Re: Freight Car Colors

Dave & Libby Nelson <muskoka@...>

-----Original Message-----
From: Ian Cranstone [mailto:lamontc@...]

From: Ted Culotta <ted_culotta@...>
By the way, I don't put too much stock in exact color
matches. 1,000 cars in a given series built by/for a
specific road probably had color variances right out
of the shops. Couple that with the fact that some
wintered in Minnesota while others got rained on in
Pittsburgh (no acid in the rain there in the 1940's,
huh?) while another spent the better part of the
winter in Florida... and all this is just for one
winter. The variance between two cars that came out
of the shops at the same time is staggering. Just
show some variety in your weathering and call it a
I'll second Ted on this one -- super-accurate colours are probably only
important if you're modelling a brand-new (or freshly repainted)
car. After a year or two, they've probably started to fade or weather to
point that spending too much time matching the base colour exactly is a
of a waste of time.
Here's where I gotta toss in my two cents -- it is important to understand
what the base color was. Jeff Aley is correct in asserting color is
objective and that includes what the car looks like a year or five or thirty
years after a paint job. I've seen color photos of nearly new WP boxcars
and the same for the same car family years later -- the base color is
fundamentally the same. There is the difference of tints and shades (that
is to say the addition of relatively color neutral black or white), but the
base is still there. I've received some tips on blending floquil paints to
match WP cars and having used them can say the result captures the objective
fairly well. It's not exact -- it never will be and for a small object
under artificial light it shouldn't be -- but it's not too red, or too
yellow or too green. In essense, I accept I can never get an *exact* match
but can get close enough to make it worthwhile. In contrast, take the brown
from Bowser's X-31 kit as an example: it has far too much green and far too
little red to approximate any possible intrepretation of PRR freight car red
and no amount of tint or shade will fix it. It's fundamentally the wrong

Another example, a scanned photo and IIRC, a paint mix of floquils roof
brown and caboose red:
PHOTO WPMW 0245 145 102 107
SPRAY rb+cr 144 67 68

now if I could have added a drop of this:
SPRAY ComArt Ultramarine 59 111 125

I might have been close enough, tho I suspect a tad dark -- the eye of
course being the final judge.

So for me the approach is start from the firm ground whenever possible but
don't get hung up on trying to acheive the impossible.

Dave Nelson

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