MovieChat Forums > The Rat Patrol Discussion > Yellow German combat vehicles?

Yellow German combat vehicles?

I don't smoke the herbs very often anymore because I'm usually doing really mature adult things like playing video games or surfing, but COME ON MAN, these bright yellow German vehicles are tripping me out. I'm watching this show with my dad and I'm giggling like a little girl because of all this yellow. Dad, I'm not gay, really.

Didn't the Germans have tan paint?? WHY YELLOW? Is it possible that during the earlier part of the war they had to rely on paint that was already in existence, and it was easier to find yellow than tan because it's more common? That theory sounds TOTALLY stupid, but not as stupid as yellow combat vehicles.

Anyway I'm noticing that in some scenes the vehicles look like they've been sprayed with mustard, while in other scenes they look brighter, like fluorescent bananas.

Is it possible that the creators of this TV show wanted the German vehicles to stand out more?

My spell-checker just turned flourescent into fluorescent...WTF man, that can't be right. There's a lot of things in life that blow my mind.

EDIT: I watched a couple episodes later on in season one, and the vehicles seem to be less bright-yellow, more tan/mustardy. So YEAH BABY, don't be a turd burglar and watch an episode with tan/mustardy vehicles and come on here and tell me how crazy I am, because seriously there are some earlier episodes where the vehicles DO look super yellow.


I wonder if it was zinc chromate paint? That was a typical primer used on aircraft of that period, but I don't know if the Germans would've used it on ground vehicles. A couple modeling sites (those guys usually get pretty aggressive in their research) say the US used zinc chromate primer, but Germans used reddish brown primer. So it's not looking good for the Rat Patrol German vehicles.


I just did about three minutes of research (text and pics) and I agree with everything you said here, including your conclusion. I also noticed that in the show sometimes the German enlisted uniforms look really creamy, almost as if there's a little pink mixed in. I'm pretty sure that's TV and not real life! Well, I don't watch the show for technical accuracy, but for cheesy fun.


Might well have been the film stock making the colors go screwy. German vehicles in North Africa were painted a yellowish-tan, and DAK uniforms weren't khaki, but a shade of what in the US would be considered light olive.

Sometimes the lighting can make wardrobe and props appear to be colors that they aren't. As an example, uniforms made for Gods and Generals were in some cases made darker than the originals were in order to appear the correct color on film, since the lights on set can make some colors look washed out. I know this for a fact, since a friend of mine in my old Civil War reenacting group bought some unused items made for G and G, and instead of being Federal dark blue, they were effectively black. A similar situation would be found on Star Trek, as the line division uniform shirts were olive green, but photographed gold. The trousers worn by the male cast members were (sources vary on this) either dark gray or dark olive green and photographed black.

What does that have to do with yellow German vehicles and cream colored DAK uniforms? Simple. They may have been painted the right colors, and just photographed oddly. As to the uniforms, well, probably the costumers assumed that DAK uniforms were khaki, and faded them to appear used. The Luftwaffe and other German forces in North Africa DID use khaki, but it was a brownish (and some originals I've seen looked almost burnt orange) khaki...which faded to the color of American khakis (which themselves faded almost white). The Afrika Korps was a Heer unit, and drew its supplies separately from the Luftwaffe, Waffen-SS or Kriegsmarine, so the light olive color of their uniforms at the beginning of the North African campaign is understandable (and as I understand it, between dust, being washed occasionally in gasoline and fading, those uniforms eventually looked khaki, too).

1960's TV...y'just gotta love it.

"It's a hard country, kid.


Thanks for the info - very interesting!

FYI I'd heard that with B&W they often use clothes and uniforms that aren't even close to the real colors, because all they care about when filming in B&W is how it looks on film (which makes sense). For example, I heard that Superman's uniform on the set was really grey or baby blue or something weird like that. I also notice that if you watch WWII movies you get a variety of different green and khaki colors for the airborne uniforms, when in reality they are a light green (my dad has one).


George Reeves costume was grey, before the color episodes. Same as Tom Tyler in The Adventures of Captain Marvel. Since they photographed in black & white, they went with grey tones that would photograph better than actual colors.

Fortunately, Ah keep mah feathers numbered for just such an emergency!


I took it to be a failed attempt at making the vehicles and uniforms look sun-bleached.

And, bizarrely, not every German vehicle was yellowish. They broke this rule for at least one episode that I remember: in The Exhibit A Raid, war criminal Beckman the Beast's Horch staff car is in field gray colors unlike every other German vehicle in the series.

I mean, really, how many times will you look under Jabba's manboobs?