Topics

Pantone Numbers for Railroad Paints


Garth Groff or Sally Sanford <sarahsan@...>
 

Friends,

While exploring the ArtPrimo site ( http://artprimo.com/catalog/spray-paint-c-26.html ) I discovered that there are Pantone conversion charts for the various brands of art-quality spray paints they sell. Neat! As a can user, I would be interested in these paints for models rather than just the various oxide red primers sold at auto and hardware stores. That is, if I could match them to prototype freight car paints.

Has anyone ever compiled or discovered a Pantone list for common prototype paints used by various freight car builders or railroads themselves? I realize this would be a vast list, but certain paints used by say AC&F or Pullman, and on  Boles drift cards, are know by their brand names. Pat Wilder's article in RPC 3 on boxcar painting gives us mixes for 62 of these using the standard model paints available in 1999 (now sadly out of date due to discontinuances).

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff


Al Kresse <water.kresse@...>
 

Garth,


There is no good Pantone color for C&O Enchantment Blue . . . need DuPont code from Mr Rust.


Al Kresse

On December 24, 2017 at 5:38 AM "Garth Groff or Sally Sanford sarahsan@... [STMFC]" <STMFC@...> wrote:

 

Friends,

While exploring the ArtPrimo site ( http://artprimo.com/catalog/spray-paint-c-26.html ) I discovered that there are Pantone conversion charts for the various brands of art-quality spray paints they sell. Neat! As a can user, I would be interested in these paints for models rather than just the various oxide red primers sold at auto and hardware stores. That is, if I could match them to prototype freight car paints.

Has anyone ever compiled or discovered a Pantone list for common prototype paints used by various freight car builders or railroads themselves? I realize this would be a vast list, but certain paints used by say AC&F or Pullman, and on  Boles drift cards, are know by their brand names. Pat Wilder's article in RPC 3 on boxcar painting gives us mixes for 62 of these using the standard model paints available in 1999 (now sadly out of date due to discontinuances).

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff


 


Steve SANDIFER
 

Manufacturers who have models made in China often want a Pantone color for paint schemes as Pantone is a universal color language whereas “Indian Red” or “MOW Gray” are not. Unfortunately, I have worked with Pantone charts and cannot find colors that exactly match my Color Drift Control Enamel cards. It’s a compromise at best.

 

Pantone has a chart for absorbent paper and another for slick paper which adds to the difficulty.

 

J. Stephen Sandifer

 

From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...]
Sent: Sunday, December 24, 2017 4:38 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Pantone Numbers for Railroad Paints

 

 

Friends,

While exploring the ArtPrimo site ( http://artprimo.com/catalog/spray-paint-c-26.html ) I discovered that there are Pantone conversion charts for the various brands of art-quality spray paints they sell. Neat! As a can user, I would be interested in these paints for models rather than just the various oxide red primers sold at auto and hardware stores. That is, if I could match them to prototype freight car paints.

Has anyone ever compiled or discovered a Pantone list for common prototype paints used by various freight car builders or railroads themselves? I realize this would be a vast list, but certain paints used by say AC&F or Pullman, and on  Boles drift cards, are know by their brand names. Pat Wilder's article in RPC 3 on boxcar painting gives us mixes for 62 of these using the standard model paints available in 1999 (now sadly out of date due to discontinuances).

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff


Robert J Miller CFA
 

Is it possible that some railroad colors are in fact a blend of several Pantone colors, i.e. 3 parts this + 2 parts that + a dab of something else?

Robert J. Miller CFA
Saginaw, MI

Tell the truth, work hard, and come to dinner on time.
Gerald R. Ford


On ‎Wednesday‎, ‎December‎ ‎27‎, ‎2017‎ ‎10‎:‎03‎:‎16‎ ‎AM‎ ‎EST, 'Steve Sandifer' steve.sandifer@... [STMFC] wrote:


 

Manufacturers who have models made in China often want a Pantone color for paint schemes as Pantone is a universal color language whereas “Indian Red” or “MOW Gray” are not. Unfortunately, I have worked with Pantone charts and cannot find colors that exactly match my Color Drift Control Enamel cards. It’s a compromise at best.

 

Pantone has a chart for absorbent paper and another for slick paper which adds to the difficulty.

 

J. Stephen Sandifer

 

From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...]
Sent: Sunday, December 24, 2017 4:38 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Pantone Numbers for Railroad Paints

 

 

Friends,

While exploring the ArtPrimo site ( http://artprimo.com/catalog/spray-paint-c-26.html ) I discovered that there are Pantone conversion charts for the various brands of art-quality spray paints they sell. Neat! As a can user, I would be interested in these paints for models rather than just the various oxide red primers sold at auto and hardware stores. That is, if I could match them to prototype freight car paints.

