back to article The Vulture 2: What paintjob should we put on our soaraway spaceplane?

Our Vulture 2 spaceplane has risen majestically from the powdered nylon, but there's one matter yet to be resolved before we get it in the air: what colour scheme best suits this magnificent aircraft? Here's our vehicle fully assembled, with Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator team members (from L-R) Dave Akerman, Rob Eastwood …


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  1. Alain Moran

    Register Red of course!

    Everybody knows that painting something red makes it go faster ... especially if you add some stripes down the side!

    1. James Micallef Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Register Red of course!

      British Racing Green, forgive me for saying, is dull, dull, dull. Looks nice on a Jaguar in that understated British way, but this is a Goddamn Rocket Spaceplane. Energy! Excitement! Passion! El Reg red is the natural colour for me, plus the red-with-white-tips mockup also looks great.

      SPB orange and silver is also a good one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Register Red of course!

        But the BRG & grey would be a nice hommage to XH558.

        1. IDoNotThinkSo

          Re: Register Red of course!

          Ah but the Vulcan wasn't originally camo-coloured. Nuclear flash white, please!

          I'd go for the all-over metallic silver look, though does the weight of the paint need to be taken into account?

      2. Peter Simpson 1

        Re: Register Red of course!

        Silver fuselage and orange wings/tail.

        You'll want the wings to stand out as you try to maneouver it...silver will be harder to see than orange.

        Safe flight, good luck!

        1. Anonymous Custard

          Re: Register Red of course!

          Luminous yellow and green stripes, so you can easily find the thing again when it lands (to cover all attractants like trees, rocks, pylons etc - at least one colour should stand out). Plus you can send the minion for a tin of striped paint and enjoy the attempt).

          Or failing that just a nice silver with flaming red decals to make it look like a real re-entry?

      3. Isn't it obvious?

        Re: Register Red of course!

        The BRG one is the only scheme shown that doesn't look like something cheap and Chinese-made that you'd find in a clear plastic clamshell on a rack in a crappy toy store.

        Except for the orange-and-blue one. That one looks like it should have "Rabobank" written across it.

      4. t.est

        Re: Register Red of course!

        If you want it to be clearly seen you need to use distinctive colours with great contrast.

        Using a color that is blended from red, green and blue (actually CMYK, but all you see is anyway RGB) will make it harder to see. Orange and Gray is such a combination, where the contrasts is suffering. It's possible to make gray and orange look very good, but then you use a light orange and dark gray or vice versa to maintain a good contrast.

        If using a blended colour the contrasting colors is pretty much limited to White and Black. Red and Green is a bad combination due to possible colourblindness, (all humans are in less or greater extent).

        Yellow and black works very well, also among animals and insects. If you want a more estetik colour white and red works well too.

        I would use though yellow and black. Two black stripes and three Yellow, from front to rear making the fuselage yellow. Then add a black nose cone.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Register Red of course!

      And Thunderbird 3 was red.

    3. Dr Insanity

      Re: Register Red of course!

      Evrywun knows red wuns go faster! Wurr hurr hurr

      "Wot's faster than a warbuggy, more killy than a warbike, and flies through da air like a bird? I got no bleedin' idea, but I'm gonna find out." - Kog da Flymek, pioneer of da Dethkopta and honorary Mekboy of da Reg Speshul Projeks Bureau

    4. ados

      Only 3 colours

      It can only be red, white and blue. No question. Debate over.

      1. Martin Budden Silver badge

        Re: Only 3 colours

        It can only be red, white and blue. No question. Debate over.

        Absolutely! Like this.

  2. joeW

    Vulture, you say?

    How about painting it like one? Red/pink head, black/brown body, off-white wingtips and edges - nothing fancy, no feather patterns or anything like that.

    I'll fire up the GIMP and colour in the template in a little bit, just as soon as the boss isn't looking....

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Vulture, you say?

      Klingon Bird Of Prey?

  3. Anonymous Cowerd

    Orange - it's the same as Ms Lohan's natural colour

    and will be easier to find when it finally comes back down to earth, especially if the GPS fails.

  4. Smarty Pants

    Has to be

    Plain MATT Black

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Has to be

      It is very important that all the controls are also painted matt black.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Has to be

        Well, the thing about a black hole - its main distinguishing feature - is it's black. And the thing about space, the colour of space, your basic space colour, is black. So how are you supposed to see them?

