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British Vehicle Camouflage, 1939-45


British AFV Camouflage, 1939-45

Version 2.6 August 2001:  AMENDED 30th APRIL 2019 by Michael Starmer.

Mike Starmer and Mike Cooper

Please delete previous versions.

This summary is intended to give some basic guidance to modellers who wish to paint their models of British WW 2 vehicles with some degree of historical accuracy. (Mike Starmer and Mike Cooper, 2001)  More detailed information and scheme drawings may be found in a series of books produced by Mike Starmer at

During the Second World War British AFV camouflage was determined by a number of Army Council Instructions (ACIs) and Military Training Pamphlets (MTPs), with General Orders (G.O.) used in the Middle East.  The paint was supplied pre-mixed, (PFU; prepared for use) matching two British Standards:  B.S.381C: of 1930 and B.S.987C: of 1942-45 and a small colour range which were never included in a British Standard document.  Photographs and veterans’ testimony confirms that, with some slight variation, these orders were mostly rigidly adhered to but for patterning there were on occasion subtle variations.  Note that in general A.C.I.s state that any new scheme should be implemented with immediate effect but existing colours must be used in the appropriate areas until exhausted then replaced by the new colours.  By mid-war this led to some interesting combinations involving four colours.

Europe including Home Forces (i.e. U.K. based).

Immediately following the end of WW1 vehicle and AFVs continued to be painted as during the war.  In the 1920 various colours were used, browns, greens and grey mostly.  Exactly what these looked like is at present undetermined.  In contemporary documents these are usually referred to as ‘service colour’ that made sense to the reader then, but is of no guidance to us now.  From about 1925 until 1934 the service colour may have been a light khaki shade or greenish ochre shade.

Interiors were silver from 1930s until about mid 1940 when gloss white came into use.

1934 until February 1939 – A single overall colour of gloss Deep Bronze Green No.24.  At various occasions during exercises one or two other contrasting colours were applied over this in bold stripes.

1939-41 – Bold horizontal/diagonal patterns of two greens following M.T.P.20 diagrams of June 1939.  The usual basic colour was Khaki Green G3 with a disrupter of Dark Green No.4 or rarely Light Green No.5.  Plain G3 is an alternative.

May 1940:  Dark Tarmac No.4 begins to replace both Dark Green No.4 and Light Green No.5.  This seems to be the first measure to conserve chromium oxide stocks.

1941-42 – Standard Camouflage Colours (S.C.C.s) from BS.987c come into use alongside, and then supplanted the greens and Dark Tarmac, but in the same M.T.P.20 patterns.  The base colour was changed to S.C.C.2 brown with S.C.C.1A dark brown over it.  S.C.C.14 black was an alternative.  This change was brought about due to a severe shortage of vital chromium oxide green pigment necessary to produce strong green colours and a degree of infra-red immunity.

1942-44 – M.T.P.46 diagrams of November 1941 introduced a new two tone patterned scheme aimed primarily against aerial observation, usually using the BS.987C browns as laid down in A.C.I.1160 of May 1942.  Stocks of the older colours were to be exhausted but in the new scheme. The most common versions of M.T.P.46 were variants of the “Foliage” pattern and the unofficial “Mickey Mouse” variant of the Dapple pattern.  Vehicles continued to be delivered and used in plain S.C.C.2 following ACI 1160 which gave S.C.C.2 as “Basic Paint”.  In October 1943 A.C.I.1496 authorised S.C.C.14, black, as the main tone over S.C.C.2.  Very few AFVs were painted in full M.T.P. 46 scheme.  Known types were Churchill Gun Carrier, early Bishops, Covenanters, Centaurs and some Churchills of the Guards Training Regiment and possibly some Crusader II.

June 1943: 1st Canadian Corps only instructed to repaint all vehicles a basic colour of S.C.C.4 (stone) with disruptive areas low on the body and cab with S.C.C.14 black.  A diagram was issued for this.  This was prior to deployment to North Africa to participate in Operation Husky, July 1943. The repaint included the addition of RAF type roundels on an upper surface.

