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Some were black (faded to a charcoal color) and some were dark green (faded to a dusty green or an olive drab color, depending upon the pollutants in the air). Joe Frank is the absolute authority on real and model EL's in NYC. You can Google him to see his wonderful website.
have any photos of your structure ?
Hello Carl D (and Arthur B) !!
CARL -- you - today this afternoon - sent me an email asking this same question -- and I responded today to you at our NYC Transit Modelers Group and duplicate to your private email - with the info of certain colors, and a question to you for your reply to me there. Also a link to Line by Line Brooklyn EL's with hundreds of photos to check per each line - along with their date time frames.
I picked the black color as used on some of the 1940's EL'S - as you can see from my 2 O-Scale EL model photos attached
ARTHUR --- Hi again !- THANKS for the show of support -- much appreciated ! And your colors specified are quite appropriate for that vintage-era also.
Regards both - Joe F
Hello Carl --
Thanks for the thank you - and you are welcome.
Glad Arthur B and I were of help to you with his posted suggestions on this thread - and my private email with additional info sent to you.
The Dark Green is a good choice. BUT -- don't make that green TOO dark !!
Here is a photo from my collection attached showing the 1950's color of the stub of the Culver El where it left MacDonald Ave to private R-o-W. Note the green color - and also on the left side is the IND connection steelwork from 1940-1954 until it was connected to the BMT Culver EL in 1955. Note the GREEN color on the cross spans and track girders.
An alternate photo from my collection is from from 1950 - BMT Standards on the CULVER EL in its BMT painted Green -- out near Coney Island. THAT GREEN is more the color hue Green for 1940's 1950's era BMT used on some El structures.
Try to get your green within these color hues. And Paint it using FLAT based paint, because GLOSSY paint makes the EL structure too "plastic looking", too shiny-reflective, and toy like. Look at the photos of REAL EL's, and the EL on my O-Scale layout, to see what I mean !!!
An idea: If your EL structure line on your layout is going to be long enough, and say, does a right angle to another part of the layout, why not paint that opposite end of the lines' EL structrure with an alternate color. This was found in prototype on many lines - under different paint programs !.
Regards - Joe F