engine, two photos
Panzer IV engine two photos

Panzer IV engine
Panzer IV auxilary engine
Engine again
Gearbox in situe

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Here’s a couple taken at War & Peace, they show a Steyr 1500 and a French Renault in German service

The other thing is, what period are we talking? Pre-war some German soft skins had the chassis painted black. When the pre-war three colour scheme was supplanted by Panzergrau, the chassis was painted in this colour on new vehicles. Once the change to Dunkelgelb occurred, it’s unlikely chassis components or anything else not immediately visible were repainted. I thought I had some pictures of the engine bay of the Bovingdon Tiger, but I can’t find them. Large parts of this were painted a mid grey, probably Frenchy’s RAL 7016. Of course, components that came from outside suppliers could be painted any colour. However, the general consensus for German tank interiors seems to be that small components were painted black.

How about Russian Truck Engines?

Silver (with aluminum in it) mainly. They did this for rust control as paint with aluminum doesn’t rust as much.




Still done to this day. Brand new Kamaz truck engine in silver/aluminum paint.

Thank you very much. I assume the ZIS-6 would be the same as the ZIS-5.

Hi, thanks for your answer.

I checked and, as I use Vallejo paints, RAL 7016 equivalent is some Blue Grey, Nº 71.115 (besides, it’s a beautiful color…).

On the other hand, it makes sense, considering the Panzer Grey (being a color very close to this other one) and that it doesn’t seem out of place this RAL 7016.

And thanks for the photo!


David, hi.

I absolutely agree, but thinking in the engine block properly and in years '39 and '40, when resources were available for the germans (not only own ones…), and their need to standarize everyhting, I believe there must have been some sort of directive that ruled what color were to be apply to anything and everything. Of course, after being these vehicles used and seeing some combat action, things changed, but some color trace should remain.

Another forum member suggested RAL 7016 (a blue gray) being that color and it seems very plausible.

What do you think?

And many thanks for your answer.


Hi! What number is that MIG Dark Tracks you use? (and your engine looks great)

For my actual project, which is a Sd.PKz 221,I think no later than '41. Besides, in this case, the chassis frame is visilble, so it should follow the same paint used for the vehicle, don’t you think?

Duly noted… Thanks! I have a Miniart GAZ-AAA waiting in my stash…

Thanks, the Dark Tracks is AMIG0035.

You can also mix quantities of brown and black to achieve the same colour - the final shade should be almost completely black, but not quite.

Thanks, and fortunately I have that color from MIG (I use mostly Vallejo, then MIG and then AK).

Hi! Your photos are the best incentive to start painting… They’re wonderful.

Not knocking any one else’s opinions here but . . . .

Every Maybach engine I have seen had gloss black valve covers. (Dirty and dusty but still gloss black) And those star shaped handles are the hold downs for the valve cover made out of some sort of black plastic or bakelite. Usually these were fairly clean as in those days adjusting valves was a frequent thing.

Sorry this photo is in B&W. (Patton Museum - now Benning - Demag 1 ton halftrack.)
I am fairly certain this vehicle is still in its’ “as captured” colors.

Here is the D7 transmission town down for maintenance. - Reverse gear went out and it needed some sort of large molded diaphragm to repair. A restoration specialist in Europe actually molded a new one for the Museum. This vehicle is/or was in perfect operating condition when sent to Benning.

Transmission looks more Panzer Gray than black but it could just be my flash giving it a blue/gray cast. The seat cushion in the distance is black. That much I know for sure!

All photos by the author ~ All Rights Reserved

I think the painted engines look AWESOME. I used to get hung up on what the general consensus was on things such as this. All I ever agreed on was frustration… Take basic German Panzer Colours. The “IPMS” in all of us want to get it right… But the fact is there is, was and has never been a single correct colour. I point to German Dark Yellow, yes in the factories, you would get a pretty similar colour. BUT out in the field, crews were issued a dry chalk like powder that was supposed to be mix at the approved ratios with an approved thinning agent. Rarely did this happen, I refer to excerpts from the 19th Panzer Division as they prepared for Zitadelle. the 2nd Battalion records, some crews so short of mineral spirits, (thinner), that battalion HQ recommended urine as the primary thinning agent…
Yes to some I might be comparing apples to lemons, but the basic concept applies,
Great work.