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"British Armor Color revisted" Topic

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Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2011 12:31 p.m. PST

A friend has asked me about painting British armor for D-day and on for Northwest Europe. A painter he talked to suggested he would use Model Master Dark Green from a spray can (#1910) which looks too dark and too green to me.

A search here seems that most recommend Vallejo Russian Uniform (924).

1. Any other spray can colors one would recommend? I have seen US OD mentioned.
2. Any other paints one would recommend. For example Model Master US Army Helo looks like it might be a close match.

KatieL03 Jan 2011 1:04 p.m. PST

It's my understanding that British tanks were green and US ones OD.

I used brushed VJ924 for my British Shermans.

Paul Hurst03 Jan 2011 1:20 p.m. PST

Me and the lads in my gaming group use Vallejo 924 on our British tanks.

aecurtis Fezian03 Jan 2011 1:37 p.m. PST

"It's my understanding that British tanks were green and US ones OD."

In April 1944, the British introduced S.C.C. 15 Olive Drab, specifically to preclude repainting US-supplied vehicles. When freshly applied, the two olive drabs were very close. When weathered, the difference becaomes more obvious.

If you can obtain Mike Starmer's camouflage color booklets, which include paint chips, you'll see how close they are. His usual model paint recommendations do not include Vallejo, but I believe he has recommended mixing VMC 924 and VMC 888 (Olive Grey) 50/50 for S.C.C. 15.


Dark Knights And Bloody Dawns03 Jan 2011 1:44 p.m. PST

I use 924 with a dry brushed dark earth on top for the weathered look.


aecurtis Fezian03 Jan 2011 1:50 p.m. PST

As an alternative, this gentleman (Chevalier de la Terre) did his Cromwell headquarters vehicles with a 40/60 mix of Olive Grey and Russian Uniform:



Troop of Shewe Fezian03 Jan 2011 4:18 p.m. PST

It ultimately depends on what scale you are painting, even if you had an exact paint match to an OD swatch it would not scale down well, it needs to get lighter as the vehicle gets smaller, and this is an aside to any specific paintng techniques/styles.

Chevalier de la Terre03 Jan 2011 11:54 p.m. PST

Troop of Shewe has it right on the difference in colour on different scales, but you have to start somewhere. FWIW The main reason I dislike VMC 924 Russian Uniform is it lacks the green which should be present in SCC15.

My notes:

SCC15 Variation I (Helmets & painted equipment, 1944-45)
Shadow: 888 Olive Grey and a bit of black.
Base: SCC15 Green*** (50/50 mix, 888 Olive Grey and 924 Russian Uniform).
Highlight: add VPA 320 French Tankcrew to above.

*** SCC15 was the standard British colour used from April 1944 onwards for tanks and vehicles as well as most painted equipment, e.g. mortars, helmets, PIATS, anti-tank guns, and so on. There is unfortunately no exact ‘out of the bottle' colour which matches it, so you have to mix it if you want the ‘perfect' correct colour. Mike Starmer (he of great knowledge and expertise on British paint colours and camouflage schemes) recommends a 50/50 mix of VMC 888 Olive Grey and VMC 924 Russian Uniform: with an empty Vallejo bottle I simply measure and mark at 40mm and 20mm on the bottle, then fill half with one colour, the other half with the other and mix vigorously. This is the mixture I have used here, with lighter highlights to exaggerate the effect for 15mm.

SCC15 Variation II**** (Helmets & painted equipment, 1944-45)
Shadow: VMA 015 Olive Grey & Black
1st Base: VMA 015 Olive Grey
2nd Base: VGC 067 Cayman Green
Highlight: add VPA 320 French Tankcrew to above.

**** The closest ‘out of the bottle' colour I have found to match SCC15 is VGC 067 Cayman Green (or GW Catachan Green). This is a tad bit darker than the 50/50 mix and also a slight bit greener, but will work pretty well ‘as-is', especially if you are after a ‘brighter' look similar to my style. It is far better than the usual 924 Russian Uniform nonsense which isn't early green enough.

Hope that helps.


Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2011 3:59 a.m. PST

As usual many thanks to all those who responded!


Jemima Fawr04 Jan 2011 4:14 a.m. PST

Coming back to the original point – the idea that British tanks were painted dark green comes largely from the fact that the vast majority of tanks in museums were/are painted in post-war dark bronze green (usually glossed to a parade finish).

NigelM04 Jan 2011 5:59 a.m. PST

I use Catachan Green myself for British armour, don't recall where I first heard about using it but I'm happy with it. When I come to do some US tanks will probably use an alternate mix for the highlight as OD & SCC15 weathered differently as previously stated.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2011 6:57 a.m. PST

Any comments on the new FOW spray can British armor green?

Chevalier de la Terre04 Jan 2011 7:22 a.m. PST

Is is a close match to VMC 924 Russian Uniform: too light and not green enough IMHO, but of course use what you like.


GrossKaliefornja25 Jan 2011 9:30 a.m. PST

If anyone has Starmer's books & a 595B fandeck, compare SCC15 with 34079 & tell me what you think. They look pretty darn close to me.