1944-45 – The final change in colour came in April 1944 when A.C.I. 533 authorised S.C.C.15 Olive Drab for use as the new basic colour, to remove the need to repaint U.S. supplied vehicles.  S.C.C.15 Olive Drab was used to replace the old S.C.C.2 in M.T.P.46 patterns or on its own particularly after the abandonment of pattern painting with ACI 1100 of August 1944 except on vehicles still in S.C.C.2.  S.C.C.15 Olive Drab was the first colour in this standard range to be formally named.  It does not match U.S. Army Olive Drab No.9.

In Italy, many vehicles used home schemes as outlined above, but others showed the remnants of their final North African schemes or the new Middle East scheme which used a basic colour of ‘Light Mud’ with bold specified patterns of black or dark olive green similar to S.C.C.7 introduced by Routine Orders in April 1943 later ratified in MEGO. 693 of June 1943.  Although some vehicles were re-painted, most Lend Lease vehicles retained their base coat of US No.9 Olive Drab

Softskins – As details above, except

Pre-war – 1941 – Tilts are a light canvas colour or dyed Khaki Green No. 3 over which G4 might be painted with M.T.P.20 type bands.  From May 1940 Dark Tarmac began to supplant G4 green.

August 1941 – A.C.I.1559 authorises use of S.C.C.7 green basic with S.C.C.1A stripes on canvas tilts to M.T.P.20 pattern.  Body work remains Khaki Green No.3 / Dark Tarmac No.4.  Current available evidence suggests that this colour is very dark black-green although as of 2019 research is ongoing.

Nov. 1941 – A.C.I.1559 cancelled by A.C.I. 2202.  With M.T.P.20 pattern specified, all top surfaces of tilts are to be S.C.C.1A or alternatively S.C.C.14.  S.C.C.2 is to be used to restore faded tilts.  Photos show this scheme in use with M.T.P.20 bands. 

Late 1941 – M.T.P.46/4A now to be exclusively used henceforth.  Older colours to be exhausted in the new scheme.  Custom made tilts and hoods were manufactured from canvas dyed to near match S.C.C. 2.  Basic vehicle colour to be S.C.C.2 with S.C.C.1A or alternatively S.C.C.14 patterning.

A.C.I. 1233 April 1944: S.C.C.15 Olive Drab becomes new basic colour, disruptive painting remains in use.

August 1944 A.C.I. 1100 – Tilts to be dyed S.C.C.15 rather than S.C.C.2


Middle East practice was determined by Middle East General Orders.

1936-40 – 11th Hussars R-R cars and some trucks in 1936 were basic Silver with Black disrupter. 11th Hussar’s cars in 1937 may be Pale CreamNo.52 and Terracotta No.44 and possibly their softskins too. These maintained a fairly consistent pattern.  Vickers Medium II tanks of 6 RTC in 1935 used Black over silver in a random type striped design but in 1937 applied Red Oxide 46 over a base of No.52 Pale Cream, now to a set pattern which was retained until 1939 using later colours as specified by GHQ BTE.

On 25 July 1939 GO.370 specified a base tone of BS.381C Middle Stone No. 62 with disruptive patterning of “Dark Sand”.  6th RTC A9 tanks appear initially in August 1939 in plain Middle Stone No. 62 by May 1940 have ‘dark sand’ areas similar to the 1937 pattern.  Vickers Light Tank Mk.III also carried this type of patterning too, probably the same colours.  This scheme appears relatively common in Egypt in summer 1940. 11th Hussars complied with the colours but again, over the original pattern.

1940-41; Under G.O. 297 November 1940 very many AFVs and softskins in three tone Caunter scheme of Light Stone 61 or Portland Stone 64 as basic colour with Silver Grey 28 and Slate 34 or G3 left on as an expedient dark tone.  G.O.s of this period specifies Light Stone or Portland Stone at various times.   A scheme for The Sudan specified Light Stone No.61 or No. 64 Portland Stone with Light Purple Brown No. 49 in lieu of Silver Grey No. 28 and Light Stone No.61 in lieu of No. 34 Slate to the same pattern.  The two coloured pattern based on ‘Caunter’ and used in Greece during April and May 1941 using Light Stone No.61 or Slate No.34 or some unknown colour.  Light Purple Brown was exclusively the Sudan scheme, as yet no evidence of the pattern using the Sudan design has been found although photographs do appear to show it in use as wavy horizontal stripes on a carrier there. 

