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USAAF Olive Drab

January 30 2008 at 6:06 PM

  (Login roysutherl)
HyperScale Forums
from IP address

Hi guys,

I am trying to finish painting my P-47D-1, and I am a little confused as to the correct shade of Olive Drab as used by the USAAF at the time.

What is the correct FS number for this color? The number I found is not included in the FS color chip book that I bought in the late 80's. Who's off-the-shelf paint is a good match? Paints readily available in the States would be preferable. I realize that this color probably varied a bit, and faded quickly in service.

I sprayed Tamiya OD, but it appears to be way too dark and not the right shade.

Your help would be greatly appreciated. I am a little out of my league, as I usually build RAF and Luftwaffe.

TIA, Roy

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don fenton
(Login chipsnsalsa)
HyperScale Forums

Here's Bob Archer's recommended matches...

January 30 2008, 6:57 PM 


Bob Archer offered these out of the bottle best matches to the period specification color chips in his possession:

Tamiya XF-62
Humbrol #108
Xtracolor X-111

I would not waste a lot of time fretting over the color. Dana Bell once stated that during WWII batches of Dark Olive Drab 41 paint submitted for approval were never rejected on the basis of a poor color match. The paint was rejected for other reasons such as performance, composition, etc.


P.S. - Bob Archer's recommended mix for Neutral Gray 43 is 4 parts black and 6 parts white. He cautioned against using a black that is not really black as some black paints actually contain very dark blue colorants. He stated that Neutral Gray 43 was a very dark gray without a blue tint. I use the Floquil Railroad colors. And speaking of which, I'm partial to Floquil Railroad Tie Brown (reasonably fresh OD) and Rail Brown (weathered OD) as OD's for WWII USAAF aircraft. I'm just lazy and like Floquil paints. I use Reefer Gray with a little white added for Neutral Gray.


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(Login David_A_Edwards)
HyperScale Forums

Humbrol 108

January 30 2008, 10:29 PM 

The IPMS Stockholm chart says this is WW1 green and discontinued, gives matches of Tamiya XF51 Khaki Drab or Revell 46.

Wish there was a good supply for Revell locally.

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(Login finargil)
HyperScale Forums

Given the probable lineage of OD no.41...

January 31 2008, 1:26 PM 

... allegedly from PC10, or "RFC Green", it is pretty reasonable. PC10 varied from a very dark brown in the range of 30118 to a deep dark olive maybe similar to 34086. The fact that it is discountinued seems a problem, though. I still get old tins in Nairobi's couple of toy stores. Were I to replace it, I would use MM1787 "Green Drab FS 34086" or WEMMCC's ACUS12 "WW2 USAAF Olive Drab ANA 613", though it is a bit greener (funny thing... I would never use ACUS15 "Olive Drab 41", if you follow Archer... too greenish) If you like a more brownish shade, Xtracolor X22 "RFC Green" seems perfect... I actually prefer the olive greenish one.
Hope that helps,
Fernando, still in Nairobi

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(Login Yak9)
HyperScale Forums

Humbrol Olive Drab/s...

January 31 2008, 5:56 AM 


I am a little unsure of this Olive Drab colour. Humbrol states that Olive Drab is Humbrol Hu 66 and Humbrol Hu 155.
Hu 66 is a dark Green possbly pre to mid war and Hu 155 is a Brown khaki possble mid to late war. I donnot know and really it is confuseing. I would like to know>

Was the early OD darker more green?
Later OD more brown? or the other way round.

I have seen pre war models ie the P26 "peashooter" in Brown as the OD is this right? What colour hue was the "Peashooter" fuselage ie some type of Blue? Any Humbrol match?

Many thanks

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(Login agboak)
HyperScale Forums

P-26s were OD or Blue, different periods.

January 31 2008, 9:09 AM 

See Archer or Dana Bell's books.

H66 is Dark Olive Drab, use for postwar armour. It is far to dark for anything other than shiny examples bulled up for parades, general's use, etc.
H155 is pretty close to UK 1944 AFV colour SCC15, Olive Drab, generally agreed to be greener than the US Army variety.
WEM do an OD based on a genuine wartime Jeep colour.
I used to use Humbrol French Artillery Green for a greenish OD, I don't have a favourite for a browner one.

In my opinion, wartime colour photos show most early war OD faded pretty rapidly to a chocolate brown. Later ones appear to stay greener. However, the USAAF did not insist upon a strict standard so several varieties could be seen at the same time, and often on the same aircraft if it was built by subcontractors. Examples are C-47s and B-17s.

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(Login Mikestarmer)
HyperScale Forums

Humbrol 155

February 2 2008, 4:00 PM 

Humbrol 155 is NOTHING like SCC 15 Olive Drab. It is far too light and brown. To get the vehicle colour with HUmbrols mix:- 5 x 150 + 5 x 159 + 2 x 33.

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Alex Tula
(Login AlexTSeattle)
HyperScale Forums

Tamiya OD

January 30 2008, 7:34 PM 

I usually mix my Tamiya OD (2 parts) to 1 part Buff or Dark Yellow. I'm happier with the results than the straight color which might be right "fresh" but OD of the time faded almost immediately

Alex in Seattle

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(Login Rhinosd)
HyperScale Forums

Period color photo (courtesy of Little Friends web site)

January 30 2008, 7:52 PM 

P-47D-1-RE Serial No. 42-7877 "Jackson County/Michigan Fighter/In the Mood" 61st FS 56th FG - Pilot Capt. Gerald Johnson - taken October 1943. Notice how dark the OD is.

It is better to be the stomper than the stompee!