Has anyone ever compiled or discovered a Pantone list for common prototype paints used by various freight car builders or railroads themselves? I realize this would be a vast list, but certain paints used by say AC&F or Pullman, and on  Boles drift cards, are know by their brand names. Pat Wilder's article in RPC 3 on boxcar painting gives us mixes for 62 of these using the standard model paints available in 1999 (now sadly out of date due to discontinuances)..

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff


Dennis Storzek
 




---In STMFC@..., <steve.sandifer@...> wrote :

Manufacturers who have models made in China often want a Pantone color for paint schemes as Pantone is a universal color language whereas “Indian Red” or “MOW Gray” are not. Unfortunately, I have worked with Pantone charts and cannot find colors that exactly match my Color Drift Control Enamel cards. It’s a compromise at best.

 

Pantone has a chart for absorbent paper and another for slick paper which adds to the difficulty.

=====================


That is easily dealt with by using the complete Pantone number; all the glossy samples on coated stock have the suffix "C", while the others have the suffix "U" (Uncoated). The letter is really supposed to be part of the number.


Biggest problem with the Pantone system is not enough colors. It's great if you are designing from scratch; specify Pantone 484C, call it Oxide Red, and all is good. Doesn't work so well if you are trying to match to something else... if 484C doesn't match, you're out of luck, because there are no other similar colors. There are several purple-ish browns that could be various shades of freight car red, but I doubt they exactly match any current model paint, or any historical drift cards, either.


A much better system for this work would be Munsell, which has more colors, but NOBODY has a Munsell reference book, so it's kinda like being the only guy in the room that speaks Greek... you know it, but it doesn't do you much good.


Dennis Storzek

 


Tony Thompson
 

Dennis Storzek wrote:

 

Biggest problem with the Pantone system is not enough colors. It's great if you are designing from scratch; specify Pantone 484C, call it Oxide Red, and all is good. Doesn't work so well if you are trying to match to something else... if 484C doesn't match, you're out of luck, because there are no other similar colors. There are several purple-ish browns that could be various shades of freight car red, but I doubt they exactly match any current model paint, or any historical drift cards, either.


Quite true. But an art professional will look at, say, Pantone 123C and say, "well, it's got 10 percent red, let's go with 13 percent," and you are darn close. That can be done with book printers, as I have seen close-up, even if I can't do it.

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705         www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history






Bruce Smith
 

​Pantone sucks, Munsell rocks.  More people need to learn Greek ;)  When the PRRT&HS Paint Committee was working on basic colors, the chair of the committee, a retired paint chemist, pushed us to use the Munsell system, which we did. He basically states that it was the only descriptive system for paint that actually worked to completely describe a color The biggest problem is both the lack of generalized use and the expense of generating samples ($10 per 8 x 10 sheet). I would also note, that in my experience working with manufacturers, even Pantone doesn't really work with the Chinese manufacturers.  They need color drift card samples to match to. It is also possible to find programs that convert Munsell numbers to other systems, although the free ones on line seem to have disappeared.


Regards

Bruce 

Bruce Smith

Auburn, AL


From: STMFC@... on behalf of destorzek@... [STMFC]
Sent: Wednesday, December 27, 2017 9:36 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: RE: [STMFC] Pantone Numbers for Railroad Paints
 A much better system for this work would be Munsell, which has more colors, but NOBODY has a Munsell reference book, so it's kinda like being the only guy in the room that speaks Greek... you know it, but it doesn't do you much good.


Dennis Storzek


Jim Betz
 

Garth and all,

  Respectfully ... please read to the end.  ;-)

  I simply don't get it why guys continue to search for the "correct" color(s) -
especially here on this list.

  Let me explain why I say that ... I've studied literally dozens of color photos
with the goal of answering just this very question ("why").  Every time I do
so I come up with ===> there is no such thing as "the perfect shade of ____".
Because ... even looking at a few photos I see differences in the color of a
particular pair of cars (photos) that are "painted in the same scheme and
for the same RR and at the same time".
  In addition - when you toss in the variables of how many years its been
since the piece of equipment was painted, how the shops acquired
their paints (STMFC shops -usually- mixed their own paint, especially
when the color was "some shade of freight car red"), lighting, the
process of producing a color photo in a publication, etc., etc., etc.
It just seems "futile" (to me) to try to use something like Pantone
numbers.  And let's not forget to mention the paints we have
available to us, the size of the models we are painting ... etc., etc.,
etc.
  You can literally spend/waste a lot of time - searching for the
"correct color".

