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I've built two Paddington shed cranes for my 1900s goods depot, but once again the livery details have caught me out.

 

GW Way is the only reference I've been able to find, which says "Medium grey" - just about the most ambigious colour description I can imagine.  I have looked hard at the prototype photos for my models, but it is difficult to determine the shade from b/w shots, I think. I 've even looked at photos of some of the preserved cranes, but that is always risky and I am not convinced.

 

I am tempted towards something similar to the middle colour below (medium grey, see?  :locomotive:), but it would be frustrating if it later turns out they were eg much lighter, so any info or suggestions would be much appreciated.

 

post-738-0-07732400-1364586481_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

post-738-0-08683900-1364586700.jpg

Edited by Mikkel
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I would take a chance on them being painted the same colour as GW wagons, I would not have thought GW would have a separate shade of grey for cranes. The exact hue would change over time with weathering and fading.

 

SS

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Hi Mikkel

 

I've been pondering the same question for a GW yard crane for Much Murkle but I think it may be one of those unanswerable questions. The concensus appears to suggest that the colour shades of wagons varies enourmously due to paint mixes, ultra violet exposure, weathering etc and the same must apply to other items such as cranes, although with the exception of variations in paint mixes this is less likely where they are inside a goods shed.

 

I would say the middle grey swatch (or slightly lighter) is as close as you need to be to give a convincing prototypical colour.

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Nothing like your cranes Mikkel but here are a couple of steam cranes in action.Perhaps an email to Elaine Arthurs at Steam might uncover a photo from the archives which is clearer than what you've seen so far.

 

http://www.steampicturelibrary.com/saltford_c1900/print/536692.html

 

http://www.steampicturelibrary.com/dmcs_contact_us.html

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The one on the right hand end (the palest) is nearest to the colour used on yard cranes by the Western Region (which might be no guide at all for the GWR of course).

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The whole GWR modelling world will be copying what you do, Mikkel, so we're relying on you to get that shade of grey exactly right. There's no pressure.

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Thanks very much for your replies everyone, much appreciated.

 

I know it may seem a bit fussy to establish a shade of grey. But looking at how different modellers have painted their GWR cranes you get a variation right from very light grey to deep black, so I was just wondering if we could get nearer to the colour that a crane would have started out with (from which point onwards they would of course weather in different ways).

 

The light grey option would, I assume, be something like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5115605578/in/[email protected]/

 

Looking at my prototypes in black and white shots they seem a good bit darker when compared to other colours in the same pictures, but they are from inside Paddington Goods and thus there are loads of shadow effects to consider.

 

Then there is the stone option: http://www.flickr.com/photos/svr_enthusiast/3587081778/

 

- but best not open that can of worms! 

 

In my case I think I'll go for a light version of the middle colour sample above. Ie medium medium grey  :scratchhead:

 

 

The whole GWR modelling world will be copying what you do, Mikkel, so we're relying on you to get that shade of grey exactly right. There's no pressure.

 

I doubt it, Miss P :-)  BTW I did look at the photo you posted in the Goods depot ironwork thread a while back, which has light grey and black. From which we can determine with scientific accuracy that medium grey would be somewhere in between (clever, eh?! :locomotive: ).   

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I don't think I can add much other than that the 19th century crane in the Didcot transfer shed is painted in a lightish grey. Perhaps they had good reason for doing so?

 

post-6746-0-02992000-1364637069.jpg

 

However, I must thank you for finding this photo

...The light grey option would, I assume, be something like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5115605578/in/[email protected]/...

This is the first photo I've ever seen of a surviving example of the GWR 2T yard crane exactly the same as the one that was at Camerton. Perhaps now I can progress beyond my two pieces of bent brass. Incidentally, 1910 and 1930s photo show the Camerton crane to be painted in a quite dark colour.

 

Nick

Edited by buffalo
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This is the first photo I've ever seen of a surviving example of the GWR 2T yard crane exactly the same as the one that was at Camerton. Perhaps now I can progress beyond my two pieces of bent brass. Incidentally, 1910 and 1930s photo show the Camerton crane to be painted in a quite dark colour.

 

Nick

 

Thanks Nick, further browsing of books suggests that some yard cranes were light grey and some dark grey.  I cannot see any immediate pattern but maybe there is a period issue. It is much harder to tell with shed cranes.

