As I was mulling over the Pullman Green issue, I came to the conclusion that it might be a good idea to pursue the lead offered in the Paint Shop article of Model Railroader (November 1989). It stated that this color was adopted by the Great Northern as the green in their Empire Builder scheme. After all, there are color photographs available of locomotives in this post-war livery.
Another bit of info, right under my nose, is the color of a Stewart model of a Great Northern first section I happen to have for my future ATSF 104 A-B-B-B build. It is finished in a dark brownish-olive. However, following a model for prototype info can be misleading. Lucky for me, on a GN historical website (Great Northern Railway Historical Society), I found some info on their Pullman Green color along with a color chip and a sample that was re-mixed for computer RBG output. Definitely a brown-olive. It is obvious that the old Polly Scale GN Empire Green doesn’t come close to the prototype color.
In looking at some color GN FT photographs, their Pullman Green is more “brown” than I expected. It is also quite dark. I mentioned that I have only seen one period color photograph of the Demonstrator. It is in the Classic Trains Spring 2015 issue (and also in 2006 Special Issue “Diesel Victory”). The locomotive color is quite dark, although the sky looks overcast. It does look olive in a brown tone to my eye.
The first section of EMC 103 is restored in the Museum of Transportation in St Louis. It is not safe to assume that it was painted in the correct olive color. Even though it was restored by General Motors, the trucks and fuel tank were painted Pullman Green, where the original clearly had black trucks and fuel tank. Some contemporary pictures show it in a light olive-green color (not unlike my first EMC 103 model using Polly Scale Empire Builder Green), yet in others it appears quite dark and browner. Certainly lighting conditions play a factor.
I think I’m sold on the dark brown-olive, especially due to the aforementioned period color photograph. As it was, Pullman passenger cars at the turn of the 20th century were painted in a color similar to United Parcel Service brown and then it became more progressively “greener” as time went by. There is interesting information about this on the Utah Rails website (Pullman Green).
I mixed up a test batch of brownish-olive paint using the following Testors Model Master (ex-Polly Scale) acrylic colours:
10 Parts Roof Brown / 2 Parts Pullman Green* / 1 Part Engine Black
* as many of you already know, this Polly Scale color is nothing like a proper Pullman Green. In this mix, a modern armour camouflage green could be substituted. I don’t use this paint for Pullman, but as a green for structures, etc. I’m not sorry to see it go.
I also mixed up a variation on the Imitation Gold color (the photograph shows a brighter yellow-gold than the Paint Shop article suggests), also using Testors acrylics:
1 Part UP Armour Yellow / 1 Part Reefer Yellow
The result: I like it. It has a rich, classy 1930’s look. For now, I’ll go with this….
FT Tidbit: EMC 103/103A did not have step-ups to the rear of the pilot, like production Model F’s, when completed in November of 1939. Sometime in February 1940, I believe, rectangular cut-outs were made on each end of the pilot of 103, often identified as step-ups, but I don’t think so. They do not look safe for that purpose. They might have had something to do with testing (in one picture there is a fine vertical wire leading up from the cut-out to the louvres above the anti-climber). I believe that only 103 had the cut-outs; 103A was unaltered (at least I have not seen a photo of 103A with them).
Here’s the weird part….
One would expect to see those cut-outs on 103 after February/March 1940, but no. Photos of 103 after this period do not show these cut-outs. However, when 103/103A was shopped prior to their sale to the Southern Railway, SOU 6100A (nee first section of EMC 103) had the two pilot cut-outs! There are two pictures of her as 6100A in The Revolutionary Diesel:EMC’s FT (Diesel Era, 1996). I wonder if the number boards on 103 & 103A were swapped from time to time during the tour (the road numbers only appear in the number boards, not painted on the car body)?
Fortunately I am avoiding this fuss by accident. My model will be representative of tour operations in early January 1940 🙂