Oct.1941 – Signal 4/105 calls for one base tone No 61 Light Stone only now to be used before issue to units, G.O. 297 is cancelled.

December 5 1941 M.E.G.O. 1273 calls for one basic colour, either Portland or Light Stone with only one colour over at the discretion of Commands.  At first this may have been Slate, in patches or larger areas but later S.C.C.7 green, Silver Grey No. 28 and black brown have been noted in apparently random patterns.  A whole range of brigade inspired designs came and went from early 1942 until October 1942 when these steadily disappeared.  A Camcolour range of water based colours had been evolved for all camouflage purposes.  Some of these are likely to have been applied over the basic colour in the brigade designs.

October 1942 – M.E.G.O.1650 cancels all previous patterns and substitutes standardised drawings for certain A.F.V. types and vehicle classes issued by the Camouflage Directorate of GHQ Middle East.  Not all vehicles required disruptive painting. Colours stated are: Basic tone of Desert Pink ZI with a disruptive pattern in Dark Olive Green probably similar to S.C.C.11B and 7 respectively.  Black, Very Dark Brown and Dark Slate are alternatives.  These were probably similar to S.C.C.14, 1A and Slate 34.   These designs are common on Shermans, Grants, Valentines, Crusaders, Stuarts.  The 6 Churchill tanks of Kingforce, which were painted in UK with Light Stone No.61 carried a red-brown pattern over this in the Crusader pattern.  As Desert Pink was a new colour, Light Stone continued in use on existing vehicles.  Desert Pink occurs on its own as a single tone on vehicles of no tactical value and ACVs disguised as 10 ton trucks.

Although M.T.P.46 had provision for M.E. colours the actual the use of this patterning has not been confirmed there although some official pictures taken in UK strongly suggest that this was done.

From April 1943 – M.E.G.O. 1650 is cancelled and new designs issued by G(Cam.) with new colours for use in Tunisia, Sicily, Italy and all of Middle East.  Base tone is S.C.C.5 “Light Mud” with Black or S.C.C.7 in bold patterns for camouflage.  Lend Lease vehicles used Light Mud over No.9 Olive Drab as an alternative but applied according to the drawings.  By 1944 European colours and schemes predominated.


Until 1943 vehicles appear to conform to UK standards.  Colour images exist of Morris Quads at Singapore in Khaki Green No.3 and Dark Tarmac.  Early 1943 S.C.C.13 “Jungle Green” introduced for use as single overall colour.  But 1944 S.C.C. 16 Very Dark Drab (a.k.a. SEASCC.207) may be coming into use.    By 1944 there was a range of colours for camouflage purposes issued by SEAC in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) but there is no evidence that any of these were intended as disruptive colours. Single overall basic colour remained from 1943 -45.


In AMO A364/37 [1937] a new colour was introduced for all R.A.F. ground vehicles, BS.33 R.A.F. Blue Grey.  It replaced all previous colours such as ‘khaki’ on UK based vehicles.  Ambulances overseas were to be white whilst all other vehicles in Iraq except ambulances were to be khaki.  An amendment in A100 5/38 states that in Iraq armoured cars, armed tenders and W/T tenders will be khaki too.  In 1939 A.M. issued instructions that all R.A.F. vehicles were to be disruptively painted.  No documents thus far confirm the colours used, but presumably those as the army.

Odd disjointed file notes from TNA have the following:-

28 March 1939;  R.A.F. have decided to use the same colours as the army in ME, but RE & Signals Board not yet decided on colour for Iraq, Palestine and ME.

6 February 1941.  Camouflaging of MT in Overseas Commands.  Colours specified in CWD Specifications are Dark Sand and Middle Stone.  The sample of painted lorry cover that we received… ‘was much darker than the earlier colour’.  This follows G.O.370 of 1939.