 

In case you haven't found them here's a couple more shots of the Toddington crane from flickr:

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattbuck007/3845306592/in/[email protected]/

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4352702244/

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/clivestanley/5549934070/

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Thanks again Mikkel, I was going to look later. At least those three know it's a crane, rather than "Some kind of old fashioned GWR hook and chain lifting gear" :scratchhead:

 

Nick

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Then there is the stone option: http://www.flickr.com/photos/svr_enthusiast/3587081778/

 

- but best not open that can of worms! 

 

In my case I think I'll go for a light version of the middle colour sample above. Ie medium medium grey  https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/emoticons/default_scratch_one-s_head.gif

 

Hi Mikkel

 

I am enjoying this thread and thank you and others so much for posting all those great photos

 

Without actually opening the can of worms........can you at least expand a little on the "stone" topic and put me out of my new found misery.......with two yard cranes on Granby in stone! :O

 

Kind Regards

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Hi John, I only meant that for my part I will stick with grey, because if we go into the stone colours the options widen out even more :-)

 

For my own part I am sticking with grey partly because (i) the only reference I have for this is GW Way which says grey, and (ii) looking at photos I think I can see a difference between stone colours and crane colours, and (iii) looking at photos, my own particular prototypes seem to have the same shade as the GW vans they are next to.

 

One of the better examples of  (ii) is a photo in GW Goods Sheds Vol 2A p 18-19, which has a lamp hut right next to a heavy duty crane. The lamp hut seems fairly clearly to be light and dark stone, and if so then the crane appears a darker and different colour, which I assume would be dark grey (unless the crane was freshly painted and the hut was not!).

 

But as I see it, it is perfectly possible that some cranes were also painted in a stone colour at some point: Either because it was standard at a particular time period (the early days?), or because a station had an overall repaint at some point and that was the colour they had around.

 

So personally I don't think you should repaint your cranes if it involves any trouble, as we don't seem to know enough anyway.  

 

BTW, I did test the assumption that there was a colour difference between light and heavy duty cranes, as that would have made some sense. But the evidence was not particularly strong.

 

There does seem to be a tendency for light (rather than darker) grey from the 20s onwards, but I am not at all sure.  Also note I don't have a particularly large reference library and it would need someone to go into archival research and really study 100s of photos to establish a clear pattern, I think.

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As many paints were mixed on site there is considerable room for variation:  from memory grey was obtained by adding lamp black to white lead so a reduced amount (economising) of black would of course produce a lighter grey without any compromise to the paint's weather-proofing properties.                                                                                                                                                                                                              

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We don't know of course whether the 'Toddington light grey' is indicative of early GWR practice, but it has credibility. Notwithstanding the variations in the local mixes of white and black pigment, 'bridge grey' could also be a light tone. In the early part of the 20th century, there would also be vast quantities of whatever the Admiralty considered suitable for 'battleship grey', although the Admiralty was probably picky about the shade(s) it wanted.

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Interesting thought about the battleship grey. It might also have been in short supply!

 

It would be good to know what the Toddington crane livery is based on. I assume a crane would have been completely stripped down between repaints, so I don't supppose there would be answers buried on the crane itself.

 

I am fairly sure that some of the cranes in GWR Goods Sheds vol 2 are a darker colour than light grey - but also that some of them might well be light grey. Which supports the notion of different mixes, I suppose. 

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We don't know of course whether the 'Toddington light grey' is indicative of early GWR practice, but it has credibility. Notwithstanding the variations in the local mixes of white and black pigment, 'bridge grey' could also be a light tone. In the early part of the 20th century, there would also be vast quantities of whatever the Admiralty considered suitable for 'battleship grey', although the Admiralty was probably picky about the shade(s) it wanted.

 

Up until I left Devonport Dockyard in '94 there were variations in battleship grey, some of this was down to the next deployment, IE a ship due to operate in the Atlantic would usually be darker than one due to operate in the Med or the Gulf.

 

SS

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Interesting thought about the battleship grey. It might also have been in short supply!...

Didn't the MR buy up large quantities for repainting wagons after WW1? Was this the origin of the LMS' "smudge", or was that just leftovers from previous jobs?