      2. Isendel Steel

        Re: Has to be

        and any LEDs should light up black - just so you know that the switches have worked...

  5. Pen-y-gors


    it should be British Racing Green, all over. But on a practical level it needs to stand out against the sky and the ground (and the trees) so one of the naff dayglo combinations sadly makes sense - but give the heroic playmonaut some cool peril-sensitive shades so he doesn't have to look at it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Emotionally...

      British Racing Green is so cliche.

      It should be Brooklands Green...

  6. Smallbrainfield

    A big magenta cock would look great soaring through the skies.

    Remember, 3 pubes per ball.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: A big magenta cock would look great soaring through the skies.

      I think we have a winner.

    2. Andus McCoatover

      Re: A big magenta cock would look great soaring through the skies.

      Playmonaught's last words?

      "Oh, well.


    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A big magenta cock would look great soaring through the skies.

      That was my first thought (obviously) but the shape is somewhat reminiscent of an open invitation from a lady, albeit one with her arms folded alluringly coyly and her head tipped right back (or removed entirely which is obviously less wonderful).

      So I imagine pink circles and a black (/yellow /orange) triangle will feature in at least some of the suggested designs.

  7. EddieD

    Register livery

    Merge the black and red schemes, and then put vulture roundels on the wings.

  8. hammarbtyp

    KISS principle

    Surely black and white a'la early V2's will make testing and recovery easier?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: KISS principle

      Not to mention being able to see what's happening should (heaven forfend!) something go wrong with the autopilot, and you'd like to know something about rotational rates, or even which way up it was.

  9. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Black and white checkerboard

    Maybe red wingtips.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS FTW!

    (Microsoft For The Win)

    ...anonymous for good reason.

    1. Alister

      Re: MS FTW!

      Is that you, alter-Eadon??

  11. stizzleswick

    The fun and games notwithstanding,

    there are reasons why most suborbital and orbital vessels are painted glossy white. Has to do with reflection of infrared wavelengths so as to prevent excessive heating through solar irradiation.

  12. Simon Rockman

    The obvious thing to do is find a sponsor. But I guess that's not happening.

    Why not post a CAD model so that people can do a colour scheme in Maya or 3DS?


  13. PC Paul

    Not British Racing Green

    Not green, you'll never find it after it lands, even in Spain.

    Nothing very complicated either - I've had a nice realistic Zebra scheme on a much bigger glider than this and it totally disappeared into the background, both in the sky and on the floor.

    Dayglo orange (or Register Red at a pinch) with black tips would do nicely for me.

    1. PC Paul

      Re: Not British Racing Green

      Oh... and test fly it BEFORE you paint it. Otherwise it'll just have all the corners showing white and any replacement parts or repairs (although hopefully not) won't match.


    2. Ben Bonsall

      Re: Not British Racing Green

      "- I've had a nice realistic Zebra scheme on a much bigger glider than this and it totally disappeared into the background, both in the sky and on the floor."

      Well, yes. Zebra pattern is for camouflage after all...

  14. Captain Hogwash

    Break out the tartan paint!

    I fancy a Dress Gordon would look rather fetching.

    1. Bunbury

      Re: Break out the tartan paint!

      I'm told tartan is "in" this season. "In" as in "we want to sell more clothes so let's change the fashion". Also, so is pink. And cobalt blue.

      So you could make LOHAN a fashion victim in a pink and cobalt blue tartan. Functional in that you'll be able to spot it easily

  15. RockBurner

    High altitude PRU blue?

  16. poopypants

    If you would like to be able to find it, then

    you might want to think about using colours and patterns that don't normally occur in nature. DayGlo magenta/yellow jagged stripes would probably do the trick.

    Remember, Real Engineers® prefer function over form.

  17. Pet Peeve

    I stand by my previous comment that it be painted bright silver to further enhance the 50s rocket look. If you really want to go two-tone, the SPB colors are a good choice instead.

    1. graeme leggett Silver badge

      I second bright silver as being in the best traditions of 1950s and 1960s British experimental aircraft.

      With bright yellow on leading edges etc as was also used at the time.

      Think RAF Museum Cosford research aircraft collection.

