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PRR Structure Paint Schemes

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  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: Navarre, FL
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PRR Structure Paint Schemes
Posted by Dave Vollmer on Sunday, February 11, 2007 6:32 AM

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:

Click here to go to Dave Vollmer's N Scale Pennsy

America's Broad Way of Commerce...The Standard Railroad of the World

  • Member since
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  • From: Northeast OH
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Posted by tstage on Sunday, February 11, 2007 2:53 PM

Dave,

Thanks for the write up and the pictures.  This thread comes at a very opportune time for me.  I model the NYC.  But I'm building an Alexander Scale Models Pennsy Flag stop for a friend of mine who does model the PRR and I was wondering what I should paint.  This is a big help...Smile [:)]

Tom 

My web site: http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

  • Member since
    June, 2005
  • From: Phoenixville, PA
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Posted by nbrodar on Sunday, February 11, 2007 4:55 PM

Thanks for the tip, Dave.   Just what I needed.

An additional question...how do you make the keystone sign boards?

Nick

Take a Ride on the Reading with the: Reading Company Technical & Historical Society http://www.readingrailroad.org/

  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: Navarre, FL
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Posted by Dave Vollmer on Sunday, February 11, 2007 6:18 PM
 nbrodar wrote:

Thanks for the tip, Dave.   Just what I needed.

An additional question...how do you make the keystone sign boards?

Nick

I use PowerPoint and print them up on photo paper.

Click here to go to Dave Vollmer's N Scale Pennsy

America's Broad Way of Commerce...The Standard Railroad of the World

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 282,435 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, February 11, 2007 7:31 PM

Ah well, that old J tower looks very good no matter who owns the durn thing.

All I see are kits, hopefully someone will make a RTR building for it.

On my railroad I tend to go for consistency, I dont model any particular road but am in the area where the PRR and the B&O ran so I like to have my strutures consistent color wise but not too alike.

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