Boxcar red.. a suggestion...


Steve Lucas <stevelucas3@...>
 

I'll stick my neck out here, and get prepared for what the list
members toss at me. CN Lines SIG addressed replicating standard CN
colours about ten years ago. Extensive research was done by several
CN modellers including Stafford Swain back in the early '90's.

A "chip of many colours" was produced that has several CN standard
colours painted on it. Paint mixes were formulated that are in use
by manufacturers such as Scalecoat, ModelFlex, and several model
maufacturers. CN standard colours can even be replicated 1:1 using
Home Hardware's (major Canadian chain hardware and building supply
store) paints for restoration of CN family equipment (CN, CV, GTW,
etc.). To read more, check out Stafford's articles on CN rolling
stock colours in the October and November, 1995, Mainline Modeler.

This work has set such a high standard that the CPR Historical
Society has had CN Lines produce some CPR standard colours as well.
Debate about CN standard colours has been put to rest, with CPR
colours soon to follow suit.

The reason that I mention all this is that is no shortage of
extremely knowledgeable people on this list. With a bit of research
on their part about their favourite road's (or private owner's) paint
colours, we could see accepted commerical standards for many roads'
rolling stock colours, and likewise end a lot of this discussion and
argument once and for all. This has happened for CN modellers--why
not also for those that model NYC, PRR, and other US roads and
private owners?

Steve Lucas.



--- In STMFC@..., "Mike Brock" <brockm@...> wrote:

Armand Premo writes [ and I can hear his chuckle way down here in
FL ]

"Wow!Talk about opening Pandora's box.I didn't exactly expect this
volume of response."

Nonsense. Armand was afraid someone would bring up banana shipments
again
[ that subject seems to follow "color" by about a month and a half
anyhow
so...].

"To those of us who do not have access to color
photos of specific cars on specific roads,one must seek out color
photos or go by quess and by gosh or fly by the seat of his pants.I
have recently finished two resin car and was basically pleased with
the
results.....that is, and until,I happened on color photos of one of
the
subject cars."

OK...What are the cars? What RR?

"I really missed the target."

That's virtually impossible...I mean...unless you painted a MK&T
yellow
boxcar in Scale Coat I Engine Black.

"If I had been more familiar with
the subject railroad I may have been able to more closely replicate
the color,at least to my own satisfaction.In closing,the
instructions
called for finishing the car in the generic "Boxcar Red"."

Noooo problem. Just tell us the car, send me a photo and I'll find
a
prototype color photo of it to match yours. I will admit, of
course, if it
is one of those obscure, unknown RRs in New England...wherever that
is...I
may have to work harder but...

"...expect to
continue this lengthy,but non heated discussion with Mike Brock
when I
return to Florida in the fall."

Count on it. <G>

Mike Brock....geeez...


Mike Brock <brockm@...>
 

Steve Lucas says:

"I'll stick my neck out here, and get prepared for what the list
members toss at me."

Well....

"A "chip of many colours" was produced that has several CN standard
colours painted on it. Paint mixes were formulated that are in use
by manufacturers such as Scalecoat, ModelFlex, and several model
maufacturers."

I'm not certain I understand what you mean. I'm going to assume you mean different "colors" as in reddish brown or black as opposed to different renditions of a reddish brown.

"CN standard colours can even be replicated 1:1 using
Home Hardware's (major Canadian chain hardware and building supply
store) paints for restoration of CN family equipment (CN, CV, GTW,
etc.)."

Yes, but we know such a paint's color wouldn't work for a model viewed in various artificial and under very much weaker light environments. IOW, it would have to be modified...even if the model were to represent a car right out of the paint shop. So...then one has to determine HOW to modify it. In the end, one could have started with a color quite different from the real thing because the end result needs to vary as well simply because it will be viewed under very different light forms. IOW, IMO of course, there IS no absolute, perfect color. Having said that, would it be of value to have a paint that matches the real thing...like UP Oxide Red...to start with? Certainly. Add some white or grey or something to lighten it up without destroying the general impression. Using paint to simulate sunlight is not the easiest solution but we are modelers after all and modeling is, in many cases, an art form. Anyhow, much better to use paint to lighten up than put several megawatts of light producing power in the ol' train room. Particularly when one is trying to keep the temp down as in Florida.

"With a bit of research
on their part about their favourite road's (or private owner's) paint
colours, we could see accepted commerical standards for many roads'
rolling stock colours, and likewise end a lot of this discussion and
argument once and for all."

Oh...I don't think so. It MIGHT be possible to develop a paint that comes close to matching a paint used by a real RR but then one has to change it so that its appearance on a much, much smaller model under various and much weaker light conditions and viewed at different angles matches a prototype that doesn't even exist except in photos [ with all the errors they bring to the table ]. I might add that one also has to deal with different paint colors for the supposedly same paint generated by real RRs. I would argue that about all one can do is develop a "ball park" color range...rather large, BTW...within which one could probably successfully match to a prototype photo. It, of course, wouldn't match to ALL prototype photos even of the same car simply because they are frequently...well...different. Then...add to that that we humans don't have identical eyes. Mine...of course...are more accurate than those of anyone else <G>.

