Fieldtest: Novritsch – Kreuzotter Camouflage
For the better part of 2022 I had the opportunity to try out the new Kreuzotter camouflage by Novritsch. While the company is well known within Airsoft circles, other camouflage users might not be as familiar with them. As they are based in Vienna, I was able to visit them personally and talk with the developing team of this pattern. They were kind enough to hand me one of the earlier protos and told me to do my thing. So with that being said, let’s take a closer look at the pattern, before starting with the field test.
Novritsch – Kreuzotter Camouflage
The Textile Department of Novritsch is a very young team of enthusiasts and consists of trained textile developers and a team leader with both military as well as textile development background. As a result you will find expertise, or better said, the best of both worlds. It is also worth noting that one of the main developers of the Kreuzotter pattern was involved in the camouflage project by the Federal Higher Technical Institute for Education and Experimentation, which resulted in the Austrian Jagdkommando’s pixelated camouflage pattern (Tarndruck SEK).
Needless to say there is some expertise at site. After deciding to develop their own camouflage pattern, the Novritsch Textile Department took 3 months to come up with the design. Having Tigerstripe fans amongst their ranks and aiming for a camouflage which is not currently in use in any warzone, they decided to go for their own lizard type pattern.
Kreuzotter Camouflage is a hybrid in several ways. It consists of vector graphic elements as well as macro photography. The pattern features 10 colors which are distributed on 12 layers. To say that this is just another tigerstripe camouflage pattern, would be ignorant, to say the least.
You will find two macro elements within the pattern, which are based on photographic samples of organic structures. On the one hand, the brown tiger stripes, which are in fact a close up of tree bark, and (a bit more hidden) the green and light green channels in the background of the pattern, which are macro pictures of leaf veins. The green background also fades from a dark to light green, if you look at the pattern carefully.
While you will find the tiger stripes horizontally placed in the pattern, the leaf macro is not. Together with “rain drops”, these are vertically placed, giving the Kreuzotter pattern additional nuances as well as a certain blurring effect. Camouflage aficionados will be familiar with these rain drops from old (eastern) German as well as Austrian camouflage patterns.
The inspiration for the colors were European mixed forests – so it is no surprise that you will find similar colors as in PenCott Greenzone or ConCamo Green, which also aim for these environments. As a matter of fact, first comments on the web thought of Kreuzotter as a close ConCamo copy, which I can only dismiss as ill conceived comparison attempts, because some users on the internet apparently need comparisons to grasp reality. The same can be said with the comparisons to Rhodesian Brushstroke…
But before this becomes a rant on internet comparisons, let me just quickly add that Kreuzotter will come in different variations in the future. From what I have heard desert and alpine versions are being considered and the Textile team is keeping busy with other developments as well.
With that being said, let’s go into the usual methodic remarks, before looking at the pictures.
As always I want to point out several important aspects beforehand. First of all, I do not claim any scientific standard with my camouflage comparisons. I also conduct them with my best knowledge and the available resources.
The pictures are usually taken at the same locations I always use for my camouflage comparisons. That way you can compare the various field tests I have done so far with each other. As one of my main spots was completely lost to deforestation, I had to add a new location.
Before I start, please consider the following – as always:
I did not edit the pictures in any special way, except the following:
- Lens correction
- Blurred my face out if necessary
- .jpeg compression to make it web compliant
- I always do a proper white balance to make colors appear the way they are.
A short explanation to the environment and the procedure:
The pattern was tested in a Central European environment. Information about the various locations will be stated in the subsections. The pictures usually portray three different positions:
- Standing in the open (to get an idea of the pattern in this particular surroundings and if the colors match it).
- The prone position (to mimic basic, up to ideal concealment without using enhancements).
As always I photographed the pattern with a wide angle lens at first and then with 35mm focal length, which mimics the actual picture the human eye would perceive at this distance. Having in mind the three different positions mentioned before, I usually end up with 6 pictures of each location.
Given the amount of pictures in my field tests, I will continue with my modus operandi from previous camo reviews and not describe or comment on each picture. Instead I will give a more thorough analysis at the end of each subsection.
