Author Topic: Passenger Consists - is perfect colour match important ?  (Read 3324 times)

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Puddington

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Passenger Consists - is perfect colour match important ?
« on: July 29, 2013, 02:53:30 PM »
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So; I'm not asking this as a employee of a model train company but as a dyed in the wool (to use that term again) passenger modeller....

I see, from time to time, modelers express serious concern and even angst over using passenger cars from different companies because the colour match isn't exact. Now; I understand when "company a" completely blows the match and GN orange is say, yellow or PRR tuscan is purple..... wrong is, well... wrong. But "drift"...... that's another matter.

I have seen literally tens of thousands of photo's of passenger cars over the years and can say, with absolute certainty that colour difference between cars was a fact of life. Perhaps with the exception of a newly painted streamliner consist, fresh form the factory, there would always be some colour varation.... age, use, geography, contaminants, position in the consist, treatment and a hundred other factors all contribute to some degree of colour differential between cars on even the most careful of roads... (perhaps stainless cars are exempt from this...?)

The era a car is operating in plays a role as well; we've all most likely heard the story of the L&N backshop boys who, when they ran low on L&N blue would wander down to the harware store and see what blue was on sale and top up the L&N blue.... apocryphal; perhaps, but as the profitability of passenger service declined, the amount of money spent on it's cosmetic maintenance almost always did too... colour standards were.... "relaxed"....?

When you look at the offerings of most n scale passenger car companies, does the differences in colour constitute a visual foul to the degree that a modeller might forgo a car they want and need because it isn't a perfect match for another car ? What amount of "drift" is acceptable..? (There are some SIG's that have produced drift cars for a colour but they are not a rule as opposed to the exception) What expectation can we have for colour fidelity (not so much  between a single company's first run to subsequent run, yes; we've seen that happen and it's a different issue) between different companies.... colour is; as many say; in the eye of the beholder.... (despite the best intentions of PMS and ICC profiling efforts....hehehhe)

What are your thoughts ?

« Last Edit: July 29, 2013, 02:58:51 PM by Puddington »
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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Passenger Consists - is perfect colour match important ?
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2013, 02:58:43 PM »
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It's important to me, or at least it would be for the passenger stuff I'm interested in.

It's one thing to have slight variations in locomotives. They typically weathered slightly differently (although, I will say that I'm still not a huge fan of big variations). This can help you deal with it.

But non-matching in a supposed to be matched passenger train, where all the cars are about the same age, and are generally much more frequently washed and maintained than locomotives, is much less acceptable.

Sure, there may be a few places where colors weren't that close in real life, but visually, in model form, I think it just looks crappy.


Puddington

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Re: Passenger Consists - is perfect colour match important ?
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2013, 03:02:56 PM »
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"Matched trains".... perhaps the key is that statement.... if you're modeling say "The Panama Limited" in the early 50's then the train set is newer, most likely hasn't undergone too many swap outs or car changes from the day it was introduced so the visual effect of colour drift may play against the look.... now model, let's say, the Southern "Crescent" in 1972 and see the "hit and miss" cars in the consist... would the effect of colour variation be as "offensive" ?
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pjm20

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Re: Passenger Consists - is perfect colour match important ?
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2013, 03:08:38 PM »
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As an SPF, the threat of World War III is very real when paint is concerned. To me, if I can match the paint to a few pictures, I say it can work, but it really depends on the look your going for. Tucson Red or DGLE can vary immensely between just painted and 20 years later. On my layout it is 1930, so the PRR still took a lot of pride on a well maintained passenger fleet, so I wouldn't used a 20 year old faded paint, I would use something that looks newer. It all depends on how the prototype maintained their passenger car fleets, and how close a paint is to that look to the viewer. DGLE is basically black, but to some people it looks really green. So it is all really opinionated to what the person sees.
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wazzou

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Re: Passenger Consists - is perfect colour match important ?
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2013, 03:11:40 PM »
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It's very important. 
As a member of the NPRHA (Northern Pacific Railway Historical Assoc.) modeling committee, we have spent many hundreds of hours researching prototype colors.
We have scraped paint on depots or MW buildings, freight and passenger cars, and a collection of stashed NP paintshop paint cans.  We have worked directly with the folks at Dupont to duplicate the colors and from these efforts we have produced a set of NP color drift cards.  We make these available through the NPRHA Company Store but more importantly, we consult with nearly all model manufacturers, providing them with these sets to help try to insure the colors they produce on the models are as accurately rendered as possible.  We keep an eye out for manufacturers offering NP decorated models and contact them in an effort to get them to make the best NP model possible.
Bryan

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wcfn100

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Re: Passenger Consists - is perfect colour match important ?
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2013, 03:27:25 PM »
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Depending on the train, I would want my cars to be an exact match to one another.

