Changing Noodler’s Army Green…?

Every now and then, I get a fun surprise that an ink has changed formulas. It’s happened before with numerous brands, and it seems that it’s more often the case that it catches me by surprise because the manufacturer doesn’t tell anyone about it. Here’s the latest one, Noodler’s Army Green.

Nathan Tardif, the ink’s creator, had been getting feedback from some that Army Green, an olive green, wasn’t ‘green enough’. So he decided to change it recently, I’m not exactly sure when at this point but I would say around early August 2012. It’s changed to more of an emerald green, with just the slightest hint of yellow to it:

Noodler’s Army Green, original (left) and reformulated (right)

So basically, the less olive version is how Army Green is going to be in the future, unless there is overwhelming feedback to change it back. I personally love the old color, and I am not happy to see the change. The new color is too similar to a LOT of other greens in the ink world, but the old Army Green was a pretty stand-alone color, with only a couple of inks from any brand that even came close.

Let me know what you think in the comments, and Nathan will either keep the new ink as it is, or change it back if that’s what most folks want. Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

2017-10-11T13:07:13+00:00 September 26th, 2012|Pen News|117 Comments
  • Lane

    I definitely like the old Army Green. It looks a lot more unique than the new one. I'm with you on that. It is much more of an olive than the new color.

  • I’m with you, Brian — the old color was much richer and more interesting!

  • christine witt

    The original is Army green – it looks like the olive color someone would expect from a color with that name. The new looks too bright. Brian (or anyone else), do you have a feel for why a manufacturer would change the color rather than just create a new color? The new color is lovely – but it's not Army green.

  • Yeah, that's pretty much what I feel.

  • Indeed!

  • snedwos

    Exactly what I think. Olive drab is the colour of the US Army uniform, isn't it?

  • I don't know…there are a lot of reasons why things change. Sometimes the maker of the dye components change formulas without telling the ink maker, so it's a surprise to everyone! Other times inks are reformulated because the cost of a particular component go up, and they reformulate to keep the cost down. Other times, it's a preference thing, where they are changing the color because the ink hasn't sold well or its name doesn't seem to match the color. I don't really know why it ends up getting all the way to the end user before the color is noticed. In this case, it was just Nathan forgetting to tell his distributor, we've seen these types of color changes happen on pens before without notice, too. It's a bit frustrating, but given that Nathan is one man making ALL of the Noodler's ink and coordinating the manufacture of all Noodler's pens, he's a pretty busy guy and I don't like to rag on him too hard for a mistake here and there, especially when his intentions are good.

  • well, the color and design of the Army's uniforms has changed many times throughout the years, but typically, olive is the color that most associate with the Army.

  • Mike

    Wasn't GI Green changed a year or so ago? I seem to remember it sort of "matured" over several hours after you wrote with it. The change was definitely interesting, but then the formula changed to something more stable.

  • Ryan

    I say keep the new one and bottle the old one as OD (Olive Drab) Green or OD #41

  • Davidson

    We've got a plethora of medium greens on the market right now, so I'm less than thrilled that we're gaining one more at the expense of losing a far more unique green tone.

  • Jumps

    I haven't used this ink, but the new color isn't the color I would expect from Army Green. Army Green has a more khaki feel to it. A guy in fatigues would look pretty silly wearing the new, bright green!

    I submit a lot of information to the USACE, and I use a green closer to the original color on all of my graphics.

  • Say it isn't so! The old color was so beautiful (and looked plenty green to me)! Is the new one all that's in stock now?

  • As long as we have Rohrer & Klingner's Alt-Goldgrun I won't miss Noodler's old Army Green. It was just a duller version of the same color, imo.

  • StevenHorvat

    Wow I was so excited to see the army green color but then you told me that it was the old color? I very much dislike the new color but if you still have any more of the old color I want a bottle it looks really good something I might use on a daily basis. So far PR avacodo is my favorite green…but that could change!

  • It would be interesting to know if any old Army Green users would not buy the new color, or if any non-Army Green users would buy the new color. I have never used Army Green, and I probably wouldn't buy the new formula, because I already use Gruene Cactus which is kind of a bright-ish green and I'm happy with it. Interestingly enough, I have been casting around for a darker green and the old version might have been a good candidate for it.

