Re: Oscar Mayer Freight Car taken in 1931

Charlie Vlk

Jack and All-


Some retouched photos from “back in the day” are obvious but some were so skillfully done they are hard to detect.

I have a couple that I actually thought about destroying because if they got out they might be used by some importer to make a production plastic model from:


One of them is a CB&Q NE-12 (streamlined cupola waycar, the prototype that Bachmann has finally released in slightly improved form in full Burlington lettering and paint) that has bigger “picture windows” airbrushed in.

The other was a proposed slogan to supplement the “Everywhere West / Way of the Zephyrs” script one.


Retouched art was widely used for advertising purposes.  And, of course, was used in Builder’s Record Photos to remove background and in some cases foreground “clutter” to more clearly document the subject freight car.


Using retouching for proposed paint schemes is probably not that unusual as they were probably a better vehicle for review by non-engineering types than blueprints, especially since very few presentation-level drawings (similar to what we like to see in Model Railroad magazines or books) of cars were prepared by carbuilders or railroads.


Charlie Vlk



I agree that the McVicar photo is retouched. The streaked or patchy variations in tone on the car siding are evidence of the original lettering removed by retouching, I believe.


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