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Sean_M

How I hate wheels

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I am finally underway with my Spitfire Va 1/48 Scale. My wheels are a mess. I have resoted to hand painting them with a fine paintbrush. I go over the silver rims onto the tyres and then when I try an touch up the tyres I get black paint on the rims.

Has anyone got a clever trick to this? It's the on bit of detail that is going to spoil what is starting to be a very good model.

Why are some wheels flattened. i.e thier bottom upon which the aircraft rests have been flattened. I note in picture of real aircraft that this does not seem to be the case. I do WII aircraft. I would understand some allowance for compression but at this scale. We Spit and Hurri tyres not solid, anyway?

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The most popular trick is to run thinned black (or black ink) around the rim. It whips round by capillary action, provided there's a deep enough ding round the rim, and you can then paint up to the edge of that area.

As for flats: many people make them because an aircraft sitting on perfectly round wheels has a strange tippy-toed appearance. It's a bit like the letter O in typography - an optical illusion makes it seems as though it's not in contact with the ground. Filing a small flat area gives an impression of weight. Aircraft that are designed for use on grass fields tend to have lower tyre pressures than those designed for use on surfaced runways, which in turn are lower than the pressures used for high-rate descent onto carrier decks. Flats need to be filed accordingly, taking account also of the aircraft's weight.

Some manufacturers, and a lot of after-market people, offer noticeably flattened wheels. These have the advantage of showing a bulge to the sidewall, which is an inevitable consequence of the tread flattening and will even show up on your car. Mere filing can't reproduce this effect. Some people have been known to add bulges with putty. A fair few of these pre-flattened wheels are far too flattened and are, in tyre terms, flat - they desperately need pumping up.

I could be wrong but I'm fairly sure that pretty much all WW2 aircraft would have had tyres with inner tubes. Solid ones wouldn't have survived at the weights and speeds in question.

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A further refinement. Instead of touching the paintbrush to the wheel, hold the brush steady and bring the wheel to the brush:

Mount the painted hub on a cocktail stick or similar. Just jam it on, no adhesive needed.

Load your paint brush with the tire colour. Brace your hand against your work bench to hold the brush steady.

Bring the wheel up to the brush, twirling it slowly between your fingers on the stick axle.

The axle is also the perfect drying rack.

No muss, no fuss, no technology needed.

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A useful tip that I use is paint the hub with acrylic and the tyre with enamel or vice-versa, this allows you to remove any mistakes with a cotton bud dipped in the appropriate thinner without maring the paint already on the wheel.

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The spitfire wheels have larger tyres than rims. I have both the silver and black in enamel so I now nee to fix this

On this particular kit the wheel is split in 2 so no toothpick idea....

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You can put a stout needle in a pin-vise, Sir, and use this to scribe a line where the rim and tire meets (there is usually something in the piece to guide you at this). The scored line will greatly assist the capillary action.

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Another method is to spray the whole wheel black, and then get yourself a generic template with various circle sizes. Find the one that fits and use this as a mask and spray the hubs the appropriate colour.

regards,

Jack

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Another method is to spray the whole wheel black, and then get yourself a generic template with various circle sizes. Find the one that fits and use this as a mask and spray the hubs the appropriate colour.

regards,

Jack

Jack,

I have recently posted a request for generic templates of various sizes to assist this particular job. Since you also mention the same thing, do you know where we might get some such?

Cheers

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Jack,

I have recently posted a request for generic templates of various sizes to assist this particular job. Since you also mention the same thing, do you know where we might get some such?

Cheers

I got mine from WHSmith, only cost about 2 quid. One of the best investments in tools ever!

Mark.

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The most popular trick is to run thinned black (or black ink) around the rim. It whips round by capillary action, provided there's a deep enough ding round the rim, and you can then paint up to the edge of that area.

This is the same basic technique that I use although I use the tyre colour paint that I will be using thinned with appropriate thinners.

Firstly I paint the hub a steel colour (I use Humbrol enamels usually), then I'll paint the tyre not quite up to the separation between the hub and the tyre, and then I load the brush with a little paint, swosh it around in thinners and then use the capillary action to pull the paint right up next to the hub.

Also, talking tyres, please know that WWII tyres were most often not pure black, rather they were often a medium to dark grey. WWI tyres tended to be even lighter. This had to do with the manufacture of rubber in the early to mid 20th century. Have a look at contemporary photos of aircraft tyres and you'll hopefully see what I mean.

Cheers,

Tim

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As well as some of the techniques mentioned, I use a metal template made by Royal Model - Here is a link to someone using one of these:

http://www.rlm.at/cont/thema08_e.htm

The advantage of this template is that it is metal so can be cleaned using solvents without damage like the plastic templates at stationary shops. I use it as described but also use them to cut tape masks so I can take time with alignment.

Cheers

Michael

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I usually cut discs out of Tamiya masking tape using a set of sharpened hole punches on my cutting mat and airbrush. I feel its usually best to paint the tyre colour first then spray the hub, if there is any overspray of the hub colour onto the tyre this at least minics reality where the tyre often gets a bit of overspray. Might want to rethink the order if the hub colour is very pale...

Circular masking discs and holes have lots of other applications as well as wheels.

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A method I have used in the past is to first spray the wheel hub and then mask using either a precut mask (Eduard) or from the above mentioned templates using Tamiya tape.

