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USAAF Olive Drab..


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..following up on my Neutral Grey thread not long ago, I open up another can of worms. Maybe..

 

Recently ordered USAAF & RAF colours (yeah) for a couple of specific P-47D and M and P-51D builds. I have most already in Gunze and Tamiya colours but wanted to check these out too.

 

Got them today, well.. it turned out my "Olive Drab" was not there so i checked my order and was about to mail my LFS.. When I found out there were a couple of those.. And I started to google Olive Drab..

 

http://www.gmodelart.com/2020/04/plane-colors-and-camouflage-wwii-us.html

 

That was quite helpful.

 

But i had ordered MRP-234 OLIVE DRAB FS34087 - not MRP-138 or MRP-139 I probably should have ordered... What is that MRP-234 for? I could not find out.. Is it an US Army paint?

 

Now, I will paint "button Nose"/Stalag Luft III" with RAF colours and ""osephine My Flying Machine" also with RAF colours (go ahead and tell me if you have another opinion :) ). I did not check too good yet (haven´t received the declas - Kits World) so maybe Button Nose have Olive Drab over the old Invasion Stripes though..

But my point was, I mainly need "Olive Drab", for now, on the anti-glare panel on a few P-51Ds - what colour do I need then? I guess MRP-139? I might paint whole aircraft later and then it does not matter as much I think, with weathering, washes etc.. And maybe it does not here either - a small area, all seem decent colours..?

 

TBut that - and what the paint I had ordered, is for, would be very helpful. Maybe I need to buy some US tank now - to get to use that paint bottle?? ;)

 

PS I got a Luminous Yellow as a mistake in the order, instead of that MRP-234 - which I plan NOT to use for the anti-glare panel...... 

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IIRC, 34087 is the current (modern) Olive Drab shade used by the US military. I saw it used on ground equipment, vehicles, and iron bombs when I was in the USAF.

Edited by Rolls-Royce
change transposed digits
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I think this is normal Olive Drab (okay, stop laughing at that, Iknow it varies) just with a satin sheen.  You should be fine using it and then top coating with a Matt finish.

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I would think for a P-51D anti glare you want 613 (138). 41 (139) was the OD used earlier in the war. FS34087 is a post war shade that you would see on aircraft in SEA schemes like F-4's for example.

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Thanks guys.. Since I haven´t picked it up yet, I´ll see if I can switch to 138 then. if not, I´ll try it out - or I´ll get an F-4 (or three..). ;)

Seems like good buisness having a paint factory when war broke out (in the US)..

 

That modern one seems darker, right?

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13 minutes ago, Tbolt said:

I would think for a P-51D anti glare you want 613 (138). 41 (139) was the OD used earlier in the war. FS34087 is a post war shade that you would see on aircraft in SEA schemes like F-4's for example. FS34087 was a post war bomb colour but no SEA camo ever used it

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13 minutes ago, PhantomBigStu said:

 

Yes sorry I think I was mixing up my FS numbers. Was it 79 that was used on the SEA scheme? ( I should stick to WWII 😉)

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Fine Scale Modeller had an article/mention in a recent issue(can't remember the month, but, it was published within the last 3-4 months) writing about WW2 Olive Drab. They had a list/show of 22-40(if not a few more) "shades of O. D.". You could use any of a number of paints of "Olive Drab" and be close if not correct. Jamie, @Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies has two different shades of Olive Drab in his Colouroats line of paints. So, you do have some latitude here with your choice(s).

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11 minutes ago, PhantomBigStu said:

79 and 102 were the greens :) 

 

Thanks. I've got the right colours then. Bought them a while ago but have yet to do the scheme.

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I'd say definitely OD ANA 613 for a P-51 anti-glare panel. I used Model Master enamel for my recent P-51, but I imagine the MRP 138 will get you pretty close. The color looks pretty dark in period color photos — compare with the black instrument panel coaming:

 

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Ah nice with Caroline!

 

Was looking through Osprey Publishing´s Very Long Range Mustang units of the pacific War just now (picking up Eduard´s Tales of Iwo Jima this week..). Eduard has 1Lt Robert J Louwers´ P51D-20 22-63451 (22?) with a green/olive drab anti-glare panel. But Eduard has it as black (and calls it 44-63451 - whcih seems more correct! :) )

Not really important, I´ll probably chose what looks the best.. But were those black variants field mods or did they switch over to paint them black?

