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USRCS 1900 – 1912
The RCS standardized the cutter paint scheme at the turn of the century.
Hulls and superstructure were painted white.
At least one RC (Seneca) had a black hull at times.
She was commissioned in 1908 with a white hull.
She appears in 1914 with a black hull.
In 1924 she is white again.
Wooden decks were unpainted.
Metal decks were blue gray.
Working fixtures (stacks, davits, windlasses, etc) were spar.

USLHS 1789 – 1939
The LHS standardized the tender paint scheme very early on.
Hulls were black.
Superstructure was white.

USLSS 1879 – 1912
USLSS surfboats and lifeboats had white hulls and superstructure.

USCG 1912 – 1939
After the merger in 1912, very little changed in overall paint schemes.

USCG 1940 – 1945
During the war most cutters were painted gray or camoflouged.
Surfboats and motor lifeboats remained white.

All classes of cutters and boats
Superstructure was white
Fixtures were spar
“W (hull no)” on each side of bow and stern
All classes of tugs (WAT,WATF, etc) and buoy tenders: Hulls were black
All other classes of cutters and boats (including ice breakers): Hulls were white.

All tugs longer than 140′: hulls repainted white.

Racing stripe added to all hulls except Eagle.
“Coast Guard” added to all hulls except Eagle forward of midships.
“W” dropped from hull number on bow and stern.

Icebreakers painted red.

Racing stripe and “Coast Guard” added to Eagle.

140′ Icebreaking tugs were commissioned and initially painted white. Almost immediately repainted black.

“Coast Guard” on hulls changed to “U.S. Coast Guard”
The Manuals

1952 Veraion
2007 Version
So What Are the Colors?

The FS 595 FSNs are:
Coast Guard Red: 12199
International Orange: 12197
Coast Guard Blue: 15183
White: 17875
So What Paint Do You Use?

This has been debated many times in model forums
Model Master once made Coast Guard Red, Orange and Blue paints
They were based on the 1950 Paint and Color Manual and would be good for that time period
But the are out of production

The consensus of opinion seems to be that Model Master Chevy Engine Red is the closest match to 12199
I use Model Master Cobalt Blue for the 15183