Re: Color question on CB&Q XM-23 circa 1939 paint

Nelson Moyer

According to the information I’ve accumulated, the CB&Q used pigments ground from a mineral mined in Wyoming. While it may be apocryphal, legend says that the pigment was measured into paint base ‘by the number of handfuls’. These factors mean that there would be batch to batch variation and drift over time. Having said that, color chips are on file at the Mercantile Museum in St. Louis, and Ed Hawkins made them available to Tru Color for development of Tru Color CB&Q Freight Car Red. That’s the best representation of CB&Q freight car color available, at least for new paint. The Q paint oxidized toward chromate, and in extreme old age, it was sort of orange-red, evidenced by the attached photos taken at the Illinois Railway Museum and the Colorado Railroad Museum.


When I built 24 CB&Q stock cars, I used five custom Tru Color mixes of CB&Q Freight Car Red plus various amounts of Burnt Iron and Oxide Brown to vary the paint colors. You could also use Tru Color Iron Oxide and Rust in custom mixes if you want to age the paint even more. I model 1953, and the Q maintained equipment very well in that era, so what you see in color photos from the 70s on isn’t representative of earlier times. What you see in 1950s color photos has Kodachrome effect, so reds are emphasized.


As I’ve stated before, I paint for new paint or sometimes slightly faded paint, then weather according to age of paint, type of car usage, and geographical exposures, so I usually just use Tru Color CB&Q Freight Car Red and weather from there.


Another color issue is the difference in weathering of wood cars vs. steel cars. There would be a fairly even mix of wood and steel in the late 1930.


The Q painted all car surfaces, including trucks the same freight car red.


I attached one of my XM-23 cars. It’s painted with Tru Color and Dullcote, but no weathering yet.


Nelson Moyer


From: <> On Behalf Of Charlie Duckworth
Sent: Wednesday, September 1, 2021 4:16 PM
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Color question on CB&Q XM-23 circa 1939 paint


I’m finishing up a Westerfield CB&Q XM-23 Modernized version with the ‘Everywhere West’ script across the door.  Excellent model, with PE parts and extra small parts for those of us building over a gray rug.  This is my first one piece body kit from Andrew and it’s impressive.  

I’ve acquired several bottles of Tru-Color freight car colors and many were used to paint just one model so I’d like to find something close to what the Burlington used on the freight cars in the late 1930’s.  Was their freight cars a brown or red ‘boxcar color’?  Also what were the Burlington’s paint standards was the carbody a solid color and the underframe black?  

Appreciate any feedback. 
Charlie Duckworth 
Omaha, Ne.

Join { to automatically receive all group messages.