True color/appearance of the "Graphite, or Smokebox colors
NW Modeling List
nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org
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.
----- 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
> NW-Modeling-List at nwhs.org
> To change your subscription go to
> Browse the NW-Modeling-List archives at
More information about the NW-Modeling-List