Re: Boxcar red.. a suggestion...


Richard Hendrickson wrote:

I have an
extensive collection of color freight car slides, as well as many
prints from color negatives. In numerous cases, I have several
images depicting the same types of cars owned by the same railroad at
about the same time and, presumably, painted the same color. In not
one instance does the color on one image exactly match the color on
the others, even when allowances are made for dirt and weathering,
nor (when I have them) does it match the railroads own color drift

I also have a decent collection and have researched exact colors.? And I've been frustrated, too, with kit instructions that say paint "boxcar red."

Model railroad lighting doesn't have anywhere near the variables of natural sunlight and reflections, film and reciprocity issues, and atmosphere.? I've gone so far as to matching exactly the actual paint during full-size railroad equipment restoration projects, and shooting a model or two with the exact same paint. Yes, much more paint went into the atmosphere than went on the model, but the color is perfect, and the model looks right outdoors from ten feet away.? Bring that car into various basements and layouts, and it looks different. Chasing exactness here is futile.

I've thought about lumping the various shades into categories to get the flavor of the color to within the range of weathering, or at least to give the modeler without color photos something to get the car into the right range.? I was one of those who tried mixing exact colors after hours of research and comparison, and found after a while that many times I'm mixing very similar colors.?? There are basic families of boxcar red, for example.?? How's this:

Mineral Brown: dark brown, Sante Fe, Erie, et. al.

Standard Brown: Glidden's industrial paints of that era were called "Standard Brown," and it is what it implies; CB&Q, Southern, DL&W, etc., common on some reefer ends.

Light Brown -- lighter than above, but with no reddish hues; Frisco, Southern, etc.

Scalecoat boxcar red -- we all know what that indescribable color is, PRR shadow keystone-like, also on some reefer ends.

Maroon -- common industrial color in that era.

Dark maroon -- Bangor & Aroostook, and certain New Haven cars come to mind

Light maroon -- has that reddish-look, but still brown-ish, but lighter in density than brown.

Oxide -- PRR, B&O wagontop-like color.

Red: CB&Q, M&St.L, etc.

Y'all can commense laughing and critisizing.? But if kits would mention any of the above after or instead of?the term boxcar red, a lot more naked models might get paint, and the cars would look okay among the sea of other cars on model railroads.

Mike Del Vecchio

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