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Armor/AFV: Early Armor
WWI and other early tanks and armored cars.
Hosted by Darren Baker
Did Boviongtom get the tank colors right?
Illinois, United States
Joined: March 18, 2006
KitMaker: 2,362 posts
AeroScale: 9 posts
Posted: Monday, January 28, 2008 - 09:04 AM UTC
I've read how museums tend to be wrong in how they paint tanks, but after seeing the WW1 British tanks represented in the Bovington Museum illustrated here, I wonder if this case the colors are right:


I read in my book about German armor in WW1 that their captured tanks varied widely in color, but the British were more strict in their color schemes.
England - East Anglia, United Kingdom
Joined: February 01, 2004
KitMaker: 43 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Monday, January 28, 2008 - 09:28 AM UTC
Hi Tom,

Museum schemes can be a bit hit and miss, but Bovington have been trying to put the right scheme on the right vehicle.

There were a number of schemes used on the first tanks, from Medium Sea Grey (as on Bovingtons Little Willie), through to complex multi colour camouflage schemes (again on another of Bovingons tanks [a Mk 1], although not illustrated on Wikipedia), through to plain khaki brown (Bovingtons Mark V).

A good synopsis can be found here:


Interestingly there is a Mk IV in its original colours at a Museum in Belgium:


Hope that helps,

Illinois, United States
Joined: March 18, 2006
KitMaker: 2,362 posts
AeroScale: 9 posts
Posted: Monday, January 28, 2008 - 11:53 AM UTC
Wow, that is helpful. Thank you so much!
Alabama, United States
Joined: September 06, 2008
KitMaker: 2 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Saturday, June 04, 2011 - 04:48 PM UTC
Another thing to keep in mind with any WWI (and in many cases WWII, as well) vehicle is that the paint used was mixed in individual batches by different people at different times. Not to mention that the field applied colors were mixed by yet different people.

No two vehicles were exactly the same color. Differences in the quality of the ingredients, and the way they were mixed affected things, too.

You can look at all the color references in the world, and as long as you are, say, five shades in either direction of the target color, you are correct.
Staff MemberEditor-in-Chief
England - South West, United Kingdom
Joined: May 14, 2006
KitMaker: 10,954 posts
AeroScale: 290 posts
Posted: Saturday, June 04, 2011 - 11:47 PM UTC
I have asked the staff at Bovington about the questionable paint schemes shown on some vehicles and I was told;
When the museum was started it was a case of get some paint on them and get them on show. As the museum grew the order of the day became accuracy. Today as the vehicles are worked on they do a lot of research on getting the colour right.
So the answer to your question depends on when the vehicle was last worked on as to how accurate the paint scheme and colour is.