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Soviet (tank) colours and markings

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  limburger 3 years, 9 months ago.

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    Cult of Games Member

    With my Soviet Bagration army landing ‘soon’ I wanted to know two things :

    (1) what markings should I use ?
    (2) is it true that they were all green (or white in winter )?

    The ‘Colours of war’ was surprisingly lacking in details, because the Soviets deliberately chose not to use any sort of standard (named ‘maskirovka’ *) and very little of info appears to be available (probably because most people focus on the Germans, British and Americans).


    This could be a good thing, because it kind of allows you to almost anything (except pink tanks ;)) and claim it was real … but I do want to be a bit more realistic without linking anything to actual historical units to make life a bit easier for me.

    A bit of Google did give me this :

    But this one is a fantastic resource :

    yep … Soviets used camouflage. There even is a 4 colour variant, but the winter camo with the green ‘trees’ looks cool.



    Lots of interesting stuff on that site, including more detailed info on markings used by units.

    I probably will start a project once I know what I’m doing, but I wanted to share these links and see if there was more information.


    Cult of Games Member

    To try and answer your question, @limburger – it depends on whether you’re keeping your force “Bagration” themed or just general Soviet late war.  Operation Bagration was a specific Soviet offensive timed for June 22, 1944.

    By and large … you can’t go wrong with that dark Soviet green, with gray for tracks, dark gray / black for the tires around the road wheels, and maybe some wood for ditching logs / stowage bins.

    Sure, there are exceptions – but when looking for online examples, BE CAREFUL.  Most of those “exceptions” are for allied armies like the Poles, Estonians, Croats, Czechs, and others.  Also there seems to be a huge thing on the web for Soviet armor captured in German use.

    Also, especially with T-34/85s and SU-100 assault guns, it might be for post-war Soviet client states.

    Just be sure you’re looking at a SOVIET example for 1944 specifically.

    The other warning – please don’t put that white band around the turret a lot of people like to do. That’s for the Battle of Berlin only.  So unless you’re aiming your army for that battle in particular …

    The Soviets do have some choices for markings (don’t know what decals you have) for guards units, etc.   Personally I like just about anything in Katukov’s 1st Guards Tank Army, but that’s just me.

    Soviet Tanks 02Soviet Tanks 01


    Cult of Games Member

    Pretty much green and not a lot else (other than applying whitewash as winter camo). The Russian tank unit’s weren’t issued painting equipment and paint most of the time, Usually painting (if done) seemed to be done with a mop and bucket “salvaged” from where-ever they could find one). Basically the tank came with a “factory finish” and the troops didn’t bother too much with anything that wasn’t concerned with keeping the tank in running order. Remember these were tanks that could have 1/4 inch gaps in the armour plates stuffed with cloth to keep a drafts out. Soviet engineering (and ethos) seemed to be “if it’s good enough, move on and apply your efforts elsewhere”.

    Soviet tankers really thought of their tanks as “disposable”, good reading is “T-34 in action” which includes interviews with many soviet tankers of the day. The Russian tankers of the day seemed to hop between tanks as needed

    There might have been different camo schemes used by other nations using soviet equipment during that last days of WW2 and afterwards. But the Soviets used a flat green camo during and after the war for the units in front line service (and continued to do so after WW2). On the markings front it was usually just a rhomboid with the tactical numerals for the unit shown. This was usually white on green for summer camo or red on white for winter camo (rarely used). Early to Mid war large numerals were found on turrets sides, and the red soviet star was almost never used as a tank marking (other than seen on events like the Red Square parades.

    So basically just a flat green camo (or whitewash over the base green in winter), however on the hobby side of things this allows you to really work on usings weathing and filters to really bring out the look of the models (vs complicated schemes like those used on the German equipment late war where such efforts are usually just “lost” amid a complicated paint scheme.


    Cult of Games Member

    I probably will make it a more generic late war soviet force instead of linking it to Bagration directly, but that kind of depends on what decals are in the army set (I suspect they have generic ‘Guards’ decals).
    It would be kind of nice if I could find something that is plausable while still looking cool.

    Quite a few markings on Soviets vehicles look more handpainted as well so there may be room for variation in that as well.

    Thanks for the advice  @oriskany 😀


    So a semi-historical paint scheme still requires them to be green-ish ?

    Not sure if I am happy or sad to have it that simple but at the same time it was this initial simplicity that made me choose Soviets to begin with 😀

    OTOH … the fact that they painted with ‘mop & bucket’ means that I don’t need to be extremely neat, doesn’t it ?
    The cheap winter camo  is also kind of interesting.

    Finding a way to replicate the rather rough manufacturing could be interesting as well.

    I hope I don’t get too distracted before I get this army done, but at the very least it will help someone out there.
    Thanks for the advice.

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