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What is for you the olive green in US aircraft during WWII?



The color on Thunderbolt and Mustang look different. Is the last one, the first one fadded?

Brian da Basher:
The topic of Olive Drab is a very rich one indeed and subject to probably as many arguments as the much-debated W.W. I RAF PC-10. For better or worse, reading about this stuff is one of my more esoteric interests so I can pass along some info.

Just like the W.W. I RAF PC-10, U.S. Olive Drab paint could vary considerably depending on lighting, age, and/or UV exposure. Wartime expediency meant that "good enough" was indeed good enough and they weren't accuracy nuts, just trying to get kit to the troops.

U.S. Olive Drab wasn't standardized until late in the war. A variety of paint manufacturers produced it and many had their own company formulas or had been making U.S. RAF equivalent colors. These paints could age and react to their environment differently and there's documentation out there of aircraft from the same production batch and unit wearing entirely different shades of Olive Drab. Sometimes it could look khaki, sometimes more green or brown, sometimes almost purple and often a washed-out green drab.

Also, the same paint on the same aircraft could vary greatly in appearance from photo to photo due to different film and/or lighting conditions.

These profiles may reflect that but my sense is the darker OD is for newer aircraft or to show areas that had been repaired.

That's still a nice reference for someone not well versed on the subject and thank you for sharing it.

Brian da Basher


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