  • susan b

    I love the original Army Green…as you pointed out, Brian, there aren't many other greens in that olive-y range. Plenty of similar greens to the proposed reformulation.
    Please count me among the camp who would–by far–prefer the original. And that's not just because I live in The Old Dominion, where change happens *very* sloooooowly! 😉
    Susan B

  • My vote is for the original version. It is an ink I use, I like the fact that it isn't a "run of the mill" green. The new one is kind of ordinary.

  • That's sort of a shame, I quite liked the original color, it was unique and well suited to the name "army green", this new one…not so much. It's a pretty green but it's not army green.

  • Lili

    LOVE THE OLD. Don't like the new "average" green.

  • Ah bummer. I much prefer the old color over the new one! Not that the new one isn't nice, but it doesn't say "army green" to me!

  • Anne

    Definitely prefer the original color. It was much more unique.

  • Matt Young

    Wow, I can't believe that Nathan would change it to such a generic green; it doesn't even look like an army green, and that's just false advertisement! Why would people even be upset that it looked the way it did? If you think it's too "olivey" then don't buy the color and grab a different green! Don't take your complaints to the maker and tell him you don't like his color. It's not like you didn't know what it looked like before buying it. …This whole thing just makes no sense!

    I was actually planning on buying that color in a week or two, but I suppose now that might never happen

  • Will Kimball

    I'm gonna have to go with the original myself. I'm just not taken in by the new version, and agree that it really just isn't an army green. Maybe a new name for that color, but bring back the old Nathan!

  • I'm with you Brian, I don't like the new green. The old one looks more like what I'd think of army green and the new one looks like grass green. I hate when companies change things that aren't broken

  • David

    As a product, fountain pen ink is a lot like fast food. Consistently meeting expectations is very important. If every so often I ordered a Big Mac and it tasted different, McDonalds would lose my business. Nathan would be far better off discontinuing Army Green and releasing the new ink with a new name rather than changing the color of Army Green.

  • Having not used either color, take my comments with a grain of salt….

    An Ellery Queen character had to singe a tree branch to write a note, because he carried an ink pen with a distinctive green ink. Ever since I read that, carrying a green ink pen has been a back-burner fascination of mine. Now that I have an established fountain pen, I'm starting to look for a green to use in it.

    The olive color of the original Noodler's Army Green isn't what I want, and the new color is closer to what I want (a deep, emerald-like green). It would go in my list of "inks to consider buying". However, I don't like the idea of doing a "stealth" color change. People can't tell if they're getting the new color or the old without sampling the individual bottle. There's no way I'll buy it until I know I'm not going to get an old "olive" bottle by accident.

    Nathan should retitle the new green. Then the market can tell him if there's enough support to keep both inks, or if only one sells enough to warrant production.

  • No! (Insert a no! meme here) The old one has a personality. New one, it is just a green ink.

  • Caroline

    This ink has been on my to-buy list for a very long time. I loved the old colour. Now I'll guess I will have to take it off that list. It's ugly, just plain ugly now. My vote is to bring the old back!

  • Rob

    Hey Brian – You may remember that we corresponded over this issue with Noodler's Army well over a year ago, suggesting that the change may go farther back than your estimate of August 2012. I had purchased a sample from you of what we're now calling the "old" Army green. By the time I got around to picking up a whole bottle a month later, it was the "new" color. Since then I've bought two additional bottles of Noodler's Army, each of which is a different color from the previous. Much preferring the olive tones of the "old" Army, I finally gave up and started mixing my own using Diamine Kelley, Noodler's Walnut, and some water to dilute. Would be nice if they'd just bring back the old — and "real" — Army green!

  • Michael Hosea

    If you look at part 1 of geoduc's 30 green inks compared thread on fpn, you'll see that the army green there is much more yellow than the one I bought from you last year. Mine is like PR Avocado, but slightly lighter and less shading. I posted a swab comparison of those two in that thread. I don't know now whether there are three versions or just two, but a reasonable substitute to the version I have would be PR Avocado, especially if you want more shading.

