Paint/colour WW2 Bailey parts

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by alberk, May 15, 2021.

  1. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member


    the Bailey bridge panels I usually see are either rusty or post WW2 and in civilian use.

    Can anyone tell me what the original colour of WW2 Bailey equipment parts was? Does the colour have a name and can in be identified in a colour chart like RAL?
    CL1 likes this.
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member
    Bridge were painted in a drab colour; in May 1944 First Canadian Army operational orders stated that while vehicles in the Canadian Army would generally be painted olive drab (see Vehicle Markings for more information), Bailey bridging equipment would remain painted in "standard Camouflage Colour No. 2 to distinguish them from American made Bailey bridges."

    Standard Camouflage Colour No.2 (brown)

    CHRISTOPHER A LONG - Bailey Bridge at Pont-Farcy in the Bocage Virois, France.
    2. Some parts carry the inscription of the makers: 'Dorman-Long', 'British Steel', 'Cargo Fleet', etc. However, the entire structure of our bridge did not appear to have been painted in any other colour than its original camouflage grey

    Bailey Bridge
    Only Humbrol is referenced for paint and only two colors are mentioned: 155 Olive Drab Matt; 110 Natural Wood Matt. I was told by a site member that...
    If you are building an American Bailey, you need to paint it all US olive Drab... All US Baileys were OD. If you are building a Commonwealth Bailey, then you need to paint it all SCC2 Brown (commonly referred to as "fresh dogsh!t brown") as all Commonwealth Baileys were Brown, no matter what theatre or what year. This was to prevent American parts from being mixed with the British parts.*

    Take your pick I guess, others may have different details
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  3. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Sounds as if SCC2 Brown would be the right colour - matte, very likely.
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  4. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    I researched the Bailey Bridge pretty thoroughly 20+ years ago when manufacturing 1:76 scale models as Trux Models. I never saw a reference to any coulour except SCC2 Brown for British bridges, the colour being continued when other equipment changed to olive drab, for the reason given above. US Bailey parts were manufactured using US engineering standards and components were not compatible with British components.

    Finding the right mix of model paints is a different matter. Definately not the Dark Earth.

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  5. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Mike - that confirms SCC2 brown then.

    Is there an equivalent for it in the British Standard Colour Chart? As I am in Germany I checked for an equivalent in RAL and came up with RAL 8000. But this is based on illustrations online, which might be deceiving

    We need to use RAL colours - this is not for a model but for the real thing. In a small local museum an original Bailey panel will be on display - outside the museum. So they want to give it a protective coat of paint...
    The panel was found on the bank of the Rhine some years ago.
  6. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

  7. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Here's one recipe:
    Norton 16H paint

    Another interesting thread here with a very odd photo of a Service Brown (gloss) ammo box that's had a matt varnish applied to half of it:
    SCC2 (Brown) paint

    A Google hit on a FB page implies RAL 8027 or 8028 (not the best time to have a typo) as an equivalent to SCC2 (the recipe is for a Japanese khaki):
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  8. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Last edited: May 17, 2021
  9. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    RAL 8025 might come close to it:
    RAL 8025
  10. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Finally got my Mike Starmer NWE colours book back and this is his SCC2 swatch against RAL. It's off a cheap phone and uncorrected, and the finishes are matt and gloss respectively.

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  11. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Interesting and a bit confusing - SCC 2 brown looks darker in this photo... more like Service Brown...
  12. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

  13. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member


    These ar RAL browns:
  14. idler

    idler GeneralList

    The problem is the variation across cameras, scanners and monitors, even without any conscious enhancement or correction.

    The photo of the [gloss] RAL fan against the [matt] Starmer swatch was only meant as a relative comparison, not absolute. Bear in mind the swatch has been matched in the flesh against original BS documents and surviving samples.

    Perhaps the biggest cause of variations may be different manufacturers getting acceptable matches using different recipes that fade or age differently.
    alberk likes this.
  15. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

    All British-manufactured Bailey Bridges were retained in SCC No. 2 Brown to distinguish them from US-manufactured Bailey. All Bailey used in NWE, by all the Allies, came from UK-Manufactured stock.

