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Which shade of red?

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  • Member since
    November, 2016
  • 161 posts
Which shade of red?
Posted by khier on Saturday, May 12, 2018 11:12 AM

Dear all,


I have to touch up my Walthers' Santa Fe Alco PA. They came with stains of metallic plating in the number boards area. Which shade of red is the closest to the colours used by Walthers?  I have easy access to. Revell, Humbrol and Tamiya colours. Testors can be also obtained but not that easy to find.





  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Chamberlain, ME
  • 4,518 posts
Posted by G Paine on Saturday, May 12, 2018 11:01 PM

All I can suggest is to get a few reds, and put a drop on some scrap plastic or paper and see what is close to ATSF red. One problem may be that the manufacturer may not be usng an actual ATSF red as well, just a red that is available.

That being said, TruColor Paints makes an ATSF red, that should be added to your test list.


George In Midcoast Maine, 'bout halfway up the Rockland branch 

  • Member since
    July, 2004
  • From: Weymouth, Ma.
  • 5,199 posts
Posted by bogp40 on Sunday, May 13, 2018 7:37 AM

A lot of reds have some transparency, so when mixing and testing the color for match, apply samples on a similar base. Medium to a dark gray usually works. But since you are doing touch up start match on a red.

Not sure if you are into weathering your equipment at all even so slight. This can help with your touch up of the number boards especially on an older piece. The exact match of the red wouldn't be so critical if you weather the unit a bit.

Modeling B&O- Chessie  Bob K.

  • Member since
    November, 2016
  • 161 posts
Posted by khier on Sunday, May 13, 2018 11:45 AM



Sure the exact match does not count for weathering. It does not count for touch up too. I can certainly get these spots covered with a suitable shade by trial and error. I just thought maybe someone went through this can help saving time and effort. After all forums are for exchange of experiences and knowledge, aren't they?





  • Member since
    September, 2014
  • From: 10,578’ (3,224 m)
  • 874 posts
Posted by jjdamnit on Sunday, May 13, 2018 4:08 PM

Hello all,

Exact color matching can be challenging to say the least.

For Santa Fe red and silver schemes I've had good luck with:

  • Rust-Oleum Professional High Performance Enamel; Safety Red (#7564) 
  • Rust-Oleum Bright Coat Metallic Finish; Aluminum (#7715)

I used these rattle can colors for complete re-paints.

For touch-up work I would spray from the can to a disposable plastic lid (in a well ventilated area).

Take a toothpick or fine tip paintbrush and apply.

On prototypical railroads their "color matching" might be, just-good-enough and not be an exact match from the service facilities.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: Southeast Texas
  • 4,898 posts
Posted by mobilman44 on Sunday, May 13, 2018 5:25 PM

Many years ago I had a similar problem, trying to match the color of a "boxcar red or is it brown" kit that had gotten scratched.  

Turns out I had 12 different types on hand - Testors, Floquil, et al.   So I took a 3x3 piece of styrene and painted a small rectangle of each color on the styrene edges.  While doing so, I labeled each square with a letter, and put the corresponding letter on the paint jar lid.

I did this over 20 years ago, and I cannot guess how many times that styrene paint chip helped me get the right (or closest) shade while touching up various pieces of rolling stock. 

It is so much easier (and accurate as it is dried) to hold that styrene chip up to the car in question and find which paint will work best.






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

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