“How to you paint your wheels?” That’s a frequent modeling question. I see it posted on internet forums and hear it at events. Many techniques and tools have been suggested in the model press, on YouTube, and in discussion forums. Here’s what I do.
I keep the process simple.
I paint all the wheelsets in a 12-pack at the same time so they are ready to use. The very first step doesn’t involve paint. I wash the wheelsets using Dawn dish detergent and a toothbrush. There’s cutting oil from the manufacturing process on the wheelsets. Cleaning the wheelsets is key for the paint to adhere to the surfaces.
I still have some Polly-S railroad tie brown. I use a micro brush to apply it to the outer wheel faces first. The small brush makes it easy to keep the paint on the face of the wheel and not on the wheel tread. That coat dries by the time all the wheel faces are painted. The same brush is used to apply paint to the axle and the backs of the wheels.
I keep plastic lids from yogurt containers to use at the workbench. The image above shows all the wheelsets painted and drying.
Next up, I add another color with PanPastels. I use a fresh micro brush to apply neutral grey extra dark (820.1) to the wheel faces. It’s easy to hold a few wheelsets at a time and swirl the PanPastel color around the dished wheelface.
The final result has a grimy appearance ready to install in freight trucks for the next freight car coming off the work bench. This is a simple improvement for ready to run freight cars, too.
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