This situation remained officially till August 1941.   Nevertheless instructions had been issued in Britain during 1939 to disruptively paint transport.  Photographs of some R.A.F. vehicles in France during early 1940 and on some airfields in the South of England from June 1940 onwards show that disruptive painting on ground vehicles deployed on airfields within reach of enemy aircraft or observation.  No accurate colours are known for these vehicles but in France, British army colours may have been used but the possibility of French colours must be taken into account.  A TNA file has a note dated 19 November 1940; ‘…camouflage paint has not hitherto been included in R.D.M.T. Specifications for M.T. vehicles for the R.A.F. and units have, we understand, obtained their own supplies by local purchase’.  Followed by ‘The canvas tilts of those vehicle leave the manufacturers dyed khaki and unpainted…’.  So there was authority to camouflage vehicles prior to the next known AMO.  In England, army colours is possible by local arrangement or a range of green, brown, black or grey building paints may have been used in random striped type designs similar to army applications.  In June 1941 a signal N629/41 calls for camouflage of impressed vehicles.  No further documents have yet been found to clarify this signal regarding colours. 

From now on AMOs mirror War Office policy.  AMO A618/41 of 7 August orders R.A.F. vehicles to be a basic colour of Khaki Green No.3 with Nobels Dark Tarmac Green No.4 or alternatively Light Green No.5 as disrupters patterned as M.T.P.20 of 1939.  August 1942, AMO A820/42; colours will now be Camouflage Green No.3 and paint PFU Dark Tarmac No.4.    Do not be baffled by the different colour names as will be explained later.  The camouflage style now is as M.T.P. 46/4A by then in general use by the War Office.  Since R.A.F. vehicle wastage is far less than the army then earlier colours and schemes tended to be in use for far longer before repainting to current standards took place, keep this in mind.  There is a coloured photograph of a F.A.A. David Brown tractor in Khaki Green No.3 towing a Blue Grey fuel trailer in 1943. 

December 1942: AMO A1397/42; a change of basic colour to Brown Special No.2 and Brown Dark (MT) No.1A to M.T.P. 46/4A.

September 1943: AMO A891/43; basic colour is still Brown Special No.2 but now with Black Matt S.C.C. No.14 application to M.T.P. 46/4A.   This remains the scheme until 1944.

8 June 1944: AMO A519/44; changes the basic colour to ‘Olive Drab’ with Black Matt S.C.C. No.14 disrupter to M.T.P. 46/4A.  However a September AMO A/897 dispenses with the Black disrupter and vehicles will now be in the basic colour only.  Many R.A.F. vehicles not used on airfields such as on radar and signal sites carried no sort of disruptive painting, they remained the plain basic colour throughout their lives.  Those with the 2nd Tactical Air Forces MT service commando columns were generally in full camouflage patterning.

This scheme remains until April 1946 with AMO A302/46, when a reversion to pre-war colours and finishes was introduced, the colours both now full gloss BS.33 R.A.F. Blue Grey with gloss Black wings (mudguards) and valences. 

As before there was a large overlap of schemes through 1943-50.  There are photographs of R.A.F. and army vehicles in use in Germany during the Berlin airlift of 1948-49 still in 1943 type camouflage colours and scheme.   

As in all matters within the services each used its own stores reference numbers to identify and order every item required, including paint.  The R.A.F. had its own terminology for the same army colours hence the terms used in AMOs.

Khaki Green No.3 is the same name and colour for both services.

Nobels Dark Tarmac No.4 is the same name and colour again.

Light Green No.5 is the same name and colour again.

Camouflage Green No.3 is the same colour as Khaki Green No.3.

Paint PFU Dark Tarmac No.4 is the same colour as Nobels Dark Tarmac No.4. 

PFU means Prepared For Use.

Brown Special No.2 is the same colour as S.C.C. 2 (brown)

Brown Dark (MT) No.1A is the same colour as S.C.C.1A (dark brown).

Black Matt S.C.C. No.14, the same as S.C.C. 14 (blue-black).

Olive Drab is the same colour as S.C.C.15 Olive Drab.  Make no mistake; this colour is NOT a match for the American colour of that name. 


