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General Category => Painting & Weathering Techniques => Topic started by: NORCALLOGGER on September 04, 2010, 03:16:40 PM

Title: What color were these painted?
Post by: NORCALLOGGER on September 04, 2010, 03:16:40 PM
Hi guys,
I inherited some Bachmann side dump ore cars a while back and need to get them in rolling condition.
In 1:20 scale they have a box capacity of 3.55 cubic yards that would make them about 6-7 ton cars depending on ore.

They need a little rebuild work  and I am getting a start on that but I have looked around the net trying to find some prototype paint color information but with out much luck.  For some reason I have in mind a cream color with rust and chipped paint over for the metal but can't decide if the wood should have some cream color paint "badly faded" or be just natural weathered wood. 

My thought is if the builder/manufacturer bothered with a warm fuzzy color for the metal then the wood would also have been painted.  But should the wood be in a contrasting color much as Bachmann supplied it, red and black?

Here are some links to pictures that are of a similar car.  Model and prototype  These are pretty much what I don't want them to look like.




Any thoughts out there about colors and/or application of color.

Here is a picture of the car right out of the box.

Title: Re: What color were these painted?
Post by: JohnP on September 04, 2010, 11:07:28 PM
Photos of older composite gons and hoppers always show the entire car painted one color, usually a railroady red or black. The wood weathers and gets gray and the color on the metal fades, chalks and lightens as well as gets dinged and rusty. I couldn't imagine a narrow gauge company would hardly ever have a two-tone finish. Simple and inconspicuous finishing makes sense to me. Sorry I had no luck with a quick photo search.


Title: Re: What color were these painted?
Post by: marc_reusser on September 04, 2010, 11:18:06 PM
I have several old RR catalogs that show side tip gons and such. I would have to check the others, but I know for sure that Gregg Co. standard paint finishes were, wood parts: Brown, metal parts: Black.

You could order custom, but this would be rare for industrial operations, and would incur an upcharge, which in the time period would likely have been deemed unecessaryily wasteful.


Title: Re: What color were these painted?
Post by: Malachi Constant on September 05, 2010, 08:52:19 AM
Couple of pix just to illustrate Marc's point (and mildly irritate him with a D&RGW photo)  >:( ;D ...

hardware & body all painted to match:

after all the paint has flaked off and the metal has rusted:

These aren't the same exact type of car, but have the composite construction.


Title: Re: What color were these painted?
Post by: NORCALLOGGER on September 07, 2010, 08:42:39 PM
Hi Guys,
Thanks for the input, it is appreciated.
I feel that you all are right about the basic colors, usually red/black but how monotonous, I was kind of hoping for something different.

I know the old saw about it being my railroad and I can do it any way I want, but that doesn't really git it.  Even though I model free lance I still like my work to try to fall within the realm of the believable. 

I have started the bash on these cars by ordering Gary Watkins detail kit.  I think there has been a few changes by Bachmann in these cars since Gary had developed his kit.  The major difference being that the car frames are now cast metal rather than plastic, thus creating many additional problems for cutting and fitting but we are making some headway. 

I don't know if it is worth the effort to start a build thread on something like this, a simple kit bash, but will take a few picture as I go along and try to remember what I did.

Thanks for your time.

Title: Re: What color were these painted?
Post by: finescalerr on September 08, 2010, 02:13:57 AM
For what it's worth I find "typical" often equates to "more realistic". Some guys, for example, prefer to model mostly oddball stuff and a scene full of that simply looks, uh, odd ... no matter how excellent the execution. If you plan three or more cars, I would think cream and lime green (or whatever) might be merely distracting. Something to consider regardless of your final decision. -- Russ

Title: Re: What color were these painted?
Post by: marc_reusser on September 08, 2010, 05:22:22 AM
Without consulting the "Guru of Railroad and Period Colors" Jim Wilke, I can't say for sure, but there might be cause to believe that these cars were also available/made with the wooden parts painted a medium grey, or an ochre color. (there were regular gauge utilitarian type cars that were painted in these colors during a certain time period)


Title: Re: What color were these painted?
Post by: lab-dad on September 08, 2010, 07:11:52 AM
I detailed some O scale versions of these.
I tried different methods of "aging" them.
The method I found to work best was to color the whole gondola (metal and all) the worn paint/gray wood color first. Then go back and color the metal with browns, umbers and siennas.
I would think any technique would work on the coloring, even the different "peeling" tricks over an appropriate weathered wood color(s)
Sorry no picture easily accessible.

