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Seahawk

Paints for US Army Olive Drab

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I'm just returning to AFV modelling after a 45-year break and for the first time in nearly half a century (gulp!) need some paint to replicate US Army Olive Drab.  Last time I needed it, we were all using Humbrol Authentic HM4, which was a sort of greenish off-black but I see now Airfix are recommending for their 1/35 new releases Humbrol 86 Light Olive.  I know the question is a perennial one and the answer seems to be, "how long is a piece of string?".  I have found some stuff on line, but the links they provide to no doubt excellent articles by such luminaries as Steven Zaloga are invariably broken.  It doesn't look as if @Mike Starmerhas turned his attention to this subject yet.

 

I accept that there were variations in shade (or do I mean hue?) and am not into all this colour modulation stuff.  All I am looking for is a paint that, when applied to 1/72 AFVs and especially next to vehicles predominantly in British SCC.15, will not scream "wrong" to any tolerably knowledgeable passer-by.  I brush-paint so something that does not require an excessive number of coats to achieve coverage and then matt down would be good.  Acrylic good (Revell?  Vallejo?) but enamel certainly not ruled out if it's decent paint that actually covers, dries and looks right.  NB Tamiya XF62 is (or at least was) a good match apparently but Tamiya acrylics and brush painters are sworn enemies.  No problem with paint mixes if nothing suits out of the pot.

 

So what's the current wisdom?  The most tempting ideas I've seen so far are (enamel) a 50:50 mix of FS34087 and FS30118 (both of which I think I have in Xtracolor) and (acrylic) Vallejo Luftwaffe Brown Violet (which I certainly don't have).

 

Thanks in advance.

 

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I have used either tamiya xf 62 or humbrol 155, and have no problems brush painting either colour.  

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Posted (edited)

If it's wartime Olive Drab 9 you're after and you don't mind mixing, Mike Starmer suggests equal parts Humbrol 155 and Revell 42.  You have both enamel and acrylic options for that mix.

Edited by JosephLalor

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58 minutes ago, Seahawk said:

"how long is a piece of string?"


Twice from the middle to one of the ends 👌🏽

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Posted (edited)

Seahawk - welcome to the club! 😃

I also have built four 1/72 Airfix vehicles (2 AFV and the RAF emergency set) exactly 48-45 years ago.

And now - due to the COVID emergency - I just have started building the Braille scale AFV again. And I'm also the "brush man" (no rattlecans & aerograph), the only acrylics I use (for aircaft and warship modelling so far) are Vallejo varnishes and mixing paints doesn't frighten me. But as I totally don't accept the consistence of Revell and Tamiya enamels I rely on Humbrols only. Frankly speaking I still do have several (less than ten as for today) AIRFIX enamels from the 1980s that are still usable (!!!) and they do mix with Humbrols much better than Revells do.

From my 50+years model painting experience I remember the best wartime US OD I had achieved was when mixing 2 parts of orange (say it H82) with 1 part of black (e.g. H33). Using current Humbrol palette (as you remember 40 years ago there were only 70 colours there, now there are more than 250) the H155 is the closest match if painting straight from the tin.

BTW I wonder which AFVs will be your "first five" after these 45 years. My list consists of: Renault FT, Renault UE, Mark IV, PzKpfwIV and PzKpfw V.  

Cheers

Michael

 

 

Edited by KRK4m

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1 hour ago, KRK4m said:

BTW I wonder which AFVs will be your "first five" after these 45 years. My list consists of: Renault FT, Renault UE, Mark IV, PzKpfwIV and PzKpfw V.  

I'm attacking on a broad front: some Revells (Lynx, Wirbelwind, sWS), one or two of the very nice Heller Shermans and a Dragon Sherman 76mm or two out of deepest stash.  It's the Sherman IIAs that need the Olive Drab.

 

So far the Mike Starmer mix mentioned by @JosephLalor rings a bell and I seem to have bought the paints.  Maybe I researched it, found the answer and promptly forgot it.  Will try it out tomorrow.

 

But thanks for the ideas, folks: please keep them coming.

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10 minutes ago, Seahawk said:

Maybe I researched it, found the answer and promptly forgot it. 

Hm, that's never, ever, happened to me!   :whistle:

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I use Vallejo 887 (was called brown/violet now renamed US Olive Drab), great for brush painters.

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Yorkshire man said:

I use Vallejo 887 (was called brown/violet now renamed US Olive Drab), great for brush painters.

Think that was the colour a chap called John Eckhardt recommended as an acrylic option on missing-lynx (see post 1).  On screen it looks good to me.  Once the current emergency is over, I'll try and find some.  I find Vallejo paint performs reliably even if the matches to the colours they purport to represent are sometimes, err, optimistic.

Edited by Seahawk

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3 hours ago, Seahawk said:

and (acrylic) Vallejo Luftwaffe Brown Violet (which I certainly don't have).

 

here's a @Mike Starmer Vallejo mix from 

https://alliedarmour1940.wordpress.com/2016/10/01/vallejo-paint-mixes/

 

Quote

US Army Olive Drab No.9

3 pts 70894 Russian Green [96] + 2 pts 70872 Chocolate Brown [149] (Mike Starmer, 2016)

 

has a load more Vallejo mixes as well.  I made SCC15 with both tamiya and Vallejo and was impressed how close both were to each other.

