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Armor/AFV: Early Armor
WWI and other early tanks and armored cars.
Hosted by Darren Baker
british WW1 tank colour
Niedersachsen, Germany
Joined: December 02, 2006
KitMaker: 147 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Tuesday, September 09, 2014 - 01:02 AM UTC

What is right colour mix for British Mark IV during the Cambrai campaign?
I ask because Tamiya uses for his model a mix 50:50 of Xf-52 and XF-55 (the result is a light brown), Takom suggest XF-49 khaki and MIG goes into a greenish tone.

So far I know, British tanks were coloured in a brown. Are there any suggestion how I could mix the “right” (I know not possible to say) colour?

Thank you in advance for your help!!!

Best wishes,

Alabama, United States
Joined: January 26, 2006
KitMaker: 1,381 posts
AeroScale: 20 posts
Posted: Tuesday, September 09, 2014 - 01:36 AM UTC
The best reference I've found is Warpaint volume 1. From the Armorama review you get this:

and if this book is correct (and based on the research, I'd put real money that it is!) you're looking at a brown.
South Carolina, United States
Joined: May 07, 2010
KitMaker: 2,238 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Tuesday, September 09, 2014 - 01:55 AM UTC
Hi Moritz,

This is what Dick Taylor says in his book, "Warpaint, Vol.1" (pg. 21 and 31):

"There appears to have been at least two and probably three Brown hues in regular use in the WW1 period, and when researchers discover a reference mentioning Brown, they should always consider which is more likely. The first color was a medium Brown produced in matt but also a variety of gloss and semi-gloss finishes, and was often referred to as "Service Brown." The second Brown was a lighter and slightly Greener shade, generally used in matt only, and was known as "Khaki" or sometimes "Khaki-Brown." ... There was also probably a third variety of Brown specifically used on Tanks, and this is discussed below.


The Use of "Tank Brown"

This color has been variously described by veterans as a "Drab Brown," as "mud Brown," or as a "Milk Chocolate Color." ... This Brown is not a chocolate color as we might think of it, but a somewhat lighter shade - it could almost be described as a dark tan. It is not any of the Brown/Khaki possibilities mentioned above, so I [the author] will use the invented name "Tank Brown" to describe it. ...."

So, there you have what I suppose is the most current research on the matter of WWI British "Tank Brown."

I would suggest using any of the WWII SCC2 "Service Brown" color mixes as a starting point based on my assumption that the WWII color was not just invented from thin air but rather had a historical basis in the WWI color. However, this is just my assumption, and I'm sure there are many other opinions out there.

Mike Starmer's SCC2 Tamiya paint mix is:

XF68 x 5 + XF3 x 4 + XF1 x 1

Once lightened for scale effect, this should be about as accurate as any one could reasonably argue. But then again, there are certain to be other interpretations of the available information.