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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to restore this truck to its original base color...it is OD inside and out top to bottom..anyone been down this road?...lol thanks!
 

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...I think it is officially Olive Drab...but which 'sheen/version I'm not sure - there were many variants on the base color. But, I'm near certain you'll find the correct one on Rapco website, most likely #24087 - semi-gloss olive drab used on Army vehicles from mid 50's through Viet Nam. This is where I get my Air Force 'Strata Blue' {cool} -

http://rapcoparts.com/padenew.html
 

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I restored a w300 into a military tribute as if I imagined they would be if the army actually used them. Along the way I ordered a bunch of nos m880 parts including a bumper and a grill that were army nos in the box painted and ready for installation. The bumper was a forest green and the grill was a different shade.You can go crazy trying to figure the answer but you will find info online if you look. Steel soldiers is a great military vehicle site and the guys on there can show you examples. There was all kinda colors used and camo patterns depending on branch service and if vehicle went overseas or saw duty stateside. I bought my paint at army jeep parts as they carry the official military spec paint. they may help you with colors as well. https://olive-drab.com/ has lots of info old picks. At the end of my research i choose lusterless forest green which was not exactly like my nos parts but period correct and close enough. So no easy answer but dig around. Heres my result.
 

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I second Rapco for paint.  DO NOT use Arevoe, it will quickly fade.  As for the color itself, there are so many variations and so few people that actually "know" the correct shades for a specific vehicle from a specific time period that it's very hard for anyone to say what is right and what is wrong.  With that said, many of us who have played with MVs in the past will be able to easily spot WWII OD on a modern vehicle as being wrong or USMC green on a vehicle with US Army markings which is even more wrong.  Another point is that when the military repaints a vehicle, it's done to whatever the current standard is so a M35 could have started it's life with the 1950s version, then gotten repainted with the Vietnam era color, then again repainted to the later "383" Green used with the NATO standard.  It all depends on how long it was in service, though the M880 series was phased out long ago, it wasn't unusual to see them at National Guard armories even into the 1990s.  Also M880 series trucks were put into service in 1976, a year after the start of the 4 color MERDC patterns were started, and those patterns gave a lot of leeway to the individual units as to what colors were used in what areas and what season.  The military painting manual TB 43-0147 should be easily found for free on the Internet and can give you some insight on that as well as how ans where to paint the markings if you go that route.

As for the color itself, I personally would recommend either Rapco 34079 which is listed as the base color for the MERDC forest pattern, or Rapco 34086 which would be a more current version and should work pretty well also.  I don't agree with Mad Max on 24087 as that is going to be the dark OD green we are used to seeing on Vietnam era vehicles and the M880 series were used after Vietnam.  It would be correct for a later M37 or M715 in US Army service, but I don't think the semi-gloss look would look right on a vehicle that was put into service after the semi-gloss colors were phased out.  Just my .02
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the responses fellers I will check them out! Great looking truck!...love military vehicles...got a local guy who has one of the older models..the old power wagons....man am I tempted..I think the plane is going to trump this one. Four will have to be enough for now...at least till the plane is built.
 

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It's hard to see past the rust and relatively small size of the photo, but your M885 appears to be in camouflage.

Which level of restoration are you planning? Heres the thing, the M880 series went into service in the mid to late 70s and around the same time frame which the MERDC camouflage pattern was adopted and put into use.

Prior to the adoption of the MERDC camo pattern, vehicles that were sold to the military were painted a single OD green and often used as is. However, after MERDC was put into full-scale use, the military continued to receive vehicles provided with a single green color, but took the responsibility of applying the camouflage pattern, typically at the local level, and typically by hand. The problem with this method was that the pattern varied widely and no two vehicles were uniform

In the late 80s the MERDC pattern was replaced by the three color NATO pattern which were "professionally" painted, removing the responsibility of painting from the local level and making each vehicle look more uniform with each other, even to include vehicles of different branches of service.

Your M885 was likely to have been delivered in an overall military green paint job and then the camo paint job was applied shortly thereafter, considering the time frame these vehicles went into service. If you are restoring the M885, you'll need to decided if you want to paint the truck in a single military green color, equivalent to a brand new vehicle yet to be delivered to it's unit, or paint it in the MERDC camo pattern, which was the more common appearance of these vehicles.

If you go with the MERDC pattern, you can find the "official" pattern online, so that you can apply it correctly to the vehicle. The pattern consisted of four replaceable colors which allowed the single pattern to be used for a wide variety of environments and terrains by varying the colors. Typically the MERDC pattern used by our military, stateside was known as "Winter Verdant" The four colors used were OD Green, Earth Brown, Sand, and Black. Summer Verdant was also used stateside and replaced the Earth Brown part with a lighter shade of green (what we called pea soup) Others include variants on winter which replaces either the green or brown with white, or a desert environment, by replacing green with a different shade of brown.