All this reminds me of trying to analyze data in a data stream with a bad sync pattern. Don't do it, if the data stream has errors, no amount of working it can remove them.

I might add that back in the 1980's when I built my layout I wanted to enhance its reddish/brown Wyoming scenery so I used warm white fluorescent bulbs. These really did the trick...having viewed Wyoming on a sunny day. I had to paint equipment with this in mind, however. And, I can recall that a UP 4-12-2 steam loco painted with Scale Coat I Engine Black [ that paint produced a black very close to the black used by UP ] with some white to lighten it up [ man, the thing looked like it was viewed at midnight when just painted black ]. Anyhow, happy with the result, I put it on the layout and it turned blue. Yuk. Had to add red or brown to the black/white mix and paint it again. That worked just fine...unless one views it under real sunlight. Hopefully, the next hurricane won't produce this effect.

Mike Brock...wonder where I left the key to the bomb shelter...Hmmm. Wonder if I still have a light bulb down there?


Charlie Vlk
 

There is a need for documenting colors used by the railroads and coming up with some
method(s) of communicating them.
Add to that the need to adjust the colors to account for scale and indoor lighting conditions for models.
I wrote (and also posted to this group) the following as my thoughts on some of the things that need to be
done to rationalize (as far as is possible) the problem of color in our hobby...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008 1:40 PM

"Strictly speaking, this may be off-topic to Steam Era Freight Cars somewhat, but it seems an important enough general problem
that bears on the purpose of the list.....
There is a Yahoo! Group that hasn't gotten off the ground
rrColorStds@...

that was formed to explore just such issues. For some reason it hasn't gone anywhere.

In our vast pool of talent there have to be some commercial artists, paint chemists, or even color theorists that can jump in and make something like this happen.

I see a number of separate but related activities necessary to make a Standard Railroad Color Reference Library for Model Railroads:

1) A uniform catalog of real railroad paints and their applications. There are some DuPont and other lists available to begin building this database. One activity would be for everyone to report paint references on any prototype sources they have as it appears on the document (not only did the method of listing colors change by the manufacturers, often railroads and builders mis-listed the color numbers or called them by the wrong name. This would have to be recorded and rectified to make a master list that is correct and complete reference). Many colors were reused between different railroads (Santa Fe Red as used on the Warbonnet Fs and the Red used on Burlington Route E Unit stripes, for example). A list of paint colors with what railroads used them on what would be a great framework for developing a Color Library.

This would take the combined efforts of someone who is familiar with data base input on the internet and a group of prototype savy people to suggest at least an initial range of possible inputs that need to be recorded. After this is done a call would go out to RR Historical Societies, modelers, the various forums and email groups on the internet for folks to review their collections of drawings to contribute color reference data along with the full citation of the source.

2) A uniform way of obtaining reproducable copies of official Color Drift Cards. These would be the base starting point for developing Standard Railroad Colors for use on Railroad Models (and restorations of equipment in Railroad Musuems as well). Somebody with work experience in reproducting color in a uniform, reproduceable manner would be invaluable to this effort.

3) Some work needs to be done on ways of adjusting colors from the prototype samples so they look "right" on models under typical layout viewing conditions. Some research has to be done to see if there are any uniform approaches for adjusting colors for scale and reduced lighting typical of most Model Railroad situations. It might be reasonable to make some recommendations for achieving reasonable color balance with commercially available lighting (especially in light (pardon the pun) of the move to energy efficient fluorescent replacements for incandescent bulbs so that the recommended colors can be seen as intended. Probably in conjunction with this work some standards for paint finish (gloss, semi-gloss, eqgshell, flat, textured, etc.) should be done as well with the same considerations for scale and viewing conditions.

4) As part of this work, some comments on real world lighting and how to interpret photographs of real equipment might be further information worth putting into the knowledge base for Model Railroaders.

5) The colors could be referenced in a manner that computer users could reproduce them (within the limitations of their monitors, graphics card and printer devices) for non-model use.

I am sure that I have only scratched the surface of what needs to be done regarding establishing a Standard Railroad Color Reference Library for Model Railroads, but I am sure that others can jump in and help make this project a reality.

I would encourage those interested in this subject to join the rrColorStds@... group as that would be the proper forum for meaningful work towards this end, but it may be that the moderators here will allow a little discussion from those with thoughts on the subject but not interested in joining the grpup per se."

Thank you,

Charlie Vlk


SUVCWORR@...
 

In a message dated 5/15/2008 12:29:34 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
stevelucas3@... writes:

The reason that I mention all this is that is no shortage of
extremely knowledgeable people on this list. With a bit of research
on their part about their favourite road's (or private owner's) paint
colours, we could see accepted commerical standards for many roads'
rolling stock colours, and likewise end a lot of this discussion and
argument once and for all. This has happened for CN modellers--why
not also for those that model NYC, PRR, and other US roads and
private owners?



Steve,

The PRRT&HS has a paint committee which is tackling the issue of PRR paint
colors. Hopefully, they will have some paint standards soon.

