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Eventually I have (with a lot of persuasion and the offer of help from a friend) got round to starting the restoration of my Enfield WD CO.

My question is this, what colour should it be? I had made the assumption that the bikes would leave the factory in something like deep bronze green, then be repainted by the Army or RAF or war office depending on the theater of operations they ended up in.

I may of course be completely wrong in this assumption and they may have been factory painted in what ever colour was specified by the particular contract number they were being built for.

Can anybody enlighten me?

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There is loads of useful information in "British Forces Motorcycles" By Orchard and Madden. It's really worth searching out a copy on the internet.

 

But to answer your question briefly, the following is a guideline. The standard pre war finish of parade ground Bronze green (or RAF blue). Was not suitable. So at the start of the war the WO directive called for a mat Khaki Green. Around 1942-43, the colour was changed to Earth Brown, and in 1944 the colour was again changed to Olive Drab. Of course there were no hard and fast rules as older colour paint stocks were used up or mixed with newer colours. Ron

 

PS does anyone know the BS paint code number for Earth Brown. I fancy doing my WD/L this colour. I have some BS 499 which I've always known as Service Brown?

Edited by Ron

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Gents , Khaki Green No 3 ( KG3 ) which was the first camo colour used in WW2 was never actually contained in a BS. But manufactured to colour cards issued to contracters by the W.O.

It was replaced in service by an earthy brown colour ; This colour was contained in BS 987 which was a range of war emergency Standard Camouflage Colours (SCC) . Each colour had a number and the BS publication contained a description of each colour, ( see attached which was issued before the inclusion of SCC15.) but the only one to formally have a name was SCC 15 which was named Olive Drab. The earthy brown that replaced KG3 was SCC2. It was similar to the standard MAP/AM/RAF colour of Dark Earth but was not identical. Gradually post -WW2 the colours from BS 987 was absorbed into BS 381 and renumbered and given a name- it is widely believed SCC2 became BS 381 colour 499 Service Brown. SCC 15 is believed to have become BS 381 colour 298 Olive Drab.

John I understand both the 2 latter colours are availible from the MV paint stockists listed on MILWEB.

BS-987C-1942 2.jpg

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Thanks Guys,

Ted, your vast wealth of knowledge has come up trumps again. I did have a copy of the SCC colour descriptions in a book, but as usual, couldn't find it when I needed it.

Since my CO is a 1943 build date I think I will go for brown, BS381 499. The paint guy at my local Dingbro (Motor Factors) branch in Ayr is very good at mixing colours from the BS numbers, I have had several mixes from him in eggshell or semi-mat finish which I have been very happy with, so I'll see what he turns out for Service Brown. It will be a good trial run since my next Matador is going to be a brown one.

All the best and thanks again to everybody.

John

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SCC NO.2 is a colour which is actually far too little seen on restored vehicles. Anecdotal evidence suggests that there were few British or Commonwealth manufactured vehicles in service in British Olive Drab by June 1944 and the majority of vehicles seem to have been brown, at least early on.

 

Incidentally, the Norton factory ledgers show a change of colour from 'Green' to 'Dull Green' during 1938 and then to 'Khaki' in 1939. It would seem likely that there were Dull Green vehicles with the BEF which explains some of the odd shading in photographs so there is probably a choice of four matt colours used from 1939 to 1945.

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Rick and Ron are completely correct in their observations...........but it is generally thought that the brown shade didn't make an appearance on motorcycle production lines until at least 1942....the caveat being that existing stocks of paint had to be used up first...thus, the larger volume manufacturers such as BSA, AMC, etc, probably started to use it earlier than others.......

 

The best mixing guide is to obtain samples of NOS wartime parts and get a colour match from there....even then, there are distinct variations..........but in my experience the SCC No.2 brown is a close match with British battledress uniform, or, the brown colour used on Battle of Britain era RAF aircraft cammo patterns........the Humbrol model paint range may provide a decent sample of this colour, often termed "dark earth"......