  • Troy Mayfield

    I agree Brian, I really like the olive color of the bottle I now have. It is different from the several other green inks I use. Rather distinctive. I think the new swabs are fairly boring. But, I'm not the one making and selling the ink, so if Noodler's wants to change it, that's Nathan's call.

  • Leigh Abernathy

    I loved the old Army Green much better, precisely because of that olive color–I won't be buying the new one.

    I also think that the change happened longer ago (or maybe there's been more than one change.) I absolutely LOVED the first Army Green sample that I got from you in March of 2011, and used it quickly. When I came back to order a bottle, you were out so I bought it elsewhere. I was disappointed to find that the ink from that bottle was not the same olive green I loved, but was a brighter green–not as bright as the new one, but not the same drab olive that I loved. I then ordered more samples from you, which were the old, olive Army green.

    Once those were gone I sadly switched to PR Avocado, and then later to the R&K Alt Goldgrun. Of the three, I still like the characteristics of the old Army Green the best (with Alt Goldgrun in second place), and will miss it.

    If I had a vote, I'd vote for the old Army Green–much more distinctive and unusual than the new one.

  • Diane Maher

    The old color is definitely one that is unique when compared with a lot of the greens on your site.

  • Robert Guthrie

    I'm not sure I'd have picked the old Army green, but I don't see how the new one is anything special looking.

    It frustrates me that this is such a common practice; if the color changes to an obvious degree, then it should get a new name. And I'm talking about all ink manufacturers, not just Noodlers. A minimal variation is expected; after all, the components of each ink can change without much warning, chemicals and pigments aren't always "pure", etc… but I shouldn't ever order my favorite color after running out in a couple of years, only to find that I'm getting something radically different.

    I had to get that off my chest. Thanks for letting us know Nathan! You and your company are a great resource.

  • Gah! Those tags were supposed to be "begin rant" and "end rant".

  • Erin

    I liked the old Army Green better for exactly the reason you said – it's unique. The new color has been done before – it's a common, run-of-the-mill green. I'm willing to bet it'll be a quality ink, though, since it is Noodler's. I'll just be missing the old color.

  • Joe K.

    I've always been under the impression that "Army Green" was just a different name for "O/D Green" or "olive drab," which made sense to me with the original. I think perhaps people were possibly confusing the "army green" color with perhaps some other colors the Army uses. I'm not sure, I suppose a lot of it has to do with what Mr. Tardif's (I never met the man, so I'm not calling him by his first name) inspiration for the original color was. If it was to mimic the traditional O/D green, he should change it back and call this new green something else. Like, I don't know.. Boston Spring Grass Green or something.. Just my 2 cents.

  • Michael Hosea

    I think my 2011 formulation I have is quite reminiscent of WWII army vehicles, tanks, and uniforms. It was the novelty that attracted me to it, though I found out that for my brief rotations into green, I like Gruene Cactus Eel a lot better, so I don't have a dog in the hunt (except that the resale value of my 85% full bottle may be going up. :))

  • rmhowie

    I haven't bought Army green yet, but I like the olive version heaps better! I have too many plain green inks that I don't really like already.

  • Jessica

    Keep the old color, by far! The new formulation appears much more like a grass green than "Army Green." The old color strikes me as vintage and unique among greens; the new formulation run-of-the-mill and average.

  • I don't exactly know who was thinking this Army Green needed to be made less olive, it seems pretty clear from the comments here that everyone has the impression that Army Green means olive!

  • Well, that's how I found out about it in the first place. Someone who'd bought at old sample of Army Green from me came back and bought a bottle and saw the difference. I immediately changed the swab to the new color and inquired with Noodler's about the change, and let my own opinion be known about it. That's a lot of what this post was for, to gauge the support for a petition to change it back 😉 I like the old better!

  • The new color is more of a 'jungle green' instead of an olive, and (correct me if I'm wrong) the Army's BDU's during Korea and Vietnam were a brighter, less olive green because of the jungle environment. So there are really a lot of greens that could be associated with 'Army', but I believe that olive is the one that is most typically associated.