    Pontoons were painted OD, but only those newly manufactured after April 1944. Any Pontoons (or other equipment for that matter) which had already been issued in SCC No.2 was to remain that colour until a.) it absolutely had to be re-painted and b.) all stocks of SCC No. 2 Brown was exhausted at both Unit and Depot level.

    Early production of US-Bailey (1943/44) was something of a disaster and had more to do with gauging issues than with differences in US Rolled Steel Section and Nut/Bolt sizes. Production was halted until Gauging issues were sorted out but this did not happen until after August 1944. There were still issues with interchangeability with the new runs of Bailey and these were the problems with rolled sections, nut and bolt sizes with regards to spanner sizes and also issues with US interpretation of designs and certain changes they had made to the design.

    All US Bailey Bridge sets made over 1943/44 period were painted OD Green but after August 1944 they were painted Grey, for the same reasons that the British paint marked theirs.

    US/UK had reached a deal in 1942 based on a 'share and share alike' agreement where they would make use of whatever equipment was at hand in each theatre. It was because of this agreement that the US received its Bailey supplies in Europe direct from British-Manufacturing (shipping space from US being at a premium) and that the US-Manufactured Bailey would go direct to Far East (India, Burma, Australia etc.) The problems with US supply led to some units in the Italian theatre, who were also left short of Bailey, taking over foundries and manufacturing their own 'version' of the Bailey; the Australians did the same until they began to receive Bailey in 1945.

    The schedule of colours for Bailey equipment was thus:


    Paint p.f.u brown primer, Cat. No. H. A. 6239 (C.S.1478)


    Paint p.f.u. anti-gas brown S.C.C. No. 2. Spraying, Cat. No. 5715 (C.S. 1898)

    The following caveats were applied to this instruction:

    (a) The paints have special qualities which enable a painted article to be decontaminated without the removal of the paint film

    (b) For reasons of camouflage, the paints have a matt non-reflecting surface.

    (c) The paints will not be cleaned with an oily rag or oil and water, as this destroys the properties mentioned in sub-paras. (a) and (b) above.

    (d) The paints will normally be cleaned with water only. If the surface becomes covered with oil or grease marks these will be removed with petrol. Provided that this is done carefully and not too frequently the properties mentioned in sub-paras. (a) and (b) above will not be impaired.
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  16. ted angus

    ted angus Senior Member

    To compare colours they must be in the same level of reflectivity. some years ago I painted half a panel of a UK ammo box with Matt varnish.see post 7 above. The boxes are finished in a glossy service brown B S 381 colour 499 the half I painted with Matt varnish was a good match for Mike Starmers paint swatch.
    I have a large chart containing colour chips for B S 381 colours and RAL. Referring to the chart To my eye RAL 8014 sepia brown looks a good comparison for 499 .
    alberk likes this.
  17. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Hello TED,
    thank you - this is a great help!

    Best regards
  18. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

    Patrick Baty, ex-British Officer, is one the leading artistic figures in historic architectural colours, paint charts etc. and has several august publications under his belt on this topic. He has previously 'dipped his toe' into Camouflage Colours during WWII and his blog post on this subject can be found at the link below. If seeking paint mixes he might well be the chap to talk to...

    Wartime Camouflage Colours | Patrick Baty – Historical paint consultant
    alberk likes this.
  19. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

    Interestingly enough, there's been a few comments under Patrick's blog entry since last I looked at it. There is one comment from a Dutch chap looking for a Mix for SCC 15, OD Green. Patrick's reply was interesting:

    "You can ask Papers and Paints to mix the paint colours for you. They are at 4 Park Walk, London SW10 0AD"

    Caveat: If painting small scale models one needs to consider the reduced reflectivity of the smaller surface and adjust lightness accordingly.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
  20. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Thankfully we've been talking 1:1 so have avoided 'scale colour' complications.
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