Re: ATSF RB color

Richard Hendrickson

On Apr 18, 2014, at 4:48 PM, wrote:

I’m building a Westerfield Bx-11/12 with raised roof for a friend. I built one for myself years ago. Mine has a black roof with a body color Morton running board. ‘IF’ it was standard practice to paint roofs black (car cement) and wood RBs match the body color would a steel RB be left unpainted? Or should I be looking at a different scheme for the mid 50s. I think he models 54 or 55?
Clark, as it happens, there’s no simple answer to this question.  By ’54/’55 the Santa Fe’s practice of painting roofs anti-skid black was being replaced by painting them anti-skid mineral brown - that is, adding the anti-skid granules to the same mineral brown paint that was used on the rest of the car body.  But that shift was apparently gradual, depending (I think) on how long it took for each car shop to use up its supply of black car cement, and in any case it would only apply, in ’54-’55, to a car with a fresh paint job.  Steel running boards were unpainted galvanized steel when first applied, but were painted either black or mineral brown when the cars were repainted.

So if your friend wants to model a car that had just come out of the paint shop, the roof and running board would be the same mineral brown as the rest of the car (including underframe and trucks), but if he wants to model a car that’s been in service for awhile, the roof should be grainy black, and the steel running board should be weathered unpainted galvanized metal if the car had not been repainted since it was rebuilt during WW II or black if had been repainted at least once since being rebuilt.

Richard Hendrickson

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