Delano paint comparisons

Robert kirkham

Still messing around in Delano’s photos; probably boring some - sorry about that.  The comparison of paint colours seems useful for my modelling.  As with all these images, you may draw different conclusions than I about what we are looking at.  The reality of cars carrying different paint age and different weathering make this a bit of a mugs game, and I know it.     I’m trying to extract some insight within those limitations. 

This time, i’m looking at car pairs in this image:   According to the Library of Congress, it's still 1943.   

When I look at the T&P autobox below, I see a lot of filth and vestiges of various versions of boxcar colour.  I’m thinking it would be interesting to prime/paint a model a dark, low saturation brown and then use washes and dry brushing to add the boxcar red shades, followed by lettering and then other weathering. Haven’t tried that successfully yet.  That car would make a nice kit . . .

The GNR truss rod car has a rosy glow that reminds me of the GN car in a movie of a wreck on the PGE that was was posted here a few months ago c.1954.   But recent conversation about the film used by Delano and its colour representation makes me a bit cautious about that.  I notice the patches of boxcar red in the top 4-8 valleys of the steel doors on the TP car are not that different (a tinge more oxide).   Assuming that the film & exposure and scanning are moving these colours toward each other, it seems that a model of a GN car in 1943 would benefit from a paint coat that is a somewhat more red shade of boxcar red than i’d use for the T&P car.    I converted the shot to gray scale and note that the GN car is also a slightly lighter value than the other cars around it.  That could be important in terms of sorting out the relevant paint mix.   (i converted the colour image in Apple photos with a (thoughtless) click of a button; there is probably a "better” way (given my purpose)).

Here’s another pairing from the same LofC Delano image, showing an Erie and CB&Q car.  To me, the CB&Q car looks like it as a more fresh coat of paint, although you can see filth/weathering on the roof, car ends and above the Everywhere West slogan on the door.  To my eye, it’s a more saturated colour than on the T&P car, and more of a boxcar red than the colour on the GNR car.   

Comparing with the Erie car is all about contrasts.  Here the paint is mostly gone, exposing a very dark colour beneath and rust blooms in large patches.  The logo and reporting marks are very worn.  Drawing what i can from the remaining paint, my focus is on the brightest patch at the top, centre-right of the door, and note that its a washed out, desaturated boxcar brown.      For modelling, i think about using a sponge or something like it to add the boxcar brown after first painting the darker colours.  Haven’t tried that yet either.    

Once again, the gray scale image is useful in that it shows the value difference between that very saturated CB&Q colour, versus the dark undertones and vestiges of paint on the Erie car.   

The last screen capture i am pulling from the image is this trio of MP, NY and ??? SP maybe?  [I’m uncertain whether that is a UP boxcar (one track back, to the right of the tank car)?]  

I notice the colour of the NYC car is consistent with thoughts shared here from the past couple of days - how the NYC paint colour was a lighter value, lower saturation colour when compared to other railroads.    This is born out in the gray scale image following.   

The SP (maybe) car to the left is darker and more red.  And in between, we have the more typical boxcar red of the MP car.  

More grist for the modelling mill.  The MP car with its 8’6” IH appeals to me as a project . . .