True color/appearance of the "Graphite, or Smokebox colors

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at
Sun Jun 29 12:51:14 EDT 2008


Re N&W practice: I don't think there ever was anything official on what a
graphited smokebox or firebox should look like. In the color pics in books
and slides I have, the color is just as you have observed: almost black to
fairly bright silver. I think the models you mention look just fine. If
you remember the Oriental Models Y3 from years ago, it came factory painted
with a bright silver smokebox. For painting models, it comes down to what
you think looks good.

There were some roads, like UP who had standards, like a flat gray look
prior to the 1940's, and a bright silver finish in years after that.

I think that in the final years of steam, there were paints that would stand
up to the heat of unlagged smokeboxes.

--Rick Morrison

----- Original Message -----
Subject: True color/appearance of the "Graphite, or Smokebox colors

> As I look over my collection of steam power I notice that the Graphite or

> smokebox color is never the same on any two engines.

> Graphite on a pencil is metallic.

> I understand the graphite was powdered and mixed with linseed oil and

> painted on with a big crude brush.


> Well, my specific question is what would that smokebox and possibly

> firebox color be if it were the mid 1930's?

> Did that change by the 1950's?


> Secondly, is either the Precision Craft Models Y6b, or Lifelikes Y3

> graphite correct?


> I have seen a Sunset M2 factory painted and THAT smokebox was very

> metallic. Looked like Testors "Steel" which is a flat, darker than

> "Bright Silver" silver.

> Could THAT one be correct?







> Mark Lindsey

> N&W Historical Society

> Stuck in the 1930's

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