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Sunday, February 7, 2021

Freight car graffiti, Part 23: Golden West cars

 This is part of my continuing series of posts about applying graffiti to freight cars for a layout set in 1996, with a basis in photography of prototype graffiti, both on freight cars and elsewhere. For background, please consult my article in the Model Railroad Hobbyist, in the “Running Extra” segment of the issue for January 2020. To most easily locate previous posts in the series, use “freight car graffiti” as the search term in the search box at right.

The present post concerns two former Southern Pacific cars, which had been sold to Greenbrier and repainted for “Golden West Service,” with reporting marks from short-line railroads such as the Ventura County Railway (VCY) or the Galveston Railroad (GVSR). The distinctive blue paint scheme, with red and yellow emblem lettering, was once very familiar in railroading. I discussed this topic in more detail in a previous post (you can see it at: ).

To begin, let me show a Golden West box car, which happens to have VCY marks. As with many of the models I have been working on, it had a very light dusting of grime when I received it.

For this car, I chose several decals and tags. On the left side, I used two graffiti, each from a Microscale set, numbers 87-1523 and 1533. Once the decal work was finished, I weathered the car with acrylic washes, as I usually do, applied a coat of flat finish, and added tags, mostly with a “Gelly Roll 08” white pen. Here is how it looked:

For the right side, I again used two Microscale decals, bu wanted them to look quite different from the other side. I chose from sets 87-1535 and 1536. Then, of course, weathered the model and added some tags.

The other Golden West car in this pair is another of the Ortner-type hoppers (I showed a previous one in an earlier post, the same one cited in the second paragraph above). You can see below that it was somewhat weathered as I received it.

For this car, as it was already weathered, I only had to apply the graffiti decals, and lightly weather those decals themselves, put on a coat of flat finish, then add tags. On the left side, the decal I added was from Microscale set 87-1533.

On the right side, I used a decal from Microscale 87-1534, light weathering, and some tags, again from the Gelly Roll white pen.

These two models, with their dark blue body paint, pose the challenge of weathering and tagging so that the results are visible, but not extreme. The white Gelly Roll pen was essential for the tagging part, and I have found these pens to work quite well after a protective coat of flat finish. I will return to freight car graffiti in future posts.

Tony Thompson

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