Modeling in General
General discussions about modeling topics.
Right Olive Drab
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Ohio, United States
Member Since: January 18, 2002
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Posted: Friday, January 18, 2002 - 04:58 AM UTC
I've been building military models on and off for about 40 years. I love the hobby and still have questions on subjects. And I am still learning things everytime I start building again.

My question this time, which paint manufacturer makes the truest US Olive Drab color for 1/35th scale?
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Florida, United States
Member Since: December 27, 2001
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Posted: Friday, January 18, 2002 - 06:34 AM UTC
Hmmm, I'm glad I saved this:
FWIW My Father was a tail gunner on B-17s in "The Big One". He rarely mention
anything about his war service, being one of those who preferred to forget about
that chapter. However, one evening a Friend of mine and I were discussing a model
he had built and brought over to the house. It was a Revell 1/32 scale P-51B,
painted O.D. of course. We were arguing about whether the color he had used was
correct and my Father came in and listened for a few minutes and started to laugh.
"I could walk down the flightline in 1943 and there were 9 B-17s ready to fly a
mission and everyone would be a different shade". He told us OD was a very unstable
color that played all kinds of games in the North african Sun. Further more, the
main pigments used were carbon black and yellow ochre. In terms of weight, carbon
black was a very light pigment and yellow ochre (a form of iron oxide) was very
heavy. When the paint sat for a while the pigments settled to the bottom and the
yellow ochre could take quite a bit of stirring to get it completely mixed. If the
guy filling the paint machine at the factory had a bad night the night before and
didn't leave the paint on the shaker long enough or the guy loading a sprayer to
paint over repairs didn't stir it you got all kinds of variations. This plus the
fact that there were quantities of two or three different specifications of OD
paint in the system... Anybody who becomes real pedantic about the shade of OD is
a fool!

Bill Shuey

Lafimprov wrote:

U.S. No. 9 Olive Drab seems to have been pretty dark, and Humbrol 66 is
probably a decent match. Late in the war a lighter shade was authorized, but
most equipment had already been procured by then, and oceans of the older paint
was already in the supply system. And a dark semigloss OD was authorized after
VE Day. I recently saw a color photo of five soldiers (or possibly war
correspondents) seated at a Paris cafe right after the liberation. All were
wearing M1 steel pots, painted at least three different shades of OD, from
Humbrol 66 dark OD through a pretty decent FS34087 shade, so obviously there
was a lot of variation. Matching color through photos is always risky because
of variations in the printing process, but if you look at enough pix, you'll
start to get a ballpark idea. However, color film balanced for indoor light
always turns OD blue, so ignore those shots. Also, look for vehicles where the
paint has been rubbed clean of dust, at least partially. The difference in tone
is tremendous between a clean and dusty vehicle. Of course, you could always
follow the Francois Verlinden approach, and just randomly choose a color in the
olive green palette. Since he always weathers the vehicle heavily, the original
paint color is pretty irrelevent.
Gerald Owens
I originally asked this question in a news group: RMS. Enjoy!
Member Since: December 18, 2001
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Posted: Friday, January 18, 2002 - 06:59 AM UTC
Also remember when we were a peacetime Army, spit & polish was very important. OD was mixed with gloss black to give that glossy dark olive color in the pre-Vietnam era (and for the occupation forces in Germany and Japan).

My advice, mix it til it "looks right".
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South Australia, Australia
Member Since: January 09, 2002
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Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2002 - 02:43 AM UTC
I do agree that all shade of OD is correct for a war time vehicle, principally if itīs very weathered.
But I didnīt understand the Sabot point, I mean, do you mix gloss black to OD for example to a vehicle for Vietnan era?
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Florida, United States
Member Since: December 27, 2001
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Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2002 - 04:03 AM UTC
What he is saying is, "gloss black" was added to olive drab paint "during peace time" before Vietnam. So the vehicles looked nice n shiny.
Right, Rob?
Staff MemberPublisher
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New Hampshire, United States
Member Since: December 15, 2001
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Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2002 - 04:19 AM UTC
Since Rob is around my age... Why am I thinking he mean post-Vietnam era? Of course it may be true for both periods.

Member Since: December 18, 2001
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Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2002 - 06:44 AM UTC
Actually, the vehicles that arrived in Vietnam at the start of the war wore the gloss black/OD green scheme with big white star. But it also still carried over to post-war use. When I first joined the National Guard (1983) we still had one M113 that was a dark glossy OD green with white stars. It was used for parades (4th of July, Veterans Day, etc.) I've still got the training circular (TC 5-200, dated 28 Aug 75) that describes how to remove the OD/White scheme and start to paint the MERDC scheme.

So, all 3 of you are correct. It might be easier to add flat black to OD green, or use the MM green drab color and give it an overcoat of Future to make the semi-gloss sheen.