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Painting aircraft wheels and tires

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  • Member since
    April, 2019
Painting aircraft wheels and tires
Posted by BillG56 on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 2:00 AM

Another newbie question.  I've noticed in so many of the posted photos here on FSM just how perfectly painted everyone's aircraft wheels and tires are.  When I was building 1/72 armor some years back, painting the track wheels was a major problem area for me.  Please let me know what your secrets are.  I'd be eternally grateful.

Bill

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 2:43 AM

A lot of us use pre cut masks for aircraft canopies and many of those come with wheels masks as well. If so thats what i use. If not, i just hand brush the tires after painting the hub.

''I am a Norfolk man and i glory in being so''

On the bench: ICM 1/35th Sd.Kfz 251/1 Ausf A

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 3:00 AM

Ya, what Bish said.  I dabble in 1/144 aircraft which compounds the issue.  Without masks, a steady hand and an optivisor helps.  Though I'd still like to hear what other folks have to say on the subject as some of my kits look like crap regarding the undercarriage.

Thanks,

John

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 6:53 AM

keavdog

Ya, what Bish said.  I dabble in 1/144 aircraft which compounds the issue.  Without masks, a steady hand and an optivisor helps.  Though I'd still like to hear what other folks have to say on the subject as some of my kits look like crap regarding the undercarriage.

John, I've had exactly the same experience (in the same scale)!

The only tip I can offer is one which someone gave me: paint the hubs first, in whatever color or finish is required...then apply a black wash. It helps define the 'tire line' more precisely, and if you don't quite get paint all the way to that line, it hides or disguises the gap.

But as you said, the Optivisor is a must...particularly for those of us of a 'certain vintage'....Big Smile

Greg

 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 9:07 AM

I paint the hub first, and then hand-paint the tire.  I use a toothpick as an axle while painting. If the mounting hole does not go all the way through, I keep chopping the end off the toothpick until it is a press fit.

Then, I twirl the wheel while holding the paintbrush steady at the while-tire meet line.  I find that much easier than holding the wheel steady and moving the paintbrush.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 9:46 AM

This is why I love newbies, they ask great questions!  

I am currently in the same dilemma. I am building a jeep with trailer, and including the spare tire that makes 7 wheels that I need to trim out. Egads... shoot me now.

I have watched some YouTube videos on painting rims and I have not found a very easy way to do it. More than that--a way that comes out nice and clean. A small scale, a shaky hand = jagged lines. Doing a wash shows some promise but I am not entirely onboard with that yet. The video I watched had so-so results. What I'd prefer to do is us a mask and airbush. My kit is old, and it does not come with a mask, nor are there any aftermarket masks that I can find, so that leaves me to making one. I am still working that process out.

Here is a product I came across that shows some promise. I placed an order for it over the weekend. Once I get it I will report back on how it works for me.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9iAs3_oFJI

I am on a quest for better masking method.

 

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 10:55 AM

For small scale circular masks, try this.

If you have a punch set like Waldron or a Harbor Freight knock-off; put Tamiya tape or blue tape on the thinnest sheet styrene you have. Punch a bunch of circles. Peel the tape off the disks, save them for another use.

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 11:26 AM

GMorrison

For small scale circular masks, try this.

If you have a punch set like Waldron or a Harbor Freight knock-off; put Tamiya tape or blue tape on the thinnest sheet styrene you have. Punch a bunch of circles. Peel the tape off the disks, save them for another use.

 

I don't mean to hijack this thread--sorry if I am:

Hey Bill--that is a good idea. That should produce a very clean mask. The only concern I can see is if the punch does not match the diameter of the rim. It might be a hit or miss thing. In my case--I will measure the rims and see if a punch set is avail. 

Good thought.

  • Member since
    August, 2012
  • From: Parker City, IN.
Posted by Rambo on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 2:01 PM
I do all tires and road wheels the same way, paint the rubber first then use a circle template you can get from hobby lobby find the closest size circle and use that to mask the rubber while spraying the hub.

Clint

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 2:11 PM

I remember fussing about this during my first aircraft kit back from hiatus.

Some have mentioned masks, and they work just fine. I've used them. But I somehow ended up doing just what Mr Don mentioned, a round toothpick as a holding jig. Gently twist the toothpick and the tire pretty much paints itself.

Have fun!

-Greg

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 2:16 PM

Greg
Gently twist the toothpick and the tire pretty much paints itself.

And heck--you can pick your teeth afterwards too. It's a win win.

