Paint mixing with an N&W flavor

Jim King

If ya really want to start a heated discussion about paint mixing, ask about the “correct” N&W diesel, passenger car and caboose blue!  While this blue is post-1960, it proves that colors were still varying well beyond the steam era.  Depending on the unit (ex NKP or WAB solid-blue repaints or WAB patch-paint grey/blue F7s) and era, the blue could be replicated using Scalecoat B&O Royal Blue, Model Master Blue Angel Blue, out-of-production Des Plaines Hobbies Wabash Blue or Model Master Wabash Blue and a few others I forget.  As-delivered EMDs and GEs were different shades of blue (duller) than repainted engines by N&W shops (brighter).


The late Tom Dressler mixed his own using EMD paint chips then tinkered with the hue to lighten it for layout lighting.  His models definitely had more of a dull-greyish-blue than some original slides I’ve seen.  Of course, once road dirt and coal dust glommed onto the engines, the shine was gone and all of them started taking on a more uniform appearance.  Some were so dingy that it’s hard to tell if they were painted black or really “blue” under the grime.


I just stumbled onto Rustoleum “Brilliant Blue” today while shopping at Home Depot for a quick-drying paint that could be sprayed into a bottle, thinned with acetone and air brushed for a commercial urethane job that has to ship Monday.  The end result is remarkably close to the solid-blue NKP/WAB repaints mentioned above.  It dries within 24 hours, bonds to plastic without a primer, sprays at about 30-32 psi and is decal-ready with no gloss overspray.  Definitely worth further testing.


Jim King

Smoky Mountain Model Works, Inc.

Cell (828) 777-5619


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