  • Haha, I don't know about that, especially since I'm going to try to get him to change it back 😉 The 'new' Army Green might be the rarer one in the future!

  • Yeah, I don't know that Army Green was really on most peoples' radar…but it is now! I guess sometimes you don't know what you've got till it's gone 😉

  • Yeah, that's how I feel. I have 700 inks, and the old Army Green was unique to all of them…there were some pretty close ones, like Sailor Epinard (which I forgot to mention in the video!), but nothing dead-on.

  • Yeah, I don't know what Nathan will plan to do!

  • Jay

    I would not at all buy the new Noodler's Army Green. The old Army Green is reminiscent of O/D Green which is really closer to what comes mind when I hear the words Army Green. I really feel the change is a mistake. I agree that there are many other green inks from other ink manufacturers to the new formulation. So then, why would I buy this new green from noodler's when I can similar elsewhere? I have the old version of Army Green and when it's gone, I won't replace it with this new version.

  • Syed Ali

    I also vote for bringing back the old color. Although I haven't used this ink personally, I know what everyone means when they say the old color had "uniqueness".
    I feel the same way about one of my favorite greens Sailor Jentle Epinard. The other green I have is the Caran d'Ache Amazon, which is a much more 'standard' green color.
    I think that the new color, for those who like it better than the old one, should still be offered, but not with the name "army green"; since so many folks have come to know that color and the uniqueness of it. I'm on the lookout for a unique green and this would have been my next choice. It's funny I was looking at the army green swab a couple of days back, and comparing it with the amazon and the epinard swabs, and diamine meadow. But alas, I find that it has been changed. This is why I worry about getting too attached to a particular color, lest it be discontinued or changed without warning.

  • Mitch

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention Brian. I had no idea there was an "old" Army Green. In fact I just tried a sample of AG, and it's a very pleasant green, but I didn't understand the name. Once I saw the old green, I'd much prefer that for its distinctiveness. So: I'd like to see it changed back. I doubt I'd use it as a daily ink but it would be a "fun" ink, or for artwork.

  • I hear ya!

  • yeah, I would consider the new color as more of a 'jungle' green

  • good to know, thanks for sharing!

  • it's not exactly the same as other greens, but it's pretty darn close. The olive was far more distinctive.

  • It's happened with several brands so far, Waterman, Omas, PR, Noodler's, Diamine. Sometimes it's understandable, the manufacturer of the dye components changes something and doesn't tell them, then the ink comes out different. Still though, somewhere in the line, someone is dropping the ball with communication, and it is frustrating. Especially for a retailer like me, who doesn't find out about these things until a customer lets me know, then I have to play detective. I think the reason you don't see inks discontinued and renamed when there's a formulation change is that there is a lot of work behind the scenes that need to happen like assigning a new product code, designing a new label/name, updating websites/pictures/purchase order spreadsheets….it's a lot of work and I imagine it's a judgement call for each individual situation, depending on how different the ink appears after the change. I'd love to see more up front notification when things like this are changed, usually Noodler's is pretty good about it, but sometimes we get surprised.

  • It really is.

  • That's interesting. I actually had someone about a year and a half ago say the same thing, that the ink they got somewhere else was different than what we had. I checked all of our ink at the time and it was all the 'right' stuff (which is now the 'old' Army Green), and it's been that way until I was just notified of the color change a few days before I made this post. If the color had changed any other time, I surely would have heard about it from someone. It's possible that there was a color change a whiiiile ago, before we were carrying Noodler's….we've had it since September 2010.

  • Jessica

    Jungle…that's the perfect word! Brings to mind pictures of dense trees, machetes, and pith helmets! Definitely not "army".

  • Lawrence Fox


    I don't currently use the Noodler's greens, but I have to admit that if I did, I'd go for the "old formula". The newer one seems to be quite similar to a number of the other greens that are available–and most of those are a bit "loud" for my personal tastes. (I like a "quieter" green that's less "in your face", if you know what I mean)(I'm currently using a home-made mixture of 50/50 Waterman Green and Quink Black, for example).

    Just my 2 cents worth!


  • LibertyBeta

    Can we have both?

