On the subject of NATO colors

Many paint manufacturers have different concepts of what a color should look like. so a reasonable solution would be to go to the source and check it for yourself. There is this excellent close-up of German NATO colors on a Leopard tank;

To my eyes, and my computer screen, the green appears to be a light Olive Green; the brown, a light Chocolate Brown; and the “black”, a slightly warm-ish dark gray (the caps on the smoke dischargers, are blacker than the NATO black). Is this a reasonable, or correct, assessment?
:smiley: :canada:
BTW; the black infill on the cross appears to be in NATO black rather than “real black”.


The brown has a touch of red that chocolate is missing, but maybe chocolate in Canada is different? I can see the green as being a light olive. The black is definitely not true black but if it was it would hide all the detail.

Guess I need to grab my Tamiya bottles and compare.

None of the available paints can be truly black.
A gloss surface reflects parts of the surroundings or incoming light.
A matte/dull surface is fuzzy (to be dull/matte) but this makes it slightly grey/gray.
An almost true black surface has been created using carbon nano tubes, it so
black that human eyes almost see it as a hole in reality.

Contains a video-clip

A very dark grey is a reasonable approximation of the NATO black.

A selection of cocoa powders:

Much of the crap milk chocolate we have in the States loses some of the redness shown in the cocoa powder. I prefer dark chocolate myself which definitely isn’t red like that.

1 Like

Which percentage?
The Swedish “mjölkchoklad”, our milk chocolate, has or had too low content of cocoa so it almost got on the wrong side of the EU rules for what can be called chocolate, very light brown and sweet.

A few factors come into play on NATO Camo photos.

  1. How new/fresh is the paint? The colors do fade markedly with time
  2. What are the lighting conditions in which the vehicle was photographed?
  3. How dusty or dirty is the vehicle? Dust tends to embed within the paint fairly easily in the paint and tone it down, even straight out of the wash rack.

I’m considering a fresh paint color baseline, then fading - dusting/dirtying, from there. The usual.
:smiley: :canada:

This should help…

Tamiya Paint Database – US Federal Standard Colours – Replikator

This mainly covers American Federal Standard (FS) colors for both ground vehicles and aircraft.


1 Like

If I recall correctly, there is no standard ‘NATO’ palette. The colours are not all the same exact colour (e.g. the same FS or whatever). Take the French Leclerc:

Definitely not the same green as the Leopard, it is more vibrant.
Then a lot of NATO countries use ex-Soviet/Russian equipment.

I believe the colours appear to be a ‘standard’ due to the application of paint in the country of origin of the vehicle - hence the Leopards, Panzerhaubitz, etc used by other nations seem to follow the German “NATO” palette…

1 Like

Funny that; the Army-issue chocolate I recall back in the day was a real quality product - a chunky-sized bar and full of decent flavour. Fast forward to around the late 80s/early 90s (and contractorisation at all costs) and it reappeared as a completely tasteless slab of brown, rock hard plastic.

Never, ever trust parsimonious Civil Servants and/or officers bursting with good ideas.

1 Like

The US, at least, has official colors assigned to the pattern: Brown 383 is 30051, Green 383 is 34094, and Black is 37030. The French use Vert Fonce IR 34X3, Brun Terre IR 30X0, and Noir.3603, which are regulated by the MAT 2636 manual.


Don’t mind me; I’m just stirring the pot. BWAHAHAHA!!!

US M113A2.

German Bundeswehr M113

Canadian M113A2 TUA

Swiss Schützenpanzer 63/89.

Danish M-113.

And just because;

Non-NATO People’s Republic of China (Taiwan) - M113A1. Different pattern, but very similar color combination.


Ah yes. That brings back memories of the Swedish Army Chocolate we had in the mid 80’ies.
A very dark brown, rock hard (we are talking flak jacket inlays) and LOTS of glorious chocolate taste.
Some, those raised on the diluted sweetened stuff, didn’t like it so I managed to trade (yum)
and I also fund a stash of it in a store room (it disappeared).

So; just a little detour from the main topic. What’s your favorite chocolate?

I am partial to Swiss and German; I find Swiss (Milka) creamier and more sugary than German (Schogetten) chocolate, which has more cocoa flavor.

Biggles asked about the cross - these were big stickers essentially, and what the first pic shows is how the light reflects off the surface rather than a true colour. The cross was indeed “true” black. The NATO colours appear to be spec’d as simply “green, brown, black” with each country deciding exactly which shades to use!

For UK tanks Tamiya’s XF-65 Field Grey is my preferred green, while German tanks can use their NATO Green instead. In either case I mix Tamiya’s NATO Black with Black about 50:50 to get a decent dark shade, as I find NATO Black alone to be too grey…


As for chocolate, you just can’t beat Cadbury’s Dairy Milk!

1 Like

Dark baking/cooking chocolate (Lidl has a nice one) from the baking supply shelf.
If I remember correctly it has approximately 50% cocoa. When I want to feel “luxurious”
I pick the extra dark baking/cooking chocolate with 70% cocoa.

1 Like

Okay, back to the topic.

the color is definitey black; you can see that it’s darker than the NATO Black color on the camouflage, so the Cross stands out from the camouflage

1 Like

So, when we’re done here should we start up again on German WWII colors next?


50 Shades of Feldgrau. Hoo Boy!