(Mike Starmer and Mike Cooper, 2001)

Update: April 2019.

The standards in use during the period 1934 -1948 are; BSC.381C. 1930 ‘Colours for Ready Mixed Paints’.

BSC.987C 1942 ‘Camouflage Colours’ with 1944 and 1945 amendments.

Some colours noted were never inserted into a standard.

There is also a booklet entitled ‘STANDARD CAMOUFLAGE COLOURS FOR MIDDLE EAST’ (MESCC) issued under CRÈME/31477/ 4 GD which has numerous printed colour swatches.  None of these are named, only numbered, they do not match the British Standards above.  However some of the swatches are close to those in BS.987C and may be M.E. equivalents and some are the same as BS.381C, see below. 

Mixes here are best available at time of writing.  They represent matches for the standards, rather than necessarily model colours.  Colours not seen/ referred to are omitted.  These are all based on primary research by Mike Starmer.   All paints are Humbrol and Revell.  Revell acrylics match their enamel range and may be used to achieve the same results where an all Revell mix is given.  As of June 2019 no tests  have been carried out by mixing Humbrol and Revell acrylics.

Please discard all earlier dated versions.

Khaki Green G3/ “Service Colour”.  No standard.

Mix:  12 x Revell 361 + 5 x Revell 360 + 7 x Revell 84. 

Alternatives; 5 x Humbrol 155 + 1 x Humbrol 10

1 x R46 + 1 x R382.

Tamiya:  8 x XF62 + 3x XF59 + 1 x XF68 or 8 x XF62 + 3 x XF59 + 1 x XF68.

In use: 1938-42.  Usual basic colour until replaced in 1942 with S.C.C.2.  Used with G4. 

An official alternative to Slate 34 as the dark tone in Middle East in Caunter scheme. 

Description:  A yellowish brown-green like a very strong 1930s US Olive Drab.

Dark Green G4, provisional.  No standard.

Mix:  8 x Revell 361 + 1 x Revell 8 or Humbrol 33.

Alternatives;  Humbrol 116 or Humbrol 195

Tamiya 3 x XF61 + 2 x XF58.

In use:  1939 till early 1941 as the disrupter over G3.

Description: a dark yellow green of fairly low contrast against G3.

Light Green G5.  Provisional.  No standard.

Mix:  2 x Humbrol 117 + 1x Humbrol 102.

Alternative;  Colour found on recovered artefact 1 x H86 + 1 x H117.

In use: 1939 till early 1941, usually as light tone in MTP20 schemes with G3.

Description: A light-medium grass green. 

Nobels Dark Tarmac No.4, provisional.  No standard.

Mix: 3 x Humbrol 118 + 1 x Humbrol 33

Tamiya:  1 x XF 24 + 1 x XF69.

Provisional colour; As of December 2018 archival evidence suggests an almost black shade.

In Use: August 1941 – A.C.I. 1559 authorises use of body work in ‘Dark Tarmac’ with G3 to M.T.P.20 patterns.

Description:  A dull, off-black.  However a colour seen on colour film and still photographs closely matches Revell 79 blue-grey which could also be mistaken as faded black.

BS381C: 1930 COLOURS.

Deep Bronze Green BS.24 

Mix: 6 x Humbrol 3 + 3 x Humbrol 10 + 1 x Humbrol 2. 

Tamiya: 8 x XF5 + 5 X XF63 satin over.

In use: 1934-39 then post-war from 1948.

Description:  Very dark yellow green – a rich black green.

Silver Grey BS.28 (MESCC 21)

Mix: 5 x Humbrol 74 + 2 x Humbrol 145.

Tamiya 7 x XF21 + 1 X XF4 + 1 x XF19.

In use:  In Caunter pattern 1940-41.

Description: Medium yellow-green. 

RAF Blue Grey BS.33

Mix: 5 x Humbrol 32 + 2 x Humbrol 14 + 2 x Humbrol 85; Semi-gloss, a coat of Satin finish should be applied over this.

Alternative ; Humbrol 112, slightly too light, satin over.