  • Chuck Clark

    I searched through a lot of green ink to find the perfect compliment to my Pelinkan white tortoise fountain pen. When I saw the previous Army Green I knew I had found the perfect match and immediately bought six bottles. Unless they return to the old formula I guess I will have to do something else. The white and green pen screams "army green" to me.

  • Jared R Delo

    Army Green is a very olive-yellow color. It needs to be that, or it ceases to be any sort of ARMY green and just becomes another green. Noodler's already makes a bunch of those.

  • geoduc

    I posted a green ink comparison on FPN in February, and one of the members pointed out how different his bottle of Army Green was from the sample I had used. Based on your video, he clearly had the new formulation and said that he had purchased his bottle in December, 2011. It looks like this change took place a while ago.

    Anyway, I much prefer the old version. I was getting ready to order a bottle for myself until the FPN member posted a swatch of the new formulation. Bleah. The color reminds me of the plastic army men I played with as a child. The old olive color is much more to my liking.

  • J.D.

    I strongly prefer the old formulation. I've had a bottle of this ink for years, and have always enjoyed it. The new color is neither what I consider an army green nor a color I wish to use.

  • Breck

    On my screen Brian, in your video as you held up the samples, Gruene Cactus looks very much like the old Army Green. And my monitor is calibrated. At the Swab Shop Gruene Cactus looks almost identical to Army Green (I don't know if the swab currently representing Army Green is the new or not). FWIW.

  • Breck

    Davidson +1!

  • 1. I think that the old formula is closer to what most, in my opinion, would consider a traditional "Army" green.
    2. On its own merits as a color, I prefer the new formula, but only because the old formula looks too drab to me.

  • Alan W

    When I was growing up, we had some wool "army blankets." They were khaki and pretty much the color of the Noodler's old Army Green. I always assumed that's why he named it "army."

    Jeeps were close to that color, as well. Certainly nothing like the new green.

  • Elizabeth

    I don't particularly like the old color, but I'd still vote for going back to it. Like you said, the new one just looks too much like a lot of other green inks out there. The old one may not be my cup of tea, but it's more interesting.

  • ArcaneRadio

    Well I gotta put my 2 cents in. I think the original is more the true army green. The new formulation looks like the green used in the plastic army toy soldiers that have become kind of main stream in animated movies. Green is my favorite color and while the new one is very nice I think the old deserves to remain in production. Maybe Nathan can bring back the old Army Green and market new color as Jungle Green.
    Any way, nothing negative really to say other than I hate to see colors go out of production.

  • Leah in NC

    Why not just add a new green and keep the original Army Green? I searched for a long time to find an olive green I liked – and now they've changed it???? (I still like Nathan, though!)

  • hilary edwards

    No, no, change it back please!!!!!

  • Good to know, I think this is pretty much the way most are feeling here.

  • Yeah, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me either. I think Nathan was getting feedback from somewhere that Army was more of a jungle color than an olive color, but clearly that's not the opinion of most folks here 😉

  • That's a good point! It really is like an "Army man toy soldier" green.

  • Yeah, I mean olive isn't a color that a lot of people would want to write with, but for those that do, the old Army Green was just the ticket.

  • Right, that's a good point.

  • Good feedback, thanks! I think you're the first to say you like the new color better 😉

  • As soon as I found out about the color difference, we changed the swab on to represent the new Army Green color, so what you're seeing is that the new color looks a lot like Gruene Cactus, which was pretty much my point. The old color isn't on our website anymore, but it's quite different than Gruene Cactus.

  • I've been carrying the ink since late 2010, and this is the first I've heard of a color difference. I feel like if it was changed that long ago I might have heard about it sooner, but I guess there's really no way to know now.

  • Yeah, I hear ya.

  • Yeah, the tortoise on that pen definitely has an olive undertone to it, I can see how the old Army Green would be a great match!

  • Maybe, I don't know. I need to talk to Nathan.

  • I appreciate your input, Lawrence!

  • Goctha. I'll see what I can do to get it changed back : )

  • I'm not sure if there was a change to GI Green, I don't remember anything about it specifically.

