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Armor/AFV: Techniques
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Painting MERDC question
jwest21
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Pennsylvania, United States
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Posted: Sunday, March 15, 2020 - 07:31 AM UTC
Do you guys paint your MERDC schemes by hand or by airbrush? Best I can tell from pics, it seems to be more of a hard edge scheme but I've never seen it up close. Thanks
18Bravo
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Colorado, United States
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Posted: Sunday, March 15, 2020 - 07:37 AM UTC
I base it upon the actual vehicle I'm modeling.
There are several ways it's prototypically done:

Two base colors and and black and sand crows feet: All sprayed
Two base colors sprayed, crows feet done by hand - very prevalent
Two base colors and crows feet done by hand, all hard edged.

By the way, in 1/35 scale, if you're not using a mask even for the sprayed colors, the edges are usually far to soft. I usually make a mask (often right from the painting guide in the instructions) and keep is raised from the vehicle about 1/4 inch with balls of tape or putty. Soft edge with no overspray.
jwest21
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Pennsylvania, United States
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Posted: Sunday, March 15, 2020 - 07:52 AM UTC
Thanks!
Kevlar06
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Washington, United States
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Posted: Sunday, March 15, 2020 - 07:54 AM UTC
Well, both actually. As an old 2/11th Cav. alumnus 1977-80, my Squadron painted twice a year. Always by spray gun to some degree, and the black and sand colors (the branches) were usually done with spray cans. This seldom left a hard edge. Painting was centralized by troop. But other units did use a brush. It’s really difficult to do the large areas with a brush. You can paint six or eight vehicles or more in a day by spray gun, but only one or two with a brush. We usually used the “Ford” assembly line method— two guys masked optics and glass, one guy sprayed green, one guy sprayed brown, and the crew did the “branches”, either with spray cans or very occasionally a brush if the spray cans weren’t available. But when I was in the 9ID, 2ID and 25ID, I saw a lot more hand painting going on, however, those units didn’t always repaint every year. As a Company commander in 1982-84, we painted our M151s by hand (I had 60 of them in my unit). But the larger equipment was done by spray gun. When I paint MERDC, I do it the way we did it in the CAV, with airbrush only. But I’ve seen others who use a brush (just like we did sometimes) to paint the smaller areas. My suggestion would be to try and find some photos of the time period and unit you’re modeling to figure out what’s best.
VR, Russ
taylorrl
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Washington, United States
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Posted: Sunday, March 15, 2020 - 08:04 AM UTC
The "silly putty" or AK / Mig Panzer Putty works really well to mask off the pattern for airbrushing. The black "crows feet" are painted by brush as they are small. Getting the pattern correct is the key. TB 747-95-1 contains the patterns for most weapons systems and support vehicles. It specifies a +-2 inch tolerance on transferring the pattern to the vehicle / weapon system. It also strongly recommends that the paint be applied by spray-painting, except the black which was usually brushed. TC 2-500 provided more guidance for units and includes "paint chips" with the colors.

I was a young soldier when this scheme was rolled out. I was impressed with how much more difficult the vehicles were to identify in the open and to detect when tucked into a wood-line.

Rick
kinmanb
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Texas, United States
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Posted: Sunday, March 15, 2020 - 08:11 AM UTC
I use the Silly putty for the larger band color and brush the black or sand
AgentG
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Nevada, United States
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Posted: Sunday, March 15, 2020 - 08:27 AM UTC
Airbrushed the sand base color, brush painted everything else.

jwest21
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Pennsylvania, United States
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Posted: Sunday, March 15, 2020 - 08:29 AM UTC
Thank you all. FYI, I am planning on doing Takom's M60A1 with the MERDC scheme under the ERA. I could only find one blurry picture of it online
TheGreatPumpkin
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New Jersey, United States
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Posted: Sunday, March 15, 2020 - 10:59 AM UTC
This should help with the pattern.
Regards,
Georg

jwest21
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Posted: Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - 02:21 AM UTC
perfect!
marcb
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Overijssel, Netherlands
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Posted: Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - 10:08 PM UTC
To add:

The Winter Verdant scheme (Green, earth, black, sand.), was most common in NW Europe. Some units in Germany during the Reforger period, didn't use the sand crows feet. IIRC US stateside NG units differed. Marine units were also seen in a green variant. (Summer Verdant?)

Here are some MERDC schemes in different colors:
http://www.panzerbaer.de/colours/index.htm

Image collection:
https://sites.google.com/site/merdccamo/home/merdc-photos-1/merdc-photos-04
white4doc
#429
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Massachusetts, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - 11:57 PM UTC
MERDC painting... seemed like every unit I was in had a different policy on how often things got repainted and how. Most often it seemed like it wasn't by the best and brightest in the unit, when repainting time rolled around 1SGT tasked the platoon sgts. for a working party of x number of men per platoon; he got whomever resided on the platoon sergeant's SOL list. They painted with brushes usually, patterns were drawn on with chalk (or usually just painted right over the existing paint). The paint was thinned with MOGAS and the brushes were cleaned with it - I was evac sgt in my unit in Germany I supervised the painting detail when they repainted the medical platoon's vehicles; the mechs in the unit didn't trust anybody, but especially the DATs with their toys so only the BMO vehicles got sprayed. Repainting time wasn't bad if it was a nice warm day, the patterns were more of a suggestion than strictly adhered to; and like I said most often they just followed what was already there. Why mess with imperfection?
marcb
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Overijssel, Netherlands
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Posted: Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - 12:35 AM UTC

Quoted Text

MERDC painting... seemed like every unit I was in had a different policy on how often things got repainted and how. Most often it seemed like it wasn't by the best and brightest in the unit, when repainting time rolled around 1SGT tasked the platoon sgts. for a working party of x number of men per platoon; he got whomever resided on the platoon sergeant's SOL list. They painted with brushes usually, patterns were drawn on with chalk (or usually just painted right over the existing paint). The paint was thinned with MOGAS and the brushes were cleaned with it - I was evac sgt in my unit in Germany I supervised the painting detail when they repainted the medical platoon's vehicles; the mechs in the unit didn't trust anybody, but especially the DATs with their toys so only the BMO vehicles got sprayed. Repainting time wasn't bad if it was a nice warm day, the patterns were more of a suggestion than strictly adhered to; and like I said most often they just followed what was already there. Why mess with imperfection?



I was wondering if the conversion to the NATO pattern, was in part because, this was applied at the factory, and the MERDC scheme was just too complicated in practice.
TankSGT
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Posted: Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - 09:38 AM UTC

I was wondering if the conversion to the NATO pattern, was in part because, this was applied at the factory, and the MERDC scheme was just too complicated in practice.[/quote]

I served through MERDC and NATOflague. It was discovered that the paint used for MERDC absorbed chemical agents and would be difficult if not impossible to decontaminate. NATOflague the tricolor scheme uses CARC paint which is carcinogenic must be sprayed with the proper protective gear. That makes factory or upper echelon maintenance application a must. It can be brush or roller applied but requires de-ionized water to thin. The added advantage of a common color scheme is the nationality of the troops cannot be determined by the camouflage if you cannot make out the vehicle.

When I was in the 11th ACR I marked and spray painted my tank. My TC said you build models you paint the tank. Each crew did their own. In the 24th ID the entire battalion was done by a support unit, we drove up they marked and sprayed. The National Guard tanks I drew in Fort Drum never saw fresh paint for the 8 years I used them.


Tom
BruceJ8365
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Posted: Monday, March 23, 2020 - 02:50 PM UTC
TriColor was used so as to standardize the looks of all NATO equipments and keep the commies from identifying units and specific vehicles by their camo pattern.