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Two things to consider, 1) while there was a standard for Olive Drab 41, in production and use there quite a bit of variability and 2) while ANA 613, was supposed to be the ‘new’ OD, the USAAF Material Command pretty much ignored that and told everyone to keep using 41, supposedly even to the point of re-labeling cans of 41 to 613 if someone insisted on using 613. See Dana Bell’s monograph on Olive Drab.

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WWII US olive drab is and always will be a minefield. Case in point:

 

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These are three original US M1 steel helmets from my collection, all of which still have their original factory-applied OD green paint. The one in the foreground is 1943 production, the other two are 1944 production. They were photographed in daylight (about 10 minutes ago) and the white piece of paper is provided for white balance as your computer display may be different. As you can see, they are all different greens, but they are all "correct" OD green.

 

As long as you get something broadly correct for OD41 or ANA613, you are assured of being broadly correct...

Edited by RainierHooker
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11 hours ago, Rolls-Royce said:

IIRC, 34807 is the current (modern) Olive Drab shade used by the US military. I saw it used on ground equipment, vehicles, and iron bombs when I was in the USAF.

Not any more.  It was changed to I believe 34084 in the mid 80s.  According to the T.O.s, support equipment is to be painted 24052.  Back when I was stationed at RAF Woodbridge in the mid 70s I remember reading that somewhere and it still holds true today.  Bombs I couldn't tell you what FS color they are supposed to be, but it could be the modern OD of 34084.

Later,

Dave

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8 hours ago, RainierHooker said:

WWII US olive drab is and always will be a minefield. Case in point:

 

These are three original US M1 steel helmets from my collection, all of which still have their original factory-applied OD green paint. The one in the foreground is 1943 production, the other two are 1944 production. They were photographed in daylight (about 10 minutes ago) and the white piece of paper is provided for white balance as your computer display may be different. As you can see, they are all different greens, but they are all "correct" OD green.

 

As long as you get something broadly correct for OD41 or ANA613, you are assured of being broadly correct...

 

Yeah, nice case in point. :) Thanks for that picture. And a nice collection you have there!

 

 

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21 hours ago, Seawinder said:

I'd say definitely OD ANA 613 for a P-51 anti-glare panel. I used Model Master enamel for my recent P-51, but I imagine the MRP 138 will get you pretty close. The color looks pretty dark in period color photos — compare with the black instrument panel coaming:

 

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I'm not 100% convinced those are OD. Comparing with a colour seen through glass is problematic, as we know with P-47 and P-40 quarter lights. If you compare it to the blue on the cockpit and the green on the nose, it has no hint of similarity, but it does seem to be more similar to the black of the u/c cover. It also appears to be fading to a grey rather than a faded OD. - and it is almost certainly faded unlike the cockpit which has not been subject to UV or rain.

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11 hours ago, e8n2 said:

Not any more.  It was changed to I believe 34084 in the mid 80s.  According to the T.O.s, support equipment is to be painted 24052.  Back when I was stationed at RAF Woodbridge in the mid 70s I remember reading that somewhere and it still holds true today.  Bombs I couldn't tell you what FS color they are supposed to be, but it could be the modern OD of 34084.

Later,

Dave

Ack! I accidentally transposed the last three digits of that FS number. I'm also dealing with at least 29-year-old-memories here. I remember when vehicles went from Strato Blue to OD and AGE went from yellow to OD. As a modeler, I was always more focused on the specified colors of the aircraft themselves rather than of auxiliary items. My bad.

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16 hours ago, RainierHooker said:

WWII US olive drab is and always will be a minefield. Case in point:

 

spacer.png

 

These are three original US M1 steel helmets from my collection, all of which still have their original factory-applied OD green paint. The one in the foreground is 1943 production, the other two are 1944 production. They were photographed in daylight (about 10 minutes ago) and the white piece of paper is provided for white balance as your computer display may be different. As you can see, they are all different greens, but they are all "correct" OD green.

 

As long as you get something broadly correct for OD41 or ANA613, you are assured of being broadly correct...

A person wearing a watch knows what time it is.

A person wearing two watches wonders what time it really is.

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2 hours ago, Jochen Barett said:

A person wearing a watch knows what time it is.

A person wearing two watches wonders what time it really is.


I work in the restoration industry (my day job is classic cars and my home shop is wooden boats) and I have always had a rough time reconciling the differences between how a “rule” or “regulation” says something should be and the way it manifests in actual practice. Because they are rarely the same, especially when dealing with items made with lengthy and large production runs and many suppliers.

