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Painting an actual tank (M60A3)?

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  • Member since
    May, 2016
Painting an actual tank (M60A3)?
Posted by lazyfortress on Thursday, June 14, 2018 3:08 PM

Hello.  I decided to not post this in the modeling sections as the M60A3 I'm gonna work with is not a model.  

So I may get permission by the historical board at APG to restore their M60A3 they have on display.  However, I may not be able to work on the tank if the paint currently on the tank is lead-based.  They'll allow me to paint the tank in a combat color scheme.  I was considering doing the Exercise Reforger scheme (MERDC is it?).  

So I have a few questions.  How many gallons of paint am I gonna need to paint the M60A3?  Does it matter what kind of paint I use?  Is there a certain method to painting tanks?

Also, are there any other camouflage schemes the M60A3 used in combat or exercises besides the plain olive drab?

Any help/info is greatly appreciated!

Visit my site at !

My avatar is Nemo A534, a military war dog that served in Vietnam.  He was WIA while defending his handler.

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Thursday, June 14, 2018 3:24 PM

How many Tamiya or Vallejo bottles is that going to takeBig Smile

I can’t help myself,sometimes I paint the turret separately off the tank,I also prefer to paint and weather the tracks off the tank,sorry again


I couldn’t begin to tell you,but sounds like a great project,post some pics if you do it.

  • Member since
    May, 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Thursday, June 14, 2018 5:26 PM


While the real pros are going to respond to this one soon, first thought that I had was: The Army has a manual for anything. That means painting tanks too. Just find it on the net and there you go. You're looking for a Field Manual (FM).

I also recall that for painting the MERDEC you usually started with a one colour vehicle - let's say forest green. Then you chalk in the lines and put on numbers. After that it's "paint by numbers" - and you can do it with a spray gun or with a brush. And I'd say the paint job doesn't have to be particularily neat - the real deal wasn't neither, and I had a chance to see some MERDEC paint schemes 1:1. Start from the top and go down from there. And be sure to tape over all the things the real tank would need unpainted - like the headlight glass, periscopes, sights and so on, don't paint that, it makes the tank look dead.

Hope it helps - have a nice day


All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

  • Member since
    August, 2017
Posted by laskdjn on Thursday, June 14, 2018 10:03 PM

If you look on cybermodeler, the m60 had many many paint schemes.


The real questions are these:  Does it run? If so, do you get to drive it? 

  • Member since
    October, 2004
  • From: Orlando, Florida
Posted by ikar01 on Thursday, June 14, 2018 10:26 PM

Chances are that it will not run.  A battle tank is not something you want just anybody to get in and drive around.  Look what happened some yoars ago when someone hoppen in a M-60 and took it for a ride.  The end result was substantial dammage to civilian vehicles, and property and the local police could do nothing to stop it.  It finally ended on a highway when the operator screwed up and tried to cross the concrete barrier to go into on-comming traffic and groundedhimself.  He was then shot by the polce who managed to open a turret hatch that was left unlocked.


I remember Nemo.  I met him at Lackland during the Security Police combat course.

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Friday, June 15, 2018 8:56 AM

Reminded of a really bad James Garner movie.

Tim and Jill racing M1's at a Marine Base.

Many years ago, I went out to Aberdeen when they had a lot of AFVs on display. Some genius had painted all the German stuff yellow, all the french stuff light blue, all the Russian stuff pink and all the US stuff light green IIRC. And I mean painted as in held by their heel and dipped in the can.

Good luck.



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