Title: Re: What color were these painted?
Post by: NORCALLOGGER on October 28, 2010, 07:44:34 PM
Hi guys,
All good ideas. 
I had a few minutes today so picked up a part and brushed on some
Sandstone color and wiped it down then brushed on some raw umber then
brushed it down. 

Hmmm, I think this is just reverse of what I want, the red on the ridges and
the tan/brown down in the grain. The red should be down in the grain not on top.

I wonder if I spray the car tan/barnwood/light brown then paint the red on to fill in the
grooves then use the umber will I have any wood grain left or just thick paint of mixed colors.
Then another coat or two of paint on the metal parts.  Won't need to add any additional
weight for running stability ;D.

any thoughts on these pictures both were taken outdoors.  One with flash one without.


Title: Re: What color were these painted?
Post by: NORCALLOGGER on October 29, 2010, 05:42:08 PM
OK, another test sample.

The two planks in the center were painted "barnwood" and wiped off as were the two on the right the only difference is the ones on the right were coated with black leather dye/alcohol  mixture.
I think the ones on the right are getting closer to what I am looking at for the car sides and about this same with maybe a brown wash for the car bottoms.

What do you think?

Title: Re: What color were these painted?
Post by: finescalerr on October 29, 2010, 09:46:09 PM
Yes, closer. But, if your photo is accurate, too much paint seems to be missing and the weathered wood color ain't right. Without seeing it in person or knowing the photo is very close to what you see it is hard to offer an opinion. -- Russ

Title: Re: What color were these painted?
Post by: MinerFortyNiner on November 02, 2010, 11:34:45 PM
Rick, I like the right swatch of #4 best, I wonder what a very thin black wash would do before the drybrushing.  Your original Bachmann car was obviously painted in two subassemblies, one mineral red and one black...it would look better if all of the hardware was one color or the other.  Curiously, their On30 cars have all the hardware painted mineral red.

Often freight cars in general were painted mineral red for wood and black for hardware as Marc noted.  I took the approach with my side dump ore cars that the bodies and their hardware have been repainted in mineral red a car at a time when time and funds allowed, with cars in varying stages of the wood fading and peeling.  My crews are too busy to worry about 2-color schemes on a simple ore car.  I never really considered painting the frame mineral red, it looks right to my eye in weathered black.  Here's the most faded example of the weathered wood:


The effect was created by applying acrylic with a flat brush to the wood areas, then weathering with chalk.  These cars are retired from ore service and are now used to ship coal into and coke out of a small coke plant I recently built, so they would be covered with soot and coal dust.  I have seen great models with black hardware and weathered wood for similar effect, but I like the mineral red color on mine.

Title: Re: What color were these painted?
Post by: gnichols on November 03, 2010, 03:49:44 AM
In the total SWAG Department... I'd venture to guess that generic cars were easier and cheaper to paint after assembly.  Or at least painted as basic sub-assemblies.  And that industiral cars in general were not painted in decorative schemes.  But I could be wrong...

And, that extended use, incidental minor damage or the weather would age them to cracked and dented gray wood or rusty metal states without considering replacement parts or a decent maintenance plan.  Now I could see how some style cars, like a V-dump, might have different colors for the bucket and chassis (I like that look, myself) but unless the mine owner's wife was in on the purchase, who would really need two-toned mine cars?  It's not like they were cleaned up at the end of the week and waxed over the weekend so they'd look good again on Monday, eh?  If need be, I'd leave the fancy trim and paint to just locos.  I'm a dot, Gary.