I have often had the opportunity to work with un-restored original items that were “wrong” and it’s always a conversation with the customer whether they want it “right” or “original”.

 

As a modeler, am I attempting to create something that is an “ideal” by-the-book representation or as it actually was in this real, inconsistent, world?

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2 hours ago, RainierHooker said:

As a modeler, am I attempting to create something that is an “ideal” by-the-book representation or as it actually was in this real, inconsistent, world?

 

Depends. Do you have evidence how the object you're modeling looked like in a given moment? Use that and reproduce reality. Don't have that information? Go by the rules and create a most likely appearance. 

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22 hours ago, RainierHooker said:

WWII US olive drab is and always will be a minefield. Case in point:

 

 

 

These are three original US M1 steel helmets from my collection, all of which still have their original factory-applied OD green paint. The one in the foreground is 1943 production, the other two are 1944 production. They were photographed in daylight (about 10 minutes ago) and the white piece of paper is provided for white balance as your computer display may be different. As you can see, they are all different greens, but they are all "correct" OD green.

 

As long as you get something broadly correct for OD41 or ANA613, you are assured of being broadly correct...

 

Nice collection you have !

However there are a few points to consider....

First is that the olive drab used by the Army to paint helmets and other equipment was not the same used by the USAAF to paint aircraft. I don't think that any helmet was ever painted in Olive Drab 41. Different story for ANA 613, as IIRC this colour was meant to replicate a Corps of Engineer colour (Nr.9?).

Then there's one other potential issue: was the colour for these helmets actually supposed to be the same ? Again going by memory but I seem to remember that sometime in 1944 helmets started being painted in a darker green, that was still named Olive Drab but featured different pigments. Your rear left helmet seems to be in this colour, although being 70 year old items means that aging of the paint will likely have had some effect.

My point is that paint formulas do change over time and even colours that are supposed to be the same can have their "official" colour changed for one reason or the other. The saga of the many Olive Drabs used by the US is a good example of this, with a lot of variations occurring over time.

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@Giorgio N all good points, I didn’t post the helmets as an example of AAF colors, but rather to demonstrate the variance that was found “acceptable” by the wartime US materiel inspectors. The helmets were simply the handiest things to pull out of the collection at the time to proffer my argument. 
 

As pertains specifically to USAAF OD 41, I’ll go after  Dana Bell’s work on the subject:

 

“Each supplier had to send a sample for evaluation, after which USAAF would send a critique concerning any failure of the standards. But there was no requirement for the corrected paint to be resubmitted, nor any evidence that Wright Field ever rejected (with the exception of the IR paint) any companys’ paint.”

 

So, while there was a specific standard, the actual application thereof was somewhat lacking. I can say with a bit of authority from collecting WWII junk for 30 years, that color variation of American equipment is the norm. That is not to say that one, or I, should accept something so wildly off from the standard as to be noticeably absurd.

 

As an aside specific to the, admittedly off topic, helmets, the standard for the M1 helmet changed late in 1944. The helmet in the back with the darker shade exhibits all the other hallmarks of production prior to that change (design of the chinstrap attachments, the rolled edge material, the shape of the stamping, et al) that I can safely assume that the color is of the earlier standard although “off” in color. Oddly, the one in the foreground that looks faded isn’t. It was unissued and I personally removed it from its original wax paper wrap when I acquired it, it had been sitting on a shelf inside a basement for 40 years.

Edited by RainierHooker
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11 hours ago, Rolls-Royce said:

Ack! I accidentally transposed the last three digits of that FS number. I'm also dealing with at least 29-year-old-memories here. I remember when vehicles went from Strato Blue to OD and AGE went from yellow to OD. As a modeler, I was always more focused on the specified colors of the aircraft themselves rather than of auxiliary items. My bad.

I never noticed the transposition of the numbers in your original post.  I remember reading something from several years ago that if the first and last letters, or in this case numbers, are correct, your mind automatically fixes it.  Anyway, my recollections date back over 40 years, and being overseas I never saw any yellow support equipment.  When I rotated back to the states to Offutt AFB, then I saw yellow support equipment.  I think we had some staff cars in Strata blue, but as I was a cop at the time, most of the flight line vehicles were in green.  The tugs still are but since about 2000 most Air Force vehicles, and probably the same for the rest of the services, are painted whatever color the manufacturer decided to paint them.  Cop cars are of course a bit different, but I'm sure it was another money saving move on the military's part.

Later,

Dave

 

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