Going all MERDC

Today Mark gives his guide on how to paint summer MERDC camo


MERDC (the name of the organisation that developed it – Mobility Equipment Research and Development Center) Camo has become quite an iconic pattern for Team Yankee.  You will find all the US forces in the books painted in it, however, some may be surprised to know the green and brown version is actually a Winter Verdant variant.  However, while called winter it was used all year around in Europe, hence why you see it in many real images.

While I like the winter variant, when I was considering my Marine force I fancied something a bit different. I wanted it to stand out from the crowd a bit, without being completely fictional.  Also, I couldn’t face plain green and I find NATO camo a bit dull and already have a German force in it.

Therefore after some research and a picture, I found online I settled for Summer Verdant, which uses a green and green-grey base.  Okay the Marines didn’t actually deploy with this, however, let’s face it, this a is a ‘what if’ game and in my narrative the Marines found Winter Verdant wasn’t fitting for the more open lowlands of Northern Europe and therefore quickly switched schemes.

The guide

Various people have asked how I did my camo so below is a step by step guide.  As an upfront confession (before purists bombard me), these are not based on true patterns.  In reality there was a very fixed pattern for each vehicle, however, I couldn’t find it in summer verdant for my forces so made my own and repeated it on all my vehicles so they were at least standard.

To start with I undercoated the vehicle grey and then dusted it with white for some pre-shading. This was done with a spray can.  I use Wilkinsons own brand sprays as they are cheap and effective.


I used an airbrush to apply a green base coat, for this I used AK4214 Light Green.  I love these for airbrushes as they go straight through without the need for thinning and for me don’t cause any blocking.

The first step is to paint the grey aspect of the camo.  I used a 66/33 mix of Black to Vallejo London grey.  As mentioned above I chose a scheme and then applied it the same (well close!) to all vehicles.  Make sure the lines are nice and hard not jagged.

Next up paint the tires black.  Trust me when you are painting 30 of them this is the worst part!

The contrast to the camo is the sand coloured lines.  This is done with Vallejo Dark Sand.  I tried to get about 30% of the edges of the grey covered.  Due to the light nature of the paint, I went over the wavy lines twice.  After this, I included some lines of black some of them along the grey edges but some next to the sand lines which helps define them more.

At this stage, the 50cal and grenade launchers were painted dark grey.  The ammo cases and TOWs were then painted Russian Uniform.

The next stage highlights.  Before this, I applied a Mig Brown for a dark yellow filter. I find this ties the camo together and acts as an effective yet subtle wash (also giving a slightly dirty feel).  Once fully dry I mixed the original colours with about 20% buff and highlighted the base colours trying as much as possible to leave the original colour towards the edges  The metal of the guns had Model Air – Gun Metalizer applied to it.  The windows were painted blue and then highlighted in the same way (also the headlights).  To finish the model I applied a light dry brush of Iraqi sand across the model concentrating on the bottom, to firstly provide a final line highlight and secondly to make the vehicle look dusty and used.  The crew were painted using the infantry guide in Stripes.  Once fully dry and a matt varnish applied, I added a Marine Flag (Laserjet printed and dipped in watery PVA) plus a radio antenna using the bristle of a brush.

I hope this was useful and encourages you to look at the other styles of MERDC that were the US trialled and deployed.

One thought on “Going all MERDC

  1. As I understand it the main benefit of the MERDC camouflage was the pattern was the same for each variant, only the colours differed, so the summer pattern is the winter pattern with the brown overpainted with the lighter green. This meant theoretically it was easy to switch between variants.
    As such there are no summer patterns to find, only the standard patterns and the colour codes.

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