Information (about color) on the M26 Pershing

I heard that doing your research before painting your model always helped.

I’m going to paint a M26 (from Tamiya) from the USMC Company B, 1st Tank Battalion, but there are little photos of the tank. There are black-and-white photos, but that doesn’t help…

I know that most U.S. armor was olive drab, but is there anything else I should know?

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Do you want a model from Korean War? I am no expert, but I think that USMC used a different green than OD.

The Marines’ Pershings came from Army stocks so I’d go with the Tamiya color suggestions. “Marine Corps Green” for AFV’s came much later. . .


I agree with the above, go with OD Green.

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First of all, welcome to the forum.

Indeed there is. Olive drab ranks as one of the most hotly debated shades of color known to man, right behind dunkelgelb and Taylor Swift’s red lipstick.
Don’t buy into the hype so much - shades varied for many reasons, including how the paint was mixed. Add to that the fact Korea was (is) a dusty place. By the the time you’re done weathering the “exact” shade won’t be exact any more.
You may also want to look into the “scale effect.” Scientifically based, and easy to prove to yourself, but simply put: Lighten the shade slightly more as you do down in scale size.


I’m using Testor’s Olive Drab spray, and as a beginner, I’m not going to go into the fine details. How would ou easily create that dusty effect?

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I like pigments or airbrush. Depends on what you like best.

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From a beginner’s perspective, how would you go about doing it? I don’t have an airbrush, doing it by hand.

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Also, any reference photos I can use?

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I like to use some of each, airbrush first, then pigments, but I’m unsure if I should seal the pigments with Matt varnish or leave be, the varnish sometimes changes the color or the texture of pigments. Any thoughts?

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I was going to paint it, seal it with TS-13, then do decals, weathering, and brush on Vallejo matt varnish…

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When I was a kid doing model railroad cars that always happened - it lessened the pigment effect. Not from flooding it as I always sprayed from a distance - it’s just something that happens.
You can add more pigment afterward and not seal it. That’ll work for static models but for model rairoad cars it all wore off after time.

There has never been a time in my life when I was too busy to take photos. These are two cars I did at a very young age, and I still have them. Most of the pigments have worn off though. But these cars were more of a test bed for decaling than weathering. There was an old SCL line running not too far from our house in Florida. Using Walthers decal products there was no film whatsoever. That’s another tip for your build - spend a lot of time getting your decal film to disappear. Few things detract from a model more than being able to see the edge of the film. I was mostly successful on these.

Most of your best techniques from weathering were started my model railroaders back in the day.


My question is, if it hasn’t been answered already, how you can easily achieve that dusty effect.

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Yeah…I’ve suggested a similar approach to “exact” colors/shades, and got royally roasted for such blasphemy! :rage: :cry:
:smiley: :canada:

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Have a look at this page for some great reference on USMC Pershing’s in Korea

1st Tank Battalion

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I was under the impression that they came from Barstow which is Marine Corps stock.

Welcome aboard Random.

I would go OD but ok to lighten it a little bit as they sat in the desert for a few years before being shipped over. The hull could be slightly different shade as it shaded but also had more salt exposure because of the flooding. I don’t think they had a chance to use fresh water to wash.
As a beginner and using rattle can you use white/grey primer on top and black primer on the bottom. Mist a few light coats of OD to get some variety.

Bravo Co was mostly reservists from 4th Tank Battalion in San Diego, of which many were WW2 vets.

Post photos of your progress.

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In the photo section of Marines Under Armor by Kenneth W. Estes, There’s a pic of M4A3 Flame Tanks being refurbished and “. . .M26 tanks being readied for issue, notably LESS faded [than the M4A3] by desert storage conditions.” This was at Camp (now MCLB) Barstow, and shows the Pershings in a very dark shade. Even if they WERE NOT repainted before issue, any noticeable “fading” of the basic paint job appears highly unlikely.


