Monday, May 1, 2017

Orange is the new Box Car Red

I have been experimenting with alternative paints for PFE Orange. I have an air brush but have a lot of constraints in using it as I live in a townhouse built on a slab and can only paint in my garage on low humidity days when I can find a parking spot for my car (the renters in the complex hog all the visitor spots.) I like to kitbash old cars I bought in the 1980's so these are not necessarily the finest most exact prototype renditions of the PFE class cars close but no cigars awarded. Also, steps have not been added yet as there are further modifications to each car to be made.

I have used three different paints in this exercise:

Air Brushed PBL Star Brand Daylight Orange.
Air Brushed True Color Daylight Orange.
Hand Brushed Vallejo Model Color 70.911 Light Orange with one drop of 70.910 Orange Red to 4 70.911

The results are:

PBL Star Brand Daylight Orange air brushed. Tichy R-40-2 kit built as R-30-16 rebuild. Built up underframe but I am working on a Bettendorf version. 1948-1950 paint scheme. Yes I know the roof is wrong.

PBL Star Brand Daylight Orange air brushed. Athearn Wood sided kit with scratch wood ends and modified body. 1948-1950 paint scheme. 

True Color Daylight Orange air brushed. Train Miniature wood sided kit with scratch wood ends and modified body on Tichy built up underframe. 1950 paint scheme. 

Vallejo Model Color Light Orange hand brushed. Athearn Wood sided kit with scratch wood ends and modified body. I was experimenting with Tichy WP PFE decal set on this car. Came out OK. This car needs black paint on the hinges, ladders and grab irons as it represents an early 1940's rebuild.

The True Color Daylight Orange is the closest match to the color Intermountain/Red Caboose use on their PFE cars. But it seems a little too much of a tangerine shade when compared to the color samples in Thompson's PFE book 2nd edition and the new Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society SP Freight Car Painting and Lettering Guide.

All four cars together for a comparison:

The PBL Star Brand seems a little to dark. It can pass as a car with at least one trip to the east coast without being washed on return to California.

The Vallejo Model Color was a surprise. It took three thin coats to cover the original yellow car paint but it went on with no trace of brush strokes and excellent coverage of details. It is a viable option when I can't set up the airbrush particularly in winter when the humidity is over 60% in the garage.

More to come likely. Particularly about R-40-23 kitbashes from Athearn steel reefers that are 30-40 years old. Athearn 3+4 dreadnought ends replaced with correct 3+3 ends and equipment lettering corrected to 1946-52 various versions. 

Note the strange looking station and signal box (tower) for California in the background. I only have one layout at the moment and it represents Padstow, Cornwall in England. A mini layout based on a Tichy PFE icing platform is at the planning stage.

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