Rich Orr



**************Wondering what's for Dinner Tonight? Get new twists on family
favorites at AOL Food.
(http://food.aol.com/dinner-tonight?NCID=aolfod00030000000001)


Dennis Storzek
 

--- In STMFC@..., "Charlie Vlk" <cvlk@...> wrote:

There is a need for documenting colors used by the railroads and
coming up with some
method(s) of communicating them.
Charlie,

OK, I've tried to stay out of this as long as I can. I've felt for
years that there should be a way to record, exchange, and preserve
color information, and that the individual RR historical societies
would be the best avenue for implimentation.

Stafford Swain and the CN group had the start of the system, having
the best samples they could find matched to commonly available paint,
then preparing their own samples for distribution. There are several
problems that have not been overcome:

This requires two matches, each prone to error. One from the original
drift card to the intermediate color, which I am under the impression
was done in the paint department in one of the "big box" stores, so
the calibration of the equipment is questionable. No match is ever
going to be perfect under all lighting conditions, unless the person
doing the matching can replicate the actual composition of the paint
to be matched. Then, the recipient of the sample has to do it all
again to make paint he can use.

The other problem is I don't know how far those chips were ever
distributed; Safford sent me a couple, but not a complete set. In
fact, I wasn't aware that they ever had done a complete set. If the
samples aren't residing in a manufacturer's files when it come time to
do a project, all the work has been wasted.

And, while this methodology might be good enough as a basis for
modeling, where most people are going to tweak the color for their
layout lighting, historical societies also have the responsibility to
support railway preservation. Bill's "purple Pullman" was bad enough
in HO scale; I'd sure hate to be responsible for doing that on a
museum piece :-)

There could be a solution, but I don't really have the technical
expertise to offer good guidance. Those paint store computer matching
systems, and their more sophisticated paint lab brethren, all have a
system to record color as a set of coordinates in "color space."
Think of the "color wheel" you used to see in school. Now add an axle
perpendicular to the wheel, with the top being white and the bottom
being black. That is the basic concept of Munsell color system. Any
color should be able to be described by a spot in the resulting
sphere, which is a combination of its hue H from the wheel, it's
chroma C, the distance from the center on the wheel, and its value V,
its distance above or below the wheel. H V/C describes the color.

The problem is, aside from Munsell, there are numerous other systems
that describe color in similar, but different, fashion. I'm not sure
what the color matching instruments use, or if they even all use the
same system.

If we had someone with a good background in the science of color
matching, perhaps we could have the ideal system, where each prototype
color is described by a numerical values, and taking it to your local
paint store would get you your own personal quart to make your own
drift cards from. People with the need or desire for more precise
matches could pay to have a lab do the match.

Dennis


Robert <riverob@...>
 

About 15-20 years(?) ago, Scientific American magazine had an article
all about color. It described a dozen+ ways in which color is
"generated" and perceived. It took into acount additive,
subtractive, reflective, light source, etc, etc. Fairly in-depth,
yet readible in the SA way. Does anyone else remember the article?
I spent about 10 minutes last night searching the SA index for it,
but since I can't remember the year or title, I came up short. I'll
search again, but I thought someone else may have a hint.

Question: In order to illustrate some extreme examples of the catch-
all "Box Car Red", what are some far-out examples? On the "red"
side, I'm thinking olde PRR red, and on the brown side...???

The recurring issue of color "definition" is so subjective, we ought
to query women on their thoughts because I see the mainly men-folk
here about ready to duel over something I cant even put into words.
You know what I mean.

Rob Simpson



--- In STMFC@..., "Charlie Vlk" <cvlk@...> wrote:

There is a need for documenting colors used by the railroads and
coming up with some method(s) of communicating them.
Add to that the need to adjust the colors to account for scale and
indoor lighting conditions for models. I wrote (and also posted to
this group) the following as my thoughts on some of the things that
need to be done to rationalize (as far as is possible) the problem of
color in our hobby...

Charlie Vlk


Mike Brock <brockm@...>
 

Dennis Storzek writes:

"If we had someone with a good background in the science of color
matching, perhaps we could have the ideal system, where each prototype
color is described by a numerical values, and taking it to your local
paint store would get you your own personal quart to make your own
drift cards from." People with the need or desire for more precise
matches could pay to have a lab do the match."

Hmmm. OK. Then they carefully paint an exquisite resin model of a Northern Pacific DS box car with the exact NP box car color...maybe lightened according to carefully analyzed plan to fit with my warm white bulbs, decal it and then spray it with Polyscale Rail Tie Brown or maybe put a wash of Rail Tie Brown [ hint...I like Rail Tie Brown as a weathering agent ] or perhaps they just dump some kind of chalk on it. Depending upon how much they weather the thing, it might match one of the hundreds of operational colorations. OTOH, just taking a slightly redder box car red from some paint vendor, do a similar weathering job and presto...it will also match one of the 100 or so photos. Of course, part of the reason is that...photos show...there were at least two very different shades of box car red used by NP in the early 50's. So...you got a better chance to match one...or maybe not match it.

I can recall spending a great deal of time trying to determine a good match for the smoke box of a UP steam loco fresh out of the shop. Finally satisfied, I painted one, then dumped black chalk and water and some oil paint stuff on it. Very nice. It really looked like some of the weathered photos. OTOH, I could have just put any grey paint on the smoke box prior to weathering.