Tamiya:  4 x XF69 + 3 x XF18 + 1 XF8.   

In use: R.A.F. use only on vehicles from 1937 until 1941 then again from 1946.

Description: A very dark grey-blue, BUT NOT the uniform colour as Humbrol 96.

Slate BS.34 a.k.a “Dark Slate” (MESCC 16)

Mix: 4 x Humbrol 32 + 2 x Humbrol 81 + 1 x Humbrol 117. 

Alterative; 14 x Humbrol 102 + 3 x Humbrol 33 + 1 x Humbrol 174

Tamiya: 1 x XF24 + 1 x XF4

In use: 1940 – late 1941 Standard dark tone in Caunter. 1942 as possible disrupter dark tone in Middle East.

Description: A darkish dull grey-green.

Terracotta BS.44.

Mix: 6 x Humbrol 100 + 5 x Humbrol 70.

In use: Possibly 1937-1939 as dark tone in Middle East only on 11th Hussars Rolls-Royce cars in 1937.  Might just possibly have seen in very limited use 1941.

Description: Distinctly red-orange.  This was an experimental pre-war colour.  A similar colour became R.A.F. Dull Roundel Red.

Red Oxide BS.46.

Mix: 18 x Humbrol 133 + 2 x Humbrol 20 + 1 x Humbrol 9.

In use:  Middle East pre-war disruptive colour, 6 RTC Vickers Medium II tanks only.

Description:  A strong deep red. 

Light Purple Brown BS.49.

Mix: 6 x Revell 331 + 2 x Humbrol 10 + 1 x Humbrol 25.

Alternative;  4 x Humbrol 132 + 2 x Humbrol 20 + 1 x Humbrol 15

Tamiya: 10 x XF7 + 1 x F8

In use:  As disrupter in lieu of Silver Grey in the Sudan scheme and less likely used in Greece by default.

Description:  Deep red / maroon shade with brown tinge.

Pale Cream BS.52.

Mix: 4 x Humbrol 74 + 3 x Humbrol 34 + 2 x Humbrol 103.

Tamiya: 12 x XF2 + 1 x XF3 + 1 x XF59.

In use:  Middle East pre-war as overall tone of 6 RTC Vickers Medium tanks and probably 11th Hussars.

Used as the gloss interior colour of closed office or command vehicles on ceiling and upper half of side walls.

Description: “Pale Cream” describes this very nicely – a light rich cream colour

Light Stone BS.61  (MESCC.23).

Mix: 8 x Humbrol 74 + 1 x Humbrol 26.

Tamiya: 7 x XF2 + 2 x XF59 + 2 x XF3.

In use: 1938-42 as basic colour in Middle East.

Description: A light, very yellow sand.  NOT the same colour as post war BS.361 of this name.

Middle Stone BS.62.

Mix: 5 x Humbrol 154 + 3 x Humbrol 83.

Tamiya: 3 x XF60 + 1 x XF3 + 1 x XF59.   

In use: Adopted as basic colour in G.O. 370 of 25 July 1939 until 1940 with ‘dark sand’ disruptive stripes.

Description:  A very powerful yellow sand – this is R.A.F. “Middle Stone”

Dark Stone BS.63.

Mix:  4 x Humbrol 225 + 1 x Humbrol 62.

In use: Mentioned once as part of base tone in Tunisia in 13 Corps document.

Description:  Dark yellow-brown approx.

Portland Stone BS.64 (MESCC 11).

Mix: 7 x Humbrol 196 + 2 x Humbrol 34 + 2 x Humbrol 74.

Tamiya: 1 x XF57 + 6 x XF2 + 1 x XF3.   

In use: 1940-41 as base tone in Middle East.

Description: Very pale cream with greenish tinge.

Dark Sand.

Mix: Provisional colour, Humbrol 110 only.

Tamiya: 2 x XF59 + 1 x XF52. 

In Use:  An RAE trials colour of 1936-39 for Middle East.  Adopted as disruptive colour in G.O. 370 of 25 July 1939.

Description:  Dull slightly red-brown not dissimilar to RAF Dark Earth.