      The Hunting H126 had a rather fetching all over yellow

      You ought to duplicate the in front of the windshield black panel if you've got time

  18. David Given

    There is only one possible choice

    Checkerboard red and white on the body, solid red on the wings.

    You know it makes sense. (And it's nice high visibility when the inevitable treetop search happens, too.)

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Re: There is only one possible choice

      Seconded. Didn't spot your post when I wrote mine :-)

  19. Martin Gregorie

    Maximise visibility

    Use your yellow-black scheme, but replace the yellow with dayglo orange - the Halfords red-orange hazard warning paint's colour would be perfect. Reversing the colours should also be fine.

    Reasoning: I've used that red-orange / black scheme on the underside of free flight model aircraft, a situation where visibility is very important if you want the timekeeper to see and time the whole flight and you want to be able to find the model easily after each flight: in UK weather flights of 2-3 miles are common. This scheme shows up very well against the sky and, because that red-orange dayglo is very bright and not found in nature, it also shows up well on the ground. The black stripes also help on the ground: straight parallel lines are not common in nature, so they really stand out.

    Go easy with the paint, though: its heavy and will really impact Vulture 2's performance, so if possible use fine grit sandpaper to smooth the V2's surface before painting. V2 will weigh a tonne if you try to use paint to fill that rough surface. Also note that dayglo paints tend to give a matt surface, so while gloss black lacquer should be fine, you may want to use a light coat of clear lacquer over the dayglo.

    Can you get any gash parts to experiment on before ripping into Vulture 2 with the sandpaper?

    1. PC Paul

      Re: Maximise visibility

      Go easy with the paint, though: its heavy and will really impact Vulture 2's performance

      Seconded. Paint is heavy. And a light sanding would probably be a good idea, although given that it's printed in nylonish stuff I'm not sure how well it would work?.

      For good solid colours and added strength, rc combat gliders use coloured parcel tape - it doesn't weigh much (especially if it's only a partial covering, e.g a red checkerboard) and as a bonus could be removed and redone differently for the next flight - reusable near-space vehicles wahey!

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Maximise visibility

        I have to agree with this. Though retroreflective patches and a laser tracker...

      2. Martin Gregorie

        Re: Maximise visibility

        Additional thought: you could try using a filler to get a smooth surface. Some of the squeeze-tube spackles are fairly light once they've dried, are very easy to sand and result in a nice painted surface.

        Try it on a V2 test piece first, of course. and check the weight that using it adds.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Think ahead

    Thin short black lines at various angles on a white or single coloured background will help match up the parts when trying to put it back together for display in the Vulture Central Foyer.

  21. SW10

    I'm sorry, but... can't hope to create a tradition of over-achieving tomfoolery if you break with the past the moment you get a new toy.

    Not only would you be disrespecting a drowned Playmonaut hero and throwing all memories of Vulture 1 into the wastebin of unforgiving history, you'll also be breaking a key visual reference to the tough-as-nails DNA that joins these two craft together.

    Sort your act out. Give it the SPB colours proudly worn by its predecessor.

    That will be all.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: I'm sorry, but...

      I'd have to agree, but reverse the colour scheme you have, and make the wings orange and the body silver, it'll make it easier to spot.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Paint it champagne.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You don't own a Porsche do you?

      Champagne is the colour Porsche drivers say their car is when it's really a light brown.

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        Re: Champagne?

        And with light brown you, essentially, mean the colour of poo after certain meals?

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Red, Green and White

    In honour of PG-Tips

  24. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Tintin rocket!

    Is the chequered red/white of Tintin's rocket too complicated?

  25. Aldous

    Nuclear Anti Flash White

    It looks like a V-Force designers wet dream, why not paint it up like one!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    While El Reg red is non-negotiable, a little gold foil for highlight is essential. Having it look like an Iron Man suit would be completely coincidental.

  27. deshepherd

    British Rocket? Needs to have a blue streak somewhere!

  28. simlb

    Instant power!

    Black or dark blue all over with a pair of white or silver parallel stripes from front to back.

    Everyone knows that type of paint job gives a small Citroen or Ford Taansit van an extra 50BHP, so painting Vulture 2 in the same style is almost certain to get it ging supersonic!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Has to be pink, anything with Lohan or Brastraps in there'd be plenty of pink?

