The History of Olive Drab:

The History of Olive Drab:

Perhaps I am being naive here but is there a “story” behind the original creation of the US Olive Drab color? If so I have yet to come across it.

Did it start out simply as a “dark leaf green”???

I know the color has “evolved” down thru the years but it struck me the other day as to just what might be its’ military/historical origins?

The history of US Army Olive Drab, according to Steve Zaloga



For any newer modellers reading this thread, please note that sometime after Steve Zaloga wrote this article the folks at Tamiya reformulated their XF-62 OD and made it noticeably green. They then reformulated it to be a bit closer to OD, but it isn’t what the old formula was. And some brands like Pollyscale no longer exist…

Michael - this is a shot of a page from Antique Ordnance Publishers book “ Artillery for the Land Service of the United States 1849 - 1865 “
shown here for discussion purposes only .
Fantastic Book .
Hope this may give some insight.

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I morn the loss of ModelMasters #1911 as it had just that slightly stronger yellow cast that made it perfect for pre-war and early war model builds!

For all Tamiya’s attempts they just don’t get the early war shade. (Not in rattle cans anyway!)

Oh-oh. Steve Z is giving the thumbs down to the ModelMaster color as being too light!

Thanks to all for this very thorough answer to my question!

You can always mix your own to taste from black and yellow.

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Different black pigments:

Olive Drab is Yellow Ochre and Lamp Black. It’s very easy to mix your own to any OD shade you desire.

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Yes indeed. When I was a kid I went to visit my family in Mexico. They knew that I liked models so they took me to a toy store and my uncle bought me a model and a set of paints to keep me busy while everyone was at work or school. The paints in the set were primary colors, plus a few others such as black, white, and silver. The instructions for the model said to mix black and yellow from the paint set to make OD. Surprisingly the OD turned out quite well, even if it was gloss paint.

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