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topic 55478

Touch-up of scratches in the olive drab cad plate finish on MIL-DTL-38999 connector shells

A discussion started in 2005 but continuing through 2020


Q. I need to know if there is a way to "touch up" the missing olive drab color on a part.

Thank you,

Debbie Haslam
- Ontario, California, USA


A. Dear Debbie;

There is no way to do it by plating but by using the identical color olive drab paint it is possible.

Khozem Vahaanwala
Khozem Vahaanwala
Saify Ind supporting advertiser
Bangalore, Karnataka, India

saify logo


A. Dip out some Olive Chromate tank solution, put on plastic gloves, dip an old rag in the chromate, and swab on until the color does not wipe off, wipe with a rinse-wet cloth.

robert probert

Robert H Probert
Robert H Probert Technical Services
supporting advertiser
Garner, North Carolina

To minimize search efforts and to offer multiple viewpoints, we combined previously separate threads onto this page. Please forgive any resultant repetition, failures of chronological order, or what may look like readers disrespecting previous responses -- those other responses may not have been on the page at the time :-)

August 4, 2010

Q. We are currently refurbishing some ground based military communications equipment that has been out in the field for two to three years. The equipment has a number of MIL-DTL-38999 type military connectors that are going to be reused. These connectors are fully functional, but the olive drab chromate / cad plate finish is scratched and our quality department wants the scratches touched up to prevent corrosion.

We suspect that the scratches have not penetrated through the cad plate to the underlying aluminum base metal.


Is there a touch-up olive drab chromate that will work. An exact color match is not necessary.

Theodore Hotz
Quality Assurance & Product Integrity - Taunton, Massachusetts, USA

August 10, 2010

A. Dear Mr Hotz,

The scratches are on the chromate layer are the result of normal wear and tear caused by handling. The plating is generally unaffected by these scratched white spots. Its not necessary to repair the coating on this account but a simple epoxy paint sprayed on should be enough and will prolong the overall life of the parts. Avoid any chemicals!

Khozem Vahaanwala
Khozem Vahaanwala
Saify Ind supporting advertiser
Bangalore, Karnataka, India

saify logo

September 1, 2010

A. Olive Drab finish over cadmium on MIL DTL connectors is electrically conductive and optically dull, and is required to be both. Epoxy coatings will ruin the electrical surface conductivity of the original finish and cause the connectors to not ground correctly to the mates through their shells, ok for some applications, but a disaster for others. Also a shiny surface is a problem in some cases as it can make an otherwise dull surface glint in the sun. Do not use organic films or coatings without express direction from the customer!

Jonathan Kanner
- Santa Barbara, California, USA

September 3, 2010

A. Get some olive drab chromate for cadmium compound and make it up a 2X regular tank concentration, add 0.1%/wt ammonium bifluoride, swab it on with a Q-tip until the color nearly matches.

robert probert

Robert H Probert
Robert H Probert Technical Services
supporting advertiser
Garner, North Carolina

June 27, 2012

Q. I have seen a couple of recipes for this solution but I can't seem to find Kenvert 11 which is an acidic solution that needs to be mixed with Ammonium bifluoride. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks.

Woon San Joe
- Long Beach, California, USA

July 3, 2012

A. Hello Woon.

Kenvert is/was an Allied-Kelite trade name, I believe. Macdermid bought Allied-Kelite, so you could start there. Good luck.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

Olive Drab cosmetic touch up

March 19, 2020 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Hello,

I have some D38999 connectors that have a olive drab alodine finish and they got scratched. I touched up with the touch n prep pen, however I cannot get the color back of course
Do you guys recommend any type of a paint that I can put over it just for cosmetic purposes?

RP Singh
- New York

March 2020

A. Hi RP. This question has been asked and answered before, but if you've already repaired them with a Touch-n-Prep pen, permanent markers are available in various shades of olive green and ought to work.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

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