Marc the plastics fan14 Mar 2011 12:46 p.m. PST

CdlT – that is a great guide, and I will give this a try. But what is VPA? Is there a Vallejo equivalent (or approximation?) please?

Many thanks

Marc the plastics fan14 Mar 2011 12:48 p.m. PST

Sorry, second question. has any body found a good spray base? I have noticed that Humbrol have a range of acrylic sprays, so wondered if any of those were useful as a base?

Thanks again

Callan10 May 2011 2:39 a.m. PST

VMC = Vallejo Model Colour
VMA = Vallejo Model Air
VGC = Vallejo Game Colour
VPA = Vallejo Panzer Aces

So yeah, there are Vallejo equivalents.

Last Hussar18 May 2011 12:09 p.m. PST

Of course being British tanks that should be 'armour colour'…

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2011 4:49 a.m. PST

Modelzone have started stocking Tamiya acrylic spray cans.

Which Tamiya colour would do and how does it compare to, say Humbrol 86 Olive Drab, which is also available as a spray can?

Grizzlymc24 May 2011 9:51 a.m. PST


Can you give an idea of what you mean when you say SCC15 and US OD weathered differently, ie did one get paler faster, did one go green and the other brown or whatever?

Etranger26 May 2011 3:01 a.m. PST

To anticipate Allen & channelling Mike Starmers work, SCC15 tended to go brown as it weathered, whereas US OD stayed a faded olive colour.

Grizzlymc26 May 2011 6:21 a.m. PST

I must read Starmers stuff more carefully I missed that, chromium shortage by the looks of it.

Grizzlymc28 May 2011 9:16 a.m. PST


The more I find out, the less I know – oh for the days of sploging on a bottle of airfix M3!

From Starmer – UK & NWE:
"When new the British SCC No 15 Olive Drab was similar, BUT NOT IDENTICAL, in appearance to the American colour. In use it remained of dark green appearanceand troops usually referred to it by that term. In the relevant orders in Italy it is called 'Dark Green'. The american colour was predominantly of more brown hue and was readily distinguishable."

Looking at the paint chip it looks like a darker version of humbrol Khaki Darab, but Starmer reckons equal KD and Dk green with a bit of black. For weeny models, leave out the black I guess.

NigelM28 May 2011 11:05 a.m. PST

This also from Starmer gives a slightly different interpretation

"S.C.C. 15 Olive Drab.

Mix: 150 + 159 + 33 in ratio 5:5:2. A reasonable match is 159 + 33 in ratio 8:1. Dyed tilts can be represented by Humbrol 150.

In use: Introduced April 1944 in A.C.I. 533 as new basic colour with or without S.C.C.1A or 14 disruptive paintwork as M.T.P.46 for operations in N.W.Europe and Italy .

Description: Fresh olive drab, a very dark drab inclined towards green. Unlike the US colour which it resembles when new, this fades green. Noticeable contrast with black and less so with S.C.C. 1A. Definitely NOT blue-green or like any Humbrol colours."


Grizzlymc28 May 2011 2:50 p.m. PST

Nigel, thanks.

The mix is the same, as I said, for weeny toys leave out the black. That describes the chip in the book very well, which is a perfect match to my whie ensign paint.

Resembles = similar, BUT NOT IDENTICAL in my book.

So they were greenish and US OD was brownish. This ensures that we will be reincarnated as gods, but to attain nirvana you have to work out what colour were Brit WWI planes doped, without inciting a flame war.

Biffo44629 May 2011 2:01 a.m. PST

I would like to recommend 'White Ensign Models'. They have some very good military vehicle enamel paints.


Etranger29 May 2011 5:50 p.m. PST

Grizzly – that will teach me not to look up the reference 1st, seein as I got it exactly the wrong way around!

Mike Starmer isn't that taken with the WEM colours BTW.

Grizzlymc30 May 2011 7:30 a.m. PST

Ah, but you got me to look up the reference, which I probably should have done in the first place.

In his books he indicates how good a match he thinks they are on a colour by colour basis – curates egg sort of thing.

It is a moot point when you are painting 1/300 whether it is better to get the right colour and then doctor it with Humbrol 103 cream or whether it isnt easier to look at Starmers recipe and pull out some of the black?

40 years ago my brits were dark green inf and vehicles, and my germans blue grey. When, 4 years ago I decided to do a 1 model=1pln army, I swore that I wouldnt paint them till I was happy with the colours – I have 18 british inf – one compoany, part painted.

Jake194516 Aug 2011 2:25 p.m. PST

"Mike Starmer isn't that taken with the WEM colours BTW."

Depends on how old your Starmer volumes are. We have adjusted our colours based on Mike's comments.

Etranger18 Aug 2011 6:26 p.m. PST

Good to hear! My information was at least a couple of years old.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP24 Aug 2011 1:23 a.m. PST

What is truly irritating is that there are so many Humbrol colours yet to be released as acrylics. None of the Starmer suggestions above for Humbrol mixes can be done in acrylic.

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