Question on MASSTER camo

I collected several books on MASSTER camo and REFORGER FTX. I plan to build an M577 from 2 ACR during REFORGER 77 Carbon Edge. Tamiya instructions say that the suspension was left in Olive Drab. Could this be confirmed? What is the best option for Olive Drab in acrylics?

Can’t answer your question about the painting of the suspension but I can address the OD. Don’t sweat the exact color too much. Find something that is close and go from there. Once everything is gloss and matt coated and weathered the color will look markedly different than the original clean color. Just keep in mind that in most cases colors will get darker as a result of the weathering process. Good luck.

Try adding some black to Tamiya OD. Just eyeball it. The OD in use in Europe before MASSTER and MERDC came along was VERY dark.

And yes, from photos and what I’ve read, the suspension areas were usually left in OD on tracked vehicles.



It’s just like everything else about the Army. It depends. The BEST answer is do you have a photo of the exact vehicle you plan to build. If not then it comes down to preference. There were THOUSANDS of vehicles in USAREUR painted in MASSTER, and they were hand painted by THOUSANDS of individual GI’s and one thing I can tell you for certain that there is NO WAY they were all done they same.

As far as the M-577 goes, attached is the actual attachment from the Regulation which was issued to the field as instructions on how to apply the pattern to an M-577. You will notice that it absolutely shows that the various colors are to be applied to the area of the road wheels and suspension. The photograph above shows a vehicle (an M-113 variant) which clearly does NOT have the scheme applied. You will also notice from the instruction that it indicates that if you actually follow what it tells you to do that every road wheel will actually wind up being painted TWO different colors, which will look pretty funny when the wheels are turning. I know for a fact that at least in my unit, 1st Bn, 2nd FA, which was in 8th ID and part of V Corps that we painted the road wheels and the drive sprocket and return wheel all in one single color.

So what did they do in 2nd ACR, which was part of VII Corps? Hard to say, and there’s every chance that how they did it for ONE Regimental Commander was NOT the way it was done for another one.

My personal preference would be to paint the suspension and wheels in MASSTER, but it’s up to you. And without an actual photo of the exact vehicle you’re modeling, unless it was THEIR actual vehicle and they can recall what they did almost 50 years ago, if anyone tells you that you’re wrong, because every vehicle was done the same they are flat out wrong.

As an aside, while the pictures show that both the M-113 and M-114 are pretty well in compliance with the pattern, while it’s somewhat hard to tell on the M-114, the suspension/wheels on the M-113 are not how the instructions show they should be. Which is not unusual.

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This link shows plenty of vehocles with indeed their running gear in OD; M113’s, M88’s, M60’s… but also with coloured wheels.

For a 1960s/70s US Olive Drab, Tamiya’s XF-74 JGSDF Olive Drab is a pretty good option.

Hataka has produced a lacquer paint set of MASSTER colors - Hataka MASSTER

Those diagrams are great! Would you happen to have them for the M60A1 as well?

Cheers and thanks,


Exactly! There is even one shot of a vehicle with two different colors on most of the wheels which is exactly how the pattern says they’re “supposed” to be.

So like I said, unless you have a photograph of the exact vehicle you want to represent (and possibly even the exact YEAR, because they were often repainted), there is no “correct” or “wrong” answer. I’d do what you think looks the best.

Scott, the answer is “sort of”. This Inclosure which was used to illustrate the patterns was ACTUALLY created in December of 1966! It was planned for use then, but the program was cancelled in mid-1967 and not resurrected until 1973. And oddly, color number 2, which in MASSTER is a sand color, was originally intended to be FS 30219 (a dark tan) for fall and winter, and FS 34127 (a forest green) for spring and summer. Obviously this would have meant bring vehicles in twice a year for a partial re-paint. For some reason when MASSTER was actually implemented in 1973, color 2 had been changed to the familiar sand color, which DID lead to some questioning and speculation when we started painting!

So while the patterns DO include a set of templates for tanks, you’ll see from the profile that the actual vehicle appears to be an M-48, which is what 7th Army units would have had in 1966 when the original patterns were created. When MASSTER was actually implemented in 1973, the simply pulled these charts out of the file cabinet, changed color 2 to Sand and out the door they went!

So even though the vehicle in the pattern isn’t actually an M-60, this is exactly what was used to apply the MASSTER scheme to the M-60.

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Very cool photos of that time period. Anyone know if those German flat cars were the same as used back in WW2? Could the few out there on the market be used as 1970s equipment? I’m asking because they would make a great diorama with all the updated M60s etc that are available now.