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.....Is it possible the bike may contain an example of the original color ...When I was selecting a colour match for my jeep I obtained a paint chip from the rear of the dash ..whilst the vehicle had been repainted on a number of occasions this area had never been touched ..this colour was again seen when i lifted the some access pannels .............Is there any paintwork on your bike between washers bolts panels /in the toolbox etc which could help ?

 

Jenkinov

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.....Is it possible the bike may contain an example of the original color ...When I was selecting a colour match for my jeep I obtained a paint chip from the rear of the dash ..whilst the vehicle had been repainted on a number of occasions this area had never been touched ..this colour was again seen when i lifted the some access pannels .............Is there any paintwork on your bike between washers bolts panels /in the toolbox etc which could help ?

 

Jenkinov

 

Big problem with this bike is that it had been civilianised at some time then had been completely striped down before I bought it as a kit of parts. There was some paint on the under side of the tank that looked like faded bronze green, but it is unknown if it is the original tank. Realy I am starting from scratch with this one.

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Rick and Ron are completely correct in their observations...........but it is generally thought that the brown shade didn't make an appearance on motorcycle production lines until at least 1942....the caveat being that existing stocks of paint had to be used up first...thus, the larger volume manufacturers such as BSA, AMC, etc, probably started to use it earlier than others.......

 

The best mixing guide is to obtain samples of NOS wartime parts and get a colour match from there....even then, there are distinct variations..........but in my experience the SCC No.2 brown is a close match with British battledress uniform, or, the brown colour used on Battle of Britain era RAF aircraft cammo patterns........the Humbrol model paint range may provide a decent sample of this colour, often termed "dark earth"......

 

The brown colour used on BoB era ac is dark earth from the MAP/AM/RAF standard range. It would be misleading to assoociate this with the BS 987 SCC2. If you want to create an accurate colour sample for SCC 2 it can be achieved by mixing - revel paints. 5 parts No 86 and 6 parts No 84. Mike Starmer who has published widely on the subject of these colours obtained an original copy of the SCC colour cards many years ago - by experimentation he came up with that mix. You could prepare a colour sample which could then be scanned at one of the larger auto paint outlets to facilitate the manufacture of a batch, make sure it is thoroughly mixed after measuring with a pipette, then apply to a piece of card which has been pre treated with a coat of Halfords grey aerosol primer.

 

That said I am pretty sure the colour may well already be availible via MILWEB.

As a point of interest many of the WW2 RAF/RN aircraft colours were not included in BS 381 until the 1964 amendment. The former MAP/AM /RAF paint standard soldiered on until that time.

In 1964 the RAF Dark Earth became BS 381 colour 450, with all the evidence being that SCC2 had in the 1948 amendment become service brown BS381 colour 499 this is further confirmation they are fairly disimilar.

Finally there can be pitfalls comparing samples from NOS parts or the exposure of inner parts of bikes etc. Even without solar exposure, paint colours change with age due to the component pigments breaking down. Deep Bronze Green is a pig to touch up because it is one of just a handful of colours that actually darkens with age as opposed to fading. Some browns tend to take on a reddish hue with age. I hope this is of interest, Mrs Windsor invested many pounds in sending me on courses about paints etc how boring at the time, but a great tool when delving into both MV and model projects.

TED

Edited by ted angus

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Thanks Ted for passing on your knowledge. Some 499 that I have used does indeed have a reddish hue to it. I'll check what's out there before committing....... Go bless Mrs Windsor!

 

Ron

 

PS. Has anyone had experience of Frank Burberry paint?

Edited by Ron

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Ron I have an ex Army trailer pump and an ex AFS Gipsy I resprayed both in gloss Deep Bronze Green I got the paint from Frank. good service, fair price both for the paint and carriage. I sprayed the Gipsy in my garden !! to aid drying I invested in a proper synthetic spraying thinner instead of using white spirit. About 10% thinner maximum. cheap gun cheap little compressor good result.

I note one of the MILWEB sellers is advertising BS 381 colour 411 camo brown, This colour was in the original edition of BS 381 in 1930/1 as colour 11 . pre 1948 colours were just 2 numerals. In the 1948 edition they went to 3 numerals; it was achieved by half borrowing the amercan idea; In the main it was achieved by adding 1 to blues, 2 to greens, 4 was added to greys , 5 to reds 6 to greys 3 was a bit of a strange one desert type colours plus a couple of browns.