    However, given the task, maybe Camoutint Pink would be appropriate? I'll get my coat.

  30. TRT Silver badge

    Day/night-glo green and white...

    with banded wing-edge markings, flashing LEDs and "To infinity and beyond!" etched on it somewhere.

  31. This post has been deleted by its author

  32. rcorrect

    Why not...

    ...something all of your readers will enjoy?

    1. hplasm

      Re: Why not...

      You rotten swine, you...

      1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

        Re: Re: Why not...


      2. rcorrect

        Re: Why not...

        You've got a point, how inconsiderate of me. Texas will soon succeed from the USA and be a country of its own.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: Why not...

          Don't you mean


          1. rcorrect
            Thumb Up

            Re: Why not...

            This is what happens when you comment while being distractedsdfgfsdjkldefsgkjlewtq. Here, enjoy your thumbs up.

    2. Brian Souder 1

      Re: Why not...

      I am sure they would rather have a British flag - but then it would look like a mini-cooper.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't paint it red or grey...

    or you will never find it if it lands in a cherry tree.

  34. Growly Snuffle Bunny

    Paging Mr Anderson...

    Fireball XL5? Thunderbird 1? Thunderbird 3?

    Or black. All black. Then you can take a year off, dead, for tax reasons.

  35. WillThisWor

    As you're in Spain, why not Repsol colours?

    They might even fancy sponsoring it :-)

  36. Mike Flugennock

    tough call...

    In respect to tradition, part of me wants to go with either the El Reg Red or the British Racing Green.

    James Micallef, a ways up the thread, suggests that the British Racing Green would be boring, but as an American, I have to say it'd be a damn' sight classier than the standard American Flaming Searing Day-Glo Racing Orange (aka "Daytona Orange").

    I'm not really up on my British rocketry, but the Blue Streak suggestion sounds good... and as an old spaceflight history geek and "B" sci-fi movie fan, the suggestion of silver also has a lot of merit -- and visibility. In the same vein, something similar to the various color schemes used for the captured V2 tests at White Sands, such as this one and this one, might also work well.

    Still, for easy visibility, I don't think you could do much better than no. 3, the bright yellow with black longitudinal stripes, perhaps with the round El Reg Vulture "badge" logo on the tail and wings.

  37. Grey import


    Paint is heavy and sanding is a bear. What about the princess Amadala look using Al foil applied with traditional rocketry appliqué or gilding.

  38. Artifixprime

    Flash!! A-ha!

    Go for blingtastic Gold with a smart Red trim for the complete War Rocket Ajax look.

    Might I also suggest a suitably attired Playmanaut?

  39. Robert E A Harvey


    Paint it black with tiny little spots of colour to represent the stars.

  40. chse

    Anti-Flash White && Cherenkov Blue

    checkered a la Tintin (but doesn't comply with "no different colour on flip side).

    So this has to be simplified - or does it? Left side different than right side surely is ok ;->

    Ensign Red Main wing tip on one side, Solid Yellow on the other for visibility.

    1. chse

      Re: Anti-Flash White && Cherenkov Blue

      Like this

  41. Jayce and the Wheeled Chairs

    I say we take the fight to the Lizard army, "British racing green (with silver)" with Invasion stripes (

  42. Vulch

    Nice silver body with red and yellow vertical surfaces of course.

    As in

    (From )

  43. Tempest8008

    LOHAN tattoo homage

    Here's my entry:

    I figure if you're going to call the V2 LOHAN, you have to pay homage...

  44. _Seb

    Can we have decals

    Because I can think of nothing better than flame decals, plus it'll make it go faster*.

    *this is clearly child logic, but I stand by it.

  45. Nunyabiznes

    Robin's egg blue

    Or powder blue if you prefer. I race off road (hobbyist) and this color has proven to be the most eye-catching on video against an earth background. Might be tough as it is coming down, but I was counting on the cliche gray English sky until I saw a comment about Spain. Should still stand out against an azure sky though.

  46. Munchausen's proxy

    British history and tradition

    You need roundels, whatever else you do.

    And maybe an oil leak.

  47. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Pay homage to the first Shuttle launch. Paint the body with a coat of red oxide and the wings white ...