With that being said, let’s take a closer look at the pictures themselves.
Novritsch Kreuzotter Camouflage
This one worked out rather well as a replacement for a previous site, which was lost to deforestation. Just like the previous location this one is a typical European mixed forest with a high foliage canopy and some basic bushes, ferns and little trees on the ground.
The floor is covered with tree trunks and cut branches, which change in color depending on the season.
While the pictures in early Spring were taken during a cloudy day around noon, the pictures in Summer feature strong sunbeams and an overall “busier” lit environment.
The camera is standing roughly 20 away from the human silhouette.
Observations – Location 1
While the wide angle pictures display a certain amount of backlighting because of the light angles, one can see the pattern and color distribution of Kreuzotter camouflage. The silhouette of the standing position is easily identifiable – however, this is a result of placement and visual angle. Every camouflage pattern would suffer from that. This changes rapidly in the kneeling position, as the silhouette is minimized and the colors and pattern of Kreuzotter come into play. The prone is as always an excellent way of concealment, as the individual is on the ground and perfectly blends in.
Looking at the pictures with 35mm focal length and the actual picture the human eye would see, one can make out a significant change. While the silhouette still stands out against the backdrop because of the backlight, the macro elements of the brown tiger stripes disrupt the shape, while the other colors perfectly blend in. This is more apparent in the kneeling position which is a wonderful example of the excellent color choice for this pattern. Especially in the lower half on the left, one can see how the midi and macro elements blend into the background and/or surroundings. The main give away in this particular situation is the angled leg and the resulting light tunnel. When lying down, one can see, how the colors of Kreuzotter perfectly match with the brown and green tones of the surroundings.
In the harsh light of Summer one can see that the silhouette has the same issue with backlight at this location. At the same time it is visible how the stronger light brings out the green elements in the Kreuzotter pattern, making it better in contrast and therefore breaking up the silhouette better. The kneeling position creates more backlight, creating a large dark blob – on the other hand, the human silhouette is hard to discern. The prone is again the best position, as it makes the pattern work perfectly with the ground floor.
The pictures with 35mm focal length show a similar picture. While the macro elements of the tiger stripes break up the silhouette nicely, the colors are too dark in general against this particular backdrop. When kneeling down, one can see how the performance of Kreuzotter is different and better – especially the disruption of the stripes – however, the backlight of the location makes it still stand out. This changes again in the prone, when the light is more favorable and the body is close to the ground.
This location is well known. It is a mixture of deciduous and coniferous forest and changed because of a huge pile of cut branches on one side. Since most of the leaves fell off during autumn you can see further back into the forest, while having an overall brown environment. In summer the site changed not only because of a thicker vegetation in the background, but also because of very persistent ferns in the front.
The pictures in early Spring were taken before noon under a clouded sky and the camera is standing roughly 15m away from the human silhouette. The summer pictures present strong sunbeams and therefore more challenging light settings.
Observations – Location 2
In early Spring, as the colors of nature are still dead and brown, Kreuzotter camouflage seamlessly blends in. The wide angle pictures give a clear picture of the muted colors and the blending effect in this location. Even when standing in the open, the macro and midi elements provide an excellent camouflage effect, only showing a minimal silhouette. When kneeling down, one can see how this effect becomes more apparent, as the Kreuzotter pattern blends into the surroundings of dead vegetation and branches. In the prone and with the least possible visual surface, the pattern provides excellent concealment.
The pictures of 35mm focal length provide a better example of this assessment. The brown macro elements of the tiger stripes create just enough contrast to the green elements of the pattern. As a result a very organic look with matching colors is being achieved. While standing, the blending effect is enough to make an identification at first glance extremely difficult. When kneeling, the pattern merges with the backdrop on several locations of the body. Colors and patterns simply fit. When lying in the prone, one is barely visible without having to use further camouflage enhancements.