  I have a number of pertinent questions to those of you that
feel that there is a way to use Pantone numbers (or any other
form of "color correctness"):

  1) Will you be weathering the car after you paint it?
  2) What lighting will the model be viewed under - and is
       that the same as the lighting you are using when you
       are comparing the paint you are using to Pantone/what ever?
  3) Is it really important?  For freight car red/brown/tuscan?

                                         ****

  Having said all of the above - I will also acknowledge that there
is/was a difference between Pennsy box car red and Santa Fe
(pick any two or more RRs you want to use).  Some of the
differences are significant - others are very subtle/hard to
say if there really was a difference.

  And I -do- try to use a shade of paint that is close to what
I consider to be "representative of the road I'm working on".

  Yes, as soon as you start talking about colors other than
BCR you end up with what -seems/feels- like it needs to
be "correct" ... and I agree that I take more care with those
colors/shades than I do with BCR ... but I still take what I
consider to be a practical approach which is to acknowledge
to myself that "I -am- going to weather it" ...

  ===> I'm not saying "don't pay ANY attention to color" - I'm
            saying "get it as close as you can, by eye, and let the
            entire concept of "the _perfect/correct_ shade" go.

                                                                  - respectfully ... Jim B.


Garth Groff or Sally Sanford <sarahsan@...>
 

Jim,

I agree with everything you said, and considered some of your points myself.

Especially for early railroad-applied paint, at least some of it was sold as dry pigment and was mixed with linseed or other oils in the shop when needed. It might have turned out quite differently from batch to batch. In the case of the Sacramento Northern, they apparently inherited a lot of yellow-orange ("poppy") paint from predecessor Northern Electric Railway when they took over in 1918. This was still hanging around shortly after WWII and was used to brush-paint orange scare stripes on their electric locomotives. When one of their GE steeple cabs was donated to the Perris Museum, it was repainted with WP's much orangier "Zephyr orange" that was used on SN diesels. This became the standard lens through which modelers have judged the color ever since, even though the paint on the two other surviving units at the Western Railway Museum was more yellow. Go figure.

Anyway,
I'm not exactly after the "right" color. I was still hoping that somebody had Pantone numbers for the colors AC&F and Pullman used, as mentioned in Pat's article. Then I could at least see if any of the sprays ArtPrimo sells would be useful. Something has to be better than "Rustoleum 249086", "Benjamin Moore Red 490" or any of the other 50 red-brown primer colors that I have collected. (Yes, I have 52 self-made sample cards in a file box, and a closet full of spray cans to match).

It seems I have stirred up a hornets' nest, and everybody's are going in different directions. (Sigh!) Maybe I should just give up and concentrate on freelanced English narrow gauge. Then I can use whatever gray I want.

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff

On 12/27/17 12:45 PM, jimbetz jimbetz@... wrote:
 

Garth and all,

  Respectfully ... please read to the end.  ;-)

  I simply don't get it why guys continue to search for the "correct"
color(s) -
especially here on this list.

  Let me explain why I say that ... I've studied literally dozens of
color photos
with the goal of answering just this very question ("why").  Every time I do
so I come up with ===> there is no such thing as "the perfect shade of
____".
Because ... even looking at a few photos I see differences in the color of a
particular pair of cars (photos) that are "painted in the same scheme and
for the same RR and at the same time".
  In addition - when you toss in the variables of how many years its been
since the piece of equipment was painted, how the shops acquired
their paints (STMFC shops -usually- mixed their own paint, especially
when the color was "some shade of freight car red"), lighting, the
process of producing a color photo in a publication, etc., etc., etc.
It just seems "futile" (to me) to try to use something like Pantone
numbers.  And let's not forget to mention the paints we have
available to us, the size of the models we are painting ... etc., etc.,
etc.
  You can literally spend/waste a lot of time - searching for the
"correct color".

  I have a number of pertinent questions to those of you that
feel that there is a way to use Pantone numbers (or any other
form of "color correctness"):

  1) Will you be weathering the car after you paint it?
  2) What lighting will the model be viewed under - and is
       that the same as the lighting you are using when you
       are comparing the paint you are using to Pantone/what ever?
  3) Is it really important?  For freight car red/brown/tuscan?

                                         ****

  Having said all of the above - I will also acknowledge that there
is/was a difference between Pennsy box car red and Santa Fe
(pick any two or more RRs you want to use).  Some of the
differences are significant - others are very subtle/hard to
say if there really was a difference.

