The »Olive Drab« camouflage colour approved for US Army vehicles, guns, and equipment in 1917 was made from a mixture of ochre and black pigment. From 1935, gloss varnish was added to the matt olive drab colour to improve the scuff and stain resistance of peacetime vehicles. Gloss finishes appear darker and more vivid, because of enhanced colour saturation, and they collect less dust and grime than matt finishes. From 1941, »Lustreless Olive Drab« was reintroduced to prepare the army for war. From 1932, the US Army Air Force used a darker shade of olive drab, designated »Dark Olive Drab 41«, because »Lustreless Olive Drab« was considered too light for aircraft use. In the US Corps of Engineers, »Lustreless Olive Drab« was known as »Colour No. 9«, which is why some authors, manufacturers, and modellers use »Olive Drab No. 9« to refer to the identical shades of »Lustreless Olive Drab« and »Colour No. 9«.
In January 1943, a team at the Army Resources and Production Division proposed to consolidate »Dark Olive Drab 41« and »Lustreless Olive Drab« into a new colour designated »Army/Navy (AN) 319«. The new »Olive Drab 319« was identical to the old »Lustreless Olive Drab«. However, the Air Force did not use »Olive Drab, 319«, because its own »Dark Olive Drab 41« had been developed further to enhance its infrared camouflage properties. Toward the end of the war, a better quality »Olive Drab 319« became available. The formula remained unchanged, but the pigments were better and the paint medium had been improved. Compared to vehicles from 1942–1943, the new vehicles appeared darker, because »Olive Drab 319« lasted longer and faded less.
David Doyle wrote in his book »Standard Catalog of U.S. Military Vehicles«: "During WWII, all U.S. Army tactical vehicles were painted the same color", and "the same paint colour was used throughout WWII production. There was no early, late, or gloss WWII shade of paint".
Steve Zaloga explained in his 2002 article Olive Drab in Military Modelling: "Basically, the only colour that comes close to the wartime colour is the Tamiya acrylic XF-62, with the Poly Scale acrylic  a distant second". Zaloga is a proponent of the scale effect of colour, he recommends adding 15 to 17 percent dark yellow or ochre to highlight the »Olive Drab 319« base colour. He advises against adding white for this purpose, to avoid shifting the hue to a gray green. Olive drab is a mixture of ochre and black.
Popular Model Colours of »Olive Drab 319«
- Tamiya XF-62 Olive Drab
- Poly Scale acrylic 505098 Olive Drab
- Lifecolor UA 220 Lusterless Olive Drab 319
- Vallejo Model Air 043 Olive Drab
- Gunze Sangyo H52 Olive Drab (slightly too green)
- Model Master 4728 Olive Drab FS34087 (too light, too grey green)
- Model Master 4842 Olive Drab ANA 613 (too light, too grey)
- Pactra A30 FS 34087 Olive Drab (too green)
- Humbrol 155 Olive Drab (too green)
- Doyle, David: Colors and Markings of U.S. WW2 Vehicles (Military Vehicles Magazine No. 99, Oct. 2003)
- Doyle, David: Standard Catalog of U.S. Military Vehicles, 2nd Edition (2008)
- Zaloga, Steve: Olive Drab (Military Modelling, 2002)