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(Login modeldad)
HyperScale Forums

Before you can paint it, you have to take your hand off the chain you're jerking.

January 30 2008, 8:13 PM 

Blue I tell ya, they were blue.

Put down the chain and walk away.

BTW, what is the Tamiya mix?

MM Olive Drab. Any shade. But if it is waxed, you know about waxing, then Tamiya is good

There is no such thing as an unbuildable kit, just some kits one may consider not worth building.

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(Login donzie2)
HyperScale Forums

Steven what is the point of your post?

January 31 2008, 12:23 AM 

You usually have useful information in all of your posts.

Donald T

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(Login modeldad)
HyperScale Forums

I happen to know Roy

January 31 2008, 8:33 AM 

and based on the way the question was phrased, his knowledge of aircraft, especially those produced by 21st Century Toys, and the fact that that question gets asked over and over again here at HS (no one seems to believe that there was not an exact match) I believe and still do that Roy was just having a bit of fun.

Now ask Roy about the best match for RAF Sky.

There is no such thing as an unbuildable kit, just some kits one may consider not worth building.

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(Login roysutherl)
HyperScale Forums

Hi Steven, A good theory, but incorrect!

January 31 2008, 1:36 PM 

I asked the question in all seriousness.

I am certainly not an expert on USAAF, or most other things. In fact, there are very few subjects that I would consider myself really well versed on. I know RAF, FAA and Luftwaffe stuff reasonably well, but I depend heavily on those more knowledgable than me to get things right. Hyperscale is an amazing, living breathing reference for me; for us all really!

While some hate the endless discussion, debating, bickering, etc, I consider it all part of the process of discovery. 53 years later, we are still discovering new facts about WWII aircraft at an amazing pace.

Look at the discussion over the dihedral on the Lanc. All sorts of theories arose, but in the end, we know the actual dihedral angle, and the theories about wing loading and the seffects on wing crank have been shown to hold no weight (no pun intended). A few may have known this before. Now we all do.

Good stuff!


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(Login modeldad)
HyperScale Forums

Well I'll be gobsmacked!

January 31 2008, 2:24 PM 

Figure with all those P-51s in OD, you'd have picked up a thing or three.

BTW, don't even go with the Greener ANA 613 OD, unless your doing a C-47 or the such.

There is no such thing as an unbuildable kit, just some kits one may consider not worth building.

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Roy Sutherland
(Login roysutherl)
HyperScale Forums

Yes, we do have lots of P-51s in OD...

January 31 2008, 3:03 PM 

The problem is that I did not do any of those paint masters. I rely on experienced guys who really know what they are doing.

While I do the occasional paint master to keep from getting too rusty, my days are filled up with much less hands on stuff, such as selection, planning, design work, and endless reviews at every step in the process. Wish I had time to do more paint masters! When I do, they tend to be British or German, as I know this stuff pretty well.

Building USAAF is a real departure for me.


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(Login MPSanford)
HyperScale Forums

Roy, my Tamiya mix for "Dark OD 41" is...

January 31 2008, 2:23 AM 


I wouldn't worry about matching the FS#; Air Corps Dark OD #41, which was superceded by the ANA 616 OD, both pre dated the FS number system. Tamiya Acrylic OD XF-62 matches none of these.

For USAAF OD, I use the follwing:

Initially, I used to mix:

1: XF-62 "Olive Drab"
1: XF-61 "Dark Green"
1: XF-2 "Flat White"

But lately I have evolved to this mix:

1: XF-61 "Dark Green"
1: XF-22 "RLM Gray"
1: XF-49 "Khaki"

...Which seems to work really well and comes the closest to matching "Testors MM OD"; lighten it with white for panel fading (& fabric control surfaces) and darken the mixture for shadow effectt & along the panel lines, which really helps with creating a multi-tone effect on the "solid" color, that never really stayed all that solid or stable when weathered & faded. OD 41 continued to be used in the field long after ANA 616 was adopted at the factories, so who can say what would be fair game for a Jug?

Remember that OD was a notoriosly unstable color in UV light, and that anybody is going to be hard pressed to tell you with 100% certainty that you are wrong. You see, listening to Dana Bell at the IPMS Nats does pay off!

This last mix is what I used on my Hasegawa B-25J, that you saw at the Kickoff last year. Many commented that it looked the part... so I can say that I know I am "close".

Good luck, give this a try and happy modeling; remember, we all want to see pictures!

Marty Sanford
1/72 (mostly) guy

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(Login BruceArcher)
HyperScale Forums

Olive Drab

January 31 2008, 7:26 AM 

Hi Roy!
Tom paraphrase a question...."I never saw a shade of Olive Drab I did not like!"
There are multitudes of shades ( look at C-47s!). But there are two families I have seen. The first is a dark, brownish green, such as Tamiya Olive Drab. This was seen on early P-40s (up to the F), P-51s, early Lightnings and perhaps P-39s and some P-47s. The second shade is lighter and greener. So you will have to look at the a/c you are doing to determine if it is the darker or lighter shade. Notice I did not give FS numbers. One because OD did not have one, and second the variartions between manufacturers and batches could be and was great!


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(Login nhs81)
HyperScale Forums

PollyScale 505224

January 31 2008, 12:08 PM 

Exact match for color photos of
early planes in Germany.

PollyScale 505080 is for later planes
like P-47D Bubbletop.


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(Login roysutherl)
HyperScale Forums

Wow! Thanks so much to everyone for their help...

January 31 2008, 1:22 PM 

It seems that just about any color green will do, so I am going to go with either Testors Forest Green or Citadel Orc's Vomit Green...

Just kidding.

I learned a lot.


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