BS 987c, 1942, CAMOUFLAGE COLOURS.  Amended 1944, 1945

Colours produced in enamel for wood/metal and bituminous emulsion for canvas.

Only S.C.C. 15 Olive Drab and S.C.C. 16 Very Dark Drab of this set was named, all others are colloquial terms from contemporary sources.

S.C.C.1A – referred to in Middle East as “Very Dark Brown”

Mix: 8 x Revell 84 + 2 x Humbrol 33 + 1 x Humbrol 133.

Alternative;  4 x Humbrol 10 + 1 x Humbrol 33, needs matt coat.

2 x Humbrol 82 + 1 x Humbrol 33, slightly light.

Tamiya:  7 x XF10 + 2 x XF1. 

In use: 1941-44 as dark tone in late M.T.P.20 and M.T.P.46 patterns and as alternative dark tone in 1942 Middle East patterns.

Description:  Colour of plain chocolate – a warm black or deep rich brown.  Contrast is medium with S.C.C.2,

S.C.C.2 – a.k.a.  “Service Colour”

Mix:  6 x Revell 84 + 5 x Revell 86. 

Alternative; acceptable results can be had with 5 x Humbrol 98 + 4 x Humbrol 29.

Tamiya: 5 x XF68 + 4 x XF3 + 1 x XF1.    

In use: 1941-45 as basic colour, with S.C.C.1A, S.C.C.14 or rarely G3 or S.C.C.4

Description:  Rich ginger brown with a slight green hint.


Mix: 2 x Humbrol 110 + 2 x Humbrol 119 + 1 x Humbrol 84.

In use: Basic colour called ‘stone’ in camouflage instructions for 1st Canadian Corps July 1943 before deployment to Sicily.  Also possibly in 1942-44 as occasional light base tone with S.C.C.2 in unofficial M.T.P. 46 schemes.

Description:  Dull medium pinkish earth brown – what we would call “light earth”.  NOT the same as RAF Light Earth which is lighter and more yellow.

‘Light Mud’ localised M.E. colour probably based on S.C.C.5.  No standard.

Mix: 6 x Humbrol 187 + 1 x Humbrol 34 + 1 x Humbrol 31.

Alternative;  Humbrol 187 only.

Tamiya: 4 x XF55 + 2 x XF49 + 1 x XF66′    

In use: 1943-44 limited in Tunisia then in Sicily and Italy as basic colour in disruptive patterns.  Used on its own on base, training and non-operational vehicles.

Description: Dirty dark sand grey.  Contemporary descriptions are “Light Grey” or “dirty-grey-beige” and “dirty sand”.   

S.C.C.7  a.k.a.  “Dark Olive Green”  “Dark Green”

Mix:  7 x Humbrol 226 + 3 x Revell 65 + 1 x Revell 84.

Alternative; 7 x Humbrol 195 + 2 x Humbrol 154 + 1 x Humbrol 74

Tamiya: 3 x XF58 + 2 x XF64 + 2 x XF3.   

In use: a bituminous paint only used 1941-42 on canvas tilts and tentage in 1944-45. 

A dark tone paint similar to this in Palestine in Australian orders used over Light Stone 61 and Desert Pink, possibly later in Italy over Light Mud.

Description: A dull dark olive green. 

‘Desert Pink Z.I.’ Localised M.E. colour probably based on S.C.C.11B  a.k.a. “Pink” or “Rose Pink”. No standard.

Mix: 2 x Humbrol 34 + 3 x Humbrol 118.

Tamiya: 5 x XF2 + 5 x F15 + 1 x F52    

In use: 1942-43 in Middle East on its own, or as basic colour in specified disruptive schemes.

Description: Earthy pink or dark warm sand with a pink aspect – too much pink would be a fault.

S.C.C.13 a.k.a.  “Jungle Green”

Mix: 4 x Humbrol 159 + 3 x Humbrol 155 + 1 x Humbrol 33. 

Alternative; 4 x Revell 42 + 1 x Humbrol 159

Tamiya: 2 x XF51 + 1 x XF61 + 1 x XF3.   

