Posted by: Roger | November 5, 2011

Centralia Car Shops NP Western Diner

Nearly a year after the CCS 56-seat coach came out, I got my Northern Pacific diners. For a while I thought I wasn’t going to get them at all. I took a quick photo of one at the club layout. The colors in the photo don’t look like the actual model. This photo was taken with a Nikon P7000 and the built-in flash. Someday, I may set up the studio lights and do comparison shots.

Centralia Car Shops Northern Pacific Western Diner

Centralia Car Shops Northern Pacific Western Diner


  1. I loves me that Northern Pacific and I model in N scale. In the bite-the-hand-that-feeds you department, I’m happy that Rapido, Walthers, Wheels of Time and Intermountain have all come out with NP Loewy-scheme varnish and motive power.
    Here comes the “but” (bite?):

    They obviously have different ideas on what constitutes these colors. If I had my druthers, I’d combine the Walthers dark green with Rapido’s light green for an accurate color scheme. Both Walthers and Intermountain have issued variations of a pea green for the lighter color – much too warm a cast, too intense a shade and in the case of Intermountain, too dark.

    The comment was made that Con-Cor’s cars are so, well, old. Old they may be, but in the area of color they’re bang on. Mine eyes have seen the originals in 1:1 scale on a visit to Seattle a number of years ago. It is upon this and comparing dozens of color photos in variety of lighting situations that I base my opinion. Rapido’s dark green is a bit dark for N scale, as is their light green too light for same. Ditto Wheels of Time’s light green. In the dark green department, both Intermountain and Walthers are too warm a cast. Rapido is in the ballpark, cast-wise but a scoshe too dark.

    I could lament this state of affairs, but I prefer to take action. I have acquired a large cache of Micro-Scale NP cab diesel decal sets. Thus armed, I am in the process of masking off the upper half of my Intermountain FP7’s and F7B. I purchased the set of paint chips from the Northern Pacific Historical and Modeling Society, as well some Badger Model Flex acrylic paint. The colors the NPHS provides are for the real thing in 1:1 scale, so scale lightening is necessary. If one adds scale tinting to the Loewy Light Green as seen on those chips, you get something very close to the cast and tone of Rapido’s cars. I am going to do a color mixing to match the Rapido cast of Loewy Light Green and spray on this color below the white band, then reapply the correct lettering and numbers. If this goes well, I will do likewise for Walthers, Rapido and Intermountain’s passenger and head – end cars.

    I also have a great admiration for the elusive 1947 Pine Tree scheme. Using the NP color chips, I mixed colors for the dark olive green (which is a micro- hair darker and cooler than GN Olive Green) and the cooler, slightly lighter green window band color. I applied these colors to one of Micro Trains’ heavyweight sleepers and named the car Chief Black Foot. Adding the thin yellow striping decals was a nail-biting experience, but I am very happy with the results. The car compares favorably with color photos of the originals. For detail, I added Rapido’s Easy-Peasy lighting kit and used Testor’s masking tape to create window shades. The tape’s narrow width and light gray-green color make a very believable shade. I entered this car in a modeling contest at the huge Winterfest Show (part of the even bigger Amherst Railway Society Show) in Springfield, MA in 2014. It placed second. I’m gonna do a 12-car consist of both heavyweight and lightweight cars in this scheme. The lightweight cars are undecorated Kato smooth-sides I’ve had for over 15 years. O, joy!

    In closing, Intermountain has made a brave, albeit flawed foray into issuing motive power and coaches in these colors. On the F units, the dark green is way too cool a pine color. It’s slightly warmer on the F3’s than on the F7 ‘s, but both are not olive-y enough a shade of green for the Pine Tree, a.k.a. Butter Knife scheme. Their light green bands are serviceable, albeit too intense a color.

    The Centralia Car Shops coaches done for Intermountain are way off the mark. The “light green” window band is actually darker than the olive green which itself is too light and too gray a shade. Ironically, if one looks at the color of the window band in isolation, it comes exceedingly close to the original as seen on the NP Historical Society color chips. (could use a billionth of a drop of white for scale, though)

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