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Pennsy red with Floquil
Ian Wilson <iwilson1081@...>
I'm ready to paint a couple of Westerfield GLA hopper cars representing circa 1954 paint jobs. I'm aware of the suggested color matching formulas for Scalecoat paint, but I've got a good stock of Floquil colors on hand. Can anyone tell me how to best approximate PRR freight car red for the era using Floquil colors?
Benjamin Frank Hom <b.hom@...>
Ian Wilson asked:
I'm ready to paint a couple of Westerfield GLA hopper cars representing
circa 1954 paint jobs. I'm aware of the suggested color matching formulas
for Scalecoat paint, but I've got a good stock of Floquil colors on hand.
Can anyone tell me how to best approximate PRR freight car red for the era
using Floquil colors?
Great, Ian. You just asked one of the two questions which will start
fistfights among Pennsy guys (the other is "What color is Dark Green
Locomotive Enamel (DGLE)?") For 1954, I'd use Floquil Zinc Chromate Primer
straight out of the bottle for Circle Keystone schemes with a lot of
weathering to tone down the car. For Shadow Keystone schemes, use a 50:50
mix of Zinc Chromate Primer and Boxcar Red with much lighter weathering
because the first SK cars started appearing in 1954. At any rate, I'd
concentrate on getting somewhere in the neighborhood of these two mixtures -
weathering caused variation in how Freight Car Color appeared. For proof,
look at the photo spread of Altoona on page 134-135 of Don Ball's PRR
1940s-1950s. Even accounting for lighting and possible film color shift,
it's a remarkable illustration of the color palette of the Northeastern
hopper fleet. Just don't paint them Tuscan Red.
Ian Wilson asked:
I'm ready to paint a couple of Westerfield GLA hopper cars representingOooooh, Ian, you know how to start a controversy! I've always used one of
the oxide colors (like Floquil Primer) to get that orange tone so evident
in the Grif Teller calendar views.
Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2942 Linden Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 http://www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroads and on Western history
Thomas Olsen <tmolsen@...>
Ben, Ian, Tony,toggle quoted message Show quoted text
Actually, all three of you are right regarding the red oxide, with the
exception that you left out the Scalecoat I Oxide Red. I prefer the
Scalecoat Oxide Red for freshly repainted in cars in 1953. Pennsy red
oxide is all over the map depending on what shop was doing the
painting. Throw into the mix what the weather does to the color and the
various changes in pigments from the paint manufacturers and you have
several different shades of this infamous freight car paint.
If any of you (I am sure Ben has it) have Morning Sun's Pennsy Steam
Years I, check out the pictures of the N5 cabin cars H21 hoppers on
pages 43, 65, 67, 68, 71, 77, 85, 87, 106 and 128.
Most of the photos are taken in the post-1954 shaded keystone era, in
and about 1955 and 1956. I have photos of X29Ds taken in Lewistown Pa.
in 1972 that were originally oxide red, but had faded to a light pink in
color. You can see what the weather and sunlight does to this color as
it ages by the photos of PRR freight cars throughout this book.
The late George Rust, who worked in Dupont's paint manufacturing
facility in Wilmington Delaware, advised that the biggest change in this
color was during the mid-50's when the formulas were change to
accommodate new pigments, manufacturing and mixing processes. These
changes cause the Pennsy freight car color to gradually move into the
more reddish-brown range. The Bowles color drift cards issued for 1952
shows this color shift towards the darker reddish-brown which really
became prevalent in the late 50's and early 60's.
By the way, Dark Green Locomotive Color (a.k.a. Brunswick Green) does
look black except when you look at it up close and at an angle in bright
sunlight. I took photos of the M-1b, G-5, H6sb, H10 engines just after
they arrived in Strasburg after going through the shop at Juniata back
in the late 60's. This was when the railroad donated the engine and car
collection to the State Museum, but before the building was built across
from the Strasburg headquarters. You could see the green, but you had
to look at the loco at an angle in the bright sunlight. The same went
for GG-1 4935 that was repainted in Wilmington Shop for use by Amtrak to
fete the engine class and it's designer, Raymond Lowey back in the late
'80s. I saw that engine several times a week and rode it between New
York and Washington a number of times while working in PC/CR System
Passenger Ops and I can tell you it was Green, almost Black. I have
slides of that engine when the shopmen were taking the tape off the
stripes after painting the engine in the shop. Quite impressive. The
last slides I took of the 4935 was at Wilmington shop about a year or
two later after the engine had been retired due to a transformer failure
and you could see how the weather worked that paint over to a lighter,
So, no matter what paint or what formula you use, you can be one hundred
percent sure that you will be right almost all of the time (as long as
you do not use Tuscan Red as Ben said!). This is regardless of what
some of the so-called Pennsy Ex-Perts say as there is nothing worse than
a fanatic GOOBER!
HO Products Review and Information Editor
7 Boundary Road, West Branch
Newark, Delaware, 19711-7479
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