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Lewis Gun Barrel Jacket Paint


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#1 hatrick

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 05:45 PM

Does anyone have any specs on what color the original khaki colored paint was on WWI Lewis guns?  I'd like to paint my spare barrel jacket but want to make sure it is the totally correct color.

 

Thanks,

Eric


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#2 Tombstone Canyon

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Posted 06 January 2019 - 01:26 PM

Eric,

I don't have any specs on what color paint code to order (or if there is such a thing) but I have several pictures of what paint remains on my BSA Lewis. I have heard it called khaki but what is on my lewis is closer to "dirt".  I believe it to be the original color that it was painted.  My Lewis has plenty of blueing left and the paint certainly looks contemporaneous.  It even has a couple of marks on the jacket that fit your hand perfectly as if it was handled while red hot.  

 

I can send you pictures if you contact me via PM with your email address.  I thought of posting them here but I think you would get a better color match if I send you a high rez.

 

Fred


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#3 DougStump

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 07:58 PM

Eric,

 

Going back to my volunteer days restoring aircraft at the 8th Air Force Museum, you never, ever, trust photos to determine color.  Even today, difference in cameras and printers will mess you up.  So, I color matched my Lewis to my copy of Federal Standard 595A Colors (I looked up the latest edition, man as it gotten expensive!) and the closest match is 30117.   Check hobby stores near you for Testors Model Master paint, part number FS30117.  It's just a hair lighter, but so are a couple of places on my Lewis where the paint has gotten scratched.  WIthout custom mixing, this will get you very close.

 

Although I would go with the model paint, here's another possibility.  I took the front of the barrel jacket off, took it to Home Depot, and had it color matched!  Here are the numbers:

Glidden

Base: GL6913

Glidden Prem Ext Lt/Satin

CLRNT OZ 384fh

DL 1  41

FL  1  261

TL 1  81

 

(PM me your email or text number and I'll send you a photo of the label)

 

Now for the caveat.  This is based on one Lewis, examined by a pair of 62 year old eyes.  There is no telling when the paint was applied, during the First Global Unpleasantness or sometime later, or what effect oil or cleaning solvents may have had over the last century.  Another unknown is how close did the British hold to an exact color shade (or should I say colour?)  Would they reject 1,000 tins of paint for being a bit too light, or would they simply ship it to the trenches?  I'll bet there was a significant tolerance involved and they used what they got.

 

An afterthought.  ALWAYS do color comparison outside in the daylight, preferably with a light cloud cover, and close to Noon.  NEVER do it inside under incandescent, fluorescent, or LED lights.  

 

Hope this was helpful!

Doug


Edited by DougStump, 09 January 2019 - 08:02 PM.

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#4 hatrick

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 08:44 AM

 

Fred and Doug... thanks so much for taking time to answer my question and especially to Doug for investing so much time to do the leg work for proper color matching.  I am a graphic designer by profession and deal with color correction of imagery every day and totally agree with Doug that electronic images can and usually are very deceiving when looking at color.  Just too many variables.  So I sincerely appreciate you taking the scientific color matching approach as I was thinking the same thing but couldn't get myself to actually ask someone to go through all that work so it is deeply appreciated.  As a collector and living historian I just want to get the color as accurate as possible so when I do living history events it is as close as possible. Very interesting that the 30117 is more of a brown than a khaki.  Testors lists it as Military Brown and that is more than likely what I will use since I've used their paint in the past with good results. It is better you feel that the Testors paint is slightly lighter than the original color as use and oil will certainly darken that up a touch over time.

 

Any original pictures of your guns showing the paint would certainly be appreciated.  My direct email is hatrick19 -at- verizon.net

 

Thanks again guys!! This board and it's members are awesome. 

 

Now to try to find the elusive Lewis gun canvas cover.


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#5 DougStump

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 09:45 AM

Eric,

 

Be careful what you wish for.

 

BTW, the paint guy at Home Depot likes firearms.  When I showed him a photo he said "Holy crap, you've got a Lewis Gun?"

 

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Attached File  DSC_1453.jpg   193.45K   13 downloads

Attached File  DSC_1455.jpg   154.72K   12 downloads


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#6 m3bobby

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 04:56 PM

As far as Im aware, in WW1 the British had no standardised colour system for paint as the paint of the day could not be stored for a period lasting more than a week or in some cases, days. Instead there was a recipe for mixing up colours and as this wasnt particularly accurate, infinite variations in a colour were possible. So it would be unlikely to find 2 guns, 2 trucks or 2 of whatever in exactly the same colour. So, if you have paint which is similar but has a different shade I wouldnt worry about.
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#7 DougStump

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 03:07 PM

I will now read from the Book of Armaments, Chapter 4, Verses 16 to 20: 

Then did he raise on high the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, saying, "Bless this, O Lord, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy."
 
Sorry, wrong verse!
 
Chapter 22, Page 472, Verse 3:
Paint, for Lewis Gun Casings
On December 27, 1915 the British Army announced that "The issue of a special preparation of khaki paint for painting the casings of Lewis guns is approved on a scale of 1 pint to each battalion in possession of these guns.  The painting should be done under regimental arrangements."
 
(The Belgian Rattlesnake by Easterly)
 
Not much help on the color, but it's all I've found so far.  It may have started out "khaki" and darkened to brown over teh last century.  Who knows?
 

 


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#8 ron_brock

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 08:35 PM

The Book of Armaments, chapter 4 is a great fix all!

Ron
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#9 m3bobby

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Posted 20 January 2019 - 03:44 AM

I think the special preparation confirms it, a formula made up locally from ingredients so variations in original colour is to be expected.
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