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PT Boat Colors and Color Schemes

Paints such as the following were utilized on PT boats. Other paints were used as well, and as soon as I find their nomenclature and corresponding numbers, I will post them here.

Acid-resisting black
Copperoyd bottom paint
Canvas preservative dyes (blue, gray or green)
Deck Blue (20-B)
Deck Green (20-G)
Flat black (13)
Navy Green (5-NG)
Ocean Green (5-OG)
Thayer Blue (5-B)

click for larger image

PT-191, this is a variation of Measure 31/5P

One thing that a modeler has to remember is; even though the Navy may have had prescribed Measures for different camouflage schemes, and prescribed paints for those schemes, in the combat zones, crews may not have the time, supplies or the facilities to keep a scheme up to specs.

In many cases, as seen with the crews of the first Squadron 3, the crews may have had to utilize locally acquired paints, stealing it in a few instances.

My opinion on this is definitely in the minority, but after talking to many veterans, I stand by my opinion.

Other Schemes

Some other schemes carried by PT boats were:

Measure 31/5P - This scheme utilized Navy Green and Ocean Green.

Measure 31/20L - This scheme combined Black, Green #2 and Green #3.

Diagram of the PT-625 Class
with the Measure 31,
Camouflage Design 20L
(click diagram for larger view)

Courtesy PT BOATS, INC.

PT Boat Color Scheme
Measure 31, Camouflage Design 20-L
courtesy Victor Chun's "American PT Boats in World War II", PT BOATS, INC. and the National Archives. (click diagram for larger view)


In 1942, the scheme initially applied to the Elco 80 footers utilized Navy Gray (#5) and Dark Gray (5-D)

The bottom paint for all of these schemes was Copperoyd.

Squadron 3 - The Expendables

The six boats of the first Squadron 3, under the command of Lt. John D. Bulkeley (PTs 31 - 35 and 41) were originally painted overall Navy Gray (No. 5) with Outside Dark Gray (No. 5-D) decks. Once the boats reached the Philippines, they were repainted in Measure 1, which was overall Overall Dark Gray (No. 5-D).

At some point, probably in early 1942, at some point in April 1942, the Ron 3 boats were painted in some shade of green.

Their bottoms were Copperoyd

The Adaptor Scheme (click link for discussion of The Zebra Scheme)

Camouflage Schemes for PT Boat Tenders In World War II

I also offer an article dealing with Camouflage Schemes for Royal Navy Coastal Forces Boats for those interested.  You can find this article here

You can also view drawings of selected PT Boat color schemes here.

A Note from Garth:

I am awaiting some additional data from PT Boats, Inc. As soon as that arrives I will be adding more here about PT Boat camouflage schemes. A part of this information comes from a manuscript from Elco's Research & Development Department. Also, at some point in the future, I will post something about the three seventy-seven foot PT-20 Class boats that were converted to all gun PTGBs (PT Gunboats) and the three seventy-eight foot Higgins PT-71 Class boats that were converted to gunboats to replace the three seventy-seven footers. Complete with photos that came from Chip Marshall and Wayne Traxel.