I've been a stalker here for a while and decided to join. I've re-entered the modeling after many years and changed from the D&RGW to the C&S. I've been buying up reference books and such but have not found much reference to colors the C&S used. I see where the cabeese had a brighter color red than the freight rolling stock and see where the COMO station has been painted several different colors over time. All the pictures I see are black and white and are hard to determine the correct (or closest match) colors used.
Can anyone tell me or point me to a list of colors that were used by year with appropriate swatches for reference? Maybe no one has every compiled such a list. I'm trying to do the late 20s.
I love the posts and discussions with the old pictures. I've spent hours reviewing them. Great work everyone.
Who-boy, this should be an interesting thread. We can all discuss the colors of structures and rolling stock in an all B&W photo era. At least you didn't ask what colors the Tiffany reefers where painted.
A Proctologist colleague of mine is fond of saying that "opinions are like the anus--everyone is entitled to at least one."
So, for what it's worth, here are my opinions of C&S colors:
In the very early South Park days (late 1870s to mid 1880s) depots were painted a solid light color, either white or light gray. By the mid-1880s the depots were felt to be a light gray with green trim.
From the late 1880s to 1890s, with the Union Pacific firmly in control of the property, depots seem to be a solid darker color, likely barn or boxcar red. Trim doesn't seem to differ. Perhaps a Union Pacific Historic Page or discussion group could give one precise specs.
After the creation of the C&S, in the first years, the older UP colors persisted. By about 1905, when the C&S had its new corporate act together, the Trumbull management began repainting the depots in a "revival" gray with green trim. A newspaper account from 1905-07 describes the Como structures being repainted these colors. Discussion on this and other boards suggests that Polyscale/Floquil "New Gravel Gray" as the primnary color with "Pullman green" or "Dark Green" as the trim. Find the "Glenisle" thread that Chris started recently. I posted photos of the restored little Glenisle wait station. The folks I talked to at the Historic Society in Baileys, said that they had tried to match existing paint during the restoration.
This gray and green trim survived until abandonment on some structures, ie the Breckenridge depot, albeit heavily weathered. It appears that other structures, including some water tank bodies (Dome Rock, Crossons) and some outfit car bodies (Baileys) were also painted in this scheme. Other outbuildings, water tank bodies always seemed to be a dark color, likely barn red.
The CB&Q acquired the C&S in late 1908. By the mid 19teens, most structures were repainted in the "Q" scheme of barn or boxcar red with dark green trim. Again CB&Q History Society or discussion boards may provide a suggested paint mix.
One anomaly that I don't understand is how the Forks Creek water tank ended up with a "buff" tank body.
Most discussion boards and people that have looked at paint chips from freight car restoration projects have suggested that the standard C&S "boxcar red" was roughly 2 parts Floquil/Polyscale "Boxcar Red" to 1 part "Caboose Red". An approximate out-of-the-bottle color is Floquil/Polyscale "Rock Island Maroon", which is what I use. By the late 1920s the newly painted "Button" lettering scheme was in use, but many cars with the 1906 block "C&S" lettering were still around, heavily weathered.
Controversy exists as to whether the cabooses were painted a different color than the freight cars. I choose to paint mine with the "Rock Island Maroon".
Any Conoco tank cars of the late 1920s to early 1930s were painted silver with black underframes and dark green lettering and reporting marks. The solid black paint scheme with white Conoco lettering didn't show up until the late 1930s, just prior to abandonment. (This info from Bruce Blalock, an On3 modeler who worked for Conoco and found the NG tank car specs in their archives; he published an article on the Conoco cars in the NG & SL Gazette back in the late 70s or early 80s).
The refrigerator cars were yellow with C&S boxcar red roof, ends and later underframes. Search for Derrell Poole's C&S reefer blog articles. He suggests that the yellow was an orangy-yellow, perhaps an "Armour Yellow". By the late 1930s, the cars were a brighter "Reefer Yellow".
As to passenger cars, on Keith's "Passenger Car #72" thread, Mike Trent has an excellent discussion of how he painted his On3 models. As he helped restore said car in Idaho Springs, I would view his color suggestions as authoritative.
Start with the basic "Boxcar Red", which can be whatever flavor you like. Harry Brunk suggested a mix of Floquil Boxcar Red and Caboose Red. Floquil's "Zinc Chromate Primer" is very close to that. There are any number of Red Oxide colors available that would be compatible. Anyway, Once you have your red color picked out, thats your red. Cabooses, boxcars, and structures all used "Red" from the same origin. Color variants might occur naturally from a different vendor or fading, but on the C&S, red was red. It was the "Q" in later years, in the 50's, I believe, that decided to paint cabooses in a brighter red. Best not to go there. It was about the same time that they started painting plows and rotary wheels red too. Not in the 20's.
So now you have red. After that, get some Reefer Yellow and some black for locomotives and tank cars and you're all set. Oh, and Dark Green of your choice for passenger cars.
You can drive yourself nuts if you think you have to have everything to specific colors. But this is a great place to look for information because a lot of folks here have actually found evidence here and there on vaarious pieces that survived.
Best thing to do is remember the great Bob Stull's Rule #1. "It's MY railroad." Do what you think looks right and it blends together nicely. Remember that whatever color you choose might have looked slightly different to your eye depending on the time of day, the angle of the sun, or even if it was cloudy that day. Everything can be weathered to your own taste for variation to the extent you desire.
Having said all that, for red, I prefer Floquil Zinc Chromate unless I have Boxcar Red and Caboose Red to mix. For passenger cars, try Model Master "Dark Green". That color, or Pullman Green if you prefer, can also be used for trim on your 1920's structures.
Good luck, but mostly have fun and enjoy whatever you do!
Thanks guys. That is very helpful. I'm now modeling in (don't laugh) On30. Of course it's MY railroad so... Since I only have a 13 x 9 space I picked On30 so I could get in more and run tighter curves. I also thought I could get up and running sooner by using RTR Bachmann rolling stock. Eventually I hope to either repaint or replace them with prototype kits. Right now the layout is in the design stage and I hope to keep the minimum radius to 22".
I've been wondering about depot colors to use since I have seen them is several schemes. I went to the SLANG meet a few weeks ago in Jefferson City, MO and saw differing colors too. Now I think I'm ready to start painting! Well, need to finish up the basement remodel first.
BTW I was browsing the pictures and saw someone's layout of the western approach to the Alpine Tunnel. That was great!
Hi Phil. I subscribe, out of neccessity, to the "less is more" philosophy. I haven't had an actual layout in my place of residence since 1988. But I have found much satisfaction modeling operating dioramas for On3.
Keep it up, now that you've sniffed an interest in C&S, you'll have a great time learning, sharing, and applying your knowledge.
I been reading in the book Colorado Central by ,Abbot.published by Sundance.
In his book he relates to a color change on the depots and water tanks to a ivory scheme with green.
Can anyone one else respond to this? I want to model this time period of the central and always thought that to be a buff color.