Re: Was there ever a clinic on Delano-based paint and weathering?

Bruce Smith


As you may remember, I model 1944, so Delano’s photos are a very important resource for me. Like Bill, I have spent some time following the works of military modelers and continue to do so to try to learn more. With respect to clinics, I presented a weathering clinic “From basics to extremes” at Prototype Rails 2018 that I am happy to share.

Some basic thoughts
1) Delano’s colors are not real. They are biased by the film used.
2) Layers, lots of layers
3) Lots of different media and approaches. Each car is a new canvas that should be approached differently (for the unique looks). However, you can and should develop a “fleet approach” for the background. For example, with some 50+ tank cars to weather, I can’t afford the time to do each one as a “work of art” and besides, that’s not what you see. So I have a “fleet” approach that will go on 80-90% of the black cars. It’s still layered, nuanced, and not always to the same extent, but it is pretty fast to do. The rest will get individual touches.

Bruce Smith
Auburn, AL

On Nov 12, 2020, at 10:48 AM, Robert kirkham <rdkirkham@...> wrote:

Hi Bill,

Moving toward the “Delano look” seems to be a very long road for me.  I’ve been custom mixing pain for quite a while, but it is challenging to land on shades that do justice to the real thing.  And I too am borrowing from the endless Youtube content on weathering techniques and effects.  The military guys have stretched my tool box.  But I am not really content with the results I am achieving yet.  The scale effect and indoor lighting are as much of the challenge as interpreting the photos.  

My question isn’t about CB&Q colours, but just to follow up on an earlier enquiry.  I asked the other day about CB&Q paint - and was advised it was a Mineral red colour (which is, btw, helpful information as a starting point, and I appreciate it).  It was noted that there are products on the market specifically labelled for this colour.  And I can see how they are useful.   

Here’s a couple of examples of a heavily cropped Delano images that show colours I find very hard to duplicate indoors on a model.  I’d say the last photo (taking into account all the interpretation challenges inherent in the photos, etc, etc) might be approximated using, for example, the TruColor CB&Q paint as a starting point.   But the low light in that photo tends to create a colourful glow - I’m not so sure I want to model based on that.  There is a huge range between the three cars.  As many have said before, the colours tend to move toward each other, although there are few cars exactly alike.   And there are a lot of cars that are the dark, washed out gray brown colour of the middle photo.  (Yes, there is a significant atmospheric effect in the photo, but many other photos and light conditions show cars in the same dark tones.)  Many other cars move to the pink range.  And many others in the tan range.  I find grey-brown, pink and tan paint very challenging to use on a model.

I’m collecting stills from film footage of the early and mid 1940s.  The angle of the camera to the car side also impacts how the paint is recorded.   But they tend to show most colours lighter than the Delano shots.  i.e. more pink, more tan, more gray-brown.   

So I am looking for what others who’ve delved into this have concluded and found in their experiments.    
<Delano April May 1943 LC-USW36-566.png>
<CB&Q Delano April 1943 LC-USW36-563 .png><cropped Dalano SS car.tiff>

On Nov 12, 2020, at 6:57 AM, Bill McClure <virginianbill@...> wrote:


I don't know the answer to your question, but I will just add that I have been at this hobby, and weathering for a very long time. I have learned more in the last ten years about weathering from a late friend who, in addition to trains, modeled WWII armor and aircraft. He introduced me to Vallejo and other military modeling materials, and to techniques used in that world. There are many YouTube videos from masters of military modeling.

I have spent a lot of time studying and experimenting with those approaches, adjusted for scale and lighting, etc., and have been very pleased with the results.

To echo one of Ben's maxims, weathering done well cannot be quick and easy, in my opinion. 

And I love Jack Delano's photography! I just don't know how to get there under Cool White fluorescent lighting. :)


<cropped Dalano SS car.tiff>

Join { to automatically receive all group messages.