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"Colour of oddments" Topic

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Marc the plastics fan Inactive Member07 Sep 2012 4:20 a.m. PST

I have found some excellent painting guides for my WW2 stuff, but I am lost on the oddments – and here I am specifically thinking of:

Mortar bombs (Brit, German and US) – my rule book glossy pics show the German mortar crew holding bright red bombs

Shell casings (I know they were brass, but were they painted) and shells themselves (I am doing A/T guns so the gunners tend to be carrying very prominent shells)

A/T gun details – I can see that most is one colour (ie green/yellow), but some parts I assume would be detailed (ie aiming equipment, the spade on the trails etc)

Radio cases, mortar bomb cases, MG ammo cases (oh, and MG ammo belts).

So if anybody has some details I would really appreciate it please. Most photos do not show these sort of details I have found (ie models of our toys, not "real life" photos, most of which I have are B&W).

I am doing these in1/72, so some detail is probably too small to worry about, but other things are quite noticeable.

Anyway, hope someone can help, or steer me to a good on-line resource please.

Many thanks

Personal logo x42brown Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2012 4:47 a.m. PST

This link may help for for A/T ammunition.

This link has some mortar ammunition (I know there is better but can't quickly find it)


bsrlee07 Sep 2012 5:01 a.m. PST

Almost all soft 'rubber' parts would be a brick red colour, regardless of which army.

MG belts yellow brass at the back, usually copper to the front and a thin black stripe for the link. British Empire used khaki (sand) cloth belts, so brass at the back & matt khaki at the front. Ditto small European nations using WW1 surplus MG's (Swiss, post 1948 Israeli's etc)

Ammo differed depending on contents see above usually yellow for HE, various stripes & dots. Cases were brass early in the war, the US started using aluminium and US and Axis also used steel cases (due to shortages of copper & tin) which were painted (lacquered) black.

Ammo boxes were usually some cammo colour green of whatever national shade, sand & I've seen British bulk small arms ammo boxes red-brown (red-brown is a cheap paint colour) as they weren't expected to get to the front line.

Specialist gear such as radios & phone switches painted in the theatre generic cammo base colour if front line gear, otherwise lacquered wood, black or brown bakerlite & dull bare metal.

Jemima Fawr Inactive Member07 Sep 2012 7:32 a.m. PST

British artillery ammo colours:

HE Buff-yellow
AP Black
Smoke Brunswick green

US-supplied ammunition was painted according to US regulations (which someone else will hae to list, as I can't remember the details) and was not normally repainted.

British cases were always brass and unpainted. However, remember that with field artillery such as the 25pdr, the case and the shell were separate, so that bagged charges (cream-coloured silk cylinders) could be placed between the two to add more oomph. Heavier guns such as 4.5s and 5.5s did not use cases at all – just the shell plus bagged charges and a small brass rifle-type cartridge (like a .303" cartridge with a thicker base).

Mortar and PIAT bombs were usually painted in a camouflage colour green or brown.

Ammo boxes were painted chocolate brown (and still are).

All of the above could have rings, stencilled lettering and other markings in black, yellow, red or white, signifying various technical details such as filling, fuse type, etc, etc.

German mortar bombs were usually painted in the same sort of camouflage paint used to paint mortars, MG tripods, panzerfausts, panzerschrecks, gas-mask cases, ammo boxes and other bits of metal kit 'Field Green' or 'Dark Yellow'.

number407 Sep 2012 3:17 p.m. PST

Good color pics of British mortar and PIAT bombs here link

British 25pdr smoke shells were that sort of washed out green normally used to paint public outhouses, while the charge increment bags in the case were red, white and blue; the No. 5 gunner's duty was to remove the unwanted blue and/or white bags prior to loading




wargamer608 Sep 2012 12:51 a.m. PST

It begs the question what was No4's duty in this .

zoneofcontrol Inactive Member08 Sep 2012 5:57 a.m. PST

Heh-heh… you said "duty!"

Cujoman08 Sep 2012 6:55 a.m. PST

For every thinkable german box and container check out Wehrmacht Kisten:

number408 Sep 2012 6:27 p.m. PST

Number 4 removes the black safety cap from the round and loads it into the breech where it's rammed home by number 2 using a brass tipped wooden rammer staff.

Number 4 then takes the cartridge from number 5, shows it to number 1 (the gun commander usually a sgt.) who checks the charge is correct, then loads it into the breech, pushing it home with his fist and holding it there while number 2 closes the breech which automatically cocks the firing mechanism. Number 3 (the gun layer) fires the piece with a lever attached to the gun cradle.


