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Greg Myers

Why aren't tires in model kits made of rubber?

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They do sell black rubber style paint... I wonder if I could spray the tires with that...

NO. That's a heavily textured product for exactly what it says...UNDERCOATING.

Image result for undercoating

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My question is why don't manufacturer's mold their tires in polystyrene?  No issues with chemical misadventures, certain to fit the wheels enclosed in the kit, no issues with incompatibility with paints.

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Styrene tires would work great, but, I am sure the kids today would not know how to paint a tire black. :rolleyes:

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Actually, all the Japanese-made model car kits I have (Tamiya, Aoshima, Fujimi, Otaki, etc.) have tires made from rubber. Satco tires were also rubber (Japanese-made). They even smell like rubber!  But just like real rubber, after about a decade of being exposed to air, the surface starts to deteriorate and it hardens a bit too.

Why are tires molded using soft materials? I suspect that has something to do with being able to demold them from the mold cavities with all the sidewall details, tread and sometimes hollow center on a single-piece tire. If they were hard plastic they would never come out of the mold.  There are companies (mostly 1:35 military vehicles) that make tires out styrene. But to get the same level of detail as the soft tires, those hard plastic tires are made up from a sandwich of several pieces. Usually each sidewall is a separate piece and then there are several rings with the tread detail stacked between the sidewalls.  And they have to be painted to look like tires.

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26 minutes ago, Brian Austin said:

They could mold them in black styrene.

 

:-P

And they would look like they are made from black styrene. They are molded usually in neutral colors (like gray or beige) because that is what military modelers prefer and they are on the same tree as other parts.  But even if molded in black , they would still need to be painted to properly represent the color and surface sheen of rubber tires.

Edited by peteski

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If the styrene tires they put in the Italeri classic cars kits are anything to go by, they're better off sticking with vinyl or neoprene.

Edited by Richard Bartrop

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10 hours ago, Daddyfink said:

Styrene tires would work great, but, I am sure the kids today would not be allowed to buy the rubber coating spray necessary to paint them. :rolleyes:

EFA

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11 hours ago, peteski said:

And they would look like they are made from black styrene. They are molded usually in neutral colors (like gray or beige) because that is what military modelers prefer and they are on the same tree as other parts.  But even if molded in black , they would still need to be painted to properly represent the color and surface sheen of rubber tires.

And black vinyl for the most part looks like...black vinyl.  :-)

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9 hours ago, Brian Austin said:

And black vinyl for the most part looks like...black vinyl.  :-)

Well, the rubber tires in Japanese kits have a correct look. But yes, vinyl tires don't look very realisitc. But little rubbing using scouring poweder or some Dullcote makes them look like rubber. And of course if one models a car at a show with shined-up tires, shiny vinyl works just fine. :)

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For many years my company has been producing 1:1 snowplow light housings that we make with black TPR (thermoplastic rubber).  It is an injection material, not vulcanized with exactly the look and feel of rubber.  I suspect it could work quite well for car model kit makers.  Look at Gillette disposable razor handles for an example of what I believe is TPR.

I'm investigating making my own tires by casting and I'm certain soft black RTV material or polyurethane is available from Alumilite  or Smooth-on.  There are also 3D printable soft and flexible materials, but I don't think good enough for tread and sidewall markings details.

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On 12/1/2017 at 6:05 AM, Flat32 said:

 

I'm investigating making my own tires by casting and I'm certain soft black RTV material or polyurethane is available from Alumilite  or Smooth-on.  There are also 3D printable soft and flexible materials, but I don't think good enough for tread and sidewall markings details.

Fireball Resin makes several types of tires cast in soft (urethane?) rubber material.

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2 hours ago, peteski said:

Fireball Resin makes several types of tires cast in soft (urethane?) rubber material.

I know they do.  Just not what I need to fit my rims.  I suppose you could say I want a real tire at 1:25.   I see no reason why we can't have Danbury Mint quality level spoked wheels on the beautifully hand crafted models I see on the forums.

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18 minutes ago, Flat32 said:

I know they do.  Just not what I need to fit my rims.  I suppose you could say I want a real tire at 1:25.   I see no reason why we can't have Danbury Mint quality level spoked wheels on the beautifully hand crafted models I see on the forums.

Fireball Resin tires are depict tires on modern vehicles. So you are planning on making tires for antique cars?  As far as as the diecasts from Danbury or Franklin Mints go, I have couple Danbury Mint '30s cars and I don't consider their spoke wheels to be particularly well made.  The spokes are fairly out-of-scale molded plastic. Maybe you've seen some that have photoetched spokes?  Those look much better, but the best ones are hand-laced using wire.

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Comparison.thumb.jpg.b9b03fa4433bb0828e2f7d4bc6b4d13d.jpg

Danbury '32 roadster on right, molded plastic.  Danbury '32 3 window coupe on left, real wire spokes.

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18 hours ago, Flat32 said:

Danbury '32 roadster on right, molded plastic.  Danbury '32 3 window coupe on left, real wire spokes.

Fair enough. I'm not a die-cast model collector and I have never seen any of the "Mint" models with nice real wire spokes like that.

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