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Need a paint to match Russia Iron color

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Need a paint to match Russia Iron color
Posted by Wolf359 on Monday, June 29, 2020 5:22 PM

Over the weekend, I bought my very first brass locomotive from a guy I know locally, (he gave me a good deal on it too!) and I need some help finding a good match for Russia Iron boiler jacketing. It's an MEW Colorado Midland class-93 4-6-0 in as delivered configuration. I know the color palette I want, which is a black tender and cab, Russia Iron boiler jacket, and silver-ish smokebox. But, I'm just not sure what a good match for the Russia Iron would be. I've read on previous threads about Russia Iron that the UP 119 and Jupiter replicas' boiler jacketing is a good match for it. I like this color, and want to find something close to it. Does anyone have any suggestions of a paint brand and color that would be a good match and is easy to find and work with? (Like Testors or Tamiya, for example) I prefer either enamels or acrylics. No lacquers please, I've not had good luck with them. Here's a couple of links to good photos of these engines that shows the color I want to match: Here's one of the Jupiter viewed from the side https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/locomotive/images/4/45/1391129534-bFnT4RdQwCXGg4LfRRJyMLbKZhJHxLprgL9jcXRM.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20180512220624  and here's a close-up of the UP 119's sand dome with a good view of the jacketing below it https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/locomotive/images/e/ea/Photo300886o.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20180905232750 As always any and all help is greatly appreciated.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, June 29, 2020 5:57 PM

Neither true Russian iron or the 'planished' American product that is supposed to be a 'native' simplification are that even gray cast-iron color.  The 'real thing' has mottling where the mechanical carbiding of the surface has taken place, which in the 'gray' variety might be produced with one of those metalizing 'antiquing' kits sold at Lowe's or HD for things like mirror frames or woodwork.  There are some very good threads that describe the historical processes to make Russia iron, and I think you should work backward from the description of what is done to make a particular kind to arrive at the likely appearance.

I'm tempted to note that you could actually produce thin planished iron by traditional techniques and carefully work it up into boiler cladding pieces for perhaps the ultimate in fidelity.  But that might be an awful lot of work.

Seems to me that many shades of metallic gray or 'metalizer' would be suitable to imitate the material, the hard part being to get the right surface reflection for unpainted planished iron.  It is also possible that a fake technique -- putting a semi-matte finish on the right color of stainless steel of some kind -- could be duplicated for a model by very fine ruby blasting, of the kind now used on watch cases.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, June 29, 2020 6:02 PM

This is going to be a rough one...

The best match I know of is the OLD floquil color "gunmetal", but they changed the color about 20 years ago to be more silver.

You need to find a really old bottle.

I might have some at home, but I am not sure. Send me a PM in a couple of weeks and I will check.

EDIT: Also take a look at all the metallic colours at TurboDork Dot Com, they have three pages of various metallic colours. I have never used one, but have read good reviews of them.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by Little Timmy on Monday, June 29, 2020 7:36 PM

Try Testors non-buffing Gunmetal metalizer paint .

It should be just about right.

Rust...... It's a good thing !

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Posted by Wolf359 on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 12:38 PM

Little Timmy

Try Testors non-buffing Gunmetal metalizer paint .

It should be just about right.

 

That fits in with what I was thinking, because I did some research of my own, and I'm wondering if anyone thinks any of these paints I found might be a good fit. Some of my top contenders are: Testors Graphite Gray 1253T-3 (spray), Testors Graphite Gray Metallic 1153TT (bottle), Tamiya TS-42 Light Gun Metal (spray), Tamiya Acrylic X-10 Gun Metal (bottle), and Tamiya Acrylic XF-56 Metallic Gray (bottle). These are both brands that are easily obtainable for me. Does anyone have any opinions on the viability of any of these paints? I use both brands frequently and usually have pretty good luck finding what I need in them.

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Posted by Wolf359 on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 12:51 PM

SeeYou190

This is going to be a rough one...

The best match I know of is the OLD floquil color "gunmetal", but they changed the color about 20 years ago to be more silver.

You need to find a really old bottle.

I might have some at home, but I am not sure. Send me a PM in a couple of weeks and I will check.

Thank you for your kind offer. Unfortunately PM doesn't work for me, as my browser is FireFox. I can put the subject in, but it won't let me do anything with the body of the post itself. Do you know of any other way I could possibly acquire this paint if it's what I decide to go with? Also, do you know what the part number is for it? As I'm typing this post I just remembered a couple of local places that may have it. They both have a lot of new old stock products, including paints.

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Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 2:46 PM

Many years ago In Model Railroader, I'm thinking the 1960s, it was suggested that Volkswagon "polar silver" paint was a good match for Russia Iron.  And that was from an era where there were modelers and railfans who still remembered Russia iron boiler jackets etc.