  And I -do- try to use a shade of paint that is close to what
I consider to be "representative of the road I'm working on".

  Yes, as soon as you start talking about colors other than
BCR you end up with what -seems/feels- like it needs to
be "correct" ... and I agree that I take more care with those
colors/shades than I do with BCR ... but I still take what I
consider to be a practical approach which is to acknowledge
to myself that "I -am- going to weather it" ...

  ===> I'm not saying "don't pay ANY attention to color" - I'm
            saying "get it as close as you can, by eye, and let the
            entire concept of "the _perfect/correct_ shade" go.

                                                                  -
respectfully ... Jim B.



Randy Hees
 

Andrew Brandon and I have been doing paint research of mostly 19th century western narrow gauge equipment and buildings, and issuing color cards with PMS numbers... one example can be found at 


We are currently working on a card for early box car reds as used by Central Pacific (CS 11, Metalic) UP (Rawlins Red) Tuscan red as used by the Carter Brothers and others, and Prince's paint (a brown...) used by D&RG, ATSF   and many others... 

Printing color cards on a computer printer is not ideal unless the printer is carefully calibrated... but it is a way to transmit information.

Our color matches are based on forensic research on existing cars, on contemporary paint samples.

Randy Hees


Tony Thompson
 

Jim Betz wrote:

 I simply don't get it why guys continue to search for the "correct"
color(s) - especially here on this list.

Yes, you do, Jim, and you said it yourself. We want a starting point for weathering, etc., which is in the ballpark of the prototype color. "Nuff said.

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705         www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history






Frank Grimm <fddms@...>
 

Jim
Very well said...I have been in the paint industry for 35 years and can tell you that Pantone color standards, munsel standards and RAL standards have expirations. So, the people who say they have an original color chip probably have the wrong color unless it was sprayed in the last few years.
Also, all these standard are applied to paper, last I checked, there is not a lot of paper railroad equipment.
Substrate can effect the color vastly. A primered surface will look different than a sandblasted surface.
I could go on forever but will leave with one more thought: the amount of paint applied (thickness of paint is measured in mils) can have a huge effect on color, fade resistance and durability.
Again, I could do a clinic on this....
Frank Grimm
Sandwich, IL


Tim O'Connor
 


Some factors -

1. the planned age of the paint of the car on your layout - will it be new,
   five years old, ten years old, etc. A new car is usually one you want to
   be as close to the real color as possible

2. existing models of the same type and age on your layout - will it fit in
   with them? The older the paint jobs, the less likely they are to appear to
   be exactly the same color

3. lighting on your layout. weak light? you may want to use lighter colors.




Jim Betz wrote:

 I simply don't get it why guys continue to search for the "correct"
color(s) - especially here on this list.
Yes, you do, Jim, and you said it yourself. We want a starting point for weathering, etc., which is in the ballpark of the prototype color. "Nuff said.

Tony Thompson


Tony Thompson
 

It's important to recognize that the Pantone system is NOT intended to be used as a way to match some arbitrary color. It is intended to provide a set of standard colors (the Pantone color numbers) that any printer in the world can match, by mixing the prescribed percentages of standard Pantone Basic Color inks. So for example, Pantone 555C is made by mixing 50 percent Pantone Yellow and 50 percent Pantone Reflex Blue. It's just a standard color, not necessarily a match to YOUR desired color. It's only luck when YOUR freight car color happens to match a Pantone color.

Paint chips are a far better way to get a desired paint color, for example with a manufacturer. They aren't going to mix Pantone inks anyway. Giving them a Pantone number really just leads them to a paint chip of that Pantone color, NOT the color you want.

I have worked with Pantone specs for years in book printing, where it works just fine.

BTW: Munsell? Art teachers love it, because it clarifies the way an artist needs to see color space. But any working artist has long forgotten those schoolroom experiences.Try asking any artist over 30 to explain Munsell to you.

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705         www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history






Bill Welch
 

A clinic would be great, new blood and subject matter is always welcome I think at RPMs.

Bill Welch


Jim Betz
 

Tony,

  Yes, you're right ... sort of ... in that even I spend -some- time
getting the base color right (before the weathering).  However,
I don't spend a lot of time on it, don't have a table of paint
mixes that I use, and rarely "reject" a car because it has the
"wrong color of paint" (because I can always "fix" it with
the weathering.  I'm much more concerned about how it is
lettered, weathered, detailed, etc.  I like end numbers.  I
like metal grabs.  I like thin roof walks.  I like sprung trucks
(because they operate, not for how they look).  I like air
hoses ... yes, even if they are hanging in space - because
the time when I "notice" the air hoses is when I can see
the end of the car because it isn't coupled to another.