 

  • Member since
    March, 2013
Posted by patrick206 on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 4:07 PM

Boy, some really great info got flowing here. For a lot of years I've stuck to the toothpick trick, airbrush both sides of the wheels, then with a small brush, (size of wheel/tire determines size of brush,) I use very thinned paint to flow against the wheel rim surface, as I rotate the wheel. Usually there is enough of a raised ridge to stop the paint flowing onto the wheel.

I let it sit for a couple of minutes so the thinned paint can partially dry, to check for any places that need more paint. If it has good coverage, then I paint the remainder of the tires bare plastic.

I've had some luck with the little compass like circle cutter, making my own masks. I like Frisket mask material, easily found at drafting supply stores.  Then I use the circle cutter and cut the mask.

Bare Metal Foil works great, just pressed onto the wheel surface, then with a clean blade cut around the wheels rim edge. These last two ideas allow airbrushing both the wheels and tires, that makes for a nice clean finish.

Patrick

 

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 4:47 PM

Bakster

 

 
Greg
Gently twist the toothpick and the tire pretty much paints itself.

 

And heck--you can pick your teeth afterwards too. It's a win win.Yes

 

 

Absolutely!

-Greg

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 5:18 PM

patrick206

Boy, some really great info got flowing here. For a lot of years I've stuck to the toothpick trick, airbrush both sides of the wheels, then with a small brush, (size of wheel/tire determines size of brush,) I use very thinned paint to flow against the wheel rim surface, as I rotate the wheel. Usually there is enough of a raised ridge to stop the paint flowing onto the wheel.

I let it sit for a couple of minutes so the thinned paint can partially dry, to check for any places that need more paint. If it has good coverage, then I paint the remainder of the tires bare plastic.

I've had some luck with the little compass like circle cutter, making my own masks. I like Frisket mask material, easily found at drafting supply stores.  Then I use the circle cutter and cut the mask.

Bare Metal Foil works great, just pressed onto the wheel surface, then with a clean blade cut around the wheels rim edge. These last two ideas allow airbrushing both the wheels and tires, that makes for a nice clean finish.

Patrick

 

 

Hey Patrick, you just took this thread to another level. Bare Metal Foil sounds like a great idea. Does the foil leave any glue behind?

  • Member since
    February, 2016
Posted by lowfly on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 6:41 PM

I use a circle template that i got at my local art supply house. They come in various sizes and i have yet to find a wheel that will NOt fit in the circles. 

This is what i mean

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81EZr7TZWML._SX466_.jpg

Just make sure it is rigid.  Dont want it all floppy. 

 

There are alsop some great videos on Youtube about it. Check this out

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxJmiD7q2R8

  • Member since
    March, 2013
Posted by patrick206 on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 8:46 PM

Bakster

 

 
patrick206

Boy, some really great info got flowing here. For a lot of years I've stuck to the toothpick trick, airbrush both sides of the wheels, then with a small brush, (size of wheel/tire determines size of brush,) I use very thinned paint to flow against the wheel rim surface, as I rotate the wheel. Usually there is enough of a raised ridge to stop the paint flowing onto the wheel.

I let it sit for a couple of minutes so the thinned paint can partially dry, to check for any places that need more paint. If it has good coverage, then I paint the remainder of the tires bare plastic.

I've had some luck with the little compass like circle cutter, making my own masks. I like Frisket mask material, easily found at drafting supply stores.  Then I use the circle cutter and cut the mask.

Bare Metal Foil works great, just pressed onto the wheel surface, then with a clean blade cut around the wheels rim edge. These last two ideas allow airbrushing both the wheels and tires, that makes for a nice clean finish.

Patrick

 

 

 

 

Hey Patrick, you just took this thread to another level. Bare Metal Foil sounds like a great idea. Does the foil leave any glue behind?

 

 

Hi, Steve - The Bare Metal Foil has yet to leave any adhesive residue behind, and it provides a mask with enough stick to not allow airbrush spray to get underneath.  It is quick and easy to remove from the  wheel, the tip of a sharp X-acto blade lifts it right up. Hope it works for you.

Patrick

 

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 9:57 PM

patrick206
Hi, Steve - The Bare Metal Foil has yet to leave any adhesive residue behind, and it provides a mask with enough stick to not allow airbrush spray to get underneath.  It is quick and easy to remove from the  wheel, the tip of a sharp X-acto blade lifts it right up. Hope it works for you. Patrick

That sounds good Patrick. I have some in my supplies, I will give it a try.

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 9:26 AM

Hi Bill;

 I didn't read the other answers .I use two sizes of Circle Templates from an office supply place .I think you can obtain them at H.L.and HobbyTown too. T.B.

