Tuscan color/caboose

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org
Sun Jul 6 09:31:38 EDT 2014

Hello David, 

I’ve built or am building three of these models and went through a paint experiment to find what I liked.  The color photos I found were (in real terms) all over the place in color - from orange-ish to dirty red.  However, each photo gave an idea of the relative color compared to the surrounding blacks, grays, etc.  A mental color balancing, I guess.

The color mix that I was happiest with was a 2:1 mix of Soo Line Red and Caboose Red - both Floquil.  As I write that, I am realizing that that is now close to being completely obsolete with the demise of Floquil.

More information on the build can be found on this ancient thread (which I need to move to a  blog post or website - that Forum has undergone several changes since I left it, and I don’t want to lose that content)


Matt Goodman
Columbus, OH

On Jul 5, 2014, at 12:39 PM, NW Modeling List <nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org> wrote:


Not to set of the storm again, I am assembling a AMB caboose.  Has anyone painted one and been happy with the the color?  Right now two coats of poly scale caboose red seem to be the best.

If you were happy, feel free to reply with whatever random color assignment you have!

To be clear I am only looking for an opinion on what worked..... Not the truth about the color pigments.



On Jul 5, 2014 7:30 AM, "NW Modeling List" <nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org> wrote:
Jim Brewer:

You are correct about the Scalecoat N&W red. The paint that Scalecoat did was given to them by a gentleman for the Excursion paint scheme not for the early N&W red. The is what the N&W red paint was made to represent. The label on the jar confuses modelers.

Stephen Rineair


From: NW-Modeling-List [mailto:nw-modeling-list-bounces at nwhs.org] On Behalf Of NW Modeling List
Sent: Friday, July 04, 2014 11:45 AM
To: NW Modeling List
Subject: Re: Tuscan color




Thanks and I agree with everything you have spelled out.  Like most on this list I have watched numerous videos of in-service passenger trains and no two cars in the consist ever seem to be the same color.


The Scalecoat N&W Red may match the cars in excursion service, but to my eye it is too purple for those of us who model the steam and/or steam/diesel era.  I'm certain Tru-Color would be glad to have more than one correct N&W Red as part of its product line; they would even do N&W Blue if the correct materials were submitted.  If one looks at their product line you will see a number of railroad boxcar red/brown colors offered.  I'm sure N&W Boxcar Brown would be a welcome addition as well.  You can see their offerings at http://www.trucolorpaint.com/


I fully agree with, and always do, prime what I am painting.  My layout has florescent lighting  which will make colors appear different than other types of lights.


Best wishes.


Jim Brewer

Glenwood MD


From: "NW Modeling List" <nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org>
To: "NW Modeling List" <nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org>
Sent: Thursday, July 3, 2014 8:13:07 PM
Subject: Re: Tuscan color



This becomes a large can of worms.  I agree with Frank and others about "what color is correct".

While I was working on the Accucraft 1:32 passenger car project recently, Charlie Schlotthober [sp?] showed me two different drift cards for N&W passenger car red used between 1949 and 1958.  They were similar, but clearly different.

The information below was extracted from my notes after multiple phone calls and a visit to the Archives to meet with Charlie.

a] The original paint on these cars as delivered in 1948-1949 was a non-metallic paint called N&W Passenger Car Tuscan #4   It is a gloss non-metallic [no metal flake in the pigment] paint
b] In 1955 the paint was reformulated to have essentially the same color, but with metal flake added.  This color was called  N&W Passenger Car Tuscan #4 metallic
c] Starting in about 1958 or 1959 N&W DISCONTINUED the use of standard reference color drift cards for passenger cars.  From that time on, The Roanoke car shops would simply go to Shepard's Auto Supply and purchase DuPont Emron Metallic Red paint a few gallons at a time.   So... after that time, cars might be 'close' in color, but there was no requirement for consistency.

Charlie said this is how he had the two NS office cars #1 and 2, painted before he retired.

Charlie says the CLOSEST paint that matches the red used in excursion service is "Scalecoat N&W Red".  It contains a very small amount of powdered metal flake.  He says in  a layout room it seems too dark, but in sunlight it is VERY close.  He recommends you purchase that paint and use it as the sample color.  Be sure to have the paint shaken extremely well so that the metal flake will be uniform.  He also suggested using a lighter primer coat on the car which will help keep the red from appearing "too dark".

Charlie says that in his years of working in the passenger cars shops in design, painting, and, lettering, no car maintained the SAME color for more than a few months.

Also, up until 1956, all the cars were varnished after painting.  After a year or so, the varnish would start to discolor [usually a yellow cast], and that changed the appearance of the cars.


Jim Stapleton
Purcellville  VA  
On 7/3/2014 7:25 PM, NW Modeling List wrote:

FWIW perhaps the model committee could provide a paint chip or drift card to Tru-Color; I'm sure they would be glad to add N&W Tuscan to their line of prototypically correct model paints.

Jim Brewer

Glenwood MD


From: "NW Modeling List" <nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org>
To: "NW Modeling List" <nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org>
Sent: Thursday, July 3, 2014 3:28:14 PM
Subject: RE: Tuscan color


What both Frank and Ed are talking about occurs in most every society. Having lived in Milwaukee, WI for several years, I watched an argument between a pair of Milw. Rd. HS members about the correct color orange on their passenger cars and other equipment. One member argued that the second was wrong in that they were all painted the same color & shade of orange. The second while partially agreed, he stated that they were not all the same color orange, as he had seen them come out of the paint shops is different shades of orange, with the paint being ordered at the same time from the same paint mfgr., which at the time was being delivered in 55 gal drums. The first individual continued to tell the second he was wrong but finally realized he had to quit arguing when the second told him that he was one of a half dozen employees of the Milw. Road who painted their equipment fleet for a living.....
That being said, the N&W Red from Scalecoat color works well, however it has a bit of a metallic flake to it. There are several colors I have seen work fairly well, including WC Maroon. Another color that has just come onto the market is from TruColor paints, which is very similar in nature to the old line of Accu-Paint. They are now offering part # TCP-276 - PRR 1948+ Passenger Car Tuscan.
I am sure that somewhere in the archives there is a Paint ID # for the non-metallic red, that can be shared and closely matched with current commercial paints from a PPG or ICI paint dealer. I would suggest obtaining a small amount of said color and try to best match that color by primering a piece of styrene and top coating the commercial grade paint, and then doing the same with several colors of model rr paint and seeing which works best for you and you lighting situation. Keep in mind that some clear coats will slightly shift the tone of the color of the paint. Also, the color primer will yield different finish colors as well. Tamyia offers both a white and mild grey primer paint for example. Darker colors tend to pop more on a lighter base color.
Hope this helps.


Russ Goodwin
Buford, GA

Date: Wed, 2 Jul 2014 23:16:58 -0400
Subject: Re: Tuscan color
To: nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org
From: nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org


Lee; what Ed is referring to is a "color flame war" that happens every time N&W Tuscan Red or Pevlar Blue shows up on this list.  FWIW, this also happens on the C&O list with Enchantment Blue, the C&O list and the NYC list with shades of gray, and probably just about every other model railroad list. 


Hopefully someone who does a lot of painting, and is pleased with the result, will tell you what mix works for them, and will nicely mention that with lighting, etc. (the etc. is half a clinic)you may have to make adjustments.  With that I can't help; tuff enough for us Virginian modelers to settle on workable yellows and black.  One thing I can tell you, is that Dr. Jim EuDaly (he's an eye doc, so this isn't fantasy)actually told us in a clinic (at a C&O meet)that color actually varies a bit with scale, and (I hope I got this right)you probably need a tad lighter mix than an HO modeler would.  I can also tell you that your room lighting is probably one of the most important factors.  I guess there's one other thing I should mention because the more experienced painters consider it so obvious they don't mention it: make sure the light where you paint is the same as the light on the layout. 


Frank Bongiovanni



On Wed, Jul 2, 2014 at 5:48 PM, NW Modeling List <nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org> wrote:

My favorite modeling list topic!


Ed Painter Narrows,VA living in Dahlonega,GA



On Jul 2, 2014, at 3:21 PM, NW Modeling List <nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org> wrote:


I am new member to the modeling list.  I am painting an N scale passenger car set and wondered what color you folks recommend to match the Tuscan red.   

Thank you,

Lee Burns

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