I posted this in "The N Crowd" but thought the general population might have some interest...
My parents came down two weekends ago for my younger son's second birthday. My father, also a sometime-PRR fan, and I were discussing the lack of a standard building paint scheme for the Standard Railroad of the World. Officially, PRR structures were most often painted a light buff/tan with darker brown trim and red window sashes. However, this scheme as applied to Pennsy structures in real life seems to have spanned anywhere from two-tone gray to yellow and brown. PRRT&HS has published formulas for mixing your own paint using Floquil, but since switching to N scale I work primarily in styrene, so I thought Polyscale would be better.
Some years ago I settled on a Polyscale paint scheme that looked pretty close (aged concrete and D&RGW building brown). I wanted to use straight-from-the-bottle colors rather than custom mixes to ensure consistency from structure to structure. Well, Polyscale then changed the formulas on the paints I was using, so in the middle of a project, I had to find a new scheme since the new formulas (formulae?) for the old colors didn't quite work anymore. The new colors were too light.
Eventually I had settled upon earth and roof brown as my colors. A bit dark, but not objectionable. Over time though, the more color photographs I see of PRR structures, the more I've been thinking that the earth color was too dark. My dad agreed. Here's the current scheme on LEW Interlocking (tower and speeder shed) on my layout:
So yesterday I bought a jar of the new Polyscale D&RGW "building cream." Testing it on an unused interlocking tower showed promise. So, I grabbed a Walthers watchman's shanty off the layout and painted it with the new cream color. Wow... Way too light. Now what? I eventually found that mixing roughly 1/3 D&RGW building cream with 2/3 earth gave me a great color. But, once I applied it to the speeder shed, the paint was too thick. So, I had to strip the paint and start again. These are those darned pre-assembled buildings, and in N scale a watchman's shanty is smaller than the last knuckle on your thumb. Plus I needed to keep the sashes red. Pain in the...
Well, when all was done the new paint job on the shack looked closer to ideal, but it was hassle enough I doubt I'll re-paint the rest of my structures. Besides, it's actually prototypical for some variation on the PRR... whatever mix of "Structure Color Light" as available at the time of repaint is what was used. I'll save my new-found "Structure Color Light" for the next PRR building I build. I'm thinking about building the GC Laser kit fir J Tower... Since that's wood, I'll seal it with Dullcote before I apply Polyscale paint.
Here's the J Tower at Strasburg, PA, and the Strasburg Rail Road's version of the PRR paint scheme: