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Olive Drab and Neutral Gray


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Probably been discussed here before but I've been trying to figure a good color match to these.  These had to be among the most widely used paints in WWII but it is very hard to find anything out about these.  I know that they faded and manufacturers had their own formulas and batches could vary, but you gotta start somewhere. 

Start with Olive Drab.  I've been using Model Master paints for decades.  They have MM1711 Olive Drab 34087 and MM2050 Olive Drab ANA 613, same paints?  Then they add to that their versions of Faded and such.  The period standard for USAAF aircraft paint was ANA.  Most references claim ANA 613 as Olive Drab.  The confusing part is trying to come up with a good FS equivalent.  I have sources stating 34087, 34084 and 34064.  This one isn't so hard.  Model Master Olive Drab looks like what I think olive drab looks like. 

Now Neutral Gray is another story.  First the references I have don't even mention an ANA # for neutral gray.  FS references are all over the chart...36173, 36118, 36231 etc.  And WWII Neutral Gray is not to be confused with modern USAF Neutral Gray FS36270. 

I guess the short question is, what do you guys use for Neutral Gray?

 

I have just started to switch over to acrylics and I have found Mission Models paints to work very nice.  I was surprised how well an acrylic metallic paint could look.  I am still adjusting to these.  Again, they do not list anything like a WWII neutral gray.  The closest I can find is a British Grey, Ocean gray or something.  I don't have it in front of me.  Thanks for any help or opinions.   

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 4/10/2019 at 10:40 AM, DonSS3 said:

I've read that FS 36176 is a good match. In the Modelmaster line this is quite a bit darker than their FS 36270 "Neutral Gray."

FS 36270 is not the WW2 era color, it's a modern color found on F-16s etc. Really too bad Testors chose to name it "Neutral Gray" -- it's a source of constant confusion.

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I have no idea of which aircraft, at which point in its life, was painted with which paint.  There was a war on, and I think getting equipment into usable condition would trump artistic niceties any time.  I think a modeler's best SWAG makes as much sense as anything else.  My opinion alone.  But I've painted a bunch of  GI vehicles 'in the field' with the best OD I could mix up myself.  Nobody got out a color chart to judge.

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I use either Tamiya Neutral Gray or Model Master Gunship Gray for WWII Neutral Gray.  Which particular OD shade I use varies.  Sometimes MM OD, sometimes Tamiya OD, sometimes Gunze OD, sometimes MMII OD 613.  Sometimes more than one.

 

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On 4/19/2019 at 9:33 PM, peter havriluk said:

I have no idea of which aircraft, at which point in its life, was painted with which paint.  There was a war on, and I think getting equipment into usable condition would trump artistic niceties any time.  I think a modeler's best SWAG makes as much sense as anything else.  My opinion alone.  But I've painted a bunch of  GI vehicles 'in the field' with the best OD I could mix up myself.  Nobody got out a color chart to judge.

 

I like this answer the best.  So many variable conditions out there even on a "good" day.  I can't even imagine what it was like trying to deal with painting under harsh wartime conditions.

 

Eric

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One should probably make a distinction between factory and field painting.  Field painting during wartime conditions at the sharp end of a several thousand mile long supply line was do the best with what was available and try to get close.  Factory painting, on the other hand, was done under controlled condition according to the contract specifications issued by the respective service.  And, there were government inspectors on the sites with color sample books, insuring that the contractor was giving the Government what it had asked for.  State side factories were no where near as chaotic as the factories in Germany or Japan near the end of the war.

 

Cheers, Dave

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If you refer to WWII Olive Drab, it was OD 41 not ANA anything and it did vary from various manufacturers as well as fading/chalking in service. Larger aircraft such as the B-17 had sub assemblies arriving for final assembly already painted by the subcontractor so it is was quite possible to have these not quite matching even at time of production. Dana Bell even states in his booklet on OD and Neutral Gray that after the ANA colors were approved the Material Command (where actual USAAF paint orders and color approval occurred) that the companies were to to continue using 41 which was  an acceptable substitute for ANA 613 and at least one company was apparently even advised to simply change the label on the paint cans to ANA 613!  The emphasis here is to recognize that while a color standard did exist (OD 41), in practice there was variation in the actual color used and not to get caught up in trying to find the 'right' color since there were several.

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  • 1 year later...

Hi all,

 

Another old post that I found that references Mission Models paints, which I am just beginning to use.  I'm guessing the original poster was asking the questions about Olive Drab an Neutral Grey for a particular WWII aircraft.  For me, it's the 1/48 Tamiya P-38F/G.  I have primed the plane, but have yet to put any paint on it.  I had been planning to use Mr. Color lacquers on it, but I've since been considering the use of Mission Models colors.  Similar to the original poster on this thread, there still isn't a Mission Model 'Neutral Grey' color, and I have ordered a wide variety of both the greys and the Olive Drab colors from the Mission Model line, figuring that I'll end up doing a mixture of colors to get what I want.  That said, has anyone come up with a good mix of Mission Models colors that would be appropriate for a P-38F/G?

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On 4/20/2019 at 8:25 PM, Joe Hegedus said:

I use either Tamiya Neutral Gray or Model Master Gunship Gray for WWII Neutral Gray.  Which particular OD shade I use varies.  Sometimes MM OD, sometimes Tamiya OD, sometimes Gunze OD, sometimes MMII OD 613.  Sometimes more than one.

 

In looking at my collection of MM enamel paints I agree that Gunship Gray, FS36118 looks close enough for me for WWII Neutral Gray.

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6 hours ago, jpk said:

In looking at my collection of MM enamel paints I agree that Gunship Gray, FS36118 looks close enough for me for WWII Neutral Gray.

36118 is a good call for the later ANA version of Neutral Gray, which was matched, IIRC, to RAF Dark Sea Grey or Extra Dark Sea Grey (can't remember which). However, it's a good deal darker than Neutral Gray 43.

 

FWIW, Mr. Color does a good rendition of NG 43: it's their jar no. 13.

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I also pulled out my jar of Aeromaster FS36118 and it is slightly lighter than the MM example. I also compared my jar of Tamiya XF-53 Neutral Gray and it is somewhere between the two. I believe it may be a better choice of all three. It looks to have just an ever so slight blue component to it, just slightly lighter than the MM example. The Aeromaster appears to be pretty much a straight up black and white mix with no other colors involved.   

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I now have that order of Mission Model paints that I posted about last weekend, and my order included a jar of paint that is called Olive Drab 41 USAAF WWII, which is MMP-091.  This, presumably, is the perfect color for the P-38 I'm working on.  I have yet to break open the bottle, but after thorough shaking of the jar, it looks like the color leans more toward the grey end of the spectrum, rather than the greenish end.  It will be interesting to see if this color is really appropriate for my P-38, especially since I will be needing to do some significant shading of colors to address the removal of the tape that was used to hold plastic sheets in place during the Atlantic Ocean crossing.  I'm getting the feeling that this particular color may not be the 'right' one for my needs, but we will see...

Edited by Curt B
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