 

Nick

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Hello Mikkel

 

Can I direct you two more black and white plates  in Great Western Architecture, by A Vaughan.  On page 345 there is an early drawing inside the original goods shed at Bristol.  The wooden cranes appear to stand out almost white against the wooden framework of the building.  Then on page 351 there is a black and white photograph taken inside Newbury goods shed in 1974 immediately prior to demolition.  The main columns to the shed are dark at the base and light at the top, I could imagine a variation of the chocolate and cream livery used on the old GWR coaching stock.  The internal crane is an all over dark colour similar to the bases of the columns.

 

Regards

 

Ray

Edited by Silver Sidelines
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Didn't the MR buy up large quantities for repainting wagons after WW1? Was this the origin of the LMS' "smudge", or was that just leftovers from previous jobs?

 

Nick

 

My understanding (from Essery?) was that MR/LMS 'smudge' was indeed a mixture of various leftovers rather than a distinct colour.

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In the "LMS Wagon" Essery states Smudge was made using the leftovers from each day's painting jobs. However in "An Illustrated History of Midland Wagons", he goes further to say it was a mix of residual paints and the surplus warship grey. In each case it is stated it was only used on repaired wagons and not fro new constructions.

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 Then on page 351 there is a black and white photograph taken inside Newbury goods shed in 1974 immediately prior to demolition.  The main columns to the shed are dark at the base and light at the top, I could imagine a variation of the chocolate and cream livery used on the old GWR coaching stock.  The internal crane is an all over dark colour similar to the bases of the columns.

 

Thanks Ray. Newbury shed seems to have been photographed several times over the years. I don't have the book you mention but have a couple of others where that shed features in GW days. The cranes in those photos are of the old timber-built variety. They are a darker colour than the roof timbers. Possibly dark stone - or grey? I've sometimes wondered whether the type of material (eg wood vs iron) had more of a bearing on the colours applied than we might think.

 

The MR "smudge" * is an interesting example of how our search for clearly defined rules and principles might overlook simple practical everyday measures.

 

For my own part I think I've concluded that to paint a GWR crane you have to follow the example of those who model particular locos: Ie, find a photo of the prototype from the period in question, and use that to select the right colour.

 

 

*Insert joke about MR/LMS "smudge" vs GW elegance here.

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Hello Mikkel,

 

I have been rather preoccupied with 'weather' and 'chocolate eggs'.  I have scanned a picture of the Newbury Crane.  The roof timbers are 'white' compared to the crane which appears very dark.  Maybe the crane was painted dark grey and not chocolate.  Given the rain that we have had in the UK over the last twelve months I could well envisage the 'painters' being given jobs undercover.  Repainting the timber cranes inside Goods Sheds might have been such a job.  On the other hand - why did the cranes need repainting.  It is not as if there would be any 'weather' inside the goods shed?

 

Regards

 

Ray

Edited by Silver Sidelines
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That's an interesting view of the Newbury shed, Ray. I can see the original timber cranes were still in place at that point (or a least one of them).

 

Regarding the wooden supports and roof structure: I wonder if it is BR choc and cream? Or maybe just cream with the lower parts painted dark to take the wear? I don't think it is GWR dark and light stone, because the contrast between the colours seems a bit too strong for that.

 

But the colour of the crane is the really interesting bit. As you say it is very dark. I suppose it could be dark grey, although in that case it is very dark grey. It looks almost freshly painted? If it was just prior to demolition in 74, was it being moved somewhere for preservation? I suppose not.

 

In one of the photos I have in my library of the same shed, dated "pre WW1", both the support columns and the cranes are a darkish colour throughout. I remember Nick commented on the same photo somewhere, but cannot find it just now.

 

In any case, I would hesitate to take the colour of a wooden crane - especially one that is integrated into the shed's main framework like this - as necessairly saying anything about the colour of cranes made of metal. I think there might be a difference there. 

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...In one of the photos I have in my library of the same shed, dated "pre WW1", both the support columns and the cranes are a darkish colour throughout. I remember Nick commented on the same photo somewhere, but cannot find it just now...

Edwardian Enterprise page 166? Though I have a vague memory of another print of this photo where the support column on the left is more visible.

 

Nick

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