So colour 11 became colour 411 in 1948, Colours already in a standard were not included in a second concurrent standard- so this strongly suggests to me 411 does not have its origin in SCC2 .

TED

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The brown colour used on BoB era ac is dark earth from the MAP/AM/RAF standard range. It would be misleading to assoociate this with the BS 987 SCC2. If you want to create an accurate colour sample for SCC 2 it can be achieved by mixing - revel paints. 5 parts No 86 and 6 parts No 84. Mike Starmer who has published widely on the subject of these colours obtained an original copy of the SCC colour cards many years ago - by experimentation he came up with that mix. You could prepare a colour sample which could then be scanned at one of the larger auto paint outlets to facilitate the manufacture of a batch, make sure it is thoroughly mixed after measuring with a pipette, then apply to a piece of card which has been pre treated with a coat of Halfords grey aerosol primer.

 

That said I am pretty sure the colour may well already be availible via MILWEB.

As a point of interest many of the WW2 RAF/RN aircraft colours were not included in BS 381 until the 1964 amendment. The former MAP/AM /RAF paint standard soldiered on until that time.

In 1964 the RAF Dark Earth became BS 381 colour 450, with all the evidence being that SCC2 had in the 1948 amendment become service brown BS381 colour 499 this is further confirmation they are fairly disimilar.

Finally there can be pitfalls comparing samples from NOS parts or the exposure of inner parts of bikes etc. Even without solar exposure, paint colours change with age due to the component pigments breaking down. Deep Bronze Green is a pig to touch up because it is one of just a handful of colours that actually darkens with age as opposed to fading. Some browns tend to take on a reddish hue with age. I hope this is of interest, Mrs Windsor invested many pounds in sending me on courses about paints etc how boring at the time, but a great tool when delving into both MV and model projects.

TED

 

Some good observations Ted......one of the other problems though of course, is the simple fact that even the official colour shades, BS or otherwise, that can be examined on NOS parts, colour cards, etc, is that even with these standards due to wartime demands, multiple production across many companies and locations, etc, shade variations exist between the official specifications......

 

I long ago gave up attempting to achieve perfection in paint matches, settling on the best match (in my mind at least) to something that looked right and was close to the NOS items examined...:) After all, who is really going to find fault after all these years.......? Both my Norton and Ariel were painted with decent colour matches several years ago now, and age + usage + sunlight, dirt, oil, etc, have all changed the original shade to a greater or lesser degree.....plus, I use dead-flat matt paint (sprayed) that is arguably far more prone to wear & tear......

Edited by wdbikemad

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Some good observations Ted......one of the other problems though of course, is the simple fact that even the official colour shades, BS or otherwise, that can be examined on NOS parts, colour cards, etc, is that even with these standards due to wartime demands, multiple production across many companies and locations, etc, shade variations exist between the official specifications......

 

I long ago gave up attempting to achieve perfection in paint matches, settling on the best match (in my mind at least) to something that looked right and was close to the NOS items examined...:) After all, who is really going to find fault after all these years.......? Both my Norton and Ariel were painted with decent colour matches several years ago now, and age + usage + sunlight, dirt, oil, etc, have all changed the original shade to a greater or lesser degree.....plus, I use dead-flat matt paint (sprayed) that is arguably far more prone to wear & tear......

 

Yes beyond doubt; to this day they still vary slightly; Even IRR matt green varies and its very variable fade rate makes for some strange shades. And even the ultra expensive special products for aircraft suffer.

As an aside, when we were mobilisaing for Gulf war one, we had to do some of our kit in 361 light stone, but stuff that was going to be used on airfield was mainly to be done in the now famous desert pink which was to FS 30279. We quickly ran out of depot stock of 361 , and the manufacturers had no hope of keeping up; from day one we mixed the pink to a formula because there had never been stock. so we were given mix formulas for both, paint was mixed in galvanised dustbins. It all started off well but as days and nights went by , with the guys and gals working 16 on 8 off there was some real cock ups and again some strange shades - remember the banana yellow fleets coming out of BFG ??? that no doubt was the result of similar experiences to ours.

