M3 Grant interior colours

I’m planning on doing an 8th Army Grant with the full interior detail so all the hatches can be open, first of all I want to establish if the interior of the grant is white as per the factory issue colour, or silver as per British army practice of returning damaged or knocked out tanks into service, re painting the inside silver. I took some pictures of the Grant at the Tank Museum Bovington Dorset.

Here we have a view through the right side escape hatch, the interior has been painted white.
grant interior small image
looking at the loaders well, you can see the original colour with some paint drips.
this view through the left hatch clearly shows the vertical surface has been painted silver at some point, there are drips of white dripping down showing that the silver was there first.
bovvy grant floor cu small version

to the right side of the above picture you notice there are drips in the silver colour as well. It wasn’t unusual for RAC trainee crews to be sent to the Museum as Fatigue parties to help? out, obviously, being young lads, they would have rather been elsewhere, where there was beer and lasses, so the terrible paint finish could be accounted for. To add a further layer to this question, is this view of the Turret Basket for the 37mm, you can see it has been repainted partially at some stage.
turret basket ext colour reduced size
the newer layers of paint are further up, and the older colour toward the bottom half, it is possible that the turret was turned in another position that it is not in today, and not all of the surface could easily be reached by paintbrush.

Museum pieces like this are not great references for original colour, as over time things change and are not always meticulously recorded. If the tank was originally white from Factory, at some point it was re painted silver, then white again.
grant int reduced
the folding doors to the ammo rack, forward of the left side hatch are not included in the Academy interior parts, so some scratch building will also be needed.
Grant cabinet reduced

IIRC, Lend Lease build tanks were produced and delivered in standard US Army colors, OD exterior and White interior, to speed up production and delivery. Any theater specific camouflage paint would be applied in theater upon arrival. Surely why waste time repainting the interior.

Here is a view of the M3 production line showing white interiors. I doubt that those slated for British service would have had a silver paint applied.

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Couldn’t agree more, With respect, you’re missing the point. I read somewhere, can’t find the reference now, that when a Grant was damaged, possibly knocked out, the interior was repainted in silver as per UK practice to cover up the damage at the base workshop, or even higher up the Echelon chain of maintenance. if it was burnt I guess it would have been repainted after it was sandblasted, if that’s how they did it back then, but undamaged tanks would have continued with their interior original white.

From what I understand, If its American it should be white and if its British it should be silver. Can anyone else confirm this?

M3 Grants were manufactured with white interiors and either OD or Coronado tan exteriors. There’s no evidence that I’m aware of for any use by US factories of silver for lend-lease AFV’s. Even the Coronado tan was a major issue, and it was already being manufactured as an automotive paint that just happened to be a close match to what the British wanted.

The British also changed from aluminum interior to white during the war (as aluminum used for the silver paint pigment was in short supply as a strategic material). The British were also loath to re-paint anything that didn’t absolutely need it, again for reasons of economy. British paint regulations abound with instructions to unit commanders to not use some new regulation or guidance as authorization for repainting vehicles for any reason except absolute necessity or as scheduled by some higher authorization for large-scale overhaul.

Economy and uniformity (which then needed less repainting) were the driving forces behind SCC-15 which was intended to match US OD. Thus touch-up painting or individual vehicle re-painting would simply match (or better match) the OD most likely already on the AFV in question.

Mike is correct. The museum’s Grant was quite possibly hanging around somewhere (STT, RARDE etc) post-war, which is how it came to be preserved. At some point it was no doubt painted silver inside because it needed repainting and silver was then the prevailing colour for that.

The same museum has a Crab Mk I, in which most of the innards retain their ex-factory US white colour (with markings) but the Crab parts (PTO from the drive shaft and a metal trunking between it and the hull side) were silver when I was measuring in there back in around 1992. It’s possible that the silver was applied during the war as it was reintroduced and Crab was a late vehicle but I believe that the Grant was in use during what we might term ‘the white period’.

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The initial Grants were not supplied by Lend Lease and were purchased under the original Cash and Carry scheme, as such the British Purchasing commission specified quite a few things (The Grant for One as oppossed to the US Lee (Which was also supplied under LL.) It is highly possible the Grants at least had Silver Interiors , a number were suplied in a close match for British Desert Colours in Coronado Tan.

Yes, that makes sense for the purchased early Grants to be in British specified colors. So possible, but how probable?
What is the Coronado Tan paint color? This is a new one to me and I sure want to learn more about this.

Thank you spanner. Doesn’t look too different from some paints in my possession. Would that be used on M3 Light Tanks as well earmarked for shipment to North Africa?

And that makes perfect sense. Somewhere along the line that silver paint could be applied to the interior for one reason or another during overhauls.

My understandings is that burned out tanks cannot be rebuilt because the heat of the fire will compromise the integrity of the armor plate. If anything can be salvaged, it will be. But the hull and such is essentially scrap metal.

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David Doyle’s new book on the M3 Lee / Grant (almost 500 pages long) goes into excruciating detail about the various factory purchase orders and production contracts, to include those for the tanks supplied to the British.

Doyle:: M3 Lee and Grant - The Design, Production and Service of the M3

Among the details about the Grant conversions covered are the design and development of the turret, the Coronado tan exterior paint, and factory sand shields. There are photos of Grants on assembly lines right along with Lees for the US Army. Doyle makes no mention at all of any of the Grants receiving any interior color other than white. In short, there is no evidence at all for the factory use of silver for the interior of the Grant.

What could have been done to one of the tanks after delivery is a totally different matter, of course. In the absence of actual wartime evidence, though, this is then a matter of speculation. The evidence that does exist in the form of orders and regulations is pretty clear about the official stress for units to economize in all aspects of camouflage painting which suggests that it’s pretty unlikely that any Grant interiors were repainted silver just because that was a color preferred over white.

Repairs, maintenance, post-war museum examples, or even some senior commander ordering his tank to be painted silver inside (despite strong official guidance to the contrary) offer rationale for possible exceptions, but those would be just that… exceptions.

Lots of good info and photos of Grant tanks here…


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Thanks Stikpusher, I will go through them later.

box artwork

I’ve ordered this, the fit of parts is good but I’ve only seen the exterior version of this kit built else-where, The interior looks better than the Academy version, due to the fact that it’s based on their Lee Kit, and the Radio was fitted to the left of the driver, rather than in the Turret for the British Grant. So there is no 37mm ammo locker to the left of the Grant Driving position, see my picture of this locker above inside the Bovington Grant. I’ll start a separate Build thread on this, I may fit LED lights inside it.


Very interesting, thanks for sharing that with us stik,I get a shiver down my spine when I think of the loader not having his own hatch and a recoil guard stopping him getting out in a tank on fire situation. Thankfully it was recognized and improvements made to the Sherman, that must have saved some men’s lives. Too late for Grant crews.

I started following this guys blog a few months back, and he does some really interesting articles on armor. His latest entry is regarding M3 Mediums, Grant’s and Lee’s in North Africa. Plenty of good photos too.



I’ve built that kit and did a blog on the old site if you are interested.


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cheers PRHOO1, I will read that at leisure.