If trying to finish an M26 on a very limited budget, I would start by priming the entire model with a spray can of flat black. This is the most important coat of paint. It needs to cover everything. I would make multiple light passes at a distance that allows the paint to reach the model while still wet. Keep the aim point moving. Do not flood the model. Do not hold the can back so far the paint arrives dry. I would let the paint dry between coats. I would shake the can thoroughly before each application. I would always start spraying off the model to avoid getting any splatter on my model. I would check the nozzle regularly to make sure it is clean. A dirty nozzle produces splatter.

If you just cannot get black primer into a deep recess. hand paint that. I might even hand paint recesses before priming.

With the primer coat down, I would now spray my olive drab from a can exactly as described above with one exception. I would not try very hard to get the paint into all the recesses. I would let the paint naturally accumulate on high points. This will result in a contrast paint coat with light and dark areas of olive drab.

Once that is dry, I would detail paint the tank by hand. Go slow. Use a fine brush. Acrylics are really good for this step because if you mess up, a quick swipe with a brush wet with water will clean up most of a mistake.

Next, I would apply decals. Here you have two ways to go.

Method 1: Gloss coat the model using a spray can. This does not need to be thorough. You just need to get the spots where you intend to put a decal. Those spots need to be nice and glossy smooth. Let this coat dry completely. Gloss anything takes longer to dry than flat anything. Once dry, add the decals. If you cannot afford decal setting solution, use white glue. If you need to put a decal on a complex surface, you will need to invest in a decal softening solution.

Method 2: Skip the gloss coat. Paint white glue onto the back of each decal and apply it. Push it down with a wet brush. Get all the air bubbles out. Clean off any white glue that squeezes out the back. Again, for complex surfaces, a decal softening solution will be required. This method may not work so well over complex surfaces.

Once the decals are on, spray the whole model with a flat clear coat from a can. Use the directions above. Do not flood the model. Let the clear coat dry between coats. Do your best to get a uniform finish.

At this step, if I had some money, I would invest in some oil paints and mineral spirits–burnt umber and light mud. I would do a pin wash with the umber and some mud effects with the mud color.

Next, I may need another flat coat. I may not. No oils means no need for a second flat coat.

Now I can do some pigments. Take a pencil and run the lead on a piece of sandpaper. That is the pigment for the machine guns. Purchase a cheapo set of pastel colors. Grind up the browns and grays on some sandpaper, then apply the resulting fine dust.

Once all the artful dust is on the model, stop handling it. It’s done.

There are some other things that can be done along the way. Soil from the garden can become dirt on the model. I recommend putting the dirt in the microwave for a few minutes to kill all the creepy crawlers. Do not let your girlfriend, mom, or wife catch you doing this.

If any decals silver, you can pop the air bubbles and paint over them. You can put some pigment over them.

You can do some spattering with mud colors. Run a brush wet with paint against a toothpick. Instant splatter. Do not over do this.

You can do some more spattering with mud colors and an old piece of sponge. Blot the sponge in some paint. Blot most of it off. Press it against your model. Do not over do this.

Acrylic and oil paints can be used for all sorts of rust effects, rain streaks, and general dirt deposits with some artful application.

You will need to accept that you are learning and this will all be a series of experiments. You may not get things right the first time. Play with it. Have fun. Do your best. Use what you learn to do better on the next one.

Finally, welcome to the forums!

Edit: Please note, I am a very mediocre model builder. The above is a thought experiment based on my own experiences. It assumes a very small budget for paints and supplies. One of the better model builders will probably have different advice for you. I have seen YouTube videos of pretty good model builds done on a budget. In some of those, the model builder hand paints everything using paint-by-number style paints that come with the kit.


The classic techniques are washes and dry-brushing. They are also “bread and butter” basics that every scale modeler should learn and master.

You should have no trouble at all finding a number of comprehensive YouTube videos on both techniques, and just about every book about scale modeling (if it includes any painting and finishing information) will have basic instructions.

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