Re: Question about Central Vermont boxcar color

Marty McGuirk


While the CV never used anything as formal as drift cards etc… in general I think by the post war era the color was of freshly painted cars was pretty close to the standard CN Red #11 color. I recall an Alan Irwin photo of a freshly painted 41000 series car that I included with Ed Beaudette’s article in the March (?) 2000 Model Railroader that shows the red color. Of course, that car has the pregnant tapeworm on the door, dating it to post 1962 or so. 

In general, the further back in time you go, the browner the color seemed to have gotten - but that’s not based on anything other than comparing CV cars with other cars painted “known” colors in b&w photos. I used to paint these cars straight Floquil Boxcar Red - but find the color has a bluish-purple cast that just doesn’t look right to my eye. 

A couple of decades ago Stafford Swain and some other CN modelers prepared a “chip of many colors” - essentially drift cards for model railroaders - that they sent to the various paint manufacturers. So, if you’re going for a just out the shop look then Tru Color (TCP 196), Scalecoat, and even Modelflex (16-163) (Badger) all make versions of CN Red #11 - all of which were matched to Stafford’s research. Basically a brownish oxide red, as opposed to an orange oxide red like PRR Freight Car Color of the immediate post war years. 

For an in-service weathered car the skies the limit of course - they tended to weather darker rather than lighter - like the car in this blog post - but to model this kind of look I’d start with the “original” color and weather it down. 

You can just see a patch of what looks to be something close to CN red #11 by the XA reweigh date. Of course, that patch dates to well after the steam era, but at least we know it was applied in “XA” - which is St. Albans, Vt. 

Tru Color offers a color called “Brick Red” or some such - I think it’s a little too brown for most brick buildings, but it may be just “reddish brown” enough to work as a basis for a weathered car. I haven’t tried it yet - and will admit I don’t have the paint on hand - but I do plan to order some and see. 

Hope this helps, 


On Sep 8, 2020, at 9:29 AM, Donald B. Valentine via <riverman_vt@...> wrote:

Ho folks,
    I’m hoping that Marty McGuirk of some other CV modeler can steer me in the right direction
for an appropriate model paint color for Central Vermont boxcars in the immediate postwar period,
preferably with a reference to an Accu-Paint or Tru- Color color number. If not Scale-Coat would be
my next order of preference. Am also wondering if it might be the same as a CN boxcar red color.
   Thanks in advance for any assistance, Don Valentine.

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