Again, the Summer light brings harsh challenges. This becomes apparent with the following pictures, as the backdrop is illuminated by sun beams, making the silhouette stand out no matter what. At the same time, the colors and macro/midi elements of Kreuzotter clearly are at work, providing not only disruption, but also a blending effect. While it stands out against the backdrop, it does blend in without any issues with the surroundings left and right, providing a decent camouflage effect in this challenging situation. The moment the kneeling position is being used, the blending and disrupting of the pattern elements come into play again. While the macro elements are not as visible as in other situations, they are still at work, providing a blending effect with the brown and green elements. The prone is obviously effective, as the body is partially concealed by the ferns in the foreground.
Using the 35mm focal length, the macro and midi elements are better visible. While standing, one can even see the micro elements at work. As a result the brown tiger stripes break up the silhouette, while the green and tan elements create a “see through” effect. Because of this the shape of the body is easily broken up and blends into its surroundings, when kneeling down. The organic shapes of the stripes, in combination with the colors make for a natural look in this situation. Going into the prone is best again, as the body is partially concealed.
Location 3 is an open field in a mixed forest, with random conifers, some deciduous trees as well as high grass. It is already known and only accessible in Spring, Autumn and Winter. During Spring and Summer it is too densely overgrown with underbrush and grass. As a result you will only see pictures of early Spring in this section.
The camera is standing roughly 20-25m away from the human silhouette. The pictures were taken in the afternoon under a clouded sky.
Observations – Location 3
This location was included in this field test for the sake of completeness. While it is barely accessible in Summer, it is so in Spring and Autumn. At the same time it is mostly brown in these seasons, making it a bit obsolete when testing “green” patterns. The pictures have to be seen in this context.
So… using the wide angle, the perceived distance is quite long. In the standing position not much of the pattern is visible – a logical result of the distance. However, the colors match both the scattered conifers and also some of the high grass. So at first glance, the identification is difficult, but then obvious, because of the silhouette. When kneeling down, this is different, as one cannot distinguish between human shape and trees anymore. The prone is in this case a complete concealment, thanks to vegetation.
With 35mm focal length, the standing position is quite revealing, even though the colors are not completely out of place. They only stand out because of the bright tan surroundings – a situation which would change when positioning oneself next or behind the trees. When kneeling down, the underbrush helps with concealment and the pattern does not look “off”.
The prone doesn’t need any explanation.
As always I will give you some additional pictures in different locations to round up the picture. They will show how the Kreuzotter pattern works in different locations, as well as light settings. Especially in dense vegetation and strong lights of a summer forest, the darker macro elements make a difference – just like one would suspect of a tiger stripe pattern. But also open earth and partially vegetated areas are excellent examples for areas of use.
With that being said, check out the following additions, before coming to the conclusion.
Kreuzotter camouflage is an excellent example of how to use the concept of a well known camouflage pattern family (lizard/tiger stripe) and create a new and independent camouflage pattern. With its particular choice of colors, it is extremely well suited for the European environment during three, maybe four seasons of the year (winter pictures are yet to come).
While in some instances it appears to be too dark, this characteristic becomes a great asset especially in overly bright situations in the dense vegetation of Summer. Here you need that strong contrast to avoid a complete bright pattern surface.
Just like with PenCott or Phantom Leaf, the strong contrast between the green and brown elements lets the brain choose the dominant color of the environment, making the Kreuzotter pattern perform in both brown and green dominant environments of Spring/Autumn and Summer.
It also performs well at close ranges, given its micro elements and rain drop style disruptions of the overall pattern. These effectively break up the obvious repetition of the tiger stripes, which are too repetitive with most tiger stripe variants.
Kreuzotter camouflage is primarily aimed at the Airsoft market. The pattern is not NIR treated, but from what I have seen on social media, it does not glow under IR and keeps its contrast because of the colors. Other variations will follow, and gear is in the pipeline, making a full Kreuzotter setup possible in the near future. With a big and self-sufficient company like Novritsch, supply will also not be an issue as long as supply chains last.
With that being said, I want to give my thanks to the textile department of Novritsch, not only for making this field test possible, but also for the many discussions.
Thank you for reading!
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