Mike Brock....there's an echo down here.


Charlie Vlk
 

Dennis-
You are right about the difficulty of color matching and how to scale the colors; but any effort at standardization would be better than the current
situation.
I don't think the paint stores have any uniform formula system; AFAIK the colors are expressed in terms of a recipe using a particular brand of paint
base and tint colors. Perhaps the technology for reading the color is common but it is not a usable number for getting paint from different sources.
I don't know what system is commonly used for the commercial stock used in model production....you would be in a better position to say how
commercial paints and pad printing inks are specified..... the process in China and Japan has never been revealed to me in the course of my work...
but I do know that Japan and China would like everything to be a Pantone number... mostly, I suspect, to relieve the factory of any responsibility for
the final color of the product.
But that is another subject altogether....
Charlie Vlk


Charlie,

OK, I've tried to stay out of this as long as I can. I've felt for
years that there should be a way to record, exchange, and preserve
color information, and that the individual RR historical societies
would be the best avenue for implimentation.

Stafford Swain and the CN group had the start of the system, having
the best samples they could find matched to commonly available paint,
then preparing their own samples for distribution. There are several
problems that have not been overcome:

This requires two matches, each prone to error. One from the original
drift card to the intermediate color, which I am under the impression
was done in the paint department in one of the "big box" stores, so
the calibration of the equipment is questionable. No match is ever
going to be perfect under all lighting conditions, unless the person
doing the matching can replicate the actual composition of the paint
to be matched. Then, the recipient of the sample has to do it all
again to make paint he can use.

The other problem is I don't know how far those chips were ever
distributed; Safford sent me a couple, but not a complete set. In
fact, I wasn't aware that they ever had done a complete set. If the
samples aren't residing in a manufacturer's files when it come time to
do a project, all the work has been wasted.

And, while this methodology might be good enough as a basis for
modeling, where most people are going to tweak the color for their
layout lighting, historical societies also have the responsibility to
support railway preservation. Bill's "purple Pullman" was bad enough
in HO scale; I'd sure hate to be responsible for doing that on a
museum piece :-)

There could be a solution, but I don't really have the technical
expertise to offer good guidance. Those paint store computer matching
systems, and their more sophisticated paint lab brethren, all have a
system to record color as a set of coordinates in "color space."
Think of the "color wheel" you used to see in school. Now add an axle
perpendicular to the wheel, with the top being white and the bottom
being black. That is the basic concept of Munsell color system. Any
color should be able to be described by a spot in the resulting
sphere, which is a combination of its hue H from the wheel, it's
chroma C, the distance from the center on the wheel, and its value V,
its distance above or below the wheel. H V/C describes the color.

The problem is, aside from Munsell, there are numerous other systems
that describe color in similar, but different, fashion. I'm not sure
what the color matching instruments use, or if they even all use the
same system.

If we had someone with a good background in the science of color
matching, perhaps we could have the ideal system, where each prototype
color is described by a numerical values, and taking it to your local
paint store would get you your own personal quart to make your own
drift cards from. People with the need or desire for more precise
matches could pay to have a lab do the match.

Dennis


.


Tim O'Connor
 

Didn't I suggest this about five or six years ago? And everybody jumped on
my case about it as more or less impossible, impractical, and unworkable.
And given all the blowback, I had to agree, they made the point.

Tim O'Connor

-------------- Original message ----------------------
From: "Dennis Storzek" <destorzek@...>

OK, I've tried to stay out of this as long as I can. I've felt for
years that there should be a way to record, exchange, and preserve
color information, and that the individual RR historical societies
would be the best avenue for implimentation.


Richard Hendrickson
 

On May 15, 2008, at 2:49 PM, Mike Brock wrote:

Hmmm. OK. Then they carefully paint an exquisite resin model of a
Northern
Pacific DS box car with the exact NP box car color...maybe lightened
according to carefully analyzed plan to fit with my warm white
bulbs, decal
it and then spray it with Polyscale Rail Tie Brown or maybe put a
wash of
Rail Tie Brown [ hint...I like Rail Tie Brown as a weathering
agent ] or
perhaps they just dump some kind of chalk on it. Depending upon how
much
they weather the thing, it might match one of the hundreds of
operational
colorations. OTOH, just taking a slightly redder box car red from
some paint
vendor, do a similar weathering job and presto...it will also match
one of
the 100 or so photos. Of course, part of the reason is that...photos
show...there were at least two very different shades of box car red
used by
NP in the early 50's. So...you got a better chance to match
one...or maybe
not match it.














Up to this point I've resisted taking any part in this discussion
because it's a rehash of the same ol' same ol' on the subject of
paint colors that resurfaces on this list about every three months,
mostly by list subscribers who haven't bothered to read, or perhaps
to remember, what's been said before. I've made my views known at
length a couple of times in the past, and I'm not going to do it
again. I'll just say that, on the whole, I agree with Mike, and I'll
add a couple of observations.

