April 29, 2008

Razzle Dazzle Ring

You may have noticed that recently there have been a number of prototypes photographed in this odd looking splotchy patterns. The reason of course goes back to WWI submarines. Back then torpedoes were essentially aimed by eye, there was no radar or lasers and painting bizarre patterns on ships was thought to confuse the eye though it was never quite proven to be effective.

Now, can I tie WW I battleships to the "spy"* video of the next generation Z4 testing at the Nürburgring?

Easy, Dazzle Camouflage is related to cubism whose geometric shapes informed pop art of which Roy Lichtenstein was a major exponent and who painted.....wait for it, a BMW! Weeeee!

* that's the best staged "spy" video we have ever seen but that Z4 looks like it's going at a good clip. Rumors have it as a steel roofed convertible, up in size and segment from the present car, an SL fighter?


  1. Good analogy indeed. The idea behind the WW1 paint scheme was that the human eye is good at picking up contrast, and therefore the silhouette of the boats. Those patterns were supposed to confuse by creating a lot of high-contrast lines hopefully making the boat's outline (and it's identification) less obvious. Indeed it was not proven to have an effect (positive or negative) on the sub's hit rate. I think that was mostly because those are huge boats and it's going to be very hard to hide them at sea no matter what you paint on it.

    In this prototype's case it does work at hiding the details of the body creases and lines...

  2. I read that it was not as much an attempt to hide as much as confuse. Without effective rangefinders, torpedos had to aimed by eye and of course moving targets have to be "led". Some of these designs made it harder to tell where the ship's bow was and thus exactly which direction it was sailing in. But like you said, still a huge lump of ship floating out there !

  3. I like the roadster. It's nice too.



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