Gunner fun
YouTube link

badger2208 Sep 2012 9:44 p.m. PST

That has to be a staged photo, you never get the full crew at the same place at the same time. One guy on outpost duty, somebody else digging a hole somewhere for somebody. Stuff like that.
But, the crew drill is always very specific. That is how you manage to get better rates of fire.


number409 Sep 2012 10:46 p.m. PST

Of course it's staged! In action the crew are to the rear of the piece, behind the shield, not off to one side like this, but the basic positions are the same: number 4 kneels directly behind number 3 on the layer's seat, 5 is directly behind 4. Number 6 is the fuze setter, and sometimes the duties of 5 and 6 were combined. There is no number 7!


Although knee pads are issued, kneeling for extended periods is tiring so standing gun drill may be used. Crew drill is very specific, not just for better rates of fire, but because if things are not done 'by the book' people start losing limbs.

The complete drill manual is here PDF link

Marc the plastics fan Inactive Member10 Sep 2012 7:26 a.m. PST

That is some fantastic resource there everybody – many, many thanks. TMP to the rescue again :-)

Jabo 1944 Inactive Member10 Sep 2012 2:56 p.m. PST

What an excellent forum this is.

Etranger Inactive Member10 Sep 2012 9:35 p.m. PST

Interesting assortment of hats in that last photo! At least 2 styles of pith helmet, a slouch hat & some sort of service cap (I think) between 5 gunners.

Martin Rapier11 Sep 2012 1:35 a.m. PST

Yes, that is one great collection of hats. I wonder how many different sets of model gunners you'd need to assemble to make that lot:)

Jemima Fawr Inactive Member11 Sep 2012 1:46 a.m. PST

You see similar hat collections in Burma – I counted six different types of hat in one photo of 23rd Div Gurkhas :o)

number411 Sep 2012 3:18 p.m. PST

And India….


Etranger Inactive Member11 Sep 2012 7:02 p.m. PST

Does anyone make gunners in Pith helmets & KD shorts though Martin? In 15mm at least the Peter Pig separate head sets and 8th army gunners would make this an easy diorama.

Jemima Fawr Inactive Member12 Sep 2012 2:17 a.m. PST

Yup, that's actually very accurate, apart from Sgt Maj Williams' khaki beret, which is post-WW2 (the floppy, beret-like GS Cap worn by the left-hand gunner is pukka WW2). All the different shades of badly-dyed JG in between the basic KD and dark JG is also very accurate.

Etranger, yes, I'd love some good 8th Army types in pith helmets for Malaya, Hong Kong, early Burma, etc.

number413 Sep 2012 8:06 p.m. PST

Khaki berets existed in WWII

This item was introduced for wear on 17th October 1942 under Army Council Instruction 2216 for use by the Reconnaissance Corps and Motorised Infantry battalions.

On 20th Feb 1943 under ACI 282 of 1943, its use was extended to soldiers of the Light Scout Car Coy's togther with their field parks and training units.

However, during the fighting in North Africa many senior Officers took to wearing the Khaki beret, against regulations. During 1943 there was a push to get this practise officially sanctioned. The matter was even raised with the King, who declared no objections, and even declared it was an excellent idea. The Chief of the Imperial General Staff did not like the idea of it's wear with the service dress tunic, being a fan of the traditional peaked Service Dress cap. By August 1943, the position was that the beret could now be worn by Officers of Colonel and above, but with Battledress only.

With the introduction of the "GS" cap in 1943, many fashion conscious OR's would try and get away with buying a Khaki beret to wear for walking out. They could risk rath from upon high if caught wearing it!

Abwehrschlacht Inactive Member15 Sep 2012 12:38 p.m. PST

Brilliant, the thread starts as a question about how to paint ammo boxes and ends as a discussion about the introduction dates of berets!

Only on TMP…

Marc the plastics fan Inactive Member18 Sep 2012 7:35 a.m. PST

I know, but now I also know how to paint berets, so these sort of general digressions are good aren't they :-)

Abwehrschlacht Inactive Member18 Sep 2012 9:16 a.m. PST

Oh, it wasn't a complaint at all! :) Just an observation!

donlowry18 Sep 2012 9:21 a.m. PST

Makes you wonder why they're called "uniforms" doesn't it?

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