Anyone who tries to match prototype colors on the basis of old color
photography is suffering seriously from delusion. 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
cards. Anyway, for all of the reasons discussed here repeatedly
(some people really are slow to get this message), painting a model
exactly the same color as the prototype is always a serious mistake.
We can seldom determine with much assurance what the prototype color
was, but even when we can, that information is more likely to be
deceptive than helpful.

Guys, please pay attention. The findings of physiologists and
perceptual psychologists establish beyond a doubt that color is NOT a
physical phenomenon, so when you try to define or manipulate the
physics of it, in any of the ways have been discussed here at great
length, you are simply spinning your wheels to little purpose. For
each of us, color is what our brain thinks it is on the basis of the
signals it gets from our nervous system, and there is much individual
variation, sometimes extreme (in the case of those who have some
degree of "color blindness"), usually more subtle. There are gender
differences, which may be either physiological or culturally induced
or (most likely) both. There is a substantial body of research which
indicates that color perception is influenced by the language we have
to talk about it; in English we are better at discriminating colors
near the boundaries of our color categories (e.g., yellow-orange)
than in the middle of them. And we don't all use the same color
vocabulary; English speakers for whom color is very important
personally or professionally (often but not always female) are
familiar with color terms the rest of us aren't. Don't believe it?
Try defining "puce" in a way that will satisfy your female
significant others, to say nothing of a professional interior
designer. The same is true for speakers of other languages, whose
color terms have different boundaries, often very different from ours.

That's not to say that talking about, say, the differences between
Union Pacific oxide red and Santa Fe mineral brown is entirely
pointless; such exchanges may help to sharpen our perception. But
those who think there must be some way to nail down these colors to
mathematically precise formulae are, to phrase it charitably, naïve.
Color is not just in the eye of the beholder, it's in the brain of
the beholder. And given the external evidence of what's going on in
the brains of railroad historians and model railroaders.... Well,
let's not go there.

Richard Hendrickson



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


water.kresse@...
 

The auto industry solved this problem by get spectral data on their colors. Originals are selected in natural sun light and then scanned with a spectrumeter. An auto paint supplier was able to re-make Enchantment Blue chips on primmed aluminum palates from the spectral data.

The biggest problem is getting pre-60s paint chips. 35 mm color slides of the 50s typically have poor representations of colors. Local paint shops supplying the railroads car shops do have their mixtures for 55 gallons quamtities of paint . . . if they want to give them to you. The problem again is say for the C&O is Huntington's, Raceland's and Wyoming's car shop Freight Car Brown didn't necessarily come out the same as painted, and more so after a few years. The Wyoming Shop cars, painted outside in the winter with more thinners, looked different by the spring. Freight car shops were more interested in good coverage than having a "pure" color.

Finding the "old" pigments in a new paint shop isn't that easy.

Al Kresse

-------------- Original message --------------
From: "Charlie Vlk" <cvlk@...>
There is a need for documenting colors used by the railroads and coming up with some
method(s) of communicating them.
Add to that the need to adjust the colors to account for scale and indoor lighting conditions for models.
I wrote (and also posted to this group) the following as my thoughts on some of the things that need to be
done to rationalize (as far as is possible) the problem of color in our hobby...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008 1:40 PM

"Strictly speaking, this may be off-topic to Steam Era Freight Cars somewhat, but it seems an important enough general problem
that bears on the purpose of the list.....
There is a Yahoo! Group that hasn't gotten off the ground
rrColorStds@...

that was formed to explore just such issues. For some reason it hasn't gone anywhere.

In our vast pool of talent there have to be some commercial artists, paint chemists, or even color theorists that can jump in and make something like this happen.

I see a number of separate but related activities necessary to make a Standard Railroad Color Reference Library for Model Railroads:

1) A uniform catalog of real railroad paints and their applications. There are some DuPont and other lists available to begin building this database. One activity would be for everyone to report paint references on any prototype sources they have as it appears on the document (not only did the method of listing colors change by the manufacturers, often railroads and builders mis-listed the color numbers or called them by the wrong name. This would have to be recorded and rectified to make a master list that is correct and complete reference). Many colors were reused between different railroads (Santa Fe Red as used on the Warbonnet Fs and the Red used on Burlington Route E Unit stripes, for example). A list of paint colors with what railroads used them on what would be a great framework for developing a Color Library.

This would take the combined efforts of someone who is familiar with data base input on the internet and a group of prototype savy people to suggest at least an initial range of possible inputs that need to be recorded. After this is done a call would go out to RR Historical Societies, modelers, the various forums and email groups on the internet for folks to review their collections of drawings to contribute color reference data along with the full citation of the source.

2) A uniform way of obtaining reproducable copies of official Color Drift Cards. These would be the base starting point for developing Standard Railroad Colors for use on Railroad Models (and restorations of equipment in Railroad Musuems as well). Somebody with work experience in reproducting color in a uniform, reproduceable manner would be invaluable to this effort.