The 4 axle and 6 axle flatcars are in principle the same as used by DRG. You only have to add some Deutsche Bundesbahn markings. Dragon or Sabre Schwerer Plattformwagen Typ SSys will fit, you only have to check for the right markings.

Thanks HemannB, they do look very similar to the WW2 flat cars. I’ll have to check it out

Metalhead85, for an M60 Transporter you have to check out SSys80 flatcar (6-axle).

Here some impression from Conn Barracks, Schweinfurt in January 1996. The flatcars are modern incarnations of the 4-axle SSys.


OMG, it seems you have the last MASSTER template catalouge, something like the Holy Grale… Could you also share the missing views of the M113/M114 and maybe for the M35 2.5t truck and M54/M813 5.0t truck?

ANYTHING is welcome! :grin:

The original regulation was USAREUR Regulation 746-5 which was published on 26 April 1966, which I have a copy of. It describes the original policy and directions to include what vehicles to be painted, what items such as canvas, leather, rubber, medical vehicles, individual weapons etc were NOT to be painted, and the four colors. But no templates. On 7 November a supplemental letter was issued which again listed the colors, but included a square 6" x 8" which showed the pattern and stated that it was a 1 inch equals 30 inches scale drawing. Units were instructed to create their own drawings of each vehicle in a 1 inch equals 30 inches scale (effectively making the drawing slightly larger than a 1/35 scale model that we’re familiar with) and then TRANSFER the pattern to the scale drawing and then using THAT, go to the motor pool and do the resultant chalk outlines on the real vehicle!!!

I’m a professional engineer and these instructions came from the office of the Chief Engineer of USAREUR, so I can understand why THEY didn’t see this as a difficult task. But the uproar from the field to these directions must have been incredible!

On 2 December 1966 a second letter was issued, this one had a 38 page inclosure consisting of multiple views of 12 sample vehicles, with patterns. The program was put on hold until a staff visit from the Department of the Army Camouflage team could be conducted in February of 1967. After their report was issued in early March a message was sent out on 22 March deferring the program while a few additional issues were settled.

And then, in June 1967 the program gets cancelled. Three reasons come to mind. The Six Day war happens, the US Army becomes very focused on Vietnam and USAREUR becomes a backwater, PLUS the commander of USAREUR, whose idea this was gets replaced, and I suspect the new guy didn’t want anything to do with any of it.

Finally in 1972 the issue gets brought up at a NATO meeting, and it’s finally decided to implement the MASSTER Program in 1973. They change color 2 from a Brown/Green seasonal to a sand color, and some bright young Captain finds the old templates from 1966 and says, let’s just use these.

I have all 38 pages of the inclosure with the templates, and I’ll re-post them all in order in another post. The problem is, I have them as a pdf and I have to convert them to a jpg to post them.

What is ironic is that while I have the original inclosure, what I have is the attachment to the 1966 letter. I recognize these templates as EXACTLY what was used in 1973 to paint the vehicles because I was there.

But what I cannot seem to find is a copy of either the USAREUR, VII Corps or V Corps Regulation from 1973 which actually kicked off the MASSTER Program and was published with the original 1966 templates, Nobody seems to have a copy.

So if anybody can locate a copy of what I believe to have been renumbered as USAREUR Regulation 5-525 from some time in mid 1973 I would love a copy. Or one of the Corps Supplements which would have the same number and reference the USAREUR Reg. I was in 8th ID, part of V Corps, and I’m pretty sure what we used was a V Corps Reg.

I believe that the folks at Tankograd have a copy, because they reference it in their Special number 3017 about the MASSTER program. But for some reason, they have not answered any letters to them requesting assistance on the matter. So if anybody can get in touch with the Tankograd folks that would be great.

I’ll create a separate post later with all 38 pages.


I guess you know about these two sites? Don’t know if what you are looking for is listed there…

Thanks HermannB; I was in Germany from ‘85-87 in Erlangen and did take some pictures but have to dig them out. We railheaded out to Graf on a few occasions and I didn’t think to take note of the specific flat cars they were using.

I guess you know about these two sites? Don’t know if what you are looking for is listed there…
These sites are only good for Army Level Publications. What I’m looking for is a USAREUR (US Army Europe) or one of their subordinate Corps (V or VII) Regulation. None of those documents would have been retained by either of those sites. I’ve tried the USAREUR History office without success. They MAY be stored in some archive somewhere, but I have not been able to locate anyplace where a copy was maintained.

As I said, the Tankograd book references it in their discussion about MASSTER, which leads me to believe that perhaps they may have a copy. But since I can’t get anybody from there to answer my queries, it remains a mystery,