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Help Please! WWII Era M-1 Colors

Article about: Everything I have read (on the net) indicates that all M-1ís produced during the war years were painted Dark Green however, you see countless WWII era shells for sale that are the light OD 3

  1. #1

    Default Help Please! WWII Era M-1 Colors

    Everything I have read (on the net) indicates that all M-1ís produced during the war years were painted Dark Green however, you see countless WWII era shells for sale that are the light OD 319 color. I know that many of these M-1 were re-painted and re-issued post war, in the light green color, maybe that makes up for those that we see for sale. However, I just saw, what the seller claimed to be, an un-issued Schlueter that was clearly the lighter OD 319 color. I also have a front seem McCord, that shows no sign of being a re-paint (although it could be) that is the lighter OD 319 color.

    So, did they actually paint M-1ís the light OD 319 at some point during the WWII production or are they all post war re-paints?

    And a follow-up question regarding the re-paining of helmets, When they took helmets in for re-paint and re-issue, did they strip the helmet or simply paint over the existing paint?

    Thanks in advance, once again, for your help.

    Russ & Son
    Last edited by MySonsDad; 09-09-2011 at 07:57 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Help Please! WWII Era M-1 Colors

    From what I have learned while reading up on M1's is that they hardly ever had matching shades of OD. They vary from helmet to helmet. I could be wrong though since this is only what I have read.

    Alec

  3. #3

    Default Re: Help Please! WWII Era M-1 Colors

    To be honest, I think it comes down to wear and use. The unissued ones that can be found from WW2 will have the light green color, which you have said. But the ones that have been used and abused will get dirty, sun baked, that paint will get darker after while from use and handling. That's just from what I've seen and read on random sites I've found in the past

  4. #4

    Default Re: Help Please! WWII Era M-1 Colors

    I kind of lean towards what both Alec and Theotherhomer have already said.

    Vehicles were painted in much the same way, and there are many shades
    of OD. I also do not think the Army wasted any time and effort stripping
    older lids, and would have simply painted over what was there.

    Sunbaked ass sweat will turn a helmet dark green in no time.......!
    Regards,


    Steve.

  5. #5
    ?

    Default Re: Help Please! WWII Era M-1 Colors

    The Olive Drab colour is itself a total mine field, whether its painted WWII gear or Dyed WWII gear such as webbing etc, the rule Iíve always worked or ďNigelís theory of paint reflectivityĒ is as the war progressed the colour changed again if you look at period colour photographs vehicles and equipment issued around about 1941 are paint a OLIVE shade of green however the dyed and paint gear of 1944 is a much darker shade of green, this is due to the paint/dye content having a higher quantity of black in with the other pigments. There are at least to specific codes for the paint colours for U.S. government vehicles one is # 319 and the latter Shade #8 both at basically the same colour specification but in practice the finish shade varied quite a lot for batch to batch, this was for many reasons such as work practices in place at the time, and also the methods by the paint suppliers for measuring out required pigments that was added to the finished paint mixture to make the Olive Drab colour, and at the end of the day if it didnít reflect light, and was army green in shade thatís all that mattered. Olive drab also lightens or darkens with age depending on paint composition and the environment to which this paint has been exposed, also Full matt finish and semi gloss of exactly the same paint will look a different shade as Matt paint looks darker than Semi-gloss paint of the same batch, this is due to the way we perceive colour and reflective surfaces.

    Nige.
    "Now, I've designed this like a collapsing bag ! "

  6. #6

    Default Re: Help Please! WWII Era M-1 Colors

    Nige, thank you for the very detailed and complete answer, I find this to be the most plausable based on what I have seen in helmet colors. I've really begun to dig my teeth in to these old M-1's and my head spins when I see 10 different shades and trying to differentiate what might be period, what might be a army re-paint and what might be some guys handy work in his back room. I'm taking it all in, one post at a time.

    Thank you again,

    Russ

  7. #7
    ?

    Default Re: Help Please! WWII Era M-1 Colors

    Russ,
    I would say is this as with a jeep etc, go for a shade you like. There are many out there in the WWII Collecting community that take things far too seriously, (trust me I have to deal with some of these "Experts" through my work) and the plain fact is you can't reproduce an exact match 100% to the war time paint, as again modern paints don't contain the Lead level if any at all, of that of Real Olive Drab synthetic enamel paint sprayed on helmets during WWII. In fact Olive Drab #319 contained a hell of a lot of lead, as one of the man colour pigments which makes up the final shade is Chromium yellow, this is not a chromate based pigment like the aircraft etch primer but is in fact a pure yellow lead oxide. For an off the shelf paint that I like and that I feel is a good colour match I would recommend Fosco Spray paint NSN: 8010-17-053-9532 OLIVE DRAB (RAL 6014) Iíve used this on my 1944 date m1943 Folding E-tool and I would say that the colour is a good match for mid WWII Olive Drab if I get a chance and some good day light Iíll take some pictures so you can get an idea, all I will say that its not totally flat and has more of an egg shell finish, but again this is not wrong items such as .30 and .50 ammo cans were often painted in a semi gloss finish.

    Nige.
    "Now, I've designed this like a collapsing bag ! "

  8. #8

    Default Re: Help Please! WWII Era M-1 Colors

    Once again Nige, thanks for the great information....

    Russ

  9. #9
    ?

    Default Re: Help Please! WWII Era M-1 Colors

    That's interesting, I have front seam that was repainted at least a couple of times in recent years. When I stripped that off. I came across the lighter Olive Drab, possibly OD319 which is a good match for the colour of my Vietnam era lid. But couldn't seem to find anything below that. From what you say, it could have been that colour originally. But it still really needs a repaint.

    Thanks for the info on the Fosco paint too. A quick check shows it available from a local Airsoft retailer. That's the helmet paint sorted.

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