I don't know how it was in other areas, but the area I grew up, passenger cars matched.  Sure there was some variation, but nothing within the capabilities of two different manufacturers working independently. At most, I can deal with locomotives not matching the cars 100% or even the locos themselves not a perfect match. But the cars, I'd want all matching.

Show me a picture of the NCL or EB (including the blue scheme) where you can see a difference in the cars.  If you can, I'll show you 100 that you can't.

Now if we're talking the CGW, none of those matched.  :)

Jason

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Re: Passenger Consists - is perfect colour match important ?
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2013, 03:43:11 PM »
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I'd say it's important to consistent with a color that can be regarded as "as delivered", since all the cars would have started (more or less) with the same formula from the paint manufacturer, regardless of who built the cars, or even at what time.  Actual paint chips should be the basis for establishing what the basic color should be.

As for weathering, this where I part company with people who are inflamed when a model doesn't match this picture or another.  There are so many variables, from the sun angle in the photo to the age and quality of the photo print, that it's impossible to pin one's hopes on this kind of evidence.

That said, if there's a photo that shows variations, and it's variations you want to model, then use those photo references.  I'm a child of the 60s and 70s, so most passenger equipment was not maintained to the highest standard, there was much rust and fading despite the best efforts of the car men, so the "actual" color of the equipment is less crucial than the conveyance of the worn at tattered appearance that so much equipment took on during that era.

Likewise, only the "name trains" would have been likely to receive kid glove treatment, if at all, while commuter and lower priority cars would rarely see a wash rack.

For the model manufacturers, I think the key is to get as close as humanly possible to the original paint formulas, and let the modelers decide to what extent they should be faded or otherwise weathered.

Lee
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mmagliaro

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Re: Passenger Consists - is perfect colour match important ?
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2013, 05:58:39 PM »
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Let's put aside the situations where the railroad has fallen on hard times, has started cutting corners, using
the wrong paint, etc.   Outside of that situation, I would assume that railroads had a very specific color
formula, and they mixed up batches of the paint that were very consistent.   The variations I see in photographs
could be the fault of ageing Kodachrome film and sunlight more than anything else.

So given that, yes, it is important to me to see the cars be close enough that one doesn't jump out from the
line as "not like the others".  For that reason, I got a quart of enamel mixed for NP Loewy Green, using the
NPRHA's drift cards, and I repainted my lone Rapido NP car so it would match my others.

Other reasons:
There's a difference between a car that is different because it is weathered and one that is different because it
was originally painted a different color.  I can't quite put my finger on this one.  But in my NP case, it would be hard
for me to imagine that my whole string of cars were a certain color green, and this one car looked blacker than the
rest because of age or weathering.

Beyond that, my cosmetic sensibilities just bug me when a string of passenger cars doesn't match.   It's probably
the "Lionel" within me that tells me it's just not pleasant to look at when they don't match.

I'm not an uber stickler for this.  But they have to be "reasonably" close, where "reasonably" is in the eye of the beholder.

Bob Bufkin

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Re: Passenger Consists - is perfect colour match important ?
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2013, 06:16:12 PM »
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If I'm running a first class train like the Broadway I want them to match as close as possible.  Kato takes care of that for me (although I'm not completely happy with their tuscan color).  If I'm running older heavyweights I don't mind some minor differences.  On mail and express trains almost anything goes since the cars use in these rarely went through a car wash.  Same if I decide to run a PC train as by the time of the merger the colors were all over the place on passenger cars.  Early Amtrak is another case of various coloring until the first amtube began running.

Mark5

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Re: Passenger Consists - is perfect colour match important ?
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2013, 06:37:42 PM »
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I've seen many color photos of various trains where the same color shows up in varying shades. So my answer - it depends!

As delivered, in most cases all should match.

Mark
« Last Edit: July 29, 2013, 06:39:17 PM by Mark5 »

spookshow

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Re: Passenger Consists - is perfect colour match important ?
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2013, 06:46:00 PM »
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Given my obsessive nature, I have surprisingly little difficulty running passenger cars that aren't all spot-on the same color. I guess (right or wrong) I just don't buy into the concept that every passenger car ages/weathers identically, or that railroads are able to keep their fleets of passenger cars painted identically.