In the restoration game, you could do anything you want. But if you're restoring the vehicle to what it looked like at the time it was in service, you might want to see if you could identify the unit it was assigned to (Usually stenciled numbers on the bumpers) and then apply the correct camo pattern and colors it would have been commonly seen in. (The photo is hard to tell but if there is brown present it's likely in winter verdant, but the pea green makes it appear as summer verdant)

Ed

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Ed..appreciate that..really...yes my intention is to restore the base color..then apply the camo my unit here would have used at that time...(we had these trucks when I was in the guard here years ago) The base is the main thing..it seems all the parts were coated with this base inside and ..I think that is quite cool!
 

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Don't forget, to be truly realistic, the cammo colors have to be hand painted with a brush.  :p
 

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SuperBurban said:
Don't forget, to be truly realistic, the cammo colors have to be hand painted with a brush. :p
Well, that is how the manual I referenced above says to do it. ;D

And I somehow missed the pic, but I do agree that truck has the MERDC pattern as can be seen in the stripes on the grille and the rear of the bed. What pattern are you wanting to duplicate? That will determine what base color you should start with, either the Rapco 34079 for the MERDC pattern or their 34094 "383 Green" CARC substitute for the 3 color NATO pattern used today.
 

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Elwenil said:
….What pattern are you wanting to duplicate? That will determine what base color you should start with….
The camo or it's pattern has nothing to do with the base color. As mentioned, these trucks were delivered in a single OD green color that was applied to every square inch of the truck before delivery. If the truck was painted in desert colors, upon delivery to it's unit, the base color remained the same OD green base, and it was usually still very visible, within the engine compartment, under the chassis, and the interior of the cab. There wasn't other base colors, at least during the 70s. What determines the base color, is the era that the truck was put into service.. Being that the M880 series went into service around 1976/77, it falls under the Post Vietnam era and the more appropriate base color, would be the Rapco 34079 forest green (post Vietnam) which you mentioned. In my opinion, the Rapco 34094 "383 Green" CARC substitute would be incorrect for the M880 series. The "383 CARC" was the base color for the later GM built M1008/M1009 CUCV which was also visible, internally when other colors were applied, externally.

The only time I'm aware of when the base color for a vehicle is changed, is if the vehicle goes thru a Service Life Extension program, in which a vehicle is completely refurbished and then repainted using the latest approved paints and colors. As far as I'm aware, the M880 did not receive such a service life extension. They were eventually replaced by the M1008/M1009 and rotated down to National Guard units or mothballed for a short time, before being sold off. In NG service, they tended to remain in the older MERDC camo pattern when the Army/Marines were already using the NATO pattern.

I'm not aware of any of the M880s being painted in the later NATO pattern, or having used any of the CARC paints….at least in any form of US service.

Ed
 

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my color is 595-34079--11 LFD  by GCI  if thats of any use. It is not dead flat like many I've seen but I bought it as "lusterless forest green".
It was nearly identical to the 50cal ammo cans i bought to use as tool boxes.
The m series trucks i see at military shows that appear to have original paint are very close but seem a bit more green and a bit less olive than mine appears.
kinda wish i'd taken pics of the nos grill and bumper i bought. Guys are selling the grills on ebay if you're curious.
 

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treewtreehuns said:
….Along the way I ordered a bunch of nos m880 parts including a bumper and a grill that were army nos in the box painted and ready for installation. The bumper was a forest green and the grill was a different shade…… So no easy answer but dig around.
treewtreehuns said:
my color is 595-34079--11 LFD by GCI if thats of any use. It is not dead flat like many I've seen but I bought it as "lusterless forest green".

….The m series trucks i see at military shows that appear to have original paint are very close but seem a bit more green and a bit less olive than mine appears.
When it comes to military colors, there isn't a one size fits all and there are no absolutes. Part of the reason is, the way the military is structured. The acquisition of various supplies are always changing. Paint suppliers change, paint formulas change, orders change. I recall seeing vehicles with various shades of OD green as parts were replaced, not unlike seeing OD green parts on an otherwise desert tan painted vehicle, or vise-versa. Some of the paint formulas used in the past were also notorious for fading or actually changing shades. I remember seeing dark forest green paints slowly turn a lighter shade of green over time, browns turning a red rust color over time, or tan turning an off white.

If the OD green isn't a perfect shade, for a restoration, it won't really matter because the original paint wasn't perfect. In this case "ballpark" is close enough for govt work. ;D

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Apologies I omitted the pic in the first post..whoops but..this is really the color I am looking for..the base it came from the factory with. The color on the inside of the roof does not match this tag..the roof color is really what I am looking for...which would almost be flat forest green...just maybe a shade lighter...the tag shore as hale looks forest green.

 

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RXT said:
The camo or it's pattern has nothing to do with the base color. As mentioned, these trucks were delivered in a single OD green color that was applied to every square inch of the truck before delivery. If the truck was painted in desert colors, upon delivery to it's unit, the base color remained the same OD green base, and it was usually still very visible, within the engine compartment, under the chassis, and the interior of the cab. There wasn't other base colors, at least during the 70s. What determines the base color, is the era that the truck was put into service.. Being that the M880 series went into service around 1976/77, it falls under the Post Vietnam era and the more appropriate base color, would be the Rapco 34079 forest green (post Vietnam) which you mentioned. In my opinion, the Rapco 34094 "383 Green" CARC substitute would be incorrect for the M880 series. The "383 CARC" was the base color for the later GM built M1008/M1009 CUCV which was also visible, internally when other colors were applied, externally.

