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Paint of Santa Fe 4-8-4 Northern Smokebox fronts?

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  • Member since
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  • From: Berwyn, PA
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Paint of Santa Fe 4-8-4 Northern Smokebox fronts?
Posted by Trainman440 on Monday, January 08, 2018 12:40 AM

Hello!
Im currently restoring a Santa Fe 4-8-4 northern. Front seeing pictures online, it seems that half of the engines have a gray/white/silver ish color to the smokebox front, and the other half are black. I heard that the smokeboxes were painted black during the wartime...?
1. Which color is accurate?
2. What brand of paint would be the most accurate to the prototype color?

Thanks!

Charles

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Charles L.

Modeling the Santa Fe & Pennsylvania in HO!

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLb3FRqukolAtnD1khrb6lQ

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Posted by marksrailroad on Monday, January 08, 2018 4:39 AM

I painted my smoke box silver on mine and also painted all of the other fine little details and have been happy with it ever since...

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Posted by M636C on Monday, January 08, 2018 5:46 AM

I understood that Graphite was used.

This could reflect the light like silver and was a darker silver shade when new.

Certainly, 3752 now has a Graphite smokebox front now. The sides of the smokebox are lagged and covered in steel boiler cladding painted gloss black.

Peter

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Nordonia Hills, OH
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Posted by dti406 on Monday, January 08, 2018 9:07 AM

My Favorite would be Scalecoat's Graphite & Oil!

Rick Jesionowski

Rule 1: This is my railroad.

Rule 2: I make the rules.

Rule 3: Illuminating discussion of prototype history, equipment and operating practices is always welcome, but in the event of visitor-perceived anacronisms, detail descrepancies or operating errors, consult RULE 1!

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  • From: Southeast Texas
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Posted by mobilman44 on Monday, January 08, 2018 9:09 AM

Silver was used a lot but soon became dirty - and turned graphite color to some.

Either way, you can't go wrong.

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
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Posted by wjstix on Monday, January 08, 2018 10:03 AM

Generally, the smokebox and firebox of a steam engine got too hot to paint - the paint would just peel off due to the heat. Instead, these parts were coated with a mixture of graphite and oil. Graphite is what pencils use, so it would be roughly that color.

Stix
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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Monday, January 08, 2018 10:50 AM

ATSF extended the jacket construction on some locomotives especially 4-8-4s. Than the smokebox would be painted black.

Graphite is not one specified color. As it was mixed in the shops. There were many shades from silvery to almost black.

Southern Pacific had smokebox and smokebox front painted graphite until 1946. In 1946 Aluminum paint was heat resistant enough that SP used it on the smokebox from from then on.

I have seen ATSF models with silver smokebox fronts but I'm not sure if ATSF used Aluminum paint.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by selector on Monday, January 08, 2018 11:50 AM
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Posted by ACY Tom on Monday, January 08, 2018 6:16 PM

I have always understood that Santa Fe called the color Tarpon Gray, but have never heard what the graphite coponent was, or if there is a good color match available. 

Tom

  • Member since
    May, 2014
  • From: Berwyn, PA
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Posted by Trainman440 on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 12:22 AM

Thanks everyone for the relplies!
Sounds like I'll being using Scalecoat Graphite and Oil paint for the smokebox front. 

Charles

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Charles L.

Modeling the Santa Fe & Pennsylvania in HO!

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLb3FRqukolAtnD1khrb6lQ

  • Member since
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  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, January 14, 2018 7:53 PM

wjstix
these parts were coated with a mixture of graphite and oil.

.

I assume this served the same purpose as paint... to keep the metal from deteriorating.

.

What was the maintenance on graphite/oil? Did it drip off over time? Did it slowly evaporate and need to be re-applied?

.

Why does "Prototype Information" make me so curious?

.

-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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    February, 2005
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Posted by selector on Monday, January 15, 2018 4:19 PM

I believe the smokebox isn't insulated, normally.  It's hot surface would drive off volatiles over time and you'd be left with a roughly waterproof crust, sort of like a seasoned cast iron skillet.  This means they would get dark over time and be less easily distinguished from the rest of the grimy cladding around the boiler.

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