Passenger Car Colour

When I started researching the Canada Atlantic, and thinking I might one day model it, one of the supposed benefits was that a railroad that disappeared 85 years ago (this was about 1990) offered both freelancing and prototype modeling opportunities. Sadly, it turns out that I suck at freelancing.

I think it started with a corner of the mouth comment from Pete North, now of Kelowna or is it Penticton, when as a teenager I was assembling a couple of old Ulrich zamac semi trailers for my friend Tom Hood. When it came to a question of colour, he said something like I should really find a picture of a real truck of this type and copy it. Well that was pretty much the end of freelancing for me. I did paint those trucks whatever colour Tom wanted, but I was scarred for life.

Twenty years later, I am a committed prototype modeler, and an unapologetic rivet-counter (where did that term go anyway?). But now, the fact that there is so much unknown about the Canada Atlantic is not freedom, but a paralysis. Sometimes I go ahead and build something in the face of undiscovered information, only to have a picture crop up later to confirm or deny my suppositions. The best example of this is the original Pembroke layout, which was partially built in 1997 with the river much too high; a photo emerged just as I was starting to lay track proving I was wrong, and the layout has remained uncompleted ever since. The plan is to start over this year.

Sometimes, we period modelers just have to go with the best information we have. Take this passenger car I’ve been building, for example. Assuming that it is in fact a CA car (there is reason to doubt, but that’s another story), we know very little about its actual colour. There are two sources that I’m aware of — a reference to a locomotive (414) that was painted “Turkish Rouge” (Turkish Red!, Turkish Red!, Turkish Red 😮) to match its train, and this just in time photograph that I came across last year.

True there were no colour photographs in 1896-1900, and this is consequently a colorist’s interpretation of the black and white photograph, but this is the best information I’ve got. I’m definitely not going with any of those commercial makeup colours – that industry definitely can’t be trusted for historical accuracy, but these cars are in a nice railroady reddy wine colour, and so, that’s what I’m searching for. No, I haven’t found it yet. Today’s favorite swatch is a bit of Pacemaker Red, but it’s not purple enough. So, the search continues.

Incidentally, I’ve loosened up the comments section. You no longer have to log in to post a comment, but I have to moderate them. Maybe now I’ll have fewer requests to become users with really rude names; probably I’ll have to view some really questionable posts, however.

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