Re: Black Paint vs. Car Cement


Way back in the early Seventies, I visited Colorado/New Mexico for the first
specifically for watching and researching trains, primarily the D&RGW & RGS.

At that time, there were a number of D&RGW Narrow Gauge Stock Cars that
had been deposited behind the roundhouse at Chama, NM. Actually, they
were sitting on the lead track of the old sheep dipping plant. For those not
modeling Colorado Narrow Gauge, most, if not all of the Rio Grande's
stock cars, narrow & broad gauges, were painted black -- the whole car.

I was just learning about the little nit-picking type stuff, like how/why the
corners of the stock car roofs were carefully cut at a 45 degree angle, etc.

I climbed up the rungs on the "B" end of one of the stock cars, as the grab
on this car seemed to be the safest (least rotted) of the lot -- you could
do that then without being yelled at by an employee! <G>

Unfortunately, due to the condition of the grab irons, I did not take my
up to the roof with me, something I've regretted for over 30 years.

What I saw was this ---

The roof walk boards were still a dull black -- with a bit of a grainy

At the time I didn't know that there was such a thing as roof cement. I just
assumed that the paint had been applied "extra heavy" on the roof walks.

The rest of the boards that made up the wood roof were totally devoid
of paint and most had "cupped" significantly. Apparently, these were
not treated the same as the roof walks.

Another interesting observation, was that some of the cars had
somewhat rectangular areas of the "roof cement" painted on the
ends of the roof, about two feet wide, adjacent to the center roof
walk. My guess was/is that the painter(s) put a little roof
cement on the roof boards in case the "brakie" slipped while on
the regular roof walk.

Several of the cars had this extra application. Several did not.

I climbed down and checked the "Paint Date Stars" on the cars.

Cars with the extra application had been painted in the late forties,
while the "untreated" cars had paint dates in the early fifties.

At that time the "oldest" paint jobs were only 25 to 30 years old.

What I later learned to be "roof cement" had really stuck to the areas
it was applied to. Obviously, on the Rio Grande "narrer gauge" the whole
roof, at least on these cars, had not been fully treated with "cement".

The way I represented this on my HOn3 stock cars, was to paint the whole
car Floquil Engine Black, then use Floquil Grimy Black, with a little Engine
Black added to visually blend the colors, and painted the roof walk areas
that had "cement" applied with that.

The slight color and texture variation remains visible through moderate
weathering, too.

'Hope this helps,


John Hitzeman
American Model Builders, Inc.
_www.rgspemkt.com_ (
_www.laserkit.com_ (
_www.ambstlouis.net_ (

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