Tony Thompson writes:
"But, the starting color DOES matter, since color photos from the transition era DO show that adjoining freight cars exhibit varying shades of BCR, notably some you may know yourself, like UP, with a much more orange "Oxide Red" color."
Absolutely. In fact, the rather well known photo I referred to illustates this. Obviously there are quite a few shades of "BCR" in the photo. Perhaps more important is the fact that several C&NW box cars exhibit different BCR colors. Note that I do not say different paints. Clearly, several C&NW cars are much more heavily weathered [ perhaps a better term might be "dirtier" ] than others. And it is possible that one or two may exhibit sun fading [ 15472 for example ]. The book West From Omaha contains quite a few color shots of strings of frt cars. Now I don't claim that the processes of developing and reproducing photos in a book produce exact images of the cars as they existed back in the 50's but the relative comparisons of cars in the SAME photo provides valuable info. For instance, on pg 63 is a very nice photo taken in 1954 of a short train including three UP 40 ft steel box cars. Yep, one of the three's color is much darker than the other two. IMO, it is a bit dirtier than the others but I can still read the lettering. So, just dirtier? I don't have a clue.
And, I cannot resist commenting on the photo on pg 66 which shows 6 red Swift reefers in bright sunlight. Yep, two are much darker than the others but they don't seem significantly dirtier than the other 4.
"Still, I do want to start in the right ballpark."
No argument there...except the ^&^%$#@ ball park apparently changes color sometimes. BTW, one of the more interesting aspects of frt car colors is that of PFE reefers. Tony is, of course, VERY familiar with PFE reefer colors and how long strings of such reefers contain many variations of orange color AND they were decorated with the same Daylight Orange paint. I run several drags of PFE reefers and I nade sure that the cars exhibit different shades of orange color.