3) Some work needs to be done on ways of adjusting colors from the prototype samples so they look "right" on models under typical layout viewing conditions. Some research has to be done to see if there are any uniform approaches for adjusting colors for scale and reduced lighting typical of most Model Railroad situations. It might be reasonable to make some recommendations for achieving reasonable color balance with commercially available lighting (especially in light (pardon the pun) of the move to energy efficient fluorescent replacements for incandescent bulbs so that the recommended colors can be seen as intended. Probably in conjunction with this work some standards for paint finish (gloss, semi-gloss, eqgshell, flat, textured, etc.) should be done as well with the same considerations for scale and viewing conditions.

4) As part of this work, some comments on real world lighting and how to interpret photographs of real equipment might be further information worth putting into the knowledge base for Model Railroaders.

5) The colors could be referenced in a manner that computer users could reproduce them (within the limitations of their monitors, graphics card and printer devices) for non-model use.

I am sure that I have only scratched the surface of what needs to be done regarding establishing a Standard Railroad Color Reference Library for Model Railroads, but I am sure that others can jump in and help make this project a reality.

I would encourage those interested in this subject to join the rrColorStds@... group as that would be the proper forum for meaningful work towards this end, but it may be that the moderators here will allow a little discussion from those with thoughts on the subject but not interested in joining the grpup per se."

Thank you,

Charlie Vlk


MDelvec952
 

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
cards.




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


al_brown03
 

--- In STMFC@..., Richard Hendrickson wrote:
< big snip>
what's going on in
the brains of railroad historians and model railroaders....
Richard got me thinking again, to wit:

As a chemist I find interesting the attempts to put freight-car
colors (red or other) on a scientific basis. As an individual
modeler, building for myself only, I appreciate these efforts: they
make it easier for me to find reasonable starting colors. But that's
all the use I make of the work: I start with a base color that's semi-
close and comes in a spray can (I am also a **complete** klutz with
an airbrush), and weather to resemble a prototype photo. I'll confess
that I've just used Tamiya Hull Red as a Frisco BCR. It was a tad
garish by itself with Glosscote on top, but it weathered down not too
badly. I'll bring the car to Cocoa Beach.

Al Brown, Melbourne, Fla.


leakinmywaders
 

First let me declare that I personally hold to the views of Brock,
Storzek and Hendrickson and others expressed here that color choice
for a model is a highly contextual, perceptual and artistic decision
and precise quantitive criteria aren't going to nail it.

BUT as a practical point, for those who are looking for an existing
system to relate, compare and name colors, I think Dennis is on the
right track mentioning Munsell. Why? Munsell is used by soil
scientists and geologists to describe natural minerals and soil
mixtures. It has high precision and a good working vocabulary for
colors in the red, ochre, orange, maroon, and brown ranges. Thus,
it's robust where Pantone is a no-show.

At least that's my experience,as a modeler and a scientist who has
messed around with soils some, and as a sometime, non-professional
artist, NOT a color expert. Soil scientists are concerned with the
exact same fine distinctions modelers are when we agonize over the
character of "boxcar red," and they are doing this in the field under
varied light, moisture, and textural conditions, and worried about the
translation to lab conditions too. That's got close physical and
perceptual similarity to the problem we face translating prototype to
model. They've had maybe some two hundred years to make up their
minds, and they use Munsell.

Never thought I'd have anything novel to say on this subject (and
perhaps I still haven't; I confess to not actually searching the
archive for "Munsell").

Chris Frissell
Polson, MT

--- In STMFC@..., "Dennis Storzek" <destorzek@...> wrote:

--- In STMFC@..., "Charlie Vlk" <cvlk@> wrote:

There is a need for documenting colors used by the railroads and
coming up with some
method(s) of communicating them.
Charlie,
... Now add an axle
perpendicular to the wheel, with the top being white and the bottom
being black. That is the basic concept of Munsell color system. Any
color should be able to be described by a spot in the resulting
sphere, which is a combination of its hue H from the wheel, it's
chroma C, the distance from the center on the wheel, and its value V,
its distance above or below the wheel. H V/C describes the color.


water.kresse@...
 

Circa-1900 C&O and Sherwin-Williams and Victorian house paint purchase discussions talk about Minnesota Red-oxide vs. Muddy Red-oxide pigments from the Tennessee River area for Freight Car Brown.

There use to be a young paint forensics PhD (studied at U of Delaware near DuPont Htqrs) at Steam Town who was reconstructing new paint specs from old, oxidized paints.

Who has all those "virgin or protected" reference paint samples we are talking about reproducing from?

Al Kresse

-------------- Original message --------------
From: "leakinmywaders" <leakinmywaders@...>
First let me declare that I personally hold to the views of Brock,
Storzek and Hendrickson and others expressed here that color choice
for a model is a highly contextual, perceptual and artistic decision
and precise quantitive criteria aren't going to nail it.

BUT as a practical point, for those who are looking for an existing
system to relate, compare and name colors, I think Dennis is on the
right track mentioning Munsell. Why? Munsell is used by soil
scientists and geologists to describe natural minerals and soil
mixtures. It has high precision and a good working vocabulary for
colors in the red, ochre, orange, maroon, and brown ranges. Thus,
it's robust where Pantone is a no-show.