The only time I'm aware of when the base color for a vehicle is changed, is if the vehicle goes thru a Service Life Extension program, in which a vehicle is completely refurbished and then repainted using the latest approved paints and colors. As far as I'm aware, the M880 did not receive such a service life extension. They were eventually replaced by the M1008/M1009 and rotated down to National Guard units or mothballed for a short time, before being sold off. In NG service, they tended to remain in the older MERDC camo pattern when the Army/Marines were already using the NATO pattern.

I'm not aware of any of the M880s being painted in the later NATO pattern, or having used any of the CARC paints….at least in any form of US service.

Ed
I disagree that the base color does not matter. The pattern he is thinking of will determine the correct base color. Yes, MERDC summer was the most common camouflage pattern used when the trucks were new and the original color would most likely be the base color for that variant of MERDC, the Rapco 34079, but he mentioned he wanted the pattern his National Guard unit would have used. Since I don't think he gave a time frame for that period, we can assume it was MERDC from the '70s, but if his time spent in the Guard was later, it could be 3 Color NATO, which would use the 383 Green as it's base. In addition, if he served out West in one of the desert locations in the '70s, the MERDC base color would be one of the brown or sand variants.



I do agree that there isn't really a "hard" answer as there was a lot of flexibility in the MERDC patterns and a lot of variants depending on where it was used but there are manuals that give the guidelines for each variant and so the base color should be whatever that pattern required. Here is a illustration of several of the MERDC patterns for the M715 that I swiped from M715Zone member Warwick many years ago when I was researching the MERDC pattern that was on my M715. The colors are obviously not the correct shades, but it gives you an idea:



Starting top left they are:

summer US & Europe
winter US & Europe
snow- temperate w/trees
snow- temperate w/open terrain
gray desert
red desert
tropics
winter arctic

So there can be a difference in the base coat the truck was delivered new with and whatever he may be remembering from his days in the Guard. I am just wondering which pattern he is actually thinking of, that way he can get the right color he wants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That is a good question...what time frame do I want to reflect...my time in would be late for these trucks having been painted as they were originally..I think what I want to do is the original for the truck...maybe even without camo..just OD..then stencil on all the stuff around the truck in black as they would have been before they camo'd them...It would have been woodland camo had it been in our unit..so it will end up one of these styles...hmmmm


 

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Elwenil said:
but he mentioned he wanted the pattern his National Guard unit would have used. Since I don't think he gave a time frame for that period, we can assume it was MERDC from the '70s, but if his time spent in the Guard was later, it could be 3 Color NATO, which would use the 383 Green as it's base. In addition, if he served out West in one of the desert locations in the '70s, the MERDC base color would be one of the brown or sand variants.
With National Guard, and Reserve un its, its not a matter of where the unit was located, but rather where the unit was assigned to if mobilized, and where they were most likely to go to, along with how high they were in the priority of mobilization. Higher priority units often had their vehicles painted for the location that was their priority for mobilization. I know a unit in Maryland, that had one of the desert patterns. It was funny to watch them go to the woods in Pa. The unit I was in, was a high priority unit for the middle east (WE were alerted the day Sadam invaded Kuwait, and mobilized the day after the President signed the order for mobilizing the Guard & Reserve, in country less then a month later). We were among the first units to get the CUCV's. It was a constant argument from central command, and the Pa Guard headquarters. Centcom, wanted all of our vehicles painted for the desert, but Pa would not do it, unless Centcom paid for the paint & time.

Bumper numbers were another constant issue. The common setup, was the units number, and the vehicle number on the right (looking at the vehicle), and the next higher HQ's number on the left. The wartime command wanted their numbers, and the peace time HQ, wanted theirs. Generally the peace time command won out. When we went to Desert Storm, none of it mattered. We had forest green tractor trailers, and the factory cammo on the blazers. Bumper numbers never changed as we were mobilized, and worked the port, or when we were assigned to a new Battalion for the ground war.

It comes down to the Guard & Reserve units had no real standard.
 

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In times of war, it's common for the unit to paint vehicles to suit where they deploy, but during the cold war it was very common for units out west to run desert colors, particularly guard units whose original job would be home defense.  There are a lot of MVs out there with remnants of desert paint that never deployed anywhere.  But again, there don't seem to be many "rules" to the various paint schemes other than the agreed upon patterns so at the end of the day, I'd paint the vehicle whatever you want.  Unless you are trying to make an example of a vehicle from a specific unit at a specific time period, it's really hard for anyone to say it's "correct" or "not correct".  {cool}
 

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Elwenil said:
at the end of the day, I'd paint the vehicle whatever you want.
Precisely. Find one that looks good, and have at it. The 880's were so poorly painted, unless you clean down to bare metal, any paint you put on top will just wear off in a few years.
 
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