Japanese Infantry Uniforms – Colour of Puttees

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    john jones

    Generally, Japanese Bolt Action figures featured on the Net have puttees which are darker than the uniform eg khaki to, say, the light yellowish uniform worn during the Pacific islands campaigns.  But the many on-line and published images of Japanese troops engaged in Pacific island operations appear to show puttees of a similar tone to the uniform worn.  But I am aware of the vaguaries relating to photographic images of the time whether published online or in current/older historical printed books.

    I am aware that during the earlier period of WWII, Japanese Pacific island forces were issued with a lightweight cotton uniform which was a light tan in colour and was subject to fading in the harsh Pacific sunlight.  But what colour where the puttees?  I personally can’t imagine that a separate issue of a lighter colour would have been made, so they’d likely to have been darker than the uniform.

    I’ve also read quite a number of references to there having been a wide spread of uniform colour/tone in the colour of the general uniform worn.  Probably attribuable to different hues and efficacy of the dyes used in production as well as the effect of both time and the weather.  The colour I think nearest to the uniforms that I’ve seen, both in military museums and colour images posted on the net and in books, is Humbrol 72 Khaki Drill, the puttees being of a similar colour.

    So, I conclude that puttees were of a standard colour irrespective of the uniform eg light-weight early pacific or temperate and that colour was close to a Khaki Drill shade, a match for which being Humbrol 72/Vallejo 987.

    So, knowing that there are quite a few Bolt Action players out there who use Japanese troops, I wonder what their views are on the colour of puttees!

    invisible officer

    The best sources are original items and contemporary Color drawings.

    You find them for example in the classic Japanese language book Imperial Japanese Army and Navy Uniforms and Equipment. Sold in UK by Arms & Armour Press in 1975.

    page 175  Shows orignal puttees in some versions.   There was a dark olive green version with light green straps and a mid green one.  Also the very common one in same color like the uniform, straps in same Color.   In the dark ones the long binding  straps are bound criss cross in mid and horizontal n top and bottom.


    No Japanese cloth was UV proof, so any faded in the SEA sun. And each factory had a slightly different output. Also changing over time.    So the cloth Leggings had the same problem.

    It’s like the Geman Name Feldgrau that covered a myriad of shades


    There is a great painting video on u tube. It uses the original uniform colour for standard infantry and black for the navel marine units. Looked fine to me but  i am no expert.

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