TED

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Interesting thread. If indeed SCC2 became BS 381 colour 499 Service Brown, at least in the UK it should be available to order?

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Interesting thread. If indeed SCC2 became BS 381 colour 499 Service Brown, at least in the UK it should be available to order?

 

I fear that as the years pass by the more stringent the regulations that impose restrictions on paint manufacturers, that in turn affects availability and price.......I can well remember restoring bikes during the early 1980s when you could go along to any decent plater and get "dull cadmium" applied to whatever fittings you wanted....nowadays, an almost impossible job....:(

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I fear that as the years pass by the more stringent the regulations that impose restrictions on paint manufacturers, that in turn affects availability and price.......I can well remember restoring bikes during the early 1980s when you could go along to any decent plater and get "dull cadmium" applied to whatever fittings you wanted....nowadays, an almost impossible job....:(

 

I am aware of that, but other than leaded primer I cannot see the problem for regular paint types in any of the BS colours?

 

The question was where in the UK BS 381 colour 499 Service Brown is available "off the shelf"? Here in Holland most suppliers use the German RAL colour coding, in North America they use yet another standard.

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Any British auto paint supplier should have the recipe for mixing a BS colour. But I would use one of the firms who are familiar with our hobby. Like:- Cromadex, Firwood, Frank Burberry.

 

Personally I find Firwood paint the nicest to use. It's available from "Jeep Parts UK" but for some reason they don't stock brown. Lack of demand I gather. I might try Firwood direct.

 

 

Ron

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Ok then fellas, I've got a tin of Frank Burberry olive green, I am told he doesn't do a paint designated (1944) British Olive Drab so where would that fit, if anywhere, for WW2 use?

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Is there a BS number on that tin of paint? 298? Why wouldn't he produce British olive drab? Ron

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Is there a BS number on that tin of paint? 298? Why wouldn't he produce British olive drab? Ron

 

No number on it Ron, just the description 'Dark Olive Matt'. Dont know why he has no specific 1944 onwards British Olive Drab as, lets face it, it is a 'known' colour and must be on enough vehicles to warrant producing it. At the time when I ordered it ( O. Drab) over the phone, if I recollect correctly, he seemed as if I was asking for something that never existed that I was wrong in my description so I accepted the substitute. But what I've read since and from what Ted has told me British OD is an actual colour. I was interested to hear if any bikers knew where it (Dark Olive Matt as opposed to British OD ) might have fitted in to WW2 bike colour schemes.

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No number on it Ron, just the description 'Dark Olive Matt'. Dont know why he has no specific 1944 onwards British Olive Drab as, lets face it, it is a 'known' colour and must be on enough vehicles to warrant producing it. At the time when I ordered it ( O. Drab) over the phone, if I recollect correctly, he seemed as if I was asking for something that never existed that I was wrong in my description so I accepted the substitute. But what I've read since and from what Ted has told me British OD is an actual colour. I was interested to hear if any bikers knew where it (Dark Olive Matt as opposed to British OD ) might have fitted in to WW2 bike colour schemes.

The attached is a VERY poor scan I found on tinternet of BS 987 - I have only posted the part containing UK OD you will note at that time no other colour has a name. Its says Dec 44 = that date is when the BS issued an updated edition of the BS. SCC 15 UKOD was called for much earlier in reality. AMOs of june 44 and ACI of april 44 are the first formal orders but it would seem vehicles were being delivered in the colour by very early 44. Certainly RAF orders were often 3 months or more behind reality with the orders' contents initially being diseminated by telex signal or policy letter.

TED

 

ps as an aside just before the end of the war a second colour with a name was added SCC19 very dark OD for the far east.

BS 987c col 2.jpg

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"Light Olive Drab" from Jeeparts is a damn good match for khaki-green No.3 and late-war British OD.....not spot-on but with wear, good enough.......Firwoods variety is intended for spray only, Cromadex suitable for spray and brush........:-D and go for matt finish....get that authentic wartime look, glossed up with a regular application of an oily rag !!!

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