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"Olive Drab Recipe" Topic

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4,877 hits since 12 Aug 2010
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GrossKaliefornja Inactive Member12 Aug 2010 9:08 p.m. PST

Answering another OD question below finally motivated me to analyze some Vallejo paints, as they are so popular. The original question was "Explain how Brown Violet is OD", which the answer was that it is more a personal preference. It is an OD, and acceptable for WW2 US tanks, but would be more appropriate for Cold War tank OD with a semigloss finish, and also USAAF OD41 in WW2 in matte.

The closest US tank OD is what I suspected for years, Russian Uniform 924, though it is slightly too light & needs to be darkened & also tinted green.

I haven't actually done the experiment yet, but by the numbers alone, slowly drippng 890 Reflective Green into a pool of 924 with stirring, should make the US tank OD jump out at you. Nothing near a 1:1 mix…you would just drip in 890 to personal taste.

Please tell me what you come up with if you try it, or if you have tried any other mixes.

Garand13 Aug 2010 5:40 a.m. PST

Historically speaking, US OD was made by mixing Lamp Black pigments with Yellow Ochre. Depending how much of the latter you add into the mix will determine how "green" the OD gets.

I mixed up some OD in Citadel paints: 5 parts Bubonic Brown, 1 part Chaos Black.


GrossKaliefornja Inactive Member13 Aug 2010 11:08 a.m. PST

Hi Garand, don't worry, I have the recipes, data, and color control chips from pre-1946. The early war recipe was 18% Yellow Iron Oxide, 7% Medium Chrome Yellow, and 3% Lamp Black. The late war recipe was 379g Hydrated Yellow Iron Oxide, 149g CP Medium Chrome Yellow, and 42g Lamp Black.

Recipes weren't mandatory however, manufacturers were only required to match the color control chip. That's where it is nice to have access to a sphere spectrophotometer

jpattern213 Aug 2010 7:13 p.m. PST

The early war recipe was 18% Yellow Iron Oxide, 7% Medium Chrome Yellow, and 3% Lamp Black.
Percent or parts? Because that only adds up to 28%.

Makes more sense if it's 18 parts Yellow Iron Oxide, 7 parts Medium Chrome Yellow, and 3 parts Lamp Black.

GrossKaliefornja Inactive Member13 Aug 2010 11:07 p.m. PST

the recipes are in this folder


The pic are directly from the original specs. The remainder of the ingredients are just the non color stuff. Binders, etc.

jpattern214 Aug 2010 10:47 a.m. PST

Ah, that makes sense, then. "Needs more binder!"

GrossKaliefornja Inactive Member14 Aug 2010 5:46 p.m. PST

I tried the mix & it comes out very nice. If anyone has Vallejo's ear, please PM me. This recipe should go in a bottle.

AICUSV15 Aug 2010 9:29 p.m. PST

Gillespie Coatings Inc. #33070 is the correct early color for US vehicles. Although this paint is intended for actual vehicles, I've used it on plastic models without a problem. They also make the later war OD and other US vehicle colors as well. It is available in spray cans. Here is a listing of what they make:

GrossKaliefornja Inactive Member16 Aug 2010 11:24 a.m. PST

Gillespie colors are the right idea, but far too grey. I believe they would have been rejected in WW2.

AICUSV18 Aug 2010 1:54 p.m. PST

I've used them to spot paint a WC51 with the original paint still on it. It matched right up.

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Nov 2010 3:47 p.m. PST

As a newbie to this period, how is the Tamiya Olive Drab for colour, please?

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2010 4:40 a.m. PST

Steve Zaloga has mentioned he feels it is one of the more accurate right out of the bottle, though he was referring to using it on 1/35th scale models and size does matter. He does recommend adding a touch of yellow.

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP05 Nov 2010 4:55 a.m. PST

Thanks that sounds good; i'll add a touch of yellow to rhe highlight.


GrossKaliefornja Inactive Member25 Jan 2011 9:01 a.m. PST

BigRed & Marc, Tamiya XF-62 is the USAAF dark OD color, not Army automotive. Steve goofed when he wrote the article (he was looking at an early OD9 chip which wasn't used in production). That early OD9 chip looked like USAAF OD41/31. OD9 changed in Fall 1942 to match the automotive color, which was called 'Class 204'. However, the recipe Steve provides does work, as when you mix XF-62 with yellow, you do generate the automotive color at full 1:1 strength (not scaled down). Automotive WW2 OD does exist in a bottle, but it is an enamel. Testors 1165 & it's corresponding spray 1265 are perfect matches. Modelmaster OD gets runner up prize. Anyone who paints XF62 on their model without adding significant amounts of yellow is painting a B-17. :-(

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2011 1:29 p.m. PST

Thats what I like, always learning something new here.

And already have the great line of the month:"Anyone who paints XF62 on their model without adding significant amounts of yellow is painting a B-17. :-("

Thanks GK

GrossKaliefornja Inactive Member25 Jan 2011 4:12 p.m. PST

Well I can't blame them. People have been questioning the Zaloga article for a decade, but the proof has only recently come to light. The good news is that while the modelling community swallowed XF-62 hook line & sinker, I have yet to meet a museum curator or restoration expert who ever believed it.

Jemima Fawr Inactive Member25 Jan 2011 10:39 p.m. PST

But still nobody has answered the question that's been bugging me for years… WHY is it called 'Brown Violet'?!

GrossKaliefornja Inactive Member26 Jan 2011 9:53 a.m. PST

Mark, the 1955 NBS book on color names says the term's source is
"Postage-Stamp Color Names" by William H. Beck, which I don't have.

A scientific explanation could be that given the color is an olive drab, which is the yellow hue, and that it is of low chroma, the term 'violet' might have been some dudes way of designating low chroma, because violet on the color wheel is opposite the yellow hue

GrossKaliefornja Inactive Member26 Jan 2011 10:04 a.m. PST

Some numbers might help illustrate. So I analyzed the Eagle RLM 81 chip which was called Braunviolett & the Vallejo 887 paint. Converted to Munsell notations, the former rounds out to 7.25Y3.5/1, and the latter 5Y4/1. Both in the OD color range (4Y-10Y), both have the /1 chroma in common. /1 is the next step before you hit before /0 which is just grey. On the opposite side of that grey is 7.25PB & 5PB respectively (Purple Blue)

Marc the plastics fan14 Mar 2011 1:53 p.m. PST

So GK – do you have a final (?) good colour for US armour using Vallejo paints now please?

many thanks

GrossKaliefornja Inactive Member15 Mar 2011 10:03 p.m. PST

Hi Marc, I didn't measure the mix…I thought people would have more fun working out their own. Drip 890 into 924; target is close to Testors 1165/1265. I hit this the first time just by winging it.

I can measure if you like but it would be a lot more fun to see peoples variations…as variations (drift) existed in real life.

Marc the plastics fan16 Mar 2011 2:30 a.m. PST

Problem for me is that I have no real aiming point – I see nice pics on web and think "that's for me", but because so many factors intervene around how colours are perceived, and what people have done to the base colour, it can be hard to get close. And I have no access to Testors.

But I shall have a punt. What I am hoping to find is a good spray that I can get the base coats on first.

GrossKaliefornja Inactive Member16 Mar 2011 9:51 a.m. PST

If you want a spray…problem solved. Testors 1265 is the spray equivalent of 1165. It's worth going through the trouble of a mail order.

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