  • Yeah, that's all there is now 🙁 I mean, some retailers may still have the old stock, but I don't know exactly when the change took place, and I doubt most other retailers are aware there even was a change.

  • Well, the old Army Green had a bit more green color to it than Alt-Goldgrun, though the Rohrer and Klingner color definitely shades like a champion!

  • Consider yourself counted! It's pretty evident you're not alone here 😉

  • Yeah, the new one is much less standoutish.

  • Yeah, that's pretty much my thinking too.

  • I always liked the old, but now that it's changed I find myself really wanting it now 😉

  • yeah, I hear ya

  • I agree completely.

  • Yeah, this whole thing just caught me a little off-guard too. I'll have to talk to Nathan and see what the background is that prompted the change.

  • Another vote counted for the original 😉

  • grass green, that's a good way to put it!

  • I'll pass that info along.

  • I agree, changes like this do cause a lot of confusion, and I will be passing up that feedback. As for the ink we're getting in at, it's all the new stuff, including samples. We don't have any of the old color. I can't speak for any other retailer, they're going to have to check every bottle of their stock like we did.

  • yeah, it's a nice green, and might have been welcome as a new color, but it's replacing something very unique.

  • Well if Noodler's brings the old color back, then you can put it back on your list!

  • I had a couple of inquiries over the last couple of years about Army Green changing color, and each time I looked through my entire stock and didn't see any variation. I did hear about bottles from other retailers looking different than what I had, and that always perplexed me, but I never saw the change for myself with bottles I was getting. This is the first time I've seen a drastic change for myself, and actually got word from Noodler's that there was a change done.

  • Avacado is pretty close to the old color, a little darker than the old Army Green I had. It seems like there were some reports of varying colors of Army Green, but whenever I inquired with Noodler's about it, there was never an official color change until now. He does make every batch of ink my hand so there can be some slight variation, but it's very unusual for that to happen. It seems that Army Green was subject to more confusion than most inks.

  • I like the olive too, and I still don't know exactly what prompted the change because the color was great as it was.

  • It's rare than an ink changes drastically like this, but it does happen. Epinard is actually a great substitute for the old color.

  • Veronica

    I agree, the "old" Army Green is the true color. The new color simply doesn't fit as "Army" green. The new one is too cool in temperature and very similar (as Brian pointed out) to other shades. As a watercolorist, I am familiar with many greens (most we don't use directly from the tube, but mix it for variety) and I think the more "olive" green would be harder to find, therefore more in demand!!
    Oops, I didn't read the 106 comments …

  • +1 for the old formula. I was about to buy some recently, but read of the reformulation. The new color is similar to some others that are available, while the old Army Green was distinct and unique. If the old formula reemerges, I'll be one of the first in line to pick up a bottle from your shipment.

  • +1 For the old Army Green formula, I would like to see that formula brought back and this updated one get a new name.

  • I think he's going to bring the old formula back. I recommended making this one a new color under a different name, I'm not sure if he's going to do that though. It doesn't seem like there's all that much love for the new color here!

  • Taz

    I'm using the *new* GI Green as my daily ink. It's the nicest emerald green ink with decent water-resistance I can find. However, I agree that the old colour is more unique and true to the name. If he changes the colour back, I hope he makes a replacement for the new one!

  • I know he's going to be changing it back at some point, the future of the "new" (emerald) Army Green is uncertain.

  • So did Nathan ever bring back the old formula?

  • Yes! Just recently, actually. I'm going to release a video on it this week, hopefully.

  • Dick S

    I realize I am 10 months late, but as one of many who actually wore OG107, I assure you the new Noodlers ink color is definitely not it! The old Noodlers ink color was the Olive Green 107 used from WWII through Viet Nam on many, many items.

  • Sashineb

    Hi Brian, I am looking for a moss green ink. I thought maybe the Noodler's Army Green might be close, but now I'm reading that the colour has changed. I have PR Avacado, but isn't "mossy". Most of the other greens that I've seen are either like grass or dramatic dark colours. Can you please make a recommendation of an ink that is closer to the colour of moss? Many thanks. SashineB.

  • Bob

    I bought a bottle in May and when I write it looks just like the left picture, maybe they changed it back.