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Painting Chocolate Chip Camo

 Historical Background

During the mid-1960s the Middle East crisis escalated and the prospect of US intervention in the Arab-Israeli war was near. Not wanting to send American soldiers to a desert environment wearing olive drab uniforms, the US Army formed research teams and instructed them to develop desert camouflage uniform (DCU). The sole reference for the research was the “domestic” desert in the southwestern US. Soon, a new camouflage pattern was born; a quite odd-looking, 6-color pattern which became known as the “chocolate chip” in the US Army slang. The “chocolate chip” DCU was a test pattern and after it was evident that the US Army intervention in the Middle East would not be required, the pattern was shelved.

The 6-color desert pattern was first used almost 20 years later, during the combined US-Egyptian Army exercise “Bright Star 82”, but the first mass-production of “chocolate chip” DCU came with the Western intervention in the Persian Gulf. However, during the Gulf War it became evident that the dark brown and black colors in the pattern created a high contrast with the desert background and the “chocolate chip” is not very effective in the wastelands of Middle East. The US Army reacted quickly and began experimenting with new desert camo patterns that should “improve visual protection from detection, protection from observation through night vision devices, give generalised uniform colors for all deserts and boost morale”. Very soon the newly developed 3-color desert pattern replaced “chocolate chip” and 6-color DCUs were seldom used ever since.

Nevertheless, the public loved “chocolate chip” and it was by far the most popular camo pattern manufactured by the US military even though it was probably the least effective ever produced.


About the Author

About Mario Matijasic (Maki)

You wonder how did this addiction start? I was a kid when my dad broght home a 1/72 Concord airplane; we built it together as well as couple of other airplanes after that. This phase was just pure fun: glue, paint, decals in no particular order... everything was finished in a day or two. Then I disc...


Beautiful! Just the thing I needed for my HMMV figures! Thanks!
DEC 07, 2003 - 08:47 PM
Mario's article and the figure painted there is excellent..Thanks and congrats Mario
DEC 07, 2003 - 08:53 PM
Thanks guys... I'm glad you like the article and the figure. I hope I'll be able to finish couple of other articles on painting modern camo uniforms real soon. Cheers, Mario M.
DEC 11, 2003 - 02:16 AM
Thanks! That will come in handy pretty soon! ~Chip :-)
DEC 11, 2003 - 04:41 AM