Korean War Painting Guide

Mig Alley






Except for the all black nightfighters, nightbombers and long range Twin Mustangs, the great majority of UN land-based planes operated in bare metal. The added weight of a paint job significantly affected speed. When the 4th Fighter Interceptor Group briefly painted their Sabres Olive Drab they found top speed reduced by 20mph. With almost overwhelming air superiority keeping a low profile was not considered necessary. Most US Air Force planes had colourful unit markings and personalised badges in the form of cartoons, sharkmouths, aircraft names etc.F-3D night fighter


Sabres had broad yellow recognition stripes outlined in black near the wing tips and diagonally round the rear fuselage. The 4th Fighter Interceptor Wing's Sabres instead started the war with D-Day style black and white stripes (black, white, black, white, black). Some squadrons had their jet intakes lined in squadron colour (blue, red or yellow) and 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing Sabres had black and metal checkerboard fins.


Many older types still carried large peacetime 'buzz' letters and numbers on the nose.


US Navy planes looked smart in dark blue gloss with white markings, as per this F-3D on the Intrepid museum ship in New York. Fleet Air Arm aircraft had dark grey across the top and light sky-blue (with quite a green tinge) sides and undersurfaces and wore the distinctive D-Day style recognition stripes (white, black, white, black, white). Army aircraft were Olive Drab.







MiG-15s generally operated in bare metal and a bright red nose was fairly common. Some of the jets, in particular those given the nightfighter role, were camouflaged in sand and dark green. Piston fighters were either olive green or light grey but Yak-9s operated in bare metal. Some Chinese MiGs were camouflaged in a wavy dark green/light green/pale grey.


Most other aircraft came in standard olive green with light blue/grey undersides. Though North Korean markings were the norm some jets flew with their original Soviet or Chinese red stars.





North Korean MiG-15 at the Fleet Air Arm

Museum in Yeovilton, Somerset



To The Right:

US, Australian/British, South African,

South Korean, North Korean, Soviet

and Chinese national insignia














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big respect to Roy Lichtenstein