Tuesday, March 8, 2016

So what colour is it?

A customer in Holland sent me this;
How many different shades of "boxcar red" can you see on those SP boxcars?
I see at least 6.
He sent me this photo as a result of a dialogue we were having about which paints to use and whose colours are accurate.
The demise of Floquil has had a certain impact on modelers options. Fortunately there are still lots of options out there.
I don't use acrylics. I've had too many issues with them. And as regular readers know, I'm done with Trucolor. But even with those limitations I have plenty of options.
I use a lot of Scalecoat. They have 6 basic brown/reds that I can use to mix and match to get the tones I'm after. The Testors Model Masters enamels are an excellent option as well. While created mostly for military modelers, there's lots of colours to work with.
Now for our friends in Europe, Scalecoat is not an option. Shipping issues preclude getting it overseas. Canada has a similar issue. But there are always lots of options. Humbrol comes to mind immediately.
And for those fine gentleman who created those extensive colour matching lists for the various railroads; thanks but as the photo indicates, there's lots of variability.


Trevor said...

A great post, Pierre.
I think we could create more convincing fleets of cars if we didn't always use the same colour for the same road. For example, while I love the CNRHA's line of paints, using their official CNR Red #11 on every boxcar has made my layout look rather uniform. I should probably have used different - close, but different - reds on each car, or at a minimum each class of car. One wouldn't have to stray too far from the "official" colour, of course. Weathering has helped - I've tried to give each car a unique look through washes of different tints.
It does mean that I think some modellers are panicking without cause over the disappearance of certain "railroad" lines of colours. Pick something close from an armour or other line and have at it!
- Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64)

Anonymous said...

Agreed on the "standard colo(u)rs" I have a Dave Shaw 1957 colour photo of the north end of Palmerston yard taken from the footbridge, and there are no less less than a dozen colour variants on CN cars that all would have been painted at the carshop using CN Red #11. While Stafford Swain went to a lot of trouble getting CN Red #11 correct, I've found it a little too dark for layout use, preferring ModelFlex Light Tuscan Oxide or Scalecoat #2 freight car red as a base colour.

As for the "railroad" colours, I've made up colour cards using model and even art paints that allow me to colour match. This has already worked out for adding a new roof to a painted GTW Branchline car. And the recent introduction of Vallejo paints has introduced a whole new range of colours for us to use.

Paint failure was a factor that we should also model. Here is a seven-year-old car with defective paint that CN staff photographed in 1944.


Steve Lucas.

Otto Vondrak said...

Exposure to weather and lighting conditions, not to mention the supply of paint on hand at the car shops all contribute to subtle variations that we should embrace as part of making our model railroads more realistic.

CVSNE said...

Whenever I hear someone mention "standard" CN Mineral Red (no. 11) I can't help but think of this photo -

Anonymous said...

Add to all this, the fact that some roads (the Wabash that I know of) changed their formula and/or paint supplier over the years; but kept the same standard color number. Freight Car Red No. 10 being one of those. Even without changes, the consistency between batches of paint would depend entirely on how careful the paint technician at the factory was. Too many variables to say "this is exact". Make it look good to your eyes, and it will probably satisfy 99% of everyone else.