Painting and Lettering
Santa Fe's trademark warbonnet paint scheme first appeared in
June 1937 on E1 locomotive set 2 and 2A. For over thrity years the
red and yellow warbonnet changed very little.
The warbonnets worn by passenger FT locomotives and the F3's were
products of EMD's styling designers and the Santa Fe's passenger
and advertising departments. Both the eleven FT locomotive sets
used in passenger service and the first six (16-21) E3's utilized
a warbonnet scheme that was adapted from the E-units then in service.
This "long" warbonnet was deemed out of proportion to the fifty-foot
long locomotives and the shorter version was made standard with
delivery of the next batch of F3's in 1948.
Since there were no stainless steel panels on the FT's liberal
use of Dupont Dulux Aluminum paint was required to turn the freight
paint job into the image of a streamliner.
All of the passenger FT's had vertical yellow nose stripe with
a thin black stripe separating it from the red background. There
were two thin black stripes down the center of the stripe starting
just below the cab windows and stopping at the top of the headlight
housing. They began again for a few inches just below the large
cigar band nose herald. Microsale's set 87-101 has parts to make
a correct decal of this design. The nose number boards on the FT's
had a yellow background with reflective numbers. "Santa Fe" appeared
in five-inch letters on the cab units centered under the right end
sand filler hatch, just below the junction of the first and second
side panels. Booster units were sparsely lettered with only the
number at the end. One photograph has surfaced of a booster receiving
the indian head medallion (168A) and this photo was made in 1951.
The F3's paint styling is reflected on the styling diagram for
the first units. The yellow nose stripe did not have a black stripe
separating it from the red background. Only one early photograph
of number 20 (made in 1947 prior to loosing its "chicken wire" and
middle port hole) shows a black stripe and it does not appear on
the same engine in a 1954 shot.
The 6-foot long indian head medallion was applied to all passenger
booster units. It was painted on the side panels rather than applied
as a badge like its brethren on the PA's and the E1's. Note the
interesting colors called for on the styling diagram. No decal set
currently available reflects these colors accurately. The medallion
was relocated to 10" left of the center line in March 1954 when
the five - inch "Santa Fe" letters were added to the booster units.
A survey of Santa Fe modelers revealed little agreement in the
proper model paint to match the Santa Fe Red warbonnet. The most
often claimed color was Scalecoat Santa Fe Red. Other choices included
Floquil's Santa Fe Red and Caboose Red also received several nominations.
The "proper" color for yellow would be Dupont's Duco Chrome Yellow.
This color remains the one constant on all styling diagrams donated
to the SFMO by EMD (from the E-units to the FP-45). Most modelers
suggest Reefer Yellow from Floquil or Scalecoat. A relatively new
paint from SMP Industries is under evaluation and a report will
be forthcoming in a future issue.
As previously mentioned, accurate color depends to a great extent
on the color of the light under which the model is intended to be
viewed and the personal preferences of the model builder.
Another area of decorating interest is the simulation of stainless
steel side panels. Testors Metalizer Stainless finish materials
were suggested for the stainless steel and everything from Floquil
Old Silver to Amtrak Platinum Mist was suggested for the prototype
imitation stainless steel for the roof and side panels.
The Highliner B-unit kit is available in either plated or un-plated
versions thereby eliminating the problem-at least on boosters. One
enterprising Dallas modeler even nickle plates his brass units before
The black, red and yellow striping extended around the side about
five inches on the end (like the freight units). In the latter days,
parts of this striping was applied to the units with a pressure-
sensitive decal rather than a spray gun!
Generally speaking, the Santa Fe was very careful about housekeeping
when it came to the locomotives pulling its prized varnish. Stories
abound about men coming out to swab aluminum paint on trucks and
pilots at terminals when the Super Chief stopped in route. Locomotive
washers were active all along the line and, when the Chief was still
chief, there was very little "weathering" of the warbonnet. Toward
the end, however, it was another matter.
Jay Miller, Charlie Slater, Andy Sperandeo, Steve Dunham, Lee
Berglund, Frank Goodwin, John McCall, Steve Priest and Steve Boswell
contributed with their suggestions. Much appreciation is also due
to Floquil Poly-S Corporation, SMP industries, Microscale Decals
and Bobbye Hall"s Hobby House for their assistance.