In use: basic colour only in India & Burma 1943-45. 

Description: Very dark drab/ muddy dark green. 

S.C.C.14   a.ka.  “Blue-Black” or “Charcoal”.

Mix: 4 x Humbrol 33 + 1 x Humbrol 67

Alternative; Revell 9 only,

Tamiya:  XF69 only.

In use: 1941-44 in MTP46 schemes and in Middle East as dark disrupter.

Description: A very noticeably blue-black, a slightly ‘light’ black in effect.


Mix: 5 x Humbrol 150 + 5 x Humbrol 159 + 2 x Humbrol 33

Alternative;  9 x Humbrol 253 + 1 x Humbrol 80

12 x Humbrol 159 + 1 x Humbrol 33 + 1 x Revell 84.

Tamiya: 5 x XF81 + 1 x XF58 + 1 x XF71.     

In use: May 1944-45 as standard basic overall colour.

Description:  A dark drab noticeably green.  Medium contrast with S.C.C. 1A, stronger with S.C.C. 14 black.  This is very definitely NOT a blue-green like Humbrol 30


Mix; 4x Humbrol 159 + 2 x Humbrol 150 + 1 x Humbrol 33 + 1 x Humbrol 133.

In use:  Basic colour only In use in India and Burma 1944-45 replacing S.C.C.13.

Description:  A very dull muddy looking green, darker than S.C.C.13.


No.319/ No 9 Olive Drab

Mix:  7 x Humbrol 46 + 3 x Humbrol 33 + 1 x Humbrol 155.

Alternative;  5 x Revell 46 + 7 x Revell 310 3 x Revell 361

In use: 1942-45 on Lend Lease vehicles on its own or, in Italy with Light Mud or rarely Black.

Description:  Varies with application and fading.  Nearest WW2 match is FS595b 33070.  A very dark drab when new with a green hint, fading brown or grey in use.  When fresh, this is very similar to S.C.C.15 in British colours.  Despite being widely cited as a match, FS595a 34087 is the 1950-70s colour which is too brown and light. 


All rubber tyres should be dark grey, NEVER black.  Humbrol 67 or 32 are useful, Humbrol 64 on tread areas and rubber track pads. 

Canvas tilts and hoods. 

Natural colour canvas

4 x Humbrol 84 + 1 x Humbrol 90 or slight variations around this mix.

Dyed Khaki Green 3 canvas:

1 x Revell 360 + 1 x Revell 361 + 1 x Revell 84 or 2 x Humbrol 26 + 1 x Humbrol 116.  Slight variation in these mixes will provide subtle variations of colour.

Dyed S.C.C. 2 canvas

Humbrol 29 to 2 x Humbrol 29 + 1 x Humbrol 34 white.

Dyed S.C.C.15 canvas: 

Humbrol 150 or 159 or combination of both, only with slight adjustments as for Khaki Green.

Desert Bleached Khaki Green canvas:

2+ x Humbrol 34 white + 1 x Humbrol 29 or 1 Humbrol 84 + 2 x Humbrol 34.

Gas detection paint:

Close to BS.381: No.55 Lemon;  1 x Humbrol 81 + 1 x Humbrol 99 or Humbrol 81 only.

Manganese steel tracks:  Consistently a grey-brown colour throughout, shiny surfaces are NOT bright polished steel but simply a polished surface of the base colour.  Generally combinations of Humbrol 64 with equal parts of any one of Humbrol 70, 113, 160, 186 and 173.

References:  Much of this is still being amended and alternative colour mixes tested by Mike Starmer but the basic framework is given in Hodges, P and Taylor, M, ‘British Military Markings’  [Revised Ed.] Cannon Publications, 1994.   Colours have been matched against the original British Standards by Mike Starmer, who has added a wealth of primary research.   “Dark Sand” has been researched from Primary Sources by Paul Lucas and Mike Cooper.  Colour matching for Khaki Green No.3, Nobels Dark Tarmac & R.A.F. Blue Grey 33 by Mike Starmer.  Ongoing research in Australia and Canada for Dark Tarmac and Light Green G5 by Chris Camfield.



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