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weatherdeck paint for LIberty ships

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  • Member since
    September, 2010
weatherdeck paint for LIberty ships
Posted by retdfeuerwehr on Thursday, March 09, 2017 3:36 PM

I'm sure this has been asked and answered several times, but I'm asking again: were WW2 Liberty ships' weatherdecks painted "deck gray" or 5N "haze gray" of the superstructure, deck houses, etc.?

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Thursday, March 09, 2017 3:57 PM

There were two types- some Navy Auxiliaries (AK, AP) or Army Transports (AT), and a whole lot of United States Maritime Commission ones (SS).

Putting aside that its possible to find a photo of just about anything, the USMC ones were overall one color of gray. I've seen the overheads white and the interior decks red, but otherwise all one color of gray. Because they were built in commercial shipyards, the paint spec. was not a Navy Measure. 5-O Ocean Gray is considered a close match.

The only exceptions would be the stack top (black) and the tarps over the hatch covers.

There was no bootstripe during the war.

source (paraphrased)-

Chris Friedenbach
Crewmember, SS Jeremiah O’Brien


Ignore the Trumpeter directions.

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Saturday, March 11, 2017 8:51 AM

Again ;

 I do have to heartily agree here .When I served on the " S.S.  OCALA VICTORY " operated by Olympic Steamship out of Seattle , in the Seventies she was overall grey with NO bootstripe . T.B. 

  • Member since
    September, 2010
Posted by retdfeuerwehr on Saturday, March 11, 2017 3:04 PM

Chris, what did the crews do with the hatch boards and beams, once the hatches were opened. I was aboard an old AKA (Merrick AKA97) many years ago, and we'd just stack the boards alongside the hatch, and the beams alongside the boards. Man, those boards were heavy, too!! BTW, what color was standard for the hatch tarps?

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Sunday, March 12, 2017 7:25 AM

Hi ;

 I think they were like the ones on the Victory . Kind of a Blackish Grey . Looked for all the world like worn Black canvas . T.B.

  • Member since
    December, 2005
  • From: Seattle, Colorado
Posted by onyxman on Monday, March 13, 2017 10:00 AM

Hatch boards, beams and the folded tarps were stacked alongside the hatch, if there was room. The color of the tarps, as I recall, was dark green or olive, but being canvas, you can probably use anything from green to tan. The canvas was NOT painted.



  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: EG48
Posted by Tracy White on Monday, March 20, 2017 8:01 PM

A quick side note - part of this may also depend on WHEN in WWII you are talking about. The Navy considered their camouflage paint formulas secret and did not release the formulas to civilian commercial paint manufacturing companies until 1943. So, Maritime Commission liberties would not have been painted in Navy colors before probably spring/summer of 1943.

Tracy White Researcher@Large

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 12:37 AM

MC Liberty ships were not painted in USN measures more or less ever.

Never say never, Tracy you'd know, but the specification was "slate gray".

Chris F. says that one of the losses to history was when the JOB was blasted down to bare steel in 1979.

My daughter went out with a guy who was a volunteer on her and I got a good back of house tour to some interesting engineering spaces like the manual steering station and the shaft tunnel, plus a chunk of original hull plate.

He was not Chris F.

But there were areas with the original paint. Wish I had thought to grab a chip or two.

His (bf) big fun was to show me a big 20" turret lathe in the engineering shop that had a level bubble on the bed...

Guess you had to be there.



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