If you are looking for the “correct” color of lustreless (also spelled lusterless), olive drab paint then you need not look any further than TM9 Ordnance Products, LLC. All TM9 products are now available for sale from STORE.MIDWESTMILITARY.COM. The owner has done considerable research into the color. He has observed that there were several variations of lustreless, olive drab. It’s not that he is saying there were multiple versions of lustreless, olive drab but rather the resultant finish has been observed with differences.
Why are there different hues of Lustreless, Olive Drab when there was only ONE paint? Variation of hue has often been a cantankerous problem but it is fully explained away by the WW2 manuals!
An explanation for the color variance in parts or vehicles was found in FM 5-20H, July 1944, entitled,”Camouflage Materials and Manufacturing Techniques”. Originals were printed with color charts and photos. The example found was sadly a black and white copy.
From the above referenced manual, Section 1. Paragraph 5, PAINTS. (e). …”In spite of color standardization, there is considerable variation in hue between lots and between the products of different manufacturers.” So there you go. A sane and written (in the period under discussion) explanation of why we find different “hues” of lustreless olive drab.
So you have a choice of buying paint sold by most military vehicle parts sellers that isn’t close to original colors but the formula paints like those in the 1940s or now you purchase a great paint by TM9! They offer lustreless olive drab in a formula similar to what was used in WW2. In other words a non-catalyst paint. This is the THE paint we have all been waiting for.
Speaking of painting, you might be interested in a book about how to paint – How to Paint Classic Cars (Enthusiast’s Restoration Manual). It’s available from Amazon and should be helpful.