  • Member since
    April, 2019
Posted by BillG56 on Monday, June 03, 2019 12:30 PM

At lowfly and TB, I decided to go with the circle template(s).  Watching the mentioned YouTube video cinched the deal for me.  Thanks to all who replied.

Bill

  • Member since
    January, 2006
  • From: Earth
Posted by DiscoStu on Wednesday, June 05, 2019 8:42 AM

Pretty much evolved to using Eduard masks whenever I can.  Prior I used a black thin-tip Sharpie to run around the edge of the hub then painted the rest of the tire.  I also used very thin paint and let the capilary action flow around the hub. 

Still get a thrill when I check the sprues of a kit to find that the hub/tire are seperate parts.  Huge relief!

"Ahh the Luftwaffe. The Washington Generals of the History Channel" -Homer Simpson

  

 

  • Member since
    March, 2015
Posted by JohnnyK on Wednesday, June 05, 2019 3:02 PM

One more suggestion, use a mud colored wash on the tires to bring out the detail of the tread.

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Sunday, June 09, 2019 11:14 PM

Bakster

 

 
patrick206
Hi, Steve - The Bare Metal Foil has yet to leave any adhesive residue behind, and it provides a mask with enough stick to not allow airbrush spray to get underneath.  It is quick and easy to remove from the  wheel, the tip of a sharp X-acto blade lifts it right up. Hope it works for you. Patrick

 

That sounds good Patrick. I have some in my supplies, I will give it a try.

 

Say Patrick, I just finished masking 7 wheels, sprayed them, unmasked them, all in one sitting. Bare Metal Foil worked really well. It was easy and kind fun. Thanks for the tip.

 

  • Member since
    March, 2013
Posted by patrick206 on Monday, June 10, 2019 2:47 PM

Hi, Steve - Glad it worked for you, you're very welcome. I had tried something that looked promising, Glad Press and Seal, but it left behind a light adhesive residue.

It does work very well though, for such things as stuffing cockpit interiors and engine nacelles, for covering radial engines. It's a very low tack, so removing is easy with just some small tweezers, it pulls out in one easy motion.

Patrick

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Monday, June 10, 2019 4:03 PM

patrick206
I had tried something that looked promising, Glad Press and Seal, but it left behind a light adhesive residue.

Patrick--that is an interesting idea, and way to go for thinking outside of the box. I can confirm the adhesive issue because I had tried the product for its intended purpose, to cover a bowl. It left a sticky residue on the dishes, and it was a real bear to clean off. I stopped using the product after that. Maybe I had a bad batch that it was so bad.

 

Thanks again!

  • Member since
    February, 2016
Posted by lowfly on Saturday, June 15, 2019 11:44 AM

Glad to hear it worked out for you!  It really changed the game when it came to painting tires and such.  i hate masking just for that and the template works really well

 

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Saturday, June 22, 2019 7:41 PM

Bakster
Here is a product I came across that shows some promise. I placed an order for it over the weekend. Once I get it I will report back on how it works for me.

As promised, a link to my review:

http://cs.finescale.com/fsm/tools_techniques_and_reference_materials/f/23/t/182283.aspx

 

 

 

  • Member since
    November, 2018
Posted by Noah on Sunday, June 23, 2019 11:53 AM

I normally use a piece of metal used for finding drill size and a sharp knife to cut a perfect circle.  Then I use this circle to cover the hub, then i paint the rubber.  Also, sometimes I will dry brush black or dark grey to make it dirtier.  

-Noah

Noah

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Monday, June 24, 2019 9:00 AM

Where I have problems with a circle of masking tape is when the wheel is thicker at the axle area than at the rim.  The tape circle then wants to wrinkle at the edge.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Monday, June 24, 2019 9:04 AM

Don Stauffer

Where I have problems with a circle of masking tape is when the wheel is thicker at the axle area than at the rim.  The tape circle then wants to wrinkle at the edge.

A slit to the center-point will let you overlap the cut ends to make a conic section; that will usually let you make a nice clean fit.

Greg

 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Monday, June 24, 2019 9:17 AM

Don, I did experience that issue on my jeep tires using the Bare Metal Foil. I was able to cut through the wrinkle and for the most part it didn't cause too much of an issue, maybe because the foil conforms so nice. None the less, I didn't like that either. It creates the potential to slip with the knife.

BTW. i think the forums emails are not working again. There are several posts I subscribed to that I have not received messages on. I was wondering why my email was so quiet.

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