About This File
History of the Norm 81 camouflage:
Since the mid 70ies German fighter pilots from Jagdgeschwader 71 "Richthofen" and Jagdgeschwader 74 "Mölders" increasingly complained about the old one-fits-all aircraft camouflage of the Luftwaffe called Norm 72 (Standard 72, named after the year of introduction). Its large geometrically arranged areas in olive-green and gray worked well camouflaging an aircraft on the ground and even in low level flight over the equally geometrical fields of Germany. But the dark colours also drew massive attention in high altitude combat. Worse, the oversized Iron Crosses and serial numbers with their high contrast black and white lettering made the aircraft even easier to spot.
In the later 70ies, Luftwaffe command encouraged its fighter pilots to develop new paint schemes. “Richthofen” and “Mölders” in particular were eager in devising trial camouflages. Most of them massively reduced the greens and put stronger emphasis on grays, while shrinking the markings a lot. (I do not know if it was intentional or not, but some resembled WWII Luftwaffe interceptor camouflages.) These were to become the basis for the official Norm 81.
Norm 81 was to be used by fighters and fighter-bombers alike, and applied to Phantoms which were upgraded to Peace Rhine-standard. When they were upgraded to ICE-standard, Norm 81 was replaced by the more modern Norm90J – the first German paint scheme intended for fighters only.
Description of the Norm 81 camouflage:
The aircraft camouflage is dominated by two shades of light gray (Lichtgrau, Steingrau) on the lower surfaces and the sides. Only the upper surfaces of the wings and the topsides of the fuselage along the spine and the engines were painted with three dark shades of gray (Quarzgrau, Basaltgrau, Staubgrau) and one shade of green-gray (Grüngrau). The early schemes deliberately featured soft edges for the colours blending them better into each other. Later this was given up, as weathering did that job rather well, too.
The national markings were reduced in size and number; the Iron Cross was applied top to the left wing and bottom to the right wing, and on both sides of the fuselage. Early in the 80ies, the old Norm 72-warnings continued to be used, until replaced with toned down warnings.
For flight safety some aircraft sported high visibility markings, most notably when transferred to low level fight training in Goose Bay, Canada. These markings could be painted on the top fuselage, under the nose, on the wing tips and on the stabilizers varying in size and colour. Many crews seemed to favour red or yellow, but green or blue was seen often as well. Only few had white or dayglow markings.
Norm 81 was used in two variants, A for geometrical shapes on the wings, tail and the fuselage downside, and B for rounded shapes. B seems to have been the preferred choice by the units.
Advise on the use of the skins in SF2:
The combination of soft colour edges and Norm 72-markings makes these skins suitable for campaigns set in the early and mid 80ies. However in the late 80ies they would look rather out of place.
I included one Norm 81B skin for every German wing equipped with F-4F:
Jagdgeschwader 71 "Richthofen"
Jagdgeschwader 74 "Mölders" (flying 'denamed' as JG 74 today)
Jagdbombergeschwader 35 (flying reorganized as JG 73 “Steinhoff” today)
Jagdbombergeschwader 36 (disbanded today, flew as JG 72 in its last days)
You need the F-4F (80), but the skins should also fit on the F-4F (ICE). Also, F-4F and F-4E may work more or less.
Just unzip and drop the folder in your SF2 mod directory, usually it is:
C:\Users\xxx\Saved Games\ThirdWire\StrikeFighters2 yyy
Ravenclaw_007 for his template (based on Sundowner's F-4E template), and his decals which I am using.