  But I don't spend a lot of time on the color of BCR - and
"could care less" describes my approach if you are
comparing what I do to anyone who tries/wants to use
Pantone numbers.  But yes, I do have ... in my mind's
eye ... the right starting point for GN, SP&S, SP, ATSF,
PRR, UP, NYC, etc., etc., etc. BCR (and a LOT of those
are, for me at least, indistinguishable).

  Because, for me, "every car is different".  I custom weather
each car and not only vary the amount of weathering but
also the methods, the order I do the steps, whether it is
all washes or I add in some airbrushing, etc., etc.

  So my phrase "I don't get it" when it comes to using
Pantone numbers is actually closer to what I'm doing/my
methods than anything else ...
- Jim


Charlie Vlk
 

Color is always fun…..pull the pin and toss it in to start a lively discussion.

Frank’s comment brings to mind that the DuPont paint that the Santa Fe used on their Warbonnet schemes was the same number that the GM&O used on their Alton-inspired paint schemes on their diesels.

The colors sure did not look the same on the prototypes….but the method and sequence of application, primers used, and top coats applied shifted the colors so they did not look like they could have come out of the same can.

Prototype drift cards are a nice thing to have but even if you had books full of DuPont and other brands of prototype railroad paint colors they would only be a starting point to come up with colors for different scale models to be viewed under different lighting conditions.

 

Charlie Vlk

Railroad Model Resources

 

 


np328
 

Bill,   
     we had one  Dr. James EuDaly.

  There was a paint presentation done at CCB on  Jan 8-10, 2009, by Dr. James EuDaly. It was called "Scale Color". I recall it not being too well attended. I walked in sat down and was so impressed by the presenter, a Doctor of Ophthalmology if I recall correctly, I immediately invited him to present at a convention I was chairing the following summer. The research presented was solid. His health prevented him from being at my convention sadly.
   
        At no time do I recall, did Mr. EuDaly in his presentation state anything against the pursuit of base color accuracy. Rather it seemed he gave a set of points of possible variables and deviations to be aware of. Such as 7 percent of males see green/red in a variance from mild to severe. Light levels in your basement vs outdoor lighting. Distance affecting color perception.    

       Equipment designed for paint analysis however, has no such defect.  And has results that are reproducible repeatedly. And this is why in spite of nothing ever being perfect, we should not shy away from that.

            People who strive for accuracy should never have to apologize for that pursuit.  
                                                                                                                         Jim Dick - Roseville, MN 

 


Greg Martin
 

Tony and I often conflict on the subject of paint, but I most certainly agree with Tony on this little snippet, and we all said AMEN!

Munsell for paint and Pantone for ink, where it regards printed material on some form of paper.

Munsell has a huge catalog and Pantone not so much so. And for heavens sakes don't forget RAL.  I have always liked working with folks that appreciate and eye for color and how it works like Bill Schneider...  and its finished coat (in mils).

I have always wanted to sit down with Bill Wischer and his copy of (well Bruce Walther's) the DuPont color "bible" and Bob Johnson copy of (well the PRRT&H's) The Love of Munsell and just dive in for hours! Both are from similar eras...

But let me remind you all that EMD didn't use DuPont exclusively, Renish Mason made sure of that.

We all want to be close, very close to the correct color and research is vital, color doesn't expire in a particular era, it doesn't. It might over decades but only because the chemicals change that impact the color that is being reproduced, speaking of the manufacturer. Absence of lead in paint was dynamic.

I never read the bullshit name on the bottle of paint I look at the color and then find a useful color related to it. That is a good day...

Once you have applied the correct (in the eyes of the artist) color to your object the world explodes with the possibilities of the drama of color and realism. To much weathering and I sit there and shake my head and say why the oddity, why not the norm? Regardless the mediums to achieve the realism you're looking for are nearly endless.

It all starts with the "correct color" that the students can gain a consensus on, then stand back and admire our work. Just cross your arms and smile a big smile for it is not the "correct color" you admire it is that weathered SOB you just spent hours on you savor.

Indulge yourselves in it...

Greg Martin

Eventually all things merge into one and a river runs through it.
Norman Maclean



And Tony does a great job of summing up the entire discussion.... as he writes:

It's important to recognize that the Pantone system is NOT intended to be used as a way to match some arbitrary color.


Ken Adams <smadanek@...>
 

Why not go with the metric classifications specified by the Association Internationale de la Couleur (AIC), or Internationale Vereinigung für die Farbe?

Ken Adams