  Be aware that VW now has a color called polo silver which is not the same thing at all.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 3:49 PM

Over the years, there's been several discussions about duplicating Russian iron in the Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette. Check by searching the magazine database here at Kalmbach found under the Resources menu at the top right of this page.

EDIT: My memory came back to me a little on this. IIRC, the late Boone Morrison discussed Russian iron finishes in his series on modeling the South Pacific Coast narrowgauge.

Mike Lehman

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Posted by BN7150 on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 10:22 PM

The 1996 "Model Railroad Paint Formula Guide" book shows six ways to use Floquil paints. Hope it helps.

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Posted by Wolf359 on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 11:16 AM

BN7150

The 1996 "Model Railroad Paint Formula Guide" book shows six ways to use Floquil paints. Hope it helps.

 

Wow. That should be pretty handy. Thank you for posting that.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 1:06 PM

dknelson
Many years ago In Model Railroader, I'm thinking the 1960s, it was suggested that Volkswagen "polar silver" paint was a good match for Russia Iron.

You have to watch this.  The original Glasurit was characterized as a 'pale cyan blue' but was notoriously fragile in weathering; the 'replacement' that was provided to 'victims' whose paint started to degrade has always seemed a bit too plain gray to me.

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by OT Dean on Thursday, July 2, 2020 12:47 AM

Overmod

 

 
dknelson
Many years ago In Model Railroader, I'm thinking the 1960s, it was suggested that Volkswagen "polar silver" paint was a good match for Russia Iron.

 

You have to watch this.  The original Glasurit was characterized as a 'pale cyan blue' but was notoriously fragile in weathering; the 'replacement' that was provided to 'victims' whose paint started to degrade has always seemed a bit too plain gray to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I always wondered about the photos of 1890's-early 1900's B&O locos in the Stauffer-Sagle "B&O Power" where the boiler jackets appeared to be a shiny, silvery color.  (I was "proto-lancing" the B&O for my HO Potomac & Ohio at the time, modeling it as though it hadn't gone into receivership to the Pennsy in the late '90's.)  I'd seen the blurb about VW Polar Silver in MR and RMC had had an article on recreating Russia Iron boiler jackets that explained the different hues, so I wondered if the B&O had used some form of it or if they'd just used some sort of paint.  Does anybody know for sure?

Deano

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, July 2, 2020 8:04 AM

OT Dean
I wondered if the B&O had used some form of it or if they'd just used some sort of paint.  Does anybody know for sure?

The whole point of Russia iron is that it provides an impervious cladding, over the boiler lagging of that era, which did not need to be painted.  This was a characteristic of its use in metal roofing, too.

The progressive development of 'stainless' steels was in no small part an attempt to achieve the noncorrosive characteristics of mechanical carbiding, for example in the medical industry where normal autoclaving could induce spectacular kinds of corrosion in polished carbon steels.  I don't remember offhand any cost-effective 'polished silver' material suitable for boiler jacketing in the early B&O years, although it is possible a material like pewter could be wrought into sheets for the purpose.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, July 2, 2020 8:35 AM

Wolf359
Also, do you know what the part number is for it?

I will check the bottle when I get home in a few days.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, July 2, 2020 8:47 AM

One problem with the "Russian" (or "Prussian") Iron question is that color film was created about the time the last 19th century engines with Russian Iron boilers were being scrapped, so we really don't have reliable evidence...it's basically written descriptions, black and white photos, and a few paintings.

BTW years ago in college I took a class on TV production. The textbook noted that, under the right lighting conditions, the best way to achieve pure white with black and white film or video was to use light green, as actual white often looked light gray. So that black and white photo of a locomotive with an apparently silver or white boiler might in fact have a pale green boiler.

Stix
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Posted by Wolf359 on Thursday, July 2, 2020 12:12 PM

SeeYou190

I will check the bottle when I get home in a few days.

-Kevin

 

YesSmile

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, July 4, 2020 12:22 PM

wjstix
One problem with the "Russian" (or "Prussian") Iron question is that color film was created about the time the last 19th century engines with Russian Iron boilers were being scrapped, so we really don't have reliable evidence...it's basically written descriptions, black and white photos, and a few paintings.

(Keep in mind that to my knowledge  'Russia iron' has nothing whatsoever to do with Prussia; the closest being that blued steel (which isn't Russia iron even though for years I thought it was) can be sorta Prussian blue in color...) What we do have is a substantial amount of other items made of this sheet iron in its various grades, and some good contemporary accounts of how it was made.  It would be relatively easy to determine the precise composition of the 'oxide' film on the surface of various historical artifacts made of the 'true' Ural product and relate it to color and pattern.

