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Armor/AFV: Modern - USA
Modern Armor, AFVs, and Support vehicles.
Hosted by Darren Baker
Vinyl Tracks
B2Blain
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United States
Joined: February 26, 2008
KitMaker: 86 posts
Armorama: 86 posts
Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 11:48 AM UTC
I haven't built a kit with vinyl tracks since I was a kid. Why don't people like them? Difficult to paint? Or is the issue realism?

Thanks!
Das_Abteilung
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United Kingdom
Joined: August 31, 2010
KitMaker: 365 posts
Armorama: 351 posts
Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 12:03 PM UTC
Both. And difficulty hiding the joins.

They're made of a material designed for paint not to adhere. Bending them into place starts the process of the paint separating from the plastic.

There will be moulding lines which cannot be removed as the material cannot be sanded, filed or scraped. Rubber pads cannot be properly roughed up.

They generally do not sit right around idlers and sprockets and are almost impossible to get to sag properly. They may put too much stress on idler and sprocket mounts.

The Dragon DS material was supposed to be the answer, but over time it seems to be failing: disintegrating. Dragon are now switching back to hard plastic link and length tracks.
B2Blain
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United States
Joined: February 26, 2008
KitMaker: 86 posts
Armorama: 86 posts
Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 12:32 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Both. And difficulty hiding the joins.

They're made of a material designed for paint not to adhere. Bending them into place starts the process of the paint separating from the plastic.

There will be moulding lines which cannot be removed as the material cannot be sanded, filed or scraped. Rubber pads cannot be properly roughed up.

They generally do not sit right around idlers and sprockets and are almost impossible to get to sag properly. They may put too much stress on idler and sprocket mounts.

The Dragon DS material was supposed to be the answer, but over time it seems to be failing: disintegrating. Dragon are now switching back to hard plastic link and length tracks.



Thanks! That makes sense. Is there a primer you could use on the tracks that stick better?
KoSprueOne
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Myanmar
Joined: March 05, 2004
KitMaker: 3,757 posts
Armorama: 1,382 posts
Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 01:30 PM UTC
"Why don't people like them? Difficult to paint? Or is the issue realism?"

What kit are you planning on building with the vinyl tracks or are you asking as a general question? Depending on the kit subject as well as the mfr, they could look fine and straight forward to paint and to use those tracks.

My method of painting these is as follows:

1) clean them in denatured alcohol. I have a can of "dirty" that I just dip them into and agitate the can. Then rinse with water.

2) Prime with aerosol Plastic Adhesion Promoter (plastic primer) or with aerosol automotive acrylic lacquer primer. Both are made by PlastiKote.

3) Base coat color aerosol enamel or acrylic lacquer flat black or flat dark gray, or flat dark brown.

4) Then use hobby brands alcohol acrylics to weather to the needs of the subject.

I don't have and flaking problems working them around the wheels. I also don't try and practice making Sheepshanks and Halyard Bends with them either






165thspc
#0
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Kentucky, United States
Joined: April 13, 2011
KitMaker: 8,300 posts
Armorama: 7,734 posts
Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 06:04 PM UTC
My experience is similar to Ko's. (I hope you don't mind me calling you that.)

I'm sure the paint flakes off the vinyl tracks occasionally but they never have for me. I always paint them with oil based paints usually giving them a sprayed on base coat and then going back with brushed on dirt, rust and silver (bare metal) where appropriate.

I always make sure the track union is disguised either above the drive sprocket or the idler wheel and hidden by the fenders.

Finally, whereas I have no problem using vinyl tracks to represent US "live" track, I never use vinyl to represent Axis "dead" track that should have obvious slack and sag to it. For this I mostly use the individual link plastic track. I like the weight of the metal tracks but the high cost is just not in my budget. Also I refuse to do all that drilling to pin them together.

With the individual link tracks I will base coat in a variety of colors: black, brown, sand, burnt metal & rust then cut them off the sprue and mix up the different color links in a big pile and apply them randomly. Later I add more rust, dirt, burnt metal & silver to blend them together.

That was more information than was actually asked for, I hope no one minds.
KurtLaughlin
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Pennsylvania, United States
Joined: January 18, 2003
KitMaker: 2,091 posts
Armorama: 2,066 posts
Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 05:23 AM UTC
I have gotten paint to stick to vinyl tracks but the preparation takes an inordinate amount of effort compared to other options.

Even the best detailed tracks don't look right to me because of the transverse bending where they go over the sprockets and idlers. Real tracks do go convex/concave when turning around a wheel.

KL
BravoTwoZero
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California, United States
Joined: June 11, 2009
KitMaker: 341 posts
Armorama: 250 posts
Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 05:31 AM UTC
I have built only a few tanks, a lot of which has those individual track links. Now, I am building the Dragon M60A2 Starship which came with the DS track. This will be my first foray into this kind of track. I have seen a clip from Mission Models about how their primer works well with vinyl materials. I am giving it a go. I will probably use CA to glue the ends. We'll see.
B2Blain
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United States
Joined: February 26, 2008
KitMaker: 86 posts
Armorama: 86 posts
Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 06:59 AM UTC
Thanks everyone! Very informative. I am mainly thinking about Abrams and Bradleys. Most of the track is hidden under the skirt so I don't think the slack thing is an issue.
165thspc
#0
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Kentucky, United States
Joined: April 13, 2011
KitMaker: 8,300 posts
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Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 07:16 AM UTC
I was rather impressed with the engineering of the Dragon King Tiger kit (#6189) I am building right now. The rear idler wheel actually has a workable slack adjuster. You can therefore build the track and are still able to adjust the amount of slack you might want or need.

The photo also shows the variations of colors achieved in the track links using several different base coat colors.