Re: Pantone Numbers for Railroad Paints

Garth Groff or Sally Sanford <sarahsan@...>


I agree with everything you said, and considered some of your points myself.

Especially for early railroad-applied paint, at least some of it was sold as dry pigment and was mixed with linseed or other oils in the shop when needed. It might have turned out quite differently from batch to batch. In the case of the Sacramento Northern, they apparently inherited a lot of yellow-orange ("poppy") paint from predecessor Northern Electric Railway when they took over in 1918. This was still hanging around shortly after WWII and was used to brush-paint orange scare stripes on their electric locomotives. When one of their GE steeple cabs was donated to the Perris Museum, it was repainted with WP's much orangier "Zephyr orange" that was used on SN diesels. This became the standard lens through which modelers have judged the color ever since, even though the paint on the two other surviving units at the Western Railway Museum was more yellow. Go figure.

I'm not exactly after the "right" color. I was still hoping that somebody had Pantone numbers for the colors AC&F and Pullman used, as mentioned in Pat's article. Then I could at least see if any of the sprays ArtPrimo sells would be useful. Something has to be better than "Rustoleum 249086", "Benjamin Moore Red 490" or any of the other 50 red-brown primer colors that I have collected. (Yes, I have 52 self-made sample cards in a file box, and a closet full of spray cans to match).

It seems I have stirred up a hornets' nest, and everybody's are going in different directions. (Sigh!) Maybe I should just give up and concentrate on freelanced English narrow gauge. Then I can use whatever gray I want.

Yours Aye,

Garth Groff

On 12/27/17 12:45 PM, jimbetz jimbetz@... wrote:


Garth and all,

  Respectfully ... please read to the end.  ;-)

  I simply don't get it why guys continue to search for the "correct"
color(s) -
especially here on this list.

  Let me explain why I say that ... I've studied literally dozens of
color photos
with the goal of answering just this very question ("why").  Every time I do
so I come up with ===> there is no such thing as "the perfect shade of
Because ... even looking at a few photos I see differences in the color of a
particular pair of cars (photos) that are "painted in the same scheme and
for the same RR and at the same time".
  In addition - when you toss in the variables of how many years its been
since the piece of equipment was painted, how the shops acquired
their paints (STMFC shops -usually- mixed their own paint, especially
when the color was "some shade of freight car red"), lighting, the
process of producing a color photo in a publication, etc., etc., etc.
It just seems "futile" (to me) to try to use something like Pantone
numbers.  And let's not forget to mention the paints we have
available to us, the size of the models we are painting ... etc., etc.,
  You can literally spend/waste a lot of time - searching for the
"correct color".

  I have a number of pertinent questions to those of you that
feel that there is a way to use Pantone numbers (or any other
form of "color correctness"):

  1) Will you be weathering the car after you paint it?
  2) What lighting will the model be viewed under - and is
       that the same as the lighting you are using when you
       are comparing the paint you are using to Pantone/what ever?
  3) Is it really important?  For freight car red/brown/tuscan?


  Having said all of the above - I will also acknowledge that there
is/was a difference between Pennsy box car red and Santa Fe
(pick any two or more RRs you want to use).  Some of the
differences are significant - others are very subtle/hard to
say if there really was a difference.

  And I -do- try to use a shade of paint that is close to what
I consider to be "representative of the road I'm working on".

  Yes, as soon as you start talking about colors other than
BCR you end up with what -seems/feels- like it needs to
be "correct" ... and I agree that I take more care with those
colors/shades than I do with BCR ... but I still take what I
consider to be a practical approach which is to acknowledge
to myself that "I -am- going to weather it" ...

  ===> I'm not saying "don't pay ANY attention to color" - I'm
            saying "get it as close as you can, by eye, and let the
            entire concept of "the _perfect/correct_ shade" go.

respectfully ... Jim B.

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