At least that's my experience,as a modeler and a scientist who has
messed around with soils some, and as a sometime, non-professional
artist, NOT a color expert. Soil scientists are concerned with the
exact same fine distinctions modelers are when we agonize over the
character of "boxcar red," and they are doing this in the field under
varied light, moisture, and textural conditions, and worried about the
translation to lab conditions too. That's got close physical and
perceptual similarity to the problem we face translating prototype to
model. They've had maybe some two hundred years to make up their
minds, and they use Munsell.

Never thought I'd have anything novel to say on this subject (and
perhaps I still haven't; I confess to not actually searching the
archive for "Munsell").

Chris Frissell
Polson, MT

--- In STMFC@..., "Dennis Storzek" <destorzek@...> wrote:

--- In STMFC@..., "Charlie Vlk" <cvlk@> wrote:

There is a need for documenting colors used by the railroads and
coming up with some
method(s) of communicating them.
Charlie,
... Now add an axle
perpendicular to the wheel, with the top being white and the bottom
being black. That is the basic concept of Munsell color system. Any
color should be able to be described by a spot in the resulting
sphere, which is a combination of its hue H from the wheel, it's
chroma C, the distance from the center on the wheel, and its value V,
its distance above or below the wheel. H V/C describes the color.


leakinmywaders
 

--- In STMFC@..., water.kresse@... wrote:
...

Who has all those "virgin or protected" reference paint samples we
are talking about reproducing from?

Al Kresse
For the record, I'm not the one who suggested a search for the holy
grail of virgin samples. I'm only suggesting a descriptive tool for
those who want to go on a quest, whether the subject is virgin or
"experienced" color.

Chris Frissell
Polson, MT


Larry Grubb <larry450sl@...>
 

Thanks for settling that, Richard.
Mike, is there some kind of spam filter for the STMFC that filters out any posts containing the words "correct paint color" or "accurate scale coupler" and other terms that have no possibility of ever being defined but are clearly matters of personal choice?
Larry Grubb
Richard Hendrickson <rhendrickson@...> wrote:
On May 15, 2008, at 2:49 PM, Mike Brock wrote:

Hmmm. OK. Then they carefully paint an exquisite resin model of a
Northern
Pacific DS box car with the exact NP box car color...maybe lightened
according to carefully analyzed plan to fit with my warm white
bulbs, decal
it and then spray it with Polyscale Rail Tie Brown or maybe put a
wash of
Rail Tie Brown [ hint...I like Rail Tie Brown as a weathering
agent ] or
perhaps they just dump some kind of chalk on it. Depending upon how
much
they weather the thing, it might match one of the hundreds of
operational
colorations. OTOH, just taking a slightly redder box car red from
some paint
vendor, do a similar weathering job and presto...it will also match
one of
the 100 or so photos. Of course, part of the reason is that...photos
show...there were at least two very different shades of box car red
used by
NP in the early 50's. So...you got a better chance to match
one...or maybe
not match it.
Up to this point I've resisted taking any part in this discussion
because it's a rehash of the same ol' same ol' on the subject of
paint colors that resurfaces on this list about every three months,
mostly by list subscribers who haven't bothered to read, or perhaps
to remember, what's been said before. I've made my views known at
length a couple of times in the past, and I'm not going to do it
again. I'll just say that, on the whole, I agree with Mike, and I'll
add a couple of observations.

Anyone who tries to match prototype colors on the basis of old color
photography is suffering seriously from delusion. 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
cards. Anyway, for all of the reasons discussed here repeatedly
(some people really are slow to get this message), painting a model
exactly the same color as the prototype is always a serious mistake.
We can seldom determine with much assurance what the prototype color
was, but even when we can, that information is more likely to be
deceptive than helpful.

Guys, please pay attention. The findings of physiologists and
perceptual psychologists establish beyond a doubt that color is NOT a
physical phenomenon, so when you try to define or manipulate the
physics of it, in any of the ways have been discussed here at great
length, you are simply spinning your wheels to little purpose. For
each of us, color is what our brain thinks it is on the basis of the
signals it gets from our nervous system, and there is much individual
variation, sometimes extreme (in the case of those who have some
degree of "color blindness"), usually more subtle. There are gender
differences, which may be either physiological or culturally induced
or (most likely) both. There is a substantial body of research which
indicates that color perception is influenced by the language we have
to talk about it; in English we are better at discriminating colors
near the boundaries of our color categories (e.g., yellow-orange)
than in the middle of them. And we don't all use the same color
vocabulary; English speakers for whom color is very important
personally or professionally (often but not always female) are
familiar with color terms the rest of us aren't. Don't believe it?
Try defining "puce" in a way that will satisfy your female
significant others, to say nothing of a professional interior
designer. The same is true for speakers of other languages, whose
color terms have different boundaries, often very different from ours.

That's not to say that talking about, say, the differences between
Union Pacific oxide red and Santa Fe mineral brown is entirely
pointless; such exchanges may help to sharpen our perception. But
those who think there must be some way to nail down these colors to
mathematically precise formulae are, to phrase it charitably, naïve.
Color is not just in the eye of the beholder, it's in the brain of
the beholder. And given the external evidence of what's going on in
the brains of railroad historians and model railroaders.... Well,
let's not go there.