  48. Sporkinum

    There should be a difference between top and bottom, if there is a chance manual control might be required.

    Makes it a lot easier to control at a distance.

  49. mistergrantham

    paisley, brown on beige... or burgundy

  50. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Why not

    Pay homage to the other bit of bleeding edge tech being developed by us plucky brits on limited budgets?

    Namely the Bloodhound SSC

    If not then Brooklands Green.

    1. Gordon 8

      Re: Why not

      That looks like Gulf Oil colours to me.

      I'll get my coat, the one with the copies of Motor Sport in the pocket

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yellow? White?

    Some color that stands out when Vulture 2 inevitably ends up in a tree!

  52. Faye B

    British through and through.

    It's got to be the red and white colour scheme, though I would also add a stripe of blue here and there to make it truly British.

    BTW I think it would be best to paint it to remove the grooves as these could attract condensation on the way up which will turn into ice and add weight and possibly even fouling the control surfaces. Dimples work OK at high speeds when there is sufficient friction to prevent icing or in 'dry and warm' conditions but the space plane will be essentially slow moving until ignition, which gives it plenty of time to ice up.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You should put stickers on both wings showing Sinead O'Connor's face, possibly with speech bubbles about being concerned that you're in space.

  54. Brian Souder 1

    Maybe Something Like This

  55. Brian Souder 1

    They Do Have To Find It

    They do have to find the plane. Otherwise you might use paint patterns like:


    The plane reminds me more of something that is like an SR71 or even the plane from Firefox;

  56. dorsetknob

    """ Snigger """

    Nipple pink and a two piece Bikini style blowgun jubb

    I'll get my Hampstead heath Mac and go

  57. James O'Shea

    RAF Prototype Yellow (see, for example, on the bottom and High Visibility Register Red on the top. Include RAF 'P in a circle' prototype markings on the sides, and Register vulture roundels on the wings. And a small icon of Ms Lohan on the nose.

  58. Gordon 8

    Top & Bottom

    Having a different scheme top and bottom is well worth it.

    I fly RC planes and there are times when you can't tell which way it is.

    That's why some planes have different patterns top and bottom.

    I would go with Vulture 1 Colours as a base with maybe invasion stripes (black & white as on 1944 - 5 Spitfires) on the bottom of the wings to help the pilot.

    Silver Nose and wings with red control surfaces and fuselage.

    During initial flight testing a layer of sticky tape to protect the aircraft skin from damage on landing.

    When in the air planes never have a problem. it's how they hit the ground that causes the damage ;-)

  59. Anakin

    Union Jack

    Just sayin

  60. IT Drone


    I noticed "Herbie: Fully Loaded" in the telly listings yesterday with Lindsay Lohan herself in the lead role ( Why not keep it white with some simple red and blue offset stripes to one side. Ticks lots of boxes?

  61. oldcoder

    Whatever the pattern used, I suggest using a florescent paint.

    It would make it easier to find in the dark...

  62. choad

    Tricolour, or barber pole...

  63. Captain DaFt

    A couple of suggestions

    Garish, but highly visible in most conditions: - v-1 high visibility/contrast dayglo red/green

    Less garish, still easily visible: - v-2 El Reg red and silver

  64. Splodger

    Ad Astra!

    Variations on yer basic patriotic jazzy red, white and blue...

    Needs roundels though, and possibly a nose-mounted disruptor beam.

  65. Wzrd1 Silver badge

    No paint unless it offers superior aerodynamic performance.

    Otherwise, it is a performance limiter.

    But then, I don't care how ugly it is, I care how well it works.

  66. namaqua

    With that shape it has got to be in the Thunderbirds Fireflash livery...

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looking at the plan of the ship

    Does Ms Lohan have arms that short and hips that big ?

    Colour me old and dirty.....

  68. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Concentric circles

    Concentric circles of wildly clashing colours. You need pinks, black, yellow, dark blue, lime green and bright purple. No matter where it lands anyone who see it will feel sick and report it. :-)

  69. Stoke the atom furnaces

    Paint the aircraft bright yellow with large RAF roundels.

  70. ney

    No matter how I twisted and re-designed it, the obvious paint job is this one.

  71. Dabooka

    Couldn't care less...

    as long as it includes invasion stripes.

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