BIG BOY 4014 . Color references?

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I've got a Big Boy model from Rivarossi that I would like to refurbish. Well, in fact I NEED to refurbish it, from electronics to painting. And here is where I've got the issue. I would like to model the "new" Big Boy #4014. Could you give me any clue on the grey tones used in this engine? Is there any color reference related to Humbrol, or Vallejo, or whatever? Thanks in advance.

Kind Regards,

Juan Antonio


Loveably weird
Don't use solid black. Use some Testors Model Master Engine Black. That's what I used on my 0-6-0 #4439.

Solid black is not a good color for a steam engine, IMHO. The firebox and smokebox should be graphite-silver.
The 4014 smoke box is sort of silver grey and can darken with use. In looking at the photos of the 4014, I would experiment with airbrushing a silver base coat on the smoke box, then lightly airbrushing grimy black thinly over the top of that. Airbrushing the grimy black should be done very slowly and lightly from a bit of a distance.

You should look at some photos on the internet as a guide, and you should test the technique on something other than the engine to get the technique and feel for the result you want. The prototype appears to have blackened a bit with usage from the smoke. Not surprising.

There may be a better choice for a base coat than silver, especially in Vallejo which has a pretty huge pallet choice available.

Be aware, these are not things I have done, just things that come to mind that I'd try if it were my project. I'd prefer using a double action airbrush so I could ease the grimy black on and keep it even.
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Thanks a lot for your answers.

The Great Divide, I wish it was as simple as that, believe me... :)
Yes, may be it looks black at first sight but I know it is not solid black as flyboy2610 has pointed out. And as you all have suggested I will do some tests with graphite-grey for the smokebox and firebox.
Deanej, I will do some tests using silver base coat and I will also test some grays from the "Metal Color" range from Vallejo.
I am waiting to receive a special issue from Kalmbach on the restoration of #4014...
As soon as I get a decent model done I will post pictures here.

Thanks a lot for your help, friends.

Kind Regards,

Juan Antonio


Stuck in the 1930's
I use Testors "Steel" color with 2-3 drops of flat black in it as smokebox color. As newly repainted 4014 is gloss black. You can tone it down with a little clear flat. AFTER you put decals in place. The BB now has dual steam turbogenerators.
Thanks for your answers too, Y3a and deanej. I think that Vallejo could have a very similar color to graphite for the smokebox. I have to check that.


Well-Known Member
There are several possibilities for Smokebox Gray. It depends on what you're shooting, solvent based or acrylic. For solvent based I use Scalecoat, and their smokebox gray (non metallic) is very good:

There is also a metallic version:
GS-5 1.JPG

Or this color which is four parts of their "Graphite & Oil" and one part Engine Black:

I think the first one is closest to what you want. My $.02 is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to