That said, my preference is that they all look the same. But if that doesn't happen (for whatever reason), I don't lose any sleep over it.

Cheers,
-Mark
« Last Edit: July 29, 2013, 06:50:18 PM by spookshow »

Sokramiketes

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Re: Passenger Consists - is perfect colour match important ?
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2013, 06:52:24 PM »
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If I'm mixing a bunch of cars from a couple manufacturers and the differences are neglible, then the train looks better to me than a perfectly matched train. 

Yes, the prototype differed, and yes it's much harder to tell watching a big train go by where your eye assumes everything is the same color.  But photos tell the story.

What bugs me in model form is taking (for example) a UP City of Los Angeles set and adding in a car from Centrailia Car Shops to complete a later consist.  Now I have one car that sticks out like a sore thumb.  At that point it doesn't matter who's cars are closer, the effect is just bad. 

Now, mixing a bunch of different Pennsy tuscan cars in a Southwind, with half the cars being silver anyway?  Then it doesn't matter since the variation looks subtle throughout the train. 

Manufacturers should try to get close to the "established" model colors.
Mike

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Re: Passenger Consists - is perfect colour match important ?
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2013, 08:18:17 PM »
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I want them to match, especially if they are from the same manufacturer.  What bugs me is the extreme variations between different companies.  For example, Northern Pacific schemes from Rapido and Centralia are so different that trying to put them together looks like putting two different trains together instead of one of the same.  I like the Rapido quality and colors better but their production dried up and was fulfilled by Centralia.  I want a train with some coaches, sleepers, head end cars, a food service car and an observation.  Domes would also be nice.  So now my Rapido coaches and sleepers are sitting in their boxes on a shelf while I run my Centralia and wait for the observation to fill it out.  Also factor in my WOT heavyweight baggage cars and how off their lighter green is it gets to be a little too much.  The funny thing is the WOT cars look ok with Rapido or Centralia but not with both.

That being said I will still most likely pick the new Rapido sleeper and definitely the café car in NP when they come out but I won't pre-order them, I did that once already and it didn't do me much good.

It would be nice to see more interaction between companies on their color pallet. 
Brian

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Re: Passenger Consists - is perfect colour match important ?
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2013, 08:41:46 PM »
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Many here have covered the possible answers.

Much depends on the road, the era and the particular train.

On the Capitol Limited and the National Limited from inception to the early 1960s, I would expect matching cars.  If you are modeling the Cleveland Night Express at inception, I would expect matching cars.  If you are running the same train in its last years,  non-matching cars might be expected.

If you are running secondary and local B&O trains, be they all HW or mixed HW and LW, I would expect that the cars might not have quite matching Blue-Grey schemes.  I would even expect a Pullman Green HW or an all blue HW mixed in with the Blue and Grey, especially if it were a baggage car.  I have seen more than a few photographs of B&O local and Washington/Baltimore/Brunswick, Maryland as well as Pittsburgh commuter trains that had all three Blue and Grey, all blue and Pullman Green coaches in both steam and diesel eras.  I have seen similar photographs of secondary B&O passenger trains.

I would NOT , however, mix the powder blue RR cars with B&O cars that have the proper, darker blue.  I have never seen a photograph of B&O passenger cars that were painted powder blue (as are most of the RR in N as well as in HO and the Athearn Blue Box in HO)

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Passenger Consists - is perfect colour match important ?
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2013, 09:15:15 PM »
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It's very important. 
As a member of the NPRHA (Northern Pacific Railway Historical Assoc.) modeling committee, we have spent many hundreds of hours researching prototype colors.
...We keep an eye out for manufacturers offering NP decorated models and contact them in an effort to get them to make the best NP model possible.

...For example, Northern Pacific schemes from Rapido and Centralia are so different that trying to put them together looks like putting two different trains together instead of one of the same. ... Also factor in my WOT heavyweight baggage cars and how off their lighter green is it gets to be a little too much.

It would be nice to see more interaction between companies on their color pallet. 

Just out of curiosity, which, if any, of these companies got the NPRHA imprimatur?

[Not trying to be snide - I'm just curious, because NP's two-tone green is by far my favorite passenger scheme.]
« Last Edit: July 29, 2013, 10:25:35 PM by GaryHinshaw »