 

3 hours ago, Seahawk said:

NB Tamiya XF62 is (or at least was) a good match apparently but Tamiya acrylics and brush painters are sworn enemies. 

sometimes.  Flow enhancer and paint retarder help, and @PlaStix brushes Tamiya with no problems.   One of those things that needs to be worked on until you find a aworking method.  

HTH

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20 minutes ago, Troy Smith said:

 

https://alliedarmour1940.wordpress.com/2016/10/01/vallejo-paint-mixes/

 

has a load more Vallejo mixes as well.  I made SCC15 with both tamiya and Vallejo and was impressed how close both were to each other.

Thanks: a moderately comprehensive list of Mike's suggested Vallejo paint mixes for British WW2 AFV colours is very useful.

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Wasn't OD9 the early war browner shade most commonly seen on softskins rather than AFVs?  60:40 darkish green to darkish brown is going to give a distinctly brown shade.  The colour most typically seen on AFVs was a greyer shade of green.  SCC15 is described as being "greener" than OD.  Lots of people do swear by XF62 for OD.

 

The US lost access to Chromium pigments during WW2 and couldn't make strong greens.  That's also why the UK turned to SCC2 Brown for a couple of years.  IIRC, Olive Drab was made from Yellow Ochre and black with a touch of blue.

 

I too have a hate-hate relationship with brushing Tamiya acrylic paints: they always seem to "drag".  Maybe some retarder or flow improver would help.  On the other hand I try to avoid modelling Plain Green Things.

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22 minutes ago, Seahawk said:

Thanks: a moderately comprehensive list of Mike's suggested Vallejo paint mixes for British WW2 AFV colours is very useful.

some have the advantage of being straight matches (like SCC 2)or simple mixes as well as opposed to other brands which can be quite complex.(SCC 15)

 

Some of the colours needed have other uses, English Uniform is a good Dark Earth, and Olive Grey is (IIRC)  Dark Slate Grey.  

see here for more

 

HTH

 

PS I have a pot of the Vallejo Brown Violet.  If I  can find it, I'll see what it looks like.  Do you have a near FS 595 for US OD, as I now have a FS 595B fandeck as well.  I have some Tamiya XF-62 as well,  but not sure if too hand.  

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12 hours ago, Troy Smith said:

Do you have a near FS 595 for US OD, as I now have a FS 595B fandeck as well.  I have some Tamiya XF-62 as well,  but not sure if too hand.  

David  Klaus' IPMS Color Cross Refererence Guide gives FS 34087 for No. 9 Olive Drab but says it is a poor match and should be much darker and more green.  Mind you, he gives the same FS number for No. 8 Olive Drab, the post-war colour.  Think our knowledge has moved on a lot from when he put his guide out so am very wary of putting much faith in it.

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For the wartime AFV US Olive Drab No.9 (not the Air Corps one) I consider FS33070 as the closest possible match.

Cheers

Michael

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John Snyder owns an original piece of WW2 US Army towed equipment which has been in his family since obtaining it as army surplus IIRC. I forget exactly what, but it has an inside and an outside. He used the unfaded inside paint as the reference for Colourcoats ARUS03 which he described as 1943 Olive Drab.

 

ARUS03_d334fffb-bea4-47a4-9d05-d0746e9a4

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Be careful with US Olive Drabs.  The 1943 JAC decided to adopt another Olive Drab for ongoing use on vehicles which is lighter than the No.9.  This is designated class 204/#319.  From what I can gather this only became more general use on late built M4A4E8 Shermans, M18 Hellcat and M26 Pershing.  Humbrol 155 is too dark and brown for US vehicles.    My best mixes for No.9 are 2 x H116 + 2 x H155 and 4 x H225 + 1 x H33.  There is of course a slight differences between these colours.  That is not important since 100,000 gallons from multiple companies were produced and  as long as the final colour was within acceptable limits colourwise colour precision was not a problem.

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35 minutes ago, Mike Starmer said:

My best mixes for No.9

do you have a Tamiya mix, or is their OD alright?

 

Is there a FS 595 match, or close match?  (now having a FS 595 deck to play with)

 

is still good for vallejo?

Quote

US Army Olive Drab No.9

3 pts 70894 Russian Green [96] + 2 pts 70872 Chocolate Brown [149] (Mike Starmer, 2016)

 

Thank you

T

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I wish I had a pound for every time this question comes up. Unless you are modelling something which has just come come of the paint shop, then there is no definite right or wrong, just rough approximations. As Mike said, with umpteen companies producing the paint, there are going to be variations. Then once the vehicle has been in service for a while, the sun, wind, rain, crew scuff marks, are all going to change it to a certain degree. I have a set of six paints by Lifecolour which are all OD. They range from Lusterles OD, FS33070, body colour up to 1943. Lusterless OD 319 body colour 1944-45. Khaki OD FS34088 body colour 1944-45. OD FS34088 body colour up to 1950. OD faded type 1. And OD faded type 2. They are all different hues, even though two of them have the same FS number.

 

John.

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