Richard Hendrickson

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]







[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Dennis Storzek
 

--- In STMFC@..., water.kresse@... wrote:

Circa-1900 C&O and Sherwin-Williams and Victorian house paint
purchase discussions talk about Minnesota Red-oxide vs. Muddy
Red-oxide pigments from the Tennessee River area for Freight Car Brown.

The bane of trying to recreate colors from the early part of the last
century. When it comes right down to it, it was all just mud, and
which puddle it came from made a difference :-)

There use to be a young paint forensics PhD (studied at U of
Delaware near DuPont Htqrs) at Steam Town who was reconstructing new
paint specs from old, oxidized paints.

I wish we had input from someone with formal training in this field. I
know there are solutions out there, but I've never had enough exposure
to be able to give valid advice.

Who has all those "virgin or protected" reference paint samples we
are talking about reproducing from?

People have them. Lots of "hard core" modelers have one or two drift
cards for their pet railroad. Railway museums find virgin colors when
they do car restorations. They then sand blast it off, or paint over
it :-) And the drift carsds in private collections will go in the
trash when the owner passes on :-(

And to answer Charlie, I wasn't thinking about the old hardware store
"set the plunger and squirt `em in the can" paint mixing systems of
twenty years ago… I was thinking of the new color MATCHING systems
where the big box store advertises that you can bring your kid's
stuffed toy in and they'll scan it and match it. Obviously, they are
using some sort of computer spectrometer, and at some point in its
software it is converting the data to a numerical format that can be
transmitted, or saved for all posterity.

And that's really the point, saving the colors for historical
purposes. I agree with Richard and Mike that color is subjective, and
needs to be modified for our layout lighting anyway. My concern is
saving the colors. For years and years historians and historical
societies have been tracking down and saving DuPont numbers. Ya know
what? In the seventies, federal regs prohibiting heavy metals in paint
pigment forced the re-formulation of everybody's paint lines. If a
color wasn't currently in production, it wasn't reformulated. Last
time I talked to DuPont, they couldn't (or wouldn't) reference a
historic number. They told me to send a sample and they'd match to it.
Obviously, they are finding it easier to satisfy requests for obsolete
colors by computer matching the customer's sample rather than
maintaining an archive of drift cards.

We, as historians, and modelers interested in railroad history, need
to find a way to preserve this information in non-perishable form.
Theoretically, If I'm repainting a Santa Fe stockcar at a museum in
Illinois, and Richard has a historic drift card in Oregon, he should
be able to take it to be scanned at his local Sherwin Williams store
and I should be able to pick up the finished paint locally at a store
in Illinois. Ideally, the color information, whether defined by the
Munsell system, or the Hunter L*a*B system, or the CIELAB system,
should be on file somewhere, and that would save Richard the trip.

We just need someone to work out the kinks and make it happen.

Sounds like a good project for the NMRA :-)


Dennis


SUVCWORR@...
 

In a message dated 5/16/2008 12:14:21 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
bierglaeser@... writes:

If we are able to agree that Brock, Storzek and Hendrickson et. al. are
correct then why are so many of us so ready to beat up a manufacturer
who doesn't get the color "right?" Don't the maority of us weather the
majority of our freight cars anyway?



Because there are degrees of closeness. If the color is reasonably close
then there is no reason to rip into the manufacturer. But when the color is
degrees of magnitude away on the spectrum they deserve to be beat up.

Rich Orr



**************Wondering what's for Dinner Tonight? Get new twists on family
favorites at AOL Food.
(http://food.aol.com/dinner-tonight?NCID=aolfod00030000000001)


Steve Lucas <stevelucas3@...>
 

Tim--

I'd submit that setting colour standards for "freight car red",
boxcar red" etc., for the various roads and owners is very
worthwhile. As I wrote, there is no shortage of knowledgeable people
on this list. First you come up with the ideal new paint colour,
which becomes the reference standard--eg. CN Red #11 (for CN family
freight cars). THEN you can weather, modify, alter for layout
lighting and model size, this paint colour to your personal
preference. Colour perception is very subjective, with each person
having different interpretations.

But we have to start SOMEWHERE! Unless we want to spend the rest of
our years in endless discussion on paint colour. I personally would
rather build models, and have an agreed-upon standard for each road's
freight car colours to work from.

On this list are extremely knowledgable people who know a lot about
PRR, Santa Fe, PFE, etc. rolling stock. I greatly respect their
knowledge, and personally feel that they would be the ideal people to
formulate and or organise a group to set paint/colour reference
standards for their favourite equipment.

"The truth is out there"--slogan for The X-Files.

Steve Lucas.

--- In STMFC@..., timboconnor@... wrote:


Didn't I suggest this about five or six years ago? And everybody
jumped on
my case about it as more or less impossible, impractical, and
unworkable.
And given all the blowback, I had to agree, they made the point.

Tim O'Connor

-------------- Original message ----------------------
From: "Dennis Storzek" <destorzek@...>

OK, I've tried to stay out of this as long as I can. I've felt for
years that there should be a way to record, exchange, and preserve
color information, and that the individual RR historical societies
would be the best avenue for implimentation.