So you know what the PRR called the color of paint you want to apply to your model, your shed in the back yard, etc., but how do you go about selecting an available paint?

Color Models

First, you should have a brief understanding of colors. Different media have different models for describing how they depict colors. Here are just a few of them:

RGB - RGB is the system most people are familiar with. It's used for video and is described by expressing percentages of Red, Green, and Blue.

CMYK - This is the system used for the printing process. Colors are expressed as percentages of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and bLack. The colors are overprinted in very small dots at different angles. If you view a resulting print under magnification, the dots are visible. Some modelers print their own decals, but the dots can become very visible in digital photography!

Pantone Matching System - Often called "PMS", this is also a standard for the printing process. It uses solid colors that were arrived at by mixing individual inks. 

Munsell - Munsell is a standard used in the traditional paint industry.

Pennsy Colors

The PRRT&HS Paint Committee labored long and hard under the capable leadership of Carl Izzo to produce some 20 paint determinations using the Munsell model. These are available as loaner color cards if desired by manufactures. No warrantee is made or implied that these colors are exact, or that viewers will think that they are correct. In fact, a number of these colors may appear very different from those expected, however they are based on the best possible match and intensive research. Colors also appear very different under different light sources and thus, while we made every effort to work with a variety of light sources (sun, incandescent, fluorescent) these colors may differ under your specific lighting conditions.

We, as users, owe a great debt of gratitude to the efforts of the Paint Committee.

Pennsy Paints for Modeling

The following table shows colors picked by reputable PRR model builders.

To the right, the Munsell numbers that have been determined by the PRRT&HS Paint Committee have been provided.

Note: Polly Scale was a brand in the Floquil line which was owned by Testors. It is no longer available. Microscale offers a paint conversion chart to replace Polly Scale colors. If using substitutes, it is recommended that you make a test swatch before proceeding on your models.

PRR Color NameDrift CardModel ColorSuggested ByMunsell Number
Locomotives
Black   Floquil Polly Scale (discontinued): Steam Locomotive Black OR Model Master Aircraft Interior Black. (I use the MM paint exclusively for black now) - both are not quite jet black and therefore allow details to show through. Bruce Smith  
Dark Green Locomotive Enamel
(a.k.a. DGLE, Brunswick Green)
47-2247 and 47-2626
October 1952
Testors Enamels: to a new bottle of Black, add 1 bee bee and Brunswick Green paint to the top, mix well. Greg Martin 2.07GY 1.77/0.13
Floquil Polly Scale (discontinued): DGLE is okay, but a represents an oxidized, weathered color. Add steam locomotive black for a newer look. Bruce Smith
Tuscan Red
1930's
      9.21R 3.58/7.89
Tuscan Red
1940's (aka "Light Tuscan")
  Floquil Polly Scale (discontinued): 1:1.5 or 1:2 mix of Zinc Chromate and Boxcar Red Bruce Smith 8.29R 3.58/3.90

Tuscan Red Passenger Car Enamel
1950's (aka "Medium Tuscan")
Pullman Light Tuscan (post WWII)

47-2424 and 47-3258
70-18
October 1952
Floquil Polly Scale (discontinued): Boxcar Red Bruce Smith,
Greg Martin
5.46R 3.50/2.82
Modelflex Pennsy Maroon Douglas Nelson

Tuscan Red
1960's (aka "Dark Tuscan")

      7.77R 2.57/2.42
Synthetic Buff Lettering Color Enamel (Lettering) 47-3294
January 1954
    1.56Y 7.24/5.68
Smokebox Paint   Floquil Polly Scale (discontinued): Aluminum and Black. Start at 1:1 but increase black to get darker look. Bruce Smith  
Toluidine Red Enamel
(Keystones, Letterboards)
47-2627
September 1953
Floquil Polly Scale (discontinued): Caboose Red with several drops of black added. Bruce Smith 7.35R 3.25/10.1
Freight Rolling Stock
Freight Car Color
1930's
  1 part Floquil Polly Scale (discontinued) Zinc Chromate Primer to 1 part SAL Orange Bob Johnson
PRRT&HS Paint Committee
0.60YR 3.43/8.57
  4 parts Scalecoat Illinois Central Orange to 1 part Oxide Red Bruce Smith
PRRT&HS Paint Committee
Freight Car Color
1940's
  2 parts Floquil Polly Scale (discontinued) Zinc Chromate Primer to 1 part SAL Orange Bob Johnson
PRRT&HS Paint Committee
9.85R 3.35/7.36
  1 part Floquil Polly Scale (discontinued) Special Ixide Red to 1 part Zinc Chromate Primer Bruce Smith "Pre-War FCC"
PRRT&HS Paint Committee
Freight Car Color
1950's
  Floquil Polly Scale (discontinued) Zinc Chromate Primer Bob Johnson
PRRT&HS Paint Committee
also: Greg Martin
8.70R 3.03/5.89
  Modelflex Light Tuscan Oxide Red Elden Gatewood
PRRT&HS Paint Committee
also: Douglas Nelson
Freight Car Color
1960's
  Floquil Polly Scale (discontinued) Special Oxide Red Bob Johnson
PRRT&HS Paint Committee

