11th ACR M1A2 camo

Something other than tan…


Yes, they are in a sand/brown camo and operate as the OPFOR (OPposing FORces, notional enemy) at the National Training Center (NTC), Ft Irwin, CA. They did deploy to Iraq painted that way in '05 though.

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2/11th ACR “Eaglehorse” Squadron.


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Which version of the M1 is this?
Is this a different shade of tan?

Curious as to the blatant color change to the rear exhaust!

Aren’t the exhaust grilles all black now?

1st 2 look to be M1A2 SEPs. The one with the Igloo on the rear deck looks like an M1A1 SA with the Stabilized Commander’s Weapons Station. The colors are standard NATO Tan with a dark brown camo.


This is why I am wondering about the differences in the rear exhaust. Not a real biggie, but I will point out the observations per pic. To me it seems as though many modelers have made this area into a soot build up look maybe not understanding the black already there and kind of like barrel ends darkening it for looks. But inform me if that is a possible reason for it being black.

so here we go.


both areas grayish black


inner middle area only, but grill tan

different rules?


inner only

one of my favs wanting to build, all three done up with right side upper tan

? grills tan, half upper black

grills black, holder brackets tan

middle only


![M1 Abrams 2|690x388](upload://rdcWnvrF3BIWX3VxaF7R0LtoLBZ.jpeg



multiple stuff going on here


just some pics. Just wondering again if soot is a thing or not?

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Only the middle section is the exhaust. The two outer grills are outlets for the radiators. They do not get hot like the exhaust does. The center section is often painted black so it doesn’t get all burned and rusty like in the 3rd pic down of the camo tank. Also, the center and right grill are on the same door, so most crews will paint the entire right door section black to make it look better.

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Yeah, I think the black painted grills are a unit-by-unit thing - if the commander thinks the rust and soot look bad, they’ll get painted.

During Desert Storm, we were issued brand new tanks. The right grill door (the big one) was painted black at the factory, along with some other parts. As a crew, we painted ours sand, to blend it in with the rest of the tank. Not everyone did this. Since then I have seen many photos of tanks with the grill door black, apparently from the factory. Some get painted over with camo paint, some do not.
Regardless of how it is painted, the center grill part gets black and rusty from the exhaust. Remember, this is a jet engine, the exhaust is about 900F when it comes out. Regardless of how you paint it, within minutes of starting the engine, any paint there is starting to blister and burn away, leaving soot and rust. As Gino said, the outer two grills are oil coolers, they don’t get very hot.

I’m glad you mentioned this Ken, after reading some of the conversation above I got to thinking " . . isn’t the Abrams turbine powered?", all the turbine engines I’ve seen blow out heaps of smoke on spin up albeit I’ve never had the opportunity to witness an M1 starting up. Anyway, there seems to be a lot of controversy about this one issue regarding the exhaust grill.

Cajun :crocodile:

Here’s a treat for ya.


Well thats not so bad, hmm, I have an image in my head of say an F100 or a Voodoo starting up with black smoke billowing out but can’t find a video of it. That first vid, man I’ve had farts worse than that LOL :nauseated_face:

Cajun :crocodile:

Which seems to come from when they started painting the whole door black. Maybe that is some kind of high temp paint, I don’t know. Like I said, we painted ours sand.

The central portion of the exhaust is the one that is directly exposed to the highest amount of heat generated by the engine…


I don’t think there’s a lot of consistence on what color to use… Some units paint it black, some paint it in whatever color the vehicle is painted.




Go with whatever color yo see fit.

So maybe the guy with the highest ADHD on paint duty at whichever motorpool? I know they were having issues with carriers at first landing the F35 and melting away the deck and came up with a special paint just for those carriers. maybe same used in this area at factory then changed once fielded?

I dont see a soot issue at all so far. The heat would burn off the smoke to easily. Seems it engine cycling thats creating paint temp colors like the blueing on stainless motorcycle exhausts.

We had a few on our COP. Even those were different. It’s possible one or two of these might be the same tank at different times during the deployment.

Someone once said these were never used:

They were a little gun shy about leaving the wire. The one time I saw them try, they managed to roll the tank.