Monday, August 17, 2015

5 cars, 3 colours

I'm currently in the midst of building a quintet of PFE reefers for a client. They are all older Sunshine kits, that are a delight to work with.
Long time readers will know that I am a firm advocate of flat cast parts for reefers. Not having to mask the ends and roofs and underbodies greatly eases the tasks of finishing these cars and I can maintain superior demarcation lines between the colours.
There were 2 things I wanted to really strive for on this build project.
One was a better colour match for PFE orange.
The other was some subtle variations in the car colours to reflect weathering  effects.
For the first I turned to my friend and PFE guru, Tony Thompson. Tony coauthored the definitive book on the PFE and is an accomplished modeler in his own right. You can see Tony's work on his blog,
I explained to Tony what I was trying to do and how I felt the "reefer orange" was not right. And what would he suggest to use. Tony informed me that SP Daylight Orange and the PFE orange are in fact the same colour, it's just that the use of that colour by the PFE pre-dates the use by the SP by about 6 years.
Well that makes it easy.
Hello Scalecoat, send me some Daylight Orange!
Now for the faded tones. I've never had good results adding white to any colour to reflect fading. In boxcar red tones things go pink very quickly. So I experimented with something I had heard about. Use grey. Which I did. And I'm very pleased with the results.
I also did a 2 sets of sides with Daylight Orange and added a touch of C&NW yellow, to reflect sun bleaching. Which also worked out well, I feel.
So here they are. One set of sides, straight Daylight Orange,  2 sets with grey added and 2 sets with yellow added. So far I'm pleased. Once the cars are assembled and weathered, I think they'll be real standouts.


aileron44 said...


In the last paragraph you say, "So here they are. One set of sides, straight Daylight Orange, 2 sets with grey added and 2 sets with yellow added."

At first, I assumed you were referring to the sets on the left, then the middle sets, then the sets on the right. However, after carefully comparing the sets, my assumption may not be correct.

The set on the left is much darker and is probably straight Daylight Orange. The middle set appears much more yellow, and the sets on the right appear more grey than the middle sets. Am I correct?

George Corral
La Grange, KY

Pierre Oliver said...

Ding, ding, ding!