I'd speculate there were some builders and mechanics who used the 'cheapest' grade (in lieu of paint) while others might carefully select pattern and color for effect on passenger engines.  It's fun to talk about this stuff as if it were all one consistent color, like a Polar Silver swatch, but I don't think even the American mass-produced versions were that consistent.

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Posted by Wolf359 on Saturday, July 4, 2020 3:51 PM

Would it be possible to get an idea of what the colors may have been from historical photos? Here are several of Colorado Midland class 93 engine 23, https://digital.denverlibrary.org/digital/collection/p15330coll21/id/9972/rec/6  https://digital.denverlibrary.org/digital/collection/p15330coll21/id/12583/rec/22 and engine 25. https://digital.denverlibrary.org/digital/collection/p15330coll21/id/6660/rec/147 You might have to zoom in on the one of engine 25. I've never understood how people figure out what the correct colors should be when they colorize black and white photos.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, July 4, 2020 4:14 PM

Wolf359
I've never understood how people figure out what the correct colors should be when they colorize black and white photos.

All too often by the same process used to put synchronized sound in steam videos.

Even the 'closest thing' we might have -- one of the early color processes like 'Autochrome'-- will suffer through use of dyes in the print that only are specified by filters of arbitrary color bandpass.  We can correct for both, of course, but the work involved can be substantial and, of course, can't correct for information physically lost in the capture, including polarization effects.

Many kinds of black-and-white film are famously not orthochromatically sensitive, leading to the use of what might be severely colored filters to bring up detail in the negative (one famous detail being the absence of sky vs. cloud detail in much B&W train photography shot with fast-enough emulsion).  Use of such filters in turn changes the relative appearance of some colors, and while a certain amount of correction can be made using a large number of images of the same known subject together with paint references to its colors, any reconstruction is likely to be at best rough.

The discussion of poished surfaces reflecting sky color, etc. is another often-commented-on concern when interpreting photographs.

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Posted by richg1998 on Sunday, July 5, 2020 1:23 PM

I found this article about "Russia Iron" some years ago because I was wondering. Not sure all the links are valid.

http://www.pacificng.com/template.php?page=/ref/russiairon/index.htm

Rich

 

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Posted by Wolf359 on Sunday, July 5, 2020 1:40 PM

richg1998

I found this article about "Russia Iron" some years ago because I was wondering. Not sure all the links are valid.

http://www.pacificng.com/template.php?page=/ref/russiairon/index.htm

Rich

 

 

Thank you. I bookmarked it. There's a lot of interesting color variations on those samples in the photos.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, July 6, 2020 12:01 AM

richg1998
I found this article about "Russia Iron" some years ago because I was wondering. Not sure all the links are valid.

http://www.pacificng.com/template.php?page=/ref/russiairon/index.htm

Note that one of the links is to a source that analyzed the 'true' Russia iron analytically) and found the surface coating to be primarily an iron carboNITRIDE, something which received considerable scientific analysis nearly a century later as nitrogen-ion implantation in iron became a subject of interest.  This certainly suggests there may be a similarity between the Russia iron surface appearance and some forms of contemporary case hardening -- and that some experimentation directly on polished iron surfaces might provide the 'correct' appearance of properly-made planished iron.

Interestingly there is a Russian patent (4,163,680, Syrchikov et al. 1979) that seems to indicate the effect can be created by hot-rolling sheet iron in an appropriate controlled atmosphere of ammonium carbamate.  That might be something that could be tried at hobby level...

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, July 9, 2020 1:54 AM

My memory is wrong. The bottle of the bluish Gun Metal is not as old as I thought it was. Floquil gun metal is part number 110108.

You can see, one of them is metallic blue, the other is more like steel.

Does this look like Russian Iron to you?

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, July 9, 2020 7:52 AM

The Micro Scale Floquil 'equivalent' table gives TS38 (a Tamiya spray-can color) as the replacement of choice for 'Gunmetal'.  

I'd like to see someone make up both flat swatches and painted 'boiler jackets' (or similar cylindrical objects) with both these paints and see how they look.

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Posted by Wolf359 on Thursday, July 9, 2020 1:21 PM

SeeYou190

My memory is wrong. The bottle of the bluish Gun Metal is not as old as I thought it was. Floquil gun metal is part number 110108.

You can see, one of them is metallic blue, the other is more like steel.

Does this look like Russian Iron to you?

-Kevin

 

Cool. I'm still doing some research on the colors of these engines, but I think that might work. I'll have to keep an eye out for that. Thank you for that information, Kevin.

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