No. 82: What’s in a Name?

Juliet said this about roses, meaning it doesn’t matter what you call roses…they’ll still be beautiful. 

I could say the same thing about box cars.  They’re beautiful no matter what you call them. Maybe I should re-name this post What’s in a name Color?


One of the most enjoyable things about modeling the late steam era is the wide variety of house cars–the different types and sizes of cars. Another thing to consider is the wide variety of car colors.  Getting the car color right is just as important as everything else and luckily the paints are out there that let us model color accurately.

The cars above each have a different color matched as accurately as possible to their prototypes. I used Tru-Color TCP-204 Western Pacific 1940-60’s Frt. Car Red on the WP car and Tru-Color TCP-221 New York Central 1945-60’s Frt. Car Red on the NYC car.  I used Scalecoat II Box Car Red No. 1 on the SAL AF-1 Auto Car.  On the ACL vent, I used a 50%-50% mix of Scalecoat II Box Car Red No. 1 and Scalecoat II Oxide Red.

Scalecoat is now produced and marketed by Minuteman Scale Models at  Minuteman will be at St. Louis RPM this year (20-21 July) and Shawn is bringing along five tables of new Scalecoat paint…so there’s another incentive to come to St. Louis.  Get it while it’s hot!

A list of Tru-Color paint can be found online at 


Above.  The WP car with decals complete, ready for dullcote and weathering.  Below.  the re-attack on the HO scale NYC hopper (a Kadee model) using Resin Car Works decals.  Paint used on both the NYC hoppers is the same as that used on the USRA box car above–Tru-Color TCP-221 New York Central 1945-60’s Frt. Car Red.


A Nice–and Cheap–New Tool

After 40 years of building models I finally got around to buying a good tool for mixing paint.


I got 100 of these pipettes on Amazon for six bucks.  There are a million options on Amazon; I got the ones from Karter Scientific (that sounds sketchy, doesn’t it???) called Transfer Pipette, 3.0 ml, Graduated, Large Bulb, 155mm, Karter Scientific 206H3, pack of 100.

These things are great!  I use this thing to grab paint and thinner out of bottles for mixing, and for applying water to decals. I’ve been using the same one for 60 days for everything.  I expected it to melt when I stuck it into lacquer thinner, but no. It’s great and I highly recommend using them.  100 will last me a lifetime.

Above, an old photo I took back in 2003 at the Illinois Railroad Museum–added just for fun
Have a wonderful week!  – John G.

2 thoughts on “No. 82: What’s in a Name?

  1. I got my first pipette like the one shown in high school from science lab (1998) and used it until this past winter, when I destroyed it by mistake by pulling it (stretching it). I bought a pack of 100 online to replace it and that should last a lifetime. I use it/them most for ballasting. I used to rinse out my original one after every ballast session. Now, I just toss them!


    • Hi Ben, thanks and that’s a funny story! I threw away my first one the other day and kept getting it out of the trash to keep using it, even though I have a container with 99 clean ones over my head. Those things are just that good. Wish I would’ve’ discovered them 30 years ago. John G


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