Camouflage Schemes of the Armies of the Middle East

ESCI Egyptian M60.A3 Tank

An Egyptian M60.A3 tank from the collection of Mark Deliduka, painted in a colour variant of the US four-colour temperate pattern used in the 80s. The Egyptian army adopted this camouflage pattern when the US Rapid Deployment Force was created, and joint US/Egyptian maneuvers were conducted. The Egyptian camouflages scheme is similar to the US four-colour temperate pattern in use at that time. The ESCI kit of the M60.A3 is no longer available, although some may still be found at flea markets and military modelling shows.

Basic Vehicle Patterns

  • Egyptian 4-Colour Pattern
  • Israeli Dark Stone
  • Olive Green & Grey
  • Armour Sand
  • Russian Green

Egyptian Army Vehicle Camouflage Patterns

Colour Designation Humbrol Testors Pactra Tamiya
Africa Yellow, base colour A20
Brown Drab, disruptive pattern A24
Olive Drab, disruptive pattern 155 1711 A30
Black, disruptive pattern 33 1749 A46 XF1
The Egyptian army adopted this pattern in the 1980s, when the US Rapid Deployment Force was created, and joint US/Egyptian maneuvers were conducted. The Egyptian pattern is similar to the US four-colour temperate pattern in use at that time. Africa Yellow is the base colour, Brown Drab replaces the reddish brown of the US pattern, Olive Drab replaces the green of the US pattern, and Black is used in small amounts, usually separating the other colours. M60.A3 tanks sold to Egypt were taken out of US Army inventory in Germany, from units which had converted to M1 Abrams tanks.

Israel Defence Force (IDF)

Colour Designation Humbrol Testors Pactra Tamiya
Armour Sand/Gray
F.S. 30277 Dark Stone
187 E 7283 MF20 + MF57
Dark Stone and Sand/Gray need to be mixed with 30 % white to achieve the proper scale effect. Tamiya's medium grey and buff can be mixed to achieve the desired shade of grey.

Jordanian Army

Colour Designation Humbrol Testors Pactra Tamiya
34067 Earth Yellow
34087 Olive Drab
The Jordanian Army uses primarily British equipment, and it is organized following the British pattern. The 1967 two-colour camouflage scheme used on M47 Patton tanks consisted of an earth yellow base colour with sprayed olive drab bands.

Lebanese Army

Colour Designation Humbrol Testors Pactra Tamiya

Lebanese Militia: Forces Libanaises (FL), 1982–1984

Colour Designation Humbrol Testors Pactra Tamiya
Olive Green, base colour
Grey, striped pattern
Militia members typically wore Israeli uniforms, and they were equipped with M16, AK47, FAL, and RPG weapons. M50 Super Sherman, M48 and M60 tanks, M113 APC, 105 mm, 122 mm, 130 mm, 155 mm, and BM-21 artillery pieces were available until the FL militia was disarmed by Syrian forces. Some vehicles were entirely black, others were olive green with black instead of grey stripes. Vehicle markings consisted of Lebanese flags, Crosses and other Christian religious symbols.

Lebanese Militia: Armée du Liban-Sud (ALS), 1982–1984

Colour Designation Humbrol Testors Pactra Tamiya
Grey, base colour
Olive Green, striped pattern
Militia members wore Israeli uniforms with bush hats, and they were equipped with M16, AK47, and RPG weapons. M50 Super Shermans, M3 Half-Tracks, and M113 APC, 155 mm, and BM-21 artillery pieces were available. Vehicle markings consisted of Lebanese flags, and Christian Crosses.

Lebanese Militia: Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO-Fatah), 1982-1984

Colour Designation Humbrol Testors Pactra Tamiya
Armour Sand
Militia members wore camouflage uniforms of different patterns, and white/red or white/black Kefiyah scarves. Several marxist splinter groups within PLO-Fatah adopted a pro-Syrian policy, whereas Arafat tried to maintain political independence from Syria. Personal equipment consisted of AK47, M16, and RPG weapons.
T-34, T-54, T-55 tanks, and Charioteer tanks, M113 APC, 107 mm (Chinese), 122 mm, 130 mm, 155 mm, and BM-21 artillery pieces were available. Vehicle markings consisted arabic slogans painted in black.

Syrian Army

Colour Designation Humbrol Testors Pactra Tamiya
Russian Green 114 2129
Apparently, Russian vehicles exported to Syria are painted Russian green, and the Syrian army uses them in this colour.
Lebanese milizia: trasporto truppe corazzato M113 della PLO-Fatah, Lebanon

PLO-Fatah M113 armoured personnel carrier in Lebanon

Scale Colour

A paint chip taken from an historic armoured vehicle may very well be the same olive drab or panzer grey colour which the hobbyist can purchase from Revell and Humbrol today, but it would be a mistake to paint 1:72 scale models in this way. When viewed from a distance, the actual vehicle exposed to sunlight will appear much lighter than a small model painted in the same colour. Dust settling on the vehicle can highlight the overall colour even further, sometimes completely obliterating the camouflage effect and making it impossible to hide the vehicle against the dark background of a treeline or forest.

The scale colour concept allows the model builder to simulate this effect. The authentic base colour is used as an undercoat, preferably sprayed on, to speed up the painting process. The undercoat should be left to dry before additional paint is applied. Mix the base colour with white to highlight it and then drybrush it onto the vehicle. The raised surfaces of the model will pick up the highlight just like the real vehicle picks up sunlight. Viewed next to eachother, at the appropriate scale distance, of course, both vehicles will appear to be the same size and their overall colour should be similar, depending on the intensity of natural lighting the modeller wishes to recreate. Drybrushing can be done in several layers, using more white each time. A final layer of dust grey can be applied to simulate the cumulative effect which a dusty road march would have on the vehicle and its crew.

Frequently Asked Questions

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