If the rim is really well represented then score round with a cocktail stick and cut out with a new knife blade.

The spary the tyre colour to finish

Rick

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Looks like the Airfix Swordfish on floats is the kit for you!

Selwyn

(sorry I will get my coat!)

Edited by Selwyn

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Spray the hubs, mask with Blu Tac, spray the tyres job done! For tyres I use either Gunze tyre black or Tamiya rubber black.

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The stencil has given me an idea. I have an electric drill and an assorment of bit sizes. It may be worth making my own. Thanks for the comment on the tyre colour

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Looks like the Airfix Swordfish on floats is the kit for you!

Selwyn

(sorry I will get my coat!)

ha ha. I think we all have a sense of humour. I was never any good at bi-planes. The top wings always fell off. But that us another topic for another day

:goodjob:

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An alternative method ;

1. Assemble wheel, flatten tyre as necessary, mount wheel on cocktail stick

2. Spray wheel flat black. Allow to dry.

3. Dry brush hub with suitable metallic paint, leaving black in the detaIl recesses and the tyre/hub junction.

4. Using a dark grey, paint tyre by brush, rotating cocktail stick. Paint up to black paint surrounding hub.

5. Drybrush tread with lighter grey/brown mix.

6. Admire handiwork.

Ian

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. The top wings always fell off. But that us another topic for another day

:goodjob:quote]

This happened on real biplanes as well.

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i've used blutack or plastercine get it 'round shaped,a bit smaller than you need and push on gently and evenly the 'tack will spread and fill the required area.get it wrong? just repeat the process.

btw. tyres arent really matt black,new ones have a sheen.older ones have less of a sheen,old rubber is matt like museum pieces have,or drenched in fuel,,that'll do it!have a look at your car tyres.also the contact/tread area is a different shade to the walls.

flat spots makes the plane look "normal" on the "ground"

solid rubber is way to heavy and dont have much in the shock absorbing stakes,balancing problems,how the tyre fits the wheel,air(nitrogen) pressure keeps the tyre bead against wheel,you dont want hit the brakes and the tyre still goes around a static wheel and temperature changes cause another bunch of problems

Edited by bzn20

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I've tried many methods, but my wheel painting technique has been refined a bit to what I do today.

My first step is while the wheel parts are still on the sprue, I airbrush the hubs the appropriate color. I tend to do this as I find that airbrushing speeds time on things and it certainly helps if the wheels are the same color as the gear bays. I usually also do the interior color on the inside parts at this time as well as it takes maybe five or ten minutes to do versus hand painting an interior for several minutes, waiting for it to dry and then having to touch up accordingly.

Sometimes I do the struts at the same time as well, but that depends on if I need to assemble them and maybe take care of seams or plastic ridges, so it is a judgement call as to if I want to load them with color at the same time or not. Airbrushing the rims while they are on the trees makes them less likely to get lost during painting and if you do it early in the construction, chances are it will be a few days before you get back to them. So the paint will be nice and cured and less likely to soften under the next step.

When it comes time to paint on the black, my first step is to put on a thinned down black wash on the wheel recesses (the tyre bead and perhaps some indentations in the wheel). An enamel wash is pretty easy to do as I just take my brush, dip it in some black paint, then dip the brush once or twice into the thinner bottle (don't shake the brush in the thinner as you want to thin the paint, not clean the brush). Then I test the wash over a paper towel or something else to see if it is the consistency I want. If it is, I touch the brush to the recess and capillary action does the rest as you end up usually with a nice fine black line at the rim bead. It can be done with acrylic paint as well, but you have to add a drop of dish soap to your wash water to break the surface tension, otherwise the wash beads up like droplets on a freshly waxed car and doesn't flow into the crevaces. Tamiya smoke tint works well for this.

The tricky bit one has to worry about doing an enamel wash over enamel paint is if the base coat is a metallic, sometimes it can still get softened even after a few days of curing. A flat basecoat can also sometimes cause the wash to spiderweb if it is too dark (glosses keep the wash nice and precise), but usually I've found enamel works very well for tiny pinpoint brush application. So you really only need to touch a couple small places on the tyre to get things to work rather than having to use a big brush over the whole wheel (acrylics seem to like wider area coverage). It just takes practice to do, but it is pretty easy to accomplish.

Once the wash is dry, then it becomes easier to paint the rest of the tyre as you only need to go up to the black line, not the rim. I still tend to paint the black on while the wheel is still on the sprue, since it is easier to handle. Once the paint is nice and cured, pop the wheel off, clean up the sprue nubs (or glue seam if it is a two piece tyre) and touch up with paint accordingly. Since the sprue attach points are far away from the rim, touchups are pretty easy to accomplish. You can even glue the wheels on to the undercarriage struts before the touchups if you want something that is easier to grasp than a tiny tyre.

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...

Why are some wheels flattened. i.e thier bottom upon which the aircraft rests have been flattened. I note in picture of real aircraft that this does not seem to be the case. I do WII aircraft. I would understand some allowance for compression but at this scale. We Spit and Hurri tyres not solid, anyway?

I remember years ago having read an interview somewhere with a former mechanic who worked with Spitfires during the war. His comment was: They had high-pressured tires, so no flattening.

Besides, do you paint your tires black?

NPLemche

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