Looking in my book case today, I found one put out by the RTM in 1970, simply titled FLYER. While there is some history aspects of the book, I would say its more a photographic tribute to the train, with the photo's as an overall covering the classes of loco's that worked the Flier from introduction but, with a heavy focus on the 38cl that worked the train. While there are few later day colour pics the vast majority naturally are B&W.
In the main the non streamlined 38's that were painted green, show some variations to the darkness/lightness as applied to them, I discount the green engines post 50's as there were only the 2 that were green and in different shades and application, they being 13 & 30. O1 is the solitary green streamliner and again, there are some differences in the shade, post 63, 66 and later as well. There are enough pics out there to show those changes.
Dealing with the non streamliners the book states that all of them as delivered and entered service painted green to start with, some with all green body and some with black smokebox, while hard to pick in the B&W photo's there is evidence of different shades though, not a lot of differences though but enough to indicate that more than one green colour was used. In the photo's the cylinders all look to have gloss black painting of the cylinder outer covers, with twin narrow lines around the outside edges of them, making them look very boxy like, Colour? Could be a combo of the yellow= straw and red which I have seen picks of.
The streamliners. According to the book the first one to be painted green was 05 in 1946. The well photographed by the NSWGR publicity shows the Abatoirs line publicity photo along with the red & cream painted NCLE Exp colours, pre HUB set days. First off I would suggest that the cylinder covers were painted in the same shade of green as the engine and tender bodies, I say that as the shades look the same.
The differences though & perhaps this is where the return of 01 and the narrow two lots of decorative whiskers is probably gotten its plans or inspiration from, of course the RTM/Heritage NSW may well have other documentation to supplement my thinking of it. In the flier book there are 3 streamliners that are shown as green, 01, 02 & 05, of those 3 three, the only aspect of the whiskers that are common to one another is those on the top of the streamliners shroud, where they are close to each other and very much sit above the whistle line with the bottom and shortest of the 3 lines, the caveat to that is that 02 appears to have slightly thicker whiskers and a slight more gap between them and the bottom line sits in line with the top of the whistle, not much in it but is noticeable.
Coming to the primary body whiskers there is a difference here. 05 as I mentioned above has the whiskers sitting higher than those on 01 & 02, they are thinner with the top one going all the way along the boiler cab side to correspond with the 3 sided lines around the tender, that part is common to the other green streamliners. The bottom whisker sits much in line with the top of the marker lights maybe a fraction below the top of them, and the lines themselves are quite narrow as seen on 01 as it is painted now.
Going to 01 & 02 both of them have what appears to be the same colours, (quesstimation) based on they appear to have the cylinder covers painted the same as the engine & tender but no lines on them as per since the 60's. The primary other areas that are pretty much identical are the whiskers on both engines being pretty much the same, they are both thicker as well as more apart than found on 05 and as shown on it at the Abatoirs branch, in these two loco's the bottom whisker passes slightly above the bottom of the marker lights, leaving a much larger spacing than we see on 01 today. The other aspect is the whiskers are much more yellow, either chrome or a straw yellow.
I have not seen photo's of 03 & 04 in green livery but I would believe they would be like 01 & 02.
Finally, and its like throwing a cow pat at a bull, in the Flier book there are two photo's of 05 in green on the Hawkesbury river bridge, one taken likely from the old bridge and fits 05 leading 07 out onto the new bridge and the whiskers appear to be the same as taken on the Abatotirs brand, the previous page shows though shows, 05 on the down track and 02 next to it on the up line. In this photo, the whiskers seem to have changed on 05, while they are each the same thickness, there is a wider spacing of them especially with the two lower & shorter ones.
That may be more a result of the angle of the photograph when compared to others.
I guess if we had a time machine we could go back and confirm areas where there appears to be variations on a theme that really are hard to confirm, without colour photo's to make a realistic opinion on how it was.
On a slightly different path, and for the information of all, in the flier book there are some photo's in that show different combo's of engines than just the 38cl, there are some with 35 & 36cl, along with each of the 3 clases working together in different combinations, this raises a rhetorical question of when a double header in the steam area, which engine is meant/supposed to lead.
The basic rule that applied was hook to hook or auto to Auto. As the 38's in the 60's slowly all got auto's on the tenders, with 30 the last to get one, as the Hub sets had auto's at the terminal carriage, which meant that if only one of the loco's had an auto on the tender it had to attach to the train, which had the auto, leaving the 35 or Pig to lead. When some of the 35's got the Turret tenders and worked as the 2nd engine behind a pig or 38, the 35cl went on to the train, as the other rule came into being, that was the 38cl had the greater capacity air pump and therefore had to lead. Same with the 36cl as it had a larger capacity single phase pump than the 35.