7.49R 2.84/4.76

  
  2 parts Modelflex Light Tuscan Oxide Red to 1 part Modelflex Dark Tuscan Oxide Red Elden Gatewood
PRRT&HS Paint Committee
also: Douglas Nelson

Covered Hopper Grey

     

1.91BG 6.27/0.45

Passenger Rolling Stock
Tuscan Red See Locomotives
Pullman Imitation Gold Enamel (Lettering) 600-9      
Synthetic Buff Lettering Color Enamel (Lettering) See Locomotives
Toluidine Red Enamel
(Keystones, Letterboards)
See Locomotives
Metallic Brown (Roof)        
Dark Orange (Sash)       5.67R 2.84/6.59
Olive Green (Trucks and Underbody)        

8.62Y 3.67/0.93

Maroon
Pullman Dark Tuscan (Window Band)
47-2249
70-19
     

7.77R 2.57/2.42 (the same as 1960s Tuscan)

Pullman Green (Standard Body Color) 70-10      
Pullman Dark Gray (Used on VALLEY cars, Santa Fe, transcontinental cars, some UP, Pool cars, conventional SAL cars.) 70-14      
Pullman Light Gray (Used on VALLEY cars, Santa Fe, transcontinental cars, some UP, Pool cars, conventional SAL cars.) 70-15      
Pullman Light Gray (Used on PRR/Santa Fe & PRR/CNW/UP/SP transcontinental cars, SP "Lark") 70-70      
Pullman Dark Gray (Used on PRR/Santa Fe & PRR/CNW/UP/SP transcontinental cars, SP "Lark") 70-71      
Pullman Light Gray (Used on NYC and all two-tone gray cars except SP.) 70-73      
Pullman Dark Gray (Used on NYC and all two-tone gray cars except SP.) 70-74      
Pullman Harbor Mist Gray (Roofs and Skirts -- All UP, MILW and SP streamliners.) 70-11      
Pullman Armour Yellow (Body -- All UP, MILW and SP streamliners.) 70-12      
Pullman Red (Lettering and Striping -- all UP, MILW and SP streamliners.) 600-1      
Pullman Eagle Blue (Missouri Pacific Lines Body, Striping.) 70-23 Modelflex Mo Pac Eagle Blue Missouri Pacific Historical Society (via Jerry Britton)  
Pullman Eagle Gray, Light (Missouri Pacific Lines Window Band.) 70-24 Modelflex Mo Pac Eagle Gray Missouri Pacific Historical Society (via Jerry Britton)  
Pullman Eagle Yellow (Missouri Pacific Lines Striping.) 70-25      
Pullman Eagle Gray, Dark (Missouri Pacific Lines Roof.) 70-37 Modelflex Mo Pac Eagle Roof Gray Missouri Pacific Historical Society (via Jerry Britton)  
Pullman Aluminum (PRR lightweight cars, operaing on "Texas Special," RI/SP "Golden State".) 70-59      
Pullman Red (Upper portion of "Texas Special" and "Meteor," MKT-FRISCO, also PRR lightweight cars in this service.) 70-60      
Pullman Red (Lower portion of "Texas Special" and "Meteor," MKT-FRISCO, also PRR lightweight cars in this service.) 70-61      
Royal Purple (Used on ACL body and/or letterboards & numberboards.) 70-89      
MoW Equipment
Camp Car Yellow Paint 47-3153
September 1953
UP Armour Yellow Al Westerfield   

2.15Y 7.00/12.3

Testors Model Master Chrome Yellow with a bit of White in it to tone it down Gary Mittner
MoW Grey (aka "Battleship Grey")   Floquil Polly Scale (discontinued): D&H Grey. Bruce Smith   

2.71PB 4.79/1.61

Floquil: SP Lettering Grey John Frantz
Structures
Buff Building Paint 47-2369
June 1954
     
Light Gray Building Paint 47-2362
August 1955
     
Medium Gray Building Paint 47-2365
June 1954
     
Indian Red Sash Color (pre 1954)      

5.67R 2.84/6.59

Maroon Building Sash Color (1950 on) 47-2359
January 1955
   

5.20R 2.23/7.04

 
Dark Building Paint
Priming, Intermediate and Finishing Coats
47-2319 and 47-2325
October 1954
Floquil: 5 parts Roof Brown; 1 part Reefer White Paul Backenstose   

8.06YR 3.05/1.84

Floquil Polly Scale (discontinued): Roof Brown Bruce Smith
Light Building Paint
Priming, Intermediate and Finishing Coats
47-2321 and 47-2323
October 1954
Floquil: 8 parts Reefer White; 2 parts Roof Brown; 1 part Depot Buff Paul Backenstose

1.21Y 6.10/1.82

  
Floquil Polly Scale (discontinued): Aged Concrete Bruce Smith
Permanent Red Enamel
(Marine Equipment Only)
47-2506
January 1955
     
Brick   Floquil Polly Scale (discontinued): Boxcar Red Bruce Smith  
Mortar   Robert's Brick Mortar Formula
Coldspring Carbody Co., Milwaukee, WI
Bruce Smith