Printing German WW1 Lozenge Camouflage onto Tissue

by Bill Brown

It all started when my flying mate, Pete Iliffe, built a Siemens Schuckert DIII. He came round one Saturday afternoon and asked if I would draw him a template on my computer for masking his wings so that he could spray the lozenge pattern. ‘No problem’ sez I (mouth open - brain off) and some time later it was done, and Pete said ‘Great, do me five copies. After that it was all my own fault!

I said ‘Why don’t we colour it in and see what it looks like?’ So we did and printed it out, changed the colours, printed it again, changed the colours, etc., etc., etc., until we finally ended up with something we both liked.

Then we decided to print it onto tissue to see what it came out like. When Pete saw it he wet himself with excitement and all thoughts of spraying went out of the window, and the phone was ringing! Pete’s wife wanted to know where the **** he was and didn’t he know the supermarket was closed in an hour and if he wanted food next week he’d better move his backside, quick! Of course we’d only done the upper surface colours, so the next day we went through it all again with the under surface colours.

That got Iffy off my back for a while so I decided to have a go at the naval lozenge pattern, which is all hexagons - easy on Autocad. That turned out OK so I built a peanut scale Zeppelin (Dornier) floatplane so that I could use it.

Things quietened down for a while then, but not for long. Albatros published their Fokker D VI Datafile, Iffy’s favourite plane! This one needed the four colour pattern. Here we go again!

How it Was Done

I have a book on the restoration of an Albatros D Va which contains an accurate drawing of the five colour lozenge pattern (they actually had some rolls of cloth screen printed in Germany). This was plotted in Autocad using X & Y co-ordinates. A separate layer was created for each of the five colours. In Autocad these layers can be turned on and off. One drawback in using Autocad in this application is that the colour palette is limited to 256 colours, so we had to experiment with those available to give the best effect. The chosen colours were then applied to the individual lozenges. This basic pattern was then repeated until we had suitable length for printing. This was then copied, turned upside down and placed next to the original length, this being the way the original cloth was used. This double width was then repeated until we had enough width to fit the printing area. The next step was to turn off the layer containing the pattern drawing leaving the coloured lozenges, otherwise it would have printed with a black outline to all the lozenges, definitely not scale! The big advantage of doing this in Autocad is that it can be accurately scaled to any size without loss of quality. If you want a scale of 1:37.2 you can have it - spot on.

The next job is to print it onto the tissue. I used Jap tissue and printed it onto the matt side, but first you have to attach it to a support sheet. There have been several ways of doing this published, but the way I prefer is as follows. Take a sheet of ordinary A4 paper and lightly spray around the edges with Spraymount. Tape your tissue, shiny side up, to a flat surface, stretching out all the wrinkles. Lay the A4 sheet onto the tissue and lightly press into place. Now trim the tissue to the A4 sheet leaving about 3mm proud at one end only. This the trailing edge of the sheet when inserted into the printer. The printer should be set to print at 1200dpi on normal paper, which gives the best results. When printed remove the tissue immediately by peeling the proud edge back on itself. You should now have a sheet of lozenge tissue, but there is a very important fact to bear in mind when using it. The ink is NOT waterproof! You can attach the tissue using dope or paste, or you can use my favourite method which UHU Pen adhesive, which comes in a tubular container with a gauze pad at the end, which you wipe around the framework to be covered. The adhesive is a gum, which grabs but allows plenty of time for stretching out wrinkles. Once firmly attached and trimmed the tissue will need shrinking, and the only way to do this is by lightly steaming. With Jap tissue I have found this to be quite adequate. The ink is impervious to dope so you can carry on as normal from this point.

The zip files at the link below below contain 1/24 scale lozenge patterns in .dxf format which will print out on A4 size sheets and also a new set of revised 5 colour patterns in pdf format.

Click here to go to lozenge download page

Updated postscript from Mike (19.11.06)

As well as Bill's dxf and pdf files, I am pleased to say that the page linked above will also allow you to download a new set of JPEG files for sheets of 4 and 5 colour lozenge created by Rich Weber. These will be useful for those who have trouble reading and manipulating DXF files.

Please note that these files are placed here free of charge for the benefit of the scale model community so please don't use them for commercial purposes.

Another postscript (11.07.19)

New dxf files have now been added to the lozenge page for four and five colour masks produced by Clive Hall for his 47in Fokker D.VII model from the Super Model Aircraft kit. It's worth checking them out if